VICE: You grew up in New York. What do you think of how the city has changed?
Art Spiegelman: Don’t get me started. If there was another New York, I’d move to it.
Is New York still a place where a young artist can get started?
You can’t. Go to Germany kids. Maybe Budapest if you’re not Jewish. But this is something that I’m remembering from interviewing Al Hirschfeld. He had lived in Paris for a number of years when he was just out of college.
I asked “Did you know Picasso?” And he says, “Yeah. I’d see him at Gertrude’s House.”
So we were off and running and I said, “What was it in Paris? The graphic design was good, the painting was good, the writing was good, the architecture was good. Was there something in the water?” He goes, “Nah. Cheap real estate. I got that place I was living in for the equivalent of $300 a year.” At those rates, you can find out if you’re an artist or not.
That’s what’s gone from New York and that’s an irreconcilable loss. Though in New York one should always be grateful for the rapid degree of change. Maybe SoHo will become a slum. It’s possible.
We’re Giving Away Tickets to See Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are hitting the road next summer to continue to support their stellar 2013 album Push the Sky Away with 18 dates stretching across North America, starting in Louisville, KY on June 16 and ending in Toronto on July 13. If you’re like us, you’re still kicking yourself for not catching the Bad Seeds on their previous sold-out jaunt through the US. We’re damned if we’re going to miss them this time around and we don’t want you to miss them either. To help you out, we’re giving away five pairs of tickets that can be used for any of these selected dates.
One of our favorite things about Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, besides their untamed and intense live shows, is their amazing album covers. From Nick’s icy mug gracing the cover of The Boatman’s Call to the neon marquee lights on Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, each album brings a perfect visual companion to the darkly beautiful music of the Bad Seeds. To win a pair of tickets, we want you to create your own version of any one of the band’s great album covers and submit that image to @VICE as a twitpic via Twitter. Make sure to include the hashtag #COVERNICKCAVE, or else we might miss it. The contest starts now and we’ll be accepting pictures until midnight on Sunday, January 12. On Monday, January 20, we’ll announce the winners right here on VICE.com and re-post many of the awesome, arty cover reinterpretations. Good luck!
I Was Kidnapped by a Colombian Guerilla Army
Journalists go deep. Sometimes they go so deep into a story they lose track of where the story ends and their private life begins. Correspondent Confidential is a series of illustrated documentary shorts narrated by award-winning journalists. Newspaper reporters, documentary filmmakers, radio producers, and journalists tell personal stories about the harrowing—and hilarious—experiences they’ve had on the job while reporting on some of the world’s most high-profile issues and events.
Reporter T. Christian Miller was based in Colombia during the height of the US government’s war on drugs. As the US began to pour money into fighting the cocaine trade in Colombia, it inevitably spilled over into fighting the rebel groups that controlled—and “taxed”—the areas where coca plants were grown. When Miller went into the jungle to report on a government helicopter that was shot down during a mission to spray coca plants, he and his assistant were kidnapped by the FARC, a left-wing guerrilla army.
The Iceman Cummeth, by Jezza Smilez
If you live in a major metropolitan area where jumping into a taxi is common, it’s no secret cabbies are held under alot of scrutiny. With strict industry regulations, fierce competition for a fare, and the amount of people claiming that most drivers are reckless, dangerous, and possible threats to society, one can only assume that it’s a tough break driving people around for a living. I mean, would you really want to drive drunk-you around?
We decided to meet with cab drivers to try and get their side of things and find out some of the crazy shit they’ve had to put up with over the years. They had a few horror stories to share.
Getting Choked by a Seatbelt
Sometimes we get drunk people and we drive them home safely, but sometimes they get violent when they drink too much. One time a passenger tried to choke me with my seat belt. Some guy got in my cab downtown and so I said to him, “Brother where are you going?” After he didn’t reply, I asked if he was going to fall asleep so I could put the address in my GPS, so I could navigate myself. He said, “No, no, I’m not going to fall asleep.” When we started getting closer to that area of town, I asked again for the address but the passenger wouldn’t give it. I said, “I can’t keep driving—you have to tell me where you’re going or I’m going to have to go to the police.” The passenger then grabbed the driver’s seatbelt and started choking me and said, “Motherfucker, drive!” I pulled the car over, pushed the seat belt open, and tried to get out of the car, because I don’t care, he has no right to choke me. When I opened the door, he ran away.