Streamline Your Daily Creative Consumption

Courtesy of Apollo.tv

So often I find myself scrolling through Twitter on my phone, sending myself articles to read later, clogging up my inbox and never reading half of it in the process. Finding all of your favorite creative culture news in one place, in a totally readable format — shouldn’t there be an app for that? Apollo.tv thought so. Apollo Muse brings all of the design and culture news you want to follow into an easily read, beautiful scroll. You can choose from a list of outlets like Dazed, Architizer, Brain Pickings, Mashable, BlackBook, and plenty more.

“Inspiration is worth sharing,” said Melanie Mohr, CEO of Apollo.tv in a press release. “Apollo Muse features the latest breaking news and headlines, current exhibitions, reviews and features, providing a snapshot of collected and curated information relating to the arts.”

Get the app here. Your inbox will thank you.

Your Shopping Addiction Just Got Worse

Yes, soon it’ll be fall… but shopping is getting a makeover and everything is about to change — think of it as a retail refresh — Spring is here.

Prabal Gurung. Public School. Band of Outsiders. Nonoo. Frame Denim. Veronica Beard. Steven Alan. Suno. The list of brands you can shop directly from the Spring app is near 75, and there are 35 more coming to the app soon. All it takes is a scroll through your own personalized feed, a swipe right, and boom, fashion on your doorstep.

Feed_JenFisher

Download Spring on your phone, then follow your favorite brands. Share your picks or swipe right to purchase. It’s as easy (and dangerous) as that.

What are you springing for?

You Can Quit Being Gay, but You Can’t Quit Grindr

Oh, how easily one falls down the path of shame and sin! Isn’t it strange how it often happens to high-profile religious people who make a point to never, ever, ever do bad stuff? Not like, murder-bad stuff, but buttsex-bad stuff. Such is the case of Matt Moore, a gentleman who beat the gay away with prayer and God and such, who was then discovered using Grindr. Grindr is hard to quit, you guys.

Blogger Zinnia Jones received a tip that Moore, a Christian writer who has written extensively about being an "ex-gay," showed up on the dating app. Of course it was actually Moore and not some imposter, because, duh, who would use a fake picture on an app that is designed to meet other people in person for various activities, ranging from hugging to boning? Moore admitted his error in typical ex-gay fashion:

The grindr profile was really mine. I’ve been on it on and off for the last couple of weeks.

Like I told the guy who sent you the picture, I am wrong in having been on grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the bible, etc.

Creating a grindr profile and talking to guys on it was major disobedience on my part….disobedience to Christ. Disobedience to a loving and gracious God. Thankfully, I believe that He forgives me for this disobedience. I believe the blood of Christ covers this disobedience. And I won’t be on grindr again….ever.

The pastor of my church and the church body I am a part of were informed about me being on grindr (I told them) before all of this came out, publicly.

Christianity is SO CONVENIENT! I love a good blank-slate, especially after being caught on Grindr. I’ll keep that in mind if the temptation ever hits me and someone catches me. "Oh, well, sorry! God and stuff. The end!"

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Solve a Puzzle and Create a Song With Matthew Herbert

British electronic/experimental musician Matthew Herbert is always up to something. Scoring films, founding “microlabels,” writing manifestoes. And since his music forbids the use of drum machines or pre-existing samples, he’s got to work damn hard to finesse the sound he wants out of the living, breathing world. Now, with the PENTAPUZZLE app, you can help him.

Like much of Herbert’s output, PENTAPUZZLE is at once cleverly simple and secretly complex. One is given the task of completing a Tetris-like puzzle with the pieces available. But you’re not just putting together an arbitrary shape—you’re also composing. Each puzzle piece, when added or removed from the whole, contributes or subtracts an electronic element of the song that’s playing. Solve the puzzle, finish the song. Or do it wrong and hear some dissonance!

And there are plenty of puzzle-songs (“mandalas” in the game’s term) to toy with. Looks like an appealingly cerebral upgrade from most idle entertainment apps, and it promises to hone your spatial reasoning, too. Only catch is, you may have to delete all those Matthew Herbert albums to make room on your iPhone.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

Let’s Talk About Bang With Friends

Do you harbor lustful feelings for acquaintances that you are too afraid or perpetually drunk to properly articulate? Maybe you’re a “nice guy” who wants another semi-accepted outlet for stalking and creepy libidinous frustration? Are you literally too lazy for goddamn OkCupid? Have we got the app for you.

Bang With Friends’ premise is simple: you’re in your twenties and have no idea how to tell someone you want to see their genitals up close. Along come some, er, coders who filch a program that most colleges come up with at some point—check off whom you’re interested in banging from a master list (in this case, among your Facebook friends) and the objects of your desire will do the same (not really; they’re actually out having sex already). If there’s mutual interest, you’re both notified.

Then you Skype naked, I guess, since you’ve got such a problem with real human contact. Anyway, bam! With feature(s) that useless, Bang With Friends is registering five wholly undesirable users every minute! That’s a lot of secret admirers begging to be secretly admired in turn. Man, so many venture capitalists are gonna get burned on this one.    

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

The Voice Behind The Voices: Top Vocal Coach Liz Caplan

You’ve heard her joyously thanked in Tony and Emmy Award acceptance speeches, and you’ve sung along with the fruits of her work on record-breaking pop/rock albums, blockbuster movie musicals, and Broadway shows about Mormons and Dublin street musicians. As the voice behind the music industry’s top voices, vocal coach-teacher-supervisor Liz Caplan is a story all her own. Since arriving to New York in 1978 with just $300-worth of babysitting money, she’s amassed a clientele that includes The Goo Goo Dolls, James Blunt, Lily Allen, Neil Patrick Harris, the Broadway casts of Book of Mormon and Once, and more. And when you couple her students with her two apps, her consultation to all major record labels, and her team of associates that teach her licensed technique, a Liz Caplan empire is born.

But you’d never know it when you meet her. Clad in a bright tunic in her sun-lit Chelsea studio where you’re greeted by her very vocal and gentlemanly dog Schanuzee, Liz is the image of contentment. Better yet, joy. The secret: her mind-body approach to coaching. By mixing homeopathy, physical alignment, and nutrition, Liz has created a style that seeks to, as she explains, "melt" people – drawing forth their true spirit, and giving it the freedom to be heard in their voice. 

And she does exactly that. For an afternoon, I had the chance to have a lesson and conversation with Liz, where she shared some of the most thrilling moments of her career, a shocking singing no-no, the truth behind tone-deafness, and one miraculous story.

You have a kind of sixth sense, and you’re also a bit of a guru. When did you realize you have this talent to understand voices?
Since I was a child, I’ve always had this freaky gift of being able to hear what frequencies are missing in somebody’s voice. I’m able to locate it and hear when someone is locking their head, their shoulders, tensing their feet. The moment that tension is released, the sound pops open. I truly believe the voice is completely perfect; it’s what we do to it before we breath and sing that makes it imperfect. 

What’s it like for you to watch a live performance? Are you constantly in coaching mode?
I can’t help it, but the answer is yes. For instance, I work with Amanda Seyfried, and worked with her on the movie version of Les Miserables. When I sat down next to her to watch the premiere, which was so exciting, I told myself, "Okay self, relax, let the movie just wash over you." But I couldn’t help but dive into every person’s voice. It’s just what I do. When it comes to what you were put on this Earth to do, for me it’s analyze voices.

How did you prepare her for the role of Cosette?
Amanda didn’t just get an offer; she had to audition a bunch of times. She came into classes pretty much everyday for six months. There was a moment where I said, "I’m going to make this happen for her. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to get her this role." And I still have the voicemail on my phone when she called and said, "Hi. I’m calling to let you know I just got off the phone with the director. And I’m Cosette." 

You have so many thrills like this.
I think it’s the kind of thrills I’m supposed to have in my life. When I was a singer, I couldn’t handle them, but when I apply them to my students, I can; it’s so joyous because it’s in my heart but outside of me. It’s like the energy my client, composer/lyricist and performer Lin Manuel Miranda, gives off everyday. It’s pure joy, because you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. So my applause is when my client gets the part.

What about the time Book of Mormon actress Nikki M. James won the Tony? 
I was in the third row because I was working with Neil Patrick Harris on the Tony Awards, as I always do, and when Nikki said, "to Liz Caplan, my voice teacher who saved my life and my voice," my husband turned to me and said: "She just said your name." And I went into this place where a vacuum happened and I had to watch it myself to remember it. 

You work mostly with clients sent by Broadway producers and management companies. But you also do emergency consulting work with record labels. 
Yes, recording companies will call me when an artist has to do a really huge gig and they were on tour and suddenly lost their voice. I’ll be with them for an entire day and give intermediate voice lessons – 15 minutes here, 20 minutes here, 30 minutes here – from 9am to when they do their gig at night.

And that doesn’t overwork their voice?
Nothing I do will ever fatigue the voice. I feel like when I’m teaching, I have a miner’s cap on with a flashlight. I’m always inside the voice and throat and trying to get a feel for what’s going on. Everything I do is to limber up the intrinsic muscles that cause that fatigue and are overcompensated. 

What’s it like promoting a healthy, holistic vocal approach in an industry known for debauchery?
I’ll never judge what artists want to do with their mind and body, but I do feel that if you want to be at the top of your field and aim for that award, then you want to take care of yourself; do yoga, meditate for just 10 minutes a day, eat properly. It can be a hard, depressive industry, and if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll always feel a step behind the artists who work out, eat right, win awards. If you treat yourself positively, all of that will actualize itself positively into your career. 

Besides drinking and depressing yourself to death, what’s the #1 worst thing for your voice?
Advil. Do not take Advil. Ibuprofen is a blood thinner, so it thins the blood going to the vocal cords. If you’re singing something really hard and you’re taking ibuprofen, the risk of hemorrhaging your vocal cord is tremendous. Take extra strength Tylenol. 

Be honest: do you think anyone can sing?
Yes. If you can hear the pitches of police or fire engine sirens, then you can sing.

Then what about tone-deafness? Does that exist?
Actually, no. People who say they are tone deaf were just not exposed to music growing up. I call them "tone-ignorant." They were usually very into athletics as a kid, and rarely saw shows or listened to music, so they weren’t exposed to any music. With a good deal of lessons, it’s easy to reverse, and always a revelation for them when they finally hear themselves sing in-tune. 

Four paws appear underneath the door, as Schnauzee scratches to come in. Liz opens the door, and he takes a seat beside her.

Your dog can really sing. How old is he?
Eleven. He got diagnosed with cancer in June, during Tony week when I was working with Neil. They gave him 30 days to live and said he has the worst kind of cancer an animal can get. So I called all of my homeopathic healers and medical intuits, and today is day 188. He’s on supplements and enzymes and I cook him organic food. 

And it’s gone?
He’s in remission. He went into remission on the day they said he would not live. While the medical professionals told me nothing would help him, my homeopath said, "This is going to be hard, but if you do this regimen, you might be able to get him okay." And he was. I will tell you, I have had students who have won Tony Awards, Grammys, all of that, and this is my biggest accomplishment yet.

Josh Gad

In Their Own Words: Four Entrepreneurs’ Favorite Apps

What do a dominatrix, two celebrity chefs, and a fitness founder have in common? Not much. So we brought them all together under one umbrella question: “What is your favorite app?”And like most things that can fit inside your phone and purse, these apps give great insight into who these stop-at-nothing entrepreneurs are. It’s like hacking into someone’s cellphone, but with descriptive consent. Here are these four visionaries’ favorite apps, in their own words.

Aarón Sanchez
Aarón Sanchez is the co-star of two Food Network series (Chopped and Heat Seekers), and the culinary visionary behind NYC’s taqueria Tacombi, Kansas City’s Mestizo, and Crossroads restaurant at House of Blues nationwide. Sanchez was recently a guest chef at the White House and received the “National Award” at the Flavors of Passion Awards, honoring the nation’s best Latin chefs.

"Since my wife, a pro musician, and I are constantly on the road, we like to use SongKick to find which of our favorite bands are playing in the cities we travel to. It’s also a great way to track lesser-known artists who may not have the reach of bigger acts. It’s brilliant.”

Brynn Jinnett
Brynn Jinnett is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet and the founder of Refine Method, a chain of boutique circuit training studios in NYC, whose clients have included Ivanka Trump and Kelly Ripa. Rooted in the latest research in exercise science, Refine exercises your body by using its own weight – pairing squats, kicks, and pushes with its own unique pulley system and high-intensity cardio. Since opening in 2010, Jinnett’s Method has exploded, expanding to three locations across NYC.

“My favorite app is MindBody Biz Mode [FREE], which allows me to schedule clients on my iPhone. With our third location opening this month on the Upper West Side, it’s great to be able to manage multiple locations while on the go!”

Hung Huynh
As the executive chef of NYC’s Catch seafood restaurant in Meatpacking and third season-winner of Top Chef, Hung Huynh is joining with EMM Group again to open the second outpost of Catch in South Beach, inside the James Royal Palm on Collins Avenue.

“My favorite app, Seafood Watch [FREE], keeps me up-to-date with current and fresh fish from the area’s nearby restaurants and stores, inspires new ideas, and educates me on the importance of sustainable seafood.”

Nina Payne
Nina Payne is the founder and president of Domi Dollz, a company of professional dominatrixes who bring kink out of the dungeon and into the mainstream with their New York-based workshops and educational performances. This month, the Dollz are launching their first eBook titled Kinky Amour; with personal stories and kinky tips from Payne and company, as well as video tutorials and photographs, the Dollz’ teachings will be downloadable and available worldwide.

“The Domi Dollz love the Dirty Game – Truth or Dare app [FREE]: it’s a huge collection of very naughty and wild truth or dares. It’s such fun to revisit the game we played as teenagers, bring the app to parties, and spice things up.” 

NY Navigation Made Easy With New NYC Around Town App

In the tech world, specificity is everything; tweets can now be emailed, Instagram galleries are finally online, and according to your sidebar advertisements, Facebook knows you’re freaking out that you might be pregnant. So why stop there? Say hello to the NYC Around Town app, launched by ACE, a 20-year-old non-profit that helps the homeless find employment and support networks.

Unlike most navigation apps that cover multiple cities and take two-and-a-half minutes to fully load on your phone, NYC Around Town hones in on strictly New York, navigating you in a jiffy. Its focus: helping you discover the best shops, restaurants, and hotels in heavily-trodden neighborhoods like Soho, NoHo, the West Village, Midtown, Tribeca, and areas of the Bronx, all thanks to that handy guy named GPS. Plus, it gives you specific reviews and information on the place, making it easy to call, book a reservation, and share via Facebook and Twitter – instantly. And we love instant. We also love free. Which it is. Hot damn, that’s even better.

Download the NYC Around Town app on your iPhone or Android here

In Their Own Words: Our Favorite Up-and-Comers’ Favorite Apps

No matter what industry you work in, smartphone apps always find a way of creeping in. Which is why, when we asked five up-and-comers for our Oct/Nov print issue what their favorite apps are, the verdict became clear:  when you like what you do, you app what you do. Choosing apps that closely relate to and help with their work – from crosswords to meterology – here are these jetsetters’ favorite apps, in their own words.

Michael White: chef/co-owner of Italian culinary empire Altamarea
A native Midwesterner, chef Michael White has shocked and excited the culinary scene worldwide with his continually-expanding Italian empire: Altamarea Group. As co-owner, White’s brand of elegant and soulful Italian food can be found in Hong Kong, New Jersey, and New York, and has garnered multiple Michelin stars. Some of his restaurants include Osteria Morini, Marea, and Ai Fiori . Last month, the chef presented an array of his signature dishes at Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival.

Michael says:
“I love the app Chef’s Feed. It’s an app dedicated to databasing what the nation’s best chefs like to eat at their favorite restaurants. It’s almost like Yelp, but with the advice of well-known chefs. It comes with an interactive map where you can find out where your favorite chef likes to eat in relation to where you are at any given moment. So cool.”

Solomon Choi: founder and CEO of 16 Handles
As the entrepreneur behind frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles, Solomon Choi is responsible for putting customization in a cup and making it delicious. Choi’s company brings 16 rotating flavors of yogurt and over 40 toppings to the masses, all of which the customers put together themselves. Thanks to his past experience working for his parent’s restaurant franchise in California, as well as at restaurant startup, Choi handles 16 Handles’ expansion with ease; with 26 locations throughout the East Coast, and 10 stores in development, the franchise is becoming one tasty phenomenon.

Solomon says:
TripIt helps me manage my business and personal travel itineraries, as well as view all air, hotel, and car rental reservations from my iPhone. I’m also able to my friends’ or associates’ travel plans once we’re linked. Business owners know that time is money, and efficiency translates to more money earned; thankfully, TripIt gets the job done in a snap.”

Fiona Staples: Canadian comic book artist
Known both for her covers, which earned her a 2011 Joe Shuster Award, and her interior artwork, Fiona Staples has drawn everything from horror to superheroes. She’s illustrated for such series as Mystery Society and the Eisner-nominated North 40, and covers for Superman/Batman, DV8, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. She’s currently collaborating on Image Comics’ fantasy epic SAGA. Last month, Staples was a featured guest for the entirety of New York Comic Con.

Fiona says:
“My favorite is the New York Times crossword app! I like doing the crossword every day without needing a newspaper subscription. I’m a bit addicted to crosswords and other puzzle games, and do them whenever I have a bit of time to fill. It’s a nice way to take a quick break from drawing while keeping my mind engaged, rather than getting sucked into watching T.V. for an hour!”

Terry Casey: New York-based DJ and event promoter
Terry Casey can be found all across the city and the state, spinning music and planning events at his resident spots Hotel Chantelle and The Montauk Beach House. He’s worked alongside such legends as Paul Oakenfold, Mark Ronson, and BlackBook’s very own Steve Lewis.

Terry says:
RadarScope is a meteorology app DJ Paul Sevigny showed me when he was spinning at The Montauk Beach House. It shows the weather and where  the clouds are coming from and where they’re going. It helps us when programming the outdoor pool parties at the Beach House.”

James Ruff: New York-based singer-songwriter/producer
James Ruff hits the stage two-fold, as both a solo artist and the front man for New York-based band The Rouge Royale. Known for its energizing and eclectic sound, the band has performed on CNN at the 2011 United Nations concert, at such beloved rock joints as The Bitter End, and as one of the more frequent acts for Avenue A Soundcheck. With three solo albums under his belt, and the band’s debut EP this month, Ruff is an artist in his prime.

James says:
“I always reach for the iPhone’s highly underrated native app: Voice Memos. With a click of the “record” button, it captures in a moment every musical  idea I’ve had brewing for days. As a songwriter who composes melody strictly by recording and listening back to my ideas, this app is my best friend and most valuable tool. Every pre-production aspect of The Rouge Royale’s upcoming  EP was aided by this simple little gem.”