Somewhere between Brooklyn hipster and leading man falls Matt Burns (though he would wince if he heard us call him either). When we visited his Bushwick loft, the day after his birthday party, Matt looked inexplicably perfect for a guy who’d just rolled out of bed. Between stories of building his owns salsa company and the difficulties of backyard gardening, he mixed Michelada’s while his girlfriend cooked up a batch of crepes. He made sure we took some of his Brooklyn Salsa home with us. It was actually pretty good.
How would you describe the way you dress?
As much punk rock as migrant farm hand. I have staple pieces and a very small wardrobe. Denim, leather, organic cotton tees. I wear clothes for a few days at a time and rarely take off my jeans. I live in my wardrobe.
Who are your style icons?
Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. Jean Louis Barrault for his casual, intellectual style, his movement clothes. Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood on horseback, Sam Shepard. Serge Gainsbourg or Leonard Cohen for evenings. Samuel Beckett when I’m smoking and reading.
Most memorable/bizarre audition outfit?
I went full drag to tape for Powder Blue which came out last year with Forest Whitaker and Patrick Swayze: a Spanish transvestite hooker on heroin looking for love in all the wrong places. My ex-girlfriend dressed me and did my make-up, I went wig shopping, all that.
Worst costume piece you’ve ever had?
Worst or Best, we’ll see. Chris Abbott and I have an episode of Criminal Intent coming up in which I lead an underground vampire coven in modern day NYC. We based the costumes off of Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Suspenders and excessive sexual appetites. I died my hair black to shoot and then shaved my head and took off for Central America to recollect.
Items you won’t take off this summer?
I bought a Nudie Denim Jacket straight off the runway this season and stitched a handmade patch with my bands name onto the back. “Poorsports,” spelled huge with wall paint. I’m really excited about it. Someone can peel me out of it after the disastrous summer I’m about to have. I also picked up a Skingraft Los Angeles Holster that I’m wearing underneath a lot. I like pockets. My WWII Zippo will also be in my pocket.
Favorite store no one has heard of?
Haegle’s Western Wear in my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. When I was 15 I’d get tight Wrangler, polyester, pleated pants and cowboy boots from there. Then I’d rock ripped t-shirts of bands I’d seen play in basements and garages. Some of my friends in the Midwest still have way better style than you. And bigger beards too.
I have a Mountain Range tattooed across my abs. It’s 20″ long and 6″ high, big, and all black. I’ve had it for a long time. It represents the journey as destination, it represents vision and knowledge. My next tattoo is going to be circular wave frequencies of my voice on my forearm. Maybe a couple teardrops.
Boxers, Briefs or other?
Boxer Briefs for the city. Nothing for Brooklyn.
What are you working on now?
I’m Co-Founder of The Brooklyn Salsa Company, launching June 1st in NYC. We have a salsa flavor for each borough. Organic, Local, Direct Trade, the highest quality product on the market. Period. My first novel, Lonely.Lonely. will be released this summer. I’m recording an album with my Punk band, PoorSports. Current Film Projects: The Lion and The Bull, and Jonathan. Upcoming Television: Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The Good Wife. Upcoming Theatre projects: Osama the Hero, Nocturne. And then maybe I’m moving to Paris. Fuck this shit.