The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

TRAVEL   The Grand Mosque

The hand-knotted carpet--the world's largest--is a single piece that took 2 years and over 1200 Iranian artisans to complete. The ninety-six columns in the prayer room are made of marble and mother of pearl. The courtyard is the largest marble mosaic in the world. The gold and Swarovski crystal-studded chandeliers are Faustig and rank among the world's most expensive.

Of course, we are talking about Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which reportedly cost the city a cool half-a-bill. It is the largest mosque in the UAE, and can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers. 

Tourists are only allowed to visit 2 hours each day, as not to interrupt the prayer service. Women are encouraged to wear an abaya and must be completely covered. Most importantly, be careful to respect the holy site's rules (I took a photograph with my arm around my mom and was promptly forced to delete it!).


TRAVEL   The Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is famed for its various appointments: the fastest elevator (it climbs at 18 meters every second), the highest lookout deck, the tallest building, the tallest man-made structure in the world.  Like the Eiffel Tower of Paris--which claimed a similar honor a century ago--it is a marker visible from any location in its host city, a sign post to be marveled at and a point of orientation for the pismire below. 

As for its interior, the Burj Khalifa houses residences, offices, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and most luxuriously, the only Armani-designed boutique hotel and night-club in the world. The Burj is the centerpiece of Dubai's business district and is part of a complex that includes the Dubai Mall (the world's largest), the Dubai Fountain (again, the world's largest) and Al Bahar Souk.

Best of all is the Burj Khalifa's commitment to its own superlative: Dubai says if another city erects anything taller, they'll just add more floors.


TRAVEL   The Gold Souk 

The Emirates have been the premier gold destination since the 1940s, when Indian and Iranian merchants set up booths alongside the ports of Dubai. If you're in Abu Dhabi, visit the Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre, which houses the city's largest gold souk (essentially a mall where every vendor's trade is in gold). The designs are extravagant if not over-the-top, on a taste scale that measures somewhere between Trinidad James and the spretzzy Chanel-ismo of 2 Chainz.

It's a total spectacle to be sure, but it's hard not to get lulled by all of the yellow, especially if you're visiting all 42 shops in the building.  From bangles, baubles and bracelets to belts, necklaces and even a crown--this souk proves that sometimes all that glitters is gold,22-karat gold, that is.


MUSIC   Thoughtfully Considering: Allah-Las

Remember when bands wore their appreciation of dog-eared Nuggets compilations on their sleeves? When lo-fi turned shitgaze? When it was thought that the Black Lips would save rock and roll? The California-based quartet Allah-Las remember those things and kick out the jangle jams like its 2006—or 1972. 

The band's self-titled debut, released just last year, hit all the right notes with its special brand of SoCal psych--which borrowed equally from garage-rocking Brit Invasion melodies and peppy surf music (the bandmates are avid longboarders, naturally). Most of Allah-Las met while working at Amoeba, the venerable Los Angeles record store chain, and in the band's music you can practically hear these dudes thumbing through old records by 13th Floor Elevators and the Electric Prunes. Trust me, you'll dig.




Not long ago, funny man Rob Delaney released his first comedy album, Live at The Bowery Ballroom. One track is titled “Butts”; another, “Hepatitis.” Known for this resounding success at social media (his Twitter has exactly 823,656 followers as of press time), Delaney has become famous for a comedy style that is at once awkward, immature, gross and frequently scatological. To wit: at one point during his new one-hour special, he jokes about defecating in front of an elderly Hasidic woman; and later, about using dried semen to exfoliate his bacne. Whatever Delaney's daily issues, Editorial Consignment was able to steal 15 minutes from the hirsute comedian that he'll definitely never get back. 

On becoming a comedian: 

“In 1998, I saw the Upright Citizens Brigade perform in New York, and I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. And I thought, 'Oh, I have to do this.' Seeing them improvise, I realized that standup [was] much more important than being a doctor or a pilot.”


LEAK REVIEW   Tyler, The Creator's "Wolf"

First of all, let's posit that back in 2009, Ghostface unwittingly gave birth to the swag rap epidemic that has been assaulting our sensibilities for the past four years. In an interview with TSS, Ghostface suggested that the secret to making good rap was "to get the beats, make sure they official, and say fly shit on it." Amen right? Maybe. 

But like all conventional wisdom, the sentiment quickly became adulterated by outside forces looking to repurpose a perfectly fine piece of advice into something hopelessly missing the point--in this instance, by a generation of rappers neither creative nor ballsy enough to reconceptualize Ghost's comment into something truly their own. 

We quickly had to suffer the likes of J Cole, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, etc, et al. The end product being something that paradoxically was all style, all substance, yet all bullshit. What we needed was something that actually had personality, something that had nothing to say in an interesting way again. That turned out to be Tyler The Creator's jaw-dropping, precocious masterpiece Bastard. That record's most important cultural export being the sense of re-enchantment it conveyed in an era where the possibility of rap's ability to shock had seemed more than just exhausted, but rather extinct and scrubbed from music history forever. 

It had been a long time since Compton was pissing off Tipper Gore, but the L.A. native had actually managed to polarize a new generation of teens raised on the availability of any grotesqueire they choose, yet they turned out in the millions to click and watch his videos over any other form of ready stimulation. Bastard's ability to shock was decisively old-school for a generation who never knew Pac, doesn't know NWA ever existed and probably never knew there was a time when black people didn't wear Polo (Thanks Kanye).


ART "1993" @ New Museum

You've probably seen some of these pieces. After all, they've been circulating around the art circuit for at least two decades.  

The New Museum's much anticipated "1993" exhibition deserves all of the hype that's been spread around it. Sprawled over the entire five floors of The New Museum, "1993" presents a variety of viewpoints across a wide array of media but a few themes become readily apparent: young adults dealing with AIDS, the rise of VHS and the personal videocamera, and bold explorations of sexuality. 

Somewhere between a time capsule and a time machine, the show sidesteps the problem of nostalgia since many of the pieces somehow managed to anticipate the problems of today. Maybe some things never do change: are we still living in 1993?


MUSIC   Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" Music Video

In the R & B diva world, there's something called "The Beyonce Rule." Essentially it stipulates that if one is a black female singer, there is a limited release window where one must put out music either BEFORE or AFTER Beyonce's album cycle. The reasoning is that Beyonce is a juggernaut, a force of nature, a blitzkreg--whatever you like to call these things--and she'll take all your shine and no one will pay attention to you. There simply is not enough room for Beyonce and someone else (Ciara, we're looking at you right now).

Not to be reductive but perhaps there is a corollary rule for blue-eyed soul singers? 

I pose this because it hurts me to see Robin Thicke release the pretty-great "Blurred Lines" and its good-time video treatment. After all, we are clearly in the wake of the 20/20 ExperienceJustin Timberlake's masterful multiplatform multimedia takeover. Where was Thicke's team 2 months ago? Damn, 2 weeks ago. Comparisons are inevitable and the press cycle is hemorrhaging JT news for JC's sake. 


ART "Larry Clark Stuff" @ MILK Studios 

Milk Studios recently hosted the NY debut of "Larry Clark Stuff," a brief exhibition of skate ephemera from the archives of bad boy photographer-filmmaker Larry Clark. 

The whole affair was tantamount to a garage sale, and it really felt like we were buying Larry Clark's junk, albeit at below-market prices. Everything was for sale (what isn't?), but it all looked a little picked-over: as it was, each item was previously on view at MOCA for the LA Art Book Fair and this was what was left over. The externalities of which were obvious: A Larry Clark-designed Fuct shirt was cool but wrinkled. Hand-signed vintage Supreme shirts were a relative steal for $100, but they only had XLs on the racks. 

When I thought about making films about teenagers in the 80s I wanted to make a film about skaters. I thought the visually most exciting and interesting kids were skateboarders. Kids back then were punk rock, maybe they came from bad families, but rather than getting fucked up, arrested, they found their family and their freedom in skateboarding. Before skateboarding was commercialized, the images found on skateboard decks and t-shirts, visually were the best images found anywhere at the time, everything else seemed to pale in comparison.
- Larry Clark
When I was in Paris two years ago I saw the acclaimed Larry Clark photo exhibit "Kiss the Past Hello." It was a revelatory retrospective that wittily showcased the work of Mr. Clark and his photographer mother. At "Stuff" we have the poster from that very show but none of the works from it. While the hype and miscellany around Mr. Clark are all but apparent, there is little of the actual substance that propelled it. "Larry Clark's Stuff," then, is a virtually artless exhibit that is less about Larry Clark's work and more about his cult of personality. I'm not sure how I feel about such a cash grab (it's the nature of the Art Book Fair show, after all), but it gave a lot to think about and the organizers Boo Hooray are certainly the best at what they do. 

What do you think about Larry Clark's stuff?

UPDATE: Now we know where all the reasonably-sized t-shirts went: Vfiles has the ultra rare Larry Clark x Supreme hand-signed tee from the show in S, M and XL (Look at that, the price is already double! Talk about appreciation!)

Scroll down for a closer look:


CULTURE The New York Times

Hot off the news that The Washington Post would soon be implementing a paywall, The Times tightens its own "leaky faucet." 

That's right. Everyone's favorite NYT workaround, NYClean--which worked by installing a bookmarklet that ran a short javascript-disabling wrecking ball to the Times' paywall--has been taken down, presumably for good. 

As it goes with these things, the bookmarklet's coder David Hayes may engage in a reverse-engineering back-and-forth with the Times' tech team, but in the meantime, there's plenty of other ways to get your Grey Lady on. We have 4 loopholes below:

1. Go Incognito...:

If you open an incognito window in Google Chrome, you can look at as much Times as you like. The only downside is that none of your Internet history will be saved. 

2. Disable Javascript:

One of the easiest ways to bypass the NYT paywall it is to disable javascript on your browser. No javascript means no article-blocking popup. We particularly like the Firefox extension NoScript--which selectively blocks javascript when you need it. Unfortunately, there is no current Google Chrome equivalent of this browser extension.