Articles by

<Nadia Chaudhury>

02/14/12 12:29pm


It makes perfect since that Miss Annie Clark, St. Vincent, would appear on Gossip Girl, and join the other random musical guests that graced the sets of the show. After Portlandia, where else do you go but back to New York to play for privileged kids? And St. Vincent did play a show at the Met, the home of the infamous steps where Blair and Serena took their long lunches during high school (I am way too invested in this show). Now all GG producers need to do is win over Joanna Newsom, and I’m set.

Watch St. Vincent play “Cruel” and smile her way through “Cheerleader” after the jump, and do so as the usual heightened drama takes place around her. Too bad she didn’t try to crowd-surf.

09/29/11 11:31am

Whose backs are those?

  • Whose backs are those?

In the magical land where the commute between Brooklyn and the Upper West Side is a mere 10 minutes and college students write cover stories for New York Magazine, Gossip Girl goes all out with their guest appearances. Most make sense, like Tim Gunn and Diane Von Furstenberg. Others, not so much, like New York Observer‘s Jared Kushner and sporadic appearances by Wallace Shawn as Cyrus Rose, Blair Waldorf’s step-dad. Included in the illustrious group are the show’s many musically-inclined guest appearances, like that of Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend/bandmate Johnathan Rice in Monday night’s premiere, which a friend called depressing.

A look, if you will:

Jenny and Johnny:


Serena fled to L.A. to find herself yet again, and somehow finds herself working on David O. Russell’s (yep, played by himself) adaption of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned. At the party, Serena bumps into Miss and Mr. Jenny Lewis (the former wearing what I believe to be a cat necklace, the latter in sunglasses) and asks how the film score is going. Then she brushes them off for more important things, like staring at a mirror. This episode, by the way, also has Elizabeth Hurley bedding Nate, too.

Lady Gaga:
Blair Waldorf somehow finagled Lady Gaga into performing at a retelling of Snow White at NYU to impress the snobby theater kids. What does nonsensical theatrics and Snow White have in common? Who knows, but I bet Gaga would work on something with those dwarfs. Watch here. Oh, and of course Hilary Duff is dating Dan in this episode, which we think maybe counts as another musical guest.

Cyndi Lauper:
Pouty Blair is upset that her mother wants to go to a Cyndi Lauper concert instead of attending her own 18th birthday party. (What 18 year-old wants her mother at her birthday party?) So Cyrus convinces Cyndi to perform at Blair’s bash instead, which Blair ditches promptly to win over Chuck, presumably. Here you go, watch it.

Florence and the Machine:

In Gossip Girl‘s first homage to Fashion’s Night Out, Florence and the Machine play at W Magazine‘s party.

Dan leaks a video of drunk Blair singing “Stand by Your Man,” which is horrifically embarrassing for some reason, and invites Robyn to introduce the video at Blair’s birthday party. She sings, too, as you can see here.

Lisa Loeb:
At a sad launch party for Rolling Stone‘s “Top 10 Forgotten Bands of the ’90s,” Lisa Loeb stays with Rufus Humphrey, former rock star and, who I might add, is both the father of Dan AND step-father of Dan’s ex-girlfriend who also took his virginity, Serena (oh the lives they lead). Watch it here. Check out those eyeglasses!

No Doubt:
No Doubt played their cover of “Stand and Deliver” in the show’s attempt to launch an 80s spin-off, where the prim young Lily (mother of Serena) navigates the punk-rock scene in California. Thankfully, the series was never picked up. Gwen Stefani, here.

Sonic Youth:

Yup, the king and queen of indie rock appeared on Gossip Girl. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon had the honors of marrying Lily and Rufus and played an acoustic song, too. They also get credit for appearing on Gilmore Girls (with Yo La Tengo!). Watch Sonic Youth sing sentimentally here; just try to tune out the Italian overdubs.

08/04/11 4:13pm


It’s been ten years since Wet Hot American Summer went to camp, then to town, then back to camp, then to an Alan Shemper-hosted talent show, then back home. At the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the film at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday night, David Wain, and the Michaels Ian Black and Showalter (also known as comedy group trio Stella) gathered the campers and counselors to reminiscence about their time at summer camp.


There were many last minute changes to the skits (it was telling that the event was rescheduled from its original date a week earlier), but that just added to the vibe of the night. No one was sure what exactly a tenth anniversary of a cult camp film would entail. There would of course be comedy, but would they show the film? Was there a band?


Guests “reprised” their roles: Janeane Garofalo as Beth, and Ken Marino and Marissa Ryan as Victor and Abby, and, most notably, the Can of Vegetables as, you guessed it, the Can of Vegetables (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin). Clips, extra footage, and specially recorded bits were screened, and bands played songs from the film. The audience sang and recited every single line (the celebration was sold out). While it felt like it could’ve went on for longer and had more guests (where art thou, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler?), it was nice revisiting Camp Firewood.











08/02/11 10:35am


Amidst the influx of tourists wandering around Columbus Circle and Central Park, 24 couples were married on Saturday. Summer weddings aren’t usually a big deal, but these weren’t just any weddings—these were 24 couples who, up until about a month ago, weren’t allowed to legally marry in the state of New York. But that wasn’t the case on Saturday, after the passage of the same-sex marriage bill on June 24.

Held on Saturday, July 30, the Pop Up Chapel served as the venue for two dozen weddings at Merchant’s Gate in Central Park. The number 24 was chosen in honor of the date the Marriage Equality Act was passed in June.

On that historic date, when the Senate passed the gay marriage bill, all of New York City celebrated. Bex Schwartz, Josh French, and friends were among the revelers. They drunkenly decided that they should marry as many same-sex couples as soon as they could (Schwartz happened to be a registered wedding officiant). Their idea transformed into the Pop Up Chapel.


“This is the greatest thing ever,” said Schwartz. “I can’t believe that there’ll be 24 married couples at the end of the day who couldn’t legally get married a week ago. That’s mind blowing.”

The ceremonies were provided completely free to the couples, thanks to the multitude of partners of the event, including David Stark and Gay Ever After (for event planning and production), Kodak (for printed photographs), and Alma G Salon (for makeup and hair). The Knot, a wedding magazine, was an official partner. The two chapels, winners of the design contest sponsored by Architizer, were built several hours before the ceremonies commenced. Photographers and videographers volunteered their services to document the day for the couples. Former MTV host Dave Holmes MCed the day in a dashing yellow tie.


Underneath the Maine Monument, the couples wed, with their own personal touches. One couple’s children served as ring bearers and immediately ran to their mothers as soon as they were married. Another couple incorporated several wedding traditions, ranging from Celtic (drinking wine from a goblet) to Jewish (stomping on the goblet). There was a traditional Korean ceremony, as well as one performed in English and Spanish. Musician Mike Doughty covered the Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love” (“I love it when you give me things/And you, you ought to give me wedding rings”). Mayor Bloomberg passed along a message as well, read out loud by Holmes: “You are writing the next chapters of your own history.”

The ceremonies weren’t projected on the sound system, so the spectacle of the day was made even more intimate by the quiet expressions and gestures of the couples being wed.


While the couples were allowed to invite only 12 attendees, the ceremonies were still populated with Pop Up staffers, journalists, photographers, and bystanders on the outskirts of the perimeter. I can guarantee that at least five people cried or teared up per wedding (myself included).

There was something special and magical about being a part of such an important moment of these couples’ lives, a moment that signified something they wanted desperately but were denied because of legalities. Now, though, that isn’t a problem, and they can get what they’ve always wanted: equality and the right to marry whomever they choose. “I’m a person, I deserve everything,” I overheard a bride say during her vow. To witness these couples in such an intimate and powerful moment, after years of struggling (some after 37 years), is powerful. There isn’t much more to say about it except congratulations to everyone, and it’s about time.













07/26/11 4:13pm


There were no concerns over sewage out on Gerritsen Beach in Jamaica Bay this past Saturday. Instead, boaters were more concerned with whether their boats would float and be able to weather the impending battle for Mau Mau Island.

Organized by Swimming Cities, the art collective, the Battle for Mau Mau Island allowed participants (“gangs,” as they put it), to fight for the island. (The Parks Department will eventually turn Mau Mau—also known as White Island—into a grassland bird sanctuary.) All that was needed to participate were teammates, boats (already built, like motor boats, or makeshift, like water jugs), and costumes (which ranged from loincloths, teeny-tiny bikinis, body paint, to an assortment of hats, including pirate and fezzes). Boat teams included the Sex Offender, S.S. Botulism, and the Judgmental Cunts (which appropriately using a boat named “Princess Ladyboat”), and a raft surrounded by reflective panels that sprayed jet streams of water at other boats. Sabotage was highly encouraged.







































04/22/11 3:40pm

Doctor Who premiere party at the Bell House in Brooklyn

The walls of the Bell House were adorned in fezzes, bowties and Stetson hats and the space looked awfully big (but still crowded) yesterday as Doctor Who fans were invited to the premiere of the show’s sixth season, the first episode of which was filmed here in the States—hence the Stetson hats. BBC America and Secret Formula threw a special party, complete with trivia, impersonations, drink specials (anyone in the mood for a sonic screwdriver?), and costume contests, and we were there taking photos of the epic geek-out.

02/28/11 2:53pm

“My womb is my womb,” said Councilmember Deborah Rose. “No one tells me what to do with my womb.” That was the sentiment throughout the Rally for Women’s Health on Saturday in Foley Square, as thousands gathered around the fittingly named Triumph of Human Spirit sculpture to fight against proposed legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood, make abortions inaccessible, and cut Title X (The Family Planning Program).

Many women depend on Planned Parenthood for their health care—for cancer screenings, family planning, even free condoms. The organization offers safe and cheap care to help those who can’t afford more.

Speakers included musicians, politicians, and activists, both male and female, who recalled times when Planned Parenthood had helped them, whether by providing an abortion, diagnosing an infection, or raising a child.

Chants rang throughout the rally, which reached the steps of the U.S. Courthouse, stemming both from the crowd and the speakers. “Heath care is a must! Planned Parenthood’s there for us!”

12/10/10 4:06pm

rat terrier

At the Secret Science Club’s 5th Annual Taxidermy Contest on Wednesday night, contestants marched their stuffed friends at the stage at the Bell House to a packed room. To give the contest some context, two lectures opened the evening, one from Melissa Milgrom, author of Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy, and Mike Zohn, host of Oddities, a new show on the Discovery Channel.

Some entries were disqualified because of legal issues. One contestant brought in a puffin from Iceland. He wrote on his customs form that it was a toy bird.

Winners included:
Most Twisted: Emmy Mikelson’s “Five-Headed Zombie Hare.”

Best Bones: Takeshi Yamada (accompanied by Seara the Sea Rabbit) and his alien skulls

Best in Show: Beth Beverly’s princess rat terrier and fancy hen.

08/19/09 4:00am

I left Duke Riley’s Naumachia (Latin for “naval battle”) completely soaked and covered with dried fake blood and tomato bits and completely satisfied. But before we get into all that, what exactly is the Naumachia?

Duke Riley, rogue waterfront artist extraordinaire, with help from the Queens Museum, called for homemade boats to participate in an epic, Roman-style live battle. Using the abandoned hockey rink attached to the Queens Museum as a boat shop, Riley and participants built recycled boats, using items like reeds from beaches and even materials from the hockey rink itself.

(To read captions, roll over “Notes.”)

Get the flash player here:

Before the battle, toga-clad spectators and participants crowded into the lobby of the Queens Museum of Art, downing free special lemonade after beer after wine. (Alcohol was free to those donning togas.) Last minute preparations were still being made with the boats. The battle would take place at the reflecting pool at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, former home of the 1964 World’s Fair, within view of the Unisphere.

Families walked around with children, who waded in the pool. Darkness soon settled, and floodlights bathed the pool in light. The audience was getting restless, and took advantage of the boxes of bread and tomatoes that lay around the area, begging to be used, bombarding members of each side.

And then the battle really began. Each ship came out to be greeted by cheering and tomatoes. From my vantage point, it was difficult to see exactly what was going on, as the scene was shrouded in smoke, criss-crossed with flying tomatoes, and obscured behind huge splashes of water. Nevertheless, chaos ruled the scene. Bystanders jumped into the pool, taking part in the battle themselves. When the pigboat sailed in in all its swine-y glory, the audience gleefully jumped aboard.

Near the end, a replica of Riley’s favorite ship, the Queen Mary 2, came out and was promptly set on fire, as the battle went on around it. Soon, fireworks rocketed out of the ship, nearly hitting the audience at times.

According to other sources, since I couldn’t tell what exactly went on, the Queens Museum won the battle, but really, everyone did, in his or her own way – I even spotted a few audience members lugging chunks of boats back to the 7 train.