alexa BlackBook: Flight of Fancy: Why The Wing — NYC’s Buzzy Club Just for Women — is Taking Off


GIVE credit to The Crown for schooling us on the anachronistic culture of gentlemen’s clubs. The show’s depiction of the Thursday Club, of which Prince Philip was a member, is all squeaky chairs and sexual impropriety that reeks of unreconstructed masculinity. But what would a women’s equivalent look like today?

Now we know, thanks to the Wing, an all-female club and co-working space, with branches in New York and DC, that’s responding to the #TimesUp moment by creating a safe environment in which women can network and socialize.

“When we think of a gentlemen’s club or even contemporary social clubs, we imagine these dark places, filled with smoke, taxidermy and dark leather,” explains 30-year-old Audrey Gelman, a former Hillary Clinton press aide, who founded the Wing with Lauren Kassan, also 30. “We wanted to take that idea and turn it on its head.”


Founded by Lauren Kassan (left) and Audrey Gelman (right), amenities at the chain of NYC and DC clubs include colorful libraries, cheery cafes, notable art, lactation rooms and high-profile speakers, including Hillary Clinton.


The results are clean, brightly lit spaces filled with midcentury-modern furniture and amenities including free blowouts and a lactation room. (Not to mention celeb guests like Hillary Clinton herself, who popped by last week for a talk.) The design is “sophisticated, smart and intelligent, but unapologetically feminine,” Gelman tells Alexa.

Whether the best way to respond to gender segregation is with more gender segregation is about to be tested, after the New York City Commission on Human Rights launched a “commission-initiated investigation” into the Wing’s membership policy (which excludes men from joining) last week.

But, as Gelman points out, dedicated women’s spaces are nothing new. “The idea for the Wing was really inspired by the women’s club movement of the 1890s and early 1900s,” she says. “These spaces made a huge impact for women, who could come together and organize during times of political and social change. Here we are, a hundred years later, in another time of change, and we wanted to create a space where contemporary women could do the same.”

She and Kassan aim to cultivate an environment where the aesthetics match their ethos of empowerment. With the help of designer Chiara de Rege and curator Lolita Cros — who fills the locations with works by acclaimed female artists like Marilyn Minter — the two have produced what Gelman calls a mix between “a color-coded women’s college library and the cool Danish apartment of a girl with whom you’d want to be friends.”


The Wing’s just-opened space in Dumbo, Brooklyn, offers members a strictly women retreat, intended to foster female empowerment.


The Wing is more focused on community and inciting a cultural movement than it is on advancing women’s careers — although that’s also a perk for members, who network with one another and learn valuable lessons from a variety of panels and events held at the space.

“The community aspect of the Wing is the heart and soul of it,” says Gelman. “It’s a space where women can get together, make friends and share ideas — then hopefully create some real, tangible change.”


Photos by Bilyana Dimitrova


Lady Gaga Duets With Bon Jovi at Final Clinton Rally

At Hillary Clinton’s last campaign rally last night, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Lady Gaga gave a rousing speech in support of the Democratic nominee, and was joined by Jon Bon Jovi to sing a duet of “Livin’ On A Prayer.” Don’t worry – she also found time to sing “Come to Mama” off of Joanne, although the audio of the recording is faulty.

“She stands before us today proud, like a lady. She’s ready to be President,” Gaga exclaimed with signature ferocity. “And by the way, I know that it is important for this mention too to be spread – that we do not need to hate his followers. If we are true Americans, then we must go from viewing his followers as our adversaries to viewing them as our allies.”

She continued: “What I see in this remarkable woman is that she is ready to restore peace in this country. America is not America without its people. So I say, Hillary Clinton is the one.”

Then, with an electric growl: “Hillary Clinton is made of steel. Hillary Clinton is unstoppable!”

She concluded: “Vote for the candidate that has the heart. It’s an honor, tonight, for me to say, a 30 year old woman from an Italian American immigrant family, that I’m. With. Her!”

Check out Gaga’s speech below, as well as footage of her dueting with Bon Jovi and singing “Come to Mama” – apologies for the audio quality on the last video.

Hey Hillary Clinton, Stop Being So Cool


Have you scrolled through Hillary Clinton’s Instagram account lately? Her profile description reads: “Doting grandmother, among other things.” That’s funny, in an ironic way. The only thing that suggests she might be the first woman running for president is the accompanying hashtag, #hillary2016. Hillary Clinton, you need to stop trying so hard.

Two days ago, Clinton (or more specifically, her social media manager) posted a photo to Instagram of her and Bill in what her middle part and his facial hair suggest to have been taken in the 70s. It’s a good picture, definitely one for the books, but the caption killed it: “The hippest way to spend ten bucks: being one of the first to support #Hillary2016.” The caption is a prime example of Clinton’s campaign to be cool, and as any guy with a manbun will tell you, there’s nothing less hip than acknowledging what’s hip.


The hippest way to spend ten bucks: being one of the first to support #Hillary2016. Chip in at

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on


The point here isn’t to argue that Clinton isn’t cool or to distinguish between what is and what isn’t, but to suggest that Clinton’s efforts are wasted on trying to appeal to the so-called hip demographic — the young, social media-addicted generation. Millennials, who represent the majority of Instagram (and other social media) users, are already on Clinton’s side. A recent survey from Harvard’s Institute of Politics showed that 55 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 29, would rather see a Democrat maintain control of the White House than a Republican take over. On top of that, young adults who identified as Democrats or likely to vote Democrat favor Clinton drastically over other liberal candidates. We like her just the way she is, even though her authentic self is a little stuffy and she has a fondness for pantsuits. She’s “cool” because she supports the issues that we care about and because she’s the first woman to run for president. And also because she has a mom-like persona, and everyone loves a mom.  



Instead of asking her Instagram followers to donate money to her campaign, she should be encouraging them to register to vote. In the 2012 presidential election, the turnout among voters ages 18 to 29 was 45 percent, lower than in 2008, when it peaked at 52 percent. She needs to translate the likes and follows she accrues into voter registration forms and absentee ballots. Rock the vote people, it’s a thing.


Winter Has Come, Along With This Campaign for Catelyn Stark for Secretary of State

In terms of fantasy shows that take place in alternate universes, Game of Thrones is a surprisingly accurate depiction of the American political climate. This is a point the geniuses in Mother Jones‘s video department made during the 2012 election with their Westeros-themed attack ads like "Joffrey Baratheon: Where Is the Birth Certificate?" and "Danaerys Targaryen: Wrong for Dragons, Wrong for the Realm." Now, the election is over and we stil have a little under two sad, wintry months to go before Game of Thrones returns for its third season, which is too long.

But one writer, Jonathan R. Meyers of HBO fan site HBOWatch (not to be confused with Jonathan Rhys Meyers who played Henry VIII on fellow sexy-and-violent cable drama The Tudors), has decided to muddle the political worlds of Westeros and our own, and even though Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was approved as Secretary of State, it didn’t stop Meyers from throwing in a few cents about his perfect candidate: Catelyn Stark, wife of the late Eddard Stark, matriarch of House Stark of Winterfell. Catelyn is a courageous character, fiercely protective of her realm and her family, so a case could definitely be made.

As Meyers writes:

"Lady Catelyn Stark is inarguably a superior candidate for Secretary of State.   She is a highborn Lady of the Riverlands and lives the motto of her house: Family, Duty, Honor; coveted principles all for any of your high counselors.  While many high lords only talk of family values, Lady Stark takes action as she did with her young son when protecting his mind from viewing an execution, nurturing his spirit after he was crippled from a fall, and shielding his body from an assassin’s blade.  A commitment to duty also guides Catelyn Stark.  For the good of the realm, she abandoned her misgivings about her husband’s appointment to Hand, left her youngest sons to warn of a foreign plot, and attended to urgent matters of war and peace rather than be with her own dying father.  Her honor is a thread that weaves through her every thought and deed, and she is a woman who takes her vows and those of others as a sacred pledge to the living, to the old gods, and to the new.  A woman whose very purpose is family, duty, and honor would make an exceptional Secretary of State."
And this whole thing goes on for at least, like, eight more paragraphs, all highlighting concrete evidence from the show. Also, President Obama is referred to as Mr. President, The Second of His Name, King of the Anglos, Lord of the Fifty States, Protector of the Realm," and somehow this is still more palatable than the whole Death Star petition thing. Also, think of the consequences of Catelyn Stark as Secretary of State—the Red Wedding Truthers would be out of control. Also, for your viewing/tiding-until-Season-Three pleasure, one of Catelyn Stark’s finer moments.

Confirmed: About 450 People Want Meryl Streep to Play Hillary Clinton in a Movie

Sometimes I am sad that strangers do not call me on the phone to ask me who I think should play Hillary Clinton in a movie. I am an expert on dream-casting! But let’s be serious: I would never answer my phone, and I bet pollsters don’t leave voicemails. Anyway, it’s clear that I was not one of the 1,179 adults who were asked to pick an actress to play Hillary Clinton in a possible movie about her life. Forty percent of those people said Meryl Streep, duh. But let’s look at the other options: Glenn Close? Ha! Nice try. Susan Sarandon? Do you people have eyeballs that work? Helen Mirren? Yeah, maybe a movie about Hillary on her death bed? Kirsten Dunst? Connie Britton? Who are you people?! [via Politico]

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Linkage: Jesse Tyler Ferguson Supports Illinois Same-Sex Marriage, Emmy Rossum Is Just Too Pretty

Bow-tie enthusiast and Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson stopped by Chicago yesterday to lend his support in the fight for same-sex marriage, the legislation for which may pass in the Illinois General Assembly before the session ends on June 9. Said Ferguson: "A lot of people who were not comfortable with marriage equality … turn on the television and see a show that has a lot of different families in it — and one of those families just happens to be gay. They’re realizing they have a great time watching the show, then they’re watching a gay couple that’s having a lot of the same problems and issues they have. They realize ‘Oh they’re not so different from me.’ And at that point, we’re in their living rooms." [Chicagoist]

South Korean screenwriter Young Il Kim has penned a film titled Rodham about, well, duh. [Politico]

Speaking of questionably titled biopics, jOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher, will close out the Sundance Film Festival and see an April theatrical release. [Deadline New York]

If you were rooting for Lil’ Wayne in your office Worst Tattoo of 2013 pool, it looks like you’re coming out ahead already. [Crushable]

Zooey Deschanel in Glamour: "I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?" Do you, girl! [Jezebel]

EGOT winner Mel Brooks gives some solid advice on how to make all of your creative dreams come true. [Fast Company]

Look, I get that times are tough but if you’re willing to let your boss fart on you then maybe you should just go on unemployment? [The Gloss]

If you expect Kathy Griffin to apologize for trying to perform oral sex on Anderson Cooper during the pair’s annual New Year’s Eve hosting gig, you can, well, suck her dick. [EW]

Emmy Rossum (or, as I like to call her, The Poor Man’s Jennifer Love Hewitt) claims she was almost not even considered for her role in Showtime’s Shameless because she was too pretty. It’s a little early in the year for this, yes? [The Frisky]

"[W]e eagerly await the BuzzFeed post, 10 Reasons We Raised $20M to Write More Things Like “Pretty Japanese Girls React to Drinking Poop Wine.” [Observer]

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Swift Boat Veterans Confirm John Kerry’s Cabinet Nomination

Ha ha ha, just kidding! The vile conservative ex-military group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, widely credited with a successful smearing of 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry’s military service, actually has nothing to do with who is selected to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. When they weigh in on the matter as if their position counts for anything, they’re just making sure that we know that they still (unfortunately) exist.

But, with or without the generous backing of Karl Rove’s reelection machine, weigh in they must. BuzzFeed reports that “Kenneth Cordier, a former POW who appeared in a Swift Boat ad in 2004 and was kicked off President Bush’s campaign because of it” wrote an email that "Pretty much I was hoping that Ms. [Condoleezza] Rice would get the nomination and then they would battle it out in the Senate.” Oh man, hoping Obama would appoint Bush’s Secretary of State? These guys are nuttier than we thought! That’s what a stint in Vietnam will do for you.

What I love most of all, however, is that the Swift Boaters, who were so opposed to an anti-war but decorated veteran in a position of national security, have decided not to launch another slanderous broadside on the man as he ascends to power, despite promising they would back in November. Could it be that they’re all fibbed out? No more money under the mattress? Or maybe they just noticed that under Obamacare, more than half a million veterans will gain health coverage. And you don’t want to rock that (swift) boat.

Sorry Your Screenplay Didn’t Make the 2012 Black List

It’s okay. It’s okay. We know. And you’re right—this was going to be your year. Your script had everything. We loved it! We struggled a bit with the Manic Pixie characters and the scene with the cellist on the subway lost us a bit, and then there was that part you wanted in Claymation with the sea monster, but we believed you when you said it would look cool on the screen. We had faith. Maybe you should take another year with it. Yeah, we know. Well, Rajiv Joseph has a Pulitzer nomination. You won the Lake County Independent Schools Young Authors contest in the eighth grade. It’s okay. Yes, he’s had more grants than you. You know what? Let’s go for a beer and talk this out. Come on. Put your head on my shoulder. There, there.

For those of you who aren’t devastated about your screenplay not making “Hollywood’s” (Hollywood in the most mysterious and hivemind-y sense, too, as hundreds of executives vote) list of the best un-produced screenplays, it hit the web yesterday for you to peruse in its full glory. A couple of the key films on the list have already are sort of in development and even have actors and directors attached, including Jack Paglen’s Transcendence, “An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the Internet and… must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity,” and the top pick, Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s Draft Day:

“On the day of the NFL Draft, Bills General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.”

Joseph has a pretty strong track record for the stage and small screen: his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010. He also wrote for several seasons of Nurse Jackie. Rothman has written humor pieces for The Huffington Post and FunnyOrDie, as well as the in-development feature film Frat Boy, about a child who is abandoned on the lawn of a fraternity house and raised by the brothers, so there’s that. According to IMDb, Kevin Costner was considered at one point for the lead role, with Ivan Reitman (Meatballs) directing. Reitman is listed as a producer of the film.

Going for immediate Oscar bait must have been a theme here, because biopics and “based on true events” stories fared well in the first half of the list. Seuss, Eyal Podell and Jonathan Stewart’s depiction of a young Ted Geisel meeting his wife Helen and writing The Cat In The Hat and Rodham, Young Il Kim’s take on a young Hillary Clinton at the Watergate hearings, both scored high, while further down on the list are The Ballad of Pablo Escobar and Hey, Stella!, which explores Marlon Brando as he as cast as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Adaptations of Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life and John Green’s wildly popular young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars are also present.

This is all well and good, but I think the film that sounds the most promising of the bunch is Tucker Parsons’ Whalemen, in which “The leader of a fourteenth century Scottish whaling village must seek out and do battle with a whale many times larger than any he has ever seen in order to ransom back his son from the occupying English.” It sounds like a strange amalgam of Moby-Dick, Braveheart and Taken, and it could maybe work? Maybe? You could put Liam Neeson in it and you’ve got an instant classic. 

Bloomberg To Hillary Clinton: “All This Will One Day Be Yours”

New York mayor-for-nearly-life Michael Bloomberg, the Times confirmed yesterday, encouraged secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is departing her current post, to run for his position in 2013, insisting that she’d be ideal in the role. Hillary, in rebuffing that advice (threat? offer to pay for a coronation ceremony?) set in motion a Shakespearean political drama.

Because as Hill Clinton “retires” to upstate New York—or maybe Clinton Hill, if she feels like making things extra confusing—Bloomberg will continue to look for someone to back as his successor better than the “Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who cleared a path for his third term by backing a change to the city’s term-limit law.” That kind of dynasty looks pretty shady, no? So he’ll be getting Macbeth-level desperate to secure his legacy and continued power.

Meanwhile, Hillary will be plotting her 2016 run for president on the tail end of Obama’s miraculous economic recovery and realize that she’s going up against Jeb Bush. Who the fuck needs to go to war with the rival clansmen again? At the eleventh hour, the Clintons ride into Manhattan to Bloomberg’s rescue. Together the three of them rule the islands of New York as a sovereign state, a Vatican City of neoliberalism. Heck, they might even decriminalize big sodas. 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.