August 31 2014

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2 posts tagged "Darrell Hartman"

It’s a Jungle Out There


Maiko Kyouka in Kyoto, JapanReaders of are well acquainted with the name Darrell Hartman. He began covering the New York party scene soon after moving to the city in 2005. Despite the late nights and early mornings—Hartman has never missed a deadline—he’s been reporting about travel for other pubs all along. Earlier this year, with his film-producer brother Oliver, he launched Jungles in Paris, a travel Web site that is a contemporary answer, of sorts, to National Geographic, with top-notch photography, short films, and Hartman’s own thoughtful writing. Tomorrow night, they’re hosting a salon at Hecho en Dumbo on the Lower East Side, where, in addition to tequila, they’ll be serving up a photo and film presentation. Here, Darrell talks about his new project and gives an exclusive preview of the site’s latest story on Kyoto’s geisha culture.

I love the name Jungles in Paris; where does it come from?
It’s a reference to Henri Rousseau, who was an early-twentieth-century painter in Paris. He was a guy who did these fabulous jungle scenes, and yet he never left France. He was a total outlier that the surrealists later got into because he was such an oddball. We liked the idea of bringing the wide, exotic world to you in a salon-type environment.

And what was the genesis of the site?
My brother, Oliver, has a video production company, and I’ve done travel writing for years. He wanted a platform, something to own, and I did, too. We wanted to create a forum for stories about travel that isn’t too tied to the news cycle, that’s about timeless things, special things that we uncover around the world. Last fall, we decided it was something we wanted to launch and started reaching out to friends of friends—photogs and filmmakers. It was a gradual process, and we launched in May.

What makes a story a Jungles in Paris story?The main thing for us is that it be tied to a place. It comes down to geography in a big way. Also, we’re always looking for something that’s surprising, that’s a discovery. Something that hasn’t generated headlines or appeared in a fashion magazine. Also, it’s told in a way that’s compelling visually. We’re in a time when there’s a lot of video content out there that’s shot on the fly, and we’re going in the opposite direction. We want things to be carefully done, with old-school documentary values. I’m writing all the copy at the moment, and I’m spending more time in the New York Public Library than I have since I moved here in 2005. There’s a meticulous approach to telling these stories. Continue Reading “It’s a Jungle Out There” »

The Pheelgood Performance of the Year

------- contributing editor and party reporter Darrell Hartman circles the city and, occasionally, the globe in the line of duty. In a new column, he reports on the topics—whatever they may be at whatever given moment—that are stirring the social set.

Earlier this summer, I became a doctor. Not any old doctor but Dr. Goodpheel, a character in Kalup Linzy‘s wacky online soap opera, Melody Set Me Free. I was in this season’s first and second episodes, and the thrilling finale just went live. I met Kalup last year, at a Chanel dinner for the Tribeca Film Festival. After that we’d say hi at art parties, and next thing I knew we were shooting scenes together in his collector and socialite Stacy Engman’s art-filled Soho pad.

Melody is a hilariously tangled web of storylines, but you don’t have to follow them all that closely to enjoy it. “I try to frame the stories so people can just come in anywhere and have something to pick up on,” Kalup told me by phone the other day from California’s Headlands Center for the Arts, where he’s doing a summer residency. The subplot I’m in involves music-industry legend KK Queen, one of about a half-dozen characters expertly played (in drag) by Kalup. A jealous rival shoots KK Queen in the—well, let’s just say in a very sensitive spot—and he goes into a coma. Being a compassionate and responsible doctor, I keep a close eye on her recovery. Maybe too close an eye, in fact. And things get interesting…

As everyone on the show does, I lip-synched to dialogue written and pre-recorded by Kalup. Unfortunately, this doesn’t entirely mask the fact that my acting skills haven’t evolved since I played Scrooge in fifth grade. Nonetheless, I can now boast that I’ve shared an acting credit with Natasha Lyonne and January LaVoy of One Life to Live—and potentially even James Franco, with whom Kalup has collaborated plenty of times before. (Melody airs on Franco’s Web-TV site.)

Kalup grew up in Central Florida watching tons of Guiding Light. With his catchy tunes and love of divas, he’s been a natural fit for the fashion world. Proenza Schouler—for whom he’s made music videos starring Chloë Sevigny and Liya Kebede—and Diane von Furstenberg are among his fans. (Kalup told me Sevigny demurred when he asked her to act in Melody: “She says she don’t like to lip-synch.”) And he’s sure to make a splash with that crowd again in September, when he performs at the opening of the Met’s big Regarding Warhol exhibition.

Also in his future: Frieze in October, and convincing Cindy Sherman (an obvious inspiration) to play one of his many ingenious characters. She’d certainly be a step up from yours truly.

Photo: Courtesy Photo