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New Exhibit: 1963 in Pictures

A new photo exhibition takes a second look at the year when everything changed.

May 13, 2013

What's in a year? Well, a lot. Especially in the case of 1963, a year of tremendous change in America's political and social history, a year of hope and innocence, as well as tragedy and disillusionment. From Beatlemania to civil rights protests; the Vietnam war to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s unforgettable "I have a dream" speech; and of course, President John F. Kennedy's assassination, so many 1963 events continue to affect contemporary culture. 

A striking new photo exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery (though July 6) pays tribute to this pivotal year, and by consequence, invites us back in time to understand how history shapes our present day reality. Shot by a variety of photographers, images exhibited include a photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking the famous words of his aforementioned speech in Washington, D.C. (shot by Bob Adelman); Paul McCartney getting a haircut (shot by Dezo Hoffman); a boxer named Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) getting his mouth taped before a big fight with Doug Jones (shot by George Silk); actress Natalie Wood on the set of Sex and the Single Girl (shot by Bill Ray); and an iconic image of firemen hosing down civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama's Kelly Ingram Park (also shot by Bob Adelman).

The exhibit is divided into three sections, one corresponding to each major historical event: the treatment of civil rights protesters, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, and the assassination of President Kennedy, with additional images of music, fashion, science, and sports. 41 East 57th St, Suite 1406, 212-334-0010

—Simona Rabinovitch


Sixties-Inspired Swimwear by Lauren Moffatt

Moffatt's fun and feminine collection takes us back to the tennis courts of the 1960s.

May 13, 2013

From 1920s Gatsby looks to 1980s punk style, retro fashion is all the rage these days. And with summer just a whisper away, womenswear designer Lauren Moffatt has launched a playful yet sexy flurry of '60s throwback bikinis, one-piece bathing suits, and cover-ups. The collection ($186-$395) is the designer's first foray into swimwear. Inspired by "prim and proper" '60s tennis regalia, as well as nostalgia for the "chaotic" public pool scene, pieces boast fun patterns and bright colors, with ruffle detailing and modern peek-a-boo cut-outs. Silhouettes are classic and incorporate a variety of tried-and-true cuts: triangle and bandeau tops, bikini, hipster, and high-waisted bottoms, and lovely one-piece suits. Cover-ups feature custom-designed silk prints like multicolored dots, breezy cotton voile, and hand-crocheted cotton. Known for her passion for art and design, and flair for vintage influences, Moffatt has been tagged by Vogue and WWD as a designer to watch. Last year she was inducted into the CFDA.

—Simona Rabinovitch


Q&A: The Stars of 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'

Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed discuss the film set in pre- and post-9/11 New York City.

May 10, 2013

Kate Hudson literally waltzes into the room. Wearing a cozy hot pink sweater with matching stilettos and skinny black pants, her aura is megawatt, the mark of a true celebrity. Following behind, with his hands tucked inside his pockets, is Riz Ahmed, who Hudson costars with in The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a riveting drama (based on a book of the same name) that screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

As Ahmed doubles back to an adjacent room for something he forgot, I’m left alone with Hudson for an amount of time that seems both too long and too short. We make small talk about her lack of sleep and wish that she could attend the film's premiere "in a puffy coat." Then, just as we get on the subject of Long Island, my home, which Hudson seems curious about, Ahmed returns and the sands in the interview hourglass begin to fall. 

With her legs perched up on the chair in front of her, Hudson seems comfortable and ready for the usual film press routine. Commenting on my question about what it was like to play a more serious role, as opposed to her usual comedic parts, she says with a sly smile, “From a journalistic perspective, I understand [the question].” Here starts a constant back and forth, during which I seem to be asking “provocative” questions, according to Ahmed. 

“This isn’t your first political movie,” I say to Ahmed while recalling his role in 2006’s The Road to Guantanamo. “What attracts you to these kinds of parts?” I ask. “It’s funny you say that, because I think the personal is political," he quips. "I feel like the attempt to label some works of art as political and others as not is actually misguided. I kind of feel like it marginalizes things away from the mainstream cultural conversation, when actually that conversation lies in the heart of culture.” 

I move on to the film's setting, 9/11, and plot, which sees Ahmed as a bright, young Pakastani immigrant living in New York City with a job in finance and a doting girlfriend (Hudson). However, when the Twin Towers crumble, his American Dream turns into a nightmare. 

“Did you feel like the movie truly portrayed what it was like to be in New York on that day?” I ask Hudson, who was living in New York at the time of the attack. “That’s a tough question,” she says. “It is, in our time, not a defining, but the most defining moment in our history. For me, it was actually amazing. New York, as a city and as a community, is just phenomenal at times like that. I did not feel fear. I felt very safe. I felt very sad. It makes me emotional even thinking about it.” As her eyes begin to glisten, she pivots, “But that’s not what this movie is about . . . This movie uses [9/11] as a defining moment to tell a story about how when something shakes people in their life, it creates a sense of urgency.”

After discussing the impact they hope the film will have (Ahmed: "We wanted to give them something to talk about." Hudson: "And bridge the gap"), talk turns back to Hudson's rom-com oeuvre. "I get a little frustrated when people try to take [the] female comedy thing and put it in the 'rom-com' box. Because, well, I'd love to know . . . What do you call Wedding Crashers? People are calling Bride Wars a 'rom-com,' so Wedding Crashers must be a 'bro-com.' I don't like stereotypes," she says.

Ahmed jumps in, "That's what a lot of this film is about, resisting pigeonholing."

—anna ben yehuda
photography by Quantrell Colbert (slide 1, 2); ishaan nair (slide 2, 3)
Copyright Reluctant Films II, Inc.


What We're Reading

The Met Gala's punk shortage, lunch-hour dance parties, the most influential Millenial...

May 10, 2013

Allison Williams' Met Gala gown gets the Fug Girls' seal of approval

The Fug Girls lament the overabundance of non-punk fashion at the punk-themed 2013 Met Gala while also applauding the ten women who "actually made an effort." [New York

Characterized by their competing desires to do nothing and have it all, Millenials (the generation born between 1980 and 2000) are the subject of TIME magazine's latest cover story. Who's the most influential Millenial? The magazine's website has a poll going to find out. No surprise, Lena Dunham is a contender. [TIME

Why not boogie your lunch hour away? The New York Times Style section offers this fun trend piece about New York's burgeoning lunch-hour dance party scene. [The New York Times

Well, the reviews are in for Baz Luhrmann's rendition of The Great Gatsby. The New Yorker scribe David Denby balances his review of the film with insight and historical perspective. [The New Yorker
Filmmaker Max Joseph II has a new mini-documentary about pivotal New York record label DFABullet editor Ben Barna interviews the NYC director about "going viral," i.e. achieving Internet fame and, perhaps, fortune. [Bullet
—Simona Rabinovitch


New Tolstoy-Inspired Popera and Supper Club

The production takes a page from War and Peace, with a side of caviar and a shot of vodka.

May 09, 2013

Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 at Kazino

However you choose to describe Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, just don’t tell producers Howard and Janet Kagan that this electro-pop opera is dinner theater. While the War and Peace-inspired work follows in the footsteps of productions like Sleep No More with interactive moments between the audience and actors, there’s another component that sets it apart—the food.

Each guest is served a Russian dinner from a menu that includes everything from borscht and potato dumplings to smoked fish and caviar atop slices of toast. And of course, bottles of ice-cold vodka are placed at each table—some guests even indulge vodka flights. Bartenders create special cocktails and wine is poured throughout the night. Plus, at one point in the show, actors break the third wall and ask audience members to take a shot of vodka.  

All of these elements fuel a sometimes over-the-top storyline about young lovers and the mystery and debauchery surrounding them. The characters are representative of elite Russian society at a time when many tried to mimic the French tastes for gourmet food and elegant wines. “This is a show about the wealthiest slice of society in early 1800s Moscow,” says Howard Kagan. “When people are in this room, we want to make them feel like they’re in this world.” 

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 opened on May 1 and will run through September 1 at Kazino, a Meatpacking District pop-up space that was created for the production. West 13th St. and Washington St.,866-811-4111 

—Bao Ong
photography by Chad Batka


Weekend Recommender: May 9-12

John Turturro in The Master Builder, Rebecca Minkoff's bi-annual sample sale, and more.

May 09, 2013

The Master Builder opens this Sunday at BAM

Rebecca Minkoff Bi-Annual Sample Sale
May 10-11, 10 a.m.
Take mom on a pre-Mother's Day shopping spree at Rebecca Minkoff's anticipated sample sale, which comes but twice a year. Whether you fancy accessories, footwear, or clothing, prices are slashed up to 75 percent. 260 Fifth Avenue Showroom, 260 Fifth Ave.

"Endless Bummer II / Still Bummin’" and "Drew Heitzler: Comic Books, Inverted Stamps, Paranoid Literature" Open at Marlborough Chelsea
May 11, 6 p.m.
Two simultaneous group exhibitions open this weekend at Marlborough Chelsea Gallery. Curated by Drew Heitzler and Jan Tumlir, Endless Bummer II / Still Bummin' is a group exhibition inspired by the Southern California surf lifestyle, its dark side as well as its light. Meanwhile, "Drew Heitzler: Comic Books, Inverted Stamps, Paranoid Literature" is comprised of 37 works on paper and a new film, and continues Heitzler’s figurative treasure hunt through the past, as the artist discovers the invisible threads that link seemingly disparate sources. Both shows continue through June 29. 545 West 25th St., 212-463-8634

The Master Builder at BAM
May 12 at 7 p.m.
John Turturro stars in Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, opening this Sunday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Also starring Boardwalk Empire's Wrenn Schmidt, the psychological tale tells of a love triangle between the megalomaniacal Halvard Solness (Turturro), his wife Aline (Katherine Borowitz), and the young and beautiful Hilde (Schmidt). Andrei Belgrader directs. Tickets start at $25 and the show runs through June 9. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., Brooklyn, 718-636-4100


New Play: 'Nikolai and the Others'

Richard Nelson's new play takes us back to the creation of the ballet Orpheus.

May 08, 2013

A scene from Nikolai and the Others

Picture it: Westport, Connecticut, 1948. A bunch of artistic Russian ex-pats—choreographer George Balanchine, composer Igor Stravinsky, conductor Serge Koussevitzky, painter Sergei Sudeikin, and composer Nikolai Nabokov—are hanging out together one fine (and fateful) spring weekend. This is the setting of American playwright Richard Nelson's new play, Nikolai and the Others, which world premiered this Monday at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater of Lincoln Center

Although the Russians-sequestered-in-the-country setup sounds quite Chekhovian (consider Uncle Vanya and The Seagull) Nelson puts his own unique stamp on a familiar story of human nature, as he did in his previous Lincoln Center Theater works like Some Americans Abroad and the Tony-nominated Two Shakespearean Actors.

Starring Stephen Kunken, Michael Cerveris, Kathryn Erbe, Alvin Epstein, John Glover, and Blair Brown, and directed by David Cromer, Nikolai and the Others, though imagined by the writer, takes us back to real life events, when Balanchine and Stravinsky famously collaborated on the ballet Orpheus—which went on to become the New York City Ballet's inaugural production.

While the play explores themes of controversial American post-Cold War art funding, it's really about the relationships between all of the aforementioned artists, their friends, lovers, and of course, their dancers. (In fact, in a lovely twist of art and life, Balanchine, who passed away in 1983, is credited as choreographer of Nikolai and the Others, as the play features scenes of his original Orpheus choreography.) 

And Cromer's direction is always worth watching, as seen in his award-winning Off Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's classic Our Town, and more recently, Nina Raine's Tribes. Among his Broadway directing credits are The House of Blue Leaves (starring Ben Stiller and Edie Falco), and Brighton Beach Memoirs. [Tickets] 150 West 65th St., 212-239-6200

—Simona Rabinovitch
photography by Paul Kolnik


Tableware by Schnabel, Lynch, and Koons

Bernardaud's new artist-designed place settings elevate the tablescape to high art.

May 08, 2013

Jeff Koons for Bernardaud

Imagine serving your dinner guests a wonderful meal on a beautiful porcelain plate designed by filmmaker and musician David Lynch? Or, perhaps, by New York artists Julian Schnabel and Jeff Koons? As it opens the doors of its new Chelsea boutique, French Limoges tableware manufacturer Bernardaud (which turns 150 this year) has teamed up with 12 acclaimed international artists to create a stunning new series of artist-designed tableware, including, depending on the artist, plates, teacups, saucers, serving platters, and more. A nod to "les arts de la table," the collection fits perfectly into the new shop's gallery district-inspired aesthetic. 

Sold in a minimum set of six plates, prices in the collection begin at $460. Each unique piece is as different as the artist who created it. Lynch (in his typical form) referenced the idea of boundlessness in his creation. French artist and philosopher Sophie Calle, meanwhile, approached the project conceptually by visually interpreting a personal story about a dinner date with another artist, and exploring the themes of absence, play, and ritual.  

In his six-piece place setting featuring six different designs, Koons addressed the "democratization of porcelain," as he is intrigued by the luxurious matter's economic and sexual aspects. And leave it to Schnabel to delve into porcelain's dark side, as well as its humor. His work is called, "Ogni angelo ha il suo lato spaventoso." Translation: "Every Angel Has Its Terrifying Side." Says Schabel of the collection, "Some people can look down at this plate and a voyage can occur. You can go to a far away place. You can travel. You can dream. It also could make your food look better." 

Peruse this exciting collection, as well as other Bernardaud pieces, at the new shop located in the famous London Terrace building at 465 West 23rd Street. The artist-designed tableware will also be showcased at Bernardaud's other New York shop at 499 Park Avenue, from May 11 through 24.

—Simona Rabinovitch


Exclusive: Cherry Announces Monday Night Pop-Up

The new weekly, onsite pop-up will feature a freestyle menu by chef Andy Choi.

May 07, 2013

Cherry executive chef Andy Choi will craft the menu for Wild Cherry, the restaurant's new Monday night pop-up

Last night, Franco-Japanese restaurant Cherry introduced Wild Cherry, a weekly Monday night restaurant-in-restaurant pop-up concept with a rotating menu by chef Andy Choi (formerly of Bouley and Le Cirque), to a small, invited group. The idea for the pop-up came while Choi was fooling around with new ingredients to whip up late-night plates and midnight snacks for industry friends. At last night’s preview feast, Choi cooked his version of take-out Chinese—with a dash of Japanese and French flavors, of course. The menu featured deconstructed shrimp spring rolls, decadent orbs of kung pao chicken, and even homemade fortune cookies.

Cherry, a joint venture by restaurateurs Jonathan Morr (BONDST) and Eugene Morimoto, will also serve its regular menu during the Monday night Wild Cherry pop-ups. As for booze, the dimly lit subterranean restaurant has its very own sake sommelier, Chris Johnson, who is one of only a few dozen here in the US. The theme for Wild Cherry's Monday, May 13 inaugural pop-up (6 p.m.—MIDNIGHT) will be Chinese Take-Out. 355 W. 16th St., 212-929-5800



Dispatch: From 'The Iceman' to 'The Great Gatsby'

Jeffrey Slonim chats with Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, and more.

May 07, 2013

The Iceman Premieres, Gatsby Exhibit Opens at Prada 
Michael Shannon plays real life hit man Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman, a sensational mob-related film that premiered last Monday. “He’s a very complicated man,” Shannon said of the character (aka "The Iceman"). “I watched 20 hours of [documentary] footage. He’s not like Frankenstein, just a complicated person. He displayed some humor.” Winona Ryder is also endearing in the role of Kuklinski’s wife. 

“I’ve played bad guys and bad cops, but this is only the second mobster,” Ray Liotta, also in the film, indicated to Dispatches. “And I’ve got to say, this is a really good movie.” Nightclub-owner-turned-actor Danny Abeckaser plays Kuklinski’s best friend in the picture. And he’s completely believable. Speaking of nightlife, at the Soho House afterfête, Grey Goose served drinks called Iceman and The Contract.

On Tuesday, as anticipation for The Great Gatsby premiere reached fever pitch, Dispatches was invited to the opening of an exhibit entitled “Catherine Martin and Miuccia Prada Dress Gatsby” at the Prada store in Soho, where costumes were set up like a museum exhibit. And yes, that was Katy Perry perusing the exhibit: “I love that she incorporated Miu Miu and Prada looks from the runway,” said Perry, adding that she felt like a geisha in her Prada dress, “and then she tailored them to the Gatsby era.”

Ferragamo Fêtes Iconic Shoe, The Great Gatsby Takes Lincoln Center 
Dispatches then cabbed it to The McKittrick Hotel on West 27th Street for the Salvatore Ferragamo celebration of its iconic Vara shoe’s 35th year. “The Vara was launched by my Aunt Fiama in 1978,” James Ferragamo, dressed dashingly in blazer with a shawl collar and white piping, told Dispatches. The evening also marked the premiere of a video, L’Icona, starring Camilla Belle, Lauren Santo Domingo, and Lake Bell wearing the Vara. 

But the starry Prada event and the hip McKittrick Hotel didn’t prepare Dispatches for the DeMille-scale premiere of The Great Gatsby at Avery Fisher Hall on Wednesday night. I noticed women in ball gowns lining up a block away. And thousands of Leonardo DiCaprio fans filled the area around Lincoln Center. “You’re not going to find anyone on this carpet who isn’t a Fitzgerald fan,” called out Isla Fisher, wearing Dolce & Gabbana.

“Wow!” said Tobey Maguire about the scene at Lincoln Center, to borrow a line from his Gatsby character, Nick Carraway. Maguire said he’d only read the book after he got the part, but DiCaprio told Dispatches, “By the end of the film, I think I probably read it over 20 times. It is one of the iconic novels of all time, incredibly current . . . predicted the stock market crash.”

Daniel Benedict and Margaret Russell Toast Moooi, Andrew Saffir Premieres What Maisie Knew
Meanwhile, Daniel Benedict and Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir may be partners in life, but that didn’t stop them from hosting two different events at the same time on Thursday. Benedict and Margaret Russell, of Architectural Digest, hosted cocktails in honor of Moooi, purveyors of modernist lighting and furniture, at the Bleecker Street Arts Club, a spacious gallery that Benedict recently opened with Stephen Werther (of Wink Boutiques).

Dispatches then barely made the red carpet at What Maisie Knew, hosted by The Cinema Society, Tod’s, and GQ. Julianne Moore plays a rocker who unintentionally neglects her child. It is a heartbreaking story told from the child’s vantage, and it feels real. Moore told me she was wearing Valentino on the carpet. “She’s so adorable,” Moore said of Onata Aprile, who plays her daughter in the film. “I would say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this scene and I’m going to yell, and I might cry on this line, but I’m not really crying.” Alexander Skarsgard also gives a terrific performance as Moore’s young husband.  

For more entertainment and society news, visit jeffreyslonim.com or follow @JeffreyJSlo on Twitter

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