Loose Ends 1.30.09

Five things we learned today

- Dell's allegedly entering the cell phone biz. We can hear the ads now: "Dude, you got a Dellphone!"
- In case you haven't seen it, this dispatch from a "culinary journey of hell" aboard Virgin Airlines has already been hailed as the funniest consumer complaint of all time. (We're inclined to agree—and sympathize.)
- Either Karl Lagerfeld's gotten (even) skinnier, or he's decided to endorse the ultra-fat tie. (We're pretty sure it's the latter.)
- Still not sure who to root for in Sunday's big game? Consider this: While it's nice that proceeds from sales of the Steelers' Terrible Towels go to a good cause, Don Draper's rooting for the Cards.
- And finally (via VSL), this is the place to go for a compendium of what used to overshadow the game itself: the commercials. Below, 1984's second-best computer ad, for the PC, Jr. Charlie Chaplin: Evidently not that brand-loyal.

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Our kind of Hicks

Specifically, the funny kind. Acerbic (and acidic) comedian Bill Hicks recorded a controversial monologue for the then-new Late Show with David Letterman back in October '93. Dave cut the bit, allegedly because he was nervous about messing with a good thing. (Back then, he was consistently beating Leno in the ratings.) It turned out to be the last time Hicks would be on the show, as he died from pancreatic cancer the next year. Tonight, Letterman airs the performance, which surfaced a few years back in a documentary that ran on (of all channels) Trio. Here it is below. Fast forward to 1:23 for the beginning, which feels oddly fresh despite centering on Billy Ray Cyrus:

[via VSL]

Tags: Media

Where art only imitates life if you're lucky

This weekend's must-see art opening: Photographer Michel Comte's 30-year museum retrospective—which is, inconveniently, in Düsseldorf. (Germans: Increasingly having all the museum-related fun.) Attendees can expect a bounty of uncovered beauties, from Helena Christensen to Madame Sarkozy, but thanks to the glory of the Internet, you don't need to be left in the cold. Courtesy of Designboom, a little piece of what you're missing: a spry Christensen, shot by Comte in '93. Here's to 30 more years—at least.
Michel Comte Retrospective opens Sunday at NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirschaft, Ehrenhof 2, Düsseldorf, +49-0211-89-266-90, nrw-forum.de

Photo: Michel Comte / I-Management
Tags: Media, Vices
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Uniqlo's newest guest stars

This spring, Uniqlo will once again present its guest-helmed designer invitation lines, and we've got a preview of what to expect when Opening Ceremony (debuting in March) and Gilded Age (in May) take the reins. (They follow in the footsteps of Tim Hamilton, Loden Dager, and Cloak's Alexandre Plokhov, among others.) As you might expect from a collaboration with the Japanese megabrand, basics are the rule, but each designer's spirit still prevails. For Gilded Age, this means rakish takes on preppy standards, while OC offers up hipster-approved flourishes like cropped lengths on pant legs and plaids in washed-out pastels (left). As luxe or as edgy as the brands' own wares? Not quite. But those looking for brand names on a budget could certainly do worse.

Click here to see more of Uniqlo's designer looks >

Photo: Courtesy of Uniqlo
Tags: Fashion

A new destination for the fashion flock

Recession be damned, the first freestanding Black Fleece store is set to open this weekend—though in fairness, the store met with months of delays due to the landmark status of its West Village location. Inside, you'll find exactly what you'd expect: the Thom Browne-designed Brooks Brothers offshoot's entire spring collection, including (for gents) paisley pants, plaid shirts, and, of course, suits in either traditional wool or multicolored oxford. (The brand promises exclusives are forthcoming.) The shop's decor is more Brooks than Browne, with plenty of BB paraphernalia on display, including framed archival ads on the brick walls. A subtle slight to the line's guest designer? According to the man himself, not in the least. "The most important thing is that people see and feel Brooks Brothers and Black Fleece rather than Thom Browne," he says. "I have my own shop they can visit if they want."
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, 351 Bleecker St., NYC, (212) 929 2763, brooksbrothers.com/blackfleece

Click for more >>

Tags: Fashion

Datebook: 1.30.09

Five things worth knowing today

- Liam Neeson takes a turn at ass-kicking in the sex-trafficking thriller Taken, opening today; for punches more metaphorical but no less hard-hitting, the 1971 Joan Didion- and John Gregory Dunne-penned Panic in Needle Park, starring a young Al Pacino as a junkie on the skids, is revived at New York's Film Forum.
- Jeff Tweedy, Kris Kristofferson, and Old Crow Medicine Show headline the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, celebrating its 32nd year of strumming.
- Meanwhile, earthier pleasures are uncovered at the Oregon Truffle Festival. BYOH(og).
- Today in 1661, English revolutionary Oliver Cromwell's body was ritually executed—around two years after his actual death. Timing: Apparently not everything.
- And today in 1935, late avant-garde writer and counterculture hero Richard Brautigan was born. (His Trout Fishing in America is a classic of late-sixties experimental noodling.) Below, Brautigan's reading of his poem "Gee, You're So Beautiful It's Starting to Rain" accompanied—in suitably nonsequitur style—by a swinger (of the literal variety).

Tags: Datebook

Loose Ends 1.29.09

Five things we learned today

- As you'd probably expect, GQ Style Guy Glenn O'Brien is particular about what he drinks (white wine spritzed with water, thanks).
- Obama's rep as a stylish guy takes another hit with today's Times story about his jacket-free approach to Oval Office attire. Evidently, the Bush administration was more fastidious about clothing than we thought.
- Perhaps remembering what Norbit did to Eddie Murphy's Oscar hopes, Mickey's decided not to fight in Wrestlemania after all.
- Our site's other unofficial mascot, Don Draper, might have helped a fashion label get its start. Mad Men's costume designer recently hinted to Glamour that she is starting a clothing line.
- Speaking of Don, remember what he said when Peggy Olson told him sex sells? "Says who?" Says Calvin, judging by CK Jeans' new video. Frankly, given the recent spate of "banned" ads, the conceit's getting a little stale—but not so stale that we didn't post it below. NSFW, assuming you W with other people.

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Boss Black's citizens of the world

As we alerted you, Berlin Fashion Week is in full swing today, with many of Deutschland's best offering their visions for Fall 2009. The festivities kicked off last night with the runway presentation by Boss Black, the sporty suiting line from Hugo Boss. For its Paris Hugo by Hugo Boss show, the company amped up its Teutonic tendencies, but Boss Black's menswear, shown on its home soil, was breezily classic, forsaking Bauhaus specs and severe cuts for seventies-style leathers (in blazer and motorcycle shapes) and shawl collars aplenty. Relaxed and wearable, it almost looked—strange to say—American as apple Kuchen.

Photo: mercedes-benzfashionweek.com
Tags: Fashion

Unburied treasures

As if to underscore the difficulty (or should that be absurdity?) of setting up shop in this economic climate, Andy Spade and Anthony Sperduti's new Partners & Spade sells a case full of Lehman Brothers paraphernalia found on eBay—everything from a branded Rubik's Cube to an infant's onesie. "They're the relics of our times," Spade says. "It's an archaeological dig for what's happening presently." Among those nouveau relics: Tim Barber books, a custom-designed fixie, and a vintage globe from Cartier's boardroom (pictured). (The duo will also make you a custom trophy to help heal long-held insecurities—Spade's reads "Kung Fu Champ, 1978.") The store does double-duty as the bricks-and-mortar outpost of the Partners & Spade creative firm, which has published 40 books and is sending a movie to Cannes for the second straight year. As for the wisdom of starting the company's retail arm at such a tough time, Spade points out this isn't his first time doing so—Kate Spade was launched in 1993, during the last recession. "Hopefully people can get excited about going out again," he says. "And they don't have to buy anything."
Opening Saturday, 40 Great Jones St., NYC, (646) 861-2827, partnersandspade.com

For a slideshow of the shop's wares, click here >

Photo: Courtesy of Partners & Spade
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Rankin files

A tour of the Highland factories should be on every scotch drinker's bucket list, but if you haven't made it there yet, The Macallan is bringing its home base to you with a new limited-edition Fine Oak 30 Year. The brand commissioned Glasgow-born photographer Rankin (the guy behind Another Magazine and Another Man) to visit its estate and shoot 1,000 Polaroids, each of which now adorns one of the 30 Year's 1,000 bottles. (MSRP: $1,695.) Cheapskates can see the full series at L.A.'s M+B Gallery tonight, where you can fully appreciate the comely models Rankin threw in for good measure. See, for example, Tuuli (above) in front of The Macallan's Easter Elchies House in Craigellachie. She won't add anything to the nose or the flavor—notes of macadamia nut, vanilla, sandalwood, and black cherry, by the way—but she will sweeten the deal. (And for those in search of a cheaper tipple, check out our new bourbon Hotlist.)
The Macallan Fine Oak 30 Year, $1,695, for purchasing information contact TheMacallan@MBooth.com; Rankin's Polaroids are on view tonight from 8-10 p.m. at M+B Gallery, 612 N. Almont Dr., L.A., (310) 550-0050, mbfala.com

Photo: Courtesy of The Macallan
Tags: Media, Vices
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