Burn After Reading: Five Scorching Spring & Summer Books for These Times


“How marvelous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself,” wrote Gore Vidal, himself a cunning wordsmith who left us such enduring classics as The City and the Pillar and Burr. He was also a master of the political essay, who famously wrote that “any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so.” If only he were around today to write about Donald Trump.

We might not have Vidal’s penetrating insights and vicious wit, but plenty of other books are interrogating this strange political era in which a President can tell us that black is white, and two plus two equals five – and then the next day decide that black is actually pink, and that two plus two equals 15.

In the midst of such socio-political divisiveness, here are five upcoming books to put on your spring and summer must-read list. If they don’t serve to help you make sense of these turbulent times, at least they’ll underline that no, you’re not crazy: the world really is this effed up.


Adjustment Day, by Chuck Palahniuk

As with anything by the author of Fight Club, expect plenty of deviousness and depravity in the author’s 20th novel, in which the United States is a country on “the brink of chaos,” according to advance press, and feisty millennials are in the gunsights, literally, of a senator seeking to prevent an uprising. Like everything by Palahniuk, his newest novel delves deep into the psychosis of contemporary America: a website is used as a way to name and shame people who threaten the social order. Journalists inevitably rank high, and are targeted as a result. Democracy crumbles, and the country is fragmented into three ethnic entities: “Blacktopia,” “Gaysia,” and “Caucasia.” It may all seem a little too close for comfort. (W. W. Norton, May 1)

No Immediate Danger: Volume One of Carbon Ideologies, by William T. Vollmann

No Immediate Danger launches a two volume investigation into the human actions that have caused global warming. At his own personal risk, Vollmann undertook multiple visits over seven years to the contaminated zones and ghost towns of Fukushima in Japan, beginning shortly after the tsunami and reactor meltdowns of 2011. Presented in part as a letter to the future, Vollmann, among our most ambitious, and prolific, of writers, seeks to understand why we closed our eyes and ears to scientific consensus. “Back when I lived,” he writes, “some of us believed that heavily polluting coal could somehow lift people out of poverty without impoverishing us in any more fundamental way.” (Viking, April 10)


                                                Adjustment Day and No Immediate Danger


Sabrina, by Nick Drnaso

If his 2016 graphic novel, Beverly, captured the melancholy banality of the American suburb, Drnaso’s new tome interrogates a world in which technology has alienated us from one another and enabled the rumor and conspiracy theory to take the place of news. In Sabrina, a UD airman undertakes a search for a missing woman. (Drawn & Quarterly, May 22)

Captive Audience, by Lucas Mann

Given that reality TV gave us our current president, we should perhaps care about the ways in which this most popular form is influencing (degrading?) our critical faculties. Mann comes at this well-worn subject with a little more joie de vivre. He understands the formulaic nature of shows such as the Housewives franchise, while admiring them nonetheless. By tracing the relationship of reality TV to his own marriage, Mann emerges at the end with a surprisingly soulful love story.  (Vintage Books, May 1)

Florida, by Lauren Groff

Having rocketed to fame after President Barack Obama named Fates and Furies his favorite book of 2015 (what, one wonders, might the current incumbent of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave nominate?), Groff’s latest is a collection of 11 short stories set in America’s weirdest state. Capturing the alienation and complexities of contemporary life, each of Groff’s stories is a marvel of description (a great dane “the color of dryer lint”), and lyricism. (Riverhead Books, June 5)


                                                              Sabrina, Florida, Captive Audience


HAIM Covers a Prince Classic, Debuts New Material at California Tour Kick-Off

Photo via Instagram

After announcing their return to music in late March, sister trio HAIM kicked off their summer tour Tuesday night in Santa Ana, California at The Observatory. With it came fresh, new material and a spot-on cover of Prince’s 1984 classic, “I Would Die 4 U.” Though sonically HAIM’s version didn’t stray too far from the original, the group closed with some in-synch, tongue-in-cheek choreography, which, of course, made the crowd go wild—us, too.

During the set, HAIM teased their forthcoming sophomore album with two never-before-heard songs—one called, “Give Me Just a Little of Your Love,” and the other titled, “Nothing’s Wrong.” Both have already garnered comparisons to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as ’80s Fleetwood Mac, which doesn’t sound too alien in comparison to their summer-pop breakout LP Days Are Gone.

How to Drink Red Wine This Summer

We know who you are. You are the sick and the tired of being served insufferably precious Mason Jar cocktails by some ostensible reject from a Civil War reenactment troupe (who is, in fact, a reject from NYU Film School). And you are the equally tired of being told that some amber-ish liquid brewed by a guy named Zack up in the Catskills is the next great craft beer sensation.

Pish-posh, you say! You’ve just spent your springtime in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, after spending your winter by the fire with Rimbaud and a good glass of Bordeaux. But it’s the heart of summer now, and BlackBook would love nothing more than to linger over a bottle (or two) of vin magnifique avec vous.

And so just for you, we have consulted some of NYC’s most eminent gods and goddesses of the grape to bring you BlackBook’s truly transcendent summer red wine list (yes, RED wine)—and our suggestions for some of the most fashionable hotspots to imbibe them.

À votre santé!

The soigne new public space restaurant:


Pavilion restaurant image 8

Europeans do them very well: grand dining spaces in very public places. New York mostly doesn’t get it right. But Union Square’s new Pavilion has a breezy classicism about it–as if it were airlifted straight from Vienna’s Stadtpark.

It’s best described as a European market café, serving up classic beef carpaccio, duck rillet sausage and salmon pot au feu, along with our favorite feature, the lively street theater just outside.

Sommelier Vladimir Kolotyan’s summer red wine recommendations:

Barbera d’Asti Superiore, “Le Orme,” Michele Chiarlo, Piedmont, Italy 2011 $48

A light to medium bodied red, with crunchy raspberry fruit and a blood orange note. Enjoy with cold cuts or soft cheeses while having a picnic at the park and don’t forget to slightly chill the bottle.

Hermann J. Wiemer Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, NY 2011 $42

Another classic example from this staple producer. Light to medium bodied, vibrant wild strawberry and violets, with hints of pencil shavings. Perfect with grilled white meat on a breezy summer night.


The new-generation-oenophile mecca:


Corkbuzz image

The name may come off a bit lofty, but it’s actually quite an apt description. Tucked away on a quiet WVill block (a new outpost has just opened in Chelsea Market), Corkbuzz is a stylish and inviting wine bar with a learned manifesto: to reeducate your cocktail ravaged palate. To wit, on offer are a series of classes, tastings and food pairing events, with the intention of molding you into the sophisticate you’ve always meant to be.

When not upholding such venerable ideals, its low-key glam provides the perfect atmosphere for impressing a special date with your epicurean panache.

Sommelier Laura Maniec’s summer red wine recommendations:

Giuseppe Mascarello Toetto Freisa ’09- Langhe Italy $20

Made by one of my favorite Barolo producers, this is an indigenous grape whose name translates as strawberry. Flavors are light and tart red fruit, smoky with softer tannins and a medium body that is perfect for grilling burgers and hotdogs

Domaine des Lises Syrah ’12- Crozes- Hermitage, France $25

Full bodied red wine from the Rhone Valley that has flavors of bacon, olives, lavender and wild herbs. It is a great summer red wine for long evenings but will also be good towards the end of the summer when the nights cool down leading into fall.


The new sybaritic downtown hotspot: 


Bacchanal image 3

Chef Scott Bryan boasts Apiary and Veritas on his CV, so this new Bowery restaurant surely ain’t no disco. But Bacchus was the God of the Grape, after all–so do come prepared to party like it’s 1300 BC. Amidst the Arcadian-industrial-chic surrounds, one can indulge in chitarra pasta and grilled Spanish octopus.

Slightly intimidatingly, the wine list count soars past 400, which could tend to produce apoplexy in all but the most confident oenophiles. They can help.

Wine director Ivan Mitankin’s summer red wine recommendation: 

Domaine du Pelican, ‘Cuvée Trois Cepages’, Marquis D’Angerville, Arbois, Jura, France 2012 $45

The first vintage of this gem is outstanding. Blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau & Poulsard – the wine has a bright & red berry nose, earthy & well-balanced – great match for fish, chicken & meat dishes.


The progressive wine retailer:


The venerated Tribeca purveyors have just celebrated 20 years of elevating our palates, with a passionate emphasis on organic wines and spirits. T. Edward were early supporters of many small, artisan producers, and remain so two decades later. They are also ardent advocates of the cycling lifestyle, as can be found on their blog.

Karen Ulrich of T.E.W.’S summer red wine recommendations:

Pascal Pibaleau Gamay 2013  $18

From the Loire, certified biodynamic, the property is run by Pascal and his wife Christine who bottle their Gamay at 11.6%. Fresh on the nose with cherry blossom aromas and tart red fruit, there are accompanying mid-palate hints of crushed granite and clay, with cascading acidity.

Hofstaetter Alto Adige “Mezcan” Pinot Nero 2012 $26

From Alto Adige, where Italy borders Germany, offering savory aromas atop a bed of purple flowers, Hofstaetter’s cherry fruit is fresh and light, with acidity that’s gentle and bright.

The Cute Kids of the Pitchfork Festival

All Photos by Marcel Pawlas

Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival took place this past weekend, with performances from Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, St. Vincent, Grimes, Giorgio Moroder, Kendrick Lamar, and many others. Pitchfork is a huge draw for musicians, and as it turns out, stylish kids, too. There were over 50,000 attendees, and about a million cute outfits. Here’s a sampling of the well-dressed crowd, working everything from blue lipstick to tennis outfits to Reeboks to art-patterned shirts.








56-7FKA Twigs







Bright Hot Beauty for a Scorching Summer

Baby, it’s hot outside. Photographer Logan Jackson captures how best to work with the screaming sun and high humidity for a beauty look that cuts through the heat. Use your fingers and don’t worry about messing up… Vivid colors + a touch of insouciance = bright hot beauty.

(Click on the images to see looks fullscreen.)

Li wears a Jonathan Simkhai leather bra top in the bedroom; Millicent wears a Cynthia Rowley wetsuit at the beach; Millicent wears a white Donna Karan vest to the office; Li wears a Cynthia Rowley wetsuit on the courts; Li wears a Jonathan Simkhai top at the airport; Millicent wears a Cynthia Rowley wetsuit in the woods.

Photographer: Logan Jackson (God and Man)
Models: Millicent Lambert and Li Ming (Ford)
Makeup: Andie Markoe-Byrne (Bryan Bantry)
Hair: Helen Reavey 
Art Director: Vince Patti
Stylist: Alyssa Shapiro


670 Dreams of an Endless Summer: Will Adler at Danziger Gallery

Trevor, 2012

Porto Escondido, Waikiki, Malibu, and Montauk, those are the dreamy beach locales featured in Will Adler’s solo exhibition of surf photography opening today at Danziger Gallery in Chelsea. For those who loathe the New York heat this time of year, Adler’s photographs offer a bit of respite, capturing the whimsical spell of a summer spent at the shore.

Art director and publisher Tom Adler curates the exhibition, pairing serene ocean shots with images of surfers on the verge of being swallowed by the curl. Tom has a rapport with subject himself, having published his first photography book about pre-war surfing along the California coast in 1997.

The Will Adler photography exhibition opens July 1st 6-8pm at Danziger Gallery and will remain on view through July 31st.

WA 1
Tahiti, 2009

WA 2
Ship Wrecks, 2009

WA 4
Morning Fog, 2010

WA 5
Summerland, 2012
WA 3
Walk, 2009

WA 6
Santa Barbara, 2014

WA 8
Porto Escondido, 2012

WA 9
Waikiki, 2010

WA 10
Sunset Cliffs, 2011

Alexander Wang Bags + 8 Hot Beauty Must-Haves: Your Saving Summer Grace

A high of 100. Staggering humidity. Blaring sun. Summer’s coming, alright; it’ll be full tilt before you can organize a week’s work of breezy, floaty things.

But before you allow your spirits (and general surroundings) to dampen, take a proactive step and secure a few vital products to make the hot, sticky, summer months more bearable and beautiful. It’s these eight products (plus one amazing bag) that’ll save your summer, whatever sunburns, oil slicks, and other shiny situations come your way.

Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra-Pure Smart Spray
Spritz this two or three times over a parched and overheated face for some cooling relief and free radical protection, thanks to peppermint oil and other skin savers.

AG Hair Cosmetics Deflect Fast-Dry Heat Protection
The less time spent under a hot hair dryer in the summer months the better. Use this to decrease drying time and smooth hair in the process. It’s the work of an AG complex including abyssinian oil.

Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers
Flecks of gold leaf in these Geisha-approved papers turn blotting excess oil into a glamorous endeavor.

MAKE Custom Finish Effects Matte/Dew
Skip foundation and reach for a lighter dose of skin perfecting makeup with this duo. The peachy, matte side is perfect for your T zone, while the pink side adds moisture to sun-parched cheeks.

Koh Gen Do Refresh Spa Aloe Gel
Sunburned and sensitive, or just looking for lighter summer hydration? This light weight, refreshing aloe treatment soothes and moisturizes.

Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50

Get glowing and protect against sun damage with this universally tinted broad spectrum SPF. It’s adaptable to every skin tone, so you can reapply every few hours (like you should) without worrying about streaks or a mismatch.

Skinceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense Sunscreen
Does for your sensitive eye area what the above does for your whole face. What crows feet?

NARS Satin Lip Pencil (pick a bright color, like Yu)

If all else fails, distract ’em from frizzy hair and ultra *dewy* skin with an ultra bright lip. It’s a game changer.

Oh, and about that bag, Alexander Wang sent thermo-reactive (aka heat sensitive color changing) materials down the fall runway — the leather bag pictured in transition above goes from near navy to bright blue. Like a suntan without the burn.

Alexander Wang thermo-reactive accessories available mid-August at Alexander Wang, New York and alexanderwang.com 

Get a Closer Look at the Art of the Summer Movie Poster

Designing the poster for a film is a very fine art. One shouldn’t judge a film by its advertising but more often than not, audiences will. The best posters are not only the most eye-catching and technically stunning but expose the core of the picture, pinpointing the essence of a moment or character that acts as a portal into the film’s world. 

And when it comes to the poster art that defines summer’s films, the typical American one-sheet tends to favor a very standard model of Hollywood design. But in an article for The Art House, a bi-weekly column dedicated to film art and design, artist Brandon Schaefer takes a look at some classic American summer movie posters and their more intriguing European counterparts. 
Speaking to the fever-dream-like nature of summer, he says of European design that:
There’s a similar sense of abandon mixed with a dreamlike sense of storytelling within it that couldn’t be further from the more rigid structures in much of the advertising from mid to late 20th century America. The imagery often exuded a personal, specific vision that played on a more lyrical level rather than literal, undercutting some of the more odious aspects of communist rule. Posters from the Eastern Bloc bordered on traditional art, imbued with an unmistakable energy, while their American counterparts (not without its charms) often housed itself in tried and tested methods of mass communication.
Going on to mention:
A poster is a film’s ambassador and has a responsibility to the audience it’s attempting to draw in: speaking honestly to a story and it’s themes shows a respect for the filmgoer to make a relatively informed decision for themselves about what they want to see. Tossing all that out in favor of something engaging yet tonally inappropriate places the viewer at a disadvantage, and you’re left with work that borders on art for art’s sake in arena aimed at having a conversation with those you most want to tell your story to.
And to  illustrate the distinction, check out some side-by-side comparisons below, then head HERE to see the rest of the gallery and read the article in its entirety.