Trump, Bernie, George Clooney & Charlie Chaplin: A Curious Convergence

“Modern Times © Roy Export SAS”

Charlie Chaplin, without question, was one of the most polarizing figures in American history. Born into a creative but mostly poverty-stricken family in South London in 1889, he parlayed early vaudevillian success into a lucrative contract with the New York Motion Picture Company in 1913. As history has it, he went on to become one of the few most influential performers and filmmakers of the 20th Century. And just as a new museum, Chaplin’s World, opens in Switzerland, his career seems to have some fascinating parallels with the current political situation in America.

He was at the height of his powers as America was plunged into the Great Depression—and his immensely successful 1931 film City Lights, with its unique, poignant mix of comedy and pathos, resonated deeply with a public living through such disconcerting times. By the time the groundbreaking industrial parody Modern Times was released in 1936, he had become a so-called “left-wing” activist…and thusly caught the suspicion of the sinister, crusading FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover as something of an agitator. In other words, Chaplin turned out to be on the wrong side of the socio-political zeitgeist.

Modern_Times_1936 ©Roy Export SAS (2)

“Modern Times © Roy Export SAS”

The_Great_Dictator_1940 w Jack Oakie© Roy Export SAS (15)

“The Great Dictator © Roy Export SAS”

Monsieur_Verdoux_ 1947 © Roy Export SAS (6)

“Monsieur Verdoux © Roy Export SAS”

But perhaps most shockingly, especially with such hindsight as we now have at our disposal, his brilliant, incisive 1940 Nazi satire The Great Dictator actually won him the ire of the American establishment. The US was still considered “at peace” with Germany, and Chaplin’s stingingly sardonic mockery of hard-right fascism was somehow taken as sure evidence of his communist sympathies (treason, as they say, is often just a matter of bad timing). Ironically, the Soviet Union would, of course, ally with America to defeat Hitler—only for the two to become superpower enemies again after the war. As for Charlie, the bad press from a paternity suit with actress Joan Barry, as well as his poorly received capitalist critique Monsieur Verdoux, ultimately made him persona non grata in his adopted home.

And so as he boarded the HMS Queen Elizabeth with his family on September 18, 1952, bound for the London premier of his magnificent, semi-autobiographical film Limelight, his re-entry permit was revoked by US Attorney General James McGranery. Chaplin, wife Oona O’Neill and their children then settled into the small but picturesque Swiss town of Corsier-sur-Vevey, never to return to America.

A museum dedicated to the legendary filmmaker, Chaplin’s World, opened last month at his renovated Swiss estate, Manoir Le Bain. It features fascinating personal effects, film set re-creations, interactive exhibits and enough career-spanning photos to keep fans and admirers riveted for hours.

Chaplin's World™ © Bubbles Incorporated_manoir_233

Chaplin's World™, Corsier-s-Vevey, Switzerland, © 2016 Marc Ducrest for Bubbles Incorporated

Above images courtesy of Chaplin’s World

But the timing of the opening could not have come with greater social and political puissance. We have a Republican presidential frontrunner whose hate-filled rhetoric sounds an awful lot like that of the fascist upstarts of the 1930s that had so alarmed Chaplin (who was said to have kept his Jewish identity a secret for realpolitik reasons); another current presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, has been effectively marginalized as a “socialist” merely for shining a light on the terrible inequities wrought by the vagaries of unchecked global capital markets.

Further fueling the tension, Jodie Foster’s much buzzed about, Wall-Street-castigating film Money Monster arrives in theaters this weekend. Its star, George Clooney, has arguably followed a Chaplin-like trajectory, devoting his later career not to syrupy romcoms, but to more weighty films that face down the many and sundry systemic corruptions of our 21st Century reality.

Chaplin, above all, wanted to make people laugh, and to offer them a bit of ephemeral escape. But he also passionately hoped his films would make us think about our shared humanity, and perhaps then just be that much more vigilant as to its vulnerability to the forces of venality and greed.

As a crucial American presidential election unfolds, then, what better time to revisit the unparalleled cinematic legacy of Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin?

City_Lights_1931 ©Roy Export SAS

“City Lights © Roy Export SAS” 

The Sexiest Leading Men Alive

Invigorate your life and wardrobe by shopping the debonair and seductive style of cinema’s sexiest leading men with help from our ebay collection.

Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love

Get Ryan Gosling’s suave and stylish look in Crazy, Stupid, Love with an eccentric yet refined Ermenegildo Zegna jacket, classic Ralph Lauren shades, and sophisticated Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords.

Ryan Gosling

Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Take inspiration from Brad Pitt’s effortlessly cool and alluring style in Mr. and Mrs. Smith with black patent leather Versace loafers, sleek Oliver Peoples sunglasses, and a clean, white Calvin Klein Oxford shirt.

Brad Pitt

Jon Hamm in Mad Men

Go retro and get Jon Hamm’s 1960s Mad Men look with accoutrements like a sterling silver tie clip, Madison Avenue whiskey glasses, and a vintage amber ashtray.

Jon Hamm

George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven

Look to George Clooney’s sexy and chic Ocean’s Eleven style for inspiration and outfit yourself in Persol polarized sunglasses, a timeless Giorgio Armani watch, and a dashing Tom Ford silk bow-tie (best left untied).

George Clooney

Leonardo DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street

Go yacht-casual and get Leonardo DiCaprio’s preppy and polished summer look in Wolf of Wall Street with a vintage Tag Heuer watch, Ray Ban Tortoise Boyfriend shades, Gucci leather loafers, and a classic Prada belt.

Leonardo DiCaprio 

Johnny Depp for Dior and 10 Other Ad Campaigns Featuring Hot Older Celebs

Johnny Depp courtesy of Dior

From David Bowie for Louis Vuitton to John Stamos for Dannon Greek yogurt, 10 campaigns featuring hot older celebs we love.

Johnny Depp — there’s a face we don’t see enough. For the first time, the actor has signed on as the face of a fragrance, and Dior is the house lucky enough to take him on. The scent, the house’s first of its kind in ten years, is composed by Dior perfumer François Demachy and is due out in September, closer to when the name and campaign will be revealed.

But enough about the fragrance, at least until closer to launch…we’re excited about Johnny Depp for Dior, and it’s making us want to take a look back at the other hot celebs featured in campaigns. Yes, ladies like Cher and Joan Didion have been in the spotlight as of late, but the guys have always been around. So it’s time to take a minute to appreciate these 10 campaigns featuring our favorite, more mature leading men.

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JUDE LAW FOR DIOR HOMME 

judelaw_dior_blackbook

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GEORGE CLOONEY FOR OMEGA

OMEGA-GBI

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BRAD PITT FOR CHANEL

bradpitt_chanel_blackbook

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JOHN STAMOS FOR DANNON

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DAVID BECKHAM FOR H&M

davidbeckham_hm_blackbook

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DAVID BECKHAM FOR BELSTAFF

davidbeckham_belstaff_blackbook

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DAVID BOWIE FOR LOUIS VUITTON

davidbowie_louisvuitton_blackbook

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ETHAN HAWKE FOR PRADA

ethanhawke_prada_blackbook

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JUDE LAW FOR DUNHILL

judelaw_dunhill_blackbook

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PIERCE BROSNAN FOR OMEGA

piercebrosnan_omega_blackbook

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Brad Pitt for Chanel & Other Random Celebrity-Designer Pairings

In case you missed it, Brad Pitt has been named the new face of Chanel No. 5. The Moneyball actor and man that Angelina Jolie told to put a ring on it now follows in the footsteps of the iconic French fashion house’s previous campaign vets, Nicole Kidman and Audrey Tautou. We know what you’re thinking: Why is Brad Pitt the face of a woman’s fragrance, let alone the most famous fragrance in the world? We’re confused, too. In honor of that, here’s a lighthearted round-up of a few more curious Hollywood-fronted fashion campaigns.

Lindsay Lohan for Phillip Plein

LL

In-between court appearances and that infamous Playboy shoot last year, Lindsay Lohan found the time fly to Italy to shoot a campaign for German designer, Phillip Plein. She does look good, though.

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker for London Fog

Parker

Back in 2009, Eva Longoria teamed up with her husband at the time, Tony Parker, for an unexpected shoot with London Fog. Hollywood couple campaigns are always a tricky thing, and this one was no exception.

George Clooney for Omega Watches

george

We get that George Clooney is a fancy man who wears fancy watches, but this photo is just hilarious. 

Vincent Gallo and G-Star RAW

gallo55

Who knew that indie king Vincent Gallo wore G-Star?

Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’ Looks Like The Scariest Thing Ever

Gravity, director Alfonso Cuarón’s new sci-fi chiller, a follow-up to the ambitious dystopian fable Children of Men, stars Sandra Bullock. Also George Clooney, and some pretty special effects, but mostly Sandra Bullock. Apparently the role—which both Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman backed out of—involves floating in space alone for much of the film’s run time. Embrace your dread of the cosmic beyond with a heart-stopping new trailer below.

Perhaps since it’s such an unusual premise—no aliens, just astronauts dealing with the physics of the universe under exceedingly bad conditions—Warner Bros. has been a bit cagey about this film, which looked in danger of not getting made several times, moving the release from last fall to this October. But for all the rarified plot mechanics it promises, Gravity doesn’t look like it’s made for the academic. Just because the opening take is 17 minutes long doesn’t mean it won’t scare you silly with its balletic grace.  
 
 
An accident hundreds of miles above the planet, and the fight to survive thereafter. Could it be 2001: A Space Odyssey for the adrenaline junkie generation? Or just Open Water among the ring of debris orbiting earth? Either way, we’ve learned to trust Cuarón’s masterful instincts, wherever in the solar system they take us.

This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Stella Barra Opens, George Clooney’s Tequila, & The Coen Brothers

WEDNESDAY: Jeff Mahin’s Stella Barra Opens In Hollywood 
ABC’s The Taste may have been disappointing, but contestant Jeff Mahin’s new pizza joint Stella Barra in Hollywood is redemptive. Expect a bigger menu and plates than his Stella Rossa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica, in addition to handmade pastas. The 120-seat restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While you won’t find a wood-fire grill, Chef Mahin is all about perfecting his popular dish: burrata with wood-grilled grapes. That’s good enough for us.

Stella Barra (6372 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood) opens on Wednesday the 8th. To make a reservation, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

MONDAY: George Clooney, Tequila, & Four Seasons
In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, The Spa at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has partnered with ultra-premium Casamigos Tequila, owned by longtime friends George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Meldman. Until May 12th, guests can choose from two exclusive Punta Mita treatments and enjoy the Casamigos Reposado Tequila either topically in the treatments or served in a margarita afterward. We say go for both.

The Punta Mita Casamigos Tequila promotion is available May 5th to 12th and based on availability at The Spa at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (300 S. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills). To make a reservation, visit the Four Seasons listing at BlackBook Guides.

MONDAY: The Coen Brothers (Sorta) At Rockwell LA
It’s not often you make it out to Los Feliz, but we’ll give you two good reasons: Coen. Brothers. For The Record—a fusion of theater, community and supper club—Rockwell L.A. brings the directors’ movies to life in a 360-degree live, theatrical concert experience, featuring O Brother, Where Art ThoughFargoHudsucker Proxy and The Big Lebowski.

For the Record at Rockwell L.A. (1714 Vermont Ave., Los Feliz) runs until May 19. To book tickets, visit their web site. For more information on Rockwell, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Know every inch of this city by visiting BlackBook’s L.A. City Guides

George Clooney’s New Tequila Is Actually Quite Delicious

Celebrities. They’re so good at, well, being celebrities, with the acting and the smiling and the making people like them, but when they step out of that realm, the results can be mixed. Celebrity-owned restaurants have flopped, celebrity-designed clothing lines have been mocked, celebrity-driven charities have been exposed as farces. And yet they keep at it, because you’ve got to do something with your spare time. And so actor and humanitarian George Clooney has come out with a tequila which people will no doubt buy just because of his involvement, regardless of its quality. It’s called Casamigos, and I tasted it last night while watching celebrities celebrating themselves at the Oscars. But here’s the thing about George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila: It’s excellent.

I’m not surprised, because he partnered with the right people to make it. Casamigos is a group effort, with Clooney hooking up with his longtime pal Rande Gerber, who owns the Gerber Group of bars (Whiskey Blue, Stone Rose, Lilium, etc.) as well as Mike Meldman, founder and CEO of Discovery Land Company. Gerber’s a serious authority on nightlife because his company has been successful at creating sleek and stylish bars, often found in W Hotels, that remain popular for the long term, while other nightlife operators are happy to make a quick hit before packing up and moving on. He’s also Clooney’s neighbor: they own vacation homes adjacent to one another in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The story goes that the two longtime pals loved tequila so much that they decided to make it for themselves, with their initial batches intended to share among family and friends. But the feedback was so positive that they expanded it into a proper enterprise, and now bars and restaurants across the country are beginning to stock Casamigos. Casamigos, which is made from 100% Blue Weber agave, comes in two expressions: blanco, which is the clear stuff, and reposado, which is "rested" in oak barrels for seven months before bottling.

I poured myself a small glass of the reposado as Seth MacFarlane started his monologue and gave it a swirl. It’s a gorgeous, light amber color, and it smells divine, with aromas of sandalwood and vanilla. On the palate it’s pure pleasure: smooth, smokey, and mildly sweet, featuring the vegetal note of the agave without the bitter ick factor found in cheap tequilas. I tasted faint whispers of artichoke and honey, as if the savory and the sweet were doing a sexy dance together. I gave my wife a taste. Her observation was that it tasted like George Clooney, by which I hope she meant it tasted smooth, sophisticated, complex, and fun. 

It’s not Gerber’s first foray into the spirit world. He partnered with Roberto Serralles to launch Caliche rum last year, which is also quite tasty. With Casamigos, he’s building a spirit empire to supply his nightlife empire. Sounds like synergy to me.

Casamigos Blanco has a suggested retail price of $48 a bottle, while Casamigos Reposado goes for an even $50. I’ve tasted tequilas that cost three times that, but they’re nowhere near three times as delicious. Nice job, guys. Maybe we can hang out and drink tequila some time. Those vacation houses in Mexico must have some guest rooms, right?

[Photo: Andrew Macpherson]

[Related: 310-Year-Old Mount Gay Comes Out With a Spiffy New RumGulp Down a Glass of the New Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2002Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna Make Cool Mini-Movie for Chivas Scotch]

There’s Going to Be a ‘Magic Mike’ Sequel

Magic Mike! Ladies love it! Gay guys love it! James Franco loves it! Everybody loves Magic Mike! (I still have not seen it! Whoops!) If that’s not enough exclamation points for you, here are a couple more: There will be a Magic Mike sequel!!!!! More abs! More jock straps! More butts! More of Channing Tatum’s thick neck! It looks like Hollywood is finally doing something right, everyone! 

In a Twitter interview with Glamour U.K., which is apparently a thing (the Twitter interview, not the British Glamour), the movie’s leading meathead confirmed, sort of, that a second stripper film is in the works. "Yes, yes and yes! We’re working on the concept now. We want to flip the script and make it bigger." I can only assume he’s talking about dicks. 

Could a Magic Mike franchise be director Steven Soderbergh’s new Ocean’s Eleven series? With other Soderbergh mainstays Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Matt Damon hop on stage as aging male strippers eager to get back in the game? Will there be a montage in which Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum teach Don Cheadle some hip-hop moves? Oh, please let this happen. 

Afternoon Links: George Clooney Arrested, Neve Campbell Pregnant

● George Clooney and his equally dashing father were both handcuffed and arrested this afternoon outside of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, where they were protesting the brutal and genocidal conditions in south Sudan. [MSNBC]

● ’90s sweetheart Neve Campbell is pregnant with her first child. [People]

First Missy, and now Timbaland has begun staging his own comeback with the bass heavy "Break Ya Back," featuring Dev. 1996, we hear you! [RapRadar]

● Plastic-y British boy band, One Direction, are set to make history next week when they could become the first UK act ever to score a Billboard Number One — something not even the Beatles managed — with their debut album Up All Night. [NME]

● A wise momma-to-be, Snooki figures that pregnancy-induced morning sickness is not so unlike a hangover. Meanwhile, her baby-daddy Jionni promises that, ""We are not going to screw this up.” [NYDN]

● Keith Richards has apologized to Mick Jagger for all the unflattering anecdotes relayed in his memoir, Life. "As far as the book goes, it was my story," he says. "It was very raw, as I meant it to be, but I know that some parts of it and some of the publicity really offended Mick and I regret that." The two can now go on to celebrate The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary in peace. [Reuters]