While Hernandez appreciates the style of, say, punk prophet Patti Smith, he insists there’s no connection between the rock icons he admires and the clothes he makes. “They’re very different mediums,” he says of fashion and music. “It’s not like we’ve been inspired by someone’s specific look or a particular album cover, but we do love dressing the people we admire. Even that, though, is less about the young, ‘cool’ artists, and more about the older, iconic ones like Yoko Ono and Stevie Nicks.” Hernandez does, however, have his finger on the pulse of young, “cool” artists despite not getting to see many concerts. “I’m definitely not hardcore about catching shows,” he says, before a brief pause. “That’s a lie, actually. I see lots of shows—fashion shows.”
The Smiths’ “I Won’t Share You.” Morrissey is like a religion among many of my friends. I had a lot of “firsts” while listening to the Smiths, although some things shall remain private. I’ve never actually met Morrissey but I once met Madonna, which was pretty amazing. I ran into her at the Met Ball back in the day. We were both at the bar, and so I turned around and said something really stupid like, Hi, I wanted to say hi to you. She smiled—she was sweet—and then she walked away. I just stood there, like, Amazing.
She’ll never admit it, but Kate Bosworth is in the middle of a reawakening. You can hear the excitement in her voice, which trembles when she tells me about the movie she just finished shooting in Italy. “I got back yesterday after spending four weeks on this renegade production of a film on the island of Ischia,” she says from her home in Hollywood on a blistering afternoon in late July. “There were only six people in the crew, including myself. We’d mike ourselves at the hotel before going outside to steal shots all over the place. It’s a really interesting position to be in because you have to try to control the chaos while at the same time letting it reign.” Her longtime friend Kat Coiro directed the still-untitled project, which follows Bosworth’s character, a married writer, as she embarks on an affair with a younger man. It might never get a distributor, but that’s exactly the type of chaos Bosworth intends to embrace. “We just wanted to make something of our own.”
Heard’s spirit of activism—her official website is as devoted to gay rights as it is to her magazine covers—is a by-product of coming of age in Austin, Texas, amidst a wave of what she calls religious hypocrisy. Heard, a proud atheist, left home at 17 for Hollywood after dropping out of high school. “I felt very alienated,” she says of that time in her life. “I was not a religious person, and I didn’t think the things around me were righteous, even though that’s what they claimed to be. I felt compelled to go against the grain, so I took my GED, took my SAT, and I got the hell out of there.” It’s partly what drew her to her character in The Playboy Club. “You don’t know where she’s come from, and in many ways I relate to that, that alienated person against the masses. I don’t know how my character is going to grow, but I have a feeling I want to be there for her when she does.“
In the fall of 1996, when our inaugural issue first hit newsstands (probably a newsstand),BlackBook established its new name by publishing an all-black cover with a white rubber-stamp logo, the alphabet running down its right side. The magazine, obviously, wasn’t brought to life to make anyone money. Rather, it was designed to champion the underdogs of art, fashion, film, music, books, and nightlife. And it was, in its way, an art piece itself, created by a ragtag group—which is why we asked another ragtag group to reinvent the original BlackBook cover as an actual piece of art. Here, Adam Green, Curtis Kulig, David Shrigley, Eve Sussman, and Dustin Yellin reach back into the archives of a magazine that’s always had its gaze aimed squarely at the horizon.
It was on a mountaintop at the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, a health spa on Australia’s Gold Coast where cell phones are forbidden and kangaroos roam freely, that Joel Edgerton fell back in love with acting. Then a disillusioned actor who checked into the resort to luxuriate after a series of grueling film shoots, he was sitting atop a grassy peak, overlooking the canopy of green that stretched out before him, when suddenly he felt fulfilled by his craft. “I switched something on inside of myself that I used to have when I worked in theater,” he says. “I realized in that moment that I need to be fully in love with what I’m doing to get the best out of it.” That’s when his luck changed.
…Since its inception in the fall of 1996, BlackBook has undergone a number of facelifts and mood swings, but it’s always been a place where readers can find a sophisticated and sincere (although never too serious) take on culture, both popular and peripheral. Musician and friend Ryan Adams—whom I first met during a stunt that had him interning at our offices—put it best when he said we’re all just a “bunch of freaks and outsiders.” It’s a flag we proudly wave, even when our arms get tired.
And, believe me, they do. The only reason BlackBook still exists is because of the tireless work poured into it by creative and collaborative minds who deserve better pay and Sundays off. That none of us will get either anytime soon is a shame. But it’s also comforting, because it’s proof that we do this job because it inspires us, because it thrills us, and because we can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a passion—with a streak of insanity—shared by all of the formidable editors who held this post before me, and those who will undoubtedly hold it long after I leave.
Do I love this editor’s letter? No, I most certainly do not. Do I love this issue? You’re fucking right I do. Leaf through it, if for no other reason than to relish the Grecian beauty of cover stars Alexander Skarsgård and Kate Bosworth, or the hilarious idiocy of Dionysian butt-buddies Paul Rudd and Adam Scott. I hope there’s something for you here, not just because a lot of people missed a lot fun parties putting it together, but because we photographed Ladyfag sitting half-naked on a pool table. For better or worse, our collective heart beats for this magazine, which has become our home—even if that home is a crowded, chaotic, asbestos-ridden lair with a fickle air conditioner.