Revolutionary Punk Activists Inevitably Used to Sell Lingerie

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Last year, if your current events attention span even goes back that far, a Russian feminist punk group called Pussy Riot was arrested for performing a “punk prayer” calling for the removal of Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral. As two of the members were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, the band’s plight became an international rallying cry—Madonna, Yoko Ono and others called for their liberation, while Peaches wrote a song and created an all-star music video demanding their release, with other folks donning the group’s trademark balaclavas.

Now, a year after Pussy Riot’s concert in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Berlin-based lingerie label blush takes their aesthetic, and the track from Peaches, and turns it into an ad campaign. Models strut through Moscow’s streets in a “sexy protest march,” donning intimate apparel and balaclavas. Because if Che Guevara has taught us anything, it’s that the Revolution makes for a brilliant commercial strategy. And while, yes, it is totally possible to fight the patriarchy and other repressive forces in bikinis and balaclavas and if that’s how you want to go about it, by all means, but it’s hard to overlook the ickiness of co-opting a revolutionary message to sell stuff. What would the real Pussy Riot say to all this? Probably nothing favorable. Especially because two of them are in jail, while you are profiting off their brand. Good job, everyone.

Revealed: Kim Kardashian’s Greatest Makeup Secret

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Kim Kardashian has got that look: that flawless, sculpted look – and we’re not just talking her butt. How do her cheekbones look like two isosceles triangles?  And how does her face radiate like a celestial sunrise? The answer, of course, is contouring. And we have our own international hair and makeup artist Leah Bennett – whose work has graced the runways of London, New York, and Australia’s Fashion Week – to break down the celebrity technique into simple steps for any skin tone. Find out what beauty products – including what she calls “Kardashian & JLo in-a-bottle” – are best for the job. Here are the secrets, in Leah’s own words.

1. Get good tools. Leah recommends:

  • The Mac 168 large angled brush ($38: "This can be used for blush and bronzer, and also helps to blend away any harsh lines.” The Mac 191 square foundation brush ($33): “You’ll use this to apply your flawless base and camoflouge the dark and light tones of contouring." The Mac 195 concealer brush ($23): “This sharp concealer brush gets into the crannies, and creates definition in smaller areas of the face, such as the bridge of the nose.”

2. Clean your face, and apply a primer.
“The primer minimizes large pores and holds the makeup in place. I like to use Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer 7 Pink ($34) as it brightens the skin, on top of all the other fantastic benefits of a normal primer. You can never overdo healthy-looking skin.”

3.     Add a concealer. 

  • "Depending on your skin coloring, you are going to want a dark concealer and a white concealer. I find a cream texture works best as the pigment is more dramatic and longer-lasting. Even with an oily skin tone, creams are suitable since you will always finish a look with a loose-setting powder anyway, which will keep your face looking fresh.”
  • The Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer ($38): “You get two colors: one light and one warm tone.”
  • The Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick ($40): “I use this to achieve the darkest color, as the creamy consistency creates instant drama on the face.”

4.     Apply the method.

  • “Suck in your cheekbones and, from the top of the ear to the middle of the eye, draw a line with the darkest color of your concealer.
  • Take that same color, and apply it from the top of where your eyebrow starts along the ridge of your nose to your nostril. This creates the look of a smaller, thinner nose. If want to disguise a larger nose, take the color on the tip of the nose and spread it out.
  • Then, using your lightest concealer, swipe out under the eye, all the way to your temple. Take that same light color, swipe the bridge of the nose, and take the color all the way between the eyebrows. Highlight underneath the eyebrows and the cupid bow of the upper lip. The finished result should be contrasting, like a lion.”

5.     Now for the fun part:

  • “Use a foundation brush and base to blend everything in."
  •  Leah recommends: The Make Up For Ever HD Foundation ($40): “It’s suitable for all skin types since it comes with a range of colors. It’s used for TV and photography work, and celebs love it. Using light brush strokes, blend using the foundation, until there are no visible lines showing. Let the base dry and reapply a second coat. I like a medium coverage.”

6.     Bronze away. Leah recommends:

  • The Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($38): “I love this bronzer. It’s a golden tan without any orange tint, and it doesn’t oxidize and turn orange on the face.”
  •  Using the Mac 168 large angled brush, swipe the temples, cheekbones, and the underneath-the-chin area. I like to call this technique the ‘E,’ since it’s the pattern created on the outer part of the face. 
  • Then add a soft blush color. I adore the Tarte Cheek Stain ($28). Make circle motions with the brush on the apples of the cheek.”

7.     The finishing touches:

  • “By now, you can see how defined your face is, but to make this look really pop, my secret weapon is the Benefit High Beam Highlighter ($28). This is your Kim Kardashian-JLo-in-a-bottle. It contrasts against the darker bronzer, and reflects and radiates light, creating a flawless ‘celebrity’ canvas. This product comes with its own brush, so apply it around the eye and temple – on your cheekbones, and below and above your eyebrows –  creating a C shape around the eye.
  • Finally, lightly dust your face with the Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder ($32). This will leave no color or extra layer of makeup, but simply remove shine and hold makeup in place.
  • These advanced tips can be used for every look, whether it is coupled with a smoky eye or a red lip. Contouring sets you apart from the everyday girl, and transforms you into an instant celebrity. Voila.”

Love what Leah Bennett has to say? So do we. Check out her official website here

Industry Insiders: Elizabeth Blau, Restaurant Queen

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Elizabeth Blau, founder and CEO of Las Vegas restaurant consulting firm Elizabeth Blau & Associates, was recruited by Steve Wynn early in her career and has helped shape the Vegas restaurant landscape. She caught up with BlackBook about having the occasional truffle, getting hooked on Wii, and where the Vegas connoisseurs dwell.

What establishments do you like in Vegas? I love Blush. I love Tryst for more of the big night club, and I love The Bank at the Bellagio. I love Bartolotta at the Wynn, I love Nobu and Cut as well.

What’s your job description? I am a restaurateur. I have four restaurant operations with my business partner, Kerry Simon — one of which is Simon at Palms Place, and another restaurant with my chef husband, Kim Canteenwalla. I’m also a restaurant consultant.

And a judge on Iron Chef, right? Yes and a judge.

How would you describe what you do among all of those pictures? I am very lucky because I have the most amazing job in the world, and I get to travel all over the world and eat. I work with amazing people, and I run concept restaurants, make restaurant partnerships, and do everything involved in restaurant deals.

Who are two industry icons or people that you admire in hospitality? There’s a gentlemen named Shep Gordon, and he is just this amazing guy. He represented lots of musician and he represented the Shaft. He’s the one that got Wolfgang and Emeril involved in the Academy Awards. I also have to say Wolfgang Puck. I just think he’s extraordinary.

What are some positive trends you’ve seen recently in your field? I think we got to an unattainable level of success, and this current economic crisis is bringing all of that back around. We started to have restaurants with $60, $70, $80 entrees, and now it’s coming back to the experience of an evening of dining and entertainment. The hoopla over a $1,000 bottle of wine has waned a bit, and now it’s more about the experience: great service, being treated extraordinarily well, and cooking great food. Food may be simpler and more approachable now — however, I don’t mind indulging in a truffle every now and again.

What’s something that people might not know about you? People may not know that I’m a mom. I have the most adorable four-year-old little boy, and he likes to get into boy things. So we are constantly out hiking and trekking around for animals at the zoo and things like that.

Does he have a love of fine dining? Has he taken that from you? He does. He likes to cook, and he has his own kitchen. He’s traveled so much that there was a time where instead of going to a hotel we rented a condo at a resort, and he said, “Mom, I don’t know if I like this place, there’s no room service.” And I thought, “Surely we’ve been traveling too much.”

What’s on your radar right now? I’m obsessed with the Wii. My parents got the Wii and the Wii Fit for the holidays. It’s exercising mixed with video game competition. Everyone in our house goes on. You’ll find yourself a champion on the Wii, and then you’ll get dethroned. It’s a good way to get some exercise and competition — plus, it’s fun.

What’s on the horizon for 2009? We are working on a new restaurant that opened at the Encore at the Wynn called Society. We just started working with the Kor Group, and they’ve got hotels opening up all over the world.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I love junk food candy, like Jujubes. Only the really bad stuff — not the expensive chocolates.

Industry Insiders: Seth Schorr, Vegas Showgun

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Vegas native and owner of the newly opened Lucky Club Hotel & Casino Seth Schorr on the future of Vegas nightclubs, early memories of Steve Wynn, and what’s keeping him at home most nights.

Where do you hang out? My wife and I are homebodies these days. Growing up in Las Vegas, I spent my teenage years and early 20s frequenting every club and bar in town. But when we do get the urge to watch other people get intoxicated and listen to loud music, we visit Tryst or Blush at Wynn Las Vegas.

What openings should we know about? I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of XS at Encore, and it will once again raise the bar for nightlife in Las Vegas. It is quite possibly the most sophisticated club in the world. The club has both an indoor and outdoor experience as the walls around the dance floor open, giving access to the pool. There are outdoor lounges and even a gambling area that is incorporated into the club. Minimalism is an adjective that would not be used to describe anything at Encore, which in my humble opinion, makes this property and its retail outlets stand out amongst its neighboring properties. The bold use of colors and the variety of fabrics used throughout the resort is testament to an army of designers lead by Steve Wynn and his lead designer Roger Thomas. Encore is a “category killer” that will also raise the bar of the Las Vegas resort.

Where do you eat? We are partial to dinners at Wynn Las Vegas and eat with my folks at Stratta or local favorites like Lotus of Siam. Also, the restaurant Tokyo in the underrated and antiquated Commercial Center Plaza. We also recently discovered a new Japanese restaurant that’s off the beaten path called Raku. This 25-seat restaurant has the most authentic Japanese food in town for half the price of food on the Strip. Although they do not serve sushi, one can enjoy grilled robotayaki or tsukune.

Who do you admire in Vegas hospitality? My admiration for Steve Wynn is quite obvious. The fact that this man after 40 years and billions of dollars in earnings still works 6.5 days per week is one of his most admirable qualities. But he is also a no-bullshit type of guy. He demands the most out of his employees. He is short on false sincerity and constant encouragement. However, if you can hold your own, you will have the opportunity to work with the best team in the business.

I admire my father, Marc Schorr. My father has worked for Steve Wynn for 30 years and is responsible for making many of his visions a reality. At the end of the day, someone has to focus on the nuances of the operation and make sure these multi-billion dollar machines run effectively, and every detail is scrutinized.

And Bruce Deifik is a one-in-a-million type of guy, who is not only one of the sharpest and best negotiators around, but more importantly is one of the most honest and likable guys you’ll ever meet.

What’s something you like seeing in Vegas hospitality these days? A lot of people have their hands in the hospitality game in Las Vegas. There is more unknown and mystery today than ever before. There are currently three multi-billion-dollar projects in mid-construction, while another half-dozen more are on the drawing boards. Sure, some will stand above the rest, but there is anticipation and excitement about what good qualities each will have of their own. The consumer will also benefit from the economic conditions we currently live under, as they will be able to enjoy these resorts built for the rich and elite at a value. So come one, come all to Las Vegas, where you can stay in the world’s nicest hotel rooms for a buck fifty nine.

Anything you see that you dislike? I do not understand the concept of the condo-hotel. Personally, I think if one spends millions on a condo, they will ultimately not want others to stay in it. Either buy a condo or stay in a hotel. Don’t try and do both.

What was it like growing up in Vegas? Does it mess a lot of kids up? I think kids who grew up in New York City turn out much more messed up. The best part was the late night munchies that any teenager could afford. The negative was that it was too hot to play outside many months out of the year.

Any early Vegas memories? The path that lead me to owning a casino is a long one, starting in 1984, when I first moved to Las Vegas and moved into the Golden Nugget. I was 7 years old and shared room #1027 for about a year with my little sister. The school bus picked me up under the porte cochere, and nightly dinners were held at the buffet. I had the opportunity of meeting celebrities like Paul Anka and clearly remember taking a schvitz with Alan King at the spa.

I watched my father and Steve Wynn schmooze customers and always talk about design and development of the next project. I have a vivid memory of flying on the Golden Nugget DC-10 to New York around 1986. I loved that there was a large glass bowl filled with peanut M&M’s. Steve Wynn showed us a drawing on a napkin of what soon would be known to the world as the Mirage. The idea of a three-pronged building that shared one elevator shaft was novel, and of course having a “live volcano” in front seemed like an incredible fantasy.

What is something that people might not know about you? I am an amateur photographer and videographer. I edit movies using Final Cut Express. I do all of my own in-house promos for the Lucky Club.

You have a background in art history. Who are your favorite artists? My favorite artists are Modigliani and Vermeer.

Any dreams for the future? Kids! I can’t wait. It’s also a great excuse to have sex on a daily basis.

What are you doing tonight? Working on making those dreams come true. We just got back from the opening of Encore. It never ceases to amaze me to see the masses come in droves to check out a new property for the first time. I saw a lot of jaws drop tonight.

Las Vegas: The “Hey Ladies” Weekend

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Friday 2 p.m.: The Venetian. Check in. Large, velvet-upholstered rooms make one feel like an imperial mistress. 3:30 p.m.: Lunch at Mon Ami Gabi. Sit on the patio, watch the Bellagio fountains, and plan the weekend’s attack. 5 p.m.: Sephora. Someone forgot their cleanser/lipgloss/eyeshadow brush. Or whatever excuse you want to make.

7:30 p.m.: Napoleon’s (at Paris Las Vegas). Have a pre-dinner champagne cocktail. 9 p.m.: Strip House. Dinner with sexy food, flattering lighting, and a glam crowd will get you in the mood for the rest of the evening. 11:30 p.m.: Privé. Vegas’ hotspot du jour brings a little South Beach flair and celebrity style to the Strip. 2 a.m.: Drai’s. The city’s longest-running after-hours makes ladies feel welcome without feeling hassled.

Saturday 11 a.m.: Canyon Ranch Spa Club at The Venetian. Yoga class. Facial and/or manicure optional. 1 p.m.: Tinoco’s. Have a virtuous salad for lunch. Which doesn’t feel so virtuous when it’s mango-glazed salmon or lemongrass portabello. 2:30 p.m.: Shopping. Hit the shops at Caesars or The Palazzo. Or both. It’s your credit limit. 5 p.m.: The Venetian pool. Order up a round of vodka tonics and start the dishing. (“Lance Burton or David Copperfield? Death is not an option…”) 8:30 p.m.: American Storm. If you must see a male strip show, this is the one. The music is the Killers instead of Bon Jovi, and the dancers are more like the cutest guy in the club than your usual steroid casualties. Live at Polly Esther’s in the Stratosphere. 10 p.m.: Mix. Let Alain Ducasse (well, his minions anyway) make you dinner in this 43rd-floor Strip-view aerie. Virtuous salad at lunch means scrumptious dessert now 12:30 a.m.: Blush. Relax with a cocktail on the patio of this small, beautifully appointed nightclub. 2 a.m.:: Gipsy’s. Dance until dawn in late-night, locals’ gay club.

Sunday 12 p.m.: Le Village Buffet. Unlimited champagne version. 2:30 p.m.:: Get out of town.