Posts Tagged: Q&As
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"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

The Museum Of 9/11 Golf Balls, Terrorism Sweaters And World Trade Center Knives

Pinnacle Anniversary Tribute Golf Balls

In most suburban homes, you wouldn't be surprised to find an array of dusty objects—pencil sharpeners, empty milk bottles, skateboards, air fresheners and perhaps a Mr. Potato Head—tucked into corners of spare bedrooms. In Andrew Marietta's house, in Cooperstown, New York, this stuff shares a common theme: September 11, 2001.

Marietta is the owner of one of the world's largest private collections of September 11 memorabilia. Stored in boxes scattered around his home are 1500 to 2000 objects originally produced by companies to commemorate the event. Many of these items are strange in their ordinariness: Marietta's collection includes not just plaques [...]

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Cat Man Jackson Galaxy On Dead Cats, Internet Celebrity Cats And Being A Cat Freak

Cats are weird little creatures that we invite into our homes, even though they are armed with sharp bits that can rend our skin and poke out our eyeballs. They crap in boxes of sand, and they shed fur everywhere unless they're hairless, in which case you've got a whole other host of problems to deal with. They eat disgustingly stinky food, occasionally puke up hairballs, and go through phases of inexplicable 5 a.m. yowling. It's no wonder cat lovers are so defensive and neurotic and absolutely obsessed. Perhaps we have Stockholm syndrome.

In a world where people watch TV shows dedicated to legit DSM diagnoses, it was a no-brainer [...]

3

"Too Much Like Reality": Writer Frank Bill On Violence, Meth And Work

Have you ever gotten punched in the face? I have not. Nor have I ever punched anyone in the face, or seriously wanted to punch anyone in the face, or even been that close to many faces that were getting punched. The whole enterprise of face punching strikes me as both dumb and, if I'm honest, pretty terrifying. So I didn't expect to spend much time with Frank Bill's blood-sodden bone-crunch of a debut novel, Donnybrook (out March 5), one of the most unrepentantly, gleefully violent books I've ever come across. It's about a bunch of loathsome redneck thugs who, while feuding over a stolen batch of meth, rendezvous [...]

1

San Francisco's Baffling Jejune Institute Gets A Documentary

The toughest part of writing about San Francisco's Jejune Institute "thing" was trying to describe it, something I attempted to do for this site twice. In a first piece about the citywide game, which was put on by a group called Nonchalance, I went with "[p]art public-art installation, part scavenger hunt, part multimedia experiment, part narrative story." For the follow-up, I added "underground alternate reality game" to the mix. Both summaries missed the mark, partly because of my own inadequacies as a writer, but also a symptom of the project's sprawling originality—it wasn't like anything else out there, and that was part of what made it [...]

3

The Long, Twisted History Of Marvel Comics: A Talk With Sean Howe

Marvel: The Untold Story is a meticulous reconstruction of the history of the other Marvel Universe. It's the tale of the men and women who were creating all the characters and plotlines of the Marvel empire that currently dominates Hollywood. I've been as big a fan of the medium as anyone, for decades now, so I was glad for the opportunity to talk by phone to the author of this obsessive work, the very pleasant Sean Howe, who spent three years of his life writing this history. The book makes a great gift, as I hear Secret Santa season is upon us. And his Tumblr, [...]

9

How New Yorkers Deal With Art in Public (Kids Love It; Rich People, Not So Much)

Video maker Geraldo Mercado, diminutive in size, is a polarizing figure in the circles he travels. He's sweet as pie, coquettish and flirty with everyone he meets—but never holds back his opinion, especially when he's talking about art. "Absolutely everyone knows how to talk about aesthetics, but they don't normally engage in that conversation. So, how do I get people to talk about this? Once you start presenting things to people, they're actual able to speak about it and have a strong opinion and think about the media abstractly, the media they take in on a daily basis."

Geraldo is a Puerto Rican-born, Boston-raised, Brooklyn-based artist—a biography of hyphens. [...]

7

Will The Real Zodiac Killer Please Stand Up?

On Wednesday, the identity of the Zodiac Killer was finally revealed: It was Louis Myers, only 17 when he began the killings, who confessed from his deathbed back in 2001. In 2012, the identity of the Zodiac Killer was finally revealed: It was George Russell Tucker, a pseudonym for a then-recently-diseased 91-year-old former real estate salesman from Fairfield, California. In 2009, the identity of the Zodiac Killer was finally revealed: It was Guy Ward Hendrickson, a carpenter who brought his 7-year-old along for the ride during the killings.

It's worth pointing out that last year, Dick Van Dyke also confessed.

Every cycle through the calendar brings [...]

5

Bodies, Commerce, Complicity: Porn Star Dale Cooper

I can’t remember just how I stumbled across Dale Cooper, but I doubt it was while googling a French verb or cheap flights. But beyond the naked pictures, an interesting character began to reveal itself. Here was a Tumblr photo of Cooper and his friend and fellow performer Colby Keller, wearing nerdy glasses, checkered aprons and carrying a tray of cupcakes. There a porn-site profile, professing he likes the Times crossword and crackers. On the Huffington Post, he wrote a series of columns dealing with subjects ranging from gay suicide to the sociological implications of digital closeness on Grindr. On finding his blog, I finally had to abandon [...]

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One Of The Best Rock Albums Of All Time Returns Tomorrow

Tomorrow Matador Records is reissuing Come's "11:11." If you don't remember the 90s, and really why would you, it's one of the great rock records of… all time? Yup, absolutely. Come toured with Pavement and Nirvana, considered their major label options, and put out three more albums in the 90s, even as half the lineup left. And then… everyone sort of drifted away. Now the original four-some is on tour in Europe; they'll wend their way to America in mid-June. Over the weekend, we Skyped with Come's Thalia Zedek about getting the band back together. She was in Berlin, getting lost; she also has a new album [...]

2

DJ Johnny Dynell And The Glories Of New York's 80s Club Scene

Last weekend Mark Kamins died of a heart attack at age 57. The legendary DJ and producer—who worked with David Byrne, the Beastie Boys and Sinéad O'Connor—was best known for producing Madonna's first single, 1982's "Everybody," and helping sign her to Seymour Stein's Sire Records. Around that same time, Kamins produced another popular single, the dance-rap track "Jam Hot" by Johnny Dynell. (The song was featured in the iconic 1983 graffiti documentary Style Wars, and its lyrics—"Tank Fly Boss Walk Jam Nitty Gritty/You're listening to the boy from the big bad city"—were sampled in the #1 U.K. single "Dub Be Good To Me" by Beats International, the 1990s [...]

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The Lost Art Of Opium Smoking: An Interview With Author Steven Martin

Of all it has embraced, the booming artisanal movement has so far passed over one largely extinct 19th-century practice: opium smoking in the old manner.

But in a book out last year, one collector of antique opium-smoking paraphernalia documents how his fascination with a lost era's artifacts led to an attempt to recreate and live in a lost era of chandu, resulting in an opium addiction of "the traditional manner" that reached a peak of thirty pipes a day. I spoke with author Steven Martin about his book, Opium Fiend: A 21st Century Slave to a 19th Century Addiction, his Opium Museum project, and the cultural legacy of [...]

4

A Short Email Chat With The Amazing Performer Christeene

Christeene is an Austin-based singer and performer. There is an impulse to say that she is a drag character, but Paul Soileau, the actual Social Security number-having man "behind" Christeene doesn't really like the word 'drag' that much in this case, and neither do I, except as a way of understanding on a basic level that yes, this is a man dressed up as a person in high heels and makeup with a woman's name. Anyway. Christeene is the best. She and her backup dancers T-Gravel and C-Baby perform tonight at Glasslands in Williamsburg. Below is an email chat with Christeene.

I saw you play at [...]

1

What's So Funny, Mark Eitzel? A Q&A

This week, Merge releases Mark Eitzel's haunted and haunting Don't Be A Stranger, his first solo album since 2009's Klamath (Decor Records). Producer Sheldon Gomberg assembled a collection of crack studio players, including a full string section and Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, to record the album, whose more straightforward songs sprang from Eitzel's recent experience co-writing a musical, 2010's Marine Parade, with friend Simon Stephens. Longtime fans of the former lead singer of American Music Club, who cherish the grim, soaring beauty of his lyrics, where people are lonely, bad liquor is a refuge, "Lazarus wasn't grateful for his second wind," and "the applause grows louder the lower [...]

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 [...]

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Ken Hoinsky On Seduction, Women And Mistakes

Ken Hoinsky moderates is an active participant in the /r/seduction Reddit under the name of TofuTofu. There, he has posted a "seduction guide" for lonely guys who want to learn how to "become awesome" with women. Hoinsky has a lot of fans. Though he set out to raise $2,000 to prepare his book, Above The Game: A Guide To Getting Awesome With Women, for publication, by the time it closed his Kickstarter had raised over $16,000.

Then the Internet vice squad went on Red Alert. The alarm was raised by one Casey Malone, a game developer and "comedian," who took to Tumblr to post two quotes from the forthcoming [...]

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How To Write About Tragedy And/Or Lindsay Lohan: Advice From Stephen Rodrick

Stephen Rodrick, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, of late best known for the single best story on Lindsay Lohan ever, has a new book out today called The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey Into His Father’s Life. His father, Commander Peter Rodrick, died in 1979 when his Prowler crashed into the ocean. The book traces the aftermath of his father’s death for his young family, and its ripple effects in Rodrick’s adult life—but is also a book documenting military life today. It's also really good, particularly in the way it calibrates the telling of such an openly emotional story. It’s not easy [...]

9

Real As Hell: A Conversation With George Saunders

While interviewing author George Saunders last week on the release of the audiobook of his new story collection, Tenth of December, my Skype connection cut out maybe four times. Such a miserable and embarrassing development on so many levels—maybe the worst being that Saunders is one of the best talkers I've ever met, and in the middle of this incredible riff his voice would just float and burble off, culminating in that awful, plopping Skype disconnection sound. Indescribable, like getting a long letter from Oscar Wilde and someone sets fire to it as you're reading, or you've just been poured a delectable glass of Château d'Yquem and suddenly there [...]

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"Disagree And Still Be Friends": A Conversation With Andrew Sullivan

My leftist friends are mainly baffled by how much I like Andrew Sullivan. His blog, the Daily Dish, presents a libertarian-inflected center-right political stance. He supported the Iraq War; he is gay and a practicing Catholic. As Ken Layne recently remarked here, Andrew is "by any rational assessment, a demographic of one—a conservative liberal gay Republican Obama loyalist and Irish-English Oxford man who sought and secured permanent U.S. residency."

But the Dish is intelligent, rational, mannerly, and welcoming, in stark contrast to the common run of right-wing blogs. Here is a conservative who accepts me and my views freely, however much they may diverge from his. It was [...]

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Quit Your Job (But For The Right Reason)! A Chat With Writer Jami Attenberg

Jami Attenberg's The Middlesteins, which hits bookstores today, tells the story of a Midwestern family whose matriarch is binge-eating herself to death. There's a lot of talk about the obesity crisis in the country, but it tends to happen along one of two set tracks: either accompanying stock footage of headless fat people, or else coming from sinewy trainers barking at the imagined laziness of their frightened charges. It's fair to say that people are ready for another kind of story, and The Middlesteins has the potential to fill that gap. It isn't a polemic about the sagacity of good nutrition, or about personal foolishness. It's about how and [...]