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Trump International Hotel Celebrates 15 Years

An ultra-luxury package rings in the hotel’s anniversary.

January 10, 2012

Beginning January 15, reserve the Crystal Package at the Trump International Hotel on Central Park. Priced at $15,000, the special affords guests two nights in the executive one-bedroom suite with park views, a bottle of Cristal Champagne, crystal and white gold jewelry from Ivanka Trump’s line, a pair of Christian Louboutin Fifi pumps, dinner for two at Jean Georges (including Champagne) and breakfast for two at Nougatine. The offer is available through January 15, 2013.

—jessica ferri


Tastings and More at Tribeca’s Brandy Library

Keep warm this winter by sipping brown spirits at the Brandy Library.

January 10, 2012

Whether you’re looking for a smart after-work cocktail or a rare bottle of Scotch for a special occasion, the Brandy Library is sure to have it. Pair your drink with a menu of hors d’oeuvres (prosciutto-wrapped figs or larger plates like filet mignon), schedule a private tasting ($125 per person, six students minimum) or take a class through the Spirit School ($90–$120 per person). 25 N. Moore St.

—jessica ferri


Portlandia Premieres Its Season 2

The quirky sketch show about artisanal hipster culture in Portland, Oregon, is a hit.

January 09, 2012

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen

The season two premiere of Portlandia at the Museum of Natural History was a kind of kooky left-coast revelation for Dispatches. We had assumed that living in the Big Apple was still hip, but Portlandia—a quirky, eccentric portrait of the artisanal boutique people of Portland, Oregon—makes New York look about as edgy as a high-end mall. 

Co-creator Carrie Brownstein, formerly of the punk band Sleater-Kinney and now of the new band Wild Flag, stars opposite Fred Armisen (of Saturday Night Live fame) and explained that Portland is probably less nutty than it once was. “If you look at the early films of Gus Van Sant, they definitely had a darkness to them. Portland used to have the kookiness plus drugs. But most of the drugs are gone.” Describing neo-Portland she added, “Little boutiques came in, and the junkies aren’t looking for organic knitwear.”

About the nutty locals, Armisen added that Portlandia exaggerates but it don’t always have to. “All the bicycle people,” he pointed out, by way of an example. “It’s bike-crazy in Portland. You’ve never seen anything like it. You stop at a red light and all these bicycle people keep coming—families, businesspeople. It’s like another country.”

Portland is apparently even stranger than Portlandia fiction. “We always mention there is a vegan strip club,” according to co-creator Jonathan Krisel. “They serve vegan food, and all the strippers are vegan… They look emaciated, I’m sure.”

Krisel mentioned that Jeff Goldblum plays an artisanal knot maker, but Goldblum couldn’t confirm that. “I don’t know what “artisanal” means,” he noted to me on his way into the museum. “I don’t even know if I’m a knot maker. I have a store that specializes exclusively in knots, all kinds of little knots. Ostensibly, I know about knots, talk about them, and match up the buyers with the right knot.”

Amber Tamblyn plays an overambitious intern at an overwrought feminist bookstore, “with a minor in marketing,” she injected. “It’s all ad-libbed.” She even got a gift basket with all locally made goods from Armisen and Brownstein when she showed up in Portland. “I got this rose gold ring,” she said, splaying out her fingers to show a hand hammered animal head on one finger. “And these locally made artisanal spoons, among the crazy things that people do there. Because that’s all they do.”

In one of the two episodes shown, Armisen and Brownstein play inept movers who use bicycles with a trailer. In another, they are swept off their feet by a sexy gifted mixologist played by Andy Samberg.

“They had the support of the entire city,” executive producer Lorne Michaels told Dispatches. The actual mayor of Portland plays an assistant to Kyle MacLachlan, who plays the mayor. “The first year, people were friendly and supportive once they knew what the show was. But this season, everybody had seen it,” said Michaels.

 “This season is funnier and more polished,” said Brownstein. “And there are endings… Fred and I explore a lot of adults that go kicking and screaming into adulthood.”

—jeffrey slonim
photograph by gettyimages.com


Valentine's Day Gift Idea

Plan ahead and consider this delicate ring that speaks volumes about love.

January 09, 2012


The Finn Love Knot ring in 18k yellow gold ($750) is a sure-fire way to win over a loved one. Available at Barneys, 660 Madison Ave.

—jessica ferri


Max Delivery: To Your Door in Under an Hour

Whatever you need for your post-holiday hibernation, have it delivered.

January 09, 2012

Now that temperatures have reached below the freezing mark a few times, New Yorkers want to stay in as much as possible—at least when it comes to retrieving daily items. Enter Max Delivery. Partnering with most local and gourmet shops in Manhattan, Max will deliver cheese from Murray’s, Jacques Torres chocolates, Sugar Sweet Sunshine cupcakes, Artisan wine and more. (Free delivery for orders over $50.) Sounds great to us. 


Chris Lilley Brings Angry Boys to HBO

Australian Chris Lilley introduces another cast of his characters.

January 06, 2012

Chris Lilley

Dressed casually in jeans, a T-shirt and a knit hat pulled low, Chris Lilley looks like any other tourist staying at the Trump Soho Hotel. As the Australian walks into the Library and settles into an overstuffed leather chair, he displays a quietness that you wouldn’t expect from the creator and actor behind the wildly popular Summer Heights High series. Known for his outrageous characters—some of which were born from his 2005 mockumentary We Can Be Heroes—the expectation, on some level, is for Lilley to be like Ja’mie or Mr. G and constantly crave attention. Instead, he’s polite, insightful and soft-spoken. His wit is also as lighting fast as that of the characters he brings to life on screen, and HBO is banking on it to take his new series Angry Boys, which premiered January 1, to the top. Lilley chatted with us about his new show, brushes with fans and what happens when he fetches his mail.
What character do your fans ask for the most?
CHRIS LILLEY: It used to be Jonah or Mr. G. Now it’s all about Nathan or S.Mouse from show Angry Boys. I’m too nice. I end up in full-on half-hour conversations with random people because I can’t extradite myself. People are really nice in New York, though. I think the people stopping me here, they’re the hardcore dedicated fans. They tell me they studied every scene. I had a girl [in NYC] who came up and she had a photo of her dressed as Ja’mie from Halloween and I loved it.
How do you feel about Angry Boys premiering on HBO?
CL: It’s scary and exciting for Angry Boys to come to America. I think HBO is giving it a big push and a really good time slot and spending a lot on marketing. You never know how it’s going to be received. Everything I do is scary and exciting, so it’s just the next stage. It was a long shoot, over seven months in Australia, Tokyo and Los Angeles, so I’ve had a lot of time to think about it.  
Which was your favorite city to shoot in?
I love the Australian farm with the twin brothers, Daniel and Nathan. We Can Be Heroes shot there as well, so we had to recreate that same setting five years later. The farm has since changed owners, and the new owners had built a lot of new things. Also, there was a bit of a drought five years ago and it was very dry, but now it’s lush and green and full of horses and Shetland ponies. We had this one pony that kept walking in the background of shots. I kept screaming, “Get rid of it!”
In Summer Heights High you introduce all the characters in the first episode. In Angry Boys it’s a staggered introduction. We don’t even meet some of them until the fourth or fifth episode.
CL: I just wanted a different formula. I felt like after Summer Heights High everyone had worked out what I was doing. They were like oh, I get it. He goes to an environment and curates characters and it’s about an institution. This time I wanted to do something surprising so that you don’t know what you’re getting each week. And there are not the same characters in each episode. I didn’t want people to feel like they knew where it’s going.
Do you have a favorite character?
CL: [Black rapper] S.Mouse was a lot of work, but I really loved the end result. We shot a lot of S.Mouse in Australia, so we had to essentially recreate Los Angeles [where S.Mouse lives] down under. Casting all the American actors, and me playing a character so far removed from what I know and trying to get that right, was tough. Because he’s a famous character, we needed to get all the back story right; it needed to look like he was a legit celeb with all the music videos, posters and so on. I had to create all his music in advance before we started shooting. It was tricky. I’m the most proud of him in this series.
What’s your process for creating a character?
CL: With this one it was the premise first—a show anchored by Daniel and Nathan—and then the idea of it being on a huge scale. I wanted to find a reason to take the documentary off into other worlds that were unexpected and different. So the posters on the “Wall of Legends” in Daniel and Nathan’s room take us off into the hip-hop world and this crazy Tokyo skating world and the surfer world. That was the reason for the characters. The idea of the documentary about boys and exploring male issues gave it a serious premise for the fake documentary.
Who was on your “Wall of Legends” growing up?
CL: Oh, I had like Kermit the Frog posters and stuff like that. I wasn’t a cool kid. [Laughs]
Do you break out into your characters occasionally?
CL: Sometimes people will catch me out and I’ll say something and they’ll respond, good one, Daniel. Or my mom reckons that I’m Ja’mie. When Ja’mie fights with her mom, my mom says that’s exactly like us fighting. When I’m writing the scripts I find that I start to walk and talk like characters without knowing it. I remember walking down to my mailbox once to get something and totally realizing that I was walking as Ja’mie and flipping my hair. I prayed no one saw that.
Have you ever channeled Jonah and said “puck you, Miss” to anyone?
CL: No, but there are a few people I would’ve liked to.
Angry Boys airs Sunday nights on HBO. 

—sean evans
photograph by gettyimages.com


The Most Expensive Book in the World at Christie's

Audubon’s Birds of America is set to be auctioned off at Christie’s.

January 06, 2012

An incredibly rare first edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America will hit the auction block at Christie's on January 20. The book is a collection of the most famous ornithology art, hand-colored illustrations of the birds of America drawn true to size in their natural habitats. Last December at Sotheby’s London, another first edition sold for $11.5 million, making it the most expensive book ever sold at auction. This set, originally belonging to the 4th Duke of Portland, is one of only 200 copies made at the time—and only 120 copies are known to have survived. Prior to auction the set will be on display at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries from January 13 to January 19.

—jessica ferri


The Frick Collection Debuts New Portico Gallery

A new gallery—the first in nearly 35 years—joins the Frick.

January 06, 2012

Manhattan’s iconic Frick Collection has unveiled the Portico Gallery, located in the museum’s Fifth Avenue garden, now enclosed in glass. Founder Henry Clay Frick planned to expand the Frick to include the Portico, but the outbreak of World War I prevented him from finishing the project before he died in 1919. In celebration of the addition, the Frick will show the exhibit “White Gold: Highlights from the Arnhold Collection of Meissen Porcelain” until April 29. 1 E. 70th St.

—jessica ferri


Faktura Design Side Tables

New York and LA can battle it out in your living room.

January 05, 2012

In honor of his home city, Miron Lior of New York design company Faktura has created a New York side table ($340) available in custom colors. Pair it with the LA version ($340) for a modern home matchup.

—jessica ferri


New Year’s Resolution: More Yoga

YogaWorks New York makes it easy to stress less in 2012.

January 05, 2012

With four locations in Manhattan and multiple membership levels, YogaWorks makes sidestepping stress even easier this New Year. Choose from five levels of classes (from beginner to advanced) as well as pre-natal and kid options. The locker rooms are luxurious, and a lounge offers complimentary tea to help with the unwinding process even more. Namaste. 1319 Third Ave., 2nd floor, 212-650-9642 

—jessica ferri

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