Los Angeles: Come to the 2014 VICE Photo Show
Remember how much you loved the art in this year’s photo issue? Did you rip out pages of the magazine and plaster them on your wall because you just loved them so much you wanted to gaze at them longingly while you lay awake at night?
Now you can experience those photographs all over again… but bigger, not affixed to the wall with duct tape, and not for you to delicately caress after being emotionally overwhelmed by their artistic power (seriously, don’t touch them! They’re expensive!). Tomorrow night, we’re throwing a party to celebrate our 2014 photo issue—and lucky you, you’re invited (yes, you).
Join us at the Superchief Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, where you can experience the art all over again. Check out photos by the likes of Cindy Sherman, Richard Kern, Jaimie Warren,Laurie Simmons, and a lot of other great photographers. Entry is free, and 21-and-over.
Thomas Morton (one of our hosts from VICE on HBO) and Fidlar will be DJing. Oh, and did we mention that the drinks are free?
Want to join the party? RSVP here.
We interviewed Werner Herzog about films, football, WrestleMania, and the loathsome trend of children’s yoga classes.
How to Cook Dinner for 20,000 Syrian Refugees
The kitchen staff at the Bab Al-Salama IDP camp make use of what limited resources are available to feed thousands of Syrians displaced by war.
Leading Anti-Marijuana Academics Are Paid by Painkiller Drug Companies
As Americans continue to embrace pot—as medicine and for recreational use—opponents are turning to a set of academic researchers to claim that policymakers should avoid relaxing restrictions around marijuana. It’s too dangerous, risky, and untested, they say. Just as drug company-funded research has become incredibly controversial in recent years, forcing major medical schools and journals to institute strict disclosure requirements, could there be a conflict of interest issue in the pot debate?
VICE has found that many of the researchers who have advocated against legalizing pot have also been on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana. When these individuals have been quoted in the media, their drug-industry ties have not been revealed.
Take, for example, Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University. Kleber has impeccable academic credentials, and has been quoted in the press and in academic publications warning against the use of marijuana, which he stresses may cause wide-ranging addiction and public health issues. But when he’s writing anti-pot opinion pieces for CBS News, or being quoted by NPR and CNBC, what’s left unsaid is that Kleber has served as a paid consultant to leading prescription drug companies, including Purdue Pharma (the maker of OxyContin), Reckitt Benckiser (the producer of a painkiller called Nurofen), and Alkermes (the producer of a powerful new opioid called Zohydro).
We talked with Milton Arellano about his experience working with Levi’s Skateboarding to build Pura Pura, a skate park high up on the slopes of La Paz, Bolivia. Check out his story here.
Meet the Man Behind London’s Biggest ‘Elite’ Sex Parties
Chris Reynolds Gordon is kind of like Britain’s answer to Dan Bilzerian. Only, where the latter made his name playing poker, throwing naked women off roofs, and rapidly becoming Instagram’s most-followed misogynist, Chris has managed to get where he’s at without any of the awkward social media machismo of his American counterpart.
He’s been a millionaire; he’s gone broke. He’s owned property around the world; he’s been homeless. He was a junior national 800 meters champion; he’s met with Vladimir Putin about trading rough diamonds. Now, before hitting his 30th birthday, he’s turned his and his friend Eva’s “Heaven SX” concept into one of London’s most popular “elite” sex parties.
In light of the Killing Kittens group—probably the UK’s largest sex party brand—recently inviting Heaven SX into its fold, I thought I’d catch up with Chris to find out his thoughts on how he makes his money.
VICE: Hey, Chris. So, first off, run me through what happens at a Heaven SX party.
Chris Reynolds Gordon: It’s like going to any normal bar or club—you have people dressed up looking nice, chatting, laughing, getting to know each other. Then, a little bit later on—at about 12:00 or 1:00 AM, when the mood’s right—the girls will go and get changed into lingerie. It’s a bit of an awkward moment, with all the guys chatting and sitting with each other, then all these girls come in looking super hot and the atmosphere changes and people start disappearing.
Why do you call it “elite”?
I went to quite a lot of parties in the past, and everyone was calling them elite. But then you’d see, like, 50- or 60-year-old people who weren’t that attractive. Not that there aren’t attractive people in their 50s and 60s, but these weren’t people you’d stereotypically think of as attractive. It’s really quite a shallow thing, though, because what is good looking? Basically, the hottest [people] we wanted to play with just got together—everyone who was a 10 on the hot chart. The average age is also quite young. There’s nothing else like it.
An Iraqi Painter Moved to America for a Better Life and Got Robbed Anyway
It’s not often you see a look of total devastation on someone’s face, but that was the expression Bassim Al-Shaker wore when I met him at a bar in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday night. Escaping threats for his life, the Iraqi-born painter fled to Phoenix in July of last year, eventually obtaining refugee status and becoming a permanent citizen earlier this year.
But Bassim woke up Monday morning to discover the door to his downtown studio smashed. Ten paintings were stolen August 18, as well as a couch and some power tools, from Bassim’s studio on Fourth Street and McKinley. Bassim was using the studio space rent-free before the whole block is to be demolished at the end of the year.
Formerly a barber in Baghdad, Bassim was once blindfolded, spat on, and beaten by loyalists of Iraq’s Mahdi Army militia, who left the painter so battered he spent the next two weeks in the hospital. But what had Bassim done to attract their violence? He had drawn sketches of the Venus de Milo as part of an entrance exam at Baghdad University’s College of Fine Arts.
Yeah, that’s right. Some tasteful nude sketches almost got this guy killed.
Werner Herzog Has a Lot of Time for WrestleMania
It’s only since dropping Grizzly Man and Into the Abyss that Werner Herzog became a staple of conversation between you and your friends. Before that, he was just the award-winning, critically acclaimed father of modern European cinema—the man who lugged a 320-ton boat over a hill in the Peruvian rainforest and cooked and ate his own shoe for a short documentary.
This month, Faber published A Guide for the Perplexed, a compendium of conversations between Herzog and the writer Paul Cronin. As a testament from one of the world’s most prolific filmmakers, it reads almost as self-help. “Get used to the bear behind you,” he tells us, ostensibly referring to the ambition and drive to create, but equally evoking images of Timothy Treadwell, a.k.a. Grizzly Man. I’m putting my neck out and saying it’s the best book I’ve read all year.
I caught up with Herzog on the phone last week, and we spoke about films, football, WrestleMania, and the loathsome trend of children’s yoga classes.
Werner Herzog at his home in Los Angeles
VICE: I’ve just finished reading A Guide for the Perplexed. Have you had a chance to read it?
Werner Herzog: Yes, I did when we were looking through the entire text for corrections. We left no stone unturned.
Is it strange reading yourself back?
I took a professional distance to it because I think it is unwise to stare at your own navel. Now it’s out for the readers. I’m plowing on with a lot of projects, so don’t worry about me.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m finishing Queen of the Desert, I’m preparing three feature films, and I am doing my rogue film school at the end of this week.
Can you explain a bit more about the rogue film school?
I can explain it easily. For 20 to 25 years there has been a steady avalanche of young filmmakers coming at me who wanted to be my assistant, or who wanted to learn from me or be in my team. And this has grown rapidly in numbers. For example, a few years ago, when I did a conversation on stage at the Royal Albert Hall—which has something close to 3,000 seats—it was sold out in minutes. And of these 3,000 people, there were at least 2,000 who would have liked to work with me. So I tried to give a systematic answer to this onslaught. The rogue film school can happen 50 times a year or once a year. I just need a projector. I could feasibly do it in the middle of the desert.
VICE Photo Editor Matthew Leifheit wants to know your secrets. He’s co-curating SLIDELUCK NYC at Photoville in Brooklyn Bridge Park with MAGNUM PHOTOS Creative Director Gideon Jacobs. More details and submit your work here. Deadline is Friday, August 29th.