Lenny Kravitz’s Personal Photography Highlights His Celebrity ‘Fishbowl’ Life

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During Miami Art Basel last week, rock musician Lenny Kravitz unveiled a selection of more than 50 personal black-and-white photographs, presented by The Leica Galleries and Berlin-based art advisor Reiner Opoku. The exhibition, aptly titled, “Flash,” marked Kravitz’s professional debut in the medium, citing his father, a press correspondent, as inspiration for this official foray into photography.

All the images shown were captured with equipment from the Leica M-System, which Kravitz’s father used during the Vietnam war. The first camera the singer ever touched as a child was his father’s Leicaflex. “When I was little, he gave me his Leica after he came back from Vietnam,” Kravitz said. “At first I found the design more interesting, all these traces of his time at the front. Many years later, I started taking pictures.”

As a whole, “Flash” centers on Kravitz’s life as a celebrity—someone who’s endlessly in the public eye and victim to swarms of excited photographers and fans. In the beginning, he said his existence inside a fishbowl was draining, but became a catalyst for creative expression when viewed through the lens of his own camera. “At first I found it frustrating,” Kravitz disclosed. “But then I saw it as an opportunity. It was an interesting dance and it started to become fun.”

The Miami opening was attended by Swizz Beatz and Lionel Richie, who both received personal tours from Kravitz, inevitably attracting the same flurry of attention that’s echoed in Kravitz’s work. See exclusive “Flash” photos by Lenny Kravitz, below: 

 

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Almost Everything You Need To Know About Art Basel In One Single Image

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Ah, the celebration for Jeff Koons and Dom Pérignon at the Wall – perhaps no other event so perfectly summed up the parties of Art Basel in Miami more than this one. Jam-packed and star-smattered, it was sort of a grown up’s version of the world’s most hyperbolic Sweet 16 Party.

In the photograph above we see Zoe Kravitz, left, daughter of Lenny, who later stood in the DJ booth singing, karaoke-style, over his own 1993 hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” Tucked in the background is gallerist and artist Tony Shafrazi; next to him is DJ Ruckus. To Ruckus’s right, with arm raised, is Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler (who also gave some self-karaoke assistance to 1989’s “Love In An Elevator.”) Mr. Tyler is flanked by luxury magazine magnate Jason Binn.

And there you have it.

Photo: David X Prutting and Keith Tiner, BFA

‘Hunger Games’ Fans Display Staggering Lack of Reading Comprehension

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Many people were very excited this week to see the official trailer for The Hunger Games, the first film in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy about a futuristic society in what remains in the post-apocalyptic area of the United States. Like most fans of incredibly popular novels, Hunger Games enthusiasts were prepared to pick apart the details of the images presented to them. For example, why isn’t Effie Trinket’s hair pink? Isn’t Jennifer Lawrence too old to play Katniss Everdeen? And how come Cinna and Rue are black?

Racialicious has a great piece (with a near-perfect headline) in which its author notices something interesting about the response of many of her Hunger Games-loving peers: they didn’t happen to notice that two major characters in the novel were blatantly dark-skinned. Collins describes both Cinna and Rue, played by Lenny Kravitz and Amandla Stenberg, respectively, as having dark brown skin. But when character-specific posters were released on the film’s Facebook page last week, many commented, indicating their surprise that the film were portraying them as African-American. 

Most upsetting was the specific reaction to Lenny Kravitz playing Cinna, and not just because folks are surprised that someone let Lenny Kravitz act in a movie. Most fans didn’t think Kravitz appeared "sweet and loving," the way they pictured his character in the book. Because Cinna plays a mentor-like character to Katniss, the physical description Collins provided did not match what most Americans see as a mentor: someone who is white. 

Hold on to Your Hat: Here’s the Trailer for ‘The Hunger Games’

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Now that the Twilight franchise is coming to an end with the first half of the last film opening this weekend, Americans are desperately in need of a new series of films based on popular YA novels. Thank God for The Hunger Games, the dystopian trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The film adaptation of the first novel heads to theaters in March 2012, and it has the advantage of being about teenagers fighting to the death rather than teenagers falling in love with sad vampires. Ladies and gentleman, here is The Hunger Games trailer! 

This movie has everything: Oscar-nominated actors, bizarre facial hair, and Lenny Kravitz! (Yeah, sure, Donald Sutherland and Lenny Kravitz are in the same movie. That should add some new layers to your Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon games.)

Full disclosure: I read the first book because all of my adult friends who presumably love adult things were going on and on about how great The Hunger Games is, and then I read it and was fairly underwhelmed. It’s possible that post-apocalyptic sagas written for teenagers is not my thing. And also, the whole televised fight-to-the-death concept is getting a little old. What would be more refreshing? How about a movie about a ruined, futuristic civilization in which the characters stayed at home playing board games with their friends, at the completion of which nobody dies

Having said that, this movie looks fantastic and I’ll probably see it on opening night. I’m not made of wood, people, and this movie looks emotionally manipulative in the best kind of way.

DUPLICATE: Hold on to Your Hat: Here’s the Trailer for ‘The Hunger Games’

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Now that the Twilight franchise is coming to an end with the first half of the last film opening this weekend, Americans are desperately in need of a new series of films based on popular YA novels. Thank God for The Hunger Games, the dystopian trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The film adaptation of the first novel heads to theaters in March 2012, and it has the advantage of being about teenagers fighting to the death rather than teenagers falling in love with sad vampires. Ladies and gentleman, here is The Hunger Games trailer! 

This movie has everything: Oscar-nominated actors, bizarre facial hair, and Lenny Kravitz! (Yeah, sure, Donald Sutherland and Lenny Kravitz are in the same movie. That should add some new layers to your Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon games.)

So, disclosure! I read the first book because all of my adult friends who presumably love adult things were going on and on about how great The Hunger Games is, and then I read it and was fairly underwhelmed. It’s possible that post-apocalyptic sagas written for teenagers is not my thing. And also, the whole televised fight-to-the-death concept is getting a little old! What would be more refreshing? A movie about a ruined, futuristic civilization in which the characters stayed at home playing board games with their friends, at the completion of which nobody dies

Having said that, this movie looks fantastic and I’ll probably see it on opening night. I’m not made of wood, people, and this movie looks emotionally manipulative in the best kind of way. 

Lenny Kravitz Considers the Unforgettable People Who’ve Helped Color His World

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Lenny Kravitz spent two years writing his ninth studio album in an Airstream trailer parked within walking distance of the ocean on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera. The 47-year-old musician wanted to isolate himself, hoping that the loneliness would encourage him to plumb the depths of his psyche for new material. “I found myself again,” says Kravitz, also an actor, who’ll star in next spring’s The Hunger Games alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. “I confronted issues that had been inside me over the years, like the death of my parents, which is something I hadn’t yet fully dealt with.”

As the album’s title, Black and White America, suggests, he also explored his experiences as a mixed-race child. “I was raised to be proud of both sides,” he says of his years spent growing up in New York as the only child of Roxie Roker, a black television actor with Bahamian roots, and Sy Kravitz, a Jewish NBC news producer. Black and White America is arguably Kravitz’s most revealing album yet, and so we asked the four-time Grammy winner for even more insight into the people who’ve fueled his passion for life, music, and equality.

Barack Obama. Growing up the way that I did, seeing my parents’ struggles and what this country has been through regarding race and prejudice, Obama’s election was just such a huge moment. I couldn’t believe I was living to see it. As advanced as we are, as far as we’ve come, as open as people might think they are, it could have easily not happened. I was in a hotel room in Canada, in the middle of a tour, when I heard he’d been elected. It made me think of the sacrifices of all those who came before me. My grandfather was from the Bahamas, and moved to Miami when he was still a kid. He was the man of his family at age 7 because his father died. He would talk about having to be off Miami Beach by 6 o’clock because no black people were allowed after that. When Obama gave his speech on race, it came from somebody who understands both sides, as I do.

A racist New York City cabbie. I was in New York and trying to go to the studio, and, as so often happens, I expected a cab to pull up to me. Instead, it stopped 10 feet away to pick up a white person. But on this particular day, I’d had enough, and I actually went up to the cab driver and said, Look man, come on. I tried to get in the cab but he got out of the front seat, pulled me out, and then tried to fight with me. It got very emotional—there was a lot of fury in the moment. I just couldn’t believe this was still happening in 1990. I ended up getting to the studio, and writing “Mr. Cab Driver.”

Rosa Parks. She showed everyone what just one person can do. She also proved to us that you can never predict who’ll start a revolution—even a humble, little lady. That was a really beautiful moment in our history. She just said, “I’m tired, I’ve been working all day, I’m a human being, and I’m not going to get up.” And it sparked an entire movement, showing what people can do if they come together.

A boy in the first grade. I knew my parents looked different, but I didn’t know at age 5 that it was an issue. I just thought people looked different, because my parents’ friends were poets, musicians, actors, and writers, a very bohemian crowd of people. My house was full of every color. Not until I started the first grade did I realize that race was an issue. My parents walked me to school, and I remember this little white kid ran up to us in the hallway. He pointed his finger at us and said, “Your dad’s white!” It was a moment that I didn’t really understand, but it disturbed me. Later my mother told me, “Look, I’m African-American and your father is a Russian Jew, and you should be proud of both sides, neither more than the other. But understand this: Society is not going to see both sides. They are going to see your brown skin, and assume you are black.”

Gordon Parks. Gordon Parks directed Shaft, which, if you watch it now, has a sort of cult, B-movie vibe. But it’s an important film because it was one of the first to show the African-Americans’ struggle against the so-called “man.” The reason I’m such a fan of Gordon Parks is because he’s the quintessential Renaissance man: he made films, he painted, he was a poet, he wrote books, he was a photographer for Vogue, he wrote symphonies in Europe. I became friends with Gordon at the end of his life, and I was really honored to get to know him. He was the type of artist I’ve always aspired to be. It’s something I’m pursuing now—film, photography, design.

Martin Luther King, Jr. He spearheaded the most beautiful movement in such a graceful, non-violent fashion, and he changed everything. He knew that the injustice of inequality had to be changed, but it was all done in the manner of Christ, in the true spirit of loving thy neighbor. He died so we could achieve that change. It also proves that you can’t kill a dream. You can kill the person but it’ll only make the dream stronger.

Lenny Kravitz Has a Song With Drake Called ‘Sunflower’

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If you’ve been paying painstakingly close attention to Lenny Kravitz’s musical career (his last release was 2008’s Is It Time For a Love Revolution), you probably know that Drake has been rumored to appear on his upcoming LP Black and White America since February. In case you haven’t been paying painstakingly close attention: Lenny Kravitz has a new song called “Sunflower,” which features a verse from Drake.

There’s no way we’re not going to point out the fact that both Lenny and Drake are half black/half Jewish, insanely popular musicians (one a legend in the making since the late ‘80s and the other a modern day hip-hop icon), and both total ladies men. This one was obviously for their female fans.

Photo Credit: MTV

Lenny Kravitz Forced to Share His Feather Boas

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Naturally, there are perks to having a rockstar dad like Lenny Kravitz, and sharing (or stealing) novelty clothing items from pops is at the top of the list. In an interview for Details magazine’s August issue, Kravitz pere opened up about his career, love life, and his daughter Zoë, who, we learn, is a big fan of his boa collection and already knew how to roll a joint when she “came of age.”

Details quizzes Kravitz about questionable outfits he might’ve sported in the past, while the 47-year-old musician reveals that many of said ensembles now belong to his actress/musician daughter.

“I look back at some of those pictures and I’m like, ‘Wow, that was really crazy.’ I would try anything: furs, boas, platform boots. I met Mick Jagger at the beginning of my career and asked him, ‘Where’s that outfit with the omega on it? Where’s that cape?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I think my daughter has it in her closet.’ I was so bummed. But now my daughter, Zoë, has a lot of my stuff. She took all my boas from the Mama Said era. They were in storage, and I yelled at her, ‘Don’t steal my boas!’ She laughed and said, ‘Those words would not come out of most fathers’ mouths.'”

In regards to Zoë’s skimpy outfits in X-Men: First Class, Kravitz doesn’t seem worried. “She plays a superhero, so how bad can it be? I haven’t seen the movie. I’m not a jealous dad at all. I trust her judgment. She’s well equipped, and she needs to go out and do her own thing.”

Did Zoë learn to roll a joint from her father? “Nah, I found out that she knew how to do that when she came of age.”

Links: Mischa Barton No Dumps, Donald Faison as Tiger Woods

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● She may not have a job and was placed on an involuntary psych hold earlier this year, but Mischa Barton can take solace knowing she’s never been dumped. [NewMag] ● Some women hide from the title of a MILF … not supermodel Cindy Crawford. She embraces her MILF status; just don’t call her a cougar, that’s all on Demi Moore. [Showbizspy] ● Jeremy Piven has been fish-free for a year, and he’s finally back to his old self. Senor Piven was seen getting an impromptu lap dance at Teddy’s to Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.” [P6]

● It concerns Donald Faison that people think he should play Tiger Woods in a TV movie, although he could see himself taking on the role. [PopEater] ● It worked for Velvet Revolver and Audioslave; now Lenny Kravitz may take over for Steven Tyler as lead singer for Aerosmith to form yet another superband. [Starpulse] ● Burger King has been on high alert, keeping an eye out for tweens frequenting their establishment just to steal the life-size cut-outs of Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson. [TMZ]