Posts Tagged: Interviews
8

Death of a Denim Wizard

A couple of years ago, I went to get my jeans mended at a store in my neighborhood called Kill Devil Hill. It mostly sold New-Old Brooklyn tchotchkes—nice soaps, pharmaceutical brown bottles, fancy combs—but in the back of the shop was a tiny denim repair business. When I mentioned being embarrassed about the crater-sized holes in the crotch, the person behind the counter told me that, actually, crotches on jeans fail all the time; most jeans, if they fail, fail in the crotch. Since the repairs are cheap—twenty dollars or so—there’s a small army of people walking around with mended, reinforced, double-strength, nearly indestructible crotches.

So last week, [...]

2

A Novel for the End of the (Publishing) World

Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, will launch next week as one of the most pre-ordered debuts in the history of the publisher Little, Brown. It has become, in recent weeks, an unintentional emblem of the war that Amazon is currently waging on Little, Brown’s parent company, Hachette, as the focus of a campaign by Stephen Colbert to “not lick [Amazon’s] monopoly boot” by pre-ordering it from independent bookstores. In some ways, it’s a fitting choice, since it tells the story of a couple, Frida and Cal, making their way in the world after the collapse of society as we know it. But it’s about much more—love, marriage, [...]

3

The Man Behind Tech's Most Captivating Tweets

As the New York Times's State of the Art columnist, Farhad Manjoo occupies the tallest perch in mainstream tech journalism. He's a lucid writer and extremely affable—both strikingly rare charms in tech writing. More importantly, though, he produces one of the most oddly compelling Twitter feeds in media, a stream of straightforward commentary ("But voicemail. Of the things that have been said to be dead and really are — voicemail is one") punctuated by bracing naiveté ("Are there real people who live/work in live/work lofts? I don't believe it") and borderline absurdist snippets of everyday life ("I am eating an unexpectedly delicious Chipotle burrito. Really well done on [...]

9

Murder In Los Angeles

I have one spiritual ritual in my life: every morning I check the Los Angeles Times' Homicide Report blog to learn who was killed in Los Angeles County while I slept.1

The Homicide Report addresses two questions every newspaper covering a major metropolis should answer: who was killed last night, and why? But most newspapers don’t do this because the logic of most newsrooms is that not all murders are sexy, grisly, or surprising enough to be written about. The Homicide Report operates on the inverse principal: Every murder gets a story because murder is inherently worthy of our attention.2

The Homicide report is anchored by a [...]

8

They're Watching You On Email, On Reddit, On The Phone, At The Mall. What Are You Going To Do?

In addition to her work on privacy at ProPublica, Julia Angwin's Dragnet Nation is available today wherever booksellers are spying on you.

Amazon

McNally Jackson

Powell's

B&N

An independent bookstore near you

You are being tracked. Besides comprehensive government spying, there are hundreds of data brokers compiling and selling information about you: Phone records, texts, phone location, computer location, web history, social networking use, background checks, credit history and now even entrance to some retail stores, with facial recognition linking you to your online data.

Julia Angwin, a reporter for ProPublica who was on a Pulitzer-winning team [...]

0

"Essential Transgression": New Fiction Writers In Afghanistan

The Gifts of the State and Other Stories: New Writing from Afghanistan is available by any means in which you might prefer to receive books.

From the publisher

McNally Jackson

Amazon and Kindle

Indiebound

Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]

2

Also Included In The Teaches Of Peaches Is This Music Documentary

If you've ever wanted to know how a nice Jewish girl like Merrill Nisker became Peaches, the new feature film slash documentary "Peaches Does Herself" won't exactly connect the dots for you.

If you'd like to see Peaches and her Fatherfucker Dancers reenact her rise to fame—complete with a giant bed that looks like a vulva, dancers in pink zentai that are orgiastically unzipped, and a surgery gone awry, then Peaches Does Herself offers all of that and more. Besides Peaches and her dancers, "Peaches Does Herself" stars Sandy Kane, of New York City public access fame—she's a former stripper in her sixties who wields a dildo [...]

2

An Interview with Black Metal's Green Prophet (of Doom)

Alan Weisman's 2007 The World Without Us is a lushly bleak non-fiction vision of apocalyptic utopia—a scientific extrapolation of what would happen if all the people on earth disappeared, all at once. Our parasites and dependents would die; carnivores would thrive; trees would push their way up through the asphalt; bridges would fall; nuclear power plants would fail, spilling radiation into the countryside, poisoning the land for millennia; plastics would be everywhere, virtually forever; and the earth would go on.

I asked Otrebor, the one-man force behind the black metal, green freak band Botanist, if he'd ever read Weisman's book. He said he hadn't, but that hasn't stopped him [...]

4

Premaking 'Transformers 4,' the Blockbusterest Film of Our Age

On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.

That's the focus [...]

6

How "Adventure Time" Came To Be

Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words.

The heroes of Adventure Time—a boy in a white helmet named Finn, and his shape-shifting mutant dog/adopted brother, Jake—spend their [...]

1

How Can Unions Win?

Kevin Bacon’s new video imploring millennials to raise their 80s awareness did not mention Billy Bragg’s 1986 song “There Is Power in a Union,” but the idea that there is any power in a union probably seems as remote to many millennials as parachute pants or the White Pages. Actually, this is probably true of anyone born after about 1965. It’s been a long time since we have thought that most workers can realistically be something other than lone and lonely individuals forced to accept whatever terms of employment they can find and hope not to get fired.

Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity [...]
2

The "Liquid Sky" Sequel Is Coming: A Chat With The Director Of The Best Film About New York

A terrific update to this interview: After publication, director Slava Tsukerman clarified that, in Liquid Sky 2, the brilliant Anne Carlisle will return in the role of Margaret.

Liquid Sky is one of the most visually ambitious films ever made about fashion, heroin, New Wave clubs, UFO saucers, ordering Chinese food and having them put it on your tab, the Empire State Building, androgyny, neon and tin foil. The 1982 cult classic may be the perfect embodiment of camp. Unlike contemporary low-budget cinema, which prizes an aesthetic of apathy, Liquid Sky makes its efforts visible. Judgmental fashion reporters cackle straight into the camera. Catwalk scenes take place [...]

6

Why Can't We Really Care About Climate Change?

There is a passage early on in McKenzie Funk’s book, Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, that ticks through so many world-gone-crazy anecdotes that maybe aren’t but probably are related to a changing climate that the mind boggles. Drought-crazed camels would soon rampage through a village in Australia, a manatee would swim past Chelsea Piers in New York City’s Hudson River…. Armadillos were reaching northeast Arkansas. Wolves ate dogs in Alaska. Fire consumed fifty million acres of Siberia. Greenland lost a hundred gigatons of ice. The Inuit got air-conditioning units…. In retrospect, this was the moment that we began to believe in global warming—not in the abstract science [...]

6

The World's Most Terrible Alarm Clock And Other Intentionally Uncomfortable And Hilarious Objects

When Lydia Cambron was tasked with interpreting the word ‘ruffle’ for a group show at Portland’s White Box Gallery this summer, she started thinking about daily disruptions. Outside of the tech world, disruptions usually have negative connotations—a flat tire, a stain on a white shirt, a smashed iPhone case. But Cambron, a Portland-based industrial designer, prefers to think of these disruptive ruffles as beneficial. She believes that being aggravated, pained even, can force us to address our more deep-seated anxieties and insecurities. Once you can wrap your head around accepting, and even appreciating, discomfort, imagine three products that facilitate it. That’s the idea behind Twice Daily, Cambron’s three-pronged [...]

1

The Pull

I interviewed Saul in 2011 for a project about sex addiction that never came to fruition, at least in the form I had originally envisioned. A sixty-something native of Bensonhurst, he had the most delicious speaking voice, which I dare describe as a potion of equal parts Jewish, gay, and old-school Brooklyn. But it was his untapped authorial voice that moved me to develop our conversation into a monologue, unburdened by an interviewer's questions, and strung together into a reflection on the intersection of sexuality, religion, and identity in the 1960s and 70s.

I didn’t have sex until I was already out of college, and was a social worker. I [...]

4

Who Will Rescue Time from the Physicists?

Lee Smolin thinks that time is real. If that strikes you as unusual, you haven’t spent much time with theoretical physicists, who tend to think that the passing of time is either an emergent property of the universe, or, perhaps, an illusion.

“Some of my colleagues suggest that time is an approximate description of the universe,” Smolin, a theoretical physicist at the Perimeter Institute, writes in Time Reborn. “A description that is useful on large scales but dissolves when we look too closely. Temperature is like this.” The reason that some physicists have rejected time, he argues, is that they have mistaken mathematical [...]

2

On Being An "Irritant To The Institution" At The Whitney Biennial

My thoughts on the Whitney Biennial are still… congealing (???), which is good! Usually I hit the Biennial and have a snap and often dismissive opinion. This one I actually… want to return again maybe? Meanwhile here is a thoughtful interview with one of the three curators, Michelle Grabner, who is also the first artist to serve in that capacity.

One thing I did note is that the queers 'n' homos showed really well, like Keith Mayerson (above) and Zoe Leonard and Gary Indiana—and so did the painters, which is always heartwarming.

5

"Do What You Love"—Oh, But Not That! On Recognizing Sex Work As Work

Astra Taylor’s forthcoming book The People’s Platform, about who has power and who gets paid in the age of the Internet, mentions the following quote about the virtues of “open-source” (read: unpaid) labor from Internet guru Yochai Benkler:

“Remember, money isn’t always the best motivator. If you leave a fifty-dollar check after dinner with friends, you don’t increase the probability of being invited back. And if dinner doesn’t make it entirely obvious, think of sex.”

That quote, unsurprisingly, is from a TED Talk. The talk's audience chose to reflexively laugh rather than actually think about sex or about work. It doesn’t seem to occur to anyone in the audience [...]

1

Black Larry King (Isn't Any Of Those Things)

Doesn't matter what town we're in, my friend Chris Tucker always knows where the best dim sum is.

— Black Larry King (@BlackLarryKing) February 3, 2014

A friend of mine suggested that BuzzFeed deputy editor-in-chief Shani O. Hilton was harboring the identity of the genius behind @BlackLarryKing, the quietly funny, under-the-radar account. “I think Shani knows but she refuses to admit it,” she told me a few days ago. My editor, when we talked about interviewing Black Larry King, wrote back: “Shani claims not to know but I dunno if I believe her.” Others think Ms. Hilton might actually be BLK. “We are onto you,” [...]

0

My 11 Favorite Interviews With Creative Men (And One Woman!) In 2013

Anti-procrastination. If there is such a thing, it’s distracting yourself in a way that makes you want to get back to work. My anti-procrastination is reading interviews with creative people. I read a lot of these in 2013 and tried to take something away from each one. Here are my favorites.

Martin Scorsese: “I’m Not A Cool And Quiet Person” – The Talks “I find when I make a movie that I never realize what is really involved. When we were shooting Raging Bull me and my producer would say, “This is crazy! How did we get here?” But if we thought that at the beginning, we [...]