Local Man Makes Strangers Uncomfy With Yoko Ono-Designed Pants

Our former fearless leader Joshua David Stein may have left BlackBook earlier this fall, but that doesn’t mean we cut ties completely. What’s so weird is that he has yet to mention this video of him modeling those crazy-ass pants designed by Yoko Ono and Opening Ceremony. What’s up with that? (I will go on record and say that it’s probably not because he’s embarrassed, as I’m still convinced it’s impossible for him to experience shame.) If you adore crazy man-on-the-street antics as much as I do, or if you just want to watch old men shoot uncomfortable looks at a thirtysomething’s crotch, this video is for you.

[Via Racked, h/t Jess Misener]

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Two Gorgeous New Books Explore The Unconscious and Inevitable

Sleep, according to those who don’t like to do much of it, is just practice for death. Two terrific new monographs, one from German fashion photographer Jork Weismann and the other by Mexican crime photographer Enrique Metinides, contemplate both the nightly practice for the afterlife and the real thing.

Weismann’s slightly ridiculous book, Asleep at the Chateau, (Damiani, $50) is, predictably, a series of portraits of celebrities asleep at the Chateau Marmont. The Chateau, for those uninitiated into the mysteries of show biz, is a Hollywood hotel where celebrities go to do drugs and contemplate the importance of their lives. It has a nice pool.

The images are pretty and provide insights into the lives of the dozers. Eva Longoria sleeps nude. So does, somewhat less attractively, Purple magazine’s Olivier Zahm. Lizzy Caplan sleeps with her sunglasses on. John Hodgman sleeps with his glasses off. RZA sleeps with a blunt in his hand, and Patti Smith (pictured above) evidently finds James Joyce a snooze.

If sleep is shallow death and celebrities inhabit the shallow depth, 101 Tragedies of Enrique Metinides (Aperture, $50) plumbs more profound pools. Metinides, often called the Mexican Weegee, spent his career photographing crime scenes for Mexican nota roja, the daily papers whose pages drip with victims’ blood. This book consists of 101 of the most striking selections from his gruesome oeuvre.


The slumber from which his subjects suffer was rarely arrived upon gently and never in a less–than–spectacular manner. Perhaps one of the best images—if best can be a word used in connection with human calamity—is the portrait of Adela Legarreta Rivas, a Mexican journalist killed in an automobile accident in 1979. Rivas, the book notes, was on her way to a press conference, her hair and make–up done, when she was struck by a white Datsun.

Many of the other images from the book depict the notably less manicured: Buses aflame, car crash victims impaled, the shot atop the irregular crimson outflow of blood. Most of the images are of the dead, but some, including one Metinides shot in flagrante delicto of a supermarket shootout, push the viewer into the uncomfortable position of feeling awe at the capturing of a moment, admiration of the beauty of it, and horror at the human misery it depicts.

Though Metinides has slowed down with age, a new generation of Mexican photojournalists have had more than enough carnage to capture. There have been 5,037 murders in Mexico so far this year alone. But taken as an unlikely pair, these books drive home the point that death can visit you anywhere; in a car, the street, the supermarket, or even at your suite at the Chateau Marmont.

John Goodman On Being a Cinematic Loudmouth

For nine years, John Goodman appeared to millions of Americans as Dan Conner, Roseanne Barr’s beleaguered husband on the sitcom Roseanne. It is a testament to the breadth and believability of his post-Roseanne roles that nearly a decade of constant exposure hasn’t pinned the actor to that one character specimen. Goodman has brought his heft and range to iconic roles, such as the overbearing Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, the Polyphemus stand-in “Big Dan” Teague in O Brother, Where Are Thou?, and the curmudgeonly studio head with a heart of fool’s gold in The Artist. In Robert Zemickis’ Flight, one of the three movies Goodman stars in this season, the actor plays Harling Mays, a man whose personality, like that of many of Goodman’s characters, is expansive to the point of offensive and, although perhaps not good, always loveable. We asked Mr. Goodman to describe the process of becoming Mr. Mays.

My character is an oaf. He has no sense of his surroundings. He’s pretty much wrapped up in his own head, so he just stumbles around. I picture him banging off the walls of the corridor wherever he is. He’s like a medicated bear on both stimulants and tranquilizers. In that shot you’ve got there, he’s listening to the Rolling Stones. “Sympathy for the Devil,” I think. He’s a contemporary guy really hung up on the early ’70s, still living in that era, like a character out of Key West who likes to fancy himself a good ol’ Southern boy. Maybe he read too much Hunter S. Thompson. Or maybe he listens to too much Jimmy Buffet. He’s just a Parrothead–type of guy. In fact, he’s a pretty bad guy. He thinks he’s helping but he’s not. He’s what they call an enabler. He provides Denzel’s character with drugs, and he’ll be your friend until the money runs out.

Whether he is likeable, I don’t care. That’s not up to me to judge. That’s up to the audience. I just try to do what’s on the page and flesh it out with some details. I’m not trying to be mysterious, I just don’t understand a lot of what I do. I do, however, think it is a mistake to say that I bring a lot of my own quirks to the character. The hair, the outfit, the mannerisms—most of it is in the script. I just take whatever details the script provides and then try to go about it with my own observations of why. It’s also a mistake to say that I’m drawn to these types of characters. It just depends on the script. Now, it’s true: I’ve been cast as this type of character often. I did some quiet stuff on Roseanne, but recently I guess I’m just a loudmouth all the time.

Zac Efron Doesn’t Want To Be Your Teenage Crush Anymore

It’s the belly of August, and by the time Zac Efron reaches the Valley, the mercury is scraping the three–digit mark. An hour later, after Efron goes through hair and makeup, and meets the animals with whom he’ll be working—Richard the hawk, Kina the gray fox, Eddie the monkey, Zeus the screech with cataracts—it’s 115 degrees Fahrenheit. The dead dry heat sits over Sylmar, the northernmost town in Los Angeles and the home of the Wildlife Learning Center. In a two-acre plot, on a street lined with cookie cutter exurb houses, David Riherd cares for over 50 wild animals, many of whom were kept as illegal pets or found abandoned. It used to smell of olive groves here years ago when the mistrals swept up San Fernando Valley. Now no breeze moves the desiccated air, and the scorched earth smells, understandably, like a zoo. Nevertheless, Zac Efron, who is wearing a full suit on which Zeus is pooping and whose pockets are full of bunnies, is beaming. “Animals are dope!” says Efron as his cherubic lips part from pucker into a SoCal surfer boy grin. Shit, if that smile don’t outshine the sun.

“What is the felt experience of cognition,” asks Elaine Scarry, Professor of Aesthetics at Harvard University, in her book On Beauty and Being Just, “at the moment one stands in the presence of a beautiful boy or flower or bird?” With two out of three present in Sylmar, I can say I felt a couple of things. Among them were feelings of being hot, happy, and enthralled. In fact, I couldn’t look away from Efron and his animals.

This kind of creepy staring, claims Scarry, is an act of copying, the compulsion of which is a unique trait of the beautiful. “Beauty seems to incite, even to require, the act of replication,” she writes, “this replication in the realm of sensation can be carried out by a single perceiver across time or can instead entail a brief act of perception distributed across many people.”

So I, a single perceiver, stare at Efron for a while because of how his olive skin glows and how he scrunches up his face like he’s trying to make out a figure on the horizon and how he, reflexively, purses his lips when he sees a camera. But many people, hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions of people, pay an average of $7.93 to watch him in the only-okay movies he’s made thus far. Nearly 1.5 million people follow him on Twitter to catch 140 character-long glimpses of his soul. In DVD collections, on pull-out posters, bedroom walls, screens, bed sheets, magazine covers like ours, canvasses, and in life-size wax sculpture, Zac Efron is replicated over and over again. So desperate to replicate his beauty is the world that wherever he goes, paparazzi lie in wait, armed with zoom lenses like big game hunters slavering for a trophy.

Beauty, physical beauty and probably spiritual beauty too, is a recessive gene in human beings. Efron’s parents, David Efron, an electrical engineer and Starla Baskett, a former secretary, are good–looking but not holy-shit-what-the-fuck gorgeous like their son. Zac Efron is the point in which the sine waves of beauty, moving through time and generations, meet, thereby increasing the pulse of beauty exponentially. His face, in terms of how good-looking it is, is like when you’re jumping on a trampoline and double bounce and go flying, face-first, into the yard.

But Southern California is full of pretty boys and handsome men. Sure, if they ever made a movie adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Efron would be a shoo-in for Adonis, but the maniacal cult of Efron derives its adherents not from his face but from how it has been emulsified with the characters he’s played. First came the virginal soft-shoeing Troy Bolton in the High School Musicals. There was the 2006 original, unnumbered like The Great War was, since Disney didn’t know it had a franchise on its hands. Then came the sequel in which Disney began to cotton on to the draw, and finally, the third film, Senior Year, in which Disney realized it had reached full monetization capacity.

The cultural relevance of these films cannot be overstated. There have been ice capade versions, Brazilian versions, Argentinian versions, a reality show version, and a video game version. The films form, along with The Godfather, The Twilight Saga, and the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one of the most important trilogies in American history.

HSM also slingshotted Efron to fame and fortune. It led to a run of shmoopy pop pablum, like the 2007 musical remake of Hairspray, which was engineered to arouse the wallets and budding sex organs of tweens (Efron’s Young Elvis hip-thrusting in Hairspray, for instance, began our photo editor Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez’ long-standing crush on the star. Nevermind that she was 22 when it came out.)

Nominally, Efron aged too. In 2009, when he was 20, he starred in 17 Again, playing a young version of Matthew Perry. Though a good actor, Efron couldn’t mask his Dorian Gray terror at possibly actually being a younger version of Matthew Perry. The next year, he starred as Charlie in the shmaltzy dead brother romance Charlie St. Cloud. There were other films, too, in which I’m sure Zac Efron played a part, but no one really went to see Zac Efron disappear into his characters. They went to see Zac Efron be Zac Efron. The movies were simply the scallop shell rising out of the ocean to present him.

For an actor, at least an actor with self-respect, the situation couldn’t go on forever. “Around the time Charlie St. Cloud came out,” Efron told me, over omakase at a Studio City restaurant near his house, “I was confused. I wasn’t here for money; I didn’t need any more of it. I wasn’t here for fame; I wasn’t enjoying it. I was here for art.”

What, when one is the engine behind a multi-million dollar industry devoted to inoffensive desire, can a man do? Efron began by looking in the mirror. “As a man watching Zac Efron,” said Zac Efron. “I don’t necessarily like me yet. So how can I like Zac Efron?” He toyed ponderously with a lone edamame then concluded. “Maybe, if that guy shook things up, did what I didn’t expect him to do, if he wasn’t afraid to be a dick, if he wasn’t afraid to fall on his face, if he hung around long enough and did the grunt work, one day I might respect him.”

So, like a ship of state, Efron set his course for a distant shore where Terpsichore, Melpomene, and Calliope dwelt. There were some hiccups on the way. (No one who saw 2011’s New Year’s Eve could call it anything but frumious gunk.) But the journey had begun, the Rubicon crossed.

Retrospectively, of course, it is easy to see the signs that something had to give. There was that condom that accidentally flew from his pocket onto the red carpet at the premiere of The Lorax, a film adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book for which Efron provided a voice, as apt a place as any to announce that Efron makes love. (“A brilliant fuck–up,” he calls it.) There was the prison tattoo he got on his hand that reads YOLO, short for You Only Live Once [Ed Note: Funny how YOLO is only used to justify poor judgment. No one says, “I should put an extra 15% into my 401K because YOLO.”] Efron doesn’t remember exactly the details of that tattoo. “I went through a period there, when I was single for the first time in six years, where I went out a lot,” he explained sheepishly.

But there was nothing as explicit, mindful, or successful as The Paperboy, Lee Daniels’ pulpy tale of murder, journalism, and sex in the bayou, which comes out October 5th. “I wanted a project that involved risk,” Efron explained, “I wanted to see how deep the rabbit hole went and how far I could really push myself.” If The Paperboy marks twain, the rabbit hole is very deep. In fact, it might never end.

The film stars an ensemble cast of heartthrobs emeritus, but Efron alone is still card-carrying. Daniels has brilliantly exploited the non-diegetic lives of his actors. Matthew McConaughey, whose sackcloth-and-ashes transformation from rom-com man-meat to thespian has been well documented, plays a flawed hotshot reporter named Ward Jansen. Ward is the big brother of Efron’s beefcakey, naïve college dropout named Jack. Both are enamored, for very different reasons, of Nicole Kidman. Ward wants her story; Jack wants her body. Kidman, who at this point in her life resembles a blow–up sex doll version of a younger Nicole Kidman, plays a blow–up sex doll named Charlotte Bless. John Cusack, who in his youth once held a boombox above his head and the hearts of America in his big doe-eyes, now plays a very bad man named Hillary Van Wetter, whose pimples and pustules are the embodiment of his rotten soul.

To illustrate just how far a departure this movie is from Efron’s hitherto Hot Topic crowd pleasers, I’ll just mention that there’s a very graphic scene—and not the one in which Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron’s face, but another one—that takes place in a jail visiting room. Zac Efron watches John Cusack masturbate through his pants as Nicole Kidman mentally fellates Cusack to climax and Matthew McConnaghy adjusts himself in a way meant to indicate he may or may not have a hard- on. There’s no sticking to the status quo here.

As intense as the scene is to watch—and it is incredibly intense to watch—it was even more intense to shoot. “That was the first day of filming,” Efron recalled, “and Nicole just completely went for it. She was telling everyone, ‘I’m bringing my A game. What do you have?’ I’ve never been so scared in my life. But that moment affirmed this movie was everything I set out to do.” It’s not just journalistic flimflam or sycophantic razzle–dazzle to say Efron really does nail the role and that it’s almost inconceivable to think he could revert back to his Disneyfied pretty boy alter ego. It’s as if he’s finally moved from Flatland to Spaceland, and you can’t undiscover a new dimension.

And the Efronian rebellion continues, as if to ensure all bridges will be burned. Next, Efron stars in Ramin Bahrani’s upcoming film At Any Price. Efron plays a sneering farmer-turned-race car driver named Dean Whipple who destroys his family in his hubristic pursuit of glory. “He’s a bad guy,” says Efron, not without admiration, “but that’s what I was looking for: someone who lacks moral integrity.” He smiles and though it may be a fleck of nori, there seems to be a hitherto unnoticed darkness in the grin. “I want to go so deep I have to rise from the ashes.”

It’s edging past noon in Sylmar, and the sun is only getting more malevolent. Efron has already posed with a lynx, a kinkajou, a pair of sugar gliders, and a gray fox. It’s so hot he has his friend, Chris, visit the set to buy fans online. (He’s a fan of Dyson’s Air Multiplier.) Every animal is panting. But Efron is irrepressible. He’s excited about the chinchilla— “Chinchillas are dope!”—but first makes a stop at the birds of prey enclosure. From his perch, Richard, a seven–year–old red-tailed hawk, stares at Efron without blinking. He seems nonplussed by Efron’s fame or good looks. He, himself, is quite good-looking, with powerful wings spanning nearly 60 inches and impressive tawny breast feathers fanning into his brick-red tail. Richard, like many of the animals at the center, has been imprinted. That means, though wild at heart, he wouldn’t survive uncaged and unassisted.

Someone kept Richard as a pet, thought he’d be cute or, perhaps, cool. They fed him an inappropriate diet, and made his bones soft. Richard’s working back to being wild, but it might never happen. Zac Efron reaches out his gloved arm onto which Richard, after some coaxing, grudgingly perches. The hawk fixes his great seeing eyes onto Efron’s blue ones and, perhaps thinking that Efron might know something about wanting to be free, spreads his wings to fly.

Angela Lindvall Comes Alive on Hallowed Ground in Hollywood

Angela Lindvall, one of the world’s most famous supermodels, is in the shower when I arrive at her Topanga Canyon home. When she emerges, Lindvall, 33, is wearing a silk dashiki and no shoes. She looks like some sort of golden sylph. The Lindvall ranch is a mountainside utopia. It’s easy to see what lured John Phillips here to record Wolf King of L.A. in 1970. “The first time I came out here was to visit [his daughter] Bijou,” Lindvall says in a husky voice that still holds a drip of her native Kansas City, Missouri. “I thought ‘Oh my God, I’m back in the country!’” An organic garden blossoms in front of us, and in the yoga studio she built on her property, her yoga teacher is giving birth. Her yelps punctuate the thrum of bees and the susurrus of apple trees rustling in the warm mistral. This is what 19 years at the top of the fashion game gets you: a chance to check out.

Lindvall, who has graced all the big covers and booked more campaigns than General MacArthur, has severely stemmed her modeling commitments. “Sometimes,” she says, “you need to take a step back to discover what is truly important to you.” Though she commands an astonishing day rate, Lindvall devotes most of her time to training to become a Kundalini yoga teacher, creating the line of sustainable jewelry with John Hardy that debuted in October, working for charities like the National Resources Defense Council, and raising her two sons, William and Sebastian. And, like many beautiful Los Angeles people, she’s trying to break into movies and television.

She’s off to a good start. She’s had cameos in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and her brother Roman Coppola’s two features, CQ and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. Last season, Lindvall starred as the judge in the hit Lifetime show Project Runway: All-Stars. “It was really difficult to step into Heidi Klum’s shoes,” she admits, “but I had a terrific time.” Lindvall will not appear in the next season, but her explorations on the small screen aren’t finished yet. “I want to do a television show where my boys and I travel around the world, eating worms in Thailand and having crazy adventures.”

In fact, Lindvall’s story illustrates how irresistible the siren call of television is to the fashion world. When Project Runway began in 2004, participation in a television show was considered a fatal mistake. Now, upstart designers, as well as established icons, are clamoring to appear. We at BlackBook aren’t immune, either. The shoot in which Lindvall appears was styled by Taylor Jacobson, a contestant on a television program called Hollywood Unzipped: Stylist Wars on Oxygen and was filmed as part of their finale. Lindvall, meanwhile, was adamant that the article not be a simple fashion spread in which she is treated as a model, which it isn’t, but rather a feature on her as an actress, or at least something else, which it is. “There’s definitely a shelf-life to being a model,” she says. “I’m lucky that it’s even lasted as long as it has. Now, it’s time to focus on my true passions: being a mother to my children and addressing environmental issues.” And if part of that happens to be televised, all the better. Chez Lindvall, everything seems possible.

Fashion + Celebrity: The Lady in the Size-Six Pumps

Before email Blasts went out proclaiming “Celebrity X spotted in Brand Y at Red Carpet Event Z,” the relationships between actors and designers were less transactional. One of the most intriguing of these relationships is the subject of an exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence. The exhibit, entitled simply Marilyn, explores the disparate worlds of the Florentine cobbler and the Hollywood starlet and how they overlapped from the late 1950s to her death in 1962.

Though the two never met, Monroe was Ferragamo’s most devoted client. She wore, almost exclusively, his five-inch size 6 pumps, which she ordered at his Park Avenue boutique in an endless variety of colors and textures. As curator Stefania Ricci writes, “The shoes forced her to wiggle her hips as she walked, so seductively and in a manner that was all her own.” The shoes, therefore, were integral to turning Norma Jean Baker into the icon and eventually into the myth of Marilyn.

But the exhibit also seeks to draw parallels between Monroe and the broader Florentine cultural history from which Ferragamo also emerged. Juxtaposed with Tom Kelley’s infamous pinup photographs is Francesco Furini’s Penitent Magdalene from the 17th century. Monroe’s pouty beauty is prefigured in sketches by Michelangelo of Cleopatra which were, fittingly, completed a few blocks from the Ferragamo museum. Exhibit continues through January 2013.

The Return of the Three-Breasted Alien Hooker

When Total Recall was first released in 1990, I had not yet seen my first topless prostitute and California had not yet learned to call Arnold Schwarzenegger the Governator. The realities of both, when they eventually happened, did not live up to the promise of the film. Happily, this weekend, a redo is in order. Colin Farrell and Bryan Cranston co-star in a Columbia Pictures remake of the movie and, as many comic book bloggers have been eagerly reporting, there’s still a three-breasted hooker in it. Of course, she is. She’s the best part.

The original prostitute—she had a name: Mary—was played by an actress named Lycia Naff, who got her start playing a prostitute in 1987’s Lethal Weapon. After Total Recall, Naff went on to become a journalist. For a while, she was an undercover investigative reporter for the National Enquirer. Now her IMDB page reads, “Lycia is the proud owner of two white bunnies, Stinky and Walter.” Arnold, on the other hand, went on to great things, or he might have had the California legal system been so dysfunctional. Now he’s divorced from his Kennedy and just a lonely old ex-governor who happened to be a movie star. Sic transit Gloria mundi.

In the new version, Mary is going to be a woman named Lisa Chandler, who looks like a cross between Scarlett Johanssen and Molly Ringwald. Colin Farrell plays Quaid and Bryan Cranston, emerging from the demise of Walter White, plays the villain Vilos Cohagen. What harbinger will this remake be on their fates, none can tell. But the people of California—and a generation of dewy-eyed boys—should be on notice. 

A Shave and A Haircut

Blindness has traditionally been auspiscious for prophets but not so much for barbers. Tiresias could divine the future but he couldn’t give a close fade worth shit. 

So I entered the Blind Barber, a barbershop/speakeasy in the East Village (though they also just opened a Los Angeles version) with trepidation. Thankfully, all barbers there are seeing. There are two chairs up front and a full bar behind the curtain. Like a mullet, it’s all business in the front and party in the back. 

These days you can judge a hipster barbershop by the density or tattoos on the barber’s arms and the incident of mustache on his face. Rob, my barber at BB, had both tattoos and a mustache. 

But it’s not all pretense. Rob is a second generation barber from Youngstown, OH; he competed in the Golden Gloves as a young man (Youngstown is the home of Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik); and he knows his way around a straight razor or two. 

Importantly Rob offered a cocktail (it comes with the cut!). Toward the end of my time in his chair, he smooshed some pomade in my hair. This is the next evolution of the shop: products. The wax he used comes in two strenghts: 60 and 90. Being a man who prefers his hair product like he does his drink, I went with the stronger hold. 

And when I left the Blind Barber, I have to admit, I was looking pretty good. 

Guy Pearce on What Makes a Bad Man Seem Bad

Lawless, the new film written by Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat, is about a band of bootlegging brothers in Franklin County, Virginia. Shia LaBeouf is the baby-faced one, Tom Hardy is the strong, silent one, and Jason Clarke is the drunk one. Guy Pearce plays FBI Special Agent Charlie Rakes, flown in from Chicago to hound the Bondurant boys into submission. Rakes, who combines punctiliousness with perversity, is part fop, part snob, and part fascist. He dispenses beatings with maligned glee and, in one throwaway shot that speaks volumes, dyes his hair as a naked woman sits dejectedly on a sheet of newspaper spread across his bed. The long arm of the law has never been so gnarly. He speaks with a bizarre cadence and wears a mondo hair style. We spoke to Pearce about both.

Charlie Rakes is a character who is caught up in his own view of the world in the weirdest kind of way. He is incredibly egotistical and narcissistic. He’s from Chicago and, when he arrives in Franklin County, is totally disgusted by the filthy living standards of the people in the backwoods. He has this disdain for them that I wanted to communicate.

Working on an accent is an interesting thing. I worked with Tim Monnick, who works with DeNiro and Blanchett. He’s a delightful guy and much more than a dialect teacher. He’s a real historian as well, and supplied me with recordings of people from that era. We call him the Voice Whisperer. We’d work on a dialect and he’d say, “No, that’s not quite it since that ‘R’ sound didn’t come in until the Irish influence in the 1940s.” He’s also very good at dissecting class. We ended up coming up with this particular Chicago accent of somebody who probably came more from the wrong side of the tracks than he would want to admit who constructs a mythology of where he came from. It’s just a really strange shape and melody—and intonation.

As far as the hair goes, it’s weird and we all talked about it being weird. We had seen reference images of men who have their hair slicked and parted down the middle. That was common at the time, but we wanted Rakes’ style to represent his extreme vanity, so we shaved the part and the eyebrows. I wanted him to be as foreign to the people of Virginia as they were to him. To have a complete alien come in and tell them their world is wrong is essentially what the movie is about, so we made Rakes as weird, vicious, and really disgusting as we could. It was a real pleasure.