Friday, January 31st, 2014
2

Inside Balochistan With Willem Marx

Signed copies of Balochistan at a Crossroads, by Willem Marx and Marc Wattrelot, are available directly from the authors via Paypal. You can get plain old unsigned ones via Amazon in the U.S.

"I was supposed to fly to Afghanistan today but my body armor didn't arrive in time," was something Willem Marx said to me one of the first times we met. He says things like this on a not infrequent basis. Marx currently works at Bloomberg TV and has reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uzbekistan, the Arctic Circle, and other less trodden parts of the world.

In 2009, he spent time [...]

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50

I Was Paid $12.50 An Hour To Write This Story

I didn't know what I would get paid to write this article. I didn't ask. It doesn't matter. It won't make a tangible dent in paying the rent on my apartment in Brooklyn, or, for that matter, rent on an apartment in any other city. By the time I finish the research, the interviews, the writing, and the editing, whatever small sum—$30, $125, $200—this site pays me will pale in comparison to the effort. It's not "worth it" in a traditional monetary sense. I'm doing it for exposure (maybe hire me?), because I'm interested in the topic, and because it's immediately relevant to my so-called career as a [...]

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5

"Moby Dick": The Game

I met Joel Clark and Tavit Geudelekian in Joel's Bushwick loft. They were talking, as people so often do in these situations, about a work of great literature. Joel's well-worn copy of Moby Dick was on the coffee table, next to an Apple laptop. The computer was displaying images from the card game that they have developed based on the novel. It is called "Moby Dick, or, The Card Game."

They created the project with Andy Kopas, Mark Perloff, and John Kauderer. Today it went live for fundraising on Kickstarter, with a goal of $25,000. The game mechanics combine luck and skill, much like a 19th century whaling [...]

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19

How Did You Get There, Vegan Fashion Designer Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart?

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart is an animal lover with an entreprenurial spirit who founded a vegan fashion line. Vaute Couture is finding success—recently opening its first brick-and-mortar store in Williamsburg—but the founder quit her Ford Modeling contract and her MBA program, worked 80-hour weeks, and had to reinvent the female dress coat in order to get to this point. Over iced coffees, Hilgart talked about talked about unusual fashion, unusual work, and business as usual.

How did you end up with a vegan fashion line. Are you a fashion person or an animal person first?

Since I was eight, I've been raising money and awareness for animals. I would [...]

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3

The 2006 World Cup With No Game Plan

Part of a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.

When we were planning a trip to the 2006 World Cup—and, as you'll see, I use "planned" in the loosest sense of the word—I did not picture a friend and me sleeping in a ball pit at the base of a slide in a kid's play area on an overnight ferry steaming from northern Germany to southern Sweden. There were four, sometimes five, of us on the trip. We were a year out of college and more or less broke, so we decided to save money by not paying to sleep anywhere. I expected some strange [...]

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3

How'd You Get There, Standup Comic Kate Wolff?

Kate Wolff always knew she was funny, but when her classmates growing up told her she was going to be on "Saturday Night Live," she laughed and informed them she wanted to be a teacher. Well, life is funny sometimes. Teaching wasn't the dream job Wolff envisioned, and although she still teaches middle-school art, she's trying to make it in the brutally tough New York standup scene. In the basement of the Village Lantern where she produces a weekly show, Wolff talked about getting paid, incorporating her son into her act, and the process of toughening up for the stage.

How did you get here?

I went to college [...]

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5

How'd You Get There, Christopher Hollowell Of Dun-Well Donuts?

Dun-Well Donuts, a shop founded by Christopher Hollowell and his friend Dan Dunbar, sits just off the Montrose L stop in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Every day, the pair offer an array of different vegan donuts (flavors rangefrom Tangerine Basil to Maple Bourbon), and they currently make every single one themselves. The shop opened last year. Hollowell was on his way to a postbac program at Columbia when he and Dunbar decided to drop everything and make donuts. Earlier this year, the New York Daily News called them the best doughnuts of 2012. Over a blueberry frosted one, Hollowell talked to me about the decisions involved in opening the [...]

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2

How'd You Get There, Dancer Audrey Ellis?

Audrey Ellis grew up on a fruit farm in western New York dreaming of being a dancer. She moved to Brooklyn five years ago after graduating from Goucher College with a degree in dance and philosophy, and joined a dance company while also working as a freelance instructor. She enjoyed the cycle of performing and teaching, performing and teaching, but something was missing. Enter the farm. A few years back, Ellis and her friend Sarah Capua formed a dance company called A+S Works and decided to host a weekend-long dance festival on Ellis' family's land. The first event was a success, as was the second, and so the festival [...]

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3

The Tribeca Film Festival's New Artistic Director Made a Career Of Watching Movies

The Tribeca Film Festival starts today, and at its helm this year is Frédéric Boyer, who is something of an accidental artistic director. All the Parisian ever wanted to do was watch films. He even skipped his schoolboy exams to screen a flick. That obsession—viewing five, six, seven movies a day—led to a job at Videosphere, the Paris store with over 60,000 titles, which in turn resulted in a gig programming the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. Now, he finds himself programming the New York festival. The career path is accidental, perhaps, but he's hardly unprepared. "It's the life I choose because I don't want my work to stop at 6:30 [...]

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4

How They Got There: A Conversation With Wilderness Therapist Brad Reedy

Brad Reedy grew up surfing in Orange County. He originally planned to be an English teacher, but a chance internship pushed him toward the practice of wilderness therapy instead. With a few colleagues, Reedy launched Second Nature, a treatment group dedicated to helping troubled preteens, teens and young adults. Four years ago, he stepped back from the therapy side to focus on outreach and growing the organization, which now has four sites in three states. As the face of the company, Reedy travels 130,000 miles a year. We met on one of his recent trips to New York.

How did you get here?

During my graduate work at Brigham [...]

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11

Oh Bituminous Blast! At Midtown's 'Magic' Gathering

Remember Magic: The Gathering? It was a game very popular in the '90s, and if you were like me, you may have spent hours in your bedroom, the sounds of Nirvana or Soundgarden bouncing off the walls around you, flipping through your cards. But then it might have gotten too expensive (a pack of 15 cards went for something like five bucks then, which doesn't sound like much except you were 16, had virtually no income and always needed more, more, more cards to compete)—or maybe you just moved on. But if you didn't know, the game has been enjoying a recent resurgence, and if you need proof, you [...]

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4

How They Got There: A Conversation With Chiropractor Bill Walsh

Bill Walsh will openly admit that his many former bosses were justified when they fired him. He was "arrogantly unfit," and is not shy about telling tales of his, shall we say, youthful misadventures. Eventually, Walsh righted himself, joined a recovery program, went to chiropractic school, and started a practice in Park Slope. He's been treating people there for the past 25 years.

At Plaza Center for the Healing Arts, Walsh combines his talent for manipulating the spine with an encyclopedic knowledge of anatomy, the body's relationship to itself, and a homeopath's understanding of drugless cures. He enables his patients to make themselves better. "My job is to place [...]

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3

How They Got There: A Conversation With Poetry Teacher Marty Skoble

Marty Skoble sits in his office surrounded by the words of his students. Recently, one of his charges slipped a note under his door that read simply, "Waves look like white horses." That is not the most advanced of similes, but consider the context: The uncertainty of the pensmanship suggests that the anonymous writer was in his or her first decade.

Skoble started teaching poetry at Brooklyn's Saint Ann's in the 1980s. More than 30 years later, the balding, bearded gentleman who speaks with the thoughtful cadence of a lifelong educator is an institution, meeting with every lower school student once a week and 400 children in total. In [...]

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5

How They Got There: A Conversation With Author Robert Sullivan

Robert Sullivan is almost certainly the only man in the country with a holiday greeting card from Anna Wintour on his fridge and a bestseller about rats on his resume. The former exists because of his 20-year gig as a contributing editor at Vogue; the latter comes as a result of the year he spent observing and chronicling the urban creatures as they lived their lives in an alley near Ground Zero.

In the Brooklyn apartment he shares with his preschool teacher wife and two teenage kids—one who recently took off for college with most of his father's drum set in tow—Sullivan explained how a life spent crisscrossing [...]

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2

How They Got There: A Conversation With Artist Duke Riley

Duke Riley postponed our first interview because he was freight-train hopping across the country. The Rhode Island School of Design- and Pratt-trained artist needed to be in San Francisco for meetings so he and a friend worked their way west. They made it, eventually.

Jumping on trains is usual behavior for someone who lives a highly unusual life. Riley moved to Brooklyn in 1997 and meandered his way into the city's art world by doing his own thing. He threw parties in abandoned buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront, made art, and ended up owning a tattoo parlor, essentially by accident. Jerry Saltz credited the 38-year-old as [...]

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4

How They Got There: A Q&A With Rooftop Farmer Annie Novak

It was raining when I met Annie Novak. One wave of the torrential stuff had already passed—although more would come later as part of a record-breaking 24-hour period—but a steady drizzle was still falling as she showed me around Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a 6,000-square-foot space on top of a converted Greenpoint warehouse. The view of the East River and the Manhattan skyline was stunning. The peppers looked bright and plump as water dripped off them onto the dirt/gravel/compost mix that makes their beds. For the past three years, Novak has run the farm, growing vegetables, teaching kids through a partnership with Growing Chefs and refining her business [...]

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9

How They Got There: A Q&A With Uber-Career Hopper Paul Hoffman

Paul Hoffman's career is long and varied. He ran Discover when he was 30, published a bestseller when he was 44 and opened a restaurant, Rucola Brooklyn, ten years later, which is where I met him recently for a drink. For the past decade, Paul's bounced from project to project, writing, consulting, editing, moviemaking and more. At one point, Michael Douglas called him and asked if he would fly to Los Angeles to help make a movie character "smarter." Yet while the details of his story are unique, the unexpected turns of his career path are not. In the new world, smart people find themselves bouncing from job [...]

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9

Can Women's Soccer Survive In America?

On June 23, Landon Donovan paused America with his 91st minute goal against Algeria. The strike sent the United States national team into the second round of the 2010 World Cup, landed the midfielder on the back page of the New York Post, and spawned wild celebrations in bars across the nation. It launched the men's team into the spotlight.

Eleven years before there was Donovan, there was Brandi Chastain. And, yes, her sports bra.

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