Call of the Wild: Mark Ronson Creates Gucci’s Freshest Kicks

“I’m like the canvas side — the shitty side that gets dirty quick — and Gucci is the luxury leather,” says British musician and dandy Mark Ronson, parsing the components of one of the limited-edition boat shoes he designed with the high-end fashion house. The Grammy-winning turntablist (and brother of fashion designer Charlotte Ronson) partnered with Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini to create hip footwear for the labels Icon-Temporary sneaker line. Sitting at the back of Indochine, New York’s storied nightlife destination, Ronson excitedly pokes at the eyelets and pulls at the laces on one of his high0tops. (Check out Indochine: Stories, Shaken and Stirred, celebrating the restaurant’s 25th anniversary; see a gallery of selected photos.) The shoes will be sold at pop-up shops in New York, Miami, Tokyo and London, among other locations. Each pair comes with a Gucci iPhone app that allows users to mix their own songs. What’s more, customers who buy the trainers will snag a brand-new Ronson track inspired by each of the cities.

To craft his ode to New York City, Ronson formed Chauffeur (an homage to Duran Duran, with whom he is currently collaborating), a temporary band with singer Sam Sparro and rapper Theophilus London. According to the two-time Grammy winner and producer of songs for the likes of Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, the track sounds like “a local, very experimental soul record.” The other cities on the circuit will get their own, uniquely flavored Ronson jam, made with the help of a hometown musician. “I think all of the people that I work with on this project, from Theophilus to the Dap-Kings, would love these shoes,” Ronson says. “and that’s the important thing.”

Photo by Mark Squires. Styling by Bryan Levandowski. Grooming: Alexandra Kwiatkowski at Atelier Management using La Mer Skincare and Hourglass Cosmetics. Ronson wears: Shirt, tie, suit and sneakers by Gucci.

The Greatest Movie Disasters of All Time

There’s little more than 1,000 days until the end of the world. Or so say the conspiracy theorists who predict global annihilation on December 21, 2012, the day the Mayan calendar ends. That potential doomsday is the premise of Roland Emmerich’s new movie 2012, a cinematic wrecking ball that wallops landmarks across the globe (and has an aircraft carrier belly flop on the White House). Emmerich, who also directed Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, isn’t the only filmmaker to traffc in megadestruction. Since a tidal wave swallowed New York whole in 1933’s Deluge, obliterating iconic landmarks has become a movie cliché. We’ve put together a map of cinema’s most memorable tourist attraction takedowns.

1 Sayonara La La Land, hello Lava Land. The streets of L.A. flow molten when an underground volcano erupts in Volcano. 2 L.A. gets scorched by nuclear fire in Terminator Salvation. Enjoy a stroll down the radioactive Hollywood Walk of Flame. 3 Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) uproots San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and reattaches it to Alcatraz in X-Men: The Last Stand. 4 The Titanic splits in two after chipping an iceberg in the North Atlantic. 1,517 may have died, but Leomania was born. 5 Cillian Murphy wakes up from a coma in 28 Days Later to find London deserted a er a virus has zombie- ed its population. 6 Big Ben ticks his final tock in Mars Attacks! when Tim Burton’s bug-eyed aliens vaporize London’s fabled clock tower. 7 Nanomites add iron to their diet when they eat away at the Eiffel Tower, collapsing the Grande Dame in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. 8 They don’t come in peace, and in Independence Day, aliens leave the Empire State Building, the White House, the Sydney Opera House, the Pyramids and their own spaceships in pieces. 9 A lightning storm lays ruin to ruins when Rome’s Coliseum gets electrocuted in The Core. 10 Armageddon shows the Chrysler Building some hate by plunging an asteroid into its heart. 11 A second ice age razes the Hollywood sign and swamps the Statue of Liberty in the eco-lover’s catastrophe film The Day After Tomorrow. 12 Deluge, once considered a lost film, invents the disaster flick by flooding New York City for the first, but certainly not the last, time (see: #11). 13 Not even a Will Smith sighting can repopulate the streets of New York in I Am Legend. 14 Head off, heads up. Lady Liberty’s cranium lands in Manhattan after being torn off by the Cloverfield monster. 15 The Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel gets rocked when Nicolas Cage smashes into its neon guitar while crash landing on the Strip in Con Air. 16 If you thought the Internet shook up the music industry, check out the damage shifting tectonic plates do to L.A.’s Capitol Records building in 1974’s Earthquake.

Midnight’s Children: New York Nightlife Icons

Every field of endeavor has its icons, and nightlife is no different. To be an icon in this world, one has to be successful and stay relevant. After all, you’re only as good as your last party. For every genuine icon, there are swarms of scenesters who occupy the pantheon in their own minds — putting the “I” and “con” in the word. But it takes a certain amount of swagger to succeed in this business, so they should be forgiven. Besides, they are always the easiest people to shop for around Christmas: any mirror will do. Listed below are my six New York City club icons — solo artists and teams — and the up-and-comers with the potential to replace them, if only their predecessors would move to India (or somewhere even more remote, like Brooklyn).

ICONS: Club owners Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss, who scored big with Suite 16, Marquee, TAO New York and Las Vegas, LAVO and the new super-hot gastro-lounge Avenue. WHO’S NEXT: Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum currently operate a number of A-list properties including Tenjune, Abe & Arthur’s and Simyone, and have put together a strong marketing company in Emm. If they’re missing an ingredient, it’s downtown cool.

ICON: Nur Khan, whose sophisticated rock chops and social skills (his friends include everyone from Beck to Alexander McQueen) are tough to duplicate. When Rose Bar is at its best, it’s the best in town. WHO’S NEXT: Bowery Electric’s music junkie Jesse Malin, with some help from Rose Bar’s DJ Nick Marc, might do the trick. Throw in Mark Baker for the high-end crowd.

ICON: No matter how many times his sister wears one of those “Save the Beatrice” T-shirts, Paul Sevigny’s iconic inn looks like it has shuttered for good. WHO’S NEXT: Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman of The Jane Ballroom and The Smile come pretty close, but they need a Chloë. Here’s looking at waifish downtown rocker Lissy Trullie.

ICON: For years, Bungalow 8’s affable Amy Sacco has been the reigning queen of New York nightlife. WHO’S NEXT: If Sacco stays in London to be closer to her Blightly Bungalow outpost, which seems possible, could model-turned-club promoter Emma Cleary step up, with a little seasoning and help from Serpentine’s Patrick Duffy?

ICONS: Club czars Scott Sartiano and Richie Akiva of Butter and 1Oak fame. WHO’S NEXT: The pair’s partners in 1Oak — Jeffrey Jah and Ronnie Madra — are ready and able to slide right in. With a clipboard courtesy of door guru Binn and the hustle of promoter Adam Alpert, plus the high-end hip hop reach of DJ Cassidy or his manager Yoni Goldberg, they might just have enough edge.

ICONS: Party promoters Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny. WHO’S NEXT: If these two took a powder break, heirs apparent Ladyfag and Desi Santiago would need to go for the gold. Clubdom is a numbers game and a merger with Mr. Black’s iconic Stuart Black would be necessary.

Nouveau Rouge: Elly Jackson of La Roux

Elly Jackson is on the move. No, really. The clicking of the 21-year-old musician’s heels punctuates each pause in a transatlantic phone call as she walks down a busy London street. But as quickly as the redheaded front woman seems to be moving, her career—as part of chart-skipping, beat-happy British pair La Roux—is moving even faster. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a good artist or if you’re a shit artist,” she says of her success. “If you’ve got a catchy song, people will catch onto it really quickly.”

And Jackson’s songs are nothing if not catchy. La Roux’s infectious, bop-along singles include “In for the Kill,” “I’m Not Your Toy” and “Bulletproof.” The last, Jackson’s first number-one hit in the U.K., pairs an unstoppable hook with lyrics made for the desperate teenager inside us all. “This time,” sings the self-empowered new-waver, “I’ll be bulletproof.”

image Suit by Nova Dando. Jackson’s own jewlery. Top photo: Shirt by Jonathan Saunders.

Jackson has the generational habit of punctuating her thoughts with a not-entirely truthful, dismissive shrug. (See: “I think people were ready for something a bit different. I don’t know.”) But she and songwriting partner Ben Langmaid do know something the rest of us don’t—how to write an insidiously memorable pop song. And they learned it from the greats. “Freddy Mercury, Prince, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, Blondie, Marilyn Monroe,” Jackson says, rattling off her influences. “An icon is someone who doesn’t sell themselves out, someone who has ideas of their own. I don’t think we really have icons anymore. There were only a handful of them to begin with. ”

image

She could continue, but Jackson—whose eponymous album just got its American release and who is now hitting the road stateside—is a busy lady. “You never see icons doing shitty interviews or shitty TV things just because of the money, or anything like that,” she says, casually curbing the conversation. We let her go. She’s got work to do.

image Shirt by Erika Trotzig. Vest by Missoni. Pants by H&M.

Photography by Paul Farrell. Styling by Nova Dando. Makeup by John Christopher. Photographer’s assistant: Mike McCartney. Stylists’s Assistant: Bubbles. Location: Holburn Studios, London.

Richard Linklater on What Makes an Icon

An icon is someone who floats above the culture. Consider Orson Welles, the subject of my upcoming film Me and Orson Welles, and an icon if there ever was one. He was a larger-than-life personality and immense talent who has come to mean a great deal to many people. But the more you study his life, the more unknowable he becomes. He was a notoriously unreliable narrator. He never distinguished between fact and fiction. Everything — from Shakespeare to his own personal history — was open to reinterpretation.

Even though most of us know Orson Welles by name, or at least by Citizen Kane, none of us really knows him. When you’re an icon, you’re not just a person — you’re a myth. Perhaps that’s good for a certain kind of ego, but it’s not good for an artist. People think they have you figured out. Being an icon can be a curse.

And yet, the supremely talented have a way of upending expectations. Truly creative people are never fixed, they’re never simple, they’re always works in progress, they’re always moving. The late Paul Newman, for example, filled his career with iconic performances. In the hands of a lesser actor, they might not have been memorable at all. Every time we thought we had him pegged, he would do something different.

When thinking about the definition of an icon — which, like “genius,” is a word I don’t use lightly — I always look to the elders. Bob Dylan is a living icon. Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen are living icons. Kurt Cobain was all the rage during the last three or four years of his life, but icon status, because of his youth, probably wasn’t official until after he died. Icons have bodies of work that stand up over time, and are always changing—as are our relationships to them.

I think about my feelings toward Welles over the years. At some points in my life, I thought he was a hero. At others, I focused on the flaws in his personality. Trying to make a movie about him has made me reconsider my position yet again. I only have understanding, love and forgiveness for him now, even though people keep trying to convince me he was a badly behaved enfant terrible.

Today, you can click a button and watch all three of James Dean’s movies. You can see all of Marilyn Monroe’s films whenever you want. We’ll be able to listen to Michael Jackson and watch him dance forever. The performances, rich to begin with, have become even more layered and infused with various meanings, because we bring so much knowledge to watching them.

The Black List: Paul Reubens

Actor Paul Reubens is ready to dust off his gray suit and resurrect the bow-tied, bonkers Pee-Wee Herman in a traveling live stage show, before appearing in two new films by indie envelope-pushers David O. Russell and Todd Solondz. Here, the manic man-boy blows his big-top with a list of things that get him bent out of shape.

1. Judging a book by its cover.

2. Not being told you have a booger visible.

3. Earworms — songs or bits of music you can’t get out of your head.

4. Not having an open mind.

5. Not appreciating nature.

6. Being told “no.”

7. Being a slave to fashion. (Someone has to trend-set.)

8. Slow drivers in the fast lane.

9. Getting picked last.

10. Saying “it’s all good.”

Photo by Michael Thompson

November Music Reviews: Maps, Arms, El Perro Del Mar

The King Khan BBQ Show, Invisible Girl, (In the Red) – Doo-wop garage rock outfit the King Khan & BBQ Show could be the freaky offspring of Frankie Valli and the Ramones, and they’ve got the records (not to mention the semi-legendary live shows) to prove it. The Canadian duo’s latest album includes love ballads (“Third Ave”), get-up-and-dance numbers (“Do the Chop”) and even a track infused with bestial noises (“Animal Party”). Combining nostalgic melodies, surf guitars and edgy distortion, Invisible Girl would make both Frankie and Joey proud. — Hunter Fleetwood

Echo & the Bunnymen, The Fountain, (TBA) Lead singer Ian McCulloch has an ego to rival the Gallagher brothers, but with an album like The Fountain and indebted fans such as Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Killers and the Flaming Lips, it’s hard to blame him for his lack of humility. The 11th studio release from Echo & the Bunnymen is arena-rock at its finest. Flames (or cell phones) will flicker throughout concert halls during the soulful, reflective tracks “Idolness of Gods” and “Forgotten Fields,” while heads will bop along to English-pop grooves “The Fountain” and “Do You Know Who I Am.” — H.F.

Arms, Kids Aflame, (Gigantic) New York indie rock vet Todd Goldstein, of the Harlem Shakes, pops out a solo project that, while prominently featuring guitar twangs and range-running warbles, refuses to settle on one sound, jumping between dance-driven tracks and pin-dropquiet folk. Goldstein’s styles run the gamut, but add up to an effervescent affair with a proper dose of gravity. “Oh sister, say a prayer for me,” he intones on the album highlight “Shitty Little Disco,” to which we say: Amen. — Foster Kamer

El Perro Del Mar, Love is not Pop, (The Control Group) In 2006, El Perro Del Mar, Sarah Assbring’s solo outfit, released a record brimming with beautiful songs distilled from melancholy. Assbring turned layered harmonies and instrumentals into depressing dirges (“God Knows” was the best of the bunch) that were described as Spector-esque. But compared to Love is not Pop, her over-produced third album, those two early records were relatively spare. With the exception of the mysterious “Better Love,” the mournful melodies that were Del Mar’s trademark are drowned out by the bass and percussion of her friend, dancehall producer Rasmus Hägg. Love may not be pop, but this album is; jettisoning the sad-sack act discards the very qualities that made us want to indulge El Perro in the first place. — Mimi Luse

Maps, Turning the Mind, (Mute) James Chapman, who goes by the stage name Maps, follows his acclaimed 2007 debut with a set of thoughtful, trippy space jams. Instead of transforming his melodic mental states into psychedelic snoozefests like some of his shoe-gazing elders (here’s looking at you, My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized), Chapman injects each song with a shot of user-friendly indie pop. The result is a chemically balanced record that travels just as well on a walk to work as it would on a different kind of trip altogether. — Cayte Grieve

Malakai, Ugly Side of Love, (Domino Records) Two guys from gray-skied Bristol may seem an unlikely pair to turn out a debut record filled with sun-soaked, love-saturated beats, but we’ll take our happy where we can get it. Malakai, which is Hebrew for “angel,” have crafted a reggae-and-rock-influenced, libertine-friendly album that would be the perfect soundtrack to any feel-good summer rom-com. Ugly Side boasts some charmingly carefree tracks, including the beach-centric “Moonsurfin’,” which features the line, “You left your phones and moans behind and headed off for summer climes.” The perfect autumn escape. — Eiseley Tauginas

Harper Simon, Harper Simon, (Vagrant/Tulsi) Take the talented Harper Simon, add a troupe of big-time producers, throw in a banging band and then toss in a little help from the legendary Paul Simon — Harper’s dad — and the result is, unsurprisingly, an effortlessly engaging singer-songwriter debut. If at times the songs sound a bit similar, at least it’s all in the name of heartfelt folk. Lovelorn amateur guitarists will surely study the sheet music of “The Shine,” while “Shooting Star,” one of the album’s strongest tracks, is pure pop magic. — E.T.

Willem Dafoe, Mild at Heart

The Green Goblin. Bobby Peru. Nosferatu (sort of). Jesus Christ. Willem Dafoe has played his share of icons — and after nearly three decades in the movie business he himself has become emblematic of the actor as committed chameleon, versatile, dedicated and always convincing. If Dafoe is best known for portraying scenery-chewing villains, that’s because his intense, impish persona makes his heavies so memorable — not because he hasn’t played his share of nice guys. (His breakout role was the kind-hearted Sgt. Elias in Oliver Stone’s Platoon, for which he received the first of two Oscar nominations. And then there was that martyr guy.) Whether playing the bad, the good or the crazy, Dafoe’s characters have little more in common than searing intensity and an endearing gap between their two front teeth.

“When I was younger, I was much more careful about choosing my roles. I was nervous. Hollywood in the ’80s was a horrible place. Now that I feel less stressed, I can take more risks,” he says while sipping a Pilsner in Manhattan’s West Village. This winter, the 54-year-old yoga-trim thespian will display his range, voicing the debonair, gleefully wicked rat in Wes Anderson’s animated The Fantastic Mr. Fox; playing creatures of the night in the vampire thriller Daybreaker and the comedic coming-of-age tale The Vampire’s Assistant; and, most notably, starring alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg in the divisive Antichrist, directed by Danish firestarter Lars von Trier.

Antichrist is Dafoe’s second film with von Trier. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is his second with Anderson (Dafoe appeared, clad in baby-blue swim trunks, in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). One could safely say that Dafoe, who has also worked with directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and the late Anthony Minghella, among others, has a thing for auteurs. “I find myself being attracted to directors for two reasons that are kind of contradictory,” he says. “I like movies that are personal and made by someone with a very particular vision. But on the other hand, I think actors are creative artists in their own right. So if someone is an auteur and likes to collaborate with an actor, that’s my sweet spot.”

image

The Wisconsin native’s collaborative instinct was fostered by his tenure with experimental theater troupe The Wooster Group, which he co-founded in 1975. Long before making his film debut (a part in 1980’s infamous flop Heaven’s Gate that ended up on the cutting room floor), Dafoe was an integral part of the SoHo-based company, notorious for staging avant-garde, mixed-media interpretations of new and classic plays. His decades-long affiliation with the group ended in 2004, when he and the company’s director, MacArthur genius Elizabeth LeCompte, split up. (He is now married to Italian actress and filmmaker Giada Colagrande.) “In the end, I’m not an actor. I’m not an interpreter. I’m just a guy who likes to make stuff,” says Dafoe, who giddily returned to the stage this fall in the experimental Idiot Savant at New York’s Public Theater.

Of the things he’s made lately, Antichrist will be the film that gets people talking—and possibly screaming. It is likely the first searing psychological profile of grief to include a possessed, talking fox, a gory hand-job and an even gorier self-clitorectomy. “There were some very funny initial conversations,” he says, about filming these particular scenes. “Lars, how are we going to do this?” Praised and despised in almost equal measure since its heated premiere at Cannes, the film recently inspired projectile vomiting when it was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Dafoe isn’t new to controversy. This is, after all, the man who played a fornicating, sinning Jesus in Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. That 1988 film, passionately protested by Christian organizations when it was released, is still banned in the Philippines, Singapore and South Africa, and provoked a fundamentalist group to throw Molotov cocktails into a Parisian theater, injuring 13 moviegoers. The experience has made Dafoe extremely suspicious of the prevailing wisdom that all publicity is good publicity. “With Last Temptation, people said, ‘You should be happy about this controversy because it allows people to see the movie,’” Dafoe recalls. “No. People don’t like problems.”

image Shirt by Salvatore Ferragamo, tie by Dolce & Gabbana, Suit by Hugo Boss.

He also worries about the work being overshadowed. “There are some really shocking things in Antichrist. They are important and they are part of the film, but they are not the film,” he says. “It’s like with The Crying Game. Everything hung on those two seconds, but there was so much more to the story than that. I hope Lars hasn’t shot himself in the foot by being provocative.”

To prepare for the film, in which Dafoe plays a psychotherapist trying to help his bereaved wife, the actor put himself in a totally new situation: therapy. Despite living in New York City for a number of decades, he had never been. When asked if his reluctance to see a therapist might have something to do with getting all his demons out on stage, Dafoe shrugs. “Look, I’ll do whatever it takes to get what I think I need to feel well, but I’m deeply Midwestern and it feels very strange to expect someone else to solve your problems,” he says. “I have never been that attracted to it. Although many people have told me, ‘Believe me, you need it!’ In the heat of fights, that always comes up: ‘You need to see somebody!’”

image

WILLEM’S FAVORITE FRESH PRODUCE: CHELSEA MARKET, NEW YORK CITY

image Shirt by: Calvin Klein Jeans.

Photography by Martin Schoeller, Styling by Bryan Levandowski. Grooming by Amy Komorowski for Yon-Ka/Celestine Agency. Photographer’s Assistants: Nigel Ho-Sang, Ivory Serra, Emily Wettstein, Michael Wilson. Location: The Space