Thursday night ended up being totally random. It started at the launch for the new website Real Beauty, at the funky, eclectic Collab space in Tribeca (co-owned by TDG contributor Adina Levin!). Real Beauty -- which is also owned by TDG parent Hearst Digital Media -- debuted in style.
Former American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee put on a surprisingly moving performance, her sultry, jazzy songs right at home at Collab. Green pro makeup artist Jessa Blades was in attendance, and guests got free "manis" from Green Spa On The Go. We are already sharing some of our green beauty content with Real Beauty, and hopefully the site will be able to offer even more natural alternatives in the near future.
After a fun and seemingly productive evening of talking up green stuff with the conventional industry reps in attendance, as well as media colleagues, Remy C. and I said goodbye to the Collab crew (I'm definitely going back!), and hit the pavement. We headed over to the Meatpacking District to try to grab a bite (45 minute wait, no thanks!). Back on the sidewalk, we were struck by the commotion, and piles of flowers, in front of the chic shop for Alexander McQueen. A modelesque mourner in a white fur coat stopped to reflect and snap a photo. I asked her what was going on, and she said the designer had just hung himself. I leaned in close to the window and saw a small plaque on the inside, which asked for fans to respect the family's privacy as they tried to make some sense of the terrible loss of the punk fashion icon.
Practically next door, the scene was much less somber, and in some ways was a fitting send-off of McQueen. We slipped into the spacious Meatpacking gallery hosting an opening party for 15,000 square feet of "Icons," the new solo show by rising counterculture star Mr. Brainwash. Along the lines of Banksy or Shepard Fairey, Mr. Brainwash did his time on the streets as a graffiti artist, and mixes up pop culture commentary. Mr. Brainwash, real name Thierry Guetta, started as a French documentary filmmaker, but now fills galleries around the world.
Clearly a student of Andy Warhol as well as Photoshop, Mr. Brainwash deconstructs and remixes the most beloved images of the last half century: Michael Jackson, Bono, the Beatles, Obama, Spock and Matchbox cars (the latter whimsically reimagined at 1:1 scale, with a real NYC taxicab in a giant product package). Perhaps the most striking works were the big canvases showing the faces of a pantheon of music heroes -- all seemingly constructed of little more than broken vinyl records, cleverly arranged like large plastic pixels. Barry White, Jim Morrison, Pink Floyd, Dr. Dre and Bob Marley have seldom looked this fresh. It's recycled art, where the old medium becomes the new message.
Downstairs, Remy ran into an old friend from his Wetlands Preserve days, Carlo McCormick of Paper magazine. The two came of age in the 60's, when many of the icons on the walls were making their marks on history. Remy asked if all the faux hawk kids in their striped sweaters had any passion to carry on the change-making work of their idols, or if they were simply there to soak up hollow nostalgia along with the free drinks.
"Icons" officially opens February 14 at 3 pm, at the gallery on 415 W 13th St. in New York City. See more of Remy C.'s pictures from the night here. Also check out the horse made from recycled tires below. As for us, we left the party early to seek out the Ace Hotel in midtown, since we were told by one of the Paper writers that the new "hipster hotel" is kind of steampunk, like the Edison in LA, and that it is a cool place to rub elbows with bloggers taking advantage of the lobby's free wi-fi. When we got there the hotel bar was packed, and we gave up on the entrance line after about 15 minutes. We'll have to go back.
More work from the "Icons" show:
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