My Girlfriend and I Found the Real Hannibal Lecter for Thomas Harris
Diego Enrique Osorno is a prominent Mexican author and poet. He has written six books, primarily focusing on the country’s drug cartels, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León, where the real-life Hannibal Lecter was imprisoned.
Last week horror fans discovered that one of the genre’s most notorious villains, Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter, was based on a real doctor imprisoned in Mexico, whom the author met while visiting the prison as a young man to interview another inmate named Dykes Askew Simmons. Last spring, through my editor, I received a message from Harris, who wanted me to find and identify someone who had been a prisoner in the Nuevo Leon State Prison during the 50s and 60s. For a few moments I thought I’d wind up sustaining an epistolary exchange with Harris like Hannibal held with some of his patients. As I read the note, however, it became clear that I was only needed as a sort of hired detective. His note read [sic]:
Kings of Cannabis
You might not know who Arjan Roskam is, but you’ve probably smoked his weed. Arjan’s been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world—like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others—for over 20 years.
In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year.
He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups and has dubbed himself the King of Cannabis.
VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades. In grower’s terms, these are called landraces. We trudge up mountains and crisscross military checkpoints in the country’s still-violent south, and then head north to the breathtaking Caribbean coast. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.
Hey Diddy, What’s Your Music Channel Going to Be Like?
Sean “Diddy” Combs, one of hip-hop’s first multimedia moguls, and the man who taught me that Benjamin Franklin’s face is on the $100 bill, announced today that his fledgling cable channel, Revolt TV, has signed a distribution deal with Time Warner Cable. The channel, which launches in the fall, aims to fill the void left when MTV got out of the music video game.
Diddy spoke exclusively to us about Revolt, the state of music on television, and what music means in the area of ubiquitous online connectivity.
Romanian Immigrants and Their Magnificent Mansions
Hey, British xenophobes: Ever wonder where all those Romanian immigrants who’ve been stealing your jobs have been spending your money? On the building of strange, gigantic mansions that no one lives in, and the planning of extravagant funerals back in their hometowns, apparently. Romanian photographer Petrut Calinescu hung out in the northern part of Romania for a while looking at how the culture of emigration has changed the landscape of traditional Romanian villages.
I called him up to talk about his project, Pride and Concrete.
The Ocean Is Melting Antarctica
Some 60% of the planet’s fresh water stores are locked away in Antarctica’s barren tundra. That’s a lot of water. For the obvious reasons, we’d all rather keep that water frozen away in the icy interior of the world’s southernmost continent than loose it into our already fast-rising oceans.
Unfortunately, new research from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows that we may be closer to unleashing an Antarctic flood than previously thought. The study shows that much more of Antarctica’s total mass loss is due to warm ocean water than to iceberg calving—which is what scientists previously thought drove shrinkage in the great white south.
So the question is, does that mean Antarctica’s ice stores are now more vulnerable to global warming than we thought?
Eric Rignot, a senior scientist at JPL, told me in an email that “the short answer is yes.” That’s because “existing ice sheet models do not include a warming ocean and realistic ice ocean interactions,” he says.
DON’T: Nothing gets you laid like a permanent drawing of an AIDS victim on your arm.
WELL, HAPPY BIRTHDAY: THE BIRTHDAY SHOW
Let’s not bullshit each other here. We’ve got some birthdays here, click here to see them.
PS. Send us your birthdays, anniversaries, holiday greetings, well-wishes, ill-wishes, musical requests and dedications, shout-outs, yell-outs, complaints, and corporate sponsorship pitches via email, and we’ll weave them into the rich, morningly tapestry that is Happy Birthday: the Birthday Show. Happy Birthdays!
JOHANNA HELDEBRO STALKED HER DAD FOR ART
About four years ago, photographer Johanna Heldebro’s father abruptly left his family in Montreal and relocated to his native Sweden. Johanna’s parents had just finalized a sudden divorce after Mr. Heldebro disclosed that he was having an affair with a mother of two who lived in Stockholm. Of course, everyone was angry and confused. But instead of writing her dad’s name 30 times on a piece of paper in black ink and burning it over a black candle, Johanna decided to use the unfortunate situation as inspiration for her artwork. She traveled to Sweden to stalk her dad and find out about his new life firsthand.
The outcome was To Come Within Reach of You (Gunnar Heldebro, Hässelby Strandväg 55, 165 65 Hässelby), a photo series that acted as her graduate thesis for New York City’s School of Visual Arts. After viewing her work, we asked Johanna if she’d allow us to publish some of the images in Vice. She agreed and even did us one better by granting us an interview about the whole ordeal.
REVENGE OF THE ZANILY MUSTACHIOED NERD
I was incredulous at all the bullshit literature illustrated on the cover of your Fiction Issue. Whose bookshelf was that? Some 19-year-old with a sweater complex who thinks he’s Holden Caulfield?
I thought you guys were cool but it turns out that you’re just a buncha nerdos. Tree of Smoke?! More like “trees to smoke,” as in, let’s get some trees to smoke over here, away from these gay and lame books. Jack Kerouac, Woody Allen, and Bret Easton Ellis? Let me teach you know-nothing know-it-alls a little something about a real shelf.
I’ve included a photo of one of the favorite levels of my bookshelf. Some of the other shelves in this bookcase have piles of Marvel comics, board games that are packaged to look like books, and CD box sets. This one has the most books on it so I figured I’d share it.
Here’s what’s on my shelf from left to right.
1. A shitload of Star Wars novels—People talk like these are an embarrassment, but Star Wars is the best movie so it’s no surprise that it is also subject of the best books. These are great because you can get them for a dollar or less at any Salvation Army or the dump. They are the kind of books you can buy by the pound and you get your money’s worth. If you want to know what Luke, Han, and Leia did before and after the movies you can read a book and it’ll tell you. I’d buy that for a dollar.
2. Guns of the Third Reich—Nazis sucked and we kicked their asses bad, but everyone will relent and admit that they were superior in a lot of aesthetic ways. Mausers, Lugers—those are rad guns. Most guns are pretty cool, but Nazi guns were beautiful. Sorry.
3. NO by Boyd Rice—Some hear Boyd Rice’s name and instantly get angry and accuse you of being a bad guy and say, “How can you have this in your house?” He’s really funny, is how, and also has good stuff to say. Did you know he was visiting Charles Manson in prison on a regular basis? Not everybody got to do that.
4. How to Give Her Absolute Pleasure by Lou Paget—This book was written by a girl and she dedicated it to “My father, the first man I ever loved.” There’s no way that isn’t gross. This book was a gift from my first girlfriend. It’s inscribed to her older brother, from his girlfriend at the time. Most of it is pretty stupid, but there’s a funny diagram of a dildo that you strap to your head called “The Accommodator” and it juts out of your chin, making you look like a New Yorker caricature of Jay Leno.
5. Holocaust book—I got this at Dachau. It’s weird that a Holocaust museum has a gift shop. Looking back, it’s also weird that I was moved to buy a book so that I could remember it always.
6. Faces of the Enemy—It’s good to know who your enemies are. You get to the last page of the book and it’s a mirror. Not really. I can’t remember what this book is about and I am too lazy to look.
7. Guns of the Reich—This is another of my books about guns that Nazis used. I wish I could subscribe to a Nazi-gun-book-of-the-month club.
8. Statuette of the devil with huge boner—I bought this from three homos in Hell’s Kitchen. They told me that they’d painstakingly scrubbed paint off of it and that I could use his giant golden penis to keep rings on.
9. Six issues of Playboy from the 60s in a Playboy binder—This is a big binder with old Playboys in it. I jerk off to women who are either dead or very haggard now.
10. The New Encyclopedia of Handguns & Small Arms—I think it’s important to have this so that people see that I have some books about American guns too and don’t just think I’m a freak who’s totally into Nazi guns exclusively. This is my beard. I don’t care about most American guns.
….read the rest of the list here!