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.

The Dumbest Stuff in the Comments of This Dumb Salon Essay

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First of all: ahahahaha Salon thought they needed to take Dan Chaon, an author and writing professor, to task for—get this—telling his students to read. “Most contemporary literary fiction is terrible,” the headline reads, and it may not shock you to learn that what follows doesn’t exactly expand on that idea so much as repeatedly accept it at face value. Fair enough, thou click-baiting contrarian cads!

But then of course the commenters have to prove their own mettle and it is just glorious. Here are some highlights:

—People continually praising someone named “Cormack” McCarthy.

—“Bleak House, Dante’s Inferno, Portrait of a Lady, and Gulliver’s Travels are probably some of the most unpleasant reads I’ve ever experienced.”

—“I don’t completely agree, and have blogged on Huffington Post about it.”

—The addition of “echo chamber” to every mention of “MFA.”

—“To paraphrase Roland Barthes…”

—“A few years ago in Venice (where I live)…”

—“I don’t think I know one guy under 50 (outside of writers) who reads any fiction.”

—“My comment takes subjective taste into account, and makes the necessary adjustments, so you’re wrong.

—“Actually, literary fiction does suck.”

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Personal Faves: Rocking the Fuck Out of 2012 With Dave Hill

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Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, James Ramsay writes of the big year for comedian, musician, and suit enthusiast, Dave Hill.

The writer and performer Dave Hill owns about twenty suits for myriad moods and occasions. “I mean, I have some suits for the Explosion, for when I’m flopping around on stage and stuff,” he told me last week at QP & Monty Men’s Haberdashery in the West Village. A couple months ago when I first saw The Dave Hill Explosion, his comedy and music variety hour at the UCB Theatre, he came out in a velvet blazer but wound up topless and covered in silly string ten minutes into the show. You don’t go that route with a Paul Smith three-piece.

But the other day, he was looking for something a little more flop appropriate. The proprietor Ignacio insisted that every man needs a one-piece in his wardrobe. Dave wound up going with a multi-colored, striped 1970s jumpsuit with an easy access zipper at the fly. The best part, I figured, would be the ability to wear a sport coat over top of it, so you could walk into a restaurant and it’d just look like you had on colorful pants. “But then you take of the jacket,” Dave said, “and it’s like, next level.”

This is a man who knows a thing or two about shedding clothes. His new essay collection, Tasteful Nudes, which was robbed of a 2012 Thurber Prize, begins with a story from aboard a nudist cruise off Sheepshead Bay, wherein a group of aging swingers suckered him into getting naked on the upper deck under the guise of innocent naturalism (“’I’m also a member of a polyamory group,’ the earth mother cooed at me. ‘I’m shocked,’ I deadpanned.”).

The idea for the book sort of began over ten years ago with a story in Salon about a similarly odd sexual subculture—plushophiles, and one particular guy in Erie, Pennsylvania, who had a fondness for Meeko, the raccoon in Pocahontas. “It was the first time anyone had really written about that stuff,” Dave told me. Shortly thereafter, “Pleasures of the Fur” came out in Vanity Fair, giving plushie/furry culture the profile it now holds. But Dave’s piece caught the attention of a literary agent years later, leading, eventually, to Tasteful Nudes (which doesn’t contain the story). I asked what he thought of the trend of journalists following around porn stars and sadomasochists. He grimaced.

“I just don’t get when porn stars are like, ‘I’m not a prostitute.’ I mean—I have nothing against porn stars, I have nothing against prostitutes. But it’s the same thing. It’s like, you have sex for money.”

Besides the reported piece on the nudist boat, the book is made up of personal essays in the vein of Davids Rakoff and Sedaris, but with Hill’s faux-cocky rockstar voice that makes peeing in a sink at the Chelsea Hotel seem equal parts a noble right of passage and depressing red flag. He actually holds up the cliché of “I’m pretty big in Japan” after his band Valley Lodge got approached by a Japanese record label (“’Fuck yeah, motherfucker, you can release the fuck out of that album!’ I wanted to respond before instead writing, ‘Thank you.’”). The book contains perhaps the best title of any young love story ever told: “Loving You Is Easy Because You Live Pretty Close to My Parents’ House.” And his three day stint as a Pedicab driver made for the funniest failure at street working since Ignatius J. Reilly tried running a hot dog cart.

But the thread of Dave’s work, not only in his writing but also his music and comedy, is an underlying sense of sincerity and modesty that butts up against the incessant need for an artist to self-promote (at a Valley Lodge show in July, Dave remarked on stage: “That last song was in a hot dog commercial, and now we’re millionaires.”). And while there’s no actual posturing, he also doesn’t go the route of self-deprecation, which often seems to get conflated with niceness. In one essay, he chronicles his bout with depression as a twenty something and ends it with a noble refrain: “What the person suffering from depression doesn’t deserve…is pity. Not now, not ever. Unless, of course, that pity ends up leading to sex, in which case I’m all for it.”            

After suit shopping, he insisted we stop in at Big Gay Ice Cream on Grove Street. They’re preparing to make ice cream cakes, and Dave was trying to convince the owner, Bryan Petroff, to make a cake mold of the head of Danish metal god King Diamond (I asked him later if he actually liked metal; he smirked and went, “oh yeah.”). Over a Salty Pimp, I told him about a friend of mine who’s looking to become an actor because “you can make a ton of money, dude.”

“Well, those are the people who actually do it,” Dave sighed. “The most important thing is confidence, far beyond talent or intelligence—two things you can’t control anyway. I’ve known some people who are, like, total idiots, but they’re so sure of themselves. And the whole idea of self-promotion is just…so fucking ridiculous. You can’t just say, ‘come to my show, it’s really funny.’ That doesn’t mean anything.”

When I think about the art and entertainment I’ve observed this past year, the concept of self-promotion is always the inevitable lackey. An old boss of mine at a literary agency bemoaned the fact that authors would sit back after their publication date and just expect the book to start selling. But Dave is right, you can’t just say, buy my book, come to my show, listen to my album. At this point, it’s going on everybody’s sister’s podcast and tweeting like a madman that’s part of the gig, and if you can make that part of your art, and actually have some wit about it, then it only helps the cause. So for my pick of the year, I’m saying read Dave’s book, so that for once he doesn’t have to tell you himself. And if you see that he’s performing somewhere, the least you could do is stop by. After all, the man didn’t buy a striped onesie so no one would see it.

Follow James Ramsay on Twitter

Dalkey Archive Press: “Worst Job Posting Ever” Is Real

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Earlier this week, niche or avant-garde or just plain prickly publisher Dalkey Archive posted a prolix and possibly satirical and pugnacious job listing on their website. Rather than the usual banalities of required experience or internship responsibilities, the post seems to attack any applicant at great length. But founder John O’Brien, the man behind this screed, insists he’s for real.

Here’s a small slice of behaviors unacceptable in the Dalkey world:

Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above.

Well, that just about disqualifies everyone, doesn’t it? Still, O’Brien’s not exactly backpedaling from the mess stirred up—Salon asked if it was the worst job posting ever, meaning every person who has ever worked near publishing felt compelled to answer. He said, according to The Irish Times, that:

“The advertisement was a modest proposal. Serious and not-serious at one and the same time. I’ve been swamped with emails (I wish they’d stop: I’ve work to do), and with job applications. I certainly have been called an ‘asshole’ before, but not as many times within a 24-hour period.”

So there you have it: a botched joke or a botched classified ad. Only way to save face is to pretend it’s both and neither. Flann O’Brien must be loving this, rest his soul.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter

Brazilian Freebies from Maria Bonita Salon and Spa

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I cannot say enough about Maria Bonita Salon and Spa. The boutique atmosphere is friendly and bustling, with women and men fluttering about, offering up compliments while attending to their business. It’s a “regular” kind of place, meaning loyal customers keep coming back—with good reason. The beauty destination employs a close-knit group of talents (for highlights, ask for Rogerio Cavalcante), and they believe in bringing your “sexy” out by offering nutritious services that repair and care for hair as part of a balanced regiment. Case in point: they’ve developed Bio Supplements, a product formulated with a cocktail of essential vitamins and natural ingredients to nourish hair that they designed after they noticed all of their fellow Brazilians were having too much fun in the sun, and wrecking their luscious locks. This Thursday they’ll be throwing a launch event (because Brazilians are no stranger to a good party) and will be giving away their entire line.

Date:Thursday, February 3, 2011 Time: 5pm to 7:30pm Address: Avignone Pharmacy, 281 Avenue of Americas (@ Bleecker street). RSVP: RSVP@blablablanyc.com

Though you wont leave empty-handed, your RSVP to enters you into a raffle to win the entire line of Bio Supplements, including all of their systems specially formulated for different hair types.

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1). Volume Control System The Volume Control System combines essential oils that hydrate and tame each hair strand. The Shea Butter protects against dehydration and the Avocado Oil delivers the necessary emollients to control hair volume.

2). Ultra Straight System The Ultra Straight System has a Protein Mix of Silk and Rice that adheres to the surface of your hair to align each strand and bring your hair under control. The Essential Vitamins will leave your hair soft, silky and manageable.

3). High Gloss System The High Gloss System is a special formula of Keratin, Pearl Proteins and Essential Vitamins that reinvigorates the hair cuticle, leaving hair shiny and healthy.

4). Mocha Cappuccino System The Mocha Cappuccino System rehabilitates dry, damaged and chemically treated hair with Cocoa extracts for intense moisture and Coffee extracts for ultra-violet and anti-fade protection.

5). Citrus Shine System The Citrus Shine Shampoo is a specially formulated combination of Citrus Fruits with the Amazon Andiroba seed that balances the hair’s natural oils. The Golden Pearls and Essential Vitamins hydrate, soften and enhance hair shine.