The New Issue of VICE Is Here!
Our new year’s resolution for 2014 is butts. That’s what it says on a notecard amid the papers on the massive table that our editors use as a shared desk. “NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: BUTTS!” We don’t know what it means any more than you do, but we’re pretty sure we’re doing a kickass job following through on it—our first issue of 2014, the Horse Is a Horse of Course of Course Issue, features posteriors galore.
There’s the cover by David Choe, of course, which as you can see is very derriere-centric. Then there’s Wilbert Cooper’s deep dive into the epidemic of ass implants sweeping America—as he documents, fake rear ends are becoming more and more popular, and women (and some men) are frequenting back-alley doctors to get illegal butt injections, which can make your cheeks larger and more shapely but can also lead to life-ruining complications. Is it a good idea to pay thousands of dollars to have silicone shot into your hips? Maybe not, even if you are a stripper at an ultra-glamorous Miami strip club, like some of the women Wilbert talked to.
Then there’s the (slightly less serious) investigation a pair of our correspondents did into the asses plowed by Fidel Castro. Is the Cuban leader the greatest lover of all time? Probably.
Other questions asked in this issue include:
Can marijuana cure cancer in children? (Yes, according to the people giving extremely powerful THC pills to an eight-year-old girl.)
What’s it like to be one of the few female cadets at an elite military academy in Pakistan? (Pretty fucking exhausting, but also rewarding, as the soldiers told documentarian Aeyliya Husain.)
How fucking stylish is vintage ski equipment? (Very fucking stylish—just look at that fashion shoot by Graham Dunn.)
What does it take to create a worldwide network of atheist churches? (A couple of English standup comedians are hoping that being really, really nice will do the trick.)
How does it feel to know that the man who kidnapped you and murdered two UN soldiers during the Lebanese civil war 34 years ago is now freely selling ice cream in Detroit? (Not good, writes Steve Hindy, who was an AP reporter in the Middle East before he founded the Brooklyn Brewery.)
Here’s one last question: Why the heck aren’t you subscribed to our magazine? Do that shit here. If you’ve got an iPad, get our app for free here, and enjoy the extras that come with every article.
How We Got the Skammerz Ishu Cover – We Spent Months Scamming a Scammer into Doing Our Work for Us
Scam-baiting is a form of internet vigilantism in which the vigilante poses as a potential victim to expose a scammer. It’s essentially grassroots social engineering conducted as civic duty or even amusement, a cross-cultural double bluff in which participants on separate continents try to outdo each other in an online tug-of-war for one’s time and resources—and the other’s private banking information.
The baiter begins by “biting the hook”— answering an email from the scammer. The “victim” feigns receptivity to the financial lure, engaging the scammer in a drawn-out chain of emails. The most important element of baiting is to waste as much of the scammer’s time as possible—when a scammer is preoccupied, it prevents him from conning genuine victims.
The cover of the issue you’re looking at is a trophy from the most elaborate bait I’ve ever been involved in. Three scammers, spread across Libya and the United Arab Emirates, set the con. They posed as a widow named Nourhan Abdul Aziz, a doctor named Dr. Ahmadiyya Ibrahim, and a banker going by Ephraim Adamoah. From Nourhan’s initial contact with my associ- ate, Condo Rice, to Ephraim’s actually donning an Obama mask and shooting our cover for us, 7,000 words were exchanged over nearly four months of emails. During that time, Condo and I negotiated our way through a labyrinthine net- work of fake websites, bogus documents, and broken English, and ended up with the weirdest photograph I’ve seen in a long time.
Introducing the Holding Court Issue, October 2013
Get a subscription already!
Sometimes our friends will ask us why they should subscribe to the magazine—pretty much everything that appears in print also appears online, they say, and print is a dying medium anyway. Then they ask to borrow our car, because our friends are fucking assholes.
If you want to know why the physical copy of the magazine is worth it, locate a copy of this month’s Holding Court issue (a map of selected distribution points can be found here) and take a look at the cover by Marcel Dzama, which you can check out above in its ones-and-zeros version. Online it looks pretty good, but in real life the halo around the dude-with-a-baby-for-a-head’s head/baby shimmers in the light and you can make out the subtle muddy bloodstains on the arrow-filled body hanging from the ceiling. It’s the kind of strange painting you’d want to cut out and put on your wall, only you can’t if you’re just looking at it on your computer like a putz.
Other stuff that’s worth seeing in print:
The pictures of Irving Zisman, a.k.a. Johnny Knoxville, as the horny septuagenarian parties with some young lasses 50 years his junior.
War correspondent Robert King’s photo essay on Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, which is home to 120,000 displaced Syrians.
Kevin Site’s travelogue of Afghanistan as the US military finally prepares to leave for good (spoiler: the country ain’t doing so well).
These never-before-seen photos from Nirvana’s 1989 European tour.
VICE editor Wilbert L. Cooper’s examination of the thriving culture of scrap metal thieves in Cleveland.
If all that stuff doesn’t convince you that a paper version of the magazine is worth getting, look out for our iPad edition which is chock full of amazing extras including exclusive videos and pictures…
Buy Illegal! Magazine So Its Vendors Can Buy More Drugs
Michael Lodberg Olsen is the bearded, benevolent guardian angel to Copenhagen’s drug addicts. A couple of years ago, the Dane started driving a van around his home cityoffering heroin users a safe, sterile environment in which they could inject under the supervision of volunteers and trained nurses, rather than behind some trash cans in the park or in a shitty hostel. Olsen’s scheme was initially met with a fair amount of local opposition, but in the end he managed to win many of his detractors over.
Michael’s latest project, which he launched a couple of weeks ago, is Illegal!—a magazine that hard drug users can buy for $1.80 and sell to the public for around $5.00. At first glance it seems similar to the Big Issue, until you get to the mission statement. While the Big Issue was set up to feed homeless people and get them off the streets, Illegal!'s explicit aim is to help drug addicts—many of whom are homeless—raise money to buy more drugs.
Again, the scheme has attracted criticism—after all, much of the cash handed over will be going straight into the pockets of heroin dealers—but Michael has presented a case that’s hard to argue with. Surely it’s better that Copenhagen’s drug addicts are earning their money selling magazines, than if they are—for example—robbing people, shoplifting, or selling their bodies for sex?
Michael (left) and his colleague Thomas Paalsson
Are We There Yet?
Are We There Yet? is a feature in which I break down the current issue of Endtime Magazine, the bimonthly print publication of Endtime Ministries. As you might have guessed, Endtime’s purpose is to advance the notion that the end of the world is nigh and that current news events were prophesized in the Bible’s more apocalyptic passages. The magazine has been published for 22 years without ever questioning whether the end times are actually upon us, which is impressive in a way. I’ll be writing this column every other month or so until the sounding of the first trumpet, or until I get bored with it, whichever comes first.
You’d think it would be pretty fun to write for a magazine where you constantly get to talk about the end of the world—the gigantic battle between good and evil, the seven seals, the Antichrist announcing himself, all that cool stuff. It’d be especially thrilling for you every time a new pope gets announced because, obviously, you get to ask, IS THIS POPE THE FINAL, EVIL POPE WHO WILL USHER IN THE AGE OF THE ANTICHRIST? Plus you get to run a cover of that new pope surrounded by flames and resembling a villain from one of the Star Wars prequels.
(The secret to making the Catholic church look evil is that any old man in fancy robes like that looks evil. And that collection of cardinals behind the pope on Endtime’s cover provide another ominous-looking visual. If the church wants to improve its image, maybe it should stop dressing its leaders in blood-red robes and having them assemble in high-ceilinged places full of ancient, grotesque statues? Gatherings like this look fucking terrifying. But I digress.)
This woman thinks Anne Frank’s diary is pornographic. Is she the cry-baby on the week?
An Interview with Harmony Korine
In 1998, shortly after his feature-length directorial debut, Gummo, Harmony Korine published a novel called A Crackup at the Race Riots. The book is built from an insane collage of images and thoughts, including lists of ideas for movies, titles for novels, suicide notes, joke routines, celebrity rumors, and strange short scenes and dialogues involving rapists, amputees, dogs, vaudeville performers, and manic-depressives. Like all of Korine’s work, it is a rare collision of fun, fucked, funny, sad, and bizarre—the kind of thing you pick up every so often just to buzz your brain. For years the book has been out of print, fetching prices upward of $300 used online, until recently when it was repackaged and rereleased by Drag City. Harmony was kind enough to get on the phone with me and talk about the making of the book.
VICE: The first thing the reader sees when they open A Crackup at the Race Riots is a picture of MC Hammer at age 11. Why did you decide to start the book that way?
Harmony Korine: At the time I was doing a lot of narcotics. I remember basically the process was that I would hear things, or I would see things… I would hear somebody walking down the street, and maybe they’d say something interesting, and I’d put it on a piece of paper. Or I would see a pair of socks hanging from a telephone pole with a Star of David on the ankle, and I would just write that. Or whatever… I’d see someone juggling some toilet paper, and I would describe that. And then I would see a picture of MC Hammer at age 11, and I would just think maybe it all kind of came from his imagination.
The book is a thought in MC Hammer’s mind?
Well, it could be. Like most things in life, it could be. [laughs]
So, if I’m understanding you correctly, you basically started acquiring bits and pieces and then just let them fall as they may on the paper, in the order you found them?
Not exactly. What happened was I would just write everything down. I’d write things in crayon or on the side of the wall in my apartment, or on a typewriter or whatever. You would just see things, you know… cut them out of books. I might hear something really crazy that somebody said on a city bus, like somebody might be spewing some kind of crazy racial rant, and then I’d go back home and write that down, and then I would just look at it for a while, and I would imagine, like, What if it wasn’t that guy on the bus? What if Harrison Ford said that? What if I was actually riding a horse or something, and Harrison Ford was riding a horse, and we were riding somewhere, we could even be racing, and what if he just turned to me, and he said that same exact thing that I just heard? And I was like, Whoa! The context completely changed the humor. That’s basically what the book is. I started thinking about it like that, and there started to be these thematic connections in that way, and after I had amassed all of these fragments, these tripped-out, micro narco blurts, I went back and recontextualized them into something that was closer to a novel, or closer to a novel idea.
43 Is What a Skate Magazine Should Look Like
As skateboarding has grown in popularity and seeped into the lives of an ever-increasing number of households, the industry—and I’m painting with a broad stroke here—has morphed into a more family-friendly, watered-down version of what it once was, like MTV or domesticated animals. Which is why 43, a New York-based magazine that debuted last year from photographer Allen Ying, is a much-needed breath of clogged city air. A large-format quarterly that’s heavy on excellent photography and light on ads, 43 combines stories of late-night New York City skate missions with photos that wouldn’t be out of place on gallery walls anywhere in the city. Which is fitting, because on Tuesday night, in celebration of its third issue, 43 hosted a photo show at Temp Gallery in Tribeca.
While its previous issues have drawn praise within the skateboarding world, it’s probably safe to assume that this issue has received the most attention of any 43 so far, thanks to one of its photos body-jarring the internet a couple of weeks ago. The image above, of a gentleman by the name of Koki, ollie-ing a subway platform was spread far and wide not only on skate sites, but regular-people blogs like NYMag's and Gothamist, among others.
I caught up with Allen to talk about his new issue and the pretty things inside of it.
VICE: Let’s cut right to it. Who is Koki, the guy sailing over the 143 Street subway gap, and what is wrong with him?
Allen Ying: Koki is an MIA local, and he’s a beast! I only got to meet him that night. It was all pretty surreal, but he’s rad. Koki was the only one in our crew who thought he could do it.
I’ve heard some whispers around the ole water cooler that Gonz ollied that gap, or one like it, way back when. What do you know about that?
I heard that rumor recently too, but I haven’t heard someone definitively say, “Oh, he def did that.” It was just someone saying they heard he might have done it. I’d love to hear about it if he did; that’d be amazing.
I Went to the Playboy Mansion (and It Was Kinda Depressing)
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the Playboy mansion for a screening of that new Jennifer Lopez/Jason Statham movie, Parker. I don’t usually go to press screenings because it’s much easier to download the movie and watch it at home and not have to talk to other people, but I’d literally wanted to visit the Playboy mansion ever since I’d found out it was an option for me several seconds earlier. So I HAD to go.
Before the screening there was a reception featuring drinks and “photo opportunities” with some Playboy Playmates™® in the mansion’s main entry hall.
Hugh was supposed to be in attendance too, but he was sick. So we had to make do with this thing.
The screening was held in the drawing room. Here’s an exclusive sneak preview of it. This is from a scene where (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) Jason Statham hits someone with something.
Right after I took this picture, I whispered something to the girl sitting next to me and a guy wearing a suit with Converse shoes came over and told me off for being too loud. A suit with Converses is my least favorite look ever. Do you have any idea how humiliating it is to be yelled at by someone wearing an outfit that was last acceptable on Tom Green at the 2003 Nickleodeon Kid’s Choice Awards? Horrifying.
I needed to get out of there, so I decided to “get lost” while trying to find the bathroom, and see how long I could wander around the mansion before someone made me go back to the movie.
The first thing I did was go find a bathroom to poop in. I didn’t even need to, really. But how often do you get a chance to poop in the Playboy mansion? This is what you get to see while you’re pooping there, if you were wondering.
After pooping, I started to notice how crappy everything was. Am I an idiot for thinking the mansion would be nice? I figured it would at least be a little bit fancy. That was the main reason I’d wanted to visit—I’m gay, btw. Wait, are straight people even into the women in Playboy anymore? Or did that stop in the 90s? Wait, how does Playboy still exist now that the internet exists? Who on Earth is buying the magazine? The kind of person who wears a suit with Converses, probably.
Anyway, this is less nice than my bathroom at home. I keep my air freshener in a cupboard and everything.