February 5, 2013

You want commentary? Sure. Next month, HBO will release Phil Spector, which chronicles the murder trial against legendary record producer Phil Spector that concluded with his 2009 sentencing for a very long time. Today, HBO released a trailer showing Al Pacino (as Spector) and Helen Mirren (as his lawyer) chewing on all kinds of dramatic scenery, but the most notable thing is the assortment of truly garish wigs on top of Pacino’s head—which, along with the hammy delivery, make it seem like the movie could find its place in the pantheon of ironically watched movies for years to come. Or maybe it’ll actually be good, but really: Those wigs! It’s out on March 24. As follows:

1. Psycho afro (pictured above)

2. Increasingly irrelevant cool dad

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3. Sideburn Spector

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4. 21st century Mick Jagger

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5. Bomb shelter chic

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The Bullet Shop
June 26, 2012

With his latest restaurant, Red Rooster, breathing new life into Harlem all over again with its multi-culturati scene, we were eager to sit down with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, the cock of the New York foodie walk.

The first amazing thing we found out?

He’s not a celebrity chef, he says. He’s just a guy who loves to cook, who has more endorsement deals than knives: television shows, websites, social networking accounts, a hospitality group, and a self-designed line of shoes called MOZO Chef Signature, which look like a cross between skater shoes, high-end sneakers, and Italian driving moccasins. He’s an Iron Chef champ. He huffs for HuffPo. He’s cooked for the Obamas—their first state dinner at the White House. And he helped The Man feed the fat cats at a DNC fundraiser at Red Rooster in March (lobster salad and short ribs). He’s handsome and married to a model, Maya Haile. He’s a fashion plate, and we’re not talking starters and sides: Burberry, Acne, Dior, Valentino, “Brooklyn” Nikes, Ralph Lauren, and Vuitton bags to travel. He’s a philanthropist (Tap Project for UNICEF, World Childhood Foundation, CCAP) and an activist. And he has a biographical back story that James Frey or JT LeRoy wouldn’t have tried to float past their publishers: Ethiopian-born, orphaned at 3, raised in Sweden, three stars at 24, with a new concept of “fusion” cooking that seems to express not only his life, but a vision of a world on the edge of ethnographic change, forever.

What we learned from our talk:

Five of Marcus’ favorite words are: platform, conversation, proposition, journey, and community.

Why Rooster? Why Harlem?

“I thought, I live here. Why is it the case that there are more sodas than fresh apples on my block? What can I do in that conversation? Food is my platform, and I can bring that to this community. No one is coming to Harlem for anything. You have to create it.”

And:

“That’s the proposition. Create a magnet, create the jobs. If we hire just 60 people—some of these kids, maybe they worked in a fast food restaurant before, so when we serve and they meet the person who just graduated from school, they meet the Harlemite guy, you’re creating a new language. A new conversation.”

And:

You have to separate yourself from the conversation in order to give your best. All of these people, they’re connected, they aspire. None of them would work at a four-star restaurant, a three-star restaurant—they would not actually have been spoken to. But they’re good people and they deserve a chance, and these standards that I was taught and trained by I got in my blood when I was 17 years old. Some of them are 19, some of them are 45—it doesn’t matter. They’re still going to get a chance. The restaurant was an opportunity to create a community and a place where people who go by say, ‘I’m going to work there.’”

The next trend is “local, authentic.” The last trend was “fusion, exotic.” But Rooster is authentically local because Harlem is exotically fusion. Two birds with one stone.

“The authenticity first is by the intent. We are here, and we are authentic because our staff is from here, and because of the conversation of the menu. East of us is the Harlemite from the Latin community—that’s why we have a big section of that [tacos and tostadas]. The center of us is the Trinidadian and Jamaican community [dirty rice and jerk beef]. And then you have the African-American community [mac and greens, fried chicken], and then you have the Jewish [braised short ribs] and Italian-American [asparagus with pine nuts, lemon chicken]. The menu’s laid out so that we are ‘a place.’ It’s not like, ‘I like foie gras, so let’s have foie gras on the menu.’ It doesn’t fit.”

What we love about Marcus: He’s put his money where his mouth is.

“When I was 21, I ate at a fuga restaurant in Japan. I was completely broke afterwards. I flew to Japan to do this and I did it, and I left with a smile. It was still fantastic. When I ate at Alain Ducasse the first time, same thing. Every year I took one trip that put everything in the red and saved up all my money and ate. It’s the only school. But I worked every weekend for it. You just work and you do it. Getting there—with your borrowed tie and pants, but getting there. Eating a tasting menu. Those are experiences.”

What Marcus tweeted the day we talked to him:

“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.” —Rabindranath Tagore.

Was it something we said?

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The Bullet Shop
September 29, 2011

We’ve always harbored a not-so-secret obsession for actor Michael Shannon, and with Shannon Season fast approaching, it’s obvious we’re not the only ones. This fall, we’ll be enrapt by his baby-mama drama (with BULLETT babe Paz de la Huerta) as he reprises his role as Agent Nelson Van Alden on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. We’ll also be front row when he portrays a man with a serious mental illness in the psychological drama Take Shelter (costarring Jessica Chastain, another actor who’s having a major moment), and when he embodies a drug addict alongside Gerard Butler inMachine Gun Preacher.

In this exclusive video interview, the lovable oddball discusses conspiracy theories (which he endearingly calls conspiracy “truths”) and his thoughts on extraterrestrial life.

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The Bullet Shop
September 20, 2011

Celebrity sorcerer David Copperfield once made the Statue of Liberty disappear. He’s walked through (yes, through) the Great Wall of China. With his trademark smolder, he even wooed supermodel Claudia Schiffer, to whom he was engaged for six years. The 55-year-old New Jersey native is the proud owner of eleven Guinness World Record, 21 Emmys, and a chain of 11 islands in the Bahamas. It’s safe to say he lives a, well, charmed life, which is why we were so excited when he invited BULLETT to hang out in his magic archive in Las Vegas.

Check out the behind-the-scenes footage in which our Editor-in-Chief Idil Tabanca, Creative Director Sah D’Simone, and Art Director James Orlando team up with the King of Magic to create images that are beyond enchanting. To see the results of the shoot, pick up BULLETT’s Cosmic Issue, on stands now.

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The Bullet Shop
September 18, 2011


Mary-Louise Parker could not be more ready for BULLETT’s Cosmic issue.

“I’ve been called an alien all my life,” she says warming to the topic. “They can’t get a pulse on me and for some reason I break electronics – like my computer and my cell phone. No-one knows what it is.”

Thankfully, today her negative ions are set to low, so digital pictures remain faithfully on SD cards while her words are recorded for posterity on an iPod.

We’re in Los Angeles, her home-away-from-her-NYC-home for three months a year while she films the hit Showtime series Weeds, chronicling the bad decisions and wild missteps of a mother/widower/dope dealer/gangster’s moll. It’s a role that’s given the 46-year-old both a regular gig, and the opportunity to indulge her love of theatre (she won a Tony for her Broadway role in “Proof“), cherry pick some choice film roles (Red, Solitary Man) and raise her two kids (seven-year-old William with actor Billy Crudup, and adopted daughter Caroline, five.)

She’s a lot on her plate, which could explain her croak of a voice, words propelled mere inches from her mouth by the slightest puff of her lungs before falling almost unheard onto the ground. Almost unheard…

At the end of the last season of Weeds, after years of getting away with it all, Nancy finally got caught.

Yes, she went to jail for three years. This is the first time the show returned after a break with a three-year gap in the story.

Did three years in the big house finally teach her a lesson?

No way. We wouldn’t have a show if it did.

How soon before she starts getting into trouble again?

About 20 minutes. Maybe more like 11.

Have you personally ever had any issues with the decisions she’s made?

No. I’m not like her. She’s really immediate, and I tend to worry more and think about the future and my children and the effect things will have on them, even down to what they eat.

America is still essentially a puritanical society: was it inevitable that she ultimately had to be punished for her crimes?

The writer and creator of the show wasn’t looking for something punitive to appeal to middle America: she’s more along the lines of wanting to shock people. I think she just thought it was good for the story.

Nothing in the name of moral duty?

No – I don’t think there’s much of that on the show.

Showtime has a rep for seriously flawed characters – Nancy, Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Hank Moody, Frank Gallagher – that at the same time seem very likeable. What do you think is the appeal?

I was the first one! I personally think there’s something lovely about watching a slightly more fictionalized ideal, like Leave It To Beaver. I’d rather watch that, but maybe people can’t live up to that, and it feels more subversive and voyeuristic to see something that is closer to real life.

Though however extraordinary her situation, her response is always relatively passive.

That’s because she feels, whatever’s happening, ‘Things will ultimately work out for me’. It’s not even being able to relate to the fact that it might not. That’s a hard attitude for me to relate to.

Has anything been difficult for you to film or deal with?

Honestly, driving was the hardest thing for me because I don’t drive.

So you’ve been beaten, sexually abused, kidnapped, gone to jail, attacked… yet driving has been the most difficult.

I would say so. I’m pretty bad. They had a gag reel one season that had seven takes of me trying to back out of a parking space.

Apart from forcing you into a car, has Nancy influenced you at all?

Just with her taste in jewelry. I worked for a long time to try and find her wardrobe and I really want her jewelry. I don’t dress like her otherwise.

You look pretty badass on the new poster, with your leather pants and chain.

I know – isn’t that silly! My kids saw it from the car – ‘Oh, it’s mummy!’ I think they think everyone’s mummy is on a billboard.

You’ve interviewed and written for Esquire: if you were interviewing yourself what question would you ask?

God… what a good question. I guess… why do you want to keep doing it? The answer? I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but in some ways it feels like this is what I have to be doing. My father just died, so that changes the way I feel about what I do.

Sorry to hear that – do you believe you’ll get to see him again in the afterlife?

I want to so badly. Nobody knows – everything is philosophy as far as I’m concerned. Or hope.

If there is an afterlife, where do you think you’re going and where do you think Nancy’s going?

Nancy’s going to a land full of shoes and jewelry. I’d just like to be somewhere I can see my dad again, and ultimately my mum and my kids.

When you were a kid yourself did you feel you had a purpose?

To keep people around me happy.

That’s a serious responsibility for a child.

It wasn’t in a mammoth way, not like some Dickensian-type thing. I was kind of a disaster socially, so I didn’t have a lot of friends, which in the end brought me all kinds of other things.

Do you believe in fate?

No. I believe in effort. And results. Effort counts, and that’s what I respect in other people. It’s like, ‘Why even bother? I’ll just sit here and let it all happen to me.’

Do you think there’s another version of yourself sitting somewhere in a parallel universe, and if so, what’s she doing?

I don’t, but if there is I wish she’d show up and let me take a nap.

How important to you is order as opposed to chaos?

I have to create order because there’s so much chaos in my head. I can’t have both.

If you had an opportunity to take a glimpse into the future 50 years from now, what would you want to see in it?

I’d have to know first that it’s true; otherwise I wouldn’t want to see it. If someone could say your children are happy and doing well, I might want to peek. But only if I was on my way to die.

How about just a year from now – do you think you’ll still be playing Nancy Botwin?

I didn’t think they’d even pick up the pilot so I didn’t think it would go a year. Now every year I’m like, ‘You’re kidding!’. Certainly I’d do another year after this – I’m happy to have a job.

What would you like to see happen to Nancy in the future?

I like the really extreme scripts, and I wish she’d go back to a suburban setting: I love the dynamic of her trying to fit in with other women that she should be able to fit in with and just can’t. She is one of them but she isn’t.

Do you think there’s a chance that ultimately we’ll see grandma Nancy dealing drugs?

Oh, quite possibly…

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The Bullet Shop
August 25, 2011

Ashlee Simpson isn’t the only one swooning over actor Vincent Piazza. The Boardwalk Empire star has been a BULLETT favorite since his turn as a kleptomaniac named Earl in 2007’s Rocket Science. But he really sealed the deal when he stepped into the role of notorious mobster Lucky Luciano (“the father of modern organized crime”) in HBO‘s prohibition-era drama, where he holds his own among his formidable costars Michael Shannon and Paz de la Huerta (also BULLETT crushes).

For BULLETT’s Cosmic issue, Vincent Piazza was tasked to invent something that would change the world for the better. Thus was born the Negativity Neutralizer, a machine that turns complaints into a source of pure, renewable energy. We filmed Piazza as he tested his machine on the whiniest people in New York, a city of whiny people.

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The Bullet Shop
August 16, 2011

Christina Ricci glides almost imperceptibly into the restaurant, making her subdued entrance exactly on time, almost to the second. “I’m never late, I don’t like to be late,” she says, sliding her 5’1” frame onto the leather banquette, resting those lantern-like green eyes on mine and smiling warmly. Time is obviously something Ricci respects—has she ever wondered how much time she really has, I wonder? Has she considered her mortality, in terms of years, or even days, left on this earth? “Never. I don’t like numbers,” she says, her voice lowering. “And you really shouldn’t worry about things like that too much—that’s a bad habit.”

We’re in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, which Ricci has called home since the age of 19. Her home is nestled in the shadow of the Griffith Park Observatory, a stargazers’ paradise where James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause was shot, and where astronomers point giant telescopes at the Milky Way nightly. Twelve years since moving there, she still loves venturing up through the wild, dusty hills to the observatory—even though she doesn’t like being outside. “I dislike sunshine and earth,” she says. This explains her porcelain complexion, pale to the point of translucence.

This fall, Ricci is gearing up for a new phase of her acting career, with her first major television acting role in Pan Am. About the glamorous Pan Am air hostesses of the 1960s, it’s been billed as a kind of Mad Men in the sky, with some old-fashioned misogyny and espionage thrown in for good measure. When I ask Ricci if she knows that Pan Am had a waiting list for future flights to the moon, giving out “First Moon Flights Club” membership cards, she nods emphatically. “My mom got one in the ’60s. She still carries it in her purse!”

She’s moving to New York in a few weeks, because that’s where the show is being filmed. She and her Pan Am costar, Aussie actress Margot Robbie, have found an apartment in Brooklyn, which they will share for several months. “I haven’t had an apartment in New York in a very long time,” says Ricci, her shoulder-length, mousy hair perfectly flat- ironed. “It’ll be interesting. I’ll really miss my boyfriend and our home and our dogs.” She’s not worried about having a roommate, as she and Margot are very compatible. “I’m the kind of person who, if we have to be ready to get in the car at 6.30am, I set the alarm for 3:00am. And Margot will laugh and say, ‘Okay, Frank.’”

Frank?

“Yes, she calls me Frank. Long story. Anyway, she’s much more laid-back and relaxed than I am. I’m so high-strung, but she likes it because with me, it’s impossible to be late for anything. And Margot tells me to just look at her each time I feel anxious, which always calms me down. So we’re really a good match.”

If Ricci’s a nervous bird, she certainly does a good job of keeping it under control. There’s nothing fidgety about her demeanor in the slightest. In fact, she’s one of those rare beings who seems entirely unafraid to maintain steady eye contact. At first it’s unsettling, until you realize it’s because she’s actually paying attention to what you’re saying. Ricci agrees that she’s actually far more relaxed these days than she was in her teens and early twenties. “Back then, each day was like, ‘Oh, what fresh hell is this?’ And then you grow up.” Of course, there’s a part of her that’s nostalgic about her teenage angst. “The glitter and the combat boots and the tearing out sheets from Dante’s Inferno and pinning them on my wall? How amazing is that? I used to have this energy and anxiety, this need to constantly be making things happen or fighting for something. Now, even though I still have moments of being totally irrational and high-strung, I mainly just feel like I want to make the best of things and have a good time.”

Ricci’s skin is dewy and makeup-free, and she is wearing ballet flats and a demure blue dress. Her attire accentuates her trademark china doll aesthetic which, combined with a dry-as-bone wit, made Ricci a bona fide child star with her iconic performance as solemn little Wednesday Addams in 1991’s The Addams Family. She followed with a string of ultra-indie, Lolita-ish roles. Who can forget her tap dancing in that baby blue slip dress in Vincent Gallo’s cult classic, Buffalo ‘66? Or her as a 16-year-old pregnant femme fatale in 1998’s The Opposite of Sex? As Johnny Depp’s winsome love interest in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow? As a Barbra Streisand-obsessed artist in Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? John Waters, king of transgressive cinema, cast her as Edward Furlong’s laundromat-manager girlfriend in Pecker, a film about a shitty photographer who becomes a darling of the New York art scene. When asked what the word “indie” means to her today, Ricci pauses for a long time. Then, with genuine curiosity, “Are there still independent films? I’m not really so sure.”

In the early 2000s, around the time she swapped the New York downtown club scene for her life in L.A., she ventured into more adult cinema territory. “I’m usually drawn to characters based on people who are labeled in our society in negative terms,” she says, nibbling on her whitefish. “I like knowing why that type of person might be the way they are.” She won acclaim for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos’ lesbian lover in 2003’s Monster; also for her role as the chronically depressed Elizabeth Wurtzel in 2001’s Prozac Nation (which was never actually released in the U.S.), and for 2006’s Black Snake Moan. Here, audiences saw Ricci at her most provocative, playing a young, pathologically-promiscuous southern woman who is chained up (and saved from herself) by an older, religious bluesman played by Samuel L. Jackson. A dark, serious film hopelessly mis-marketed as a sex romp (the poster read “Everything is hotter down south”—Ricci was furious), Black Snake Moan did poorly at the box office only to later achieve a word-of-mouth following, thanks to Ricci’s raw and courageous performance. “I’m so proud of that film,” says Ricci. As a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the subject matter was close to Ricci’s heart. “That character was manifesting her own victimization as a way of trying to have some control over what happened to her as a child,” she says. “That powerlessness left her terrified to be alone, so she perpetuated her own abuse by being the ‘slutty girl.’ That’s what I mean about being drawn to certain roles—maybe people who watch that film will think twice about abusing, discarding, and disrespecting the girl they call the ‘town slut.’”

After more than 20 years in Hollywood, there’s no sense that her love for the craft is waning. Not even slightly. “Oh my god, I love working,” she says. “I love being on set. I love crews and the whole process.” She says film crews make fun of her because she is so excited to be at work. “I’m that weirdo who starts dancing in the makeup trailer at 6:00am, and everyone’s looking at me going, ‘Oh, my god.’” Her Black Snake Moan costar Justin Timberlake decided that if Ricci was going to dance in the makeup trailer, he might as well teach her some moves. “You know, Justin told me it’s actually impossible to pop and lock at the same time. I was like, ‘Oh.’ He tried to teach me. Then I realized that, no, I don’t think I am a dancer after all.”

Ricci’s a dichotomous creature—hyper-sensitive yet utterly poised; obsessively punctual but unwilling to measure time; excited to be an actress, but really into cutting. Not the sad, dysfunctional cutting, but collage—she’s obsessed. “Okay, there are serious artists, the kind who are going to revolutionize the art scene,” she says. “And then there are people like me, who are just really, really excited about sticking fun shit together.” One of the reasons she’s excited to move to Brooklyn is because of the abundance of art supply stores there. “It’s like craft heaven,” she sighs.

She pulls out a brown bag and inside is a birthday card, a collage piece that she made herself. It is kitschier than kitsch and charming, in an awkwardly rendered and very honest pre-school kind of way. Ricci has decorated it with glitter and a huge, blue paper heart. “I love blue hearts,” she says. “I don’t go for red hearts at all.” The card is for some friends of hers. They had asked Ricci, along with all of their friends, to send birthday wishes on personal stationery. She laughs, nodding with pride at the giant “XOXO” she had Sharpied at the bottom of the card. “I’m 31, but there’s no way I feel grown up enough for personalized stationery. I’m not sure I ever will.”

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The Bullet Shop