Lena Dunham and Famous Pals <3 Planned Parenthood

Lena Dunham, photo courtesy of BFAnyc.com

In what is sure to go down in history as some excellent utilization of social media, Lena Dunham and 15+ of her most fabulous, influential friends posed in Lena’s special edition Planned Parenthood t-shirt designed to support Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 2014 Women are Watching campaign. Obviously, being in the public eye means being subject to a-whole-lotta crazies, so we salute these brave, beautiful women for supporting Planned Parenthood and helping to get out the vote.

The Lovely Ladies All Together

These dream women stand for equality and justice. And they encourage you to vote November 4th.

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Amy Poehler

The angel known as Knope #amypoehler #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Jenna Lyons

Oh excuse you Jenna Lyons!!! #womenarewatching #weheartplannedparenthood

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Jemima (and babies!)

Mindy Kaling

Want more–check out, and give some double taps to @lenadunham.

GIRLS fan? Lena fan? Get your own t-shirt here. And to learn more, check out Women Are Watching.

Chloe Sevigny Joins ‘The Mindy Project’

So far, in it’s premiere season Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project has featured some pretty great recurring guest stars. We’ve seen Mark and Jay Duplass as midwives/love interests, Alison Williams as Danny (Chris Messina)’s now-ex-girlfriend, BJ Novack as Mindy’s now-ex-boyfriend, Drea de Matteo as Mindy’s hypochondriac pregnant patient, etc. And now, adding tothe list odd people to join the cast of cameos, Chloe Sevigny will come on as Danny’s ex-wife.

In the past year we’ve seen Sevigny on Louie, Portlandia, and American Horror Story: Asylum, and fresh off the announcement of The Mindy Project‘s second season renewal, she will step in as a "well-traveled war photographer who’s been with some intimidating  men in exotic locales, a fact which makes Danny insecure." Apparently her character will be looking to have a romantic dinner with her ex when something comes up suddenly—hijix, I’m sure, will ensue. According to TV Line, she will be in at least three episodes starting in April. And as this show is my favorite guilty pleasure, of course I will be watching.

Linkage: You Will Not See Kim Kardashian Give Birth, Harvey Weinstein Is Not the Antichrist

When the news broke that Kim Kardashian is expecting Kanye West’s baby, I’m sure I’m not the only one who assumed that a birthing special would find its way on E! at some point. That is where we are as a society: it makes perfect sense that we’d have the opportunity to watch a human come out of Kim Kardashian. (Hell, a lot of us have seen a human go into Kim Kardashian.) But, thankfully, the mom-to-be has announced that the birth will be private, and she’s looking forward to not working for a while. Think about that as you click through the internet, desperate to leave your office and not work for a few hours before returning tomorrow morning! [Jezebel]

We also live in a world where Harvey Weinstein can declare that he is not the Antichrist in front of a room full of people and no one bats an eye. [THR]

I’ve shit-talked a lot of famous people on the Internet in my time, but very few of them have contacted me to call me out on it. Note to self: never make fun of Richard Marx on your blog. He has a Google alert and he knows how to use it. [The Morning News]

At a show at Brooklyn’s Bell House, Community creator Dan Harmon recruited Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis to prank call Chevy Chase in character as Joe Biden. It’s about as funny as it sounds. [Vulture]

The Office’s former workers B.J. Novak, Mindy Kaling, and Zach Woods will all be making appearances in the final episodes of the sitcom, but Steve Carrell won’t be returning to his old workplace. [Paste]

I’m not sure why this is news, or even why I’m repeating it as if it’s interesting, but: the son of the guy who created Barney was charged with murder. Now, I get it if he allegedly stomped someone to death or ate them. You know, like a dinosaur would do. [TMZ]

Vogue’s upcoming issue features a Hurricane Sandy-themed fashion shoot called “Storm Troupers.” Puns! It has made a lot of people angry. [Gawker]

My Headlines? My Headlines Seem So Smart But I’m Also Scared About My Headlines. [The Awl]

Dear Abby will be giving unsolicited advice in Heaven. [E!]

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Comedian Hari Kondabolu On Mindy Kaling & Other Indians In Pop Culture

Mindy Kaling’s new sitcom The Mindy Project is the perfect opportunity for every single culture blogger, comedy blogger, racial issues blogger, and ladyblogger (um, myself included) to quack about Indian-Americans, women in comedy, Indian-American women in comedy and damn-where-did-she-get-that-cute-outfit-from. But it’s probably better worth your time to listen to the thoughts of stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu, an Indian-American comedian on Totally Biased with W. Kamu Bell.

Kondabolu’s set isn’t blazingly funny, but I almost don’t even care because his is such a rare viewpoint you hear in stand-up. The points he’s making — say, how long Indian-Americans have suffered under the stereotype of Apu the Qwik-E-Mart clerk on The Simpsons — are totally on point. 

 

Mindy Kaling and her show might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But you can at least agree she’s better than that guy eating monkey brains (raw!) in the Indiana Jones movie.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

Mindy Kaling Is a Fashion-Forward, Comedic Superstar Adrift in a Sea of Sweatpants

Great comedy writers are often regarded for their quick wit and sharp sociopolitical commentary and rarely for their forward-thinking fashion sense. It’s not that writers are incapable of dressing well, but they usually don’t. Writing jokes is a career of sweatpants and sweat stains. Mindy Kaling—who makes the transition from The Office to her own show, The Mindy Project, debuting on Fox this fall—is an exception. She’s a wickedly funny writer who knows what to wear and how to wear it.

When she meets me at her office at Universal Studios, Kaling is dressed upscale casual. You can tell she takes time to dress, but she still looks comfortable. She has on a Smythe blazer, a popular pick for office meetings. “Though I’m intimidated by fashion,” Kaling says, “I really love shopping. Most of my friends just wear samples from their other friends’ fashion lines, but I would be miserable if I couldn’t shop.” Kaling’s love of retail therapy, she says, “is the first indicator that I’m not one of these super–intense fashion people.” Though she doesn’t buy into the insanity of the label-obsessed, she is remarkably influential.

More so than many television actors—certainly more so than comedic actors and definitely more so than comedic television actors who are not the standard sample size—Kaling has been vocal about her love of fashion. Though now defunct, her blog Things I Bought That I Love, was a space which she chronicled everything from sour candy to Christian Louboutin shoes. And its more recent iteration, The Concerns of Mindy Kaling, which reaches her 25,000 Facebook fans and nearly 1.8 million Twitter followers, is an eclectic look at what makes Kaling tick. It’s not just about the clothes she buys, but the shows she watches, the way she decorates her house, and what to buy for hard-to-shop-for guys. (Whiskey stones and leather coasters?)

Like her characters on The Office but with a somewhat bigger budget, Kaling has an unabashed enthusiasm for what she wears and a funny way of expressing it. “My sense of style is ‘new money’.” Kaling explains, laughing. “I love the aesthetic, like I just received disposable income, and more is more. It’s really fun.” She name-checks Helmut Lang (“always looks flattering and amazing on virtually anybody”) and her friend Charlotte Ronson (“super cute but completely casual”). Sometimes Kaling accessorizes with bright-colored costume jewelry: she’s a big fan of Tarina Tarantino’s work.

Kaling’s style has been called “quirky,” a label she’s not sure she likes. “I don’t think of myself and my style as quirky at all,” she says. “People call me quirky because I’m Indian. But I’m not wearing dresses from the ’40s or doing the hula hoop. The only thing quirky about me is that I have dark skin.”

The relationship between fashion and comedy isn’t readily apparent—comedy is generally about wearing what works, and fashion is, more often than not, the butt of jokes. But Kaling is among a new class of comedians sewing the two together: “If you’re fashionable, I don’t think people think you’re going to be less funny, not anymore,” Kaling says. “Maya Rudolph and Kristen [Wiig] are total fashion girls. They’re always rocking really cool looks by really cool designers, but I don’t think anyone thinks they’re less hilarious because of it.” Nevertheless, she admits, “I work with a bunch of dudes, at The Office more than even this job, and if you wear something a little bit too out there, or you even wear high heels to work, everyone assumes you have a super hot date that night.” It follows that comedy writers wouldn’t necessarily appreciate haute couture in the same way a designer might not get Judd Apatow movies. At its heart is the judgment that surrounds fashion as a pursuit—that a person should not only be criticized for bold fashion choices, but instead judged for caring at all. “Often,” she says, “if a character spends a lot of time on fashion or how they look, it is an indication that they are not a good person.”

This prejudice extends into the traditionally male sphere of writers’ rooms, which places undue pressure on women writers to underplay their girly traits for anything but laughs. “Most women I know—strong, smart, educated, funny women—are also interested in finding love or losing weight, or clothes,” Kaling remarks. “But if you’re doing a show, you’re told you can’t ever talk about those real things, or it behooves you not to talk about those real things, because it means that you’re not strong. But that’s crazy to me.”

In her 2011 book of personal essays, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Kaling’s penchant for fashion and deep-seated insecurity has been wildly successful. And on The Mindy Project it blossoms even more. “Because the show is so personal, I have this nice advantage,” Kaling says happily, “When I have a personal taste thing, I get to do what I want. This wasn’t always the case at The Office.”

The Mindy Project doesn’t just reflect Kaling’s voice—in many ways, it mirrors her look. “I’ve always thought it was really cool when you watch TV or movies, and you notice something that was a great choice in terms of fashion, or even set decoration,” she explains. “I don’t want this to look like just another one of those comedies where everyone is wearing logo-less color blocking.” Of course, Kaling’s desire for specificity clashes with the legal and financial hurdles of producing television. She notes that if she wanted to have a movie poster in the back of a shot—Kaling has two on her office walls, Hannah and Her Sisters and You’ve Got Mail—all the brand names would have to be cleared, a lengthy and expensive financial process. “You are incentivized to make things as unspecific and bland as possible,” Kaling laments. “What’s great about my show is I said, right from the top, ‘No, I want things to be noticeable.’ I want people to say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that. Oh, I understand that.’ I think that’s cool.”

The Mindy Project will likely bring Kaling new fans—and change the opinions of those who know her only as The Office’s Kelly Kapoor, whom Kaling calls “a mean 14-year-old girl.” On the new series, Mindy plays “a flawed person, a really funny person… an adult who can act a little childish sometimes.” Her name is Mindy, too. The character will be more true to the life of the real Mindy Kaling. She will, therefore, be very well–dressed.

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Bryan Cranston to Direct Episode of ‘The Office’

Since the start of the Breaking Bad’s fifth and final season, much as been said about Walter White’s transition from well-intentioned struggling family man meth dealer to the God-complexed absolute evil jerk he has become. Perhaps if a lesser actor than Bryan Cranston were at the helm, we’d now see that shining bald head, weathered face, and maniacal facial hair and look at him with distain or feel, like Skyler, betrayed by the man we trusted and loved. But no matter what Walt does, it’s hard to fully loathe him, because Cranston, the man you know lurking inside, you cannot help but feel the utmost adoration for.

And for someone so intensely devoted in his characters, he still finds time to step out of the spotlight and throw his pork pie hat in the world behind the camera. And it seems his latest endeavor will be guest-directing an episode of The Office. Back in the Malcolm in the Middle days, Cranston directed seven marvelous episodes and has taken on three Breaking Bad ones, as well, including “No Mas,” the infamous post-plane crash episode where Walt impulsively decides to burn his stash of cash. And in a lesser-known fact, Cranston even directed the “Election Day” episode of Modern Family. So there’s really no doubt that whatever he’s doing on The Office will be a raving success.

The news of his Office directorial debut came from Rainn Wilson’s twitter after posting a preciously creepy photo of Cranston sitting on his lap. Also, while the rest of the world spent the post-Breaking Bad evening tweeting about how smug and evil Walter behaved at his impromptu dinner with Skyler and Jesse, Office showrunner Mindy Kaling tweeted away, questioning her sanity over her undeniable love for Walter White and how he is “kind of the sexiest guy ever.” And yeah, we have to agree, she’s pretty right. 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Pattinson Covers Our Fashion Issue!

It’s not breaking news that Robert Pattinson is on the cover of our September issue. The magazine has already hit newsstands, and you can check out the personal essay by the young heartthrob’s throbbing heart (as told to BlackBook Editor in Chief Joshua David Stein) right here, and see pictures from the spread here. But there’s so much more is covered inside the pages of our newest issue.

Because it’s our Fashion Issue (eat your heart out, Anna Wintour), we’ve got plenty of hot new looks for the fall. If you’re like me, you might not know too much about fashion. (I know how to match, though!) If you’re also like me, you’re still curious about how fashion plays an important, yet sometimes unseen, role in the great spinning wheel of our culture—as well as the cultures of many others. As Stein writes in his editor’s letter, we’re "interested in how fashion interacts, overlaps, spills over, infringes upon, and enriches the world beyond its seams." We’ve got a terrific profile by actress and comedienne (and fashionista!) Mindy Kaling, as well as a fashion story featuring supermodel Angela Lindvall. In a fantastic essay, we take a look at how the fashion industry in Africa has moved away from focusng entirely on the construction of Western designs. There’s also a collaboration with Chilean artist Jose Romussi, who embroidered photographs taken at Azealia Banks’ first headlining show in her hometown of New York City.

And, as always, we’ve covered some of the most interesting movies, TV shows, bands, and artists of the fall, featuring Stephen Chbosky, Ari Graynor, Animal Collective, Krysten Ritter, and Mike Birbiglia. Pick up the newest issue on newsstands now for all of this, and keep checking back at the BlackBook site for even more exclusive coverage. 

Mindy Kaling-Fronted Sitcom Picked Up for Fox’s Tuesday Lineup

So far, the new crop of network pilots has been well, interesting (the eye-roll-inducing shock-jock-meets-feminist! radio show Next Caller; the show where Andy from Weeds plays a vet), but Fox is hoping to turn the odds around with The Mindy Project, a new sitcom starring Mindy Kaling as "a skilled OB/GYN navigating the tricky waters of both her personal and professional life, as she pursues her dreams of becoming the perfect woman, finding the perfect man and getting her perfect romantic comedy ending." Fellow NBC comedy alumni Bill Hader and Ed Helms appear as Kaling’s character’s former flames. The preview clip includes Kaling riding a bike in a sparkly formal dress while hammered, hallucinating a conversation with a Barbie doll and making lots of references to male celebrities (including Michael Fassbender and Hugh Grant).

Fox also picked up Ben and Kate, a comedy which includes the same producers and director as New Girl, and stars Dakota Johnson as a single mother who gets some help from her wacky older brother, played by The Descendants‘ co-writer Nat Faxon.

The Mindy Project will be paired with New Girl on Tuesday nights next season. Fox’s other big-draw Tuesday night comedy series, Glee, moves to Thursdays. There is still the question of whether or not Kaling, who has written and directed a number of episodes of her current show, The Office (including some of the show’s most memorable episodes, among them "The Dundies" and "Diwali"), will leave to devote her time to The Mindy Project.

 

Roll clip, complete with that same voiceover that accompanies every rom-com. 

Morning Links: ‘The X Factor’ Cleans House, Julian Assange Joins ‘The Simpsons’

● Imported host Steve Jones and esteemed judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger are all leaving Simon Cowell’s The X Factor, and apparently not on their own accord: "it was cleaning house day at the so-so rated reality series," writes Deadline’s Nikke Finke. [Deadline]

● Several years older and grey hairs richer, each and every member of Arrested Development’s original cast is returning for the new Netflix season. [Huff Post]

● It seems that, just to be safe, Ashton Kutcher has taken on the Herculean task of sorting through his 9.3 million Twitter followers in order to block certain (re: mostly tabloid) journalists. [Radar]

● Mindy Kaling has sold a sitcom to Fox in which she’ll play a "young Bridget Jones type doctor trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives." [Vulture]

● Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — who is still under house arrest — will play himself on The Simpsons’ landmark 500th episode. [Vulture]

● Already a generously tithing member of her mother’s Calabasas church, Kim Kardashian wants to step things up and start a Bible study group with her friends. [PageSix]