JINKX MONSOON’S RETRO VAUDEVILLE CHARM
Jinkx Monsoon, the 25-year-old Season Five winner of Logo’s cult hit “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” delighted us on the show with her deep knowledge of old-school references like Edie Beale from “Grey Gardens.” With her pianist sidekick Major Scales, she extends the oldey-timey hijinks to “The Vaudevillians,” her cabaret show packed with Jazz Age redos of pop hits like Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls.”
JOHN KELLY’S INTIMATE NEW STAGE ACT
Cabaret and performance art, strange acts that take place in dark clubs and intimate rooms late at night, are a passion of mine. For my first post for AFTER HOURS, my new blog on that scene for the New York Times’ T magazine online, I caught a new batch of covers at Joe’s Pub from performance icon John Kelly, who made his name channeling Joni Mitchell but whose voice can paint in many colors other than blue.
JOSE PARLA’S HIP-HOP CALLIGRAPHICS
The Cuban-American Brooklyn-based artist José Parlá makes stunning massive murals of his signature calligraphic swoops on vibrant color planes. We hung out recently at the Barclays Center in his ‘hood, for a New York Times Styles section story, where he showed me the piece Jay-Z helped him get the commission for. Then we had Cuban coffee at his studio-home around the corner, an old carriage house where Spike Lee made his first films.
THE VIBRANT STRANGENESS OF FIONA APPLE
Reportedly sick with the flu, Fiona Apple seemed as though she’d never come down from her room at the Soho Grand for our March 2012 W magazine chat to mark her new album, The Idler Wheel… But she finally rallied, accepting the fresh-squeezed OJ I’d brought her, and was weirdly, adorably funny and sweet talking about the onstage meltdowns of her youth–and why she’s a hermit who’d rather spend time with her beloved pitbull, Janet, than with people.
CATHLEEN NAUNDORF’S BEWITCHING COUTURE POLAROIDS
Spring 2012 when I was living in Paris, I spent an afternoon with German photographer Cathleen Naundorf in her sprawling top-floor apartment overlooking the treetops of my favorite Paris park, Butte Chaumont. The occasion was the publication of her book, Haute Couture, and the accompanying show at Paris’ Creative Door, and the assignment was for W.
SOUTH AFRICA’S NEW CAPITAL OF COOL
W magazine sent me to Johannesburg for a week to find out why so many of South Africa’s coolest young creatives are leaving Cape Town for the raw and exciting post-apartheid vibe of the place everyone calls Jozi.
THE NEW TREND OF SPERM-DONOR DADS
Details magazine sent me to Southern California to interview guys who sperm-donored to female friends–and now are playing part-time dads.