It’s not every day you see an Academy Award-winning actress, a Top Chef, a hardcore punk singer, and a drag queen sitting at the same table watching two transgendered dancers battle it out in heels.
But that’s what happened at the W New York Union Square this week, when Jennifer Hudson, joined by Padma Lakshmi, Courtney Love, and Lady Bunny, among others, judged a voguing dance-off.
It was the city’s first look at Turn It Up For Change, a new initiative from W Hotels and the Human Rights Campaign, with Jennifer Hudson as the program’s ambassador. Each month, W hotels across the country will host concerts and DJ parties promoting marriage equality in the United States.
Actress Blake Lively's latest endeavor is Preserve, a lifestyle website that is also a deeply personal venture. The site brings to life her passions—philanthropy, commerce for beautiful American-made discoveries, and the human story. T+L's Gabrielle Blitz talks to the star and learns about Lively's take on New Orleans, U.S. artisans, and family.
Q: Tell me about Preserve—where did the idea come from?
A: When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living—what kid does? But I knew that I wanted to do something like my mom. She is one of the most creative, innovative people that I’ve ever encountered. That opened up a possibility for me—there weren’t really any limitations [for my mom]. She would always make the impossible happen.
Ryan Blaney is one of the up-and-coming drivers on the NASCAR circuit, now in his third year with Team Penske. And if you were going to take driving advice from anyone, wouldn’t it be a 20-year-old kid who wears fireproof underwear and tends to drive aggressively at 200 mph? So would we!
Blaney is making the media rounds on behalf of Hertz and its new 35-point Certified Clean & Safe inspection program. Not that we wanted to talk about that. We wanted some driving tips!
Q: Is it difficult to make the mental shift from NASCAR to highway driving? A: It’s hard to switch off going from driving a racecar to driving your personal vehicle on the highway. It’s very difficult for me, like after a race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway.
Long before he agreed to take over as host of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert was just another Charleston boy—swimming, fishing, and skateboarding down the quiet streets of what he recalls as a “sleepy Southern town.” Today, the South Carolina city is still one of his favorite vacation spots. Read on for Colbert’s down-home haunts.
Stay: Growing up, Colbert helped his mother run a now-defunct B&B in their house in the South of Broad neighborhood. “Back then, if I booked a guest, I got ten percent. A kid could have a whole weekend of fun on fifteen bucks.” Hotels he remembers from boyhood: theFrancis Marion Hotel($)—with views of the harbor—and 1853’sMills House Wyndham Grand Hotel($).
Antico Caffe della Pace, an Art Deco landmark off the Piazza Navona, has been the place to spot celebrities since the 19th century. (Woody Allen and Coppola, among others, have used the café as a film location.) A recent plan to close the café was quashed by a number of petitions supporting the “historic and cultural monument.”
Peripatetic actress Toni Collette—doing her second turn on Broadway this month—tells T+L about some of her favorite places.
“The writing is so smart and beautiful,” says Toni Collette about Will Eno’s dark comedy The Realistic Joneses, in which she shares the stage with Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei, and Michael C. Hall. “He captures life, warts and all.” Smart, beautiful, and at times unflinching are also ways to describe the actress—and her travel m.o. Here, Collette’s secret address book:
Off-the-Radar Trek: “I once fled the Toronto Film Festival to meet a boyfriend in Kathmandu. Sleeping under the stars, white-water rafting, playing soccer with local kids—it was all unforgettable. The only challenge was the leeches!”
I love little towns with histories: quirky, literary, musical, genteel, revolutionary. Dockery Farms in Cleveland, Mississippi, is the plantation where Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Patton, and all the blues guys worked. At night they’d play on the porch of a little juke joint. The music that came out of there is incredible. My dad was three when his family moved to Dyess, Arkansas, a colony created for poor families during the Depression. When I was 12, my dad took us for a visit. I couldn’t believe he’d grown up there. I’ve said no to almost all the Johnny Cash projects that have come across my plate, but when Arkansas State University bought the house and told me they wanted to restore it, I said, yeah, I’ll get involved.