Pig and Khao Launches Brunch: The Hit Dishes

It all started with the chocolate & bacon rice pudding at Pig and Khao: a multi-layered Filipino treat of sticky rice, coconut milk, whole milk, and chocolate, topped with bacon bits. One rice and pork-filled scoop, and I vowed to never let a silly thing like “healthfulness” or “but I’m going out later”  be a concern on the weekends. Why? Because the Thai and Filipino spot Pig and Khao has just launched their weekend brunch, and with a name that translates to “mountains of rice and pig” in Thai, there’s just no time for any thought besides "bring on the bacon."

About Pig and Khao; every forkful at this Lower East Side spot has been crafted by Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen, and everything else – from the décor to the management – is under the care of Fatty Crew Hospitality, the same group behind NY’s Fatty ‘Cue and Fatty Crab. You’re in good hands.

And good hands yield happy bellies at Pig and Khao, where the brunch menu includes hit dishes like a sizzling platter of braised pork head (pictured) with garlic and a just-cracked egg; corned beef hash with raw egg, Thai chili, and cilantro; and the king of the crop – a pan-seared French toast-inspired bread pudding (below) with caramelized bananas baked inside, topped with caramelized plantains and coconut whipped cream.  

And mimosas are bottomless. At $15, you get nonstop, express-delivered glasses of fresh lychee, mango, orange, and watermelon mimosa. And when you couple two hours of those drinks with the sobering effects of pork head and yellow curry noodles, you too can walk out of Pig and Khao a new person, ready to take on the day. Godspeed.

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Pig and Khao

Fat Tuesday Fun: New York Bars and Restaurants With Fat In the Name

Fat. It’s kind of a bad word these days. You really shouldn’t call somebody fat, regardless of their heft. Yet, like so many offensive terms, there are those who have co-opted it, and use it as a signifier. Not surprisingly, New York bars and restaurants are on the forefront of the trend, so in honor of Fat Tuesday, instead of listing places to pig out, we’re directing you to New York’s best bars and restaurants with the word "fat" in the name. Just for the hell of it. So click on over to our latest Top List, New York Bars and Restaurants with Fat In the Name. Yes, obviously we’re feeling silly on this snowy Friday afternoon. 

[New York Bars and Restaurants with Fat In the Name]

Get Ready for Meatopia 2012 on Saturday

It’s almost time for Meatopia, the annual New York festival dedicated to all things meat. I attended last year with my Nebraska-bred brother-in-law and loved every minute of it. We stopped by dozens of stands manned by meat-masters from across the country and around the world who were roasting everything from pork to lamb to an entire steer. We stuffed our faces with the finest cuts and washed it down with cold Amstel Light from the numerous beer tents. The sun was shining and we were living the good life. This year’s Meatopia is going to be held Saturday, September 8, 2012, on Randall’s Island, which isn’t quite as convenient for me as last year’s venue, Brooklyn Bridge Park, but dammit I’m going anyway, because the whole affair is so much fun. Let me school you on what you can expect. 

First of all, the somewhat awkward portmanteau of a name says it all. Meatopia is a utopia for lovers of meat. There’s simply nothing here for vegetarians, so don’t even get on the ferry, my morally superior friends. For everyone else, start your meat fast today, because you’ll be in heaven on Saturday as you chow down on steaks, sausages, chops, fillets, and every other form of meat prepared by chefs from everywhere from Hong Kong to the U.S. Special Forces. And, although the animals involved probably wouldn’t be thrilled to know their fate, Meatopia only serves natural and humane meat. All meat providers have to fare well against a five-step animal welfare rating, which requires “no cages, no crates, no crowding,” and “enhanced outdoor access.” I can appreciate that. 
 
This year’s theme is “City of Meat,” and they’re arranging their 40-odd chefs in meat neighborhoods with names like Carcass Hill, Offalwood, and the Meatopia County Game Reserve. (I’m looking forward to what’s on offer in the Deckle District.) Chefs will be on hand from such super restaurants as The Darby, Fatty Crab, and Mile End. There’s going to be live music from meat-appropriate bands Woods, The Living Kills, and The Slackers, and mural artist Laurel True will be creating an “interactive meat mural,” which I simply have to see. 
 
The main festival sponsor is Whole Foods, which pretty much guarantees that there won’t be anything of low-quality in this flesh bazaar, and the (truly essential) beer sponsor is Amstel Light, whose refreshing brew is the perfect accompaniment to the feast. But a few of the other sponsors are quite attractive, and I hope they have some stands set up to share their wares as well. I’ll be looking out for Crown Royal Black whisky, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Kahlua, and Zacapa rum from Guatemala. Zacapa XO might be my favorite rum. You should try it.
 
You can get tickets in advance by clicking here. Watch this space for my post-event wrap-up on Monday. Now I’d better go eat a salad.

SUPERBURGER: Burger Battle Royale with Cheese

Eleven chefs have answered the call this year for the sixth annual SUPERBURGER (aka Hamptons Burger Bloodbath) competition at the Montauk Yacht Club this Saturday, and all are in it to win it. For the first time, this formerly invite-only event is selling tickets, giving your average Joe Lunchpail a chance to rub greasy elbows with the cognoscentis of ground chuck and watch as dreams are fulfilled, hopes are dashed, and burgers are eaten.

Headlining the event is Emile Castillo from The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, with competitors Seamus Mullen of Tertulia, Zak Pelaccio of the Fatty Crab, PJ Clarke’s Mike Defonzo, Sarah Simmons from City Grit, Harold Moore from Commerce, Alex Stupak of Empellon, Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly of Fedora, and PJ Calapa from Sweet Afton. Also present will be last year’s runner-up Jesse Gerstein, James Ramsey, and Ryan Solien of the Montauk Yacht Club reppin’ the host venue. Last but certainly not least, Momofuku Milk Bar’s own Christina Tosi will be concocting madcap confections for dessert. Sitting in judgment of these aspiring meat Michelangelos will be Pat LaFrieda (owner, LaFrieda Meats), Lee Brian Schrager (founder and director, Food Network South Beach and NYC Wine and Food Festival), Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, and Top Chef contestant), Kate Krader (restaurant editor, Food & Wine Magazine), and Josh Capon (executive chef, Lure Fishbar and B&B Winepub).

Event sponsor Amstel Light is bringing the beer, Pat LaFrieda’s has the meat, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka will supply the higher octane imbibables. Tickets aren’t cheap, but even at $135 a pop, you’re still getting more high-concept burgers than you can comfortably eat, free drinks, and the chance to be a part of burger history. For tickets, go to eater.com/superburger. We start fasting Thursday.

New York Gears Up for Malaysian Restaurant Week

Zak Pelaccio and his Fatty Crab empire definitely have pushed the boom of Malaysian food in the city. Or rather, Pelaccio has made Malaysian cuisine more popular to the masses that had never heard of Malay fish fry, chicken claypot, or the spicy curry dish java mee. Today the city kicks off the second annual Malaysian Restaurant Week, an event that runs until June 24 and includes not only New York, but New Jersey and Connecticut as well.

In the city you can get your Malaysian on with a three-course menu for $20.12 at popular establishments including Laut, Café Asean, Nyona, and of course, Fatty Crab, though both locations strictly offer the prix fixe deal for lunch, before 7pm or after 10pm. Also on the line up are some Asian-fusion restaurants that are offering a special Malaysian menu for the week. These include Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa’s Social Eatz, Ian Kittichai’s Ember Room, Dragonfly, Wild Ginger in Midtown East, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, though only for lunch. Not a bad line up considering the small number of Malaysian restaurants in the city, and, for you adventurous types, this weekend the Asian Food Markets in North Planfield, NJ will be hosting a sampling of the cuisine from 10am to 6pm.

Next Year’s Best & Brightest in Movies, Music, Art, & More

Allow us to present our fifth annual New Regime Portfolio, which offers up an electric blend of hitmakers, thespians, web-savvy scribes, visionary curators, fashion savants, video artists, and even a Greek god. Through sheer talent, determination, and maybe just a smidge of natural selection, this group of overachievers will shape, bend, and define culture in the coming year. So meet the chosen few, remember their names, and get used to their faces, because they’re here to stay.

THE NEW PIONEER: ROMOLA GARAI

Romola Garai

As much as the news business has changed in recent years, it remains at heart the same as it was a half-century ago, according to Romola Garai. For someone not yet 30, the English actor is in a unique position to make the comparison. As Bel Rowley, the London-based producer of a 1956 TV news show on the critically acclaimed BBC drama The Hour, she’s had plenty of time to consider the journalism profession, and how difficult it can be to get the real story straight.

“Television news has to fight for great, investigative journalism in much the way it always has,” she says. “The 1950’s news programs in the U.K. were battling government censorship, while the programs of today are battling the controlling influence of the corporations that own them.”

Indeed, the first season of The Hour revisits the dark day when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser decided to nationalize the Suez Canal, setting off a murky war with the UK, Israel, and France. Defying pressure from the British government to toe the official line, Garai’s fictional show instead broadcasts an incisive, tongue-in-cheek segment on the crisis—leaving a generation of viewers riveted.

To prepare for the role, Garai studied the life and career of Grace Wyndham Goldie, a pioneering journalist who rose through the male dominated ranks of the BBC in the mid-20th century. Rowley shares Wyndham Goldie’s intelligence, drive, and vision, but thanks to Garai, she’s graced with a fair measure of intrigue and sex appeal, too. Rising journalist Freddie Lyon (Ben Whishaw) is hopelessly in love with her, even as she pursues her infatuation with married news vet Hector Madden (The Wire’s Dominic West).

Fearless, fragile, and highly believable, Garai’s performance leads one to wonder if she could ever embody another character so fully. Yet her resume is filled with impressive turns. From her leading role as Angel Deverell in François Ozon’s Angel to her stint as the adult Briony Tallis opposite Keira Knightley in the Oscar-nominated Atonement, Garai has imbued her characters with an authenticity that’s earned her the admiration of the industry’s top directors.

Though busy filming the second season of The Hour, she’ll soon travel to Burundi with the International Rescue Committee to write about the organization’s work with women and refugees. Does this mean she may one day become a real life news hound? “I read English Literature at university and did think about becoming a journalist after I left,” she says. “In truth, there is no way I would have been tough enough.”—Victor Ozols. Photo by Matthew Eades.

ROMOLA LIKES: Mulberry, NYC

THE NEW DENEUVE: LÉA SEYDOUX

leaseydoux

“I feel like American movies are more about entertainment. In France, there are more auteur films,” says 26-year-old French actor Léa Seydoux, who stars as Tom Cruise’s nemesis in Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. “Both are very interesting. In France, we don’t have many action movies, so it was exciting to be part of something that is not from my culture.”

That’s not to say that this is Seydoux’s ¬first foray into big-budget Hollywood—or what she calls movies “for the audience.” She also starred in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood as the baneful Prince John’s Gallic paramour, and Quentin Tarantino’s blood-stained Inglourious Basterds. It’s Woody Allen, though, who seems to have impressed her most. “There’s something about a Woody Allen film,” admits Seydoux, who played a suspiciously pretty antiques dealer in Midnight in Paris. “ There’s an intimacy, and I really like that.”

She was drawn to the profession, she says, after an encounter with an actor led her to think she wanted his life. A few years later, in 2009, she was nominated for a César award (think French Oscars) for her performance opposite Louis Garrell in La Belle Personne. She recently added a Prada fragrance commercial to her credits, too. And though she does love posing, she insists that fashion is only a hobby. “I’m just an actor who sometimes models,” she says.

So what about those American Apparel ads she appeared in back in 2006 before she caught the acting bug? “I was very young, I didn’t know. A guy came to me and asked if I wanted to do pictures for him. He said he had a brand called American Apparel. It was very new at that time. I said yeah, why not—the guy actually was the creator. I don’t remember his name, but now I know that he lost a lot of money.” Take that, Dov Charney. —Dana Drori. Photo by Iain McKell.

THE NEW CLOTHIER: J.W. ANDERSON

jwanderson

Though he got his start in menswear, the collection that propelled J.W. Anderson from need-to-know insider to fashion editor favorite offered clothes for both genders—not that it’s easy to separate the two in the designer’s world. By subverting classic shapes in favor of movement and material, he creates silhouettes that are exhilaratingly androgynous. Don’t expect the monochrome minimalism of Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester, who tried to flatten boy meets girl into somber sameness. Anderson’s signature style looks more like a co-ed slumber party, where everyone keeps trading clothes just for fun.

Jonathan William Anderson was born in Northern Ireland in 1984. In 2001, he moved to Washington, D.C. to study drama at the Actors’ Studio, where he found himself more interested in the costumes than the stage. He returned to the U.K. to work as a stylist (notably for the musician Rufus Wainwright) before enrolling at the London College of Fashion. By the time he graduated, his label was firmly established. He unveiled his first collection in London in 2008, and within two years, he’d not only won a NEWGEN Men sponsorship to show at London Fashion Week, but also launched his first women’s line.

Anderson gives all his collections ornate names like “Craft Goes Machine” and “Eye for an Eye,” and he regularly posts artsy videos on his website (“The Fear of Naturalism”) and Tumblr. His eye for technology is keen: His patterns can look like fractals or organic forms under a microscope, and he helped pioneer the use of immediate sales, wherein certain pieces are sold directly after his Fashion Week presentations. Indeed, J.W. Anderson’s designs have the look of leisure wear from some Mars-bound space craft—modular, sleek, and reminiscent of footy pajamas. But they’re also eminently wearable, like a cashmere sweater with a loop of canary yellow latex encircling the waist. Back in August, he tweeted, “New Studio. New life. New me. New you.” Above all, the future through Anderson’s eyes looks like a lot of fun. —Megan Conway. Photo by Matthew Eades. 

THE NEW ACTION MAN: LUKE EVANS

Luke Evans

Before glimpsing a single paycheck, every actor dreams of being christened “a rising star.” It’s a universally acknowledged stamp of industry approval, and more often than not, a prelude to big money. But for Luke Evans, whose star is undoubtedly rocketing skyward, the label is losing its luster. “I’m wondering how long it’s going to last,” says the 32-year-old Welsh actor, “because I find it quite funny. How long can you stay ‘rising’?”

In Evans’ case, not much longer. For starters, he has been working since his early twenties, leading the 2002 West End production of Boy George’s musical, Taboo. He’d eclipsed 30 when he scored his first film audition, thanks to casting directors who took notice of his focused and sensitive performance in Peter Gill’s Donmar Warehouse production of Small Change. “It wasn’t me searching out movies, it just sort of happened,” Evans recalls. “I was very content working in the theater. It’s where I learnt my craft.”

Then, quite suddenly, he morphed into an action star. In October, he appeared as Aramis, one of the titular swashbucklers in Paul W. S. Anderson’s chop-socky thriller The Three Musketeers, and three weeks later, as a vengeful Zeus in Tarsem Singh’s phantasmagorical myth redux, Immortals. This March, he’ll travel as inspector Emmett Fields to 19th-century Baltimore, where he’ll help John Cusack’s Edgar Allan Poe track a serial killer in –The Raven. “I’m not quite sure how it happened, to be honest,” Evans says of his macho screen personas. “I never thought this Welsh boy who liked to sing would end up doing action roles.”

Over the next year, he will jet back and forth to New Zealand, where Peter Jackson is shooting consecutive films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Evans will play Bard the Bowman, the eagle-eyed archer. The last time Jackson put a bow and arrow into the hands of a dashing young Brit, the Brit became the global star known as Orlando Bloom. Is Evans worried that The Hobbit will wipe out what remains of his anonymity? “My saving grace is that I live in London,” he says, “where people don’t really give a fuck.” —Ben Barna. Photo by Iain McKell.

THE NEW YOUNG TURK: SHAILENE WOODLEY

Shailene Woodley

Like many 18-year-olds, Shailene Woodley wanted a part-time job. A slender brunette with doe eyes and a bright smile, she was living in New York for a few months with her then-boyfriend when she agreed to fold cardigans and placate hipsters at an American Apparel outpost. Unlike most people her age, though, she already had a full-time gig back home in L.A.

She was the star of ABC Family’s earnest teen soap, The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

“None of my coworkers knew I was an actor,” she says. (No doubt because the show caters more to Beliebers and Twi-hards than downtown scenesters.) “And thank God, because I didn’t want them to know. There’s such a weird, preconceived image of what an actor is, and I didn’t want anyone to think of me like that.”

On her second day at work, Woodley got a call from her manager asking her to catch a flight to L.A. to meet director Alexander Payne for coffee. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker was casting his next project, an adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel ¬Th Descendants. Months before, Woodley had auditioned for the role of Alex, a combative teenager who helps her father (George Clooney) cope in the wake of a family tragedy. “I was like, ‘Can’t we Skype or something?’” she says. “I made a commitment at American Apparel, and I didn’t want to let my bosses down.” In the end, better sense prevailed and Woodley faked the flu to meet with Payne, who told her she was his first choice to play the part. Three months later, she was in Hawaii, where the film is set, meeting George Clooney at the first table read.

Alex may hit the bottle and lash out at her father, but Woodley insists she’s nothing like her rebellious on-screen persona. Now 20, she drinks clay each morning to detoxify and dreams of owning an organic farm. “I didn’t do drugs or drink in high school, and I don’t say words like ‘twat’ on a daily basis,” she con cedes. She will admit to falling for Clooney’s fabled charm, though. “He’s a superhuman,” she says. “He’s won at life.” Even so, she found herself more impressed by the Aloha State’s scenery. “The second I landed, I was like, ‘This is home.’ My body’s in L.A., but my heart is in Hawaii.”

Don’t be surprised to find her working there one day, coaxing vegetables from the soil. “When it comes to health,” she says, “I’m an extremist.” —BB. Photo by Jesse Dittmar.

THE NEW SONGSTRESS: GRIMES

grimes

Claire Boucher has big plans for her audiovisual alter ego Grimes. “I just want to make a really fucking solid piece of art,” says the self-described curator of culture, who just wrapped a tour opening for Lykke Li. “I want everything about it to be really thought-out and constructed. It’s not just music, it’s an entire production.”

Once a fixture on the DIY scenes in Montreal and New York, the headstrong 23-year-old now finds herself performing in major venues across North America and Europe. With four albums in just two years, she’s on something of a tear—she even designs the covers—but her latest, Visions, is the result of near-monastic introspection. “I locked myself in my room for three or four weeks, blacked out my windows, and barely slept or ate. I was full-on hallucinating and going crazy.” What she emerged with, she says, is “an idealized version of life filtered through my brain.”

Grimes looks like a rogue pixie. Petite and badass with an array of colors flowing through her hair, she peppers her conversation with fantastic one-liners (“I want to work on completely removing any self-censorship when I’m on stage”). Her music is far more difficult to describe, which is just how she likes it. She draws inspiration from a broad spectrum—Enya to Timbaland—and prides herself on mixing it up. “It’s about anti-genre. There’s no taboo reference. The more distasteful, the better.”

What is it that drives her? A little thing called the apocalypse, which she predicts is on the way. “I just want to have as much experience as I can before that happens,” she says. “I don’t care about accomplishing shit, I just want to experience pleasure and pain to the utmost. Being a musician will give you that.” —DD. Photo by Marley Kate.

GRIMES LIKES: Vanessa’s Dumpling House, NYC

THE NEW TALK SHOW HOST: MIKE O’BRIEN

mikeobrien

Ellen DeGeneres, Christina Ricci, and Tracy Morgan are just a few of the famous faces that Mike O’Brien has lured into a nondescript closet on 59th Street in Manhattan, besieged with nonsensical questions, and then tried to kiss. That’s the basic premise of 7 Minutes in Heaven, an irreverent and inventive web series named after the hormonal make-out game.

When the cast of Saturday Night Live rushed off to vacation this summer, 35-year-old O’Brien and fellow writer Rob Klein found themselves in need of a creative outlet. Naturally, they turned to the internet. “We had three ideas,” says O’Brien. “One was a series of online how-to videos that always go awry, the other was about a character—half-human, half-giraffe—who’s a stand-up comedian in New York, and the third one was an interview series where I try and kiss people.” SNL patriarch Lorne Michaels, whose production company had agreed to fund the project, encouraged the duo to run with that last concept—in part because it was the cheapest to produce.

Klein chose to direct. That left O’Brien to be the host. At first, he says, his guest wish-list was a little quixotic. “People laughed at me, because it was like Oprah, Shaq, and Bill Clinton.” Would the comedian, who got his start on the Chicago improv circuit, have the stones to put the moves on the 42nd President of the United States? “Absolutely,” he says. “He’d be the easiest to kiss, right?”

Today the show relies on a hodgepodge of Studio 8H bedfellows and celebrities who traffic in quirk and self-mockery. The most-watched episode features Kristen Wiig. To bag Amy Poehler, O’Brien decided to accost her at her own birthday party.

The star factor is what entices viewers to watch, he admits, but like any talk show, 7 Minutes in Heaven lives and dies with its host. O’Brien deploys playfulness and unpredictability to disarm his guests. “I feel a little uncomfortable in almost all the interviews,” he says. “I’ve definitely offended people.” Case in point: The time he asked model Selita Ebanks, “Would you describe yourself as actually a guy?” In the end, though, Mike O’Brien’s great appeal is that he’s harmless, the kind of fellow with whom you wouldn’t mind being trapped in a closet.—BB. Photo by Jesse Dittmar.

MIKE LIKES: Fatty Crab, NYC

THE NEW REBEL: EZRA MILLER

ezra

Tall and lanky, Ezra Miller fairly vibrates with energy. In the course of a few hours in Washington Square Park, he croons “Ziggy Stardust” to a small black dog, shares a rollie with a man messed up on PCP, and ropes a particularly outré busker into competing in a sort of freeform jumping jack duel. The 19-year-old actor can talk a blue streak, too, so it’s a good thing he’s whip smart. “I would just caution all factions of industry,” he says. “Don’t give a crazy, radical person like me stardom, because I will use it on all the things you’re most afraid of.”

This stoner-philosopher from New Jersey shares nothing in common with the Ezra Miller who appears in We Need to Talk About Kevin—except maybe the Garden State itself, where the film is set. (“It was certainly an incredibly boring form of societal existence,” he says of his upbringing.) Miller delivers a chilling performance as Kevin, a disturbed teenager whose antisocial behavior goes haywire. Most of his animosity is directed at his mother, played to strungout perfection by Tilda Swinton. And yet, Miller couldn’t be more fond of Swinton in real life. “She is one of the greatest people alive,” he says. “Like some sort of constant electro-magnetic poly-rhythmic pulsation.”

Born into an artistic family, Miller was an alto-soprano with the Metropolitan Children’s Chorus as a “wee lad of eight.” These days, he drums for a jangly rock band called Sons of an Illustrious Father. His acting credits include City Island and Beware the Gonzo. Up next: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in which his character introduces a Freshman naïf to girls and pot (Miller was arrested for possession while on location in Pittsburgh). Starry-eyed though he may be, Miller seems genuinely committed to la vie boheme. “I made a choice when I was very young: I will make art until I starve in a gutter, like Edgar Allan Poe.”

“Why should artists across society be diluting their processes and compromising their intentions just to fit into civilization,” he adds, “when what really needs to happen is an alteration of civilization?” Just then, a car arrives to whisk him downtown—to the protests for Occupy Wall Street.—Megan Conway. Photo by Alexander Wagner. 

THE NEW POP SAVIORS: ELECTRIC YOUTH

electric youth

When the ultraviolent superhero allegory Drive stormed theaters last fall, the only thing that generated more buzz than Ryan Gosling’s bloodied bomber jacket was the flick’s soundtrack, a collection of ’80s-inspired songs exquisitely attuned to L.A.’s neon underbelly. In one memorable scene, Gosling woos a doe-eyed Carey Mulligan with a spin through a city viaduct while the dreamy, synth-driven ballad “A Real Hero” plays in the background. The song, featuring the Toronto-based pop duo Electric Youth, became the film’s unofficial theme song.

“We had no idea it was going to end the way it did,” says Austin Garrick. “I had a song that was partially written, inspired by a poem that my grandpa wrote about a hero, but I remember thinking, How do I make a song about a hero cool?” As it happens, a French producer named College had an instrumental beat called “A Real Hero,” which he dispatched to Garrick and bandmate Bronwyn Griffin in Toronto with an offer to collaborate.

Stories abound as to how the obscure song—originally released by a small Belgian label in 2009—ended up in the hands of Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn. “All we know is that College was approached by the film’s producers at the end of last year,” says Garrick, reminiscing about the stroke of fortune that changed his life. “We didn’t think much of it. We were just like, cool!”

In short order, the film’s success provided Electric Youth with the kind of boost that only exists in, well, the movies. Today, Garrick and Gri ffin—who also happen to be longtime sweethearts (he asked her out just before high school, when he realized “there would be a lot more competition”)—are on the cusp of releasing their first LP. More eighties pop nostalgia? You bet. “We definitely have a natural pop sensibility,” says Garrick. “We don’t shy away from that at all.” —Daniel Barna. Photo by Adam Beck.

THE NEW CURATOR: CANDICE MADEY

candice madey

In September of 2008, the day before Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Candice Madey opened the doors of her brand new gallery on Orchard Street in New York. Despite the recession that followed, shuttering dozens of art spaces, On Stellar Rays flourished. The experience Madey had earned while working in a museum, an auction house, and the white-washed corridors of Chelsea helped, no doubt. But so did her MBA.

“I’m good at being the liaison between the collector, the institution, and the artist because I’m able to talk to different types of people,” Madey says over iced tea at a nearby café. “Hopefully, the artists are somewhat liberated from worrying about things like price—I’m there to give them the resources they need to make their best work.”

At the moment, the Ohio native represents only seven New York-based artists, all of them “intense, visceral, and extremely intelligent.” Like art-world doyennes Marian Goodman and Paula Cooper, she views her time with each as a decades-long investment. “They’re friends with each other,” she says. “There’s a fantastic dialogue happening.” Zipora Fried, for example, has completed portraits of the gallery’s other artists; Clifford Owens and Maria Petschnig have teamed up on collaborations. “After I feel secure that I’ve accomplished something with these first seven artists,” Madey explains, “I’ll start to think about adding to the program.”

The curatorial rigor she brings to her work is increasingly rare in an era of pop-up galleries and web forums. But Madey’s unwavering dedication is paying dividends. Before vacationing in Ljubljana this August, she was on-call at the Venice Biennale. After that, the Sunday Art Fair in London. When she returned to New York, she produced a show of Owens’ work at PS1, and four On Stellar Rays artists were selected for the MoMA offshoot’s “Greater New York” quintennial exhibition in 2010.

“I really believe the artists I work with are making the next generation of important work,” she says. “If it takes longer for people to understand, then it will just take more time.” —Megan Conway. Photo by Nick D’Emilio.

CANDICE LIKES: Teany, NYC

THE NEW AUSSIE IMPORT: JASON CLARKE

jason clarke

When it comes to Prohibition-era movies made by Australian filmmakers, Jason Clarke appears to have the market cornered. “It’s a weird coincidence,” says the 42-year-old actor of his next two films, John Hillcoat’s The Wettest County in the World and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. “I hadn’t worked with Australians for a long time, but fuck, any time you get to put on some good period clothes and a couple of hats, let’s do it.”

An Aussie himself, Clarke moved to L.A. eight years ago and starred in Brotherhood, a Showtime series about two clashing Irish-American siblings. Though admired by critics, it was ignored by audiences and eventually got the boot. Clarke, who was going to be a lawyer before he enrolled in acting school, responded by padding his resume with minor roles in films such as the Michael Mann gangster odyssey Public Enemies and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The multiplex crowd couldn’t have picked him out of a lineup.

That will change once Wettest County is released. In the film, adapted from a Matt Bondurant book by musician Nick Cave, Clarke plays the oldest of three brothers struggling to keep a bootlegging business afloat. “He’s a very good man, but he’s a very troubled man,” Clarke says. (The younger brothers are played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy.) Clarke’s work in the film was proof enough of his talent to earn him a role as the limp mechanic George Wilson in Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby remake. And make no mistake, the director was looking for talent. The cast includes Leonard DiCaprio in the title role, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Before shooting began, Luhrmann raised eyebrows by announcing that Gatsby would be filmed in 3D. But Clarke promises that watching it will be a uniquely immersive experience.

“You know when you walk into those tunnels that are aquariums and everything is all around you?” he asks. “Behind you, in front of you, underneath you—here, it’s the menu, the bottles, the curtains blowing in the wind. You’ll be as close as you can get without smelling it.” –BB. Photo by Ben Cope. 

THE NEW PERFORMER: XAVIER CHA

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“It’s always been a challenge for me to conceive of a straightforward sculpture or painting,” says Xavier Cha, the Bushwick-based performance artist whose past works have involved a bodysuit carpeted in cornrows, a brobdingnagian-size Horn of Plenty, and a dancing shrimp. “For me, it’s an attraction to the tangibility of space—how objects, people, and ideas expand beyond the physical space they occupy.”

Though mostly raised in Dallas, Cha was born in Los Angeles, the city where she returned to cut her artistic teeth by transforming performers—herself included—into human advertisements (note the dancing shrimp). A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, she presented her first gallery show at New York’s Taxter and Spengemann in 2006. In a smart riposte to the strictures of her field, she invited performers of all stripes—strippers, jazz musicians, opera singers—to join her in an unhinged, ’60s-style happening. In the same space three years later, she merged satellite pictures of Saturn’s rings with spa imagery “to speak to the sterile spirituality or ‘zen’ that’s often associated with treating yourself,” she says.

Last summer, for her show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, she outfitted performers she’d selected with a camera rig called the Doggicam Bodymount (though distinct, it shares much in common with the SnorriCam, a favorite of horror movie directors)—the lens pointed directly at the face of each performer as he or she moved individually about the museum’s lobby. The resulting footage was screened while the next performer saddled up.

“When I experience something powerful, especially in film, literature, music, or dance, there’s a specific feeling of heart-wrenching emptiness, of being a thin cold hollow shell, like your being has been sucked out, or falls out from beneath you into a black hole,” she says when I ask what it is she hopes to communicate with her art. “Not to be dark, but I love when things make me feel like this. I hope to make others feel it to some degree. It’s like being reset.”

With performance art on a steady climb—historically, the genre has thrived in tough economic times—Cha is eager to keep busy. “I have future performances brewing, just awaiting the opportunity and funding to produce them,” she says. “I guess I just need to remember how potentially powerful and influential one person can be—and to always enjoy.” —MC. Photo by Nick D’Emilio.

XAVIER LIKES: Tandem Bar, NYC

THE NEW NOVELIST: ROBIN SLOAN

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“I’ve always been interested in systems,” says Robin Sloan, whose nominal day job involves media outreach for Twitter. “I’m interested in change, new things—and though I was studying economics and philosophy in college, I got interested in the system of journalism.” That interest led him from the Poynter Institute media think tank to Current TV to Twitter—and ultimately to his first novel. “I actually started writing fiction because I was jealous of friends who were putting out short stories on Amazon’s Kindle,” he explains. Sloan’s fascination with the device might have sparked his desire to create, but a fateful tweet turned him down the path of pure inspiration.

It all began with Rachel Leow, a formidable academic intellectual and prolific Tweeter, who in 2008 typed, “just misread ‘24hr bookdrop’ as ‘24hr bookshop’. the disappointment is beyond words.” This struck Sloan as perfect fodder for a story, which led to “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” a long post on Sloan’s personal website that he says is still far and away the most popular piece of narrative he’s published. (You can read it on your Kindle, of course.) A mannered mélange of magical realism, the story tracks a down-on-his-luck technocrat as he takes a night-shi ft job at the titular bookstore, gradually adapting to its strange environments and bizarre characters.

What happened next was totally unexpected. An editor Sloan knew at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux expressed an interest in transforming “Penumbra” into a non-irtual, tangible-object book, which will land on shelves later this year. (¬The storied publishing house of T.S. Eliot and Flannery O’Connor apparently has no reservations about tweet-to-book deals.) For his part, Sloan had no trouble stretching the simple premise to fill the larger stage of a novel. In fact, he’s eager to get to work on something new. “Right now,” he says enthusiastically, “is the most exciting time to be a novelist.” —Chris Mohney. Photo by David Fenton.

ROBIN LIKES: Burma Superstar, SF

THE NEW HOLLYWOOD: BORDERLINE FILMS

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The three bearded founders of Borderline Films, Antonio Campos, Josh Mond, and Sean Durkin, can’t seem to agree on the exact moment their movie Martha Marcy May Marlene became a Sundance knockout. A spellbinding psychodrama about a young woman trying to readjust to society after fleeing a cult, it is best known for introducing the world to Elizabeth, the younger Olsen sister. But Fox Searchlight, which bought the rights to Martha at the festival, didn’t cough up $1.6 million for just a performance; Borderline went on to sign a two-year production deal with the company. “I think it’s once we walked out of the theater after the premiere,” says Mond. “I don’t think so,” counters Durkin, who wrote and directed the film. “It’s when Searchlight called.” But Campos sides with Mond, his fellow Martha producer. “I feel that during that screening, there was something different in the air.”

The outcome remains the same: these three longtime friends have cracked the Hollywood code. All in their late 20s, they met at New York University film school eight years ago and have been collaborating on each other’s projects ever since. “We’re not jetting around L.A., taking a bunch of meetings,” says Campos, who wrote and directed Simon Killer, the trio’s next effort. But that’s not to say they’re immune to the windfalls of success. For one, they can now pay their rent on time. “It was bad living month-to-month, day-to day,” says Mond.

According to all three, the key to their success is each other. The rule goes, whoever isn’t behind the camera must produce. It’s a model espoused in film school, but not always practiced. “In terms of rotating roles and positions, that’s your basic filmmaking class,” says Mond. “In school, we all go through a very self-centered and insecure period, but people need to lean on one another more, because you can’t navigate through this industry, and through your own creative mind, alone.”

While the leap from struggling filmmakers to Oscar contenders might seem miles wide, they insist the steps between were taken incrementally. “People think we haven’t been making movies for eight years,” says Campos. “Everything that’s happened so far has just been one tiny step up after the other,” adds Durkin. “This is very much the next step.” —BB. Photo by Alexander Wagner.

THE BORDERLINE GUYS LIKE: Cafe Colette, NYC

THE NEW LADYSHIP: EDITH ZIMMERMAN

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How do you follow a fling with Captain America? Edith Zimmerman certainly raised a few eyebrows with her remarkably candid GQ profile of superhero actor Chris Evans, which detailed some highly charged interpersonal chemistry that found its way into the tabloids (she denies that anything really intimate happened). But Zimmerman is best known for leading the masthead at The Hairpin, a website that explores pop culture from a female perspective. Increasingly popular with readers of all genders, the site is worth visiting as much for the deadly accuracy of its wit (“Women Laughing Alone with Salad”) as for its next-level approach to stereotypical women’s topics (Jolie Kerr’s earnestly postmodern column on housecleaning).

In person, Zimmerman, who has also penned articles for Esquire, New York, Heeb, and the Huffington Post, is surprisingly self-effacing. As an Esquire intern just a few short years ago, she never envisioned taking the reigns of a popular website. “I had no idea about anything,” she says. “I just saw myself in some cool office at a desk, my hands typing da-da-da-da, being a writer somehow.” Now she’s charged with publishing 15 provocative items a day for The Hairpin (conceived by the folks behind The Awl, a mothership of sorts for smart young writers). “I was just afraid of embarrassing myself. They gave me a few pointers, but for the most part they didn’t give me much help, which at first was incredibly scary,” she says. “But I’m really grateful for that. If I had been waiting for everyone’s approval, it wouldn’t have given me the confidence to put it together.”

Now that the site has become a mustread, Zimmerman is looking ahead. “The next step is to come up with a cool new concept,” she muses. “Each year, it’s a different thing I didn’t even imagine existed.”—CM. Photo by Nick D’Emilio.

EDITH LIKES: The Brooklyn Inn, NYC

THE NEW BOY WONDER: ASA BUTTERFIELD

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“Marty is a really amazing director,” says Asa Butterfield. It’s certainly not a statement—or a level of informality—most 14-year-olds would employ when discussing Hollywood gray eminence Martin Scorsese, who cast the young actor in the 3D adventure movie Hugo. But as anyone versed in fantastical children’s fictions already knows, Butterfield is no ordinary boy.

With his elfin looks and a talent belying his years, he practically bounded to stardom straight from the stage at the Young Actors Theatre in London. He’s well-known for his wrenching turn as Bruno, the son of a German SS officer, in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and for his work in the beloved Nanny McPhee franchise. How is it working alongside the likes of Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins? “After the first day of filming,” he says, “you don’t think about them as celebrities, just as friends.”

To his credit, Butterfield, who was recently cast as the lead in the sci-fi epic Ender’s Game, recognizes the unique nature of his position. “Being an actor does give me the opportunity to do and see things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” he concedes. “Come to think of it, I’m like Hugo.” That would be Hugo Cabret, the orphan Butterfield plays in Scorsese’s film. He secretly lives in the walls of a Paris train station, emerging only to get tangled up in a grand romp with costars Ben Kingsley and Chloë Mortez. Working with Marty—known for his ability to handpick pint-sized actors destined to become full-fledged stars (Jodie Foster, Juliette Lewis)—bodes well for Butterfield. Though still young, the cobalt-eyed comer is looking forward to “playing characters that have a bit more world experience. If anyone wants to make Young Bond,” he says. “I’m your guy.” —Hillary Weston. Matt Holyoak.

The Dish: Fatty Crab’s Chili Crab

What: Chili Crab with crab, chili sauce, and white toast Where: Fatty Crab, Zak Pelaccio’s tiny, sometimes loud, and overtly hip West Village/Meatpacking Malayasian cuisinery. Ideal meal: When you’re craving some spice in your life and a strong cocktail to wash it down. Low lighting makes for an intimate vibe, but not a perfect date spot if you’re looking to get in some good convo. Because: It’s a hands-on meal—crab cracking necessary, but the payoff is outstanding. You’ll feel like you deserve it. Tastes like: The combination of sweet and spicy in the chili is sent straight from sauce heaven. And the crab, well, crab is always good once you get down to it. Bottom line: Market Price, and right now that means $50. Worth it if you can split with your dining companions. It is family style, after all.

Photo: Doug Schneider Photography

Winter Warrior: Greenpoint Coffee House’s Stellar New Menu

A while back, New York magazine profiled the Greenpoint Coffee House with the backhanded compliment that it “remains the best place to get a decent cup of coffee in Greenpoint, but it falls short of being a dining destination.” We’re here to tell you that’s no longer accurate. With a renewed commitment to quality eats, the GPCH has elevated itself to destination dining status, its rebirth the work of one man. Earlier this summer, we profiled local chef Jonathan Meyer (he lives across the street) whose experimentation behind the grill turned t.b.d.‘s beer garden into the perfect getaway on a balmy Brooklyn night. It turns out Meyer is a man of all seasons, transforming GPCH into a cozy hub for winter comfort food to go along with its steaming pots of coffee.

Don’t be fooled by the “Est. 2003” emblazoned on the storefront window. The mahogany wainscoted interior with tin ceilings and majestic oak bar call back to a time when the nearby docks were still teeming with shipbuilders and headlines announced allied advances across the Atlantic. And the food is just as transporting. Meyer, who chopped and braised in the kitchens at Fatty Crab and Diner, took into account the winter weather when renovating the menu. “We aim for developed, robust flavors. We’ll be doing a lot of roasting and braising, and we’ll serve plenty of pasta, beans and polenta,” says Meyer. “We’ll use more brown butter and red wine, and reach for more assertive, warmer spices and herbs.”

Last summer, unbeknownst to him, Meyer was being watched. The managers at GPHC must have read the Nymag profile and decided it was time to legitimize their menu. After seeing the creative flourishes he brought to old standbys like corn on the cob (basting it in apple butter) and banh mi sandwiches (homemade pork sausages) they were convinced he was the man for the job. He was losing his job to the increasing frigidness of Mother Nature, and leapt at the opportunity to impose his vision of humble, recognizable, and affordable food with the best ingredients available on a blank slate kitchen. “We don’t use luxury ingredients like say, rare fish or expensive cuts of meat. Instead, we try to cook attentively and carefully. Everyone who works in this kitchen cooks because they love cooking, and places a premium on producing food they can be proud of,” says Meyer.

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Food they can be proud of includes one of the best new burgers in Brooklyn. Featuring a thick, flavorful natural beef patty from Painted Hills in Oregon, it’s cooked to perfection on a cast iron pan (Meyer’s improv in a grill-less kitchen) and topped with grafton cheddar, and sandwiched between a fluffy bun from Amy’s. The result is extremely satisfying ($11). Another standout winter combatant is Meyer’s crispy buttermilk fried chicken with apple cider Glaze, and a house-made buttermilk biscuit ($14). Spaghetti and meatballs ($13), mac & cheese ($9) and this week, a Rueben sandwich with house-made corned beef is also available. As part of the brunch menu, Meyer offers up among other staples, hearty omlette with caramelized onions, manchego, and house-made chorizo ($11).

To compliment with these proven favorites, Meyer’s constantly-changing menu offers up more unusual fare. Squash, pumpkin and apple soup with brown butter, crème fraiche and nutmeg; chicken liver crostini with Lillet, pickled black currants, and beet greens; sirloin steak with salsa Verde, fries and a watercress and watermelon radish salad. “We don’t follow a particular rubric,” says Meyer. “Our menu is determined by the products available to us each week.” His staff is a rag-tag group of passionate cooks. Meyer and his resident pastry chef Will Griffin met at the memorial service of a mutual ex-girlfriend, who was killed last summer in a bike accident. Meyer asked Will to join him at GPCH, who accepted the offer and relocated to Brooklyn. Ben Flanner runs the rooftop farm in Greenpoint over the summer, and has decided to cook with Meyer until the spring, when he’ll return to farming. And John Petry, the resident butcher is also a sous-chef at the Fatty Crab. The union of their sensibilities and passion for food is what makes the food here so special. You can taste the love.

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Greenpoint Coffee House, 195 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY, 718-349-6635

Industry Insiders: Alan Linn, Members Only Fellow

Alan Linn created a home for the art world by hand picking every piece inside Norwood, his West Village private members-only club. An artist himself, Linn got his B.A. and M.A. at Royal College of Art in London and started his career working at local bars, but fell in love with New York. Lucky for him, a group of New Yorkers have since fallen in love with Norwood. Once a month, Linn selects random members to sit for dinner and hopes that Norwood’s legacy will be the projects that are inspired there. Everything from movie screenings to band performances occur under Norwood’s roof and spontaneous jam sessions take place regularly. (You might also be surprised to see which rock star comes in to play the piano every now and then). A chat with Linn after the jump.

How did your start in the hospitality business? I got a bar job just to pay bills and carry on being a painter after university. I worked at Andrew Edmonds restaurant in Soho, London, which is a real institution. I also worked at The Groucho Club. In the ‘80s and ‘90s it was a big hangout for artists like Damien Hirst. I worked there for about six months and left to run a members only club called Blacks. Joe Strummer and Kate Winslet would come in there. It was quite wild. I was there for 12 years.

How’d you make it across the pond? I fell in love with a New Yorker. I’m a gay man so I couldn’t come here officially by getting married, so I decided to open a business in New York. Although, it probably seems naïve to think I could just come to New York and open something that would be successful.

Still together? Yes, still together.

Do you have any partners in Norwood? Steve Ruggi is my business partner, and he was a founding member of Blacks. He knew I wanted to do this and his wife is a New Yorker and art critic for Art Forum in London as well. Steve had been a documentary filmmaker and then went into finance. It was a good match all around.

How did the business come together? It was day or two of looking at spaces. It was very important to me to have a house. A house makes people relax, and I love the idea that this is a house for the arts. I wanted to create a place where people actually looked each other in the eye and talked to each other and had a commonality of being creative and being curious. We’re still focused on being interested in people and seeing what we can develop.

How big is the 14th Street space? This house is 9000 square feet and 6 floors.

And you found it on day two of looking? There’s been a lot of serendipity with this project from the start. The outside of the building is landmarked. We preserved the interior, just bringing it to code. It’s one of the best townhouses in America. It has reverse staircases and solid silver handles on the mahogany doors and a marble fireplace.

Who belongs to Norwood? Our demographic is from the ages of 21 to 101. One member is a young writer who comes on his skateboard while others are people at the highest level of their careers. This is a club for New Yorkers. We only just began taking members from outside New York. We wanted to be established as a strong arts club for New York.

Who were the first members? The founding members were cherry picked from many different worlds. It was very important to me to have a good mix. We had the connections. It was two years getting the project together and now we’re two years open. We started with 300 members and are just over a thousand now.

How do you compete with Soho House? It is not about competition. It’s if people like what we offer.

Do you have sister clubs? If you’re a member here, you’re a member of The Ivy and The Groucho Club in London, as well as the Spoke Club in Toronto. Those are our affiliations, and helped in how we branded ourselves.

What was the inspiration for the interior? Simon Costin designed our interiors. We wanted it to seem that when you walk in the door, you’re somewhere else. It was very important to have a fragrance for the club so that if you were away the smell would bring you back. We go to flea markets every weekend looking for things for Norwood.

Plans for 2010? We’ll be opening a new dining room on the second floor. Andrew D’Ambrosi from Top Chef is our chef. We also want to eventually start a foundation to fund various art projects.

Who are your favorite artists? Francis Bacon, Henry Darger and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

What are your go-to places? Diner in Brooklyn, Fatty Crab, Basta Pasta, Boom Boom Room. I love hotel bars like at The Carlyle. Always great service.