Lena Dunham, Tavi Gevinson and More Urge Democracy Through Lip-Syncing

I know, I know. We’re sick of all the political ads, too. But instead of hiring crappy actors and relying on bad green-screens and the FEAR FONT, filmmaker and HelloGiggles writer Sarah Sophie Flicker decided to use the power of a ‘60s pop anthem and a few recognizable friends to convey her message about the importance of putting women’s health and reproductive rights at the forefront this election. With flowers in their hair and webcams at the ready, dozens of women joined Flicker for an impassioned lip-sync of Lesley Gore’s classic, “You Don’t Own Me.”

And what a cast Flicker assembled: Carrie Brownstein, Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham, Zoë Kravitz, Alexa Chung, Kate Nash, Rain Phoenix, Sia, Miranda July and Alia Shawkat make appearances—see if you can spot ‘em all.

This is, by default, probably the best political ad we’ve seen all election season, if only because we have yet to see another political ad which juxtaposes information about the threat of defunding of Planned Parenthood with a shot of what appears to be Mae Whitman (her?) eating noodles. And the only political ad with an approval message from Lesley Gore herself. Watch.

‘The Oranges’ Star Alia Shawkat Curates a List of Songs to Stew By

Alia Shawkat may be best known as Maeby Fünke from the cult TV show Arrested Development, but the California native has been transitioning to the big screen with roles in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It and Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress. This month, Shawkat inches even closer to the center of the action with two starring roles. One is as a sex addict opposite Anne Heche in the biting comedy, That’s What She Said. In The Oranges, out October 5, she plays Vanessa Walling, a moody New Jersey suburbanite whose father is seduced by her best friend, played with Lolita-like charm by Leighton Meester. This is, obviously, not easy for Vanessa to process, and here Shawkat channels her character to share some of her favorite songs about jealousy, gossip, and being blindsided by love.

“Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” by Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday is one of my favorite singers, and this song has her usual sadness to it. It is full of regret, melancholy, and beauty. The narrator is telling her lover not to believe anything he hears about her until she says it to him herself, though she’s not denying the rumors, either. It’s a beautiful song, and I think she’s singing it with a smile.
Operative Lyric: “True, I’ve been seen with someone new / but does that mean that I’m untrue? / When we’re apart, the words In my heart / reveal how I feel about you.”

“Mr. Chatterbox” by Bob Marley and The Wailers
This is another song about people talking shit. Mr. Chatterbox is the guy who goes around town telling people things about you. There’s a lyric in it that goes, “Always to receive but never to give.” He’s always putting people down, but he’s going to get what’s coming to him, too.
Operative Lyric: “You cheek, cheek, cheek, and tongue, tongue, tongue / a-go let you down / And a-when them let you down / we a-go batter you around, hey.”

“How Do I Know” by Here We Go Magic
This is from the Brooklyn-based band’s newest album, A Different Ship, which I love. In this song, the singer, Luke Temple, sings about his uncertainty whether he is really in love. He loves the small things his girl does, like how she smells when she gets out of the shower, but he still has doubts. It’s something everyone can relate to. Sometimes you’re so close to something, you question whether it’s real or not.
Operative Lyric: “How do I know if I love you? / When all these things come and go? / You can’t stand them together In some neat little row / So how do I know, how do I know, how do I know?”

“You Know More Than I Know” by John Cale
This song, from his 1974 album, Fear, is incredibly haunting. It’s like Cale’s not responsible for himself. He feels as if there is only so much he can do for himself without help. There’s a romance to it, too, because he seems to need someone to take charge of things, and when you’re looking for that, it’s great to actually find someone who knows you more than you know yourself.
Operative Lyric: “Instead, we read the morning news / in bed, what endlessness ahead / And there’s no more to be said / You know more than I know.”

“Don’t Give It Away” by Syl Johnson
Johnson’s a really awesome ’70s kind of funk/soul guy with a huge collection of songs. On this one, he’s saying don’t give it away to somebody who hurts you—don’t show them that you’re weak. It’s really about making sure no one sees that you’re vulnerable.
Operative Lyric: “If you know somebody you wanna sock it to / Let me tell you, honey, what I want you to do / Don’t gIve it away, baby.”

“But She’s My Buddy’s Chick” by The Nat King Cole Trio
In The Oranges, Hugh Laurie plays my dad and sleeps with my former best friend— the daughter of his best friend, played by Oliver Platt. They know it’s wrong, but they can’t help the way they feel. Of course, it tears the two families apart. It reminds me a bit of this song. Of course, Nat King Cole knows better than to pursue his attraction.
Operative Lyric: “Startedonce to move right in / Changed my mind but quick / She could send me, yes she could / But she’s my buddy’s chick.”

“Jilted John” by Red Sauce
This is an old British punk song that’s super fun, and I fell in love with it when I first heard it. The singer is singing about this girl who broke his heart—she ran off with some douchebag one day—and obviously he’s not dealing with it well. In his British, punk way, he lets out all of those feelings and frustrations in the span of just a few minutes.
Operative Lyric: “Oh she’s a slag and he’s a creep / She’s a tart, he’s very cheap / She’s a slut, he thinks he’s tough / She is a bitch, he is a puff.”

“Typical Girls” by The Slits
The Slits were in their late teens, early twenties when they recorded this song, and I think it’s pretty great that they were in the moment—they weren’t a group of older women remembering the past. It’s very honest about how girls can be annoying. When you’re a teenage girl, you hate other girls more than you ever will for the rest of your life.
Operative Lyric: “Who invented the typical girl? / Who’s bringing out the new improved model? / And there’s another marketing ploy / Typical girl gets the typical boy.”

“Tryouts for the Human Race” by Sparks
This is such an epic song, and one of my all-time favorites. It’s about how we’re all trying to be the best humans we can be, but every day is like a struggle, an audition for our own lives. We’re not all going to make it through, but we’ve got to keep trying.
Operative Lyric: “We’re the future and the past, we’re the only way you’re gonna last / We’re just pawns In a funny game / Tiny actors In the oldest play.”

“Right By Me” by The Magic
This song is from my friend’s band, The Magic, based in Toronto. I don’t even think this one is on iTunes yet! The song is about unconditional love. He’s sitting around, making dinner, waiting for his lady to come home, and he’s thinking about her and how much he just loves the spirit she has about her. All he needs from her is to be an honest person and true to him.
Operative Lyric: “I don’t care what you do as long as it’s right by me.” 

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Alia Shawkat On Hipsters, Ellen Page, & the Future of ‘Arrested Development’

With a role on one of the great television comedies of all time under her belt, Alia Shawkat now finds herself in an interesting but all-too-familiar showbiz conundrum: Trying to build a career when everybody knows you as “that girl from Arrested Development.” One step in the right direction is Cedar Rapids, an Ed Helms vehicle in which Shawkat plays a small-town hooker with a drug habit who takes Helms’ prudish insurance salesman under her slightly shady wing. And Shawkat isn’t exactly waiting around for that next great script — instead, she’s writing her own. Currently in development at HBO is Stitch n’ Bitch, a series the California native wrote with friends Ellen Page and Har Mar Superstar about two hipsters who’ll do anything to live their lives as artists. We recently caught up with the actress to discuss the negative connotations of the word ‘hipster,’ finding worthwhile scripts, and Arrested Development: the movie.

Is it difficult finding good female roles? It is hard. I’m in a position right now where I’ve been lucky enough to keep working, but it’s definitely not easy. It’s hard to find roles that aren’t repetitive. Every now and then something cool will come up, but most scripts I read are like the begrudged angry teenager. I’m like, I did that once and it got canceled, so I rather not do it again.

So is Cedar Rapids indicative of something stood out? It’s one of the first more adult roles that I played. And then Miguel, we were friends before Cedar Rapids came to fruition, so when he called me, he was like, “I want you to play a hooker and she’s a drug addict too!” And I was like, Yay, that sounds fun. So that was a really fresh role for me, and I got to change my hair, which was really fun.

Were you guys friends because you worked on something? I was shooting Whip It in Michigan, and he was shooting Youth in Revolt with Michael Cera, and so we all met and had a steak dinner.

Have you tried to create your own roles through writing? Yes. I met Ellen Page on Whip It and Shawn Tillman – Har Mar Superstar — working on a show now that’s in development on HBO called Stitch n’ Btitch , but I think probably 10,000 people say that. We decided to go to Amsterdam for ten days, and we just went there and wrote this show, the three of us, and we got inspired through herbal substances and just being in a new country, and we wrote a pilot and never thought anything would happen, and then HBO really liked it.

Did you bring it to HBO yourself? We did, yeah, with the help of Ellen as well, because she’s famous. But it’s still in development and we’re going to be doing a table read soon, but we’ve created a pretty stupid hipster versions of ourselves.

So it’s the two of you moving from Williamsburg to Silver Lake? Yeah, we both want to become artists of any type or form. She’s the more earthy bitter one, like, We’ve got to save the world — that kind of hipster. I’m more of the, like, ‘I express myself through fashion and art, but I can’t really do anything type,’ and I just spend all my money.

Your parents’ money? Yeah, my two gay dads’ money.

What did you base it on? Honestly, slight exaggerations of ourselves. I used to live in Silver Lake and Ellen used to live in Williamsburg, and the culture that you’re surrounded in at this moment. I’m not going to pretend I’m not a hipster. What’s so funny about it is it has a bad connotation. Hipsters think it’s stupid to be called a hipster, but that’s what you are, and that’s what your friends are. That’s not bad, but that’s the whole point: We all want to be so different from everybody else. But I remember one of the lines when we were in Amsterdam, there was this homeless boy on the street, and he was pretty young, and Ellen was like, ‘Oh my god is that boy okay?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, he’s fine, he’s dressed okay.’ My character’s name is Kyla, and we ended up using that as something she says. Like there’s a homeless guy, but she’s like, “Well, he’s dressed okay,” so we kind of just pull from ourselves, but put it in extreme situations.

After doing something like Arrested Development, are scripts inevitably disappointing because you’ve seen what real quality is? Yes and no. I haven’t read any television that I found as quick as Arrested Development, because they put so much into one episode of that show, and now when you read scripts, there’s so much talking about what’s happening and spoon feeding you the characters, and the jokes are so on the nose. But when I’d read an episode of Arrested, we didn’t really know what was happening until it was getting shot, and stuff didn’t make sense but in a great way. I think actors have more of an opportunity to create stuff when it’s not really planned out for them. Do you do any interviews where someone doesn’t ask you about the Arrested Development movie? It’s more people that come up to me on the street and are like, ‘So when’s the movie happening?!’ And I’m like, ‘Guys, I don’t know, and I don’t know you!’ I just hope it happens soon because people are going to start wondering

I heard that Mitch said it was going to happen this year? Yes, very exciting. He doesn’t really talk to us about it directly, but I’m hoping it happens soon.

That’s something you’d like to be a part of? Of course. Anyone I talk to that’s in the cast is really game. It’s about scheduling, but it’s gotten to the point where we never knew so many people would be so interested, that I think if it were to happen, people would put their schedules aside to get it done. And I think it would be a quick shoot too.

Is it strange that there’s so much interest in the show now that it’s over? Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous. Not to bash Fox, because Fox is paying for my livelihood right now, but they never advertised, and didn’t really know what to do with it, I think. So it’s a surprise to everybody that people are caring about this little show that was canceled so many years ago. It’s very strange to everybody, even to Mitch. I don’t think he knew it would get this far. I think a big part of why he’s been doing this is because of Jason Bateman. So he’s like, ‘Well, I guess I should write this thing.’ Because I don’t think he wanted to, to tell you the truth. I think he was kind of hurt.

Did that experience sour you in any way? It getting canceled?

Yeah. At the time it was disappointing, because you’re with your friends, and it’s kind of like a family, and we loved what we were doing. I was getting paid weekly, which was also very nice. I love television shows, but I think three seasons is a good amount of time.

Is it a struggle to remain a working actress? The minute I think I’m going to have to get a day job, I get a part. So it’s this weird cycle.

Have you come close to getting a day job? I’m thinking of getting a day job. I like drawing cartoons, so I’m working on writing a cartoon show and doing other things to keep myself busy, instead of just waking up and having breakfast and going back to sleep. I love drawing just as much as acting, so I’ve been able to go back and forth. I think my agents get a little annoyed because I like to be picky with films, but I want it to be something good. Even though I still have to audition and jump through hoops to get the part.

Is there something I would know of that your agents wanted you to do, but you turned down? Well, that’s not fair, it’ll sound like I’m bashing those projects. I’m not really the right type for a lot of those movies anyways, so they’re not going to hire me — like the part that’s ‘She’s the hottest girl at the school.’ First of all, I don’t want to be in high school anymore. I get sick when I’m in high schools. And second of all, it’s just not going to work. But there are good scripts coming. They seem to get lower and lower budget, but they seem to be good, quality scripts.

The Oranges sounds interesting to me. Yeah.

How was that? It was really fun. That was something I auditioned for years ago, and it kind of disappeared and came back. It was a really fun shoot. That was something where I got to create a really cool character.

Who do you play in that? Her name’s Vanessa, and she’s the narrator, and I play Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener’s daughter. If they had sex, they’d have me. And then Leighton Meister sleeps with my dad and that kind of destroys everything. It’s interesting, because as a narrator, they usually have the most open, wisest person telling the story, but in this case, it’s like the bitter, selfish, angry girl who’s telling the story.

‘The Runaways’: A Reluctant Review

All the talk this morning is about the Academy Award nominations being out, but since there were no earth-shattering surprises, and the stuff’s been written about and fretted over so much already, I’m going to forego any commentary and instead talk about the film I saw last night: The Runaways. A hot ticket at Sundance last week, the film earned mostly positive reviews from festival-goers, enough in any case to lead me to believe there might be something to it. Alas, it seems I was duped by positive word-of-mouth yet again.

I call this a reluctant review because I have a mile-wide soft spot for Joan Jett, whose popularity in the ’80s neatly coincided with my burgeoning appreciation for rock, if not music in general, and I don’t want to disparage any project of hers (she served as executive producer). What’s more, I’m pretty certain that that was her, in the flesh, sitting at the end of my row, which added a uniquely positive frisson to the experience of seeing the film. Nevertheless, the presence of an admired celebrity did nothing to enhance what is basically a weak-sauce rise-and-fall movie with cardboard characters, an aimless script and a formal approach that mixes too many montage sequences with needless, arty flourishes.

The first shot, at least, is arresting: menstrual blood falling on sun-baked macadam. Of course, such a vulgar opening gambit invariably creates certain expectations about what’s to follow—presumably a rough-edged, warts-and-all kind of affair—but in fact the movie never again approaches this degree of daring or unpredictability. Instead, it devolves into one sustained music video that’s broken up by the odd emotional high or low point. The fledgling band struggles at first (montage), succeeds (montage), and breaks up (montage). Since you know full well what’s going to happen in advance, it’s the details of the story that matter, and too many of them here are simplified and/or glossed over by first-time feature director Floria Sigismondi’s strategy.

Its worst consequence is that we don’t really get to know the band. As others have already pointed out, the film might be called The Runaways, but it’s really the Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart) story, one of opposites who attracted. Jett’s the hard-nosed rock-and-roller in thrall to Suzi Quatro and the Sex Pistols. Currie’s the softer, gamine bombshell who likes Bowie and Don McLean. Other than the fact that they have shitty home lives, that’s basically all we ever learn about them. Everybody else in the band is relegated to side-mouse status, including drummer Sandy West and lead guitar player Lita Ford. Genuine fans of the group will likely bristle at the short-shrifting of these integral members. It also doesn’t help that Alia Shawkat plays a fictional bass player who is all but invisible here. Why pick a popular (almost) name actress for such a thankless role?

I wish I could say that the performances somehow buoy this thing, but I can’t. With the exception of Michael Shannon as manager Kim Fowley, everyone here disappoints. Fanning looks great, and there’s a perverse thrill to be had in hearing the little girl from I Am Sam call someone a “filthy pussy,” but she doesn’t have a fraction of the moxie and stage presence that Currie did. Stewart doesn’t fare much better. There’s a dark, feline ferocity that Jett fairly oozes to this day, whereas Stewart simply comes across as being petulant and hard.

But perhaps the biggest disappointment is the reality of band’s origin story. If you go by the trailer and its pitch, The Runaways’ ostensible theme is one of female empowerment, showcasing the first all-girl outfit to succeed in the male-dominated world of 70’s rock-and-roll. So it’s more than a little deflating to learn that the band was the actually Fowley’s brainchild. He’s manipulative, opportunistic, and svengali-like to the point where the band’s success doesn’t seem much more their own than, say, The Monkees. Without Fowley, it’s unlikely there ever would have been any Runaways. Where’s the girl-power message in that?

The New Natural: Alia Shawkat

Alia Shawkat has the words “Mister Baby” tattooed across her back. It’s a tribute to the anxious Elvis fan in Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 film Mystery Train, three linked stories filled with awkward silences and understated comedy. It’s exactly the kind of movie, and exactly the kind of tattoo, you’d expect a cooler-than-thou Brooklyn hipster to like. Shawkat, best known for her role as Maeby Fünke, the kissing cousin on Fox’s rightly canonized Arrested Development, is that kind of girl. All this makes the 20-year-old actress the perfect person to pen Stitch N’ Bitch, the satirical send-up of urbane tapered denim fans she is writing with Ellen Page (her recent co-star in the roller derby flick Whip It ) for HBO. “It’s about two girls who leave Williamsburg and move to Silver Lake. It makes fun of all the people we are and we hang out with—all of these kids who look like French pirates at ironic parties with the wiry bikes,” Shawkat says. “It’ll have a lot of Ray-Bans and lots of red flannel.”

When not eviscerating the cool kids, Shawkat will appear as a fictional band member opposite Kristen Stewart in The Runaways, a Joan Jett biopic, as well as in the long-gestating Arrested Development movie. She also hopes to break into the indie comic book scene (she designed one of her tattoos, a squiggly triangle that looks like a rotund man in a top hat when viewed from the right angle), but couldn’t find a coffee shop in Brooklyn conducive to her creative pursuit. “I can’t pull out my journal in a vegan restaurant, when I’m surrounded by all of these people and their asymmetric haircuts. I would have seemed like such a tool bag.”

So what was Arrested Development like? It was great. When I got a script we were so excited for all the crazy shit we got to do. The only bad thing about it was that literally every other day we were being thrown into cancellation. We were never settled. So every time we were doing another episode we were like, “Really? We got another one? OK great!” But otherwise it was one of the best experiences ever. We were like a family. There were a couple of bad seeds but we’d just make fun of them.

What was it like getting the recognition for the show after it was over? It was very strange. I’ve been recognized for it more in the last year than ever before. When it was on I never got recognized. It was the DVD sales that got everyone. I think [the creator] Mitch [Hurwitz], was offered two more seasons with Showtime, but he turned it down because we won an Emmy, but no one watched it. He was kind of sensitive about it. The movie idea came about since people started watch the show so much and Jason [Bateman] and everyone is doing so well movie wise. They’re writing it right now, but I feel like the timing is imperative because everybody is still hot for it.

Why do you think the pause after production with Arrested Development and other shows like Family Guy works so well and makes them more popular? I think it’s because if you watched the show while it was one air, you couldn’t just tune in like to a Will & Grace episode and understand what was going on. My grandfather tried to watch it and he was like, “I can’t do it. They’re talking too fast!”

You’ve been doing all these girl projects, working with Drew Barrymore on Whip It and the all girl cast for The Runaways, was that a marked difference to working on such a male-dominated show as Arrested Development? It’s harder sometimes. When I was on Arrested Development it was a lot easier because it was such a big cast, too, so when had photo shoots it was pretty much just me and Michael [Cera] in the background. We got to do our bits but it was no pressure at all. The adults would take care of it. With Whip It there were a lot, a lot of girls, but there wasn’t one person that we didn’t like. I really take my hat off to Drew because she has such a positive attitude and I think that contributed a lot to that. We were just talking about it the other night, there was no one person that I didn’t get along with on the whole set. And with so many girls that’s so rare. There are so many egos. We still all hang out. It was really rad. The Runaways wasn’t as easy of an experience but we still all got along pretty well.

The Runaways are so emblematic of a very specific time, what was the biggest gap you had to bridge to make it realistic? Well thank god Joan Jett and Cherie Currie were on set a lot. I’m the bassist in the band. My character has nothing to do with the movement of the plot. The director [Floria Sigismondi], she’s a music video director and this is her first film, so the story is going to be focused on the style. I wasn’t playing a real person, because [the real person] was going to sue the shit out of us if I did, so we we’re all just staying in a very specific style more than telling the authentic story of a young girl in the 70’s. It’s all about the music and then the drugs and we break up and that kind of thing.

How would you describe the aesthetic? They didn’t really tell us much. The director would be strapped onto this thing and we would be spinning and filming and it was just a weird experience because I’m usually very involved. Like on Whip It, every scene we were able to take time and talk about the character and, not to sound stupid, but as an actor that’s what you do. And it wasn’t like that on this set, at least not for my character. It was a lot more, “rock out!” I learned the bass, which was cool. I think that was probably the most challenging thing, making it look real, making it look like I really know how to play bass.

What else have you been working on? I leave in a couple of weeks to go to Ann Arbor—that’s where I shot Whip It. So I’m going back there again to do a movie called Cedar Rapids with Miguel Arteta who directed Youth in Revolt and he’s one of my really good friends so I’m excited.

So what what you like to be doing in the next five years? Working would be nice. And maybe have a house.

Here in LA? Here and then be able to have an apartment in New York.

Welcome to the dream. I would love to do puppet shows. Do you know Punch and Judy? I went to London over the summer and got a wooden cart and it’s super cool. It would be cool to have a show at a gallery. I do sketches for comic book stuff so it would be great to make a comic book. My brother and I were working on an idea for one.

Are there any comic books that you particularly like? I like Daniel Clowes. I’ve been doing painting too, but the art world makes no sense to me. I’ve been acting since I was little and you just go in, you audition, and that’s it. But do I walk into a gallery and say, “Hey, I have art work do you want to look at it?” But I go into these small galleries in Chinatown and I’m like, “my shit’s better than this.” I’m not as into the super hero ones as I am to the graphic novels.

How old were you when you started acting? I started acting when I was 9. I had to convince my parents because my mother’s father was an actor and she just didn’t like anything about it. We started sending in headshots and we never heard anything back. My mom finally called and asked about it and they said I looked too “ethnic.” My hair was longer and curlier and I looked ethnic.

What is your “ethnicity?” I’m Arabic. My dad’s from Baghdad. I went and auditioned for an agent and I got it. Then I had a Barbie commercial as my first job. Barbie in a Porsche. I had a ponytail literally on top of my head. Then my second audition was a movie called Three Kings and I was there for three months, and that was my first real shooting experience with Clooney, Ice Cube, Mark Walberg, Spike Jonze.

So what do your folks do? My father owns a shopping center in Palm Springs—the main attraction being showgirls. I’m first generation—he came over in the ‘70s with $200 in his pocket, you know one of those guys. Then he met my mom in Los Angeles and they moved to Palm Springs. Mom’s a housewife. She got all her degrees and then wanted to be a housewife.

Do you have any siblings? I have two brothers; I’m in the middle. The little one is 14 so he’s worthless. The older one is a piano player—he wants to do compositions for films and stuff. He’s into classical. The younger one is 14 and the older one is 22. The last one came and we were like, “What the fuck?”

What is a 14 year old like? Intense. I work and then I go home and I haven’t seen him in a couple of months and his voice has changed, he’s wearing baggy shorts and he’s gelling his hair into a little faux-hawk. He’s cool; we relate, but if you say one thing like, “No I’m not going to take you to go get ice cream,” he’ll be like, “Fuck you!” and lash out, and it’s like “Whoa-whoa-whoa I just said no, but OK, let’s go get ice cream just settle down.”

Does he have a myspace? I guess so. I don’t know. I’m not on myspace so I don’t know. I don’t have any of those things. He was born with that stuff right away. He’s also one of those World of Warcrafters. He’s on it all the time with a head set and he’s always saying weird stuff like “I leveled up like 3 points,” and I’m like “We have to go to dinner,” and he’s like “No! My friends are gonna die if I leave!” and I’m like, “No one is actually going to die.”

Would you like to do more movies? Comedy? Drama? I’m actually working on a show, writing a TV show with some friends right now. We just wrote a pilot. That’s the only TV I would want to be involved in right now, if I was writing it. Otherwise, I’d rather do film.

What’s the TV show about? It’s called Stitch N’ Bitch. We got the name from this cranium game. We were playing and our friend Brett had to mime “stitch and bitch” and I had never heard that before. But the show is me and Ellen Page and my friend Sean Fillman, and us three wrote it together and it’s about these two hipster girls who leave Williamsburg, Brooklyn who moves to Silverlake and we are just kind of making fun of all the people we are and hang out with the ridiculousness of wanting to be an artist and all those girls. So shit like that, just making fun of the culture. I was in Williamsburg doing research and it was ridiculous.

They have a uniform. They look like French pirates and they have these wirey bikes and funny mustaches. It was like nonstop. I had my journal in my purse and I couldn’t pull it out. I couldn’t sit at this vegan restaurant with all these people with asymmetrical haircuts and pull out my journal to write.

Dress by Trovata, Photo by Randall Slavin, Slyling by Jewels, Grooming by Jeffrey Paul @EA Management, Production Sara Pine @Creative 24.

Ellen Page & Alia Shawkat to ‘Stitch ‘N’ Bitch’ for HBO

I suppose not all of the day’s TV developments have to be soul-suckingly awful. Take for instance the concert of kick-assery being conducted by Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat for HBO. Sure, the pay-cable net’s got the East Coast hipster beat covered with Bored to Death. But maybe that’s why in the joint Page-Shawkat venture Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, the leading characters uproot their serene Williamsburg lives and relocate to L.A.’s Silver Lake hipster enclave. Now all we need is a mushy drama set in Wicker Park and we’d be all set. Oh, waitaminnit

Sure it’s a mite shaky that they’re moving to the West Coast to pursue art, because y’know, NYC is assumed as this country’s art capital. And sure, further pontification on the struggles of artsy hipsters should technically make us claw our eyes out. But the promise of smart writing and a measure of self-deprecation with Page and Shawkat at the helm easily outweigh those concerns.

However, the pair are keeping their involvement with the series strictly creative — showing up in the series itself only sporadically. On the heels of Whip It‘s meager box office mojo, it’s probably still a good thing that the pair’s charisma, wit, and generally excellent chemistry are being valued above box office receipts.