10 Unforgettable Met Gala Moments Throughout the Years

Cher at the 1974 Met Gala in custom Bob Mackie; photo courtesy Ron Galella/WireImage

 

Today is the Met Gala — but you already knew that. With this year’s theme as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” we’re anticipating a lot of vintage McQueen, probably some Gaultier, and of course, a hell of a lot of Dolce & Gabbana.

So, to prepare, we’ve put together a list of of the 10 most memorable past Met Gala moments.

 

Rihanna in Guo Pei

 

photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

You can’t have a Met Gala roundup without mentioning Rihanna’s infamous dress from 2015. That year, the theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass,” and Rih chose Chinese designer Guo Pei for her look. The handmade gown took over 2 years for the designer to make and instantly made her go viral. In fact, there’s currently a new documentary that highlights Pei’s impressive career.

 

Rihanna, again, in Comme des Garçons

 

photo courtesy of Getty Images
Queen Rih also made the list because of her Comme des Garçons F/W ’16 look for the Met Gala last year. The theme actually was Comme des Garçons and Rih was one of the only people who actually wore something by Kawakubo — partly, I think, because she’s one of the only people who could really pull it off.

 

Cher in Bob Mackie

 

photo courtesy of WireImage

 

Cher always looks iconic. But it was this custom Bob Mackie gown at the third annnual Met Ball, that set the tone for it to be one of the most fashionable nights of the year. The theme was “Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design,” so the singer essentially could’ve shown up naked and — oh wait, she basically did.

 

Katy Perry in Maison Martin Margiela

 

photo courtesy of Margiela
Who could forget Katy Perry’s look from last year’s Met Gala? I know she can’t, because she still talks about how hard it was for her to pee. But beauty is pain, ladies and gentlemen — especially in custom Maison Martin Margiela (that looked suspiciously like Givenchy F/W ’17).

 

Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen

 

photo courtesy of Vogue

 

“Anglomania” was the theme in 2006, and Sarah Jessica Parker went full on with the plaid, natch. On the arm of Alexander McQueen, the duo wore custom “Anarchy in the U.K.”-inspired looks by the designer, himself.

 

Lil Kim in god knows what

 

photo courtesy of WireImage

 

No one ever really knows what Lil Kim is wearing, and the 1999 Met Gala was no exception. The Hard Core rapper opted for a pink fur trench, pink snakeskin boots and a pink bikini — and no, the theme was not “pink.”

 

Kate Moss in custom Marc Jacobs and a Stephen Jones turban

 

photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

In 2009, Kate Moss looked the total part for the Met Gala’s “Model As Muse” in a custom Marc Jacobs gold lamé mini, YSL pumps and Stephen Jones turban.

 

Liv Tyler & Stella McCartney in matching halter tops

 

photo courtesy of Mari Sarai/Getty Images

 

Sure, the Met Gala wasn’t as big of a deal fashion-wise in 1999 as it now. But halter tops? Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney, you both know better. Still, the duo really leaned in to the “Rock Style” theme with matching “Rock Royalty” tank tops.

 

Donatella Versace in Versace

 

photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

Donatella’s leather Versace look for the 1996 Met Gala was iconic for a couple of reasons: Sadly, this would be Gianni’s last Gala before his death, but also the debut of his bondage-inspired style that would become a trademark for the legendary brand.

 

Jaden Smith and his ponytail in Louis Vuitton

 

photo courtesy of Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

 

Last but not least, Jaden Smith at last year’s Gala. Yes, the theme was Comme des Garçons, and sure, Rei Kawakubo is known for getting a little avant-garde sometimes. But Jaden Smith took things to a whole different level when he showed up on the red carpet in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, carrying his recently cut dread locks.

 

Fingers crossed he — and everyone else — leaves the gross accessories at home tonight. Though, the theme is Catholicism, so I’m guessing this year’s top trapping will be guilt.

 

The Last Act: Model and Singer Bebe Buell On Closing Down Hiro Ballroom

Hiro Ballroom will close its doors after Saturday evening’s bash, and with it goes yet another venue where rock, as we know it, could strut its stuff. The clubs, for the most part, feature hip hop, electronic, and house because those formats are featured by the bottle-buying public. Rockers drink bottles of beer, not bottles of Goose. Rock will be relegated to the cracks where it does better anyway. The closing of Hiro will not dampen the talented forces of rock and roll, but may force them into the creative cauldrons of Brooklyn. Marky Ramone’s band Blitzkrieg is headlining the perfectly imperfect venue The Bellhouse this Sunday, and so it will be. Rock won’t retreat or hide under a rock; it will simply wiggle to where it is wanted. It will survive where NY’s culture thrives …off the L train or the J or the F or someplace just a hop, skip, and a jump away via a Northside Car. The last hurrah of Hiro will be headlined by rock icon Bebe Buell. Known more for who she has famously slept with, sire Bebe offers rock purity from rock royalty as the Hiro doors ache to be shuttered. To get you to a place of understanding Bebe is Liv Tyler’s mom and has been linked over the decades with stars like Steven TylerTodd Rundgren, and Stiv Bators. Bebe is too often the subject of gossip because of her association with so many boldfaced names, but she is very much her own person and has her own talent. I once told her that she wasn’t cool because the rock stars dated her…they were seen as much cooler because she dated them. She liked me for that. She’s a busy Bebe but we squeezed in time between rehearsals to chat at the BlackBook office.

We are here because it is a sad day in the rock and roll world; Saturday is the last night of the Hiro Ballroom, which is one of the venues where cool bands have been playing for the last number of years. It’s going to be changed. The last act, the last night, is this coming Saturday and Bebe Buell is performing. Tell me about the band and tell me about what it means to you to close down the Hiro Ballroom.

Well, when I put my last album out before "Hard Love," which was "Sugar," it was Hiro Ballroom who gave me a platform to get back on stage again. I hadn’t been on stage in a while and so they are like family to me. It is one of my favorite rooms. I’ve done three sold-out shows there, and this one that I’m doing Saturday will be the last one. And there were quite a few bands in the city that wanted to close it down and I just stayed out of the entire thing, but they asked me if I wanted to do it. So I was really—a great honor.

So who is in the band?

Well I have Pete Marshall and he played with Iggy Pop and Glenn Danzig. He played with Iggy for years. He started as my bass player and now he is my second guitar player. I have Jimmy Walls, who was in D Generation for their last tour. He is the other guitar player. On bass I have Keith Roth. I had Enzo Penizzotto for my album; he played with Joan Jett for eight years and came back to me. I just lost him because he got the Memphis tour, you know that Broadway musical Memphis? He just got the whole touring thing. He is going to be going on the road with that so now I’ve got Keith Roth in my band, which is a real plus. He is also a radio guy. He does the Electric Ballroom and he also does Sirius. And I have Louisa Bradshaw on backing vocals; I have Sarah Tomek, a young girl from Asbury Park, on drums. And then I have on keyboards, my baby, I love him. He’s the baby of the bunch. Well he and Sarah are both the babies—Zac Lasher—and I found him

from a jam band, believe it or not, called U-Melt. I really saw his talent and I knew I had to get him in my band for obvious reasons. Juilliard protégé; he’s a genius.

How long have you been playing rock and roll?

That’s funny! What a question. My first band I started in 1980 and I made my first record in 1979/1980 with Ric Ocasek from The Cars. The Cars played on my first album “Cover Girl” on Rhino. And Rick Derringer, remember Rick Derringer? Yeah, he produced a couple of tracks. It was actually an EP.

At one point I was gonna say you are a rock and roll coochie-coo. You’ve got rock roots.

I do. I have absolute rock roots. I actually came to New York City because my mother sent my high school graduation picture to Eileen Ford, and the next thing you know I was on an airplane. And I would have gotten to New York any way I could. So if I was going to get here through modeling, I was going to get here through modeling. But as soon as I got here, I got into lots of trouble. I wouldn’t really call it trouble.

Well some of that trouble is what made you famous!

I discovered Max’s Kansas City. I started a very long-term relationship with Todd Rundgren. We weren’t married so we lived a very crazy Bob-and-Ted-and-Carol-and- Alice lifestyle, which I wouldn’t recommend for anybody because it is emotionally draining. It took me about six years to actually get a band together and really get down to business.

The other day you told me something that was very funny. You said that most people think that Steven Tyler gave birth to Liv – that Liv actually came out of his penis.

Which is funny because for a lot of my career, you know, people have always called me the girlfriend of, the mother of, etc. And it has just become, almost, a giggle at this point. I don’t get upset about it; I don’t take it personally. I find it very one-dimensional. First of all, it takes two people to date. It takes two people to make a child. And the way the media works in our country, the person who has the bigger name is the one that gets the credit for everything, including giving birth. In Europe, it’s a whole different story. I love America; I live here. But I have always gotten more respect in the UK and foreign countries.

Well I said to you that, you know, some people think they are cool because you dated all these rock stars. And I said maybe they were cool because they dated Bebe Buell.

I don’t look at it either way. I think people date who they date. You meet somebody…it’s chemistry! I can honestly say that I have never dated somebody as a social or a political move. I have always followed my heart and have only dated people that I loved and that I really had feelings for. I’ve turned down some pretty big dates, trust me. Warren Beatty! When I met Shirley MacLaine –  a lot of people don’t realize they are brother and sister – I went to one of her spiritual things; you know, she talks a lot about metaphysics and past lifetimes and things. She used to do these wonder seminars. And I met her afterward and I looked at her and I said, “You know you and I have something in common." And she looked at me and said, “What’s that?” I said, “Both of us have never slept with Warren Beatty!”

Well, there is a funny story with that. Shirley was on the Johnny Carson Show and Johnny asked her, “ As you are Warren’s sister, you are aware he is famous for sleeping with all these starlets. Is his reputation warranted?” And she said, “Well Johnny, I think that Warren has slept with every starlet in Hollywood except me, and I’m not so sure about that."

Oh, that is hilarious. She’s funny and, of course, she has never slept with him. I have to say: Warren has very good taste. I met a couple of his girlfriends and now his wife, and he never went there. He never went with any riff-raff. He is not a bottom feeder.

Bebe Buell

I met you at a Stiv Bators show, a The Dead Boys show, at my father’s place in Long Island a long time ago. I was sitting with a beautiful girl and you were actually sitting at the same table as us and we didn’t watch the show. We were just watching you. You were the most amazing person we had ever seen and you were very, very sweet. I have always told everybody that you were the sweetest person to us. You made us feel like we were friends of yours.

Well I think it is important to make people feel comfortable and at ease when you are sort of the hostess at an event. 

You told me then and you told again recently, that the thing about Stiv… he was this firecracker, an incredible performer, but also – as well as being incredibly talented – he was very intelligent.

Very smart. What people don’t realize is that he was just a small-town boy from Ohio. He was just a kid that went to see Iggy Pop. He handed him a jar of peanut butter and the rest is history. You know, but in some ways, he was even a more agile performer than Iggy Pop. Some of the things Stiv could do, I don’t think Iggy could do. Stiv could wrap himself up like a pretzel; he could hang himself. He could do all kinds of things. More like Alice Cooper. 

But Stiv was probably one of the sweetest, nicest boyfriends I ever had. We drifted apart. Stiv and I were like—my visual—we were sort of like a rock and roll, punk rock Sonny and Cher. I was a good three heads taller than him. He was extremely funny and when we were together we sort of had a banter like Sunny and Cher did. We would just tease each other and we had this crazy banter. In the end, we ended up becoming really good friends. Our romance peetered out and our friendship expounded, if that makes any sense. 

We used to have a house up in Maine and he would come and stay with me there. He would play on the monkey bars with the kids. The kids loved him. He was a pretzel; he could do any death-defying feat there is. All the kids loved to play with him because he could contort and do all these things to make them laugh, like push his thumbs back and all that kind of stuff. He was great with kids and he was great with animals. I mean, there are just sides to people that people don’t know about. They think its just like a girl goes “Ooh! I want that one!” and then they go and have sex in a dressing room. That’s just not real life. I have never had sex in a dressing room. I’ve never picked up one boyfriend I have ever had backstage.

You’ve dated very famous people. How did these people meet you? What kind of occasions?

It’s New York City! Models and rock stars have been pollinating for how long? This is nothing new. Rock stars who were making an iota of success – the first thing they want to do is upgrade the girls they date. That’s the first thing they want to do, and they want a model. Now it’s that they want a Playboy centerfold, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit girl. It is something they seek out.

So you prefer the word “model." Some people used to call you a groupie and I think that is a terrible name. I don’t think you were a groupie. Some people say you were one of the most famous groupies of all time.

No, I don’t think I was. I don’t think so. I think that title goes to that girl Pamela Des Barres. Pamela Miller, or whatever.

So you were not a groupie at all but you dated rock stars.

I think that’s the part about lazy journalism. The first thing they think of is “Oh! She is dating a rock star. She must be a groupie. Oh my goodness!”

Who else did you date besides rock stars?

The way you say all that! You act like I…

I just want the readers to know!

I can count my lovers on two hands. Can you?

Oh, absolutely not.

Ok. See! So, I always want to say to everybody else, “Tell me about all the people that you have dated. You’ve dated a lot more people than I have!”

What I’m asking you though is, in between all the rock stars, were there other people? Lawyers, doctors, etc.?

No, I never dated a lawyer. I never dated a doctor. I did date one photographer and his name was Clive Arrowsmith, which was really funny. I dated him when I was in London and he shot me for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and I did a lot of my best work, my biggest work, with him…he and David Bailey were the biggest photographers in the UK in the 1970s, in that early part of the ‘70s when I came up. Right before I started seeing Steven and before I got pregnant with Liv, I dated Clive Arrowsmith a little bit, which I think is hilarious because I went on to have a child with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. Life is very interesting. If I had all the answers, if I could put together the puzzle for you, I would. But I can’t even explain to you—I have had this wonderful, serendipitous life. I have just had these synchronistic moments…I am like Forrest Gump. I tell everybody that. I just fall into these wonderful situations.

Bebe Buell

You are looking for this sort of energy that rockers give you.

I think we all look for the energy that we emanate. I have to be around the people that think like I do and that understand how I think. If I am asleep in the bed and get a song idea, I leap up out of the bed and get a pen and paper. When I lived with Elvis Costello, he did the same thing. When I lived with Todd (Rundgren), he did the same thing. I think like-minded people find each other.

What is the same about Steven, Elvis, and Todd? Where is the similarity?

Brilliant, multifaceted human beings. People don’t realize what a brilliant drummer Steven Tyler is. He started as a drummer.

When did the companion aspect end in the relationship? Hmmm, let me word this right: did you at times move off being a companion, like at a gig, and become just a fan like everyone else? Did that happen?

I think, to have that consciousness when you are in a relationship, you have to think that way. And I just never thought that way. I don’t judge people and I don’t hero- worship. People ask me frequently who my heroes are and I hate to sound like an old punk rocker, but I am. I don’t have any heroes. I have people that I admire and respect and want to learn from. I can’t say that I have any heroes, but I can say that I worship some people: Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde. The people that I really admire, they are all dead. You know…John Lennon. They are all human, too. People that I tend to admire are not perfect. They are fallible. I think that is why we all love John Lennon so much – because he wasn’t perfect. He was a man that made many mistakes.

You actually had a conversation with him, didn’t you? Tell me about that.

Well I did. I had many really in-depth amazing conversations with him. I met John through Mick (Jagger). It was my birthday and Todd was in the studio and I was a little sad that I didn’t have my boyfriend to spend my birthday with me. But Todd was a workaholic before it was even fashionable to be a workaholic. I think he even had the first computer in the ‘70s, probably even before Bill Gates had one. But Mick felt a little bad for me and said that we should go out to dinner. We went down to the Lower East Side to this Japanese place called Me; its not there anymore. He said that he had a surprise for me. And earlier in our relationship he had asked me, “If you could meet three people, who would you want to meet?” And I said Edgar Allen Poe, Albert Einstein, Oscar Wilde, my usual, and John Lennon. And he said, “Oh, well that is the only one alive out of that whole group." And then we went on to the next subject and I guess that stuck with him.

So after we got done eating we got in a cab and I said “Where are we going?” and he said, “Oh, you’ll see in a minute!” And it was during John’s time with May Pang and we got out of the cab. We arrived at this apartment uptown and we had to walk up some stairs. We came in and knocked on the door. The door opens and we had to go up a set of stairs and at the top of the staircase, taking a Polaroid of us as we ascended the stairs, was John Lennon. And that picture, that very photo that he took of us, is in May Pang’s book, the one filled with all the Polaroids. I think I could say that may have been the first time in my life that I may have been a little star-struck.

The second time was when I met Salvador Dali at The Ritz, at the magazine store. I adored him as a child. I thought he was just fascinating. He invited me to tea when I was eighteen at The Ritz-Carlton. So I went and had tea with Dali and Amanda Lear, and some other very unusual person who I cant remember anymore. Maybe it was Varushka? And I feel that it was one of those magical moments. He (John Lennon) said he had just seen a UFO, so we spent the entire time talking about aliens because May had heard it all before. I believed him and was very fascinated so I wanted to hear everything he had to say about aliens. And then we went down to Chinatown at four in the morning and ate in one of the all-night restaurants. These were the kind of stories…these are the most sacred memories to me because it is all about cutting your teeth and learning. I was really lucky to learn so much from so many exquisite human beings.

Well, I listened to the album and I have to say there were a lot of things on there that I feel were great, I mean, really great. Tell me more.

I’m just really excited to be playing the final Hiro. I am very touched. The album is "Hard Love." I think it is my best work. I think it is the best thing I have ever done. You know, I have made a lot of records. I’m New York’s best-kept secret. I am a cult artist and I always have been. I have never been Madonna or Lady Gaga. I have always been a little under the radar, a little underground. I think that I have never always gotten my shots because people are so occupied with the glamorous boyfriends that I had and the Playboy or whatever they are distracted by. But I don’t do this because I am trying to win any brownie points. I do this because it is who I am. I am a songwriter and a singer and I have been my whole life. I was a contra-alto in the sixth grade. I was the only contra-alto of my age group in four states. I have a background in singing and when you listen to my material, you can sing this. I’m not just some kid who picked up a microphone and said, “I think I am going to sing this week!”

So Saturday night at Hiro. I will be there and I guess a lot of the people who read this are going to run out.

Oh yeah, it is going to be a good night. A lot of people love Hiro, and one thing about New York City is that when we say goodbye to something or someone, everybody comes out to pay their respects. And it is also the one-year anniversary of the departure of Don Hill, so the timing of it is kind of auspicious. It is the end of a great room and the end of one of the greatest men…we made a slideshow for him. A beautiful Don Hill slideshow.

Met Gala Fashion: Second to Prada, Givenchy Ruled the Carpet

The day after the Met Costume Institute Gala is always a blur of best-dressed lists and gossip. We watched the red carpet arrivals live yesterday (you can see a replay of it here) and—save for a few high slits and sheer numbers—guests played it sartorially safe for the most part and opted to provide a proper salute to the night’s honorees, Schiaparelli and Prada. Speaking of Prada, we saw a lot of it: Carey Mulligan rocked a glitzy gold and silver halter dress, Gwyneth Paltrow graced a blue embroidered number, and Kate Bosworth wore a sassy bordeaux ostrich feather mini. There was one other designer that shared equal time on the carpet this year: Givenchy.

Arriving arm-in-arm with Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, Rooney Mara killed it in a Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci black one-sleeve lace dress with laser cut leather lace. A few more Tisci-designed winners:

Gala2

From left: Gisele Bundchen, Carine Roitfeld, Liv Tyler, and her highness Beyonce.

Photos via Givenchy, Getty, Vogue

Spacehog’s Royston Langdon on the Band’s Reunion and New Record, ‘As It Is On Earth’

While it may take a beat—if not longer—for those of us over the age of 21 to remember the band Spacehog, the recognition for their first hit song “In The Meantime” based on the opening notes alone is almost instantaneous. The track rose to number one on the Billboard mainstream rock charts and is now universally recognized as a coming-of-age classic to those who were in their teens and early twenties during the last half of the ’90s. The debut album from Spacehog in 1996 was a glimmer of hope for recovering rock fans—a neo-glam rock evolution defined by the Bowie-esque tenor of lead singer Royston Langdon’s voice, which had just enough pop in it to get radio play without totally selling out. Two more albums grew out of the band over the next three years, neither of them selling as well as Resident Alien, though there were minor hits like “Mungo City” and a true belief in their talents from music fans and their musical peers alike.

Now, over a decade later after their initial breakup in 2002, Spacehog has reformed with As It Is On Earth, a self-released album that came out this week. A lot has changed in that time—from the state of the music industry to Royston Langdon himself, through the fallout of his marriage to actress Liv Tyler leading to some serious self-reflection and, as he describes it, maturity. The album is a fascinating journey, a tricky amalgam of a wide variety of different genres. It ranges greatly, from the classic boot-stomping Brit Pop on tracks like “Love Is a Curious Thing” to the smokey lounge, mourning sounds of “Now I’m Only Dreaming” or the lovely, ethereal “Cool Water,” proving that, if anything, Langdon’s voice has only become richer over the past decade. While there are hints of the older, glam rock Spacehog sound on tracks like “Sunset Boulevard,” both they (and we) seem to know that they need to move on to new frontiers.      

Langdon took some time to chat with me, about the new album, why the band got back together, and what has been happening, from his perspective, since Spacehog originally broke up.

Why, after being broken up for over a decade, is now the right time for you to get back together and put out a new album?
It took a long time to get this record out for numerous reasons. In 2006 we got together for Johnny’s 40th birthday party in New York and that was really the kind of spark of realization that we have yet to achieve all that we wanted to. There was a feeling of goodwill around that, a realization that we were literally blown apart in late 2001, right around the time the World Trade Center was hit. It split us all asunder, really. That and other things. We had some personality problems within the group at that time as well.

Anyway, when we played together for his birthday in 2006, we got along splendidly and realized there was a lot of love in the room. So since then we’ve spent the last 6 years slowly plotting out our return. It took two years for anything to actually happen, because we were all working on other projects in our own lives and it wasn’t until 2008 that we all were able to get together again in L.A. and really start working. It wasn’t until late 2010 actually that we all got back into the studio again with producer Bryce Goggin. And then after that it took us two years to finish the album, as we were funding it ourselves and wanted to do it right. We’re not 21 and wandering around the East Village with nothing but time. So if you look at it that way, we haven’t really been broken up for that long. The most important thing for us was getting the best record possible, and it took some time to get it right. We work in the way that we work—we don’t really settle.

Were these songs that you had already written or were these songs that you all wrote when you got back together?
A little bit of both, really. I’ve always been consistent with writing and playing, working on my own solo stuff to a certain extent. We all had, I think. Some of these were songs that never made it onto past albums, like Resident Alien and The Chinese Album. Some were songs that came from the experience of my life and being back with these guys again, which is like being back home, in a way.

Is there a different approach to writing and making music now? I guess what I’m asking is if you changed over the past 10 years or so…
I think I’ve been collaborating more over that time. There’s a bit of this on this new record. Songwriting-wise, I feel the first three albums always really held up, so I wanted that to continue on this record, which forced me to not get lazy with it. So I guess maybe that part took more time and diligence…

Let’s go all the way back, back to the beginning… I know other bands who hate their hit songs, because they have had to play them ad naseum. How do you feel about "In the Meantime" now?
To me it’s just another song. A song I wrote when I was quite young and a song that came together because of Spacehog. I still love to perform it and I try to get into the headspace that I’m performing it for the first time every time I do it, probably more successful at some times than others. It’s an interesting thing for me personally, and us I suppose, as it’s taken more attention than other things we have done, that we are equally as proud of. I’m eternally grateful, though, for what that song has allowed us and given us though. It can be seen as both a blessing and a curse, but that’s not for me to decide. My feelings surrounding it are totally positive. I know it’s still loved by many people and it’s become a part of their heritage in a way, which really means something special, as that’s what the song was about—getting a message out to people.

When you guys initially broke up, the music industry was on the brink of falling apart due to Napster and digital downloads and just the way people were able to listen to music in general. What’s your opinion on how that effected Spacehog and the state of the music industry as a whole?
It’s interesting how the story of Spacehog mirrors the upheaval in the record industry itself. We were as confused as the record executives who were working with us as to where everything was going. Now the format has changed. There’s a commercial side that can’t be ignored and the Internet has freed music in some respect, which has changed the outcome before you really start. I’m quite happy about it personally, because anybody can make or get music. It’s more difficult to filter out the wheat from the chaff, but you can do it if you’re passionate about music. 

Do you think the early success affected the band and the mindset of the band moving forward? Was the bar set too high off the bat?
In some ways, sure. That was a record we made then and there were a number of reasons the bar became high, so to speak. Having lived through that—barely—I an only comment on that with a bit of 20/20 hindsight from a 40 year-old guy. I probably would have reacted differently if I had more insight into myself, if we all had as a group. You get thrown into that thing you always dream of and it’s very difficult to know how to handle it.

Success is a deceptive and dangerous position to be in. There’s usually only one way to go and that’s down. I don’t feel like our follow-up records are any less of accomplished albums as a whole, but it wasn’t as well received. Then you have to think about all of the other things going on around you—managers, the road, just life in general—and see how that effects you. You also have a larger disposable income and you haven’t really emotionally grown—in fact, there’s the possibility of regression when you become even somewhat successful and famous. Especially when you get in the bottle of touring a lot and people wanting that to be perpetuated in terms of making money and capitalizing on that.

For myself it became very, very difficult to keep my head on straight and doing what I do best, to write and perform music. I am totally responsible of that, of course and nobody gives you a handbook when you start off in that position. You’re just suddenly known for something you’ve been doing since you were a kid in your bedroom, playing along to your stereo. And then all of a sudden it becomes a reality and you don’t know what to do with it.

I feel like this record is very much a reflection on that, which is why it sounds somewhat more mature, because I am and all these things have become clearer to me.

Liv Tyler Takes A Giant Leap in ‘The Ledge’

Liv Tyler is cold. Really, really cold. She also has a headache, she needs a caffeine boost, and, truth be told, she’d walk out the door if she could. “Would you like an Aleve?” asks one of her publicists while retrieving a small bottle of pills from a designer handbag of indeterminable animal-kingdom origins. “Would I like to leave?” says Tyler, her exhaustion suddenly replaced by a gleeful, half-joking outburst. But no. The 33-year-old actor will endure more than a few interviews before heading to the premiere of her new film, a taut thriller about infidelity and evangelism called The Ledge (which opens July 8), in which she plays Shana, a woman torn between her Christian fundamentalist husband Joe (Patrick Wilson) and her atheist lover Gavin (Charlie Hunnam).

To ward off the room’s oppressive central air system, we struggle to open every window from a suite inside Manhattan’s Crosby Street Hotel. Tyler, the star of such varied films as Stealing Beauty, The Lord of The Rings, and, most recently, Super (in which she portrayed Rainn Wilson’s drug addict wife), kicks off her Louboutin heels and settles into a plush settee. Her kind smile and a slight nod suggests she’s ready to begin. Over the course of our conversation she subtly cracks her toes.

Press days can get really tedious. How are you holding up? I don’t mean to complain because it’s part of the job, but press junkets are hard. I can’t help but give sincere answers and I feel like they’re always so manipulated and very rarely used in the way they were intended. I also feel like I’m just an actress—I don’t necessarily want to share all of my thoughts and views with the world, but it’s almost expected.

Did this part scare you as an actor? Absolutely. That was part of the draw. But it’s very frustrating shooting a movie in such few days with not very much money, especially something that’s so detailed and intense and dense, story-wise.

Although sometimes fewer resources and less time can contribute to greater creativity. If that’s the case, that’s great. But when quality has to be compromised, it can be tricky. [Pause.] I’m not saying that happened in this case, but when budget gets cut into all these little pieces it does somehow… you think, If we only had that it could be better. I don’t necessarily mean spending loads of money. I mean, like, three million dollars versus one million dollars.

The movie raises some tough questions about faith. Did it cause you to reassess your own perspective on religion and spirituality? For me, it was more about people and the things that happen in our lives, the decisions we make, how they effect us, and how we cope with that.

But it does, ultimately, question the importance of trust in something bigger than ourselves. It didn’t change my existing belief system, but it definitely expanded my understanding of the things other people believe in. It’s so easy to judge people and think, They believe in this so they must be like that. How we cope with the world and how fragile we are, well, it’s what makes us individuals. In this film, that idea is taken to such incredible extremes because Patrick [Wilson’s character] is completely insane—or is he?

Paired with Super, The Ledge seems to suggest your desire to tackle more challenging material. Was this a conscious decision after your hiatus from acting? That sounds so cool but, honestly, these just happen to be the two things I read and fell in love with. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but it was an incredibly liberating experience for me to see what I could do. I’m an actor—that’s all I am. I’m not anything else. I’m just an actor and I love my job, and I like the people I work with. I don’t think too much about “career moves,” I just want to have experiences.

Has the process always been that organic for you? If I’m being honest, yeah.

That’s really surprising. They call it the movie business for a reason. That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve just always enjoyed making different kinds of films and playing different characters. I don’t know that I’ve ever tapped into one schtick. I’m still learning and exploring. There’s something magical about leaving those decisions up to chance, and watching where they then take you in your life.

Had you been reading scripts during your break from acting? Since having Milo, basically, I haven’t worked nearly as hard on films as I had leading up to that point. I’ve had the incredible luxury and amazing opportunity to have a cosmetic contract with Givenchy for almost eight years now—which is unheard of! And that’s made it possible for me to be home with Milo, and it’s given me something very solid to fall back on.

Were you itching to get back? I am now, in a crazy way. I’ve always had a tendency to work very hard on a couple back-to-back movies and then say, I need to not do that again for a while. I don’t feel like I could ever just make one movie after the next after the next. I’m not built like a machine. As a parent, especially this year because Milo’s starting kindergarten, I need to find a balance between work and family. I’m always aware of this beautiful little person who needs me to be around.

You’ll be on The View tomorrow. Excited or terrified? I’m not terrified, but I’ve always had a little bit of stage fright. There’s just something about a live talk show, but I’m getting much better at it.

I think the pre-interview is so weird, the idea that you’d call in before appearing on the show to settle on funny anecdotes with one of the producers. It’s really funny when it’s someone like Jay Leno, because based on what you talk about in that pre-interview he creates very specific jokes and punch lines, and even suggests responses to jokes. I’m always so worried I’m going to miss my mark.

There are stories floating around online that you’re co-writing an etiquette book with your grandmother. Well, my grandmother’s writing a book, but I wrote the foreword and I’m very involved in the process—dealing with the publishers, the look of the book, and everything that’s in the book. I’m also writing little sidebars about the things she’s taught me and how they’ve affected my life. But it’s completely her book.

Salon Spotlight: Tracie Martyn’s MET Gala Spa Day

I’m not exactly jealous I wasn’t invited to the Met Gala this year, more miffed about missing out on the prep time—kicking back in a salon chatting with famous people as I wait for my designer gown to arrive. Imagine, for example, what the Tracie Martyn Salon was like the morning of the mega-fete. Tracie, A-list skin wizard to the stars, was prepping supermodel Lara Stone and actors Liv Tyler and Kate Winslet for the ball.

Martyn, a British-born New Yorker, is widely sought out for her Resculpting Facial, a $600 treatment that she customizes specially for each client using only natural ingredients. Her signature Resculpting Facials and Resculpting Body Treatments improve the appearance of the skin, and focus on relaxing and centering the client. Though nothing can rival the handiwork of Martyn herself and the expertise she’s gleaned over nearly 30 years in the beauty industry, her specially-formulated products are famous among beauty editors and beauty junkies alike. She even offers what’s now known as “The Famous Purple Bag,” a tote that features her entire facial product collection, which earned it’s title after the audience went nuts for it during her Oprah appearance (oh, yeah—she knows Oprah too). You can get it for around $435, sans MET Gala invite.

If you’d like to test your luck and try for an appointment, her beautiful private salon location on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan is certainly worth the wait. She’s spared no expense on the design and aura of the space, paying close attention to detail. She’s particular about ginger tea-scented candles and floral arrangements by Antony Todd. But the effect is worth it.

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Links: Lindsay Lohan’s ‘Elle’ Shoot, Rene Zellweger + Bradley Cooper

● The editor of Elle UK, Lorraine Candy, doesn’t know if September covergirl Lindsay Lohan will ever be featured in her magazine again, calling Lilo’s shoot “unpredictable” and “confusing” with the cover girl pulling multiple disappearing acts. [NYDailyNews] ● Now that 90210 and Melrose Place have successfully risen from the grave, will the CW be resurrecting Dawson’s Creek? [TheWrap] ● John Mayer keeps it classy in a Hugh Hefner-esque velvet smoking jacket while dining with his mother; sadly, she fell in front of the paps, or maybe that was the plan? [I’mNotObsessed]

● How does Liv Tyler stay so ethereal and pretty? A visit to the Beverly Hot Springs, a traditional Korean bathhouse where Tyler dons her birthday suit and is scrubbed and cleansed within an “inch of her life.” [TimesofIndia] ● After numerous threats to do so and a false alarm with a wig, Kim Kardashian has finally dyed her hair blonde, or light brown in her case. [KK] ● Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper were seen entering JFK airport separately and boarding the same flight. That could only mean they’re dating, of course. [FadedYouth]

Snobbery and Entitlement at All Points West

VIP access to this weekend’s All Points West Music and Arts Festival means hanging with the artists, but not actually watching them perform. Ignore the tempting buffet because there is too much beer to drink. Score a bunch of free shit and feel very important because of it. At the entrance, unimportant and important people alike wait in long-ass lines while their are bags checked. But we very important folk waltz right in.

Pass the Brazilian Girls and one gay man of CSS on the second stage, ignore Underworld on the main stage, and go straight to the VIP tent/area. Once inside the haven of exclusivity, I can breathe again, finally amongst my very important people. But when I go for a beer and the bartender has the gall to ask for money, it became very clear, very fast, that the whole thing was a sham, a put-up. Even the food had prices — a cardinal sin in VIPville. My lungs pinched up and the Statue of Liberty laughed at me. I’ve been had by promoters looking to grant concertgoers a quick fix of upper-crustery. I had to get out of this make-you-believe world and into the real, which meant only one thing: backstage.

Passing security is no big deal — I belong there, after all. Beyond the metal railing, behind the stage, is a world of artists golf-carting to and fro, and celebrities picking at fruit plates. Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi hangs out with the hipster set. Natasha Lyonne (looking a little plump these days) is flanked by Animal Collective. There’s Liv Tyler bringing her son onstage to watch Kings of Leon (probably dating the whole band). Jessica Stam just walked by. Rosanna Arquette eats cantaloupe. Mary-Kate Olsen watches the show. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are there too. Miso too salty, chocolate cake too decadent. And when headliners Radiohead finally start playing, their music sounds so much better from behind the stage, muffled as it may be. It’s the music only very important ears get to hear.