For a minute and 10 seconds, “Otherside,” the opening track on Mike Hadreas's new album No Shape, is vintage Perfume Genius: a legato piano arpeggio, his quivering voice hovering over the top before the tiny dark ballad bursts open, sparkling and shimmering, with a bass line you can feel in your bones. It’s the first signal that something has changed since Hadreas’s previous Perfume Genius album, 2014’s Too Bright.
By her own admission, Maggie Rogers is an unlikely candidate “to become a person of the internet.” She grew up in a rural town on Maryland’s eastern shore; she played harp and banjo and wrote folk music; she runs and hikes. So when, early last summer, a Youtube clip of Pharrell Williams’s stunned response to one of her songs went viral, Rogers did what she knew: She picked up her backpack and departed for the French Alps.
The night before model and musician Karen Elson caught a flight to Los Angeles to begin recording her new album, she returned home late from a friend’s gallery opening. It was an early evening in the fall of 2015, and thunder crashed outside, a ceiling of humidity shrouding Nashville. Enveloped in a wave of melancholy, Elson picked up her guitar and began to write. An hour later, she had “Distant Shore,” the single that kicks off her sophomore album Double Roses.
Three years ago, when the musician Laetitia Tamko was playing her first gigs as Vagabon to an audience of just two people, she thought nothing of referring to herself intimately in the third person: “Run and tell everybody Laetitia is a small fish,” she howls in “The Embers,” which evokes vivid memories of a young girl on a school bus, dwarfed by older students — and compares her to a minnow in a pool of bloodthirsty sharks.
Last February, Kelly Lee Owens was laying down tracks with the musician Daniel Avery in a tiny studio in London. At the same moment, across town, her song “Arthur” was blasting over the runway at the Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 show. Just a week prior, McQueen’s in-house music curator John Gosling had asked Owens to license the song to include in a mix that would accompany the show, and the musician agreed, eagerly. But as it happened, there was no mix. Only “Arthur” played—in full, twice through—as models filed down the runway in ethereal capes embellished with moons, stars, and surrealist fairytale imagery.
July 7 is an auspicious day for the sisters Haim: Danielle, Alana, and Este. They’re in London at the moment, the same place where they heralded the release of their debut record, Days Are Gone. And their much-anticipated sophomore record, Something to Tell You, dropped at midnight—marking a decade, to the day, since the trio played their first show as a band in 2007. So when the sisters settled on a July release for Something to Tell You, the seventh was already marked in Alana’s calendar. She took it as a sign.
A clear sky beams down over the woods. Mangroves loom against the deep blue. It’s quiet, save for the rustle of deciduous leaves when a breeze rolls through; a girl’s humming rings clear, her feet crackling the brush below with each step. And softly, pulsing against the pastoral scene, a few quiet drumbeats, so quiet they might pass for interference from the corridor outside the theater, a subway rumbling underground below. The camera pans down; the girl is startled by a body in the brush—a wounded soldier. The drumbeats fade, and they begin to talk.
On a cold Saturday night in January, an eclectic group clustered around the David H. Koch Theater, the august home of the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center.Young women in sculptural platform heels, leopard-print Kenzo skirts, and embroidered Opening Ceremony bomber jackets brushed up against silver-haired ladies wrapped in furs and velvet, arm-in-arm with their suit-and-tie-clad dates. In the midst of the crowd was someone who might seem like an interloper on first glance, the Baltimore-based electronic musician Dan Deacon, sporting his trademark wide-lensed glasses and a button that read “Education Not Immigration” pinned to his red raincoat. He descended the marble stairs of the theater after completing a sound check—he would DJ the after party later that night—and exited the revolving doors into the brisk winter air.
The musician Dana Wachs spent nearly two decades on the road with the likes of St. Vincent, Perfume Genius, Grizzly Bear, and Cat Power, but only now is she going solo at last. Her new EP Black Horse Pike, the 42-year-old electro-pop musician's debut as Vorhees (named after the New Jersey town she grew up in) is not a document of her musical career but more a reflection of her teenage years. In fact, it opens with a love letter of sorts to the two-lane highway that cuts across her home state to Atlantic City—maybe the first romantic overture to a throughway since Sufjan Stevens's BQE project.
In a just world, Kaiydo’s “Fruit Punch” becomes the song of the summer. Released in early August 2016, it’s sticky, like fruit punch itself, or those humid summer nights it might best soundtrack. “Fruit Punch” is a hedonistic track, a party song that details its writer’s ambitions (“a few nice things and a comma stream, eight figures,” he raps) with a confident swagger underlined by its trombone-blast bass line. It recalls the jubilance of Chance the Rapper and the blithe late-night energy of Rae Sremmurd without really being like either of them.
A year to the day after Starcrawler played its first-ever show, as part of multi-band lineup at The Echo in Los Angeles, the four-piece band stepped onto the same stage as the headliners—their first-ever top-billed gig.
A few months ago, the musician and photographer Faye Webster shot a portrait of Atlanta’s upstart rapper-slash-Nautica creative director Lil Yachty. They had been close in middle school—sharing a best friend as perhaps only pre-teens can do—but had grown apart by the time Webster started getting serious about music in high school.
Róisín Murphy was getting her nails done. “Shellac,” she said, the hum of the salon in the background vibrating over the phone line when we connected recently. The Irish electronic diva was in her adopted hometown, London, pondering colors. She had been in a green mood lately, she said, but it might be time for a change. She paused over an iridescent chartreuse that caught her eye.
In 2013, Jillian Banks posted her cell phone number on her Facebook page. It was a radical move for a musician in the age of the hyper-curated, publicist-mediated pop star, but a quiet sort of radical: It allowed her a more intimate, direct connection with the fans who texted and called than those who engaged with her on social media. And for a woman who started making music as a means of exorcising her own, most private demons, that one-on-one relationship with her audience was tantamount.
When they first entered Jeremy Scott’s New York showroom Friday, Chloe and Halle Bailey were a bit overwhelmed. They were confronted by a kaleidoscope of colors, a daunting array of garments, and a wide mandate in the designer's archives. That is, the sisters—who are musicians, actors, and protégées of Beyoncé signed to her Parkwood Entertainment label—had arrived with a deceptively simple assignment: to select looks for the designer’s Spring 2018 show, which they planned to attend that night. But that left them with a lot of choice.
All the songs on Phoebe Bridgers’s debut album Stranger in the Alps are, to some degree, sad. But when she ascended the stage at Manhattan’s Ludlow House on a recent evening, she pointed out a special sadness in the song she was about to play, “Scott Street”: “This song is about drinking beer outside,” she said, “which is extra sad, because I hate drinking beer. It’s like warm bread water.” Someone in the crowd let out a small whoop of protest. “Come find me after,” Bridgers muttered into the microphone.
Just a week before the release of her forthcoming fifth album, Masseduction, the musician Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, was sitting cross-legged on a tiled pedestal with teal cushions—a plush, sculptural imagining of a hot bath—in mesh, rose-embroidered trousers and a long, matching trench by Adam Selman.
When the musician Julien Baker was in high school, she saw two school productions of the meta-musical The Drowsy Chaperone. There was one moment that stuck with her: The narrator, an obsessive, reclusive Broadway fan, explains the function of a musical overture. “It’s supposed to signal to you what’s going to happen throughout the rest of the narrative,” Baker recalled over the phone recently. So for her much-anticipated sophomore album, Turn Out the Lights, out Friday, Baker decided to open with her own kind of overture.
It’s a movie industry truism that no star is born from an open casting call. No one, that is, except the British actress Florence Pugh. But with actors for elder siblings and a dance teacher for a mother, Pugh was maybe even overly prepared for rejection when she heard about a call soliciting taped auditions for a new big-screen drama, The Falling.
There are a lot of ways Darling, Eiza Gonzalez’s character in the new heist film Baby Driver, could be defined by the men who surround her. She’s the sole woman on a four-person bank robbing team. She’s married to Buddy, a fellow bank robber played by Jon Hamm. Even her code name, Darling, is a diminutive. And her fate sets off a string of events that leads to the final confrontation between Hamm’s character and that of Ansel Elgort, playing a prodigious getaway driver (a “devil behind the wheel,” Kevin Spacey's character calls him in the movie), code name: Baby.
When the dramatic comedy The Big Sick premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in January, its star Zoe Kazan had just boarded a plane bound for Washington, D.C. Kazan and her family—11 women in total, including young cousins and a septuagenarian aunt—were headed to the capital together to attend the Women’s March on Washington.
When actress Anna Baryshnikov was six years old, she stepped onto the stage for the first time and launched her career famously. She had been cast as Peaseblossom, one of the handmaidens to fairy queen Titania, in a children’s Shakespeare troupe production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in her native Palisades, New York. The night before her big debut, her babysitter told her, “Make sure you project so that the man in the back of the room can hear you.” She took the advice to heart. “It was supposed to be this beautiful, light moment,” she recalled on a recent afternoon in Brooklyn. “I suddenly start screaming.”
Lakeith Stanfield was in a pretty good mood. The breakout star of FX's Atlanta was nearing the end of a full day of press for his new movie, the biographical drama Crown Heights, and ours was his final interview. He skittered from one corner of his hotel suite to another while the camera snapped, humming occasionally and gamely posing. It was the middle of the afternoon; that night, Crown Heights premiered at Manhattan’s Metrograph Theater.
There’s a lot that’s creepy in director Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which premiered at Cannes film festival earlier this year and which is out in New York and Los Angeles Friday. To start, there’s the opening frame: a still-beating, fleshy heart, laid on an operating table, held open with clamps. Then, there’s the very premise: A family of four—a surgeon father (Colin Farrell) and ophthalmologist mother (Nicole Kidman) and their two children—begins, one by one, to succumb to an undiagnosable illness. First, paralysis; then they’re unable to eat, seemingly out of revulsion for food; and then, not long after, they start to bleed from their eyes. Finally, they die. (This isn’t even a spoiler, so early are the terms of Sacred Deer’s social contract laid out for the audience.) There’s also the creepily affectless tone, a Lanthimos trademark, with which the actors deliver their lines, and the discordant, clattering score. And looming over it all, there’s Martin, the endlessly creepy teen played by Irish actor Barry Keoghan, who was last seen as the sweet, unassuming (and ill-fated) surrogate son of Mark Rylance in Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk.
Kathryn Bigelow’s new movie Detroit opens with an animated history of the Great Migration: Illustrations by Jacob Lawrence describe how black Americans in the south moved to the industrialized cities of the north, some of them landing in segregated neighborhoods in Detroit—and how there, in Detroit, racial tensions between the black population and the white police force sparked riots in the summer of 1967.
Grace Van Patten may have had an inside track to her first role, at age eight, on The Sopranos—her father, Timothy Van Patten, was a longtime director on the series, and Van Patten spent her childhood bopping around set—but she booked the job on her own merits.
Ross Lynch Has Really Got the Range, From Song-and-Dance Disney Star to Serial Killer W magazine, November 2017
It never occurred to me that a Manhattan ice rink at 3:30 p.m. on a school day might not be the ideal place to meet the actor Ross Lynch but here we are, at the Chelsea Sky Rink just after school has let out, surrounded by six-to-eight-year-olds munching on pizza and looking downright thunderstruck at the Disney star in their midst. At six feet tall, with an unruly mop of bleach-blond hair and dark roots, and clad in a leopard-print button-down shirt under a green suede Burberry jacket, Lynch doesn’t exactly cut an inconspicuous figure—even less so because the 21-year-old was, until just last year, the star of Disney’s hit musical comedy series Austin & Ally. He’s recognized almost immediately—at first by a rink employee, who asks for a photo and a couple signed portraits for his daughters, and then by the rest of the rink’s youngest patrons, who have been, until now at least, his primary audience.
Two years ago, just before the Baroness Von Sketch Show premiered on the Canadian broadcaster CBC, the series released its first sketch segment online, a preview of the series its four co-creators (the Baronesses) had spent the previous year developing. The reaction to “Locker Room,” which depicts a utopian gym locker room of body positivity for post-40-year-olds, was swift and overwhelmingly positive: The next day, Meredith MacNeill, one of the Baronesses, was taken aback by the comments rolling in, the friends tagging each other on Facebook.
It’s been just three weeks since the web series Brown Girls premiered, and writer Fatimah Asghar and director Sam Bailey haven’t stopped moving since. “Whatever we thought success looked like, or whatever we thought people were going to respond to with the release—it just has exceeded,” Bailey, 28, said on a recent afternoon in Brooklyn.
A year ago, almost to the month, the actor Jonathan Majors flew to Vancouver to begin three months of filming for When We Rise. The four-part ABC special chronicles the gay rights movement from its nascent days in ’70s San Francisco up to the historic Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Majors was still in his final year at the Yale School of Drama when he was plucked out of class by showrunners Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant, the creative team who also wrote and directed the Harvey Milk biopic Milk.
In August 1485, King Richard III was killed in battle, defeated by Henry Tudor just two years after ascending to the throne. The Battle of Bosworth Field was the final major confrontation in the War of the Roses, the English civil war that pitted the Lancasters (Henry's side) against the Yorks (Richard's side), resulting in more than a century of Tudor reign in England. Into this uncertain political time comes The White Princess, the new eight-part Starz miniseries based on Philippa Gregory’s novel.
Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner says he can’t quite remember how many actors auditioned for Don Draper, the lead role in his new series. Fifty, maybe 60. Jon Hamm was just one man among those 50 or 60, and he auditioned seven times before he finally landed the part. He was a relative unknown at the time — Weiner jokes, on an episode of Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio, that when he sent Hamm’s screen test to the network, the executives responded, “Who the hell is this?” — but he earned a role that has come to define his career in a way that only a character developed over years can do.
The year is 2256, a decade before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, and two years before James Kirk is commissioned as captain of the Enterprise. The USS Shenzhou, a starship under the command of Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), has been sent to the farthest reaches of Federation space to investigate a communications relay that was damaged under suspicious circumstances. The Federation has not yet entered into uneasy alliance with the Klingon Empire—in fact, the Federation has not even made contact with the Klingons for nearly a century—so when the “sarcophagus,” a Klingon ship bearing the remains of its dead on its outer carapace, emerges into view, the crew of the Shenzhou reacts first with disbelief, and then uncertainty.
While James Bond might enjoy a martini from time to time, Lorraine Broughton—the MI6 agent played by Charlize Theron in the new action flick Atomic Blonde—would prefer a Stoli on the rocks. This is the drink she pours herself in the film’s opening moments as she eases into an ice bath, her body a constellation of bruises, her eye swollen and ringed with a web of magenta. And though she’s promised tea at Buckingham Palace, it’s a Stoli on the rocks she orders again at an East Berlin bar filled with KGB agents, shortly before she takes home a French intelligence agent by the name of Delphine (Sofia Boutella).
There’s now a bar where Figure 8 used to stand. Or, not Figure 8, exactly, but the red-and-blue mural along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles that was the backdrop for the Autumn De Wilde-shot portrait that covered Elliott Smith’s fifth and final studio album. That mural marked the site of the Solutions Audio-Visual Repair Shop; with Smith’s death by apparent suicide in 2003, it also became a public site of mourning. Now it is a place called Bar Angeles, which surely must be a reference to the track off the late singer’s 1997 album, Either/Or.
When Lee Harvey Oswald aimed a rifle at John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and fired two shots as the President and his motorcade passed through Dallas, one bullet tore through Kennedy’s skull. He collapsed in the lap of his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, who clutched at the fragments of bone and brain that stained her prim pink suit.
Unabashedly earnest, dreamily photographed and convincingly acted (and sung, and danced), Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s new musical La La Land is styled after the song-and-dance films of yore, with contemporary trim. (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's numbers were never interrupted by the ringing of an iPhone.) Much of the early (near-universal) acclaim positions the movie as a musical for people who don’t like musicals—which is exactly what Chazelle may have intended.
In 1997, actress Nicole Kidman set the red carpet at the Oscars ablaze. She hadn’t yet been nominated for an Academy Award, and hadn’t appeared in Eyes Wide Shut or Moulin Rouge! or Cold Mountain (the roles that would launch her from rising star to household name), but she was fresh off To Die For and arm-in-arm with Tom Cruise—and she was wearing chartreuse.
Ariel Levy has kept a journal since the third grade. “I named it and personified it and made it my confidante,” she writes in The Rules Do Not Apply, her first memoir, out this week. “My lined notebooks were the only place I could say as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.” For nearly as long as she can remember, Levy wanted to be a writer; as a child, she thought herself a novelist, but she came to realize, as she explained on a recent afternoon in New York, “I don’t have much of an imagination.”
ameron Whitley doesn’t know if he killed Lucinda Hayes. Like, he genuinely doesn’t know. Lucinda is a clever, beautiful ninth grader, a golden girl who resides in Broomsville, the fictional northern Colorado suburb where the new novel Girl in Snow takes place. She has been found dead. And the night in question, well, Cameron has blocked it out.
When Jenny Zhang was 19 and a sophomore at Stanford, she wrote a short story called “The Evolution of My Brother.” It depicted the relationship between the narrator—a young woman named Jenny, the daughter of recent Chinese immigrants—and her younger brother over the course of her adolescence as she begins to distance herself, as all teens do, from her family. Several years later, Zhang exhumed the story at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she began to revise it.
On October 18, 2014, the ballerina Wendy Whelan took her final bow as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, the company to which she belonged for three decades. She was 47 years old at the time—and, as she told the New York Times that year, “In ballet, if you’re over 40, you’re a dinosaur." She had recently been sidelined by a hip injury, and she was only just recovering. Thirty years in, and still just beginning to feel the physical effects of aging, Whelan decided it was time to retire from ballet.
Just over a month ago, Michelle Kwan posted a short video to her Instagram. Shot at an ice rink, the clip showed Kwan pushing through a couple of back crossovers before dropping into a hydroblade, one hand on the ice and the other extended over her free leg. She hopped to her feet, slid to a halt, and gave a small bow. She was wearing a denim jacket.
Jalan and Jibril Durimel have lived in Los Angeles for nearly five years, which, for the brothers, means stagnation. It’s probably time to move on. “That’s not really us,” Jibril said one recent afternoon, on the phone from Paris. “I really need to keep moving.”
Of the many, many consequences of Brexit, the potential environmental impact has gotten the least play. But without the E.U. around to enforce its regulations regarding implementing renewable energy, recycling household waste, and limiting air pollution, the U.K. may suffer further still from its break from the union. It’s in this climate that Wilson Oryema, the 23-year-old London-based model and artist, debuted his first solo exhibition at Doomed Gallery in Dalston
In addition to writing about politics and social justice, I spearheaded an opinions column with the activist Sarah Sophie Flicker. Sarah and I first spoke when I was reporting a longform feature on the organizers of the Women's March on Washington; since then, we've continue to work together on what's become a monthly progress report from the Women's March—some of which can be found here.
On Saturday, January 21, 2017, activist Carmen Perez will turn 40; Donald Trump will wake up for the first time as president of the United States; and hundreds of thousands of women—led by Perez, Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Bob Bland—will participate in the Women’s March on Washington, which is poised to be one of the largest and farthest-reaching demonstrations in support of a wide swath of social justice interests and organizations in the history of the nation’s capital.
Making the trek all the way from California, lining up for an hour just to reach the metro turnstiles, and chanting slogans like “We won’t go away, welcome to your first day,” the crowds turned up in masses to the Women’s March on Washington the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration this weekend, putting the estimated 250,000 who showed up for the president’s swearing-in to shame with an estimated 500,000 of its own.
How 3 Activists Talk to Their Children and Communities About Politics in the Age of Donald Trump W magazine, May 2017
In January, just weeks before the historic Women’s March on Washington, writer and activist ShiShi Rose made the promise, “The work doesn’t stop just because we stop marching.”
Thom Browne based his Fall 2017 collection around a term usually applied to German high art: Gesumptkunstwerk, or a piece of total art. After being introduced to the word by his partner, Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton, Browne hoped to create a totally immersive experience for his expectant audience. “I wanted everyone to feel like they were a part of the show, as opposed to watching the show,” he said backstage following the presentation.
Rose Leslie has a soft spot for florals. It was nearing 7 p.m. on a dreary Sunday evening, and a pair of Joseph Altuzarra’s flower-adorned frocks hung on a rack nearby as a team of hair and makeup artists descended on Leslie to put the finishing touches on her look. In just an hour, the actress, best known for her role as the eminently quotable wildling Ygritte on Game of Thrones, would make her New York Fashion Week debut, sitting front-row at Altuzarra’s Fall 2017 show, and she already had an ensemble in mind: a soft lilac dress with half sleeves and tiny, delicate flowers weaving up and over, a pair of matching boots, and a grey wool overcoat.
The water was only just receding from the streets of Paris, after days of flooding that caused the Seine to rise higher than it had in 30 years, when designer Johanna Senyk rang me over Skype in early June. It might not have been a fortuitous coincidence, exactly, but it felt relevant, given that Senyk’s label, Wanda Nylon, entered the market in 2012 as a rainwear brand—and given that it was pouring rain where I sat in New York.
When it debuted in 1961, Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth was censored by the French government. Borne of Fanon's observations of the French presence in Algeria, in The Wretched of the Earth, the Martiniquais philosopher describes the psychological effects of systematic oppression on a marginalized population. “Because it is a systematized negation of the other, a frenzied determination to deny the other any attribute of humanity, colonialism forces the colonized to constantly ask the question: ‘Who am I in reality?’” he writes.