“Tru$t U$,” read the sign behind the bar of the Roseland Ballroom last Thursday night, as a couple hundred reporters, ad sales reps, financial backers and celebrities crammed into the performance space to see the Adult Swim upfronts. Well, that wasn’t exactly true—most people weren’t there to see the new lineup of shows that will air on Cartoon Network, or to rub elbows with Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital), Paul Scheer (Filthy Sexy Teen$), Seth Green (Robot Chicken) or Aziz Ansari, who will be doing a voice cameo on Venture Bros. Instead, they were there to see the night’s entertainment: Kanye West.
Somehow, Adult Swim, owned by Turner Broadcasting, has always managed to book the most impossible talent for its upfront events. Two years ago, Jay-Z performed a 50-minute set; last year, T.I. was the main draw. But something about booking Mr. West—who had been the star guest and musical entertainment at the Met Gala the previous week, and would be closing out the season of Saturday Night Live two days later, and whose new album (the title leaked to the press: Yeezus) drops June 18—was an extra-special get.
Party-hop like it's 1922
Early last Thursday morning, Leonardo DiCaprio was sitting in the basement of The Darby as a long line of girls came toward him carrying bursting bottles of champagne affixed with firecrackers. Jay-Z held court in a corner booth. Tobey Maguire danced on a banquette. And Mr. DiCaprio—Jay Gatsby—looked on with a smile. The pitch of Read More
Saturday Night Live
We knew this weekend’s Saturday Night Live would be good–Justin Timberlake being to the variety show what fruit and sprinkles are to plain frozen yogurt … just something that you know will make the whole supposed treat actually delicious–but did we know it was going to be history-making? Probably not. From Lorne Michaels lifting the Chevy Chase ban to the Jay-Z duet, the return of Stefon, Andy Samberg AND the classic Festrunk brothers, Mr. Timberlake proved once again he’s the consummate entertainer: a song-and-dance man who also can also land a punchline.
Which is more than we can say for the majority of guest hosts this year. Below, the five best moments from this weekend’s show, along with our favorites.
Today, Beyonce launched her lifestyle blog, The BeyHive Blog, adding to the superstar’s tech takeover, with her eponymous website, her sleek Tumblr and her sometimes politically loose-mouthed Instagram.
Fresh off her scintillatingly sung, er, reportedly lipsynched, rendition of the Star Spangled Banner during Monday’s Presidential Inauguration, Read More
The first time The Observer met Niki and Shaokao Cheng, it was July, during the opening night of Julio Gaggia’s art show. Mr. Gaggia, the boyfriend of the plastic surgeon Mark Warfel, was preparing his work “Living Art: Chelsea Boy Apartment,” during which he would live for five days as a window display model at the BoConcept furniture store on West 18th Street. He spent the week eating, sleeping, working—and performing other, less-mentionable activities—in a showroom that divided him from gawkers outside with a pane of glass.
While we lounged about on the display furniture, socialite photographer Patrick McMullan brought over a petite woman with short, pixie-cropped hair.
“Niki is one of the few Power Asians in New York society,” he loudly whispered, flourishing Ms. Cheng before us. She smiled shyly and posed for a photograph before excusing herself.
It would be two weeks before we realized that Ms. Cheng and her husband owned the store where we had dropped more than one canapé between the cushions of a $3,000 couch.
In fact, the couple owns all five locations of the Danish furniture store in New York City, and another two in New Jersey. But the stores themselves aren’t the reason Mr. McMullan calls the Chengs “Power Asians.” Rather, it’s the couple’s seemingly innate social instincts, their ability to leverage a fairly cookie-cutter, mid-market design base into a celebrity-filled social whirl. One might say “Only in America,” or (even worse) “Only in New York,” but this wouldn’t exactly cover it. There is a certain type that thrives in Manhattan no matter what they’re selling, no matter where they’re from, no matter how few resources they have upon arriving.
on the rebound
Basketball is back. Three weeks after opening night was canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, four months after the Knicks let Jeremy Lin slip out of town, 13 years since the Knicks’ fluke run to the NBA finals, and two decades since Pat Riley’s tough-guy team captivated New York in the early years of the Giuliani era, fans in the world’s greatest basketball city care without cynicism again.
The Isiah Thomas era and the Knicks’ failed pursuit of LeBron James are old news. The Nets’ long struggle for big-city relevance got lost somewhere in New York harbor. When the teams squared off Monday night in Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, the city had plenty to cheer about: real stars, the top two spots in the Atlantic Division standings and the eyes of millions upon us.
Big Apple Idolatry
- Just in case you thought those ForeRunner Chronicles that Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones participated in were part of a normal religious vlog, here’s the pastor who started the Chronicles, Christopher Hudson, talking about Jay-Z being a Freemason with demonic links, Obama’s ties to Hitler, and how NYC’s current gas crisis will lead to us eating each other, Walking Dead-style.
Big Apple Idolatry
- Here’s Alexa Chung, Tavi, and Lena Dunham lip-syncing Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” like they were in The First Wives Club or something. For feminism and Obama!
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
The Barclays Center is open, and like Brooklyn’s favorite son who has been performing there all week, the arena lives up to the hype. It may not be universally loved, for its tortured past or rusticated design, but there is no question the Barclays Center is one of the most unique and interesting sports venues in the world. It is certainly the most exacting, with every inch of the place being burnished and detailed. It is like a Swiss watch—everything in its right place—albeit a Swiss watch with a discrete EmblemHealth logo on its face, the kind of thing handed out for a Christmas bonus. You eagerly wear it and just hope no one wants to see the thing up close.
One thing was out of place, though, when The Observer took in Wednesday night’s packed Jay-Z concert: drinks, drinks everywhere, but not a drop from Brooklyn.
“We did it!” developer Bruce Ratner crowed a reported 14 times at the opening of his new Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn this weekend.
We sure did. Poor Brooklyn, always trying to develop some new civic identity all its own, and always ending up with … a Barclays Center.
What stands out most about the Read More