In 2012, Hanksy was a street artist gaining a degree of notoriety for his street art depicting Tom Hanks as a Banksy rat. Since then, he has sold out multiple New York gallery shows, created a large and loyal band of internet supporters, energetic detractors, and is about to open his first show in Los Angeles, at Gallery 1988. Since my first interview with Hanksy, we have become good friends. I do not believe this infringes on my ability to ask questions about pun-based street art.
Choire: Who are you, and what are you doing in my office????
Michael: I'm your new Associate Publisher! I come from HuffPost where I was most recently leading their content marketing efforts.
Choire: Oh good, then you are not a burglar. Michael Macher, can you explain to me what content marketing is? That's something I should probably know but just don't.
Michael: Content Marketing emerged from the insight that brands are now becoming content creators. Rather than injecting advertising into banner ads, they are creating things that users actually want to engage with. It also comes from the insight that social media is becoming a more viable way to [...]
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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Pictured: New York mag columnist and movie enthusiast Will Leitch on deck, 1992.
Hey Will, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Sorry, I'm late. I'm on baby duty right now, but I duct-taped his mouth, so we should be okay.
I'm just kidding!
Whew! So people used to collect baseball cards, and you were one of those people. Can you tell me about your first memories of baseball, and how you got into it?
Yeah, so my dad struggled with getting me into playing baseball for a long time. And by a [...]
Last night at Le Poisson Rouge, Ben Lear was wearing a wetsuit that made him look like a Starfleet Medical Officer and shaking hands. The 23-year-old son of 89-year-old television mogul and activist Norman Lear (you might know him for producing "All in the Family" or founding progressive advocacy group People For The American Way) had just finished performing Lillian, a show that's like an epic blend of Arcade Fire, Feist, a Muppet adventure and rock opera (although Lear prefers the term "folk opera," for its lower pretentiousness quotient). The story, which is by turns touching and bizarre, follows a young man’s search for his lost love, [...]
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 [...]
When I was in eighth grade, I was madly in love. But the girl, who I wanted to marry and sometimes wrote sad poems about, didn't feel the same way. So I decided to prove my love with a mixtape. For me, music was (and still is) the most intense force in the world, so I thought this would truly make her reciprocate my affection. I set my plan in motion by stealing my oldest brother's Motley Crue cassette, putting pieces of tape over those tiny holes so I could record over the screeching of Vince Neil, and adding songs to my mixtape that would show just how great I [...]
The director Andre Gregory is turning 79 next month and still at work. Two plays will appear later this year; Jonathan Demme’s film of Gregory’s production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder is in the offing. Gregory is the subject of a new film, Before and After Dinner. The director of this documentary, Cindy Kleine, was granted what feels like unfettered access to the subject, who, in addition to being a fellow director, is also her husband. We spoke with her by phone the day after the film opened in New York.
"I didn’t want to make some kind of traditional biopic or television-style documentary about a great artist," Kleine [...]
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I have a confession: I don’t think I can rightfully be counted as among the new wave of vinyl fetishists. Sure, I own a turntable, like any proper trend-piece-generating/hating Brooklyn-residing arts-interested person, but I don’t listen to as many releases as possible on it. Sometimes, twirling around a piece of audiophile-approved, 180-gram, 12-inch plastic, before commencing with the nervous hovering of the tone arm whilst wondering if the needle needs replacing, I'm as apt as anyone to think: “oh for the love of Steve Jobs, let’s just press a button marked [...]
Heidi Julavits’s fourth novel, The Vanishers, sits at the perfect intersection of cerebral challenge and guilty pleasure. In the world of The Vanishers, psychic academies exist to foster talents like astral projection and mental telepathy; Julavits’ characters express hostility and attempt to dominate one another by way of psychic attacks that manifest in a horrifying array of physical symptoms (virulent rashes, bleeding gums, gastrointestinal distress). Across all of her novels, Julavits has explored women’s rivalries and what it means to want to disappear and reinvent oneself elsewhere in a different guise. The Vanishers calls to mind Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled and William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, and the novel’s [...]
Chris Hardwick has made a career out of being a nerd. Well, actually, he has made several careers out of being a nerd, as the host of "Web Soup" a writer for Wired, an author and the host of The Nerdist podcast. Paste Magazine and Rolling Stone both named The Nerdist one of the ten best podcasts of the year, which means that it's now a TV show, with a special airing tomorrow night on BBC America. The podcast has also spawned a community of tech, science and nerd culture enthusiasts on Nerdist.com.
Years before he created Nerdist Industries, Chris was already sowing [...]
It was never easy being a Pearl Jam fan. The explosion of hype and overexposure that came with Ten and Vs. fueled an instant mainstream backlash by the "cool indie kids." If you were going to listen to grunge, Nirvana was the band you were supposed to like. The experimental, less radio-friendly Vitalogy and No Code—as well as the annoying rise of Eddie Vedder sound-alikes—slashed the fan base even further. In terms of popularity then, they occupy a strange, contradictory place in music: They’ve been one of the biggest bands in the world for two decades but comparatively little is known about them. Which is why the Cameron Crowe-directed love [...]
Last year, an anonymous writer took over the advice column Dear Sugar at The Rumpus. Soon, she'll go public with her identity. Like many others, I've become obsessed with her advice. Her column isn't about etiquette. Sugar writes about being jealous of other writers. She advises people to leave secure relationships because they just know they're not happy. She tells about how she made it through the "thicket of shit" in her twenties. She writes about the absolute horror of grief. And it's not about sex, either. Sugar is soooo over the idea that sex is the only way to connect emotionally or be [...]
With all the hoopla that seems eternally to surround WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, one might easily have formed the impression that WikiLeaks is a thriving concern, and that Assange himself is still the world's most powerful and effective champion of press freedom. While it's true that WikiLeaks has accomplished great things, initiating a powerful worldwide movement toward transparency and free speech, a closer look reveals that recent defections have badly crippled the WikiLeaks organization and that the increasingly erratic, mercurial Assange may have shot his bolt. The defectors have moved on and are developing a successor site, OpenLeaks, which seems likely to take up where WikiLeaks left off.
When I asked him whether he regretted going public—whether he thought he could have accomplished more without the market pressure—he became incensed. "I feel like the only reason you could be asking me that question is because you think I’m stupid or because you’re trying to see if I’m going to lie to you."
—Say what you will about fired Groupon (current share price: 4.53) CEO Andrew Mason—he's a slob, he made terrible choices, his company was pretty close to being a scam for desperate businesses of the recession era—but at least he always makes sure to give a entertainingly terrible interview. I do look forward to [...]
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Over the weekend I went to the Lehigh Valley Mall. It’s just outside of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and would rank as the most popular (and second-most swanky) of the malls in the region. It’s standard-issue, two-levels, lacking a proper food court (although it does have what they call a “lifestyle center,” which was added in 2007, and which is basically a strip-mall add-on with stores slightly more upscale than the ones inside).
Recently I have become concerned about my own wardrobe. I have been somewhere just north [...]
Does a beekeeper dream about her bees? What does a porn star dream about when she's not at work? How about teachers, lawyers and people with office jobs—are they stuck with the same boring work-dream loops as the rest of us, or do their dreams reveal something unexpected about how they spend their days? To find out, we asked eleven people of various occupations, including, yes, a beekeeper and a porn actress, as well as a farmer, a forensic scientist, a waitress, a screenwriter and a live-tv captioner, to tell us about the very best and worst dreams they've had about their jobs.
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 [...]
Things I don’t understand about activism, the short list: • Sleeping in a park if you have an actual bed somewhere to sleep in; • Willingly being in a place where you increase your risk of being arrested/maced; • Being uncomfortable in a crowd when you can just, you know, read coverage on blogs; • How crowds of people with signs change anything, ever.
Amount I’m willing to concede ignorance on matters of activism: • Oh, a lot; • I’d go so far as to say "total."
What I decided to do about it: • Not take an eight-hour bus ride to New York City, that’s what; • Get someone [...]
I discovered Kate Christensen’s work several years ago, when I read The Great Man, and then all the rest of her books, in one weekend. After I praised them on the radio, she emailed me and we became friends, which is great because she's a wonderful, smart, funny, generous person, but it's also weird, because she's one of my favorite living writers, and here she is, flesh and blood, moving through the world like the rest of us.