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.
SWANSEA LOVE STORY
VBS befriends a gang of young addicts caught up in South Wales largely ignored heroin epidemic. Our intimate look into their lives shows how economic depression, family breakdown, and addiction create unbreakable cycles for the people in their grip.
We’re really excited about this one and hope you are too! Look out for it on February 12th on VBS.
Look at this little guy! Those glasses… That sweatshirt… The funny look on his face… So, what do you think? Is he a Do? A Don’t? Tell us!
SPAIN’S FINEST - RAMON SAN MIGUEL PAINTS OUR NATION’S MOST PERFECT TITS
Ramon San Miquel is a painter who lives in his grandfather’s old dentist’s office, which is situated deep in the Catalonian mountains and looks like Dracula’s lair if was moonlighting as a rural orthodontist. Actually he divides his time between there and a fairly regular studio in Madrid’s Sierra, but why sell the guy short.
Ramon’s part of a school of Spanish artists that include photographer Alberto Garcia-Alix and oil-painter Jorge Isla, and whose subjects can largely be divided into piercing artists, drug addicts, and naked girls. While this kind of material may have lost its “edginess” a while ago in New York or London, the Spanish public is just coming around to it. Garcia-Alix has gone from shooting portraits of porn stars to holding a retrospective at the Reina Sofia and joining the Spanish Aristocracy. Jorge Isla is still relatively unknown, although his gothic oil-on-board paintings seem to appeal to retired drug dealers, and members of Madrid’s piercing and tattoo communities.
Out of this friendship circle, (which also counts Toño Camunñas and the mexican tatoo artist Dr. Lakra among its members), I like Ramon’s paintings the best. Working in pencil and watercolor on canvas, his nudes have more in common with contemporary photo portraiture than the sometimes cartoonishly symbolic work of his peers. He also paints a great tit.
Anyways, here’s a chat we had with him in the bowels of Dr. Acula’s old dental practice (that joke doesn’t work in Spanish, so please enjoy it for what it’s worth).
One couldn’t really say Reid Peppard is obsessed with dead things, exactly. More with finding beauty in and making use of discard. Thus, she builds purses and hair combs out of found animal carcasses. Recently featured on CNN, Reid and her work were called “garbage… stupid… crazy… disgusting” by people happy to wear leather and eat meat and eggs procured cheaply even though the lives of the producing animals are painful, cramped, and drugged from beginning to end; while Reid’s raw products lived scampering or high-flying through the streets, sewers, and skies of London right up until their demise.
She is my favorite designer. She is so pleasurable! I would wear nothing but her taxidermied collection if I could afford it. In a mass and indistinguishing consumption society, it is reassuring that there are some things that remain unaffordable. And so I wear none of her stuff. But since this interview, she and I continue to email each other stories about German cannibals and penis-mutilators. The best things in life are either too expensive (everything Reid makes) or free (gossip and love).
Click here to read Lisa Carver’s interview with Reid. We also provide more dead animal turned into jewelry pictures too. Yay!
LOVE AND ROCKERS
TED BAFALOUKOS TAUGHT US EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT JAMAICA
Theodoros Bafaloukos wrote and directed Rockers, the film that single-handedly made Jamaica and reggae interesting to couch-cozy white folks, their stoner kids, and a bunch of famous English punks with guitars. Today, Ted is not so reclusive as he is remote, spending his time at his childhood home on the secluded Greek island of Andros. Over 30 years after the movie’s release, we made the long journey for this, his first-ever print interview.
In addition to screenwriting and filmmaking, Bafaloukos was also a production designer for three Oscar-winning directors (Barry Levinson, Errol Morris, Jonathan Demme) and has helped conceive countless famous music videos, including that one for Aerosmith where Alicia Silverstone bungee-jumps off a freeway overpass in a flannel and then flips off Stephen Dorff.
After a brief tour of his house—several hundred paintings and images of magnified snake parts dot the walls—he sat us down and started thumbing his way through some old photo albums. Many of these were from his time shooting Rockers. As you’ll see, it’s a trove of archival happiness.