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Art & Culture / New York Minute

Irina Lazareanu: Just a Kid from Canada

In New York Minute, Derek Peck catches up with artists, musicians and actors on their down time in New York City

Irina Lazareanu
Irina Lazareanu Photography by Derek Peck

This week in New York City is a busy one for Irina Lazareanu. Today is her birthday, and on Thursday she hosts a star-studded benefit – something she pretty much threw together on the fly. It’s a release event for Corduroy magazine and a benefit for Kiva.org, a charity that provides micro-loans around the world to help alleviate poverty...

This week in New York City is a busy one for Irina Lazareanu. Her birthday was on Tuesday, and today she hosts a star-studded benefit – something she pretty much threw together on the fly. It’s a release event for Corduroy magazine and a benefit for Kiva.org, a charity that provides micro-loans around the world to help alleviate poverty. Although the logistics were handled by event organisers, you can credit Irina for the main attractions. Can you imagine Pete Doherty and Sean Lennon jamming together on the same stage? Well, Irina can – and she can also call them both up and tell them to start rehearsing. They did so by emailing practice sessions back and forth across the Atlantic. However, getting Pete himself across the ocean proved more challenging. I think the hardest thing was getting Pete’s visa Irina says. When they asked if he’d ever had any infractions, we had to answer, um, well, yeah, like 27. Apparently, it’s harder for Pete Doherty to get into this country than most would-be terrorists, even though he’s only ever veered toward self-destruction, not mass-destruction. But that’s a whole other matter best left to the tabloids. Besides, Irina succeeded at getting him in. So it’s all set for Thursday, the hottest ticket in town.

Sitting in her Bowery apartment just a few days before the event, Irina tells me she has even more surprises in store––but that I’m not allowed to write about it. Do you still want to know who it is?” she asks temptingly. Of course I say yes. But, as promised, I won’t tell. Let’s just say I’m happy I’ll be there.

Although a famous model, muse, musician, “it” girl, “friend of Kate”, etc, etc, Irina considers herself mainly a writer, and laughs at all the clichéd labels that get attached to her. I write every day, she says. That’s what I do – poetry and spoken-word especially.” She holds up her notebook and leafs through the pages to show me volumes of verse, all scribbled down. For me, it’s all about words, she continues, whether as lyrics, spoken-word, whatever. I’m a storyteller, and I want to get my ideas and feelings on paper and communicate them in whatever way I can.

Moments later, she segues into a story about getting ready for Thursday’s show, the climax of which is this: there was this point when the boys were all rehearsing at the studio and Sean’s friend Harper was there [Harper Simon, son of Paul Simon], and so Paul comes over, and Yoko was there too, and everyone is just hanging out and jamming, exchanging ideas, and all of a sudden I had this vision of the scene from the outside and thought to myself, this is really crazy. I mean, I’m just a kid from Canada. I had to call my Dad. I said, Dad, you’re not going to believe this...

Irina Lazareanu plays today at Milk Studios in Manhattan with Pete Doherty, Sean Lennon, Adam Green, BP Fallon, and surprise special guests.

Derek Peck is a director, photographer and writer based in New York City.

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