Morning Links: Hillary Duff Is Pregnant, Charlie Sheen Attends Gathering of the Juggalos

● Hillary Duff is pregnant. “We are extremely happy and ready to start this new chapter of our lives,” she writes on her website. [Hillary Duff] ● Five died and at least four dozen more were left injured when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair minutes before Sugarland was scheduled to perform. It’s being suggested that the tragic accident was due, in part, to strong winds and thunderstorms. [AP/Huff Post] ● Tara Reid got engaged and then, just a few hours later, was married to her Danish businessman boyfriend Michael Lilleund in Greece over the weekend. Now that’s a vacation. [People]

● Nicki Minaj, who seems to be single-handedly reviving the art, gave her fake husband Drake a lap dance. [RapRadar] ● In a return to the small screen, Jennifer Aniston will join her father John Aniston for at least one episode of Days of Our Lives. She’s only asking $650 per episode, or $999,350 less than she made on Friends. [NYP] ● AMC has ordered BlackBook favorite Breaking Bad for a fifth and final 16-episode season. [Deadline] ● Charlie Sheen caught a flying Faygo can and led a “winning” chant at the Gathering of the Juggalos. Meanwhile, probably afraid of aforementioned flying Faygo and chanting, Busta Rhymes claimed someone had ordered him the wrong kind of pizza and refused to get off his tour bus. Seriously. [SOTC]

Where Celebs Go Out: Stanley Tucci, Tom Colicchio, Alessandro Nivola

Stanley Tucci at The Luxury Collection Destination Guide Launch with Assouline: I like to go to a lot of different places, but certainly Mario Batali’s restaurants. The beef cheek ravioli at Babbo is so delicious and so incredible. Just about anything he cooks is okay with me. I always stay at the St. Regis, here in New York. ● Rosie Perez: I love Gino’s in Bay Ridge. The arroz con gandule at Luz in Brooklyn is a favorite, and the roasted chicken is the best deal in town. Here in the city, Dok Suni’s for Korean barbeque, at First Avenue and 7th Street.

Alessandro Nivola: Sunny’s, a bar in Red Hook, which has bluegrass bands on some nights. It’s where they filmed On the Waterfront. And a restaurant called The Good Fork in the same neighborhood. The Red Hook Bait and Tackle is a bar that’s seedier than Sunny’s. In Boerum Hill, there’s a great place called Mile End, a hip, Jewish deli. They smoke their own meats and have this incredible beef brisket. ● Estelle: Avenue and SL, I love ’em both. ● Krysten Ritter: I love Brooklyn Bowl. Kenmare is a fun place to go. Aurora in Williamsburg on Grand Street has a wonderful, little beet salad with hazelnuts. ● Timo Weiland: I love to go to Norwood and Gramercy Park Hotel. Sugarland in Brooklyn, so much fun. It’s off-the-beaten path, but a wild dance party. ● Daniel Boulud at the James Beard Awards: Right now, DBGB these days, because it’s one that keeps me the most busy. I like Marea, Le Bernardin, Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. ● Tom Colicchio: I live in the West Village, so I, often, go to Barbuto or Spotted Pig, ’cause they’re in walking distance. The food’s all good. I try different things all the time, so I don’t go back and try the same thing over and over. ● Wylie Dufresne: We like to go to PDT for a cocktail late at night or some tater tots. 15 East is a favorite. We just came from the new Terroir in Tribeca that was great. DBGB just opened up in our neighborhood. The hundred-layer lasagne at Del Posto was pretty special. ● David Burke: Corton was great. From the Garden is a favorite dish there. ● Michael Oher at Big Brothers Big Sisters Sidewalks of New York gala: I live in Baltimore. I love seafood, so anything on the Inner Harbor. The Cheesecake Factory is there. At PF Changs, I get the shrimp-and-chicken fried rice. ● Sebastian Copeland at Pepcom for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Into the Cold: My favorite sushi is in the Valley at Nozawa, which is a place that Spielberg goes to and tried to have Mr. Nozawa open a restaurant in New York. He serves you the food, so you can’t ask for what you want. He kicked out Cherlize Theron one time. He’s known as the “Sushi Nazi.” ● Miranda Cosgrove at Sony Music luncheon celebrating the release of her debut album, Sparks Fly: I go to Mozza in L.A. It’s like a pizza place. They have squash blossoms and really, good margherita pizza. Hungry Cat, on Sunset, has the best dessert. It’s like a chocolate souflee. ● Phil Ramone at opening night of Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway: Bravo Gianni’s on the east side. Sardi’s because I want to feel the history, and they have a good wine list.

Holiday Music Must Haves

Thanksgiving is over and the month-long overdose of holiday jingles is upon us. If the traditional tunes bring back memories of past gift-giving disappointments (still waiting for that Barbie Ferrari?), or your sad encounter with mom and pops, boozed up late on Christmas Eve playing up their obligatory role as “Santa,” here are some current takes on the classics. They’re better than two quarts of Aunt Nora’s eggnog.

If On A Winter’s Night by Sting (2009) Sting gets more done by 9 am than most of us can accomplish in a month of to-do lists and post-it reminders. He can save the rainforest, have tantric sex with Trudie Styler, film a cameo of himself and record 15 tracks of meaningful Christmas tunes with his muscular, dominating voice, all while hand-delivering a fruit cake to your parent’s front door, even though you’ve been snowed in for three days.

Holiday Collection / Sounds of the Season by Taylor Swift (2008) It’s close to impossible to dislike Tay Tay. Those curly locks, her heartfelt teenage crooning about snagging another Jonas Brother Twilight heartthrob, her concrete country music morals… Fine, her holiday collection is no Mariah Carey Merry Christmas, but this girl’s still got soul!

A Cherry Cherry Christmas by Neil Diamond (2009) If you’re accustomed to spending the most wonderful time of the year on the casino floor, brazenly gambling away your holiday bonus, Neil Diamond’s holiday collection is the soundtrack to your life. The Jewish Elvis also pays tribute with “The Chanukah Song” (you know, the Adam Sandler one).

My Christmas by Andrea Bocelli (2009) The Italian tenor delivers an oddly varied but rewarding assortment of songs on his #1 Billboard Holiday Chart album. With guest appearances from Mary J. Blige, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Muppets, Reba McEntire and Natalie Cole, the mix has a pretty universal appeal, even if it isn’t exactly cohesive. The Muppets/Bocelli mix is so weirdly satisfying you’ll put it on repeat real quick.

Gold and Green by Sugarland (2009) Part Adult Contemporary, part good ol’ country twang. Depending on what you’re into, you’ll be hitting the forward button on every other song. The track entitled “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” about being bad and stuff, is beyond catchy, while the more traditional “City of Silver Dreams” is beyond bland.

Correct Culture: The New NYC

There’s something going on in New York that I haven’t quite felt since the early 80s, and no, it’s not the regurgitated-to-death 80s fashion revival that has captivated indie hipsters for way too long now. It’s a sense of buzz in the air — an almost electric current of creativity that has long been missing. Maybe it’s because of the recession; after all, NYC has always historically been at its best when times are tough and people make do with what they have and not what they can simply buy. The streets are teeming with energy that pops up not only on people’s fashionable backs, but in an explosion of new shops, off-the-hook found art, and a resurgence of kooky characters that may appear insane or homeless at first — but on closer inspection turn out to be extremely entertaining and eclectic creatures that seem to have popped out of an updated version of City of Night instead of Bright Lights, Big City.

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Fiercely Correct Art by My Friends and Total Strangers – It seems like there’s an art opening every night of the week lately, and one of the best was the first show by Los Angeles-based art girl of the moment Liz McGrath. Serving up sculptural taxidermist critters, cadavers, carcasses, and candyland creatures, her creations look as if they have been frozen on a meth binge. Her show at Sloan Fine Art was a fiercely crowded scene where you had to push people out of the way just to see the art. When not creating miniaturized madness, she fronts the band Miss Derringer and always rocks a correct mix of couturified psycho-billy taken to a punkish, retro extreme. She was perfectly accessorized (see top photo on this post) at her opening with a vintage hat and a can of PBR. Work!

imageStyle Exiles – Photographer/artist Billy Erb has had so many careers, it’s safe to call him the original renaissance man. He has been a 7th Avenue sketch artist, jewelry designer, make-up artist, go-go dancer, Todd Oldham super drag model, Sex and the City fashion stylist, original DJ at Beige, actor, interior designer, performance artist … trust me, the list goes on. His current incarnation as a photographer takes all his past ingredients and boils them down to a gorgeous appreciation of light and an almost classical yet strangely modern take on beauty. His portraits are literally flawless. Currently he is inspired by what he calls “the new Colonialism” and can be seen rocking a tri-corner hat with a head to toe leather-man ensemble. His only other accessory is a pair of his new Billy Beyond Eyewear sun shields that unroll like 35mm film and magically clip on to your face, UV protection included. He is currently at work documenting all the personal belongings of legendary B-movie queen Liz Renay for an upcoming book. Check out his very entertaining blog where you can also order his new sunglasses.

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Beyonder Performance Art – SheDick may sound like something gone wrong at a sex-workers convention, but in reality it’s the name of a brilliant new band comprised of two drag queens and one real, live, living girl that are currently taking the club scene by storm. Their about to drop CD, Shedickulus, and it’s accompanying comic book Galactic Trannie will leave you laughing so hard you won’t be able to dance to their ultra-tight beats. You can catch them at their 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month party, “SheDickulus Sundays,” at Sugarland in Williamsburg, where they will playfully torment you with songs like “Extensions,” “Planet Disco,” and of course, “SheDickulus,” while exploring party themes such as “Dolly Parton Hoe Down,” “SheDicks Space Odyssey.” and “Trippy Vampire Hysteria.” The trio — who go by the names Carrie Cash, Candi Shell, and Teresa Nasty — moved to Bushwick from Dallas eight months ago and will soon be seen opening for Joan Rivers on her upcoming tour. I met the kids at Mud for some coffee tawk and a quick Q & A.

Favorite color: Hot pink. Favorite after-sex snack: Ben & Jerry’s. Favorite drag queen: Ru Paul. Favorite movie: 9 to 5. Favorite vice: Weed What does SheDick look for in a man: Complete submission & devotion. What does SheDick look for in a woman: Boobs. Favorite dance: The SheDick. Cocktail: Cock. Favorite venue: Sugarland is home. Favorite website: Cute Overload. Mommy or Daddy: Mommy. Sister or cousin: Cousin. Favorite pulp artist: Hayao Miyazaki & Michele Gondry. Favorite fast food: Mickey D’s at 3am. TV show: The Golden Girls. YouTube or Limewire: Project Playlist. Drag mother: Basic Black. Favorite location. Yaffa Café.

imageShop Till You Drop – Gregg Wolf designs jewelry that can only be described as bold, fearless, nonconformist, and utterly correct — much like the man himself. His pieces are unabashed entrance-makers and are typically worn by people who aren’t afraid to make statements. He is best described as the Charles James of jewelers … not because he’s gonna die in the Chelsea Hotel, but due to his obsession with color and fit. Some people think he’s insane, but if your work is genius, which his is, you’re allowed. He often says that “you can’t get precious about jewelry, it’s meant to be worn,” and I couldn’t agree more. He started making jewelry at age seven, and after stints and successes in Paris and then as the ghost designer behind legend Stephen Sprouse’s jewelry for his late 80s collections, Wolf opened his East Village shop( 348 East 9th Street, 212-529-1784) in 1988 and has never looked back. “The first time I noticed jewelry, I was two years old in a hospital elevator in my mothers arms and the lady standing next to me was wearing huge crystal earrings. I reached out for them, not because I wanted to wear them, but because I just had to hold them.” I am not a fan of most jewelry, but I can honestly say that Wolf’s designs make me crave personal adornment.

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The Stuff You Need Right Now – Inspired by a time period when everyone dressed up just to go and get the groceries, new designer Daniel Stanley ({encode=”daniel.Stanley.o@gmail.com” title=”daniel.Stanley.o@gmail.com”}) mixes formal street wear with a slightly Edwardian twist. His handmade vests are an instant fast food fashion fix for stylishly challenged men of all ages, and at $100 each, they won’t leave you in the poorhouse.

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Tag, You’re It – Yeah, I know, who cares about street art anymore. Graffiti is such old news, and nobody gives a shit anyway. Right? Wrong. NYC is in the throes of a random street and found art resurgence, and everywhere you look, every corner you turn, every rock you look under, something unexpected, irreverent and insanely correct catches your eye. Tags to watch out for are Ms. Con, Anna Peru, Tastes Like Gold, and White Negro, but my favorite are the torn to shreds confections of Please Do Not Feed the Models. As if. I like my girls all early 90s Terry Richardson heroin chic.

Blogs R Us – Of the million or so blogs clogging the internet and depleting our brain cells, Eitel Thoughts by Reavis Eitel gives one hope that there is life after Twitter. A demented yet delightful hodgepodge collage of his personal observations, fashion tips, and random sightings, Eitel consistently keeps the tone dry, the visuals arresting, and you laughing so hard you might warp your laptop.

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Take the Picture – Ves Pitts proudly declares that he started taking pictures “after drinking and smoking a lot.” He moved to NYC in 1994 from Andalusia, Alabama, where the most thrilling thing to do was “sit on the front porch, get drunk, and not care about nothing.” He describes his work as “glammy, glammy, crazy, crazy,” but that doesn’t do it justice. Of all the talent out there trying to document the surreal scene we live and play in, Pitts is the one to watch as he has an unending capacity for counterfeit astonishment balanced with a fiercely nuanced eye that allows him to get to the heart and soul of his subjects no matter how visually intense the outcome may be. He has a self-published book about to come out on blurb.com called Tripping the Light Fantastic, and you can catch a correct slideshow of his current work on June 18 at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Lincoln Center Library.

Street Treat – I spend a lot of time looking for absurd and slightly strange visuals on the runway of life, and sometimes even I am amazed at the surreal scenes I encounter. Often I am forced to photograph these incredible creatures from behind as their mental state does not allow for an Avedon portrait moment, no matter how politely I might ask. Pictured below are some of my current favorites — always an inspiration, until they realize I’ve just snapped their photo and they chase me down the street.

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All photos (except for Ves Pitts image) by Walt Cessna.

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