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Vanity Projects Elevates Nail Art

What do you get when you fuse a nail salon and a video art gallery?

August 05, 2013

Manicures and pedicures are an essential ingredient of the Manhattan lifestyle, and now this quintessential grooming ritual is being served with a side of visual art. Meet Vanity Projects, a swanky new salon that combines luxury nail design and video art programming on the Lower East Side.

Opened in early July by Rita de Alencar Pinto, an art collector, curator, and advisor (who also happens to be a licensed nail technician), Vanity Projects specializes in high-end manicures and specialty nail designs by bona fide nail artists, some of whom are international stars of the trade.

"Style inspirations for the nails can vary from art-inspired themes like my favorite painters, Matt Connors and David Ellis, to designers like Mara Hoffman," says Pinto. "Vanity Projects is unique because there is a group of artists working there with their own particular style and aesthetic, in addition to the many planned artists in residence, which allows for limitless opportunities for nail art designs. Not to mention the video art which is screened during your manicure."

Though video art and nail art might seem unlikely bedfellows, the concept is aligned with the salon's aim: to introduce video art to a new audience via the salon environment, where (usually) patrons are in a relaxed and open state of mind. Even if you're not a video art connoisseur, drop by the salon for a luxury mani-pedi using custom products and techniques exclusive to the salon. 



Where to Celebrate National Oyster Day

Keep the weekend alive with rosé and oyster specials around the city.

August 05, 2013

BLT Fish Shack oyster bar

Raw bar selections at BLT Fish Shack. 

Nothing says summer like an icy platter of fresh oysters and a crisp bottle of rosé. And seeing as today is National Oyster Day, a bevy of New York restaurants are offering oyster happy hours, many extending throughout the evening.

BLT Fish Shack
In honor of the day, BLT Fish Shack is celebrating its regular oyster happy hour all day long. Stop by the casual Fish Shack for $1 Blue Points and littleneck clams, and then take a quick elevator ride up to the airy, fine dining BLT Fish, where a new summer rosé market menu (four courses, $55; $85 wine pairing) promises pairings like Atlantic salmon rillette and a dreamy 2011 Chateau Saint Baillon syrah rosé. 21 W. 17th St., 691-8888

David Burke Fishtail
At current Top Chef Masters contender David Burke's seafood-focused Fishtail, a happy hour menu featuring $1.85 oysters and $1 clams on the half-shell—as well as other specials like lobster poutine and a zippy $5 sangria—is offered seven days a week (3:30-7 p.m. weekdays; 12-7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday). Today, however, a five for $15 Oysters Up in Smoke with apple pearls and chardonnay foam is on tap. 135 E. 61st St., 754-1300

The Seafire Grill 
Complete with a cozy marble fireplace and 500-bottle strong wine list (chock-full of rosé and riesling), The Seafire Grill will offer a $1.50 oyster happy hour all day. Sit at the bar and order bites like lollipop lamb chops with mint sauce, fish of the day fish tacos, and diver scallop ceviche. 158 E 48th St. 935-3785

Sons of Essex 
The after-work crowd-friendly 5 to 8 p.m. happy hour at Sons of Essex provides surf and turf, with $1 Blue Points, a $12 Essex Street Burger and beer combo, and $5 drinks. Not a fan of raw oysters? Tuck into bacon, chive, and yuzu baked oysters. 133 Essex St., 674-7100

Mermaid Inn and Oyster Bar 
With three locations and a curated selection of east and west coast oysters (try the Glidden Points from Maine), Mermaid is one of our favorite oyster spots. Head to the East Village and Upper West Side Mermaid Inns for a 5 to 7 p.m. happy hour with $1 east coast and $1.75 west coast oysters, as well as bar bites like blistered shishito peppers and ample rosé, beer, and cocktail specials. A similar happy hour at the Mermaid Oyster Bar, in Greenwich Village, extends from 5 to 10 p.m. 79 MacDougal St., 260-0100; 96 Second Ave., 674-5870; 568 Amsterdam Ave., 799-7400



Dispatch: Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' Premieres at MoMA

Plus: L'Oréal Paris fêtes its new butterfly mascara and M Missoni drops a mix CD.

August 02, 2013

Cate Blanchett, New York premiere if Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine"   
Cate Blanchett (photo: Jimi Celeste/patrickmcmullan.com)  

Cate Blanchett wore a dreamy, architectural dress by Balenciaga to the premiere of her film Blue Jasmine, sponsored by Quintessentially Lifestyle on Monday, July 22. Her short blonde hair was pushed back with some height, and this reporter found one of the flowers that had been sewn onto the sheer of her skirt at the bottom of the escalator on my way into the Titus 1 theater at the Museum of Modern Art.

>>PHOTOS: New York Premiere of Blue Jasmine

Tammy Blanchard, who plays the best friend of title character Jasmine (Blanchett) in the Woody Allen project, noted that she had dressed to the nines to get the part. “They suggested you come in looking like an Upper East Side woman,” she said. “I put on this beautiful dress and high heels and had my hair blown out—a little bit of makeup, red lips. And when I spoke, I was very clear. I wasn’t giving any Jersey accent." On set, Allen indicated to Blanchard that she was playing the role like a mob moll. "So I had to rethink," she said.  

Peter Sarsgaard nailed his part as Blanchett’s tony love interest. “Woody told me I had permission to do whatever I wanted,” he said. “But you don’t know that for sure. I was a little intimidated by the fact that it’s Woody Allen.”

Allen sent an email to the theater from the South of France, which Leslee Dart, his rep, read aloud. “I am so sorry I am filming in the South of France and can’t be there tonight,” wrote Allen. “I so wish I was in New York . . . and couldn’t be there.”

FYI, Blanchett is extraordinary as Jasmine, a society beauty who loses everything. After her husband gets caught up in a Madoff-like scandal and goes to jail and kills himself, Jasmine is left with only clothes, some jewelry, and a diet of vodka and Xanax. It is a role for the ages.  

There is much speculation about the real life subjects. While the late Bruce Wasserstein was business scandal-free, his list of gal pals (wasp, Asian, French) followed a strikingly similar pattern to those of Alec Baldwin's character in the film. Plus, Allen is close with one of Wasserstein’s exes. But I am told that Allen claims Jasmine is a composite of the mothers at his child’s school.      

Later that week, on Thursdsay, L'Oréal Paris hosted its Butterfly Mascara launch at the football field-size Manhattan art studio of Hunt Slonem (my brother, known for painting images of butterflies). L'Oréal added antebellum furniture in the freight elevator and served hors d’oeuvres on a Christian Lacroix butterfly pattern porcelain tray. Dispatches spotted W magazine's Jane Larkworthy, publicist Alison Brod, and makeup artist Billy B, who previously worked with Lady Gaga. B attended with his sexy BFF Lesly Sajak, Pat's wife, who had her gorgeous daughter Maggie, a country singer, in tow. 

Same night, at Le Bain on the rooftop of The Standard Hotel, Missoni hosted M Missoni is for MUSIC in honor of its new mix CD. Atlanta de Cadenet and Hannah Bronfman deliciously power clashed fun Missoni patterns. Katrina Bowden wore a demure, sleeveless mauve dress. The face of the DJ booth read, “No Requests.” Smokey Jones, meanwhile, rocked the breezy, altitudinous venue live.


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


What We're Reading

Fact checking The Newsroom's portrayal of the news, zombie 5k coming to NYC...

August 02, 2013

Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom

The Newsroom uses real news stories for its scripts, but does creator/writer Aaron Sorkin get it right?

How well does HBO's The Newsroom depict the news? The Atlantic's Ashley Fetters fact checks the show's portrayal of events like Occupy Wall Street and the opening of the "Ground Zero Mosque." [The Atlantic

Have you tried a Citi Bike yet? This very cool interactive map and post by The New Yorker's Michael Guerriero documents various patterns and trends of the bike-sharing service's usage throughout the past month. [The New Yorker

On your mark, get set… zombie? Oh, yes, it's zombie race season, reports Courtney Rubin of The New York Times Style section. And make no mistake, the undead subculture is here to stay. A bevy of zombie races throughout the U.S. and Canada include several New York events, including the aptly-named Run For Your Lives race. [The New York Times

It's bye-bye Brooklyn for musician and mom Solange (Beyoncé's sister), according to The New York Post's Page Six, claiming that the secret show she played Monday night at a Boreum Hill laundromat as part of part of Vitaminwater and the Fader’s Uncapped Music Series was, in fact, a farewell performance before her move to New Orleans. [NY Post

Tweeting can get you fired, it seems, at least when you work in the food service industry. On The Awl, Brendan O'Conner pens this confessional essay about his ill-fated social media experience on the job. [The Awl

It is certainly baby season, so if you're stumped as to what to get your friend/ sister/ co-worker for her baby shower, check out this list of 30 unexpected baby shower gifts. [Buzzfeed




Marco Maccioni's Chilled Red Wine Tips

To chill or not to chill? Maccioni breaks it down.

August 02, 2013

Red wine, chilled

Determining which red wines can be chilled is actually quite simple, explains Maccioni. 

"Enjoying a glass of wine on a beautiful summer day is one of the better pleasures of life," gushes wine consultant Marco Maccioni, who oversees the wine and beverage program at Sirio Ristorante. "That pleasant experience may be compromised if one were to adhere to the old-fashioned rule of wine drinking: that red wines should [always] be served at room temperature," says Maccioni. So, in the name of summertime dolce vita, we asked the wine lover and expert for some guidance on which reds chill best. 

To chill: "Fruit-forward varietals such as pinot noir, barbera, frappato, and even some sangioveses."

Not to chill: "Big California cabernets, Bordeaux, brunellos, and barolos."

When in doubt: "Hold your bottle of red to the light. If you can see quite easily through it, that will tell you that it is a wine of light body and structure, and more appropriate for chilling. Your knowledge of the wine is important, because you should make sure it's a fruit-forward wine that hasn't spent much time aging in wood—if any at all."

Bottles to buy: "Some of our favorites here at the restaurant are a pinot noirs from Argyle Winery in Oregon, or from Franz Haas in Trentino Alto-Adige in Italy. A sangiovese such as Chianti Classico Monsanto from Tuscany, or the fruity frappato of Cerasuolo di Vittoria by Planeta in Sicily."

Personal favorite: "My ultimate favorite is the lively, slightly bubbly Barbera La Monella by Giacomo Bologna-Braida in Piedmont, Italy. That's the ultimate accompaniment to a charcuterie while you're firing up your grill, or simply watching the waves lap up onto the beach."



Weekend Recommender: August 1-4

Queen Bey swarms Barclays Center, new one-act play series kicks off.

August 01, 2013

Beyonce, Mrs. Carter World Tour

Mrs. Carter plays the stomping grounds of Mr. Carter at Barclays Center this weekend. 

Beyoncé at Barclays Center
August 3-5, 8 p.m.
Beyoncé does Brooklyn as only she can, bringing The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour to the Barclays Center. So far the tour has seen Queen Bey getting her hair caught in an industrial fan, stepping out in an anatomically correct bodice, and receiving a surprise kiss from husband Jay-Z on a Philadelphia stage. We expect she has something even bigger up her sleeve for Brooklyn. 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, 917-618-6700

Short Stuff 7 Opens at The Barrow Group's TGB Theatre
Opens August 3 
The seventh edition of theater company The Barrow Group's Short Stuff 7 series of one-act plays opens Saturday night to much anticipation among New York's theater community. The seven short plays featured celebrate up-and-coming playwrights and actors, so it's a chance to see tomorrow's stars today, while also supporting new important new voices in drama. Tickets are $18. 312 West 36th St., 3rd floor



BAM Premieres Civil Rights Series

A new restoration of an award-winning MLK documentary is among the highlights.

August 01, 2013

Fifty years after the March on Washington, the civil rights movement remains relevant in today’s America. The social and political outcomes of the time are still felt today, but the movement’s cultural legacy also resonates, as indicated by the 40 films presented during the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinématek series entitled "A Time for Burning: Cinema of the Civil Rights Movement," running from August 13 to 28. The series culminates on the date of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

A highlight of the film series, which in itself outlines the history of mid-century documentary filmmaking, is the New York premiere of a new, 35mm restoration of King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis. This Academy Award-nominated documentary recounts Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life story from the beginning of the early days of activism up to his assassination. Produced and compiled by Ely Landau, the documentary features compelling newsreel footage as well as interpretation by narrators including Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ben Gazzara, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Anthony Quinn, and Joanne Woodward.

Other anticipated documentaries include All My Babies (1952), I Am Somebody (1970), and William Jersey’s A Time for Burning (1966). Jersey will be present for a Q&A following the August 21 screening. BAM's film series also features Hollywood films like To Kill a Mockingbird, A Raisin in the Sun, and Odds Against Tomorrow. Finally, the series ends with the March on Washington shorts program on August 28. Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., 718-636-4100



Q&A: John Gallagher Jr. Branches Out

With a new movie coming out, The Newsroom star finds time for singing gigs in NYC.

July 31, 2013

John Gallagher, Jr. in a scene from "Short Term 12"

John Gallagher, Jr. and Brie Larson in a scene from Short Term 12.

New York theatergoers know this talented, Tony Award-winning actor (who also writes music and recently wrote a play) from his work in Broadway shows like Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Jerusalem. As one of the stars of Aaron Sorkin's hit HBO series The Newsroom, John Gallagher Jr.'s career has taken an unexpected turn. And it suits him just fine.

After years performing on Broadway and the New York stage, you're now starring in an HBO series. How does it feel?
JOHN GALLAGHER, JR.: It's amazing. I've been doing theater in New York for about 13 years now. I did my first professional play when I was 15, at the Manhattan Theater Club. The thing I got really lucky with was finding a hold in the New York theater community, which is an amazing place to be! It's been great being able to try something new. I don't have any kind of master plan or aspirations, like, this is where I see myself in two years. 

You also have a new film, Short Term 12, opening August 23. Can you tell us a bit about it?
JG: It's a movie we shot last year, and it stars a really tremendous actress, Brie Larson, and it was written by Destin Cretton, and we won the grand jury prize and audience prize at this year's SXSW film festival . . . It takes place in a foster facility for at-risk teenagers, and Brie Larson and I play two of the main line staff workers watching after these kids ages 12, 13, to 18, who are all wrestling with all sorts of problems and trauma, so it's really about that universal struggle; the idea that the caretaker often needs taking care of, that we all need taking care of, ultimately. It's a testament to the idea of building a family, even if you don't have one.

Would you say that playing the outsider has been a bit of a creative theme in your career?
JG: Yeah, I have to admit that it has, especially early on! I think after I had done Rabbit Hole, a play on Broadway, in which I played a really emotionally distraught and troubled teenager; and then in Spring Awakening, my second show on Broadway, I played a deeply distraught, suicidal teenager; and of course I did American Idiot on Broadway, where I played a person kind of having an identity crisis, running away from home, and becoming addicted to drugs. Right around that point, my mom said to me, 'When are you going to play someone well adjusted who has it together?'  

There's a bit of that in your character on The Newsroom, too.
JG: The thing about Jim Harper, I think he has no social skills. He's incredible at his job, he sacrificed a social life through most of his career and upbringing, he's really smart, really sharp, right out of college went right into broadcast journalism, went right to Iraq, right to Afghanistan, covering these really intense stories, then gets back to the states mid-20s and realizes he's never really had a girlfriend. He doesn't know how to socialize, he doesn't really know how to hang out. That's fascinating to me: The idea that a person can be so incredible at this high stakes, high-pressure job, and then they forget to meet their girlfriend for their Valentine's Day dinner, so they want to hide under the table, which is what Jim does . . .That's so much fun to play with on the show.

You're also a singer/songwriter. What kind of music do you play?
JG: It's very kind of rootsy, country, bluegrass, folky, rock . . . Sometimes it's just me with a guitar, sometimes I put a full band together. I'm playing this weekend, as a matter of fact!

John Gallagher Jr. plays Rockwood Music Hall's Stage 3 Friday, August 2 at 9 p.m., and Saturday, August 3 at 10 p.m. 185 Orchard St., 212-477-4155; Tickets are $10. 



Stylish Accessories for Cyclists

You have your Citi Bike, now you just need to accessorize.

July 30, 2013

Whether you're maneuvering Manhattan's busy streets, or leisurely pedaling through a park, waterfront, or bike path, looking great on two wheels is essential. We do our accessorizing at specialty New York bicycle shops like Adeline Adeline, as well as a bevy of international bicycle accessory designers like FREITAG, Sawako Furuno, and BASIL. Here are three of our favorite finds:



Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken Opening; Manon's Luxe Lobster Roll

Plus: Laotian cuisine in Tribeca, an epic beer tasting, and more food & drink news.

July 30, 2013

Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken Opening August 5: Fried chicken gets the Blue Ribbon treatment on the Lower East Side as the Brombergs open a 65-seat spot devoted to the southern indulgence. With a crispy matzo meal skin and a kick of spice, the chicken is topped with a drizzle of honey. Also on tap are fried chicken livers, grilled chicken burgers, and homemade ice cream of the banana-salted caramel and carrot-habañero varieties. 28 E. 1st St., 212-228-0404

Over the Top Lobster Roll at Manon: Just added to the menu at sprawling new Meatpacking District restaurant-cum-mega-lounge Manon is an uni- and caviar-topped lobster roll. Previously offered "off the menu," chef Tae Strain's $38 roll uses Maine lobster, American sturgeon caviar, Santa Barbara uni, and a buttery-sweet Parker house roll. No mayo necessary. 407 W. 14th St., 212-596-7255

Mario Batali Teams with Mary Giuliani: No reservation at Del Posto? No problem. MARIO by Mary offers catering packages tailored to individual tastes via a collaboration between caterer Mary Giuliani, of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events, and Mario Batali. Menus feature Batali classics like Roman-style arancini bursting with warm mozzarella. Prices vary, but the options are endless.

Aperitivo Happy Hour at Stella 34 Trattoria: Sit in the bar and lounge area daily from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for a refreshing Aperol spritz or a glass of prosecco and be treated to chef Jarett Appell's complimentary small bites. Current noshes include fried brioche topped with paper-thin slices of beef carpaccio and crostini slathered with puréed fava beans. Another bonus? Views of Herald Square and the Empire State Building. 151 W. 34th St., 212-967-9251

New Summer Menu at Antica Pesa: The Italian dining news just keeps coming. Williamsburg's Roman haunt, Antica Pesa, is rolling out a new menu chock-full of summer produce. Fish crudo is stepped up with grilled watermelon; beef tartare folds in sun-dried tomatoes, snap peas, and tomato confit; and porchetta is served with buffalo mozzarella, watercress, and peach mustard. 115 Berry St., Williamsburg, 347-763-2635 

Edible Manhattan Good Beer Event: Sizzling summer days call for ice-cold beer. At the fifth annual Good Beer event (July 31, 6-9 p.m.), New Yorkers can quench their thirst with an unrivaled selection of ales and lagers paired with food from local restaurants. Whether you’re looking for local craft beers or more international flavors, your expectations will be exceeded. [Tickets] 82 Mercer St.

Khe-Yo Brings Laotian Cuisine to Tribeca: Thai food has taken New York by storm with the openings of Pok Pok and Uncle Boon. Opening this week, Khe-Yo offers a more adventurous taste of southeast Asian food, by way of Laos. A partnership between Marc Forgione and Soulayphet Schwader, the restaurant serves up authentic dishes like glutinous sticky rice with stuffed with sausage and lemongrass marinated spare ribs with fragrant seasonal herbs. 157 Duane St., 212-587-1089


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