An Interview with North Korea’s UK Spokesman
North Korea has been getting some fairly rank press in recent years. And in times of such deplorable slander from the “monopoly capitalist media of the West,” we must seek to heal these wounds of persecution, these sores of injustice, and hereby mount a unified resistance.
Oh worthy warrior of Mt Paekdu
leading the stout hearted partisans of
the mighty KPRA to shatter the chains
of Japanese imperialism, shock brigade of
world fascism, to dispatch
the murderous Japs to their doom
Or so Dermot Hudson might think, the UK’s delegate for the DPRK’s cultural-liaison wing, the Korean Friendship Association (KFA). Hudson is also the poet of the subtle words you just read (but probably didn’t). Now, it’s pretty hard to imagine such dubious sermonizing to come from a white guy brought up in England, and you’d be forgiven for thinking these words are lifted directly from an early Kim Il-sung essay, or even a revered piece of Kim Jong-un cinema. But Hudson is truly impassioned by the unity of the people, the enrichment of the “Juché idea,” and the resistance to “Jap” and US imperialist aggressors. He is equally enamored of the Eternal President Kim Il-sung; of Dear Leader, Respected Leader, Great Leader, Wise Leader, Unique Leader, Great Marshal, Amazing Politician, Savior, Invincible and Ever-Triumphant General Kim Jong-il; and of Marshal, Dear Leader Kim Jong-un (he’s young, and the titles come with time).
In other words, this guy is up shit creek. Naturally, I decided to contact him. He told me about the times he saw Kim Jong-il, the famine, Western media, and the attitude toward weed. I learned, among other things, that Kim Jong-il moved with a “very fast, dignified bearing,” that North Korea is strictly not like Ethiopia in the 70s, and that the Pyongyang metro only costs three cents!
VICE: How did you acquire your position as UK spokesman for the KFA?
Dermot Hudson: I had been the chairman of Juche Idea Study Group of England and the vice president of the old Society for Friendship with Korea. I joined KFA in 2001, about six months after it was formed, and was appointed official delegate for the UK by the KFA International Organization Committee.
Have you met either Kim Jong-il or Kim Jong-un?
I did not meet them in person but saw them in the distance. I was within a couple 100 feet of Dear Respected Marshal Kim Jong-un, and I saw great comrade Kim Jong-il at a national meeting in April 2002. He looked younger than he was and moved very fast, with a dignified bearing. I have seen Marshal Kim Jong-un in the distance about four or five times. In April 2012, at a military parade, he waved at the crowd. He looked like a very happy person.
VICE Meets Glenn Greenwald
We traveled to Rio de Janeiro to meet the man who broke the biggest news story of 2013. Glenn Greenwald is an American journalist and author who’s best known for reporting on the leaks of classified National Security Agency documents by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Before he was a journalist, Greenwald was a constitutional law and civil rights litigator, and until 2012 he was a contributing writer at Salon. He has authored four books: How Would a Patriot Act, Tragic Legacy, Great American Hypocrites, and With Liberty and Justice for Some. For 14 months Greenwald was a columnist at the Guardian, where he broke the first NSA story in June of 2013. He has since left the newspaper to team up with filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Jeremy Scahill to start a new media venture, First Look Media, backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Watch the interview
An Interview with the World’s Favorite Porn Star
A couple of days ago, PornHub released what basically amounts to a chart of the planet’s porn-viewing habits. In the US, two of the top three search terms were “teen” and “MILF,” which are obviously the only two acceptable age groups for sexual fantasies. The majority of British viewers spend an entire minute longer—about 9:42 compared to 8:56—than the world’s average, but they have nothing on American viewers, who keep going all the way up to the 11-minute mark. Almost everyone on the planet wants to jerk off to someone from their own country, but the one thing that united all the world was Lisa Ann. Turns out that “Lisa Ann” was the second-most popular search in Britain and the most popular in the world. She is the most desirable adult actress on the internet.
The star made her name in Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?, where she played a sexpot version of Alaskan bombshell/former politician Sarah Palin. She also has a signature Fleshlight model, voiced a prostitute in Grand Theft Auto V and was called one of the most powerful people in the adult film industry by no less an authority than Fox News.
I gave Lisa Ann a call to chat about what all that success felt like.
Results of top searches on Pornhub from various countries. You can see how much the British like Lisa Ann.
VICE: Hey Lisa, congrats. So I’m guessing you already knew you were the most popular porn star in the world, right? You didn’t need some stats to tell you that.
Lisa Ann: It’s interesting. I’m surprised at my staying power, and I’m impressed by the consistency from me. When you get in an upswing in a career you’re always looking at it like, OK, this could also downswing. But the momentum has been so consistent and so fun. People often walk up to me and ask for photos, but I think, It’s just me!
What is it about your work, do you think, that literally everyone in the world loves so much?
I don’t know! I look at other girls when they’re doing scenes and think, Wow, you’re so much better at this than me. I don’t know why people like me so much. I’m not that wild, compared to what I see other girls do. I look at myself and think, Wow, you’re kinda boring.
Everyone in This Wheelchair Sports Camp Is Stoned and Making Beats
Kalyn Heffernan is 42 inches tall, has been diagnosed with a brittle bone disease, is confined to a wheelchair, smokes lots of weed, and won’t hesitate to publicly shame anyone who gets on her bad side with a brutal rap track. Kalyn is the emcee and driving force of Denver’s Wheelchair Sports Camp, a hip-hop group that mixes classic beats with jazz and avant-garde sound experiments. The group formed while Kalyn was in college, with just her rapping and a DJ supplying the beats, but has evolved into a shifting lineup that sometimes features drums, a saxophone, and even a sitar.
Her music deals with social inequalities relating to handicap people, as well as getting blazed as fuck and how much cops suck. On her song, “This Bitch…” Kalyn attacks problems with healthcare, and on “Party Song” she taunts, “rock, let the midget hit it/cops on my jock, make ‘em, cough/cus I’m sicker with it.” More recently, she’s started to make beats for rapping Haitians who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake, and called out Goodwill for paying handicap people less than minimum wage.
Photo by Adrian Diublado
VICE: Hello, Kalyn. What is your writing process?
Kalyn: I’m a pretty slow writer. Sometimes I write faster, but more than not I have to sit down… well, I’m always sitting down, but I just have to go at it.
You used to sneak backstage at shows and meet people like Xzibit, Ludacris, Erykah Badu, and Busta Rhymes. How did you do it?
It was pretty easy. I would play the wheelchair card and say “oh, so and so” told me to come back here. I was a pretty good scam artist back then. I think, because of my disability and because of my advantages, that I’ve been able to milk the sysem. I could get backstage to almost any concert.
The Last-Ever Interview with the Leaders of Peru’s Shining Path Guerrilla Army
This August, newspapers in Peru splashed headlines across their front pages about the huge blow the government had dealt to what is left of the infamous Shining Path—a brutal Maoist guerrilla group who have spent the last 20 years hanging out in the jungle slaughtering peasants and smuggling coke. The headlines announced to the world thatComrade Alipio, the group’s military leader, had been killed.
Alipio’s death was as cartoonish as it was emphatic. A cocaine trafficker who had links to the Shining Path, but who’d turned informant for the police, lured an armed column of rebels towards a hut that he owned. Most of the fighters stayed outside, guarding the building while Comrade Alipio and two other Shining Path bigwigs, Comrades Gabriel and Alfonso, went into what was meant to be a safe house, expecting to meet some ladies of the night that the drug trafficker had organized for them.
Crucially, what Alipio and company didn’t know was that the army had rigged the house with ANFO explosives. As soon as the three rebels had made themselves comfortable, the whole hut went up in one big blast. The charred bodies had to be identified through DNA tests.
As soon as news of the killing came out, my phone wouldn’t stop ringing: I have the arguable privilege of being the only journalist to have met Comrade Alipio, and the local media were desperate for a soundbite.
Back in September 2010, I received a call on behalf of the leadership of the Shining Path, who had agreed to meet me if I travelled, unaccompanied, to Peru’s Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers, known by the acronym VRAEM. It’s a jungle region that routinely serves as the battleground between armed forces and drug lords. The Shining Path contacted me after I sent them a message while I was reporting in the area, tailing some anti-narcotics police patrols a few months prior.
What was your first reaction when you heard the name “Dick Wolf?”
A dangerous person. Wolves and dicks are dangerous. The man matches up to his name. When you meet him, he’s a big guy. He looks like he’d sit at the head of a table at a mob meeting or something. He’s very serious. Thank god for Dick Wolf. His checks clear, I don’t have nothin’ to say bad about that guy. In this business, if you have one powerful executive that likes you, he can basically help your life. Dick Wolf has bought me a lot of cars, paid for a lot of vacations… I ain’t mad at the dude.
—Ice T Really Likes Talking About Law & Order – Full Interview
Piss and Root Beer: An Interview with Marcel Dzama, with contributions from Raymond Pettibon
Depending on your familiarity with—or curiosity about—the current state of visual art, you may or may not be familiar with Raymond Pettibon or Marcel Dzama. Raymond Pettibon is a great artist. Marcel Dzama is a great artist. My name is Nicholas Gazin, and I would like to be a great artist, but for now, I’m totally OK with being a great opportunist.
A few months ago, someone told me that Marcel had a big monograph coming out. It’s called Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord, out in early November from Abrams, and Raymond wrote the foreword. I selfishly interpreted this information as an excuse to spend time with two of my idols, and so I proposed a three-way interview as a way to subtly interrogate them and, hopefully, learn some of their secrets. Luckily they agreed.
The interview took place at David Zwirner Gallery on West 19th Street in New York, where Raymond was working on some new pieces. There were tables covered in paint, scraps of food and bottles of booze were scattered about, and a couple of dogs were running around, scampering between pieces of very expensive art resting on the gallery floor. I guess I looked hungry, because Raymond kindly gave me an extra hot dog that he’d ordered before I arrived. Marcel showed up shortly after that, and I pressed the record button on my phone. We talked a lot about dog pee, and I’m still unsure if I should apologize about that, but hey, when your heroes want to talk about canine urine, what are you going to do about it?
VICE: Raymond, one thing I like about your work is its lack of preciousness. The last time I interviewed you, a dog urinated on one of your drawings, and you seemed mostly unfazed.
Raymond Pettibon: Well, I wasn’t into my dog doing that, but it’s happened a handful of times. I said on Twitter recently that one of my dogs pissed on my drawings and their value went up twice over.
Marcel Dzama: I had a rabbit that used to spray his urine all over my paintings. I thought he improved them.
My grandfather painted a family portrait for one of my mom’s friends, and there was a problem with what they thought was dripping varnish, but actually one of his cats had sprayed it.
Marcel: When I have drawings lined up, my cat will scratch the sides like a scratching post.
Raymond: When dogs take a leak on a drawing, it’s so acidic that you just have to throw everything out or cut out the urine stain. I don’t want to make it hard for people who do conservation. With some artists, there’s no question of their arrogance. Like the abstract expressionists purposely made it hard on posterity by painting with house paint with no thought as to how it would get preserved down the line. I don’t want the people who buy my work to worry about preserving it.
My mother saved my art that I did when I was three, four, five, six years old. This was done on the back of mimeograph sheets, and they’re in impeccable condition. It’s not hard to get paper that’s entirely acid free… Unless you’re drawing blotter acid, which is an entirely different thing.
How old are you guys?
Marcel: I’m 39.
Raymond: I’m 39. I’ve been 39 many times.
Are you nervous about your 30s ending?
Raymond: I’ll be 39 for a while still.
Marcel: I’m fine with it. I just had a baby last year. I think if I hadn’t had my son I’d be more nervous about aging. I had a lot of friends and relatives who had passed away the year before, and I was so depressed.
Jerry Hsu on Photography and Skateboarding
There was a time in skateboarding when what you said and did off the board was almost as important to your career as the tricks you did on it. The intense and colorful personalities of guys like Mark Gonzales, Jeff Grosso, Jason Jessee, and Neil Blender captivated my entire generation as much as any skate photo of them. Characters like that are rare in modern skating. The new mantra is smile, don’t say anything, and let your skating speak for you. The problem is every kid’s skating is saying the same thing, making it a very boring conversation.
San Jose’s Jerry Hsu is one of my all-time favorite human beings and definitely one of my top favorite skateboarders. Jerry possesses all the things that used to count for something as a skateboarder: creativity, style, integrity, an opinion, and a personality. He is also, of course, an unbelievably gifted skater. His part in Enjoi’s 2006 video Bag Of Suck remains seven and a half minutes of the smoothest, most stylish, and gnarliest skateboarding ever.