Anyone Else Once Totally Obsessed with “Center Stage”?

You know, Center Stage… the best movie ever after Newsies?

Well, I totally loved that movie when it came out in 2000. (Remember the dance sequence at the end of the movie?? I’ve never been able to listen to Jamiroquai w/out thinking of CS ever since then.) And even though Ethan Stiefel’s acting was like SO BAD, I was so in love with Sascha Radetsky AND this amazingly pretty girl that was also in the film, Zoe Saldana.

As you probably know, Zoe Saldana went on to make an awful movie with Britney Spears called “Crossroads” and has appeared in other films like “Vantage Point”, and “Drumline.” But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Miss Zoe Saldana no matter what she does.

So today I mini raised the roof when I saw Miss Zoe coming out of DVF today…


None of these people over the age of 30 have any idea who she is…
Continue reading “Anyone Else Once Totally Obsessed with “Center Stage”?”

Gossip Girl Alert: Leighton Meester Hearts DVF, Blake Lively Hearts…RENT?

So I didn’t wake up today and say to myself, “Dude, you should totally be a paparazzi specializing in CW stars,” but it seems as though I ended up being one today… I just happen to spot almost all the major players in the cast of Gossip Girl! I was walking around the tent for Diane von Furstenberg at Bryant Park today and all of a sudden out the corner of my eye I saw a girl wearing yellow, and then a herd of people instantly swarming around her and her friend.

Walking closer, I recognized Miss Leighton Meester! I snapped a few photos, and then only later did I realize that the other girl accompanying her was none other than Jessica Szohr!


Continue reading “Gossip Girl Alert: Leighton Meester Hearts DVF, Blake Lively Hearts…RENT?”

Make Way for Broadway Boulevard

The New York Times reports:

In a surprising reshaping of the urban landscape, the city is creating a public esplanade along a portion of one of its most prominent streets, Broadway in Midtown, setting aside the east side of the roadway for a bicycle lane and a pedestrian walkway with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas and flower-filled planters.

The esplanade, which the city is calling Broadway Boulevard, will run from 42nd Street to Herald Square. Scheduled to open in mid-August, it will change that section of Broadway from a four-lane to a two-lane street.

Other recent initiatives from the Transportation Department include banning cars on Park Avenue on three Saturdays in August and exploring a bicycle-sharing program.

Although some people seem to be up in arms about this, I’m all for more people walking space in the city. Heck, I’d be happy if they closed all the streets down and let bikes and pedestrians roam free.

Could be NYC’s answer to the Champs-Elysee…

Good or bad on Bloomberg?

Thanks to the BSB for the link.

UPDATE: Here they are working on Broadway near 23rd Street…could the esplanade stretch even further than we first thought?

Beer, Glorious Beer. Bar Opening: Whiskey Tavern, NYC

I’m usually not the kind of person to closely watch the openings and closing of bars, but of late, I’ve been keeping an eagle eye out for the opening of Whiskey Tavern [NOTE: Website not set up right at the moment, but soon???], situated at 79 Baxter Street between Bayard and Walker in Chinatown, as it is just a stone’s throw from the TMA headquarters. Last night I heard that there was some friends and family-type party activity over at the bar, so tonight the BSB and I headed over to see if the space we’ve been waiting for had finally opened, and indeed, it had!

Before the current bar-epreneur brothers George and Justin Ruotolo (also owners of the East Village watering hole Whiskey Town) took over the space, the bar was most recently known as the “Baxter Pub“–aka, that dive next to the bail bond places that was never ever open on weekends or past 5pm on a weekday, except on totally random days for unexplained reasons.

This Chinatown location has been serving up alcoholic brews since the the mid-1940s, so I’m sure it can stand up to ruining the livers of me and all my friends. The space has not completely been refinished–the floor and some of the former owner’s stools still remain–but some awesome booths, a sanded down bar, and a gorgeous backyard garden have me thinking that this place certainly has a chance.

Four flat-screened televisions are situated on the walls, making it the perfect spot for me to hanker down once football season gets started. Beers on tap include Guinness, Smithwick, and Miller Lite. You can find Corona, Bud Lite, Amstel, etc. on bottle and a variety of whiskey (natch). All the better, the bar will be serving up reasonably priced classics like hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, two egg sandwiches (all served with fries), and even a Hostess Cupcake or two, until 12 midnight on weekdays–a godsend for folks in the area who’s only late-night options up to this point have consisted of of eating late night dinners at Wo Hop, or trekking over to Good World on the LES.

Thankfully the place doesn’t have a trendy vibe, but there is a definite cool flair in the “old is new again” kind of way. Tasteful rock selections played over the sound system while we were there (Queens of the Stone Age, T. Rex, The Ramones, etc.) and when the guys sitting next to us ordered a plate of wings, we couldn’t help but notice how delicious they looked.

The garden will be open from 11pm on weekdays, 12 midnight on weekends in accordance with the community board. A full brunch menu is in the works, and according to Thrillist, the space will see the occasional DJ night.

So if you’re down in the ‘hood and need a break from ironic karaoke singing at Winnies, keep my new (and only) neighborhood bar in business and head over to the Whiskey Tavern for some good ol’ times and good ol’ drinks.

Native Korean Rock Says “Ahoy” to Brooklyn, NY

Tonight I headed over to Union Pool in Williamsburg to catch the early show of Native Korean Rock and the Fishnets (aka- Karen O’s new side project).

The stage was set up like a kid’s school production of “South Pacific”, with a nautical extravaganza situated on the stage. A ship bow dead smack front and center, silver cellophane covering the floor, reflecting the blue and purple clear cellophane positioned by the monitors and drum kit–giving the impression of a dreamy sea. A foamy seascape hung as a backdrop.

When the band came out, they were all clad in white, with little sailor’s caps donning their heads. As the ship’s leader, Miss Karen was decked out in a checked button down shirt, black poofy skirt with pockets, and a captain’s hat with “Native Korean Rock” written in the band.

The subdued, 30-minute set was charming way to spend the evening. The songs were quiet, sweet, and whimsical–perfectly showcasing Karen O’s uncanny ability to sing songs with an intimate vulnerability that always rings true.

Here’s a video I took of the band performing part of “Day Go By,” by far the most “festive” song of the night. If NKR had an anthem, it would be this little ditty:

Although she was subdued in her stage mannerisms–mainly standing at the front of the stage, swaying back and forth with her eyes closed–Karen O broke out in an enthusiastic dance, and unleashed her familiar ear-to-ear grin during the song.

Before the encore, Karen declared, “I BELIEVE IN SUMMER LOVE!,” then launched into a song called “Indian Summer.”

No fellow YYYs sightings for the early show (but apparently were in the balcony for the late show), but frequent collaborator/personal costume designer Christian Joy was also on hand.
Continue reading “Native Korean Rock Says “Ahoy” to Brooklyn, NY”

Karen O’s Side Project Plays (Twice) at Union Pool July 18

Tired of just seeing Yeah Yeah Yeahs members anonymously milling about at various events in the city, but miss the good ol’ fashion feel of Karen O spitting beer on you from the front of the stage? Check out Karen’s new side project, Native Korean Rock, this Monday in one of two shows at Union Pool.

From the YYY’s official blog:

Native Korean Rock and the Fishnets COME DROWN WITH US
Posted 7/17/2008 by KarenO

Native Korean Rock is a side project of mine comprised of a body of love songs written over the last two years, to be performed with a motley crew of NYC natives. Expect high drama, high stakes in two intimate performances.

Does Native Korean Rock have anything to do with Yeah Yeah Yeahs? NO

Are these the leaked demos of years ago? NO

Tickets available July 18 at 12pm EST via ticketweb.com

More over at The Music Slut

St. Vincent Plays River to River

Tonight, folks who headed down to Castle Clinton in Battery Park were treated to not only beautiful, breezy summer weather, but a glorious set by Brooklyn transplant (and TMA fave) Annie Clarke–aka St. Vincent–as part of the FREE River to River Festival that brings awesome music events to the city each year.

Annie and her 6-piece band hit the stage promptly after 7pm completely decked out in white ensembles. Annie looked adorable in a sleeveless white A-line dress with black detailing and a black belt cinched around the waist. She donned black fishnet stockings (with a huge hole at the back of her left knee), black jazz shoes, and off-white plastic sunglasses.

Annie tried out some new songs, one of which she explained was inspired by all the Prince music she has been listening to recently. (Named “Comp” or “Camp” on the set list.) The song featured a chorus of “Better be moving on…” repeated over and over, and had a very slow, groovy R&B vibe to it. Another new tune, (tentatively referred to as “Trills”) was probably one of the best songs of the night, with a big brass/woodwind sound (french horn, sax, and flute) and a head-bopping drum beat.


Continue reading “St. Vincent Plays River to River”

Albert Hammond Jr. Breaks Out the “Como Te Llama?” at Private Show

In preparation for his tour to promote his second album, “Como Te Llama?,” Albert Hammond Jr. performed at an invite-only concert at the Mercury Lounge last night (July 1).


Luckily, the event was not overrun by media hounds.

As a supportive crowd of friends, family, and devoted fans cheered on, Albert and his new band played around thirteen tracks–a mix of old (“In Transit,” “101,” an acoustic version of “Blue Skies” played while standing on the right-hand side row of seats at the beginning of the set) and new (the album’s first single, “GfC,” “Rocket,” “Miss Myrtle”), playing live for the first time in almost a year. The set had it’s problems like consistent feedback from the microphones–which Albert stated, “you’ll be hearing a lot of that” at the top of the set”–and the wrong note (or two) strummed out on a guitar, but overall a fine showing.

My favorite song of the evening was a track of the new album, which drops July 8th, entitled “Victory at Monterey.” I love the chorus–it’s slightly dancey, but in a good way. Check out the video:

Famous faces sprinkling the crowd included actress Kirsten Dunst, AH Jr possible main squeeze Agyness Deyn, Adam Green, James Iha, and Nick Zinner. Surprisingly unseen–any members of the Strokes!

Setlist: Blue Skies, EGAS, In My Room, Lisa, Holiday, GfC, Rocket, VAM, In Transit, Miss Myrtle, G Up, 101, Borrowed Time, Postal Blowfish

Couldn’t make it to the show tonight? Have no fear–Albert will be performing for FREE at Virgin Megastore Union Square on it’s release day, July 8th at 8pm.

Coldplay’s Free Show @ Madison Square Garden

Tonight I went to the free Coldplay show at MSG. There were not many “surprises”–the show was almost identical in set list as the free Brixton Academy show, but it was super fun nonetheless. You cannot beat FREE!

Here I am in my little bubble…

Setlist: Life in technicolor (intro), Violet hill, clocks, in my place, viva la vida, Chinese Sleep Chant, god put a smile upon your face, 42, square one, trouble, lost!, strawberry swing, [yellow, Death Will Never Conquer (from gate 60, toward the back of MSG)], fix you, lovers in japan/ reign of love [outro]

Of course celebrities are fans of free as well. Folks like Kirsten Dunst, Ed Burns, Charlize Theron, and Danny Masterson (who sadly did not make it in the gossip mentions anywhere else, and who I saw on Sunday afternoon at brunch–weird).

From Gate 60:

There were many stops and mistakes during the performance, like right before they played “Chinese Sleep Chant”–when there were technical difficulties with Jonny Buckland’s equipment at the front right stage and Chris declared that “some people say we are much better as a three piece.” And right before launching into their anthem “Viva La Vida,” Chris stated, “Somehow it’s made it to number one in your country. It just goes to show that with good marketing and a handsome bass player you can achieve anything.

Coldplay–ok, Chris Martin–can be particularly cloying in their desire to seem like the “everyman band”…always polite, always humble, always suffering from a horrible guilt complex in regards to being successful, and this pattern of behavior carried through the MSG performance with Chris continuing to take knocks at himself and his fellow band members throughout the concert.

While this very un-rock star type behavior can make everyone uncomfortable at times (Seriously, it’s that whole YOU ROCK STAR, US SCREAMING FANS thing that makes concert dynamics work, Chris.), I honestly believe that deep down somewhere the men of Coldplay remain honest guys who truly do care about their fans and at their very core they are just four regular dudes who happen to sell millions of records.

During the final number, “Fix You” when Chris mucked up the lyrics from the beginning. Later in the song he improvised by singing, “Lyrics to old songs that you don’t know/And you embarrass yourself at MSG/But it doesn’t matter one bit, everyone got in for free”–one of the many times Chris brought up the fact that the tickets were gratis.

Pretty colors with lyrics projected on the video balls during “Lost”

As I was walking out, I heard some guy behind me declaring to his wife, “Oh boy, the bloggers are going to CRUCIFY them tomorrow. He [Chris Martin] messed up three times in that one song, AND they didn’t play an encore.” Er.. ok. I think the point of seeing a live show is to see a band LIVE–there are going to be mistakes! Seriously, are people predicting what bloggers are going to write about the next day? Or is saying “oh boy, the bloggers are going to write about this…” a “safe” way of putting forth your own questionable opinions?

It was a little disappointing that there was no encore, but hey–maybe they were paying MSG by the hour. But probably with all that merchandise they sold (commemorative concert tees with “VIVA” and “VIVA LA VIDA” cost $30, posters cost $10) helped them recoup any of the money they shelled out do put this show on.

Anyway, I thought the concert was a great. I would say that some of the new songs did fall a little flat with the crowd due to their slow and/or non-sing-a-long nature (“Chinese Sleep Chant” and “42”), but others were tremendous fun (“Lost” and “VLV”). A little sad they didn’t do some of my CP faves like “Shiver” or “Everything’s Not Lost,” but I suppose some songs had to get the boot in order to play the new diddys. (Not everyone can play 3 1/2 hour shows like Ryan Adams.)

The boys are also on the cover of the new June 2008 issue of SPIN:

COLDPLAY: SHINE ON

2 Nights at Santos: Hedi Slimane and Misshapes

So for the last three nights I’ve been heading to Santos Party House (aka 100 Lafayette) for some fashionable parties.

On Friday night was a V Magazine celebratory party for designer/photographer Hedi Slimane’s new book, Rock Diary where PYT and recent Slimane muse Hayes Peebles played a solo set in front of the very stylish crowd. When a young fashionista squealed out, “You’re so sexy!,” I turned around and mentioned that Peebles is still a tender 15 years old, to which the girl shook her head and moaned, “Noooo!!”

hayespeebles
Photo courtesy of the BSB

The next night was the Misshapes.com launch party, where the dark-haired trio of Greg, Leigh, and Geordon mingled with famous faces such as M.I.A. (and her new fiance), Sophia Lamar, and Benjamin Cho as well as the regular cast of Misshapes party revelers.

Guest DJ Lightspeed Champion was there as well, and a couple of my er… well lubricated… friends took it upon themselves to give him a hefty hug and hoist in the air:

santos_lightspeed_idiots

Needless to say, the party was a fantastically fun event, with both Apache Beat and These New Puritans busting eardrums with their raucous sounds, and dancing fools taking advantage of the dance floor downstairs.