There’s not actually a golden light shining down on Mahershala Ali from the ceiling of the Santa Monica café where I first meet him, but it feels like there is. He looks in real life the way old MGM movies made leading men look on-screen. Vivid and dashing.
We are the only black people here. Ali is, by a substantial margin, the best-dressed man in the room. He wears a brown cardigan and a simple maroon T-shirt; a knit skullcap sits tilted on his head. They are not fancy clothes, but they are worn with certainty and ease, as if they were. I watch as the people around us notice him and then try to play it cool.
The past year has brought Ali a rash of fame after nearly two decades spent toiling away as what you might call a blue-collar actor. A four-season run on House of Cards may have elevated Ali to minor renown, but it was his performance in Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight as Juan, a drug dealer who takes a vulnerable child under his wing, that launched him into the stratosphere. Ali gave a lot of speeches this winter and spring, as he won a best-supporting-actor trophy at nearly every awards show, including the Oscars. At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, on the heels of Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban, Ali made a compelling, impassioned call for sanity: “What I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when you persecute people. They fold into themselves.” Juan, he said, “saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community and [took] that opportunity to uplift him and tell him that he mattered”—Ali’s eyes filled with tears, his baritone turned quavering and rough—“that he was okay, and accept him. And I hope that we do a better job of that.”
The speech was a remarkable thing to watch, a near spiritual moment amid a humdrum parade of movie-industry self-congratulation. Here was a dark-skinned American Muslim in a gleaming white tuxedo jacket gently, word by word, opening up his heart to the audience.
Like many actors, he is charismatic and clever and easy to talk to. But perhaps more than most, he is thoughtful. He wants to say what’s on his mind, and he wants to say it correctly. He is a black man who has been navigating America for 43 years. He wants to choose his words carefully, so that when he talks, you don’t get it twisted.
“When suddenly you go from being followed in Barneys to being fawned over, it will mess with your head,” he tells me, leaning over the table. He remembers being on subway trains and seeing people hide their rings from him: “those experiences that you have from age 10, when you start getting these little messages that you are something to be feared.” Even as a celebrity, he’s experienced how the script can always be flipped. “Walking down the street in Berkeley,” he says, “and some cops roll up on you and say straight up, ‘Give me your ID,’ and you’re like, ‘What the fuck?’ ”
I ask if his sudden and breathless celebration by white people ever makes him feel like a… I’m searching for the words.
“A way to relieve pressure for people?” he asks me, stirring his tea. “Like a kind of peace offering? I accept it as a possibility. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s what it is.… As long as what you’re doing as an artist is resonating with people, I’m not as concerned about if that’s convoluted or not by their own prejudices, because at the end of the day you gotta accept people on their terms.”
Read more at GQ.
Just 24 hours into his first attempt to sail solo across the Atlantic in Undaunted, his 42-inch yacht, Matt Kent had to turn back.
He set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 6 April, but returned after concerns about his boat’s seaworthiness.
He explains: “I wasn’t really in too much danger, [but] there was a weak point in the boat that was concerning me. The emergency floatation system component that was on the rudder assembly was getting hammered so hard in these really close together waves. The float was getting jammed upwards so fast and so often the boat’s movement couldn’t keep up.
“It was the worst, most unpredictable and erratic conditions I have ever sailed in with that boat. When it started gusting 45 knots I decided that I shouldn’t keep going with such an obvious weak link.”
Kent estimated his crossing time at some three months, so Undaunted cannot be fixed in time to avoid the hurricane season this year. He therefore plans to postpone his next attempt until the autumn.
He still hopes to set a record for the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic. “Both of the guys that held this record had to wait months or even years as setbacks took their toll.”
Where it all began for Undaunted
Skipper Matt Kent was working on a 200ft tall ship when he pondered what the smallest boat ever to sail around the world had been. On discovering that a 5ft 4in yacht had crossed the Atlantic, a seed was sown which resulted in the custom-designed Undaunted.
In 1965 Robert Manry sailed his 13ft 6in Tinkerbelle from Massachusetts to England (see video clip below), and the modern ‘microyacht’ trend was born. Tinkerbelle was followed by the 12ft Nonoalca and 8ft Bathtub across the Atlantic.
By 1968 Hugo Vilhen had made the smallest ocean crossing yet, sailing his 6ft April Fool from Casablanca to Miami. Vilhen went on to cross the Atlantic in his 5ft 4in Father’s Day, while in 2002, Tom McNally attempted, but failed, to cross the Atlantic in the absurdly tiny 3ft 11in Vera Hugh II.
Now Matt Kent, a 33-year-old professional tall ship sailor originally from Oregon, is preparing to cross the Atlantic Ocean aboard his three-and-a-half foot aluminium microyacht Undaunted. He expects the 4,700 nautical mile voyage to Florida, to take four months.
Read more at Yachting World.
There are places you go to get away from it all. And then there’s Sant’Angelo.
To get to this Italian village, you take an hour-long ferry from Naples to the volcanic island of Ischia, nestled a few waves’ breadth from Capri in the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Then you take a meandering hour-long bus from the island’s manicured capital, Ischia Porto, through fishing villages and hill towns, vineyards and rabbit warrens. Finally, where the car roads stop, you climb a very steep pedestrianized hill.
That’s just the way locals like it.
The thousand-odd person village of Sant’Angelo, among riotous bougainvillea and parched, lizard-dotted tufa on the southern slope of the island, should by any law of touristic averages be a soulless tourist trap: its whitewashed houses and bright-painted wooden doors overrun by foreign buyers and holiday-makers, every other apartment overlooking the natural thermal pools at the garden-spa of Aphrodite Apollon listed on AirBnB. But with the exception of the yachts that dock at high-season weekends (Angela Merkel is a regular) along the narrow isthmus that separates the tiny town from the outcropping of rock that juts into the sea, Sant’Angelo is almost entirely dominated by a mix of local and “regulars”–Italian and German tourists who develop a relationship with the town and return, year after year.
I’ve seen this process firsthand. My mother spent 20 years before I was born coming to Sant’Angelo every summer; I, too, grew up going there almost every June before my mother finally decided to retire here last year. In that time, I’ve watched the titular cook and proprietress at beachside restaurant Emmanuela–known for its fumarole cooking, in which food is cooked naturally underground by the heat of thermal sands–cede authority over la cucina to her sons, watched their children grow from teenage waiters to strapping managers with families of their own. I’ve seen generations of kittens grow up and become cats at the bed-and-breakfast Casa Garibaldi–my home-away-from-home for much of my childhood, where double bedrooms overlooking thermal swimming pools and mosaicked terraces (not to mention the nearly-empty expanse of sea on the horizon) still go for as little as 90 dollars per night.
Read more at National Geographic.
The convention couldn’t sound less rock-and-roll — the National Association of Music Merchants Show. But when the doors open at the Anaheim Convention Center, people stream in to scour rows of Fenders, Les Pauls and the oddball, custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.
Standing in the center of the biggest, six-string candy store in the United States, you can almost believe all is well within the guitar world.
Except if, like George Gruhn, you know better. The 71-year-old Nashville dealer has sold guitars to Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. Walking through NAMM with Gruhn is like shadowing Bill Belichick at the NFL Scouting Combine. There is great love for the product and great skepticism. What others might see as a boom — the seemingly endless line of dealers showcasing instruments — Gruhn sees as two trains on a collision course.
“There are more makers now than ever before in the history of the instrument, but the market is not growing,” Gruhn says in a voice that flutters between a groan and a grumble. “I’m not all doomsday, but this — this is not sustainable.”
The numbers back him up. In the past decade, electric guitar sales have plummeted, from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million. The two biggest companies, Gibson and Fender, are in debt, and a third, PRS Guitars, had to cut staff and expand production of cheaper guitars. In April, Moody’s downgraded Guitar Center, the largest chain retailer, as it faces $1.6 billion in debt. And at Sweetwater.com, the online retailer, a brand-new, interest-free Fender can be had for as little as $8 a month.
What worries Gruhn is not simply that profits are down. That happens in business. He’s concerned by the “why” behind the sales decline. When he opened his store 46 years ago, everyone wanted to be a guitar god, inspired by the men who roamed the concert stage, including Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Jimmy Page.Now those boomers are retiring, downsizing and adjusting to fixed incomes. They’re looking to shed, not add to, their collections, and the younger generation isn’t stepping in to replace them.
Gruhn knows why.
“What we need is guitar heroes,” he says.
He is asked about Clapton, who himself recently downsized his collection. Gruhn sold 29 of his guitars.
“Eric Clapton is my age,” he says.
How about Creed’s Mark Tremonti, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer? He shakes his head.
“John Mayer?” he asks. “You don’t see a bunch of kids emulating John Mayer and listening to him and wanting to pick up a guitar because of him.”
Guitar heroes. They arrived with the first wave of rock-and-roll. Chuck Berry duckwalking across the big screen. Scotty Moore’s reverb-soaked Gibson on Elvis’s Sun records. Link Wray, with his biker cool, blasting through “Rumble” in 1958.
Read more at The Washington Post.
The smart array of reimagined and invigorated old industrial buildings in cities like New York, London and Vancouver are a big part of the reason why modern industrial has become one of the hottest decorating styles in the last few years. What started out as a necessity has become a dramatic trend that is shaping homes across the world. Today we head back to one of modern industrial style’s birthplaces and look at a gorgeous apartment that is all about space-savvy elegance, a dash of minimalism and plenty of textural contrast!
Listed on Albrighton Real Estate, this East Cordova Street apartment is nestled in a building that was originally built in 1909. Used in several different days for nearly a century, its new-found avatar as a loft condominium was completed in 2006, even while preserving some of the original brick walls and woodwork. Set in a sough-after neighborhood of Gastown, Vancouver the fabulous apartment that is currently up for grabs will set you back by $619,000. That does seem like a bargain when you consider the locality of the loft, its modern interior that is disturbed by exposed brick walls, wooden ceiling beams and metallic duct pipes and of course, the flexible, open floor plan.
Read more at Decoist.
Europe at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth: what a time and place to be alive. Or rather, what a time and place to be alive for people in the right countries and, more importantly, of the right classes, those who saw a new world taking shape around them and partook of it with all possible heartiness. The period between the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, best known by its French name La Belle Époque, saw not just peace in Europe and empires at their zenith, but all manner of technological, social, and cultural innovations at home as well.
We here in the 21st century have few ways of tasting the life of that time as rich as its posters, more than 200 of which you can view in high resolution and download from “Art of the Poster 1880-1918,” a Flickr collection assembled by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Find out more at Open Culture.
The One Room Challenge started out as a small initiative among the blogging community, founded by Linda Weinstein of the blog Calling it Home. The idea was to spur her readers and fellow home bloggers to take on a room remodel over the course of six weeks and document it all on their respective blogs and social media accounts using the hashtag #oneroomchallenge.
Yet over the 10 “seasons” since the One Room Challenge began it’s become somewhat of a blogosphere phenomenon: Twenty major design bloggers now participate in each challenge along with hundreds more unofficial “guest participants” in each cycle. To date, more than 1,500 rooms have been revamped and more than 20,000 #oneroomchallenge photos have been shared to Instagram.
The best part about the whole thing for design-lovers: Some really incredible rooms come out of it. The most recent ORC season finished up in April, and it resulted in some of the prettiest rooms we’ve seen yet. Here’s a recap of our favorite modern spaces from the One Room Challenge, from both official and guest participants alike.
The Gold Hive’s Moody-Modern Room
This living room came from one of ORC’s guest participants, but it’s as well-designed and full of inspiration as any space we’ve seen from the bigger-name bloggers. The paint color, Salamander by Benjamin Moore, makes the space.
Read more and peruse pics at Freshome.
On a recent Monday afternoon, the queen was taking her tea. “Could I just be more English than sense itself and get an Earl Grey?” asks Emilia Clarke from the deep folds of a leather chesterfield sofa in the so-called Drawing Room of her downtown Manhattan hotel. The young waiter is only too happy to oblige, though it’s unclear whether he knows he’s in the presence of the Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons and rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
That being said, six seasons into HBO’s Game of Thrones – a cultural phenomenon that plays in no fewer than 170 countries, has inspired countless tattoos and baby namings, and has proved to be the network’s most popular show of all time, with a seventh season set to premiere July 16th – it’s more than likely that he does. Clarke smiles and tucks her feet up under her. “I’m crap at getting recognized,” she confides. “People are like, ‘Oh, hey!’ And I’m like” – she starts yelling – “‘God! Oh, hi! I’m sorry!’ ”
When I first met Clarke, back in 2013, the actress was 26, still relatively unknown when not wearing her signature GoT blond wig, and not likely to compare herself to her warrior-queen character. She’d still seemed slightly in awe of the fact that she’d gotten the job at all, which was only her third acting role ever. “I’m all too painfully aware of how quickly this can disappear,” she’d told me when we’d met in a Broadway dressing room, where she was rehearsing to play Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Four years later, Clarke has maintained her hallmarks – wry humor and ample good will, among them – but it’s clear we’re in another realm. Even in a messy bun and frayed blue jeans, she now comes across as a sort of beacon – poised, almost glowing, a point to which all other attention can’t help but be drawn. In other words, she has a way of commanding the room that seems downright Khaleesi-esque. She has, after all, now spent the bulk of her adult life embodying one of our culture’s most striking images of female domination, while eloquently explaining her onscreen nudity in broadly feminist terms. She’s turned 30 (of which she says, “I was just quietly panicking”). She’s graced the big screen multiple times, including opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys. And, like the rest of us, she’s lived through Brexit and the ascendency of Trump, or, as she puts it, “ ’16. The fucking year where everything shit happened.” So, times have changed – for better and for worse.
Read more at Rolling Stone.
Did you hear the one about how the US government spent millions on R&D for a pen that would work in space while the Russians simply used a pencil? The common origin story can even be found on the back of this dollar store ‘Russian space pen.’ Even the critically acclaimed show ‘The West Wing’ took the bait on the urban legend.
It’s a fun tale about ingenuity and resourcefulness but lamentably untrue.
During the great Space Race of the 20th century, the United States and Russia in fact both used pencils in space.
The United States opted to use mechanical pencils like the one seen below, used in 1962 by astronaut John Glenn (the buckle attached to his knee to keep it in place!)
Both pencils came with their own set of problems. For mechanical pencils, when the lead broke—as it so often does (even for astronauts!)—it would float around and could either get in someone’s eye or find its way into the machinery, perhaps shorting an electronic device. More concerning was that lead is a flammable material in a high-oxygen environment. (See Apollo 1: Fire)
For grease pencils, it was highly smudgy and imprecise. You also had to peel layers of paper which caused waste. And like its mechanical counterpart it was flammable.
Read more at Twisted Sifter
In a career that’s spanned 35 years, 60 projects, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, two Emmys, and one of Pixar’s greatest films, it’s not often that Holly Hunter gets to do something new.
Then she got cast in a Judd Apatow-produced rom-com.
The Big Sick, out this weekend, was written by Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon. Nanjiani stars as himself in the film, which focuses on the harrowing period of his relationship with Gordon just after they’d broken up and she fell into a coma. (The film is charming and uplifting, we swear.)
Zoe Kazan plays Emily in the film and Hunter her mother, Beth. Beth butts head—at least initially—with Kumail, the man who had so recently broken her daughter’s heart, while they hold vigil (alongside Ray Romano, who plays Emily’s dad, Terry) over the girl they all love.
Over her career, Hunter has played a Texas cheerleader-murdering mom, a mute mid-19th century piano player, and one of those politician supporting roles in superhero movies always played by actors of gravitas. But she’s never acted in a film that was written by and starring the same person who the movie’s traumatizing story is about.
“It’s so weird, and you’re the first person to ask me about that,” Hunter says, after offering some tea and raving about the view from the Manhattan Four Seasons hotel where The Big Sick cast was gathered for interviews.
She’s played characters based on real people before, of course. And once had starred in a film co-written by a co-star, 2003’s Thirteen. (A film that, coincidentally, earned her most recent of four Oscar nominations; the “O” word has been whispered about Hunter’s Big Sick performance since its rapturous first screening at the Sundance Film Festival.)
“I’ve done a bunch of true stories before, but this is totally different,” Hunter says.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
PARIS, France — On Wednesday morning, Colette, the cult retailer and temple of Parisian cool, announced it would close its doors in December, after 20 years in business. Saint Laurent is said to be in discussions to take over Colette’s iconic Rue Saint-Honoré location.
“As all good things must come to an end, after 20 wonderful years, Colette should be closing its doors on December 20 of this year,” the company said in a statement. “Colette Roussaux has reached the time when she would like to take her time; and Colette cannot exist without Colette.”
Founded in 1997 by Colette Roussaux — who later passed the baton to her daughter Sarah Andelman — Colette is one of the fashion world’s most iconic “concept stores” which became known for its daring high-low product mix, selling established luxury brands such as Chanel and Saint Laurent next to emerging designers like Sacai and Christopher Kane, as well as art books, magazines and technology gadgets. The retailer was particularly known for supporting Japanese designers and “street luxe” labels like Off-White, and was something of a pilgrimage site during Paris Fashion Week.
BoF spoke to a handful of industry insiders to gauge their reactions.
“For twenty years, Colette was my first stop in Paris. Always for books. I would look at everything else – I used to buy CDs too – but the books were always an education. Corso Como had a similarly strong point of view. They were actually quite complementary in their curiosity about things. Still, Colette always managed to have what you want before you knew it existed. What the hell will I do now?”
Jefferson Hack, co-founder and editorial director of Dazed Media
“It’s a total shock. It was the ultimate white cube — a brilliantly curated retail exhibition of the best collaborations in design, fashion and culture. It felt like a living magazine, you only had to step into it to know who and which brands and artists were shaping and influencing pop culture. No doubt Sarah will re-invent the future of fashion and culture in a new format — the doors of Colette may close but Sarah’s laser vision for what’s hot in culture will never fade.”
Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic of The New York Times
“For me, Colette was part of my fashion education. I started in this industry only a few years after it opened, and for me it wasn’t a shop; it was research centre, classroom, and textbook all in one. Every season I would stop back in for a refresher course. And it is entirely characteristic of Sarah and Colette’s approach to their subject that they have left us with one last lesson — one I think many fashion brands would do well to consider: write your own final chapter, and do it from a position of strength.”
Read more at Business of Fashion.