Canada’s Viral Dancing Sensation Speaks: Take Some Crime’s First Interview

Two years ago, under the moniker Take Some Crime, an enigmatic Canadian man went down to his basement to film a few dance moves while trying out a new camera his father had given him as a gift. After uploading the video to YouTube, something extraordinary happened.

“I didn’t think I’d upload any more, but inspiration struck and I just kept doing more,” he said via phone from his hometown, which is in a city that’s not Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver (he wishes to remain somewhat anonymous). “Each video was supposed to be my last, yet here we are,” he said of his viral success.

128 videos and over 8 million streams later, TSC is a genuine YouTube phenomenon. To be sure, there are countless dancing fiends on the web, but very few are operating on the global level of TSC. His best-known dance, set to Austrian musician Parov Stelar’s “Catgroove,” has so far earned nearly 5 million views.

“The Parov Stelar song was the real turning point,” he says of his new career, which has led to a commercial in Germany and a manager and agent in Croatia.

“It’s still somewhat shocking to me,” he continued, adding that his viral video impacted Stelar so much that the musician flew him out to Austria to perform a concert in Vienna. “It was a surreal,” he says of the experience. He was also asked by British band Monarchy to dance on stage with them during Coachella earlier this year, where he appeared during their rendition of “Love Get Out of My Way.”

So what’s the secret behind TSC’s liquid moves? The twenty-something mystery man says he’s not a classically trained dancer, but that an early interest in karate helps him come up with ideas for dance routines set to music. “The karate moves somehow transferred over,” he says.

This year, it seems even more people are discovering the dancer online. “The highest percentage of views I’m getting lately are coming from Georgia, and not the Georgia in America, but the former Soviet country,” he says. “I can’t really understand it.”

As long as TSC keeps uploading clips—he’s since danced to everyone from Skrillex to Hungarian electro-house producer We Plants Are Happy Plants—people will keep watching, and his fans love him as much for his musical selections as for his dancing. “To be honest, I had my YouTube channel long before I started dancing.” As for the meaning behind his name? “I’d like to leave it ambiguous so people can have their own interpretation,” he says.

Summer Trend Warning: Musician-Endorsed Eyewear

The next trend in eyewear appears to be singer-songwriter branded shades. Case in point? Oakley has tapped songstress Kate Voegele to wear a new model of sunglasses for the brand this year. The integrated marketing runs deep between Voegele and Oakley. “We’ll be giving away a pair of Oakley sunglasses every night at the shows,” she wrote recently on her blog. Voegele’s fall tour supporting Natasha Bedingfield comes to New York City tomorrow night at Irving Plaza.

The Oakley partnership extends not only to the glasses, which feature the singer’s bright drawings on the inside of the frames (she paints in her spare time and did the artwork on her latest CD cover), but Voegele has also appeared at Oakley events recently in Los Angeles, just north of where the One Tree Hill actress currently lives.

Oakley has supported Voegele’s touring efforts since 2009, and she is one of the faces of the company’s “Perform Beautifully” campaign. Her “Signature Series Oakley Beckon” shades arrive in stores this September.

Of course, Voegele isn’t the only singer songwriter in the eyewear field. Everyone’s favorite old-school songstress, Lisa Loeb, has turned her signature cat-eye glasses into a side business. Last month, the “Stay” singer launched a new series of glasses with Classique Eyewear that includes streamlined pieces in black and tortoiseshell, as well as embellished options punctuated with rhinestones and etchings.

L.A.’s Longest-Running Weekly Party Celebrates 15 Years

Last night, Playhouse nightclub in Hollywood toasted the 15th anniversary of Monday Night Social, the legendary weekly party featuring top international DJs and designed for party people who can’t quite accept that the weekend is over. Since 1996, the Bud Brothers have hosted everyone from Fatboy Slim to last night’s headliner, Holland’s Sander Van Doorn, at various locations around Los Angeles. But for the past two years or so, MNS has called Playhouse home, and just as dance music has gone more mainstream, so have the crowds at this party.

MNS has been on a hot streak lately. Freddy Be, Mick Cole, and their partners have been able to land top talent for the party, and Playhouse has proved a fantastic partner for MNS, which first began its now-unheard-of run in a French restaurant on La Brea Avenue, back when dance music was more of a subculture.

Check out their website to get on the mailing list, or follow MNS on Twitter to stay connected with L.A.’s best Monday night party.

This Week in Quirky German Boutique Hotels: Twenty Five Hours

Germany finally has its answer to The Standard Hotel, and it’s called Twenty Five Hours. The hot mini-chain, from Christoph Hoffmann and partners, started in Hamburg and finds itself in rapid-expansion mode this year, with two new properties in Hamburg and Vienna. Next year, the chain debuts a new hotel in Zurich. So what makes Twenty Five Hours better than the gaggle of stylish and affordable hotels found in these Teutonic cities?

For starters, they’ve got serious soul. The staff encourages partying, and have curated events in their restaurants and on their rooftops, much like The Standard does in the U.S. But Twenty Five Hours is way cheaper, and comes with legitimate perks. The hotel offers free access to Mini Coopers, thanks to their partnership with the company (per their Facebook page, it’s as easy as asking for the keys at the front desk). Through an agreement with Levi’s, the Frankfurt location is branded with 501 jeans (and other Levi’s clothing), including a staff decked out in denim. Last week, DJs played old school hip-hop on the roof deck, as young media professionals drank pints and socialized. Each hotel boasts a different design theme. Twenty Five Hours’ latest Hamburg hotel skews towards a maritime motif, while their just-opened Vienna property mimics a circus. If you find yourself in this part of Europe over the summer, we highly suggest a visit.

Adriatic Allure: Your Summer Croatia Cheat Sheet

Forget the usual suspects. This summer, adventurous American travelers are coming to the Adriatic coast in record numbers to do what residents of countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece have been doing en masse every summer for decades -– taking in the sights (and beaches) at still-reasonable rates in one of Europe’s newly most desirable hotspots: Croatia.

To be sure, Croatia’s charms are not entirely new. Over 2000 years of history show that everyone from the Romans to the Austrians under the Habsburg Empire coveted a bit of Croatian coastline. More recently, it’s names such as the late Elizabeth Taylor, Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, and Uma Thurman (who is heading to the country this summer, per reports) that have been linked to the country, which is blessed with over 1000 islands just off the coast, many of which boast crystal clear blue water and rocky beaches blissfully devoid of tourist swarms.

So where to start? A good place to fly into is Split, which is the second largest city in the country after Zagreb and perhaps analogous in spirit to Barcelona (though smaller). The largest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast will likely be jammed near the typical tourist traps all summer, but these are tourist taps you’ll want to check out regardless. Wandering the narrow streets of Split’s historic core is thrilling, with hundreds of small shops and restaurants dotting the area.

Those seeking a more authentic experience might want to book a room just a 10-minute walk from the port (where garish cruise ships dock during summer months) at the Hotel Park, which sits just across from a beach locals like to use. At Bačvice beach, a string of nightclubs overlooks the Mediterranean, catering to all kinds of Split clubbers (you’ll hear Lady Gaga at one club, Swedish House Mafia at another, old rock music a la Gainsbourg at an adjacent and contemporary Balkan “Chalga” music at a fourth bar). It all amounts to a heady evening out, especially on weekends, when Split’s twentysomethings hit the streets, all night, seaside, in short skirts, designer T-shirts, and high heels. image

But the largest tourism draw in Croatia remains the country’s crown jewel: Dubrovnik. According to the tourist board, 74,000 overnight stays by U.S. passport holders were registered within the walled city on the edge of the coast last year. That’s still a fraction of the nearly 500,000 overnight stays from French visitors to the tiny yet stunning city, which juts out into the sea surrounded by islands and cliffs. This decade, expect the number of American visitors to rise significantly, thanks to a new generation of sun-seekers tiring of typical European hotspots, which are more expensive and arguably less rewarding.

Though Dubrovnik is where you’ll find the least amount of bargains in Croatia, visitors can still find reasonable accommodations that boast the same views pricier hotels sell to guests. A good example? Try adriaticonline, where you’ll find apartment rentals such as Apartment Ingrid, which can be had for around $85 a night in June (prices rise for high season later in the summer). The two-floor unit, just steps from the action, is awash in sun-splashed yellow and orange hues, with a small balcony where guests have a view of the sea and nearby Lokrum Island.

But the best way to do Dubrovnik is to stay at one of the city’s several stellar hotels. The best are just a 5-minute walk to the old walled city, such as the Grand Villa Argentina, which was a favorite haunt of Liz Taylor’s (and still a favorite of John Malkovich), thanks to 5-star service, or the recently remodeled Villa Dubrovnik hotel, which just re-opened last year (now with a “sky lounge” bar).

Sitting under the stars looking out over Dubrovnik across the sea at night from either hotel’s outdoor terrace will give any visitor the answer to why Dubrovnik remains one of Europe’s (and soon America’s) top dream destinations for travelers of all stripes: it’s simply magic.

San Francisco’s Clift Hotel Sets Summer ‘Sessions’ Schedule

Morgans Hotel Group has released their summer schedule for what is shaping up to be a banner year for the “Sessions” series, which takes place at both San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, and Los Angeles’ Mondrian hotel. The free concerts in San Fran went down well with Bay Area types earlier this year, when the likes of Francis and the Light, Cass McCombs and Theophilus London played for fans. (A scene from his February set at the Clift is pictured above.)

This summer, Clift Sessions, presented by Iamsound Records, has tapped talent from across the country to play inside the Redwood and Velvet Rooms, with the fun kicking off when Gayngs plays on June 2nd, followed by The Vaccines June 5th. On June 27 is the West Coast premiere of Upside Down, a doc about Creation Records, with an exclusive performance by Mark Gardener, of former Creation artists Ride. Brooklyn It duo Cults drop by on July 24, and Dirty Beaches finish off the summer series on August 19. Events are free, but RSVP to cliftsessions@morganshotelgroup.com for SF, and mondrianlasessions@morganshotelgroup.com for L.A.

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Celebrating 2 Years of Moods of Norway

Tonight, Peder Børresen, Simen Staalnacke, and Stefan Dahlkvist, the men behind the colorful Norwegian clothing line Moods Of Norway, are toasting two years on Beverly Hills’ Robertson Boulevard with a party. The Moods guys, as they are known to an extended family in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, have plenty to celebrate. For starters, today is “Norway Day” in their native country.

Among Norwegians, it’s referred to simply as syttende mai or Nasjonaldagen (The National Day). May 17th represents the day Norway first adopted a Constitution, back in 1814. The Norwegian Parliament first held a May 17 celebration in 1836, but the Moods guys plan to party a little harder then their long-gone countrymen did nearly 200 years ago.

From 7 to 9 pm, anyone can drop by their Beverly Hills store and enjoy some champagne. There will also be cocktails on hand, as well as Norwegian waffles and music by DJ Tina T. Just look for the now ubiquitous Moods of Norway baby blue limo parked in front (seen at many Hollywood parties and events). Moods of Norway seem to be enjoying a run of success lately. The owners say they are now scouting a second U.S. location, possibly in Minneapolis, and the clothing line is also picking up new celebrity fans daily at this point. The latest convert is Tracy Morgan, who rocked a Moods of Norway jacket last month on an Oprah appearance. So show up tonight and toast their amazing success.

Hear the Epic Estonian Eurovision Jam About a Fake Manhattan

Just when you thought Europe’s annual rite of randomness, the Eurovision Song Contest, couldn’t get any stranger, along comes a jam by Estonia’s epic teen queen Getter Jaani. The tune, which just made it into the finals, is called “Rockefeller Street,” and is about a sparkly imagined version of New York, with lyrics like “Daylight is fading away/night silhouettes in the sky/LED lights are flashing on towers/It’s Manhattan’s magical time.” Never mind the fact there is no actual Rockefeller Street in Manhattan.

Written by Estonia’s Sven Lohmus and performed by 18-year-old former “Estonian Superstar” Jaani, the song is proving a surprise hit at the song contest this year (it has advanced to the final round of 25). Amazingly, “Rockefeller Street” now stands a decent shot at doing well in the finals against larger, more favored entries, such as France’s and England’s (both tipped to possibly win via bookies).

Jaani is performing the song this week at Eurovision in Dusseldorf against a backdrop of a massive, warped digital depiction of the Manhattan skyline. So what’s the deal with the song’s Sex in the City New York City theme?

Maris Uksti, an editor at Estonia’s Delfi magazine, says the song represents a “dream like” New York. “It’s about glamour and there are a lot of famous people in New York.” Even though there is no actual “Rockefeller Street,” Uksti (who’s in Germany covering Eurovision for her magazine’s Estonian readers) says the songwriter, Lohmus, is well aware of that fact. “It’s a street he created for the song,” she said. But the magazine writer could not explain the bizarre chorus, which seems to defy logic. “1273 down to Rockefeller Street/Life is marchin’ on do you feel that?” the chorus asks.

Sure, we’re feelin’ you, Estonia. But is 1273 code for a Manhattan address? It certainly sounds like a Manhattan address. Only Sven (and perhaps Jaani) know for sure. The rest of us are left scratching our heads and, um, tapping our feet.

Two Boutique Hotels in Bucharest Tempt Travelers

Forget Berlin. Europe’s more adventurous travelers are seeking out cities that pulse with a different kind of energy. Bucharest is one. The Romanian capital is experiencing a kind of pan-European cultural renaissance, partially due to its vibrant club scene, which has spawned worldwide dance smashes that now reach all the way to the upper echelons of America’s Top 40 (see Edward Maya’s “Stereo Love”). Romania is welcoming young Brits, Germans, and even a few Americans seeking the city’s booming bar scene, located in its historic core. Several boutique hotels are catering to these swelling crowds. Here are the best.

Probably the best bang for your Lei is Bucharest’s Rembrandt Hotel. At just 16 rooms, the seven-floor hotel is compact, but the Dutch-owned property oozes old-world warmth, updated for the Wi-Fi generation. The Rembrandt‘s location, overlooking the copper roof and dome of the National Bank across the street, is stellar, and within blocks of dozens of bars and restaurants that go off all night on weekends. The streets are jammed with party people in a scene vibrant enough to rival better-known European drinking districts. But the Rembrandt is far from a party hotel, more like a civilized oasis in the heart of a desert of decadence.

In contrast to the Rembrandt’s Deco, Bucharest’s other fantastic boutique is the city’s popular Christina Hotel. Consistently topping websites like Trip Advisor, the Zen-inspired Christiana is awash in white, with splashes of color throughout the hotel. Like the Rembrandt, the Christina is affordable — rooms can be had for around $110 per night — and comes with character, which is more than can be said for the plentiful, staid business hotels in central Bucharest devoid of any sense of whimsy.