Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Guts, No Glory

Check out this article written about me for a journalism class at Hofstra University by Class of 2015's Rachel Carruthers! Thanks for telling my story, babe!

Greg Mania sporting his recent hair stencil art piece "We The People" during the recent election.
“It’s really important for me to inspire people to harness their inner freak,” said Greg Mania. Hofstra University’s blonde tall-haired fashion icon works the unispan like a runway and brings comedic relief via social media to the school’s stressed students. Senior Greg Michael Mania is a 21 year-old Mass Media Studies major, with a minor in German. His parents, Bogdan and Alicja Mania, “right off the boat” from Poland, had Greg and his brother, Andrew, after moving to Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

“No one believes that ‘Mania’ is actually my last name,” stated Mania, leaning back and brushing his long, yellow-blonde hair to its skyscraper-like shape. “My last name is actually spelled ‘M-a-n-i-a,’ but pronounced 'monyah.' Mania said he adapted his Polish last name into ‘Mania’ to fit his persona. “Bouncers think my ID is fake, ha!”

Jenn “Jinx” Ramirez, a close friend of Mania, said, “I consider myself very lucky to know both Greg Mania (pronounced Mania) and the elusive Greg Mania (pronounced Mah-nyah).” Ramirez believes that both “Mah-nyah” and “Mania” are “over-the-top and eccentric” but also “sweet, sincere, and genuine” people.

Mania has dyed his hair 13 times and concocts his outfits from thrift stores in NYC. “I like to cause a spectacle,” he said, pointing towards a bright pink, nail (yes, as in Home Depot nail) studded vest hanging over his bed in his dorm room.

“He’ll tell me an idea for one of his outfits and I’ll help him make it. That’s how we collaborate,” said Lizzy Goodrich, a fellow senior Hofstra student. She describes Mania as “gregarious…ironically.” His persona attracts reactions wherever he goes. Ramirez said, “My favorite (of reactions) is when complete strangers come to him and ask for pictures.”

Creative projects allow Mania to express who he is, as well as de-stress and relax. “Depression is in my mother’s family and my father’s family,” Mania said. He deals with the steady contest of depression everyday by doing what makes him most happy. After his first panic attack in summer of 2011 left him in bed for days, Mania has learned how to, “distract (himself) with work and creativity.”

Mania constantly reinvents himself realizing that it is a “blessing” to be able to do so. Goodrich said that she has seen him grow. “Greg was more reserved when I met him four years ago.” One day Mania wishes to get his father’s motto, “No guts, no glory,” tattooed on the inside of his left bicep in remembrance of his personal strength.

Mania’s parents are from Poland and sometimes question his edgy fashion sense. However, his mother is supportive of gay rights. “He’s not your stereotypical gay man,” said Goodrich. It's not a big discussion in his household and this has allowed him to truly become who he is. “I was bullied in high school not because I was gay, but because I was different.” Mania defined himself in high school as ‘bisexual,’ but when he came to Hofstra from his public school in New Jersey, he said he was, “out and about," followed by a sultry wink. 

“I want to have some type of creative control no matter what field I go into,” Mania said referring to what he wishes to do after graduating in May. He defines himself as a writer right of the bat. “My perception of the English language is very different from some people”. I like to make sure my personality exudes through my writing.” His blog, Le Caberet De Mania, is filled with write-ups on bands and witty commentary on New York City’s nightlife, as well as his daily life. “I wanna make sure that if there was no name, you could tell that it was written by me.”

In addition to writing, Mania also finds inspiration in, “the whole blending of music and image.” He says that if he could have a job at Rolling Stone by day and a job in New York City nightlife by night, he would be content. Mania takes his inspiration from, “the streets of the NYC,” as well as his, “friends…anyone who isn’t scared of being stared at.”

Everyone knows of him, yet few really know him. Mania is certainly not as shallow as his droll comedy. After a swig of Jameson Mania says, “If I can inspire that one girl who has been aching to wear that t-shirt that’s ripped up or make her lips a little redder or get her eyelashes a little longer or that one guy who’s been, aching to come out and wear ridiculous clothing…then I have done my job. At the end of the day you define beauty, not society. If it makes you feel good, that's all that matters."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Greg Mania Loves Boys, And Briana Layon & The Boys, And More Boys

Much like my previous music post, there's nothing that makes me smile more than hearing new jams from my friends. They go from my inbox to iPod faster than you can say MittRomneySucksABagofBurningDongs. The latest songs I've been the lucky recipient of were sent from my friends Briana Layon & The Boys, a heavy rock n'roll band comprised of three dudes appropriately dawning long hair and an eccentric front woman who storms the stage as audiences gaze in admiration and panic.

Briana Layon & The Boys. Photography by Ky DiGregorio

I was fortunate enough to hear a sneak peek of Briana Layon & The Boys' highly anticipated single "All Yours" along with a few other tracks entitled "Playing Dead" and "Rope" off their upcoming album Blood Words. It's like the sounds of all my favorite bands like The Runaways permeating through my speakers, rejuvenating the allegedly dead spirit of rock n'roll. The recently released song "All Yours" is a coy, playful head banger, fueled with infectious guitar riffs that's sure to be a crowd pleaser when performed live. "Playing Dead" is a powerful, blues based rock n'roll track equipped with a soulful vibrato with nods to Janis Joplin. If you're not listening to it with a glass of Jameson in your hand and a cigarette in your mouth, you're doing it wrong. "Rope" is a song that makes you feel like you're a high school sophomore who just discovered things happen after curfew.

Briana Layon & The Boys performing at Tammany Hall. Greg Mania fangirling. 

Capturing the spirit of Courtney Love and Cherie Currie, bold front woman Briana Layon packs a punch on stage. Listeners can't help but want to get up and head bang while this fiery rockstar saunters on stage adorned in ostentatious attire whipping her luscious blonde locks. Classically trained, her versatile vocal range goes from belting out her band's notorious melodic vocal lines to sultry blues records. Sonically reminiscent to AC/DC, The Runaways, Wolfmother, and Hole, this band injects a dose of badassery and rowdiness into the frivolous, overproduced music scene.

Briana has become a friend for life since I met her at a Rolling Stones tribute for their 1978 record "Some Girls" back in April.

So make sure you download their new single "All Yours" HERE and spread it like herpes. 

Also check out a video of Briana Layon & The Boys performing live: