Saturday, November 23, 2013

People Mag Announces 2013 Annual 'Sexiest Man Alive'... Huh?!

And the Sexiest Man Alive for 2013, according to People mag is... Adam Levine? Say what? Huh? Really? Um... ha ha ha, NO!

Among its other oddball picks: Jimmy Fallon, Idris Elba, "I never ever smile" Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams.Who the hell judged this thing? A posse of hungry housewives who watch TV all day? One things's for sure: It wasn't a gay man in da know.

Meanwhile, the man who should have wonChris Pine—is at least among the dozen featured online (the No. 3 Smoking Nun runner-up for Sexiest Man Alive in 2010)... alongside Justin Theroux, Luke Bryan, Bruno Mars and David Beckham.

The issue landed delicately on newsstands November 22, with giant question marks radiating into the heavens. *People mag Top Men finalists for 2013... Below, a pretty awesome piece from the issue on John Stamos, featuring his "Portrait of Dorian Gray." Mighty clever.

Sigh... A Sad So Long To Long Island City's Five Pointz

And just like that, the whole damn thing was white-washed. The famed city-sanctioned Graffiti Mecca Five Pointz in Queens' Long Island City that was centered across a 200,000 square-foot building, has vanished overnight.

Developers Jerry & David Wolkoff intend to raze the former water plant and replace it with a 1,000-unit apartment complex, comprising two high-rise luxury apartment buildings, 47 and 41 stories tall.

For the last 20 years, Five Pointz has served as an outpost for writers and artists from around the world. More than 1,500 panels of art by 300+ artists from around the world were painted over November 19, as protesters rallied unsuccessfully to save the landmarked locale.

The nabe there is still pretty shady, but like much of New York, boutiques and creative restaurants have been inching in, likely because of the presence of the mammoth Citibank office complex just blocks away from Five Pointz. Sad, yes, but such is the price of gentrification. Take a look at Manhattan's Bowery district if you want to see the ultimate gentrification....

I visited Five Pointz for the first time in April 2013, when Ayhan Sahin's Young Pals Music lensed a dazzling music video for Erica Jacob's launch single "Run" around the colorful motif. It was, indeed, an amazing spectacle.

Just below: Five Pointz now... Below that, more from April. *

Friday, November 22, 2013

Macaroni Heaven!

As I wind down my 18-year residency (and career) in New York City over the next six weeks—and continue to hustle toward my move to Hampton Roads, Va., I'm racing to use up all of those grocery items I bought in bulk on sale—including so many boxes of elbow macaroni.

Earlier this week, I conjured my first batch ever of Macaroni Salad, mmm, mmm, good! Fortunately, I'm perfectly comfortable as a creature of habit, so eating MS every day as a side with my typical turkey sammich is perfectly satiating.

And tonight, I whipped up a miniature batch of my mama Evelyn's beloved Baked Mac & Cheese... I have a feeling this dish is not going to last through the weekend. Chomp, chomp! Delish! * Man, oh, man... Food just doesn't photograph very well, does it?!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reminiscent Regalia: The Partridge Family, Baby

At last... so much great music is out during 4Q 2013... Celine Dion's "Loved Me Back To Life,"Laura Pausini's 20 Greatest Hits, Robbie Williams' "Swings Both Ways, U.K. indie Junior Turner, Kelly Clarkson & Leona Lewis Christmas collections, Toni Braxton & Babyface, Tina Arena's "Reset" and Daughtry's surprisingly satisfying "Baptized."

But today, I had a yearning to turn back the clock, and listen to one of the first acts I was ever in love with, The Partridge Family (thanks, Spotify!). Truly, one of the greatest pop songs of all time: "Summer Days" from the group's third album "Sound Magazine." Good times, cool cats. (And that image above to the right... I had this pic as a giant poster on my wall as a kid, sure did.) *

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emin Releases New Sunny-Side-Up Single 'In Another Life'

The talented and wickedly handsome Emin is working it with new sunny-side-up dance single "In Another Life" from upcoming album "Amor." All proceeds from the song's sale will benefit Philippines Disaster Relief.

Check out the music video, which features 12 finalists from the Miss Universe Pageant, along with... uh... a much less attractive Donald Trump. Emin performed live at the contest November 11, 2013.

The Smoking Nun introduced Emin to readers in September 2012, when I had the opportunity to meet with him in New York  and write up an interview. Nice, humble man... and so suave. Ooh, la, la, "Amor," indeed! *

Living Large: Hamptons House Tour

If you've got double-digit millions to burn, why wouldn't you set up shop in the Hamptons, right? I spent last weekend in Long Island and soaked in the glory of gracious living... Above and below are homes in the old-money mansion section of regal Southampton. Ah, soak it in, cool cats!
Below... I had the pleasure of visiting an estate that boasts 15,000 square feet of space, with 8 bedrooms and 13 baths, set gracefully on 4.30 acres, along with a pool (and separate poolhouse), tennis courts, full movie theater, painter's studio and more fireplaces than a crematorium. I would never post interior pics of the private home if it weren't on the market, listed by Sotheby's. See more here.

Below are the pool and the poolhouse—the latter, mind you, is probably 1,200 square feet in itself.
And below is yet another beauty in the "old money" section of Southampton... front view, back view and garage/gym.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Matt Zarley Ramps Up For 2014 Release Of 'Hopeful Romantic'

Over the past several years, The Smoking Nun has given round after round of applause to singer/songwriter Matt Zarley. In 2011, his "Forgive Me (For Not Forgiving You)" was No. 17 among the Taylor Top 40 for the year and "Change Begins With Me" was No. 26. And in 2008, "Had I Known" was No. 28.

And now, following his hit-packed full-length "Change Begins With Me," 2014 is looking sweet with his upcoming "Hopeful Romantic." Mr. Z was bestowed both Album and Single of the Year honors at the 2012 OutMusic Awards, and he has now launched a Kickstarter campaign to foster support for the full-length CD—collaborating with longtime producer and Grammy winner Andy Zulla—and four music videos.

First single "You Just Gotta Believe," produced by Mark Picchiotti, will be released February 4. The album and second music video are scheduled for April/May release.

Matt tells us, "Although the concept for 'Hopeful Romantic' is based on personal experience, it's a universal story told through an optimistic lens. It's about love at first sight, heartbreak, letting go and having the faith that there is somebody for all of us out there"—those same themes that made "Change" such a wondrous musical journey.

Help a brother out, you hear? Find out all about supporting Matt's Kickstarter campaign right here. And here him talk about his earnest journey as an artist here. Can't wait, cool cats!

Song Of The Week: 'Say Something' From A Great Big World

It's not often that I hear a song on the radio that actually makes the world come to a complete halt for 4 minutes. Today I was listening to Fresh 102.7 New York and the station played a tune that was so haltingly beautiful, so affecting, so simple and universal, that I ran for my iPhone to track it with Songza.

New U.S. duo A Great Big World previously released a song that found its way onto TV's "Glee," from their launch album "Is There Anybody Out There?"—but when Christina Aguilera heard and fell in love with the song, it was re-recorded with her adding background vocals and found critical mass.

The piano-driven ballad oozes heartache over a breakup, as Lover 1 implores Lover 2 to say something... anything... that might save the relationship.

Indie release "Say Something" was first heard on "So You Think You Can Dance," as a dance number between competitors on the "reality" show. When Xtina performed with A Great Big World on "The Voice," it hit No. 1 on iTunes and Billboard's Digital Chart, and ultimately, the top 10 in Canada and top 20 in the U.S.

Wowsah, it's not often that I hear much on radio anymore that fuels me to head to YouTube and explore a new song. This one... is so special. *

Bloomberg Steamrolls Legislation To Make Cigs Illegal For Adults

He just couldn't leave well enough alone, could he? Outgoing NYC Mayor Mikie Bloomberg, with six weeks left in office, is having one more festive stomp on individual rights before he calls it a day on his endless 12 years of Nannying the metropolis.

This time, he is banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21—making New York the first municipality in these United States to prohibit sales of a 100% legal commodity to adults.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg also signed legislation today that will keep the price of tobacco sky-high by prohibiting coupons and other discounts and setting a minimum cigarette price of $10.50 per pack. Really? Tell me where you can purchase a pack of smokes for under $12 in the city? (That's why smokers have the Internet!)

Mind you, while it is technically still legal for those over the age of 18 to smoke, they cannot purchase cigs at retail—making the new law all the more asinine. So let's see: You can vote, you can be called upon to sacrifice your life amid America's ongoing wars, but smoking... Hell no! That shit'll kill you.

Mercy, mercy me, Bloomie, haven't you done enough damage in NYC: turning the city from a pedestrian-centric metropolis into one giant bike lane, your silly (failed) soda ban, mandating that high-rise buildings make stairs more accessible than elevators, calorie counts, dumbass recycling of food waste (like paper & plastic), a push toward breastfeeding... and so many other failed notions, including Prohibition 2 and prohibiting bodegas from displaying "junk food" or cigarettes. Oh, and let's remember his repulsive campaign featuring "fat in a glass."

For god's sake, is this man EVER going to stop?