Editor’s Letter: Get Out of Town

Just the thought of a summer issue put us in full-on beach mode — daydreams of far-off places, sandy toes and tropical drinks. To that end, a truckload of black volcanic sand was hauled in, along with a passel of plush beach blankets, chaise lounges and striped umbrellas, for our cover shoot with the incomparable Marion Cotillard, who brought a touch of the French Riviera to Canal Street one day in early May. The Oscar-winning La Vie en Rose star is certainly on a whirlwind journey of her own, as she ascends from respected actress to international movie star.

Summer break is definitely a pipe dream for Cotillard, who has been working nonstop since her breakthrough moment. But that hasn’t stopped her from indulging in life’s pleasures along the way. When in Chicago filming Public Enemies with Johnny Depp, she got further into character by hanging out on nights off with the cast and crew at Al Capone’s old stomping grounds, iconic jazz club the Green Mill. And she got her dance on with her boyfriend Guillaume Canet while shooting The Last Voyage of Lancaster in the dunes of Morocco, where the two of them shook hips with the local nomads and their toddlers.

Another actress who is going new places, Maya Rudolph, takes a surprisingly lovely detour from her comedic path with a muchbuzzed-about performance in Sam Mendes’ Away We Go. Her co-star John Krasinski gives her a proper grilling. Elsewhere in the issue, the Parisian rockers Phoenix sent us postcards from the road, while other world travelers stopped by our offices in person. Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince of the Kills gave our walls their stamp of cool, in the form of some seriously awesome skulls.

Wherever you are, let a cocktail, or mocktail if you please, take you to exotic places. New York nightlife icon Amanda Lepore taste tests the luscious libations on pour at Chinatown’s mixology drink den, Apothéke. If you stop by, ask for her house special: The Happy and Horny.

Or hop on the Jitney and meet me in Montauk. I’ll be at The Gig Shack on Main Street, cold beverage in hand. Find out how to get there — and everywhere else worth going to — with the BlackBook Guides app on your iPhone. Bonus: Our new BlackBook Access program gets you great deals at the chicest places around.

The Black List: Iggy Pop

A jazzy, French auteur-inspired record named Preliminaires from the Godfather of Punk? Don’t worry, stooges, Iggy Pop hasn’t settled down just yet. Here, the Rock Iguana revisits his lust for strife while getting a few things off his (shirtless) chest. Presenting 10 things Iggy Pop hates:

1. Whatever’s in front of me. 2. Whatever’s behind me. 3. Whatever’s planned. 4. Whatever you say. 5. Whatever you think. 6. Whatever the reason is. 7. Whatever your friends think. 8. You … 9. … And your brat. 10. I’m hungry — can I go now?

Photo by Xavier Alexander.

Not Fade Away: Farewell to Shawn Mortensen

image Shawn Mortensen with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

When word came that photographer and BlackBook contributor Shawn Mortensen had passed away, our last issue had just come in from the printer. In it was a portfolio of Shawn’s most recent work, including some of the most fabulous images we’d ever seen of the Gossip’s Beth Ditto and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and a soulful moment with Clive Barker in his studio. It was an art issue, and Shawn’s images were both celebrations of the wild forms of self-expression from these creative types and works of art in their own right. Shawn wasn’t the kind of guy to sit still, and his lust for life came through in his subjects. He had an uncanny way of working with people, who often became more like collaborators in his photos, ignited by his passion.

image Mortensen’s favorite shot of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

When I last saw Shawn, he was thrilled about the turnout for his art gallery opening and the number of books he had signed the previous night, and excited to embark on all kinds of new creative adventures. A television show was in the works, one that would see him travel the world as an artist and activist. Shawn was always turned on by art and music, and it was part of his mission in life to turn others on to it, too.

image A candid moment from his Beth Ditto shoot.

That morning, when we met for brunch at the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, he was raving about two new accessories designers that I just had to write about: Dee and Ricky, whom he’d just photographed. Over a round of strong coffees, he insisted on giving me the white Lego heart brooch they designed, which he had pinned to his chest. Similarly, he’d given Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a red version of the heart when he shot them for BlackBook; she loved it so much she wore it in the pictures for our shoot and left with it. Shawn was that kind of guy: always at the ready to give a little piece of his heart. The soulfulness in his art, and in his own heart, left a lasting impression.

image Dee and Ricky, photographed by Mortensen.

Bottoms Up: Amanda Lepore’s Taste Test at Apothéke

New York nightlife sensation and David LaChapelle muse Amanda Lepore tipples some whimsical (and surprisingly healthy) concoctions from Chinatown’s exotic Apothéke den, adding new favorites to her already worldly palate.

STRAWBERRY FENNEL Fennel-infused vodka with fresh organic strawberries, in a homemade Valencia orange essence. “This is good, not obnoxiously sweet like a Sex on the Beach. It tastes fruity and tropical, like it’s good for you. I usually shop at health-food stores, and when I’m out and not celebrating with champagne, I’ll have vodka with club soda, a wine spritzer or water. This tastes really healthy. I’d drink this on a yacht, maybe.”


RHUBARB ROUGE Homemade rhubarb-and raspberry infused Cachaça (Brazilian sugarcane based rum) with homemade hibiscus syrup, “a natural antidepressant.” “I feel happy already… happy and horny. And I definitely taste the hibiscus, which is great, because I love flowers. This reminds me of getting flowers from an adoring gentleman. You should send a few glasses over to the guys at the bordello across the street.”


THE MARIE ANTOINETTE Organic heirloom Muscat grapes with homemade elderflower syrup, vodka, fresh lime and rosé champagne. “I feel like my hair’s getting higher! This is not like a Cosmopolitan—it’s like having a dessert with natural ingredients.”


LAVENDER FIELDS Lavender-infused tequila with fresh lime and organic sugarcane. “This is actually the best tequila drink I’ve ever had. It takes me to a wild party: people hanging from the chandeliers, Lady Gaga in concert, and a room filled with hot boys, beautiful girls, lots of gay guys and lots of celebrities. I’m really fond of lavender. As a kid, I always ate those lavender candies because they reminded me of eating perfume.”


THE HEMINGWAY SPECIAL “A high-class mojito” with torn Israeli mint, homemade bitters, 12-year aged Guatemala rum and fresh lime juice. “A mojito can be really refreshing, but it can also mess you up. I could see myself drinking these in Barcelona. I opened for Grace Jones there last summer. I drank Cristal with her. I don’t usually drink too much, but I’ll have a cocktail to celebrate or I’ll have tequila to stimulate. It’s not really a good idea to be teetering around in five-inch heels.”


THE MARGARITA “Very high-end” tequila mixed with Grand Marnier, fresh lime and Himalayan rock salt. “I’ve never been to the Himalayas, but I hiked in Hawaii when I was visiting David LaChapelle. Eventually, we got to the most beautiful beach, where I fantasized about doing a naked photo shoot—because I’m definitely a nudist, as you know—with diamonds, beautiful blond hair and pale skin on the black sand. Obviously, the ‘high-class aspect’ of this drink is appealing. Believe me, no one has ever offered to buy me a beer.”

Photography by Victoria Will

Phoenix Travel Journal: The Jet-Setting Ways of French Indie-Pop Kings

imageFrench alt-rockers Phoenix embarked on a whirlwind globetrotting journey, while lead singer Thomas Mars documented for BlackBook their jet-setting tour from their hometown in Versailles to New York City to Germany to their new home base in Paris.

image THE GILDED CAGE: Versailles, France – “This is the city where we grew up. Versailles is a beautiful city, but nothing much happens here. It’s filled, however, with the best works of art produced in France for the past three centuries. You can play any kind of music here — there is no soundtrack to Versailles. Playing music in Versailles adds a new dimension; the city comes to life. It’s a place we always want to come back to, even if escaping Versailles seemed to be the only option when we were 17.”

image PLEASURE AND PRESSURE: New York City, USA – “Being the musical guest on Saturday Night Live has been one of our favorite experiences. On a three-day break in New York, we rehearsed on Thursday and performed on Saturday, which gave us enough time to enjoy the whole experience. On the SNL set, there’s this energy that makes you feel like you are in a place that has the best of everything, where everyone is the best at what they do. But you also feel the possibility of failure, which is important in music.”

image PHANTOMS OF THE OPERA: Bayreuth, Germany – “Bayreuth is famous for being home to the Festspielhaus, Wagner’s opera house. You’re supposed to play only Wagner’s music here — nothing else is allowed! It’s here that we spent three days shooting the “Lisztomania” video with our friend Antoine Amadeus Wagner, who’s related to both Liszt and Wagner and has the keys to the city. We got to bend the rules and play our song on this unique stage, which was quite controversial… but fun for us.”

image FRENCH KISS: Paris, France – “These are pictures of where we live and the places we like to go. The more we travel, the more we appreciate Paris, almost the way tourists appreciate it — the way the Eiffel Tower lights up, or the quiet churches that are open at night and the little places around the River Seine. It’s very cliché to say, but Paris is such a beautiful and romantic city, such a cool hometown, and we are very grateful to be from here.”

Patrick Wolf’s Favorite London Haunts

When he’s not playing sold-out shows on both sides of the pond, Patrick Wolf hangs his hat in London’s West End. Here, the avant-garde musician shows us where he lands when he’s feeling bookish, thirsty and, yes, hungry.

“All of my favorite places in London are within walking distance,” says British singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf, whose new album, Battle (featuring a spoken-word contribution by actress Tilda Swinton), is out this month. “I’m a big supporter of Soho. A lot of the focus in London today has moved to the East End, but I went to my first clubs in Soho when I was 13 and 14. I feel a real duty, anytime somebody asks me where to go, to say Soho because the artistic community used to be a Soho community. Now, because of rents rising, everyone thinks the cool place is the East End. But my heart is always in Soho.”

FIRST OUT CAFÉ BAR 52 St. Giles High Street If I’m ever stressed in Soho, and my BlackBerry is going crazy, and I just need to sit somewhere very quiet, and not be bothered at all, I go to First Out, which is the first ever gay and lesbian café. I’m a gin drinker, and so I’ll get a gin and lemonade and I just sit there, read a book and turn the BlackBerry off. It’s so quiet and peaceful. When it comes to cafés, I guess I have that Joni Mitchell streak, where I just want to observe and read, and just calm down for half an hour.

WATKINS BOOKS 19 Cecil Court

I left school when I was 16, so I never really got an education. I think that knowledge is power, so I started to go to bookstores to research folklore, mythology, religion and other alternative histories of England, like pagan history, the history of witches. It really fueled me a lot as a songwriter. I’ve spent a lot of time in there over the past six years, just zoning out looking at the books. The name of my first album, Lycanthropy, came from that shop. The word “lycanthropy” is the scientific term for someone with a psychological problem where they think they can transform into a wolf. The shop is on my favorite street in London. It’s a beautiful street that’s got tiny shop after tiny shop. I always had a dream that I’d live on this tiny street. Today, I found The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, which is about people who claim that they have gone from man to animal.

J P GUIVIER & CO. 99 Mortimer Street

This is the place where my dad bought me my first-ever violin, when I was about 7 years old. I think he saved up for a long, long time, because he knew that the only thing I really wanted to do with my life was play the violin. When I’m on tour, if my viola is broken, they always repair it. Over the years, they’ve been so kind and gentle to all my instruments; it’s like a hospital for them. The place smells of resin—what you put on the bow when you practice the violin. That, to me, is one of my favorite smells of all time. KOKON TO ZAI 57 Greek Street


In England, there’s really only one place to find radical, avant-garde clothing, and this is it. When I was younger, I would save up just to buy one T-shirt from here, because it wasn’t just a T-shirt—it would have totally avant-garde threads hanging off of it, like mini-couture. Since then, if I need something special for a tour, or if I need something where there’s only one of in the world, I go here. A lot of the people who I really believe in as designers sell their work through this shop—it’s run by a designer called Marjan Pejoski, who made the Björk swan dress. The men’s basics there are always inventive, and with a twist. I went in there recently and bought a black shirt with sleeves around the waist, so you could tie it around your waist. I think it’s my job—the job of a pop star, or a rock star, in a way—to always be wearing things that aren’t readily available to people.

M. GOLDSTEIN 67 Hackney Road


It’s my friend Piper and Nathaniel’s shop. Piper was in a group called Posh—she was my favorite pop star. Growing up, I read that she also owned a shop in Soho. I bunked off school, turned up one day and asked her to give me an autograph. I had a black eye and she asked me what was wrong and I broke down to her about school and she became like a godmother to me. M. Goldstein is a bric-a-brac shop—real, aristocratic bric-a-brac. I’ve bought an American musical sword from here, vintage, rare postcards and walking sticks. It’s a perfect, random shop of amazing things.

Photography By Hamish Brown.

Track List: Trippin’ Out with David Cross

In this month’s ancient epic, Year One, actor-writer David Cross sets off on a hilarious journey with hunter-gatherers Jack Black and Michael Cera. Here, the Emmy winner maps out his own Cross-country mix. Play that Fünke music, white boy.

When I think of a road trip, I think of the numerous trips I’ve taken cross-country or up and down either coast. A soundtrack to one of those trips would probably be 100 songs long. Since you’ve asked for 10, I’ll assume this is a much shorter trip. The first five songs are for the ride there and the second five are for the ride home, when you’re exhausted and more than a little buzzed. Also, let’s be honest — I’m a professional. I have more than 50 songs on my iPod, so I could do this in my sleep. This probably took me about 48 seconds.

GETTING THERE: “Go,” by the Apples in Stereo. Make sure everyone’s buckled in. Let’s say you’re up earlier than normal — this is like aural caffeine.

“Stereo,” by Pavement. This is a great get-up-and-go, make-you-shake song.

“Bad Kids,” by the Black Lips. By the time you get to “Bad Kids,” which almost has a ’60s feel to it, you’re awake. You’re on the highway now, out of the city on the highway. This song allows you to actually dance in the car while you’re driving. Plus, nobody’s up this early, so you can swerve and sway without the fear of hitting anybody.

“I Don’t Give a Fuck,” by Boss. You’re getting close, and you’re all gassed up — you gassed up the night before — so you don’t have to fucking stop for nothing.

The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” No one wants to roll up to the beach looking like they’re on day three of a meth bender, so you’ve got to come down with this song.

Okay, it’s been a long day. You’ve been lounging for hours in this inner tube, soaking up the sun. You got drunker faster than you’d planned; you forgot to pack half the shit you wanted, while the other half got soggy. So you eat wet egg salad, because who gives a shit about soggy egg salad? You’re just a little exhausted, in a good way, and as I said, you’ve been sitting in the sun. Listen to this on your way home. It’s a bit mellower.

COMING HOME: Yo La Tengo’s “Big Day Coming.” Your brain is kind of wide open, but you don’t want to get too relaxed or you’ll crash. This is a great sing-along song — perfect to decelerate.

“NY,” by the Doves. Any of the songs from the first part of the trip would just be annoying at this point. I can’t fucking listen to “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” because I’m mellow. I had a great day. I can’t believe I banged that girl over at Dead Man’s Island.

“We Got Time,” by Moray McLaren. The only hooch they had at the rest stop was shitty sweet wine on ice, so you’ve got a bit of a headache, but that’s what the weed is for.

The Bird and The Bee’s “The Races.” Listen to Inara George’s voice — it’s beautiful and soothing. It’s like the road has turned into two angel wings that have been covered in velveteen fur by some guy who makes really good slipcovers. The tires are gone from your car, and you’re riding on hot, greased marshmallows.

“Easy Silence,” by the Dixie Chicks. The album that this comes from, Taking the Long Way, is phenomenal. Every song is great. This song is especially nice if your lover is sitting next to you, and you can think about him or her while you sing that song — not too loud, though, because that’s just annoying to other people in the car. Nobody wants the driver to be singing at full volume.

“Harvest Moon,” by Neil Young. It’s kind of soft, but still upbeat and pleasant, and gets you in a good frame of mind as you pull in the driveway. Leave most of your stuff in the car. You’ll get it in the morning — it’s fine.


Sound check: Cross, photographed in a red 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, New York City. Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein; Styling by Bryan Levandowski