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    Evan Mock Is Having the Best Time

    After a childhood of surfing and skateboarding on Oahu’s North Shore, the “Gossip Girl” star, party-circuit fixture and friend to many brands is making waves on the island of Manhattan.On a recent afternoon, Evan Mock was trying to do laundry in his East Village condo, but something was wrong with the dryer. Perturbed beeps cut through the retro-soul music playing in the airy third-floor walk-up. The machine kept starting and stopping. He mentioned a theory, something about excessive lint accumulation and a defective filter.Mr. Mock, 25, is probably best known for his role as the pink-haired, Park Avenue-raised, Tarkovsky-loving bisexual son of a right-wing media mogul on the HBO Max reboot of “Gossip Girl,” which returns for its second season on Dec. 1. But the downtown denizen has a lot of other things going on.A king of the “collab,” he has worked with brands including the Danish jewelry manufacturer Pandora and the Italian footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti. He has modeled for designers including Paco Rabanne and Virgil Abloh. His skateboarding prowess has landed him a hefty sponsorship from Hurley and an elusive spot on the Instagram grid of Frank Ocean. A few months ago he started a fashion line, Wahine, with the stylist Donté McGuine.He is a bona fide multi-hyphenate, a party-circuit fixture, an it boy, a man about town. Also, he has frosted tips now.Mr. Mock with his usual order at Madhufalla Organic Juice and Smoothie Bar on Mulberry Street: a shot of wheatgrass juice and a shot of ginger.Ryan Jones for The New York TimesDespite the hyper résumé, Mr. Mock is laid-back. Serene. As the light streamed into his apartment, he reclined by a floor-to-ceiling corner window. “Sometimes it’s too much,” he said, referring to the intense sunlight. “But I’m not complaining.”He took a swig of coconut water from a Tetra Pak. His feet were up. They were clad in last month’s limited release North Face x Paraboot shoes, the ones with the vulcanized rubber outsoles, matelassé full grain leather uppers and an elastic collar — a mule so exclusive that it was not even available for purchase. As the streetwear website Hypebeast reported: “Simply put, you cannot buy this.”Growing up, Mr. Mock often went around barefoot. Born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, his father put him on his first surfboard when he was 2 years old. “I caught my first wave before I could swim,” he said.He was home-schooled into his teenage years to accommodate peak surf hours. Around age 11, he also got into skateboarding. (“Pretty late,” he said.) By 16, he was making more than $15,000 a month from skateboarding sponsorships. He then moved to California to pursue what he called his “skateboarding dreams.” (He did air quotes around the words “skateboarding dreams.”)Hints of his modeling career were scattered throughout the tidy two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. On his kitchen counter sat a Louis Vuitton purse — a brand for which he walked the runway in 2019. In the corner of the living room, there was an overflowing Rimowa suitcase — the luxury German luggage maker for which he wrote, co-produced and starred in an online commercial last year. It shows Mr. Mock skateboarding through Manhattan donning a Rimowa cross-body messenger bag as he recounts, in a voice-over narrative, a whirlwind romance with a girl he met outside a club in Barcelona. Entranced by her beauty, he speaks of impulsively buying her a ticket to accompany him to Paris. But a lost passport, a brief stint in airport jail and six-hour flight delay put an end to the fling.Across the room, by a stack of shoe boxes, what looked at first like a regular McDonald’s Happy Meal box, was, upon closer inspection, a box of Cactus Plant Flea Market x McDonald’s collectibles from the streetwear label’s limited-run release. The figurines (originally retailing around $10) were reportedly listed on eBay for over $25,000, though the prices have since dropped significantly.Mr. Mock got up to clean his lint trap. “Let’s just get on some bikes,” he said.He puts a lot of mileage on his VanMoof e-bike. The day before, he rode uptown for a “Gossip Girl” A.D.R. (automated dialogue replacement) session, then back down to the Lower East Side to check out a Japanese whiskey bar he might invest in on Chrystie Street.“We could go to Curbs,” Mr. Mock said, referring to a section of Lafayette Street that has become popular among New York skateboarders for the many curbs afforded by its triangular layout.He started to get changed, switching his white T-shirt for a vintage dark gray Number Nine T-shirt. Above the chest pocket it had a small graphic of a speech bubble containing the word “cigarettes.” “It’s a Japanese brand that was illest back in the day,” Mr. Mock said of Number Nine. “Everyone in Japan knows what’s up.”Mr. Mock with Mr. Hiraga in Lower Manhattan.Ryan Jones for The New York TimesHe put on and then took off a hoodie of his own design, a boxy Wahine zip-up. On the front, the outline of a valentine heart surrounding a word that cannot be printed in The New York Times. “I drew it on my friend’s bathroom wall and then I took a picture of it,” he said of the design’s origin.He completed the outfit with a pair of dark-wash Palace jeans, Ambush edition Nike Air Adjust Force sneakers, a silver bomber jacket, a Palace hat and Isabel Marant sunglasses. Outside, he glided through Alphabet City on his next-gen smart-tech bike. As the scenery swept by, he kept one hand in the pocket of the unzipped bomber.Near the REI store, he swerved lithely across Houston Street to give a hello kiss to the photographer Gray Sorrenti, who happened to be passing by with the model-actress Blue Lindeberg. The chance encounter took place directly across from the 55-by-75-foot Calvin Klein billboard where, one year ago, Mr. Mock had appeared, smiling down at NoHo in nothing but black boxer briefs and thigh tattoos.The next stop was Madhufalla, a juice and smoothie bar on Mulberry Street. Mr. Mock ordered his usual: a ginger shot and a wheatgrass shot. “Sweeter than you’d think,” he said. He downed both in the store and ordered an açai berry almond milk smoothie to go.“Sometimes it’s too much,” Mr. Mock said of the intense sunlight in his New York apartment. “But I’m not complaining.”Ryan Jones for The New York TimesAround the corner, at Curbs, he fist-bumped a couple of acquaintances before taking a seat on a bench. Between sips of the smoothie, he talked about “Gossip Girl.” The original CW series, which ran from 2007 through 2012, was, he said, “before my time.” And when the showrunner of the HBO Max reboot, Joshua Safran, reached out to him about playing the part of Aki Menzies, Mr. Mock had never acted.“There were a lot of different firsts,” he said. “When I first read the script, I thought there was nothing more opposite than my actual life. In terms of living somewhere cold, going to a private school, all the drama.”He paused. Then picked up again: “It’s funny, because I never actually went to school. But the character is basically me — besides being filthy rich, going to a private school and living uptown in New York.”A game of eight ball at Ace Bar.Ryan Jones for The New York TimesOn his first day of filming, he had to take part in a sex scene with Emily Alyn Lind, the actress who plays his girlfriend. The inherently awkward situation had the added discomfort of taking place in September 2020. Between shots, the cast members wore K95 masks and plastic face coverings. During their downtime, the actors had to isolate in a room by themselves until they were called back to the set. “But, honestly, I’m kind of glad it happened like that, because we got the weird stuff out of the way,” Mr. Mock said. “Hopefully, everything from here on out will be a little bit quote-unquote normal.”He watched a skateboarder wipe out in front of the bistro Jack’s Wife Freda. Ms. Lindeberg, the actress and model, walked by again. This is something Mr. Mock loves about New York: “You basically have no option but to see homies everywhere you go,” he said. As if on cue, another friend, the actor Nico Hiraga, rode up on a skateboard, joined shortly by another skateboarding friend, George Hemp.“We could go play pool,” Mr. Mock suggested.Soon Mr. Hiraga and Mr. Hemp got Citi Bikes, and the group headed north. All three biked almost exclusively one-handed. The ride was punctuated by more run-ins. On St. Marks Place, Mr. Mock pulled over to hug his brand-deal agent, Jenelle Phillip, who was outdoor-dining at Cafe Mogador. On East 10th Street, at the edge of Tompkins Square Park, he stopped to chat with the skateboarding documentarian Greg Hunt, who was out with his camera, trying to take advantage of the good light. Mr. Mock said he had spotted other familiar faces in the 12-block journey, but he couldn’t pull over for everyone.It was early evening by the time he and his friends reached the Ace Bar on East Fifth Street. “Meet the Fockers” was playing on the TV screen above the Skee-Ball machine.“I love this movie,” Mr. Hiraga said, smiling. “I’m in my saga era.”A few feet from the pool table, a man stood contrapposto, beer in one hand, the other, adamantly on his hip. Mr. Mock said he tends to stand similarly, in a kind of half-akimbo pose. Skateboarders have a certain way of holding themselves — Mr. Mock offered the word “feminine” to describe it, but then agreed that it’s more about fluidity, or a specific grace that comes from being in a constant negotiation with gravity.He added that he has broken each arm three times. In one spill, he broke four fingers. What happens, he explained, is that you learn how to fall.Mr. Mock frequently travels through Manhattan by e-bike.Ryan Jones for The New York Times“If you watch skaters fall, it looks like Bruce Lee fighting water,” Mr. Mock said. “Falling in the same certain type of way, you get reflexes after a while. You can save yourself most of the time, but sometimes you can’t.”Is breaking bones scary?“It just comes with it,” he said. “You expect it.”He turned back to the pool table, adjusting his Palace jeans, which were more or less held up by a leather belt that he said he had gotten from “some random dude in Rome.” More

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    In ‘House of Us,’ Irina Brook Steps Out of Her Family’s Shadow

    At 60, and already a renowned theater maker, Irina Brook is rethinking her work and tackling the legacy of her famous parents: “I’m only just emerging from my cocoon.”RYE, England — A couple of years ago, the theater director Irina Brook became obsessed with shadows. She kept photographing her own, and filmed others moving around her.It was a transparent metaphor for the feelings she was working through, because Brook’s parents have cast a long shadow over her life and career. Her latest work, “House of Us,” which opens in Venice on Nov. 29, is dedicated to her mother, the English actress Natasha Parry, whose rich stage and screen career lasted more than six decades. As for her father? You may have heard of Peter Brook, one of the most influential theater directors of the past century, who died this year, in Paris, at age 97.Brook, 60, is only just coming to terms with her family history, by laying much of it bare in “House of Us.” In this immersive work, which will be staged over two floors at Casa dei Tre Oci, a Venetian palazzo turned art space, visitors wander through a series of rooms inspired by Brook’s life, and her mother’s.Some are dreamlike reinventions of Parry’s bedroom and dressing room; another is a close reproduction of Brook’s kitchen, furnished with her possessions. (She shipped her kitchen table to Venice for the production.) Actors appear in multiple rooms, and private mementos, including family albums and Brook’s diaries, are on display throughout, as well as Brook’s images of shadows, transferred on oversize Japanese-style scrolls.“I somehow realized how invisible and shadowed I felt for all my life,” Brook said recently in an interview. “I’m only just emerging from my cocoon, belatedly.”Brook followed in her parents’ footsteps from a young age — “blindly,” she said — first by taking up acting, then moving to directing. Her first production, a 1996 staging of Richard Kalinoski’s “Beast on the Moon,” was an instant hit, and led to a steady, decades-long stream of gigs on prestigious European stages. Then, three years ago, she had an epiphany: Theater was “the wrong business” for her all along, she said.A lot has changed in her life since then. Brook left the Théâtre National de Nice, a major playhouse in southern France that she had led since 2014. She rented a house near the south coast of England, with panoramic countryside views. And she plotted “House of Us” — a “permanent moving work in progress” that would be so “insanely personal,” she said recently, while sitting at her kitchen table before it was packed off to Venice, “that it becomes insanely universal.”“House of Us” features video projections, as well as scenes performed by live actors.Suzie Howell for The New York TimesThe audience in Venice will be free to roam between the Casa dei Tre Oci’s rooms.Suzie Howell for The New York TimesThe installation includes private mementos like family albums and diaries, and Brook’s images of shadows on scrolls.Suzie Howell for The New York TimesThe Venice version will be the third iteration of “House of Us,” which was shown in Palermo, Sicily, in 2021, and briefly in Britain this past summer. Each has featured different performers: In Venice, 11 actors, including 10 local drama students, will perform the roles of Brook’s family members as well as characters from several plays by Chekhov, whose “Cherry Orchard” Brook and Parry once performed together.“House of Us” is a rebuttal of the type of shows Brook made for decades: “narrative, normal theater,” as she called it, including stagings of classic plays by Ibsen and Shakespeare (who was, incidentally, the playwright most identified symbolically with her father). “After I became a director,” Brook recalled, “I thought: ‘I’m not going to try and do anything new or different, because my dad’s already invented all that. What’s even the point?’”Brook, who grew up between France and Britain, performed in some of Peter Brook’s productions, but she didn’t see much of her father as a child. “As a man and as a director of his time, he was single-mindedly working, and children were not part of that equation,” she said. “We were totally invited to come and sit on a Wednesday afternoon now and then, but we’d get into trouble if we got fidgety, or fell asleep.”Her mother was often gone, too. “I adored her, but I just never saw enough of her, for all my life,” Brook said. “All she wanted to do was to act.” Still, Parry struggled at times to get work, because she also lived under her famous husband’s shadow. “I even wrote a letter to her agent as a little girl, saying: ‘Why don’t you get my mummy more work? She’s the best and the most beautiful,’” Brook said.A rehearsal for “House of Us” in Venice.Serena PeaAfter leaving boarding school in England, and after a stint in New York City in the early 1980s, an undeterred Brook experienced a taste of her mother’s suffering as an out-of-work performer. She knew she was “not really very good,” and “not really meant to be an actress at all,” she said, but she stuck with theater.“I just had no concept that anything else could possibly exist,” Brook said. “I wish that someone, when I was 19 or 20, had said to me, ‘Go to art school, go to film school.’”Instead, starting in the mid-1990s, directing became an outlet for Brook’s childhood longing for family. “I just always wanted a big table with lots of people sitting at the kitchen table enjoying themselves,” she said. “My directorship was very maternal.”Brook has also directed her own daughter, the actress and musician Maia Jemmett, 20, in several productions, including “Romeo and Juliet” and the British version of “House of Us.” Her mother’s “main focus is on making the actors shine,” Jemmett said. In addition to performing leading roles in Brook’s productions as a teenager, Jemmett also appeared in Peter Brook’s “Shakespeare Resonance” in 2020. She described her mother’s directing style and her grandfather’s as “unbelievably different.” While “there wasn’t much laughter” in Peter Brook’s rehearsals, she said, “with my mom’s rehearsals, it’s like being a child again, playing and having fun.”Yet Brook said those rehearsals didn’t bring her quite as much joy. In the years after her mother’s sudden death from a stroke in 2015, she began feeling increasingly unhappy in the director’s role, she said. “It’s like when you hold a party,” she added. “What host ever has fun?”During a difficult run of Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt” in 2018, she reached a breaking point. “I went to see the show one night, and I just thought: ‘My god, they’re not my real family. Maybe they are just lovely actors,’” she said. “I think at one point I could not stand the fact that theater is so ephemeral.”“I somehow realized how invisible and shadowed I felt for all my life,” Brook said recently.Suzie Howell for The New York TimesBy then, she also knew she was unsuited to directing a “big, heavy” French playhouse like the Théâtre National de Nice, Brook said. “I went in like a revolutionary, innocent fool,” she said. She enlisted teenagers from local schools to revisit Shakespeare plays and in 2015, staged a festival focused on climate change. But there was little willingness to put in effect the structural changes she wanted, she said.Brook left Nice in 2019, without finishing her second term as the theater’s artistic director, and threw herself into collecting material for “House of Us.” The show’s first two outings, and the Venice run, are only the first part of the work; Brook calls this section “The Mother.” She plans two additional installments: “The Son,” which will focus on the loneliness of young people today, and “The Daughter,” inspired by Brook’s childhood in the French countryside.What about “The Father”?“That’s the million-dollar question,” Brook said, with a wry smile. Peter Brook was supportive of “House of Us” until his death in July, she said, but when asked if she felt a responsibility for his theatrical legacy now, Brook answered: “He was a light person, and he wouldn’t want that weight to go on now. His favorite saying was: ‘Hold on tightly; let go lightly.’”It took confronting some shadows for Brook to let go, but with “House of Us,” she is reclaiming her sense of self. “I feel like sort of a young artist,” she said. “Starting my life at last.”House of Us: Part 1 — The MotherNov. 29 through Dec. 11 at Casa dei Tre Oci in Venice, produced by Teatro Stabile del Veneto; teatrostabileveneto.it. More