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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Excerpts From The September 2014 Vogue, Presented Without Commentary

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On Weddings

And since a wedding day is essentially a time when we’re all looking to the future, I have decided to dedicate the rest of my September letter to some of the things I am most looking forward to this fall.

It takes a village to make [a wedding] happen – and if the village’s residents include some of the most talented designers in the world, that’s even better.

Let us first consider the setting. Fabiola wanted the celebrations to be a “memorable, magical sort of vacation” for her intimate posse of beloved friends and family – something “flowery and cultural with both sun and sea.” Fabiola’s native Venezuela was, of course, too politically incendiary to be a possibility.

Fabiola’s initial injunction to Tisci, who created her wedding ensemble, was challenging: she asked for something “beautiful, modest, sober and yet ornate all at the same time.” The resulting dress required, by Fabiola’s account, some nine fittings and 1,600 hours of impeccable workmanship in the Givenchy haute couture ateliers.

Fans fluttered, and in the middle of the service guests instinctively waved away what seemed to be a particularly loud and persistent hornet but turned out to be a fluttering drone.[…] Sometimes, there are no words.

After the dinner, she changed into Gianni Versace’s 1991 pouf minidress in a vibrant stained glass-color print – all the better to dance to Snoop Dogg. READ MORE

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Three Baking Soda Hacks for Your Beauty Routine

Brought to you by the maker of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda

Want to get a glow without the expensive price tag of department store products? ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda is the perfect addition to your beauty regimen. Check out these four inexpensive tips that will make ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda your new favorite beauty potion.

1. Silky Smooth Skin

To make exfoliating clean and simple, just mix three parts ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda with one part water to create a thick paste. Rub gently on your skin and take care to avoid the eye area and other sensitive areas on your face and body. You'll have smooth skin in seconds and it’s natural to boot! Check out this video for a quick tutorial on how to give yourself a little scrub love.

2. Shiny Locks

For locks that rock, remember to shake it. Sprinkle a small amount (quarter-size) of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. The ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable. ARM & HAMMER™ also offers multiple packaging options that make it easy to sprinkle a pinch of Baking Soda in the shower.

3. Sparkling White Teeth

For a pearly white smile, throw some ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda in a bowl with a little bit of water, dip your toothbrush in the paste and scrub away. Let the paste sit for a minute before rinsing off. If you do this little trick once a day for a few weeks, your teeth will sparkle in no time.

Check out more of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda's countless uses — for just pennies a day — on our YouTube Channel. Find out about all the other great things you can do with ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda at www.armandhammer.com

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“It’s magnificent what you’re doing, to help women realize their dreams for themselves.”

Without consulting her local allies, Gomperts changed strategy. She appeared on a Portuguese talk show, held up a pack of pills on-screen and explained exactly how women could induce an abortion at home — specifying the number of pills they needed to take, at intervals, and warning that they might feel pain. A Portuguese anti-abortion campaigner who was also on the show challenged the ship’s operation on legal grounds. “Excuse me,” Gomperts said. “I really think you should not talk about things that you don’t know anything about, O.K. . . . I know what I can do within the law.” Looking directly at him, she added, “Concerning pregnancy, you’re a man, you can walk away when your girlfriend is pregnant. I’m pregnant now, and I had an abortion when I was — a long time ago. And I’m very happy that I have the choice to continue my pregnancy how I want, and that I had the choice to end it when I needed it.” She pointed at the man. “You have never given birth, so you don’t know what it means to do that.”

This article about medical abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts in this weekend's NYT magazine is somethin' else; it's got everything you'd want in an action film (warships! An important package stuck at customs! The never ending fight for women's reproductive rights!), yet stars a handful of women, chief among them Gomperts. Her initial approach to providing safe, legal abortions for women who are unable to obtain them: build a Dutch-registered ship that would be governed by Dutch law, create a mobile abortion clinic inside of it, register it as a work of art to protect it from being shut down, sail it to a country where abortion is illegal, pick women up, bring them into international waters, deliver a combination of pills that would induce miscarriage, and then send them home to miscarry without fear of persecution. HOW IS THE EXPENDABLES 3 MORE INTERESTING THAN THIS?!

That plan didn't work, so Gomperts moved her work offshore and started Women on Waves, a "telemedicine support service" that delivers that combination of drugs to women without access to legal abortions via mail. She receives about 2,000 queries a month; about 40-60 of them come from the United States.

"Gomperts is sympathetic but firm in her refusal to get involved in the United States. “We’re sorry, the doctors of Women on Web cannot provide the service in any country with safe abortion services,” reads the response American women receive from the help desk. She told me: “I know that it’s difficult, because abortion is not accessible to them. But this is not our work. I think this is a problem the U.S. has to solve itself. There are so many resources, so much money available there for abortion rights groups, I think they should be able to work on this. Starting on paper, with changing the laws.”

This weekend, Texas nearly lost more than half of all of its clinics that provide abortion services; a federal judge blocked the motion, but the defeated side has plans to appeal. The rest of the world has Gomperts, but where is the hero that Texas—and the rest of America—needs?

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The Call Is Coming From Inside The Gentlewoman's House

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The Gentlewoman, I believe, is not so much a magazine as it is a disturbingly accurate portrayal of what I wish the inside of my brain looked like, and I sometimes wonder if their editors keep one of those string phones pressed up against the windows of its readers' apartments, listening intently as we feverishly discuss the women we are currently obsessed with, and then, I imagine, calmly striding over to the centre of their minimalist yet chic office, pushing an orchid to the side, picking up an elegant rotary phone, and saying in a low, even voice, "Get me Robyn."

Should we start taking bets on who will be next? My picks: Mary Beard, Lupita Nyong'o, this woman I see at the coffee shop near my house who wears pants as though they were forged from the wings of angels and then molded to her body.

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Dress Your Family In Your Lover's Shoes

I was asleep on the overnight train from Carbondale to Chicago, dreaming about snuggling with my boyfriend, Sam. I awoke to find myself reaching for my seatmate—a newly released convict who did not want to snuggle.

“No,” he said, crossing his arms. I knew he was a former inmate from his grey sweatpants, matching t-shirt, and prison-issued sneakers. The Pinckneyville Correctional Center is halfway between Southern Illinois and Union Station. The midnight train is the cheapest option for shipping freed men north.

He shook his head. “I don’t cuddle.”

“Sorry,” I mumbled. It seemed pointless to explain that I’d thought he was my boyfriend of one year, who I was on my way to meet. Sam and I were flying to Ireland and staying with his family for one month, which seemed like the most romantic thing ever.

At the time I was going to school in Southern Illinois. In retrospect I was clinically depressed. My evenings consisted of three beers, watching “Bones”, then to bed with the help of frantic diary writing and a Klonopin. Every diary entry that year was about Sam. I wrote about worrying if he liked me, if he would call me. I wrote to quiet the swirling within me—a swirling that happened when I thought about calling him—because he rarely answered.

Our decision to spend a month together in a foreign country felt auspicious. The fact that we were staying with his family for the duration was practical (we were both grad students with small stipends, and it made sense to leech off people providing food and shelter in a picturesque environment) but only complicated the delusion that he might really like me. The capacity for madness lives in all of us. The question is whether those who love us see it for what it is, or try to romanticize it into something else. READ MORE

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Hello Again.

Hello! I'm Haley, the third editor of The Hairpin. Today is my first "official" day, but since it's a holiday, I'm just posting my introduction, Jazmine's introduction, and then going back to bed. We – and by that I mean myself and all you beautiful, perfect, intelligent, well-dressed, nice-smelling Hairpin readers – will start for real tomorrow.

I've been reading The Hairpin since the very first day it launched, and actually did work here a few years ago as the promotions intern! I really know this site like the back of my very tiny, bedazzled hands. I promise to keep it the same place we all know and love, but also, I promise to keep trying new things, finding new writers, and publishing the best/weirdest/funniest stuff, the same way Edith and Emma always did.

If you have a question, an idea, feedback, pitches, suggestions, anything at all, please email me! If you're ever like "Hm, I wonder if I should say anything to Haley about this?" the answer is YES. Just get in touch.

Now get off your computer for the rest of today, but only today, because I expect to see you back here tomorrow and the day after that and for every day after that for ever and always.

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Please Welcome Jazmine Hughes, The Hairpin's New Contributing Editor

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Hey young world: I’m Jazmine, your new contributing editor. I’m a Scorpio, an ESTJ, and a Liz Lemon specifically in the scene where she shuts down someone trying to give out food recommendations over hers, but otherwise probably more of a Frank, if we’re being honest.

Perhaps you know me if you’ve read about Grown Women or Seinfeld avoidance on this particular hair accessory review site, black parenting and interracial dating for Gawker and Jezebel, a bunch of things at The Billfold that I only wrote to get Mike Dang to like me (hi Mike!!), or if you are employed at a New York-based restaurant that serves mashed potatoes. (If you aren't familiar with any of those things, just know this: I love mashed potatoes.) I come to you from New York Magazine (nope, not the New Yorker); before that, Connecticut College (nope, not UCONN); before that, my mother’s womb (yup, that’s the one!).

I’m stupid excited to be here– Haley is my tier supreme, and I feel #blessed to get to work with her every day, and you all are just the toppest notch in a group of notches. In keeping in with Choire and Haley’s idea of a blog full of “petty enthusiasms,” today marks the last day that this is *not* a Danny DeVito fanfic website, but for job security, I promise to read all of your submissions anyway. I also accept all unsolicited photos of dogs.

Here’s what’s at the forefront of my mind: the descriptor of this website has always been simply “Ladies first,” which is quite possibly the best Queen Latifah song to live your life by. But on the real: Haley and I are committed to putting you first, and each other first, and continuing to make this blog the fun place that it’s always been, just with a little more Latifah.

See you tomorrow.

The Best Time Minnie Mouse Took Off Her Head and Projectile Vomited At Me

This post originally appeared on May 28, 2014.

Minnie Mouse is the spokesperson of domestic goddesses everywhere. Minnie Mouse keeps her house cute all the time. Minnie Mouse’s relationship with Mickey inspired my dreams of love. Minnie Mouse’s polka-dot dress summed up all that I hoped the future held for me.

When I was six, and my parents told me that we were going to Disneyland, I felt sure that this was my moment to blossom. Growing up I was hopelessly odd: I preferred to be called “Chest”; a turkey that police named “Rambo” attacked me; I permed my bowl cut. Disneyland was my chance to meet my idol, who I knew would make me feel cool.

I envisioned the future, in which I would tell the kids at school about my trip, and the stories of my adventure would take me from "Claire Meyer? Isn't that the girl that collects human teeth?" to "Claire Meyer? Oh, yeah, she’s that cool girl who went to Disneyland.”

I brought my autograph book. I met Goofy, Chip & Dale and two different versions of Mickey. Briefly, I became addicted to meeting these characters. How lucky that we all lived in the same place and they so casually walked around to greet me! I couldn’t imagine life any different. After riding Peter Pan’s Flight three times, though, I’d still yet to meet my main girl Minnie.

Soon, that would change.

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In retrospect, Disneyland was the last time I believed I had a shot at a perfect life. If only I’d known then how many meals I would eat in bed, or the number of times I would yell “I’m walking away now, not because I’m dramatic, but because I have nothing left to say to you,” or the percentage of those times that would occur on first dates. Or, that after a final fight in a toxic relationship I would take nothing from his apartment but two steaks out of the freezer and a Bruce Springsteen album—all I needed for a fresh start. READ MORE

The Best (and Worst and Last) Time I Went To a Sorority Party

This post originally appeared on March 26, 2014.

In the fall of 1997 I arrived to New York University as a college freshman with two priorities. The first: to waste my parents’ money on a theater education. The second: to get drunk.

I accomplished both my goals, although in different ways and for different lengths of time. Which is to say: I wasted that money over the span of four years, but got drunk only once.

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I never had an alcoholic drink all throughout high school, and that was owed to both (a) a lack of social invitations, and (b) a fear of projectile vomit. While there was an extent to which this disappointed me about myself, there was also the overarching sense that it was as should be, that I was someone who belonged at home.

Nonetheless, I wanted to change this fact about myself once I hit college. I felt the false promise of self-reinvention. I bought a tube of dark lipstick and a Blackstreet C.D., and when finally I caught wind of a sorority party, I decided to attend. I spent the week leading up to it doing dexterity exercises in my dorm room to insure that if someone did throw up in my general vicinity, I’d be nimble-footed enough to steal away.

My overall thinking was that the vomit risk was worth it for the revels that awaited. I’d never been to an alcohol-laced party before, but I had seen a few John Hughes films. I hoped to go to the party and meet a beefcake-y guy who hoisted girls up above his shoulders. Who’d hoist me up above his shoulders.

“Put me down!” I’d yell.

“Only if you do a shot!” he’d yell back.

So I’d do a shot. And then another. And another.

“You’re crazy!” he’d shout. “Most girls can’t handle their liquor!”

“But I can,” I’d say.

“Yes. You can,” he’d say. “You’re a real special lady.”

This, in all likelihood, would be the beginning of a mostly physical relationship in which I’d use the beefcake for his body, but keep him at an arm’s length. READ MORE

The Best Time a Diva Cup Suctioned Itself to My Cervix

This post originally appeared on January 10, 2014.

I consider myself fairly crunchy on the “granola” spectrum. I homebrew kombucha, take a lax view toward showers and shampoo, and, yes, bake my own granola. So when I started hearing buzz about menstrual cups – much of the buzz from Hairpinners themselves! – it sounded way up my alley.

(Yes, that is a portent of things to come.)

I am pro-environment and as anti-spending money as the next twenty-something grad student, so I researched the heck out of those little guys. The number of review websites alone will boggle the mind. As usual, though I am totally willing to try new things, and want good information first, there’s a point where my deciding-things brain shuts down from overload and my doing-things brain says “PICK ONE,” which is why I settled on the Diva Cup. I ordered the pre-childbirth model and awaited my next period with anticipation.

Now, I knew there was a learning curve with these things—even my friends that didn’t flee in horror at the idea of a silicon sippy cup up in their business, those friends who routinely and successfully use them had mentioned the possibility of leaking, of the seal being tricky, etc. I was not to be deterred by a learning curve. I’d pop that baby in the day before my period, give myself some time to figure it out, and stock up on pads just in case. READ MORE

The Best Time I Auditioned For a Game Show

This post originally appeared on September 30, 2013.

Give us 6 UNIQUE FUN FACTS about yourself. Fun facts can be anything from your biggest achievements, to a special talent, to a life story. What sets you apart from every other contestant? Make yourself stand out! Start with: What game shows have you appeared on? When? How much money did you win?

I have never appeared on a game show. Frankly, I've never really thought about appearing on a game show. Sure, I've mentally spent the jackpot prizes I've seen on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and set a personal limit for taking the deal on Deal or No Deal?—as soon as it hit six figures, I'd be out—but I've never really strived to be in the hot seat on either one.

I am, however, a game-show fan. In high school, when the other upperclassmen used their off-campus lunch privileges to take long walks and smoke cigarettes, I went to a friend's house to watch The Price Is Right. My sister and I had mapped out a game plan for Supermarket Sweep (start with the expensive turkey and ham, then grind the coffee for the $100 bonus). We dreamed of retiring to Tahiti with our winnings, spending our days drinking rum-based cocktails. Even today, there are countless times when I, about to embark on some task, think to myself: "No whammies."

But I never wanted to be a contestant in real life. I learned as the curtain rose on my high school's senior class production of Grease—where I had the plum role of Dance Contestant #2—that I have stage fright. And so, shying away from a life on the stage, I've happily relegated myself to playing the home game. READ MORE

The Best Time I Went Alone To the Sugar Ray Festival

This post originally appeared on July 15, 2013.

At 6 p.m. on a Sunday night I’m driving an hour outside of Ann Arbor to attend the Clarkston, Mich., stop of the Under the Sun tour, which celebrates “the golden age of nineties pop rock ‘n’ roll with Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon and Fastball.”

I am alone and wearing jorts and a baseball T-shirt, onto which I have Sharpied “MRS. RAY.” I am only slightly depressed that none of my friends in town seem to see the Under the Sun tour as the can’t-miss cultural event that it is. Mostly I’m glad, because now it'll be much easier for me to really get in there and be a Sugar Ray superfan for the night.

On the way to the venue, I play the same two Disclosure songs for 30 miles straight and get into character. “No one’s done anything like ‘Every Morning’ since 1999,” I say into the rearview mirror. “Such a chill song. Perfect for summer. We’ll never get another Mark McGrath.”

I sincerely believe all these things to be true.

When I get to the parking lot, I pause in my car for a second and smoke some weed, feeling like a loser. Fastball is already on—I can hear “The Way” from the parking lot—but people are tailgating, and near me, someone’s blaring Sugar Ray.

Suddenly self-conscious and also suspecting that I have overestimated the number of attendees who think this event is in any way funny, I walk into the DTE Energy Musical Theatre, which is a 15,000-cap venue, and get a beer from a guy standing over a cooler at the base of the stairs leading to the general-admission lawn. He asks for my ID. When he hands my license back, he says, “You’re a lot better-looking in person.”

“Cool,” I say. “Cool to know. Do you like Sugar Ray?”

“Sure,” he says. “Whatever.”

I climb the stairs in a hyper-aware state, entering a sea of earnest, clean-cut white Midwesterners jamming out with incredible enthusiasm to Vertical Horizon, who have taken Fastball’s place. I make my way around the arc of the lawn surrounding the covered pavilion and sit down at the very left edge of the grass.

Surrounded by groups, I start texting. You’re never alone when you have technology, I tell myself, and then look around, wondering how I’m going to get my journalistic in with the Sugar Ray crowd.

Then a guy taps me on the shoulder: “What’s a pretty girl like you doing here by yourself?” READ MORE

The Best Time I Accidentally Attended a Teenage Orgy

This post originally appeared on July 15, 2013.

I was a pretty late bloomer when it came to boys. Most girls in my hometown started holding hands in third or fourth grade, kissing in fifth or sixth, dry humping—as teens are wont to do—by eighth. But, because it was a small town, most of the kids with whom you attended kindergarten ended up right alongside you as you graduated, and if you’d forged an elementary school reputation as chubby and unlikeable, it was pretty hard to shake.

I ended up getting my first kiss at 15, when I went to visit a friend in rural Maine and got to be the exciting new girl for a few weeks. I was Californian and blond enough, and everyone was impressed at how I wore sunglasses even when it was overcast. That first kiss came from a young aspiring pharmacist who was a foot shorter than me and had tricked out his car to look like KITT from Knight Rider. He was a nice guy. My second kiss was from an older boy with a devilock, so that’s one I can be proud of.

My slow development was further stymied by homeschooling, which I’d taken up in seventh grade for reasons that are neither relevant nor terribly interesting. The point is: that year, I ended up in a charter school program that had me taking classes at the local community college, which was terrifying after years of studying alone.

I was socially inept and uninterested in dating of any kind until the first day of my sociology course, when this guy walked in and obliterated all solitary impulses: he was wolfishly handsome with straight black hair cut in a perfect rock ’n roll shag. He also dressed like a sexually aggressive 11-year-old at a mall goth store in baggy jeans and bowling shirts, and of course he had a wallet chain—but teenage hormones make a person discard not just reason but taste as well.

I stared at this guy throughout that entire first class, in disbelief of his cheekbones, and my infatuation persisted even when he spoke for the first time, when our urbane German sociology professor answered someone’s stupid question about evolution, and mentioned, offhand, the lemur.

“Oh yeah!” the beautiful one interjected. “Like aye-ayes.”

“Pardon me?” said the professor.

“Oh, yes, like those aye-aye things in Madagascar. Natives kill them because they think they’re demons.”

In retrospect, this interaction revealed nothing, but at the time I sat there in class drawing hearts on my notepad as my own swelled with thoughts of He likes animals!

In this way, teenage girls have no survival skills and are unequipped for the world.

READ MORE

The Best Time I Blew It With Scott Speedman

This post originally appeared on July 15, 2012.

It was a dark and stormy summer night. I was supposed to start law school in a month, and I felt a sense of doom. (I would, in fact, drop out a couple months later.) Max, a man I’d been seeing, had just broken up with me because he had "nothing to give.” My friends were going to see a band in Tribeca, and I really didn’t want to go out, especially into Manhattan, but they convinced me. I pulled on some baggy ripped corduroys as a cry for help, and put my hair up in what I hoped was an “artist’s bun.” We walked into the club and I immediately saw a ghost from my past: Steve, a guy I’d lusted after a few years before. I once texted him “Admit we’d have really good sex,” to which he’d texted back “Hmm.” We’d eventually slept together through the sheer force of my will, but he’d broken my heart as expected, and I still wasn’t actually, completely over him.

We made eye contact, and I tentatively went up to say hi.

“Wow, your hair is frizzy!” he said cheerily.

He was right; in the rainy walk from the subway my hair had come out of its bun and was looking extremely “full-bodied.” I smiled feebly, and wandered away.

I was going to become a boring lawyer loser with frizzy hair and have a depressing boring life forever.

I walked out of the club into the night. Streetlights blurred, and the rain on my face mixed with tears. I lit a cigarette and kept walking. I was getting soaked, and crying, but I was also reveling in my indulgent misery. I felt like the star of a movie right before things really start looking up. The only thing I needed was a car to drive by and drench me in a wave. That didn’t happen, but I did drop my cigarette in a puddle.

“Ughhh,” I yelled to the empty street. I paused on the corner, under some scaffolding, to light another.

“Got a smoke?” I heard a deep, sensual voice say.  READ MORE

The Best Time Justin Bieber Made Me Cry

This post originally appeared on July 10, 2013.

I knew that teen culture had fully dovetailed with mainstream culture when my ex-boyfriend approached me at a bar to say that he'd heard that I met Justin Bieber and could I tell him about it, please?

I was so surprised that my ex knew who the Biebz was that I forgot to be surprised that he wanted to talk to me in the first place. I'd been pretty sure that only 12-year-olds were interested in the "celebrities" I interviewed. It was 2009: the Glee pilot was just about to air, that YouTube video of the wedding party dancing to "Forever" was the hottest thing on the internet, Obama had just been inaugurated, and Justin Bieber was not yet a given.

At the time, I was 22 and blogging for Seventeen, my first job out of college. I interviewed minor characters from CW and Disney shows (my favorite was the 30-year-old man who played Hannah Montana’s brother, simply because it was so nice to talk to an adult), and I wrote quizzes ("Which Twilight Guy/Harry Potter Hottie/Gossip Girl Guy Should You Date?"), a task I took very seriously, remembering how seriously I had once taken them.

Generally, I was living my 8th grade fantasy life, down to living in “an apartment just like the one on Friends” (in that it had brick walls) with my coolest friend from middle school, a girl who talked like Daria but looked like Jane. In the interest of re-entering the teen mind space, I wore my old too-short Forever 21 dresses with neon tights, listened to Taylor Swift’s Fearless on repeat, read all the Twilight books, convinced myself that Miley’s music was good, and wiki-ed the shit out of every low-level celebrity on my schedule.

On the early September day that I met Justin Bieber, I'd been doing this for a year, living off of free shampoo and cupcakes, and he was just another random singer being promoted by a major label. I didn’t even bother looking him up; I had a ton to do, and was covering the press event as my boss's favor to a publicist. I took the train down to the Nintendo store at Rockefeller Center. When I got close, I saw police tape and a crowd of anxious girls. I entered the horde and started pushing my way toward the door.

READ MORE