Prema Is Absolutely Your New Favorite NYC Salon

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Lower East Side mainstay and BlackBook favorite Prema has a new couple in charge. Hair and makeup gurus-turned-married couple Nick and Gregg Lennon Jr. have taken over Prema’s Lower East Side location, with the goal of turning the space into a haven for all of the city’s coolest creatives.

Launched in 2004 by Francesco Ruggerino with its first location in Bondi, Australia, Prema has been a radical force in the industry for over a decade. With two locations in Australia (Bondi and Surry Hills), the salon set up shop on Stanton Street in 2014. Walking through the neighborhood, there’s no shortage of quirky hair salons; but there’s none like Prema anywhere in the city.

To celebrate their appointment last month, Gregg and Nick threw a “Paint It Black” party in which the space got its ’80s goth makeover. With all black everything and a giant painting of Edward Scissorhands, it’s no wonder Prema is the go-to salon for some of NYC’s freaks, influencers and artists.

 

But it’s not just the top of the line stylists and unforgettable vibe that make Prema our new staple. As part of the queer community, Gregg and Nick are dedicated to making the salon an all-inclusive and safe space rooted in community activism. The duo plans to initiate “salon nights” at the salon, in which members of the community can come together for events and to engage in creative conversations. In the future, the partners also plan to produce events in which proceeds will benefit different LGBTQ charities.

 

Since its opening in 2004, Prema has developed a reputation for creating cutting edge looks with unique products, including Ruggerino’s own line, ANTI, (which is sold at the salon) and an innovative aesthetic. The owner has brought the same ethos to the Lower East Side, with the help of Gregg, Nick, and their team of leading stylists.

 

Prema is located at 101 Stanton Street in the Lower East Side. The salon is open Tuesday through Friday from 11AM to 9PM, and until 7PM on Saturday and Sunday.

‘Boom For Real’ Chronicles Basquiat’s Life as a Homeless NYC Teen (Watch)

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Photo by Alexis Adler

 

Everyone knows the name Jean-Michel Basquiat. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he became one of the world’s most influential artists, responsible for revolutionizing the New York art scene by popularizing street art and promoting a radical, political message. But before his paintings were selling for $110,000,00 at auction, Basquiat was living as a homeless teen in NYC’s East Village.

A new documentary, Boom For Real, explores this pivotal time in the artist’s life, which undoubtedly impacted his work and career. From the prevalence of drugs, crime and violence that he witnessed (in the documentary, director Sara Driver shows how his famous tag “SAMO” came from Basquiat seeing the “same ‘ol shit”), to his experiences with class struggle, these themes were at the center of the artist’s work until his untimely death in 1988. While most of the other films about the painter, like Tamra Davis’ 2010 Radiant Child documentary, touch on Basquiat’s career and the effect he’s had on contemporary art, Boom For Real sheds light on his life before fame, and how those experiences shaped him as an artist.

In theaters May 11. Watch the trailer, below.

 

 

Now You Can Buy a David Bowie Subway Metrocard in NYC

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Talk about ch-ch-ch-changes. Yesterday afternoon, at the Bleecker Street and Broadway-Lafayette subway station in Manhattan, the MTA gave people the opportunity to purchase exclusive David Bowie metrocards. As part of the final stop of the David Bowie Is exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum, Spotify teamed up with the city to create 250,000 limited edition metrocards that offer five different versions of the Starman: a young suited Bowie, a Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, an ’80s makeup-clad Bowie, the legendary Ziggy cover with the lightning bolt, and Bowie as the Thin White Duke.

 

 

In addition to the metrocards, the MTA also turned the Lafayette station into an immersive tribute to the singer. Along with various portraits throughout the subway station, the city spray-painted a giant image of Ziggy Stardust across a set of beams. The whole thing gives brand new meaning to Station to Station.

 

 

Of course, though, New Yorkers love a special. So, we’d be surprised if the metrocards last very long. As of now, however, the MTA says they’re still available.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Photos by Bilyana Dimitrova

 

Lexus Debuts Their New UX Luxury Compact Crossover with Bold Art Installation in NYC

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On any given night in New York City there are probably a million events happening, only a few of which are actually cool. So, you know if we’re going to actually leave the house, it has to be worth it — and on Tuesday night, it was.

To kick off the annual New York International Auto Show, Lexus threw a banger, and debuted their new UX compact luxury crossover. And you know, because all the best parties also include a really great collab, the brand teamed up with NYC non-profit RxArt to premiere a custom urban-landscape art installation by artist Daniel Heidkamp, which will later be placed in a New York City Pediatric Cancer Center. The piece was a life-size Manhattan skyline in bold neon Pop Art colors — the perfect backdrop for Lexus’  chic new ride.

 

 

Of course, they also gave us tote bags. But don’t worry, you can get one, too — we don’t want you to feel left out. It’s not as great as the Lexus UX, which is not only the brand’s first luxury compact crossover, but also introduces an “all new platform built for exceptional handling, an ultra-efficient powertrain and innovative luxury features,” made for young, cool, city-slickers just like you. And hey, if the L train’s going to close next year, what better option is there?

The Lexus UX (in hybrid and gas models) arrives in December 2018.

Photos by Daniel Byrne

 

10 Artists You Have To See At This Year’s Armory Show

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Nam June Paik, ‘Megatron Matrix’, photo courtesy of Ryan Somma

 

The Armory is basically the Coachella of the art world – well, sans the ecstasy and the floral headbands. But anyone who’s anyone (or has ever been at some point in time) will gather at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan to browse New York’s largest art fair and see work from both emerging and legendary global artists.

Since that can be a bit overwhelming, we’ve done you a solid and put together a list of 10 artists you won’t want to miss at this year’s show. Trust us.

 

Douglas Coupland at Daniel Faria

 

‘Tsunami Chest,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery

 

Postmodern artist and fiction author Douglas Coupland is known for subverting pop culture and military imagery, in part due to his time growing up in a military family throughout the Cold War. Fascinated by Andy Warhol and the whole Pop Art movement, Coupland explores the darker side of popular culture through installation and sculpture.

Gilbert & George at Ropac

 

‘Beardache,’ 2016, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Collaborative art duo Gilbert & George are known for their highly formalized performance art practice, as well as their, um, not so formal photography work. Their ongoing photo series, referred to as The Pictures, features large scale back-lit images of everything from skinheads to semen, and a whole lot of beards.

 

Kyle Meyer at Yossi Milo

 

From ‘Interwoven,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Kyle Meyer is a photographer, sculptor and mixed media artist who uses digital photography and a variety of handmade techniques, such as weaving, to explore connectivity in the digital age. For his series, Interwoven, Meyer hand-wove over photographs to celebrate flamboyance, homosexuality and femme-identifying men in a hyper-masculine culture.

 

Cammie Staros at Shulamit Nazarian

 

‘All Quiver and Shake,’ 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Sculptor Camme Staros creates handmade objects that juxtapose modernism with antiquity and craft. Joining traditional materials like clay and ceramics with modern details like neon and steel, Staros examines the “semiotic systems” that have been “created and reinforced throughout art history.”

 

Etel Adnan at Gallery Continua

 

‘Five Senses for One Death,’ 1969, photo courtesy of the artist

 

Lebanese-American poet, writer and painter Etel Adnan crafts abstract oil paintings and landscapes inspired by Japanese leporellos that extend into space “like free-hand drawings.” In 2014, Adnan’s work was also included in the Whitney Biennial.

 

Nam June Paik at Gagosian

 

‘Lion,’ 2005, photo courtesy of Gagosian

 

Probably the most exciting artist on this list (at least for us), Nam June Paik is credited with being the founder of video art. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Paik began his career as a musician as part of the Fluxus movement in 1960. After moving to New York in 1964, he began experimenting with film, combining his musical works with video sculptures constructed of wire and metal. Before his death in 2006, Paik was known as an early adopter of technology, including his famous robots built of out multiple computers. In fact, he’s also credited with using the term “electronic super highway” as early as 1974. Damn.

 

Alicja Kwade at i8 Gallery

 

‘Computer (Power Mac),’ 2017, photo courtesy of i8 Gallery

 

Polish artist Alicja Kwade works in sculpture, installation, photography and film. Throughout all of her work, however, she likes to play with value systems, transforming useless materials like wood or glass into high value pieces of art.

 

Jinshi Zhu at Pearl Lam

 

‘A Tiger Shaped Tally,’ 2016, photo courtesy of Pearl Lam Gallery

 

Painter Jinshi Zhu creates abstract oil paintings focused on texture, through endless layers of color and paint. Inspired by the German Expressionist movement and their unconventional techniques, Zhu often creates these layers using a spatula or shovel.

 

The Haas Brothers at R & Company

 

‘Socrata Floor Lamps and Furries’, photo courtesy of the artists

 

Twins Nikolai and Simon Haas have worked in pretty much every medium, from music and film to installation and visual art. Now focused mostly on their sculpture and installation work, The Haas Brothers highlight themes including sexuality, science fiction, psychedelia and politics.

Jeffrey Gibson at Roberts Projects

 

‘Power Power Power,’ 2017, photo courtesy of Roberts Projects

 

Artist Jeffrey Gibson relates his experience as a Native American growing up in a Western culture into large scale paintings and woven sculpture. Also inspired by dance and movement, from pow-wows to nightclubs and the work of Leigh Bowery, Gibson examines nostalgia, heritage and pre-colonized Native American life.

 

Oh, and if looking at all this great art makes you hungry, check out our guide to The Armory’s pop-up restaurants.

 

The Best Posts from Beyoncé’s Birthday Party in NYC

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@Beyonce on Instagram

Beyoncé turned 35 this weekend, and celebrated with the party of the year at the NoMad Hotel in New York. The guest list for the “Soul Train”-themed soiree included everyone from Chance the Rapper, to Alicia Keys, to Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, to Diddy, and Usher, and so on. Check out our favorite moments from the bash below:

Chance the Rapper giving his hero some love:

Bey & her nephew Chance ️ #Beyonce

A photo posted by Sha. (@yoncesince81) on

Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats turning up in supreme style:

Diddy chilling in the kitchen:

Janelle Monae assuming control of the dancefloor:


Blue Ivy delivering her mom a layered birthday cake:

 

And, finally, Bey and Jay dancing the night away:

They must’ve put Blue to bed ?? Jay could not keep up lol #beyonce

A video posted by Sha. (@yoncesince81) on

BlackBook Premiere: Blonde Redhead’s Long Lost Demo Tapes

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Picture it. New York City. The Lower East Side. 1994. A time when The NY Times described downtown as a “drug netherworld” where pure heroin like “China Cat” was being sold on sordid corners and the streets “smelled worse than an open air fish market in Chinatown.”  This was New York life Pre-Giuliani where grit and garbage was caking the city and music was being made to reflect the situation.  You had bands like Helmet up the street in the East Village leading the post-metal genre with their heavy distortion and (the then unknown) Blonde Redhead taking to a shitty rehearsal space on Rivington St. to record the 4-track demos that would establish them as the noise rock scene staple.

Long out of print, these early recordings will be soon be released in box set form (4LP/2CD) by Numero Group on September 30th.  Boasting 37 tracks, Blonde Redhead’s Masculin Féminin compiles the band’s first two albums (self-titled and La Mia Via Violenta), their period singles, extant demos, and radio performances. The release also features dozens of previously unpublished photographs illustrating the band’s formative years in the city.

BlackBook premieres the first lost demo, “This is the Number of Times I Said I Will and I Didn’t.”

 

Five Must-See Videos to Celebrate Transgender Icon Candy Darling’s Birthday

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Now a prized fixture of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, Candy Darling, originally nicknamed “Hope Slattery,” was way ahead of her time, pioneering a gender-fluid movement decades before the nation was ready to accept such identities in the way it does today.

“There is one thing I must tell you because I just found it to be a truth,” Darling famously said. “You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality.” Though these words would’ve been viewed as rebellious in the distant days Darling stormed NYC streets in stilettos, in 2015 they sound wonderfully relevant—a subtle testament to the cultural impact of this underground superstar.

To celebrate Darling’s birthday—she would’ve been 71, today—we’ve compiled our favorite videos, all featuring the trans trailblazer.

Candy Darling in Flesh:

 Andy Warhol and Candy Darling Interview:

Candy Darling at the Whitney Museum:

Candy Warhol in Women in Revolt:

Candy Darling sings 1928’s “Ramona:”