Ground Zero: Mali
Back in February, the only way to reach the city of Gao in northern Mali was to hitch a ride with the French convoys that rolled through the desert every few days. Along the way, a VICE production crew made friends with some French soldiers and chatted with them about what they thought about this grueling campaign as well as the greatest threat they face: homemade bombs, aka IEDs.
Ground Zero – Mali, Part 1
Ground Zero - Mali was shot in Gao, Mali, on February 21, 2013. It’s basically the first legitimate combat footage to come out of the war there. Normally the French ban journalists from the front lines and film a sanitized version of the fighting themselves and then distribute it to the media.
In this case, the insurgents came to us: They slipped into Gao overnight on small boats and used suicide bombers to blast their way into government buildings. The French left the fighting to the Malian army for most of the day as a test of their combat abilities. Malian soldiers, while very brave, are almost completely untrained and had great difficulty fighting less than a dozen jihadists, some of whom were children. They fired wild bursts of automatic fire everywhere, destroying the city center. The Malians soon ran out of ammunition and had to wait for the French to show up and save the day.
Crossing Mexico’s Other Border
People tend to assume that the immigrants crossing the US–Mexico border are all Mexican. The reality is that a large percentage of them come from Central America, and their journey north is grueling. To get to the US, they first have to pass through Mexico, an ordeal that often ends up being even more difficult than getting into the United States. Most migrants cross into Mexico on rafts, via the Suchiate River. After that, they need to protect themselves from corrupt Mexican police, drug cartels like the infamous Zetas, and even fellow migrants. They often travel by foot and by pubic transit, but many of them ride on top of “the Beast,” the freight trains that travel from the south to the north of Mexico.
While the majority of the migrants are young men, a small percentage of them are women who endure hardships like the possibility of being raped by basically anyone they come across. Some of them are forced to stay in the border state of Chiapas and work as prostitutes because they are too weak to keep going, need to save some money to continue their journey, or, if they decide to stay, so they can travel back and forth between Mexico and their home countries to visit their kids.
For this episode of Fringes, we followed Yoana, a young girl from Guatemala who has been living in the small town of Huixtla, Chiapas, working as a prostitute to make money to help her two sons. We tagged along with a special unit from the state government that is in charge of protecting migrants as they travel through Chiapas. We then hopped on board the Beast with more than 400 other migrants traveling from Arriaga to Ixtepec, Oaxaca, to try to understand the hardships they go through and why they leave their homes in the first place.
Lil Bub & Friendz – the Trailer!
Starring Lil Bub and Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, along with Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat, and meme-manager supreme Ben Lashes, Lil Bub & Friendz follows the life and times of Bub and examines the internet-cat phenomenon, in general.
Lil Bub & Friendz will premiere worldwide at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
Read more here!
The ATL Twins live a life of (shared) penthouses and playmates now, but not too long ago they were impoverished and dodging pedophiles in a hellish part of Tennessee.
Art Talk: Rostarr
Romon Kimin Yang, a.k.a. Rostarr, is a painter, calligrapher, and filmmaker living and working in Brooklyn. He spent much of his early career focusing on painting and graphic design, blurring the lines between the two. For the past 15 years, he has been more widely known for his abstract polymorphic paintings, sculptures, and black-and-white calligraphic drawings. Rostarr pushes all boundaries in his work, always striving to find freedom within style, medium, and form. He builds upon the visual language he calls “graphysics,” a word that exemplifies the geometric dynamism characteristic in his work. VICE recently met up with him in Mexico City as he prepared for his most recent solo show, Turbo Arena, at Anonymous Gallery. We sat down with him to discuss his style, techniques, and approach to art making. Presented by Comex.
Watch the new documentary Alone in the Zone, produced by VICE Japan for their YouTube channel
Interview and photos by Ivan Kovac and Jeffrey Jousan
Article translated from the Japanese by Luke Baker
Today marks the second anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Japan and caused one of the most serious nuclear disasters in world history, when the Fukushima Daiichi power plant started leaking radiation. The surrounding towns were evacuated in a rush, leaving empty homes, silent streets, and uncared-for animals. In the small town of Tomioka, however, less than six miles away from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, one man refused to leave: Naoto Matsumura, a 53-year-old fifth-generation rice farmer who is surely the most stubborn man in Japan, if not the world.
“I was born and raised in this town,” he told us. “When I die, it’s going to be in Tomioka.” Naoto’s face is browned by the sun and wrinkled from smiling; his dark eyes peer out from under heavy lids—it’s not the face of someone you’d expect to defy the government by living in an area other people aren’t even allowed to visit, but Naoto wears his iconoclasm lightly.
Because he is being bombarded with as much as 17 times the amount of radiation a normal person is, and because for a while he was eating meat, vegetables, and fish that were contaminated by radiation, as well, some researchers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency wanted to run some tests on him. “When I went down and let them look me over, they told me I was the ‘champion,’” he said, meaning he had the highest level of radiation exposure in Japan. “But they also told me that I wouldn’t get sick for 30 or 40 years. I’ll most likely be dead by then anyway, so I couldn’t care less.”
A Gentleman’s Call was a celebration of creativity, ingenuity, and above all, ideas. A hundred grand was put on the line to back an idea rooted in a commitment to craftsmanship and excellence.
And such an idea was found.
Congratulations to Corbin Clay of The Azure Furniture, for rising to the top among four other strong contenders. In the end, there could only be one, Corbin Clay. One idea, heritage furniture from beetle-kill pine. And one hundred grand, to bring it all to life.
(Source: Vice Magazine)
We Have 1,000,000 YouTube Subscribers!
As a big thank you for helping VICE’s YouTube channel reach one million subscribers, VICE founder Shane Smith offers you an insider’s tour of our headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, giving you a sneak peek of what exciting new VICE documentaries are on the horizon.
Stay tuned, because the best is yet to come!
Now be a pal and subscribe to VICE on YouTube.
(Source: Vice Magazine)