A Selection of Dead New Yorkers That Living New Yorkers Need to Get Over

New York is a city of con artists, cutups, philanthropists, philosophers, overachievers, and dealmakers. Legends are made, by putting a name on a skyscraper or on Page Six. These are the stories of eight legendary New Yorkers, all of whom you should know, whose legends have been blown out of proportion. Their names are all over New York. They were the toast of society. They won prizes, inherited fortunes, created empires —— but at the end of the day, they hurt more than they helped. … Read More

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The History Behind New York City's Most Iconic Holiday Decorations

Visitors descend on New York City during the holidays to eat highly suspicious roasted chestnuts from food carts, take in the holiday storefronts along Fifth Avenue, and see some of the most iconic decorations in North America in and along Rockefeller Center.

Between Thanksgiving weekend and New Years Eve, you can view a slew of bigger-than-life-sized art exhibits simply by walking up Avenue of the Americas between 48th and 52nd Streets. The tradition started during the Depression and became solidified as an annual event in 1933 when the plaza at 30 Rock first opened. Since then, an array of decorations have been added to the plaza and now bleed out to the rest of the buildings in the Rockefeller Group, running along Sixth Ave. Some of the works out this year have been on display for decades, finding themselves the background scenery in movies and TV shows, while others are relatively new additions. … Read More

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11 Criminally Underrated Christmas Songs

The holiday season is in full swing and everywhere you go you’re admonished to roast chestnuts on an open fire, rock some jingle bells, admire the winter wonderland, and have yourself a merry little Christmas. As soon as Black Friday came around (and we’re being generous since the economic downturn dictated that this year the Christmas season needed to start immediately after Halloween) every store, public space, and street-corner Santa started blaring holiday music. What’s annoying about Christmas music is that playlists, from radio to retail, tend to be so tightly controlled that you only hear the same handful of classics over and over. As an alternative, we at Flavorpill would like to offer up some of the best overlooked Christmas songs. … Read More

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The Top 10 "It" Girls of the 1960s

Rudyard Kipling defined the idea of an “It” Girl, writing “It isn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just ‘It.’” By that measure, if you have “It” you never lose it. So, in celebration of the release of “It” Girl Marianne Faithfull’s new album Horses and High Heels, we offer Flavorpill’s 10 favorite 1960s “It” Girls. Between the fashion explosion that launched the age of the supermodel, the rise of Swinging London, and the lasting impression New Wave cinema had on commercial movies, there are dozens to choose from. Narrowing it down to only ten was hard, but the ones we’ve chosen have made a lasting impression and turned their “It” Girl status into legacies we still dissect. … Read More

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Adman vs. The Beatles: Who Drove ’60s Culture?

The world is in mourning that Mad Men won’t return this summer, so to fill that hole in your heart, we bring you a look at some of the great advertising advancements in the 1960s, as seen in the evolution of the definitive band of the decade, The Beatles. The Beatles encompassed both mass culture and counterculture, two concepts admen of the era tried to bring together to revolutionize how they sold everything from Pepsi to Virginia Slims to Nehru jackets. But did you ever wonder who was leading the charge: the admen or The Beatles?

In large part the advertising advances examined here are case studies in The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism by Thomas Frank — recommended reading for those hoping for spoilers about what happens when Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce finally trips into 1966 as well as those missing the insider’s look Mad Men offers into the culture of admen in that decade. … Read More

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'90s Hip Hop Icons and the Fall 2011 Looks They Could Be Wearing

When people talk about the ’90s being back they think of our recent infatuation with grunge, plaid, and spandex. But with the nods in Fall 2011 collections to utility coats, mannish outerwear, and even pajamas-as-daywear, what’s really back is ’90s hip hop fashion. We’ve paired nine of this fall’s looks with the hip hop divas who might well have inspired them. … Read More

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The Worst Christmas Albums of All Time: A Definitive List

Christmas time is here again, time for laughter, time for gin. If only that were how the lyrics to that song actually went, the holidays would be a lot more merry. At any rate, as you have no doubt already become aware, Christmas brings with it many obligations to buy gifts. And all that shopping brings you into close contact with any number of classic, terrible Christmas songs. But is “Wonderful Christmas Time” really as awful as it seems? Here at Flavorpill, we have taken it upon ourselves to find ten holiday albums so terrible they’ll make you appreciate “Last Christmas” for the gem that it truly is — at least, by comparison. … Read More

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10 Pivotal Moments in Band/Brand Relationships

In a recent New York Times article, Converse announced its plans to open a recording studio for struggling bands in Williamsburg. In the same piece, media critic Douglas Rushkoff pointed out that this is “just like the great painters… in the Renaissance, when it became impossible to sustain oneself as an artist without a patron.” This inspired us at Flavorpill to look back at the evolution of brand/band connections. Follow along as we trace the history, from early merchandising debacles to the present, when brands rely on artists to create a cool cache, while bands need brands’ financial support now that the record label system has come apart at the seams. … Read More

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Girl Bands and Their Male Svengalis: A History

Since the idea of an all-girl band first appeared in American popular culture back in the Jazz Age, with ladies-only orchestras (think Marilyn Monroe’s traveling band of misfits in Some Like It Hot), music historians have been putting them in the context of the more successful men around them — and often giving those men all the credit for their successes. The svengali mentality became especially prevalent during the days of ‘60s girl groups, when puppet master producer/manager/writers not only controlled the destiny of the girl groups in their stable, but owned the legal rights to them. While punk rock may have gender neutralized music, it didn’t stop us from contextualizing all-girl bands and their importance in terms of the men involved in creating them, writing their songs, or (re)discovering them. After the jump, we examine 10 girl bands and their relationship to the guys who were credited with their success. … Read More

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The Secret Life of Indie Rock in Second Life

The cornerstone of being an indie rock fan is having your taste in music constantly snarked on. The speed with which information is disseminated on the Internet has amplified indie snobbery and taken it one step further by giving everyone with an opinion a stage on which to express it. People go to music blogs, from Stereogum to Brooklyn Vegan, expressly to comment on bands selling-outs and to inform bloggers that their taste in music sucks. The newest, coolest thing changes literally from minute to minute. And the entire time that Mediafire and Last.fm have been growing in popularity with people who want to share their taste in music with friends, another internet indie cult has also been growing: a secret community of indie rock fans in Second Life. … Read More

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