Got $12? Head to the canyons of Dumbo for BKLYN Designs, a three-day expo that kicks off Design Week today. You can browse end tables with spidery legs and kids' chairs with Frank Gehry contours, all from local artisans. (New York is one of the event's sponsors.) And since unregenerate consumerism is so, well, Manhattan, you can balance every splurge with an earnest discussion.
After a week in San Francisco, Late Night With Conan O'Brien returns home today to the cozy hearth of Rockefeller Center. Like previous trips to Toronto, Chicago, and Finland, the San Francisco sojourn was marked by high spirits and top-notch japery. (Particularly enjoyable: the outing to Intel headquarters; repeated references to Mayor Gavin Newsom's sex scandals delivered as ingenuous expressions of gratitude to the city government.) The return to boring ol' Studio 6A is welcome, however, because it means relief from the overeager Bay Area audience.
Been looking for an underground burlesque show that operates weekly at undisclosed locations around the city? We can't tell you where the Blushing Diamond Revue is though it's definitely not in the garment district right now but we can show you what you're missing. Emcee Norman assures us that this is a traditional burlesque: "all the girls are girls." Are they! Miss Harvest Moon strips while hula-hooping, one dancer's pasties go flying, and the crowd cheers all the old-timey fun. Want to find the show for yourself? First, watch the video.
The Blushing Diamond Revue [Video]
Sex and Love [NYM]
Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas debuted My Secret Record — a documentary account of his battles with Atlantic Records bosses while recording his 2005 smash solo release, Something to Be — at the Nashville Film Festival last night, and we learned a few things from it. Another solo effort should come out within a few years, Matchbox Twenty will start work Monday on a retrospective album — and Thomas thinks today's record industry as crass, celebrity-obsessed, and focused solely on the bottom line. The film, which, it's worth noting, first screened far from Atlantic's midtown HQ, is one part behind-the-scenes look at the making of Thomas’s album and two parts muckraking exposé of the music industry's star-making machinery. “I didn’t set out to produce a documentary about myself because I don’t have enough of me,” Thomas said after the screening. “I wanted to see this through because this was an important part of my life. I’m happiest when I’m writing songs, and I’m just trying to find a space between Ashlee Simpson and Beyoncé for a career.” Distribution deals are pending, but, for now, an army of middle-aged female fanatics were begging last night for autographs, pictures, hugs, or whatever piece of Thomas they could grab as their own. We suspect Atlantic Records honchos may soon want a piece of his hide, too, but for less loving reasons. —Steve Ramos
It turns out there's one thing all Americans — Republicans, Democrats, East Williamsburg hipsters — agree on: We're nearly all anti-adultery. In her new, sure-to-be-big-deal book, Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, Pamela Druckerman, a former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, explores what she calls the Marriage Industrial Complex, a pervasive network of people working to help you conquer adultery — mental-health professionals, religious organizations, and laymen who have put their personal experience with cheating to public use. "In no other place in the world do people assume that talking about their adultery was an act of public service," Druckerman, who's traveled the world, visiting marriage fairs in Dallas and probing strangers in all-you-can-eat Uzbek cafés, for details on their cheating habits and attitudes, told us from her Paris apartment this week. And New York, she found, is a city of faithful urbanites, toeing the same guilt-laced line toward adultery as the rest of America.
Actor and comedian Michael Showalter hosted the inaugural New York by New York event, Indie Rock Karaoke, Saturday night at Studio B. A sold-out crowd turned out to see Of Montreal, who played an original set before turning the mikes over to the amateurs. Surprise guests Paul Rudd and David Wain turned out a lively performance of Boston's "More Than a Feeling," and Showalter tried his hand at the brutally repetitive INXS hit "Need You Tonight." Selections from the crowd included Cheap Trick's "Surrender," the Guns N' Roses classic "Sweet Child O' Mine," and "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Between numbers, Showalter's Alan Shemper character emceed and told Soterios Johnson jokes. And everyone in attendance got a subscription to the magazine. More New York by New York events are coming. Until then, watch the video.
Karaoke With Of Montreal [NYM]
Events [New York by New York]
Hey, CBGB fans: This is how you protest a club's closing. When the venerable music venue Tonic abruptly shut its doors on April 13, owners John Scott and Melissa Caruso-Scott had to vacate the building by the next day. Instead, a motley crew of musicians, including the legendary guitarist Marc Ribot, showed up for an improvised concert that didn't stop even as hard hats began dismantling the stage. Ribot and fellow downtown eminence Rebecca Moore were cuffed and briefly jailed. Hours later, Ribot was the mouthpiece of a new group called Take It to the Bridge, a pissed-off but realistic and articulate advocate for displaced jazz and avant-garde musicians. They've got the ear of City Councilman Alan Gerson, and they're gaining traction. We talked to Ribot about the coalition, its goals, and the future of music in New York.
Is Dumbo megadeveloper David Walentas the inspiration for the adaptation of an Elizabethan play that opens tomorrow night in the arty turned pricey hood? Spring Theaterworks is staging Arden: The Lamentable Tragedie of a Dumbo Real Estate Mogul. It's the 1592 play Arden of Feveresham, which chronicles the gory end of a shady landowner (and some say was written by Shakespeare), relocated to modern-day Dumbo, where Arden lives in a sleek loft space. As for Walentas, he nearly single-handedly converted the area’s old industrial hulks into luxury condos, and he both supported and displaced local artists as he did it. He's not named in the new script, but everyone’s buzzing that the lushly maned macher is the model for the new Arden, whose onstage death is plotted by his wife and her lover. (Walentas’ real-life wife, Jane, has plotted only to restore an old carousel — at least as far as anyone knows.)
Three years ago, Playbill posted a news item that seemed so ludicrous as to be a prank: An upcoming Spider-Man musical, it announced, would be directed by Julie Taymor, with music written by Bono and the Edge. Well, SuperHeroHype.com claims to have unearthed the casting notice for a July staged reading, and it looks either legit or extremely well faked: "The burden of being a superhero, his guilt for his role in his uncle's death, as well as his debilitating crush on Mary Jane all weigh heavily upon him. Great pop/rock voice."
We assume Bono and the Edge are writing original music for this, but why should they? We bet they could just repurpose their catalog and turn it into Spider-Man: The U2 Experience. Lyrics to "I Still Haven't Found Uncle Ben's Killer" are after the jump.
It seemed appropriate that on that quasi-apocalyptic Sunday afternoon when the nor'easter sky released eight inches of rain on New York City that Matthew Barney had a rare live performance. In an enormous empty one-story warehouse not twenty feet from the East River in Long Island City, a standing crowd of around 200 populated by numerous art-student types, famous artists like Cindy Sherman and Vito Acconci, sundry museum curators, and icons like David Byrne and Björk witnessed what seemed like a cosmic cross between an Egyptian funeral, the end of the world, the Rape of Europa, a demolition derby, a porn film, and voodoo ritual. Whatever it was, it freaked a lot of people out.
Video games, you tend to think, are set in fantasy worlds, so it's a strange fact that the best-selling PC game of all time is The Sims, a real-life simulation rife with mundane, detailed exactness; characters sleep, go to work, and bicker. There's no end -- the characters just live their lives -- but the game has become a cultural phenomenon since its 2000 launch. It has now even inspired "The Sims: In the Hands of Artists," an exhibit opening Thursday at Chelsea Art Museum. For the show, gamemaker Electronic Arts collaborated with Parsons, challenging students to create Sims-inspired art using everything from basic pencil and paper to machinima, a moviemaking technology powered by the game's engine. We got a sneak peek at four student projects.
Considering he's been a famous New Yorker since birth, you'd figure Sean Lennon would get gigs at New York's top concert venues. But, in fact, tonight marks the first time John and Yoko's son will headline medium-size Irving Plaza (or should we say Fillmore New York?). He's pretty psyched, even if it means playing for a crowd of old friends who've been witness to Lennon's personal soap opera, so he's focused on putting on a good show. We spoke to him about it — and his mom and the state of the record business — last week.
Public-radio pooh-bahs including Ira Glass, Jonathan Schwartz, and Brian Lehrer were among the 150 or so who gathered this morning for breakfast in the Varick Street building that will soon house WNYC's airy new studios. (The station was heretofore crammed into a tight warren of offices near the top of the Municipal Building.) The new digs will feature a these-days de rigueur street-level studio with seating for 120 and picture windows onto the sidewalk. Kristen Chenoweth hosted, her typically perky self despite getting off a plane, she said, from "the vapid wasteland" of Los Angeles only six hours before. She serenaded Dawn Greene — the name of her late husband, Jerome L. Greene, will grace the street-side space, for which his foundation donated $6 million — and the audience applauded not only the emcee but also themselves for not stooping to the ratings-grabbing level of people like, say, Don Imus. Leonard Lopate, for one, recalled one of the raciest moments on his long-running interview show, when Kurt Vonnegut asked in the middle of a conversation whether Lopate was having an affair with his wife. "I said, 'I don't think so,'" recalled the host, who insists he wasn't. Vonnegut later apologized.