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How Would Michael Stipe Spend $3,018.86?

We gave R.E.M.’s lead singer the price of the band’s first touring vehicle —a 1982 Dodge van—and a tank of gas (in play money, naturally). Here’s how he spent it.

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The first thing I’d do is get some food. In New York I pretty much work at home on the phone with a laptop. The highlight of my day is always dinner. I’d go to Otto for a margherita pizza ($20). If you get cheese on the side, it comes with honey and preserved cherries.

I’d go to Steven Alan in Tribeca and look for a perfect stripy shirt ($158). They fit really tight, and they look good under a suit. Since my band’s on tour, I’d stock up at Make Up For Ever on West Broadway. They have colors that look good on a guy. There’s a dark blue body paint called Color Cream ($28) that I use around my eyes when I perform. I have a stripe of color that goes all the way across my face. It’s the normal makeup that I don’t really do. Stylists always want to bring down the color in my ears, but I like it, so I pinch my ears and make them darker. They also want to powder my head, but I think it looks really good shiny.

From there I’d go to Kidrobot for Japanese figurines ($509.70 for six). I’d buy some for the bathroom and some for my goddaughters. I’d stop by the Apple Store and pick up another iPod. Peter Buck took my first one and filled it up with a selection of his library. So I have to get the mama-bear one—a 40GB ($399).


I’d stop by Other Music for Jurassic 5 and Cannibal Ox albums ($48.97). I’d go across the street to Tower Records and get a DVD of Bruce Springsteen’s Live From Barcelona ($12.99). I don’t need any of his CDs because I have every single record Bruce has put out.

I’d go to Helmut Lang and find another perfect shirt with French cuffs ($255), then go to Balthazar and get a Pavlova with blueberries and blackberries ($8). They’re stunningly good. It’s my favorite dessert.

I’d go to Broadway Panhandler because they’re running a sale on Le Creuset. I’m a terrible cook, but I’d pick up a frying pan ($97.95) for my neighbor and “The Mister,” who cooks. At Le Pain Quotidien, I’d have an espresso macchiato ($1.85). I first became aware of that place in Paris. They serve lunch late. And I tend to get up late. They always do really good tomato soup.

I’d head to Some Odd Rubies, a clothes and jewelry store on Ludlow and Orchard where they take old stuff and put it back together. Summer Phoenix is an owner, and she’s a great family friend. I’m really bad with birthday presents, but if I see something and it reminds me of somebody, I’ll buy it (silk-screened T-shirts by Pouliche, $60). I’d go to Gotham Bikes and buy a bike and a helmet for “The Mister,” so he can tool up the West Side Highway (Sirrus bike, $520; Fruio by Bell helmet, $75).


I’d see what’s at Deitch Projects, then I’d go to Andrea Rosen Gallery to see Wolfgang Tillmans’s photographs. I’d budget one in for my next visit. Since I spend most of my time on airplanes, I’d go to Flight 001 and buy a suitcase ($795). They always have great maps of the cities that I’m going to, called insideout maps ($11.95).

I’ll need to get some Rescue Remedy ($15.95) at Bigelow’s. It’s a flower essence that calms you down. Vets use it for dogs that are really aggressive. Six drops under your tongue, and about three minutes later you feel like you’ve had a double martini. It’s a great way to kick off a plane flight. Also, I’d pick up nail clippers ($1.50) because I always put them in my carry-on luggage and they always take them away.

Reality Check
What He Really Spent Today

The New York Times ($1).

Breakfast is usually lunch for me. I got fish and chips ($14), a salad ($8), and two espresso macchiatos ($7.50) at Pastis.

$50 on cabs.

Dinner at Paper magazine’s party at the Odeon (free).

Total: $80.50


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