Rihanna Cast as “Psycho” Star on “Bates Motel”

Photo: @badgalriri on Instagram

Something amazing happened at San Diego Comic-Con this year: Rihanna was tapped to play Marion Crane in the fifth (and final) season of Bates Motel. Producers announced they had cast the pop and R&B star for the role shortly after announcing season 5 would be the last for A&E’s Psycho prequel.

In a statement, executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin said “We wanted to thrust the iconic role into a contemporary spotlight and redefine it in a meaningful and exciting new way. We also heard Rihanna was a fan of the show, and we were huge fans of hers, so it was the perfect collision of creativity and fate.”

Marion Crane is the woman stabbed repeatedly in the shower by Norman Bates (here, Freddie Highmore) dressed as his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga). The legendary part was played by Janet Leigh in the 1960 film.

Showrunner Cuse told The Hollywood Reporter, “Season five is about the ways in which our show does and more specifically does not intersect with the events of Psycho. We are going to see a version of Norman that is much closer now to the one in the movie, but the way in which he acts and the events in the story will not be the same as the movie.”

Rihanna announced she was a fan of the show in a 2015 Vanity Fair cover story. It will be her heftiest acting role to date.

Check out the singer’s video announcement of the casting below.

Biel in Mugler, Blunt in Dior: 9 Fancy Fashion Moments at Comic-Con

Ah, Comic-Con: the annual four-day convention where fanboys congregate to geek out on comic books, collectible toys and fantasy films/TV shows. Nearly 130,000 attendees bumrushed the San Diego Convention Center this year to catch signings with their favorite artists and a sneak peek at highly-anticipated films like the final Twilight and Total Recall, presented by the cast members themselves. And although many hardcore enthusiasts were dressed in embarassing anime and comic-inspired costumes, the A-listers in attendance refrained from said ridiculousness and opted for a range of surprisingly high-fashion looks. Behold the fanciest.

Above: Jessica Biel in a Joe’s Jeans T-shirt, Mugler PVC pencil skirt from resort 2013 and Brian Atwood heels; Michelle Williams in Giulietta dress and Giuseppe Zanotti heels; Emily Blunt in a Christian Dior dress and Sergio Rossi heels.

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Ginnifer Goodwin in a Valentino dress with Christian Louboutin heels; Ashley Greene in Oscar de la Renta and a Norman Silverman ring; Rachel Taylor in a Jenni Kayne top and shoes with Suno pants.

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Jennifer Morrison in a MASON by Michelle Mason dress; Lyndsy Fonseca in a dress by The Hellers with Giuseppe Zanotti heels and a Lauren Merkin clutch; Nikki Reed in an Etro dress and Melinda Maria ring.

Chasing Dreams: Talking with Rock Star Emily Lazar, 18-Person Hungry March Band Performs Tonight

I used to tell all my potential first-time nightlife industry employees a little ditty before they actually agreed to come aboard. If you are a regular reader (well, you must be quite irregular for that) you have heard this before… and now you’ll here it again: I told the people working for me to have an exit strategy. The money is good. The people, the celebrities, the action can be an addiction – but the life, except for a few, has an expiration date. When it’s over, you have to have a way to support yourself. It ends when you need a change but no one will hire you because they want younger, or you just can’t put in the hours anymore, or the "distractions" of the night become a real problem. I would tell them nightlife is like a rollercoaster…you pay a little money to get on and the first thing you do is go up a great hill and from there at the top it seems like you can see forever, when in reality you are seeing just a bit more. Then its a fast ride down and around, thrills spill treacherous curves, some screams, some fear, some exhilaration, and when it’s over you end up basically where you started, spent a little time, had some fun. Many creatures of the night are putting themselves through school or are actors or artists or dancers. They are pursuing dreams in a place built on them. They often service stars, people who were just like them a decade ago. Failure and shattered hopes often are a heavy burden as time goes on. Breaking out is hard to do. The odds are stacked against them. Emily Lazar left NY behind to chase her dreams on the left coast. She used to work with me. She’s a rock star trying to let the world realize that.

Most nightlife workers are doing this on their way to that… Tell me about the jobs you took in nightlife so you could perfect your art. Tell me about your club life and how it helped you chase your dream.
I think i’ve done pretty much every job there is in nightlife… promoter, bottle service, assistant to the manager… it was a way to keep me going as I developed my craft. Working in that industry taught me how to develop relationships with people on so many different levels. I was lucky to have you watching out for me and helping me on my way to where I am.  
 
Tell me about the band.
September Mourning is the creation of a universe. It is not a band, it is a story… a fantasy storyline with a musical element intertwined within its world. I created it with Marc Silvestri/ Top Cow Comics. The hard rock musical element of it was previewed on stages with the legendary Marilyn Manson, only months after its inception a few years ago…. Performances with The Birthday Massacre, I Am Ghost, Hanzel Und Gretyl, and Dommin followed, as well as radio play across the country. This past year at Comic Con in San Diego, SM announced a partnership with MTV Geek that will further the development of the character and the world in which she dwells through webisode programs and online comics. Top Cow also announced the unveiling of the graphic novel of the same name in 2012. In the overpopulated music scene of today, I’d like to think that September Mourning stands alone in its originality. We have been recording new material with a slightly different musical direction this year (much more of a hard rock/ alternative feel) for release in the states, but we decided to put together an album of songs that we toured on in the beginning of the project and release it before we release the new direction and sound here. Our album, "Melancholia," drops on May 18th on Repo Records in Germany and Russia, but can be preordered now online at www.poponaut.de.
 
You are in LA, and yesterday a very savvy guy told me that it is much better than ever and in many ways – low rents, jobs, an easier place to pursue a career and have fun at night. What have you found?
The music scene here is thriving. Rents are lower, but you have to have a car, and with the gas prices as they are, well… I think it evens out, haha. But for musicians, there are definitely more opportunities to develop as an artist here. Even the art scene in general seems to just be more inspiring… but I’m a New Yorker at heart. There’s an energy in Manhattan that you won’t find anywhere else on the entire planet. It’s electric almost… and being there, it pulses through your veins and drives you. I kept that with me when I moved, that energy. I also miss the people of NYC that I hold so close to my heart. If I could transplant all the people in NYC to here, this town would be almost perfect.
 
More importantly, do you miss me?
Every hour, every minute, every second of every day… hehe  😉
 
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Hungry Marching Band
 
David Rogers-Berry is a friend and BINGO buddy. He was raised in rural South Carolina and has that southern hospitality-way about him. He is the drummer in the touring band O’Death and has 500 concerts in the US of A and Europe and has three studio albums to brag about. He is also a cancer survivor. The other night at BINGO he told me about his part in Brooklyn’s inimitable  Hungry March Band." There are apparently 18 people in this act and they have a following in Bogotá, Columbia. I can’t make this stuff up!. It is logistically impossible and very expensive to get 18 people and equipment to Columbia, so they’re doing an event in New York.
 
I know you as the drummer of O’Death and as a friend. Now, I hear you are involved with an 18-piece marching band. Tell me about this project.
Hungry March Band (HMB) was established in 1997 for the sake of marching in Coney Island’s annual Mermaid Parade. Since then, the band has become the cornerstone of what you might call an anarchist marching band movement. Nowadays, you will find bands like this in most major cities around this country and abroad. HMB has made three or four studio albums and toured Europe and America. As you can imagine, traveling with this many people can be a logistical nightmare – hell, just working in a creative context at home can be enough to drive a person insane – and it has! Right now, there is an influx of new blood injecting this Brooklyn institution with fresh vitality. The band remains an NYC fixture that can always be seen in Greenwich Village’s Halloween Parade and Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade, but we also play clubs, private events, art happenings, late-night speakeasies, and the occasional protest. The band maintains no political affiliations, but  there is anarchy at the heart of what we do, so we find ourselves aligned with Socio-political institutions from time to time.
 
Tonight, you are trying to raise money to get this crowd to Bogotá, Columbia where you have a large following. Tell me about whats going on to raise funds.
Tonight’s event promises to be spectacular, with live performances from the band and other musicians, aerial acrobatics, some burlesque, drink specials, a cocktail hour, and an extensive silent auction. We’ll be at Galapagos Art Space at 16 Main street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. This is a beautiful and unusual space, for anyone who hasn’t witnessed it before. We’re getting started early – doors are at 6pm, and the festivities kick off around 7, the auction closes at 10pm, and the winners will be announced around 10:30 – then, there is only drinking and socializing left to do!
 
How does one get a large following in Bogotá?
We’ll be working on that with this trip, which is the band’s first to South America.  We’re going to Bogotá for the massive Ibero-American Theater Festival. Some of the festival organizers saw the band in Europe a couple years back and invited us to be a part of this event that lasts for two weeks and includes many outdoor street theatre presentations, in addition to more conventional productions in venues throughout Bogotá.
 
What’s up with O’Death?
O’Death is preparing to tour in early summer and we’re becoming more and more comfortable with our status as a genuine cult band. I’m hoping the band can start recording our next record in the fall, but in the meantime we have a lot of other eggs to hatch.

‘The Walking Dead’ Invade San Diego Comic-Con

My nose pushes against a chain-link fence as more than one person stiff-arms me in the back. It’s dusk on Friday evening, and I’m trapped inside Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Desperate, haunting moans come from the other side of the fence, and behind me, about fifty other Comic-Conners, a buzzing herd of nerds with video cameras strapped to their hats, scream and beg for the gate to open. A man dressed in military gear on a bullhorn urges us not to panic, to do what we can to get to the safe zone. Zombies have overrun the stadium. We are the last survivors.

The gate suddenly bursts open and we flood into a causeway. Four or five twenty-somethings in ragged clothes and perfect undead makeup—flesh-eating zombies!—stagger directly for the crowd. I duck, bob, and weave, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I push a few other survivors out of my way. The screams are actually deafening; everyone is taking this as seriously as possible, and I see my buddy Joe zip along the wall, stopping on a dime when a pregnant corpse gets in his path. We congregate at the bottom of a net, already out of breath, and we begin to climb. From over my shoulder, I see that some people have already become infected. We can’t stop moving.

All of us–from the zit-pocked guy climbing the net on my right to the girl dragging her left foot as the pregnant zombie–have paid good money to participate in The Walking Dead Escape, a zombie apocalypse based on the titular comic book that spans three levels of a major league baseball stadium. It’s the climax of the second day of Comic-Con, and here we are in full cosplay, acting as if this is all totally real, running for our lives, or for a bite of brains.

With the recent popularity of AMC’s The Walking Dead (derived from the comic book series we’re all celebrating tonight) and literary mashups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, plus the upcoming Brad Pitt movie World War Z, animated corpses have never been hotter. Or colder? Yes, George A. Romero’s nights have been filled with the living dead for over 40 years, but we’re in the apocalyptic year of 2012, and so it’s not surprising this event is sold out. This is a test run, to see if the human race can out-maneuver a pack of zombies in the real world. And I’ll tell you, it’s harder than you would think.

After the net, I slide down a ramp into an area packed with long orange construction barricades. Corpses meander between them, their hands full of fake entrails and blood. Enjoying myself a little too much, I hurdle the barricades instead of weaving through, which leaves me breathless and slow. The crowd of fifty survivors begins to thin out and gangs begin to form.

I laugh through the adrenaline. I’m with my friend Joe and ten perfect strangers; this is my gang now, just like in a movie, and we clomp up and down stairs strewn with wind-blown newspapers and garbage cans. Signs written in blood hang on the walls. Body bags line the floor. Cars are abandoned, their doors flung open. And every dozen feet or more are growling, walking sacks of worm food. My gang instinctually becomes strategic and works together to get past several walkers. It’s funny; we don’t have the time to introduce ourselves to each other, to see who is the stubborn leader, who are the lovers, who is the comic relief, who is the weak link and who is the demolitions expert, but we have no problem volunteering ourselves up as bait so the others can escape.

Here’s the thing about these actors-in-zombie’s clothing: They’re played absolutely perfectly and I want to stop and applaud each one I sprint past. They lumber around at a decent clip, but never break character and speed up and whip their hands around when you’re close. Sometimes you can play them like a video game, recognizing patterns in their movements, waiting for the few seconds their hands get stuck in the net you’re squeezing past, but unlike a video game they’re relentless, following you into the next room if you stop to catch your breath.

In one hallway there are five long tables with transparent tops you have to bear-crawl under. Above, zombies pound the tops, splashing blood, moaning for your flesh. My dinner of sushi and Sapporo has given me cramps and I’m falling behind, and as a hand grabs my ankle I’m utterly crushed that I’ve been infected. But when I turn around to see how much fake blood has gotten on my jeans, I find it’s just another member of my gang who got too far behind, and I get a second wind. Together we round the corner and come face-to-face with a man handcuffed to a railing yelling for us to help him escape. I jog over, but when I’m just out of his reach, I see the bite mark on his neck and the subtle makeup under his eyes. Nice try, zombie. No, seriously; I almost fell for it.

It goes on and on like this. Over and under obstacles, hiding and waiting, herding your new friends away from the living dead. Flatscreens in the food court that normally show the Padres game instead play a fake newscast about the apocalypse. Twice I am brushed by the fingers of a zombie, and I hope it’s not enough to fake-kill me.

Towards the end, Joe and I run side-by-side on the third level, the city of San Diego spread out below. Spectators line the ramps, hoping to see a good show. A huge zombie then pops out from behind a plastic garbage can in the middle of a narrow passageway, knocking it on its side. Joe skirts left, narrowly avoiding the corpse, and I somehow do a backdoor spin-move and launch myself over the trash can like some kind of athlete. The crowd erupts. My life has new meaning.

In the quarantine tent, we’re ordered to put our hands up as government officials scroll blue lights over our bodies looking for signs of infection. It’s intense and confusing, and I’m passed from one official to the next, all of them screaming for me to turn around. If you’re infected, you’re pushed into a room where they (fake) shoot you in the head for the good of your country. It’s the only option given.

Luckily, I’m clean of any signs of infection, as is Joe. We’re sweaty, gasping for air, but we somehow survive. I wish I could say the same for the rest of our gang. We emerge from the stadium telling our war stories like we really just did survive the first day of a zombie apocalypse, and that we didn’t just play a silly game with a bunch of kids in makeup. If I somehow make it through the next year in real life, I’m doing this again.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Debuts at Comic-Con

Like a breath of sweetly poisoned air, the first trailer for the much-anticipated Disney flick Oz the Great and Powerful was screened before a full house at San Diego Comic-Con International this morning. Director Sam Raimi (of Evil Dead fame and the first Spider-Man trilogy) used his CGI magic in the trailer, which features James Franco as a power-hungry Oz, Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the West, Rachael Weisz as the one in the East, and Michelle Williams as Glenda the Good.

The movie is set before Dorothy ever ruby-shoe steps onto the scene—a bit like Wicked, only without the singing, the bright green makeup, or Kristin Chenoweth. (Phew!)

The trailer opens to a monochrome scene of an old-fashioned circus, with Oz as the magician. “Kansas is full of good men,” Oz says with disdain. “I don’t want to be a good man. I want to be a great one." He is then whisked away in his balloon to Oz, where we are assaulted with a brilliant panorama of the mystical land. The creatures and foliage used in the trailer are vaguely reminiscent of those seen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which isn’t a far stretch considering it’s produced by the same person.

Watch the full trailer below:

Why Is E.L. James at Comic-Con?

Comic-Con is taking place this week in San Diego, and my understanding of the event is pretty minimal. I assumed it was for people who are into comics to get together and talk about comic stuff? And also monster movies, or something? But the cast of Twilight is a big draw, which makes some sense to me since it’s a series about vampires and werewolves and magic stuff. So here is my question: Why the hell is E.L. James at Comic-Con?

James is, of course, the author of the incredibly successful Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, the names of which I forget but will now dub Fifty Shades of Greyer and Fifty Shades With a Vengeance. I haven’t read these books, clearly, but I get it: ladies want to fantasize about being tied up sometimes, too, I guess. But it’s my understanding that there are no vampires, werewolves, monsters, fairies, or any supernatural elements to the series, right? So what does that have to do with Comic-Con?

And then there’s this, which I find very confusing:

The last time E L James came to Comic-Con, she participated in a panel for fans who wrote fiction inspired by the hugely popular “Twilight” series.

Here’s where I actually had to look up on Wikipedia (which is always right, of course) that Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan-fiction, which seems pretty appropriate. (Little known fact: The Sun Also Rises was originally fan-fiction inspired by The Great Gatsby!)

Basically Comic-Con has turned into this weird thing, I guess, in which no-longer niche markets are represented becaue they make a ton of money and it’s fun to pretend that the people who are into them are super unique and weird. But if Fifty Shades of Grey, which doesn’t really count as genre fiction but not really as literature, either, is represented, what does that mean for the weirdos who want to dress up as, I dunno, villians from video games? Scratch that: I’m perfectly fine with my new fantasy, in which housewives who are into entry-level BDSM fall in love with guys clutching bagged X-Men comic books. That might not be what’s actually happening at Comic-Con, but a boy can dream. 

4AM DJ Tour Diary: Mick Boogie Does Comic-Con & LA

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m always arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, the reports I get back from my DJs sound like the kinds of wild adventures that I rarely get to be a part of as a desk jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this monthly column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this Tour Diary, you’ll read about Mick Boogie as he makes his way to San Diego’s Comic-Con for a celebrity-packed party, and then to LA for one of that town’s legendary daytime jams. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Thursday July 21: I landed in San Diego to deejay a party at Comic Con. The party was sponsored by Complex Magazine, and featured celebs like Cowboys and Aliens Jon Favreau—who spun a guest DJ set—and Olivia Munn. When I’m not manning the decks, I’m a huge comic book and graphic novel fan, so checking out the convention was something I’ve always wanted to do. It did not disappoint. Pure. Mayhem.

Friday July 22: I traveled via train from San Diego to LA. If you haven’t taken that train ride, I highly recommend it. 2.5 hours of scenic coastal views made the trip one of the first times I’ve ever travelled and wished it had lasted longer. I arrived in LA at around 3pm, and met my wife (who flew into LAX from NYC that afternoon) to begin our LA experience.

Saturday July 23: I was the featured DJ at one of my favorite clubs in the world, Playhouse. It’s a DJ’s dream: amazing sound, huge stage, insane lightshow, and the energy is intense. Thousands of people are going crazy to the latest house bangers. A big shout out to Igor from Playhouse, who has always supported the Mick Boogie movement.

Sunday July 24: After a night of drunken Euro-rific house madness, my Sunday gig was the complete opposite, and quite possibly the most fun I’ve had DJing in years, at the legendary LA daytime party, the Do-Over. Any deejay who declines an invite here, or says they didn’t have fun, is not a real DJ. This is a music lover’s dream, where you can play anything under the sun, as long as it isn’t the contrived nonsense we have to play 85% of the time everywhere else. A big thanks to Azul and Dominique. Selections from my Do-Over set included about 10 songs produced by J. Dilla, a set of samples from the Tribe Called Quest discography, a Brazilian funk set, some dancehall, and a 70s slowjam grand finale. I would deejay the Do-Over every week if I could. After that, it was back to NYC and the regular grind, but this weekend showed me why Southern California is such an amazing place, and I can’t wait to go back!

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Jsix’s Christian Graves Gives Us His ‘Chef’s Kitchen Experience’

Recently, more than 120,000 comic book, film, and television geeks converged on the San Diego Convention Center for Comic-Con, the self-proclaimed “largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world.” In addition to attracting criticism for straying from its geeky roots (and for a Harry Potter fan stabbing another Harry Potter fan) the 40th annual event also attracted some of the super powers of the entertainment industry. The 235-room boutique Hotel Solamar, six blocks away from the convention center, served as the celebs’ home base. The five-year-old Kimpton property was the site of the weekend’s main parties, making its fourth-floor pool deck, LOUNGEsix, and restaurant, Jsix, prime spots to look for famous people in town to hawk their latest fantasy projects. In 2008, when Hotel Solamar hosted the Maxim party for Seth Rogen’s Pineapple Express, it got attention from Page Six when hotel reps instructed the star to extinguish his “funny-smelling hand-rolled cigarette.” But while Hotel Solamar might not tolerate guests smoking illicit herbs, it does offer them the opportunity to pick and cook the fresh and legal kind with Jsix’s executive chef, Christian Graves.

As part of his four-hour Chef’s Kitchen Experience, held once a month on a Sunday morning, Graves and guests head to a farmers market to talk with farmers, buy fresh ingredients, and retire to the kitchen, where Graves develops an ad hoc menu based on whatever they bought back. Guests can help him prepare their three-course meal, and recently, I did just that.

Jsix’s commitment to organic, sustainable, and local ingredients is exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant in a hotel that’s about to become the San Diego’s first Green Seal-certified. It features seasonal American cuisine creatively prepared by Graves, who arrives to work at 10 a.m. and does 90 percent of the prep work for the line himself — and still manages to surf four days a week. “I don’t think fine dining is dead. I just think it’s more approachable,” said Graves, who was previously the chef de cuisine at Farallon in San Francisco.

I visited on a Friday when the farmer’s market was closed. So instead of going to the market we got into Graves’ Prius and drove 25 minutes south to Suzie’s Farm. Located just across the border from Tijuana, the organic farm grows a wide assortment of produce (for example, its 1.5 acres of tomatoes encompass more than 23 varieties of the vegetable) and makes four deliveries a week to Jsix. Robin Taylor, who owns and operates the farm with his wife, walked us on a 90-minute loop, explaining what crops he was growing and all about his farming methods. Every so often Graves would wade into a field to pick some produce, taste it, and put it in his tote bag. And while a blanket of gray clouds dulled the sky, and whirling helicopters from a nearby military training facility obscured what we could hear, there was no masking the fresh smell of organic fertilizer, tinted ever so slightly with fresh strawberries.

Back in Jsix’s kitchen, Graves mapped out my meal, sizing up the produce he’d brought back in his tote bag. He decided what dishes to prepare and in what order to serve them. “Once you understand the rules, you’re able to change them a little bit,” he said. “You’ve got to be confident. You just can’t fake it and hope it works.”

To say Graves’s lunch worked would be an understatement. The five-course meal consisted of a salad of field greens, tuna with periwinkles, yellow pattypan carpaccio with risotto, squash and zucchini, pork sausages with a julienne of peppers, and strawberries on shortbread with fresh cream and mint. Each dish was paired with a different wine. Naturally.

Participants in the Chef’s Kitchen Experience are meant to pick up a few culinary skills when they’re not glutting on perfect produce, and here’s one of Graves’ recipes I’m confident I can replicate. It’s for his new favorite summertime drink. Cheers to that.

  • Scrape out the meat and juice from a coconut
  • Put the coconut juice in a blender
  • Have your kids smash the coconut
  • Put the meat from the coconut in the blender
  • Add ice
  • Blend
  • Strain with a fine strainer
  • Pour over ice with barrel-aged rum
  • Add a dash of sugar or a small amount of pineapple chunks
  • Enjoy

Graves offered this one last piece of advice. “Only have one coconut at your house,” he warned us. “Do not have the capabilities to make more than one of these.” My advice: don’t miss this experience.