Eagle Rock-climbing (at Eagle Rock)
Eagle Rock-climbing (at Eagle Rock)
I’m thrilled to have contributed to the fourth episode of The Organist, the stellar new podcast produced by KCRW and The Believer. I spoke to Isis Acquarian, the official historian of The Source Family. They were an iconic peace-and-love-espousing cult that lived in the Hollywood Hills in the early 1970s, wore robes, ran a successful vegetarian restaurant to the stars, made psychedelic records, rode around in a Rolls Royce, and followed their bearded leader Father Yod with spiritual devotion. They’re also the subject of a new documentary by Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulus, out this month in cities around the country.
I spoke to Isis about her time with the Family, what it was like to leave behind one identity for another, and how she handled experiencing all of that through the lens of a camera. My segment starts around the 39-minute mark, but the entire episode is worth a listen, with fantastic contributions from Nick Cave, James Franco, Christian Lorentzen, Tao Lin, and many others. Oh, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s Friday evening at L.A.’s Grammy Museum, whose walls are hung with iconic rock photographs and shelved with pop artifacts. On stage in the museum’s Clive Davis Theater is another Clive — Aden — a young rapper from South Central Los Angeles. He bounces back and forth between his bass and guitar players like a court jester schooled on the flow of early Eminem. But seeing as he’s dressed in a plaid, grunge-era Baja pullover and black jeans, he looks a bit more like Frank Ocean. His band, called The Strangers, plays without a drummer, which could be distracting, except that Aden punctuates every line with such force that the absence of traditional percussion is moot. “Nothing is impossible,” he sings.
He cites as influences everyone from classic MCs to contemporary pop-punkers, and connects the dots between disparate genres while boasting of the unlikely feats he’s capable of: “I can get struck by lightning, turn day to night and increase the peace by fighting.”
The Ento Box is designed to make you think differently about eating bugs—our most sustainable source of protein—by wrapping them in a sushi-like package. If you can eat raw fish, you can eat a caterpillar.
“If you roast wax worms, which are these little caterpillars that eat only honey,” says [co-founder Julene] Aguirre-Bielchowski, “they taste pretty much like pistachios. Locusts, they’re very nutty, kind of like walnuts. Crickets are different, actually very meaty. So if you pan fry them, they taste a bit like sausages. And obviously I think the first time you try them you associate them with a lot of things that are already familiar to you, but as you eat them more and more you start recognizing their own flavors.”
Photos via Ento.
Packed like sardines: Michael Wolf’s images of Hong Kong towers in his photo series Architecture of Density are awe-inspiring and wonderfully geometric. That these homes resemble circuit boards or microchips lends the series a dystopian quality, but it’s still fun to marvel at what humans are able to build.
Marcel Proust, Manuscript of ”Du côté de chez Swann”
I imagine I’ll always be fascinated by artifacts like this manuscript of Proust’s. The Xs and scribbles and strike-throughs and marginalia are so relatable, but nevertheless I wonder: Is this notebook a beautiful object in and of itself? Or is it all context? Something like this—or, say, one of David Foster Wallace’s syllabi—tends to travel really well on the internet. That’s not surprising, as it feels like we’re peeking over the shoulder of a genius at work. But are we being too precious with these images?
If nothing else, I guess it’s a good reminder to write first drafts by hand. That way at least you’re left with something—the remnants of a discarded or evolved idea or whatever.
In anticipation of the most electrifying teensploitation film in, well, ever, I spoke to the artist, writer, and filmmaker Harmony Korine for Filter. (Bonus: I also spoke to James Franco, who is a revelation in the film and whose interview appears as a sidebar.) We spent plenty of time on Spring Breakers but also tried to unpack each of his features. Of particular interest to me was whether his fascination with fringe characters was an outgrowth of his own feelings of isolation—either as an filmmaker or just as a person.
The isolation or underlying sadness of the artists in Mister Lonely—did that come from life experiences?
I don’t exactly know the answer to that. I’m not exactly sure where anything of mine comes from. I don’t do any type of self-analysis. I try not to know anything about myself, as far as that type of thing goes.
Why is that?
I don’t really know. It’s hard for me to say.
It’s just: You’re fascinated with outsiders, and now you’re making a film with pop starlets. Granted, their characters manage to find the fringes of society, but it’s a departure from, say, Trash Humpers, or the Dogme 95 approach. Were you trying to make something spectacular?
I just conceived it like a piece of pop poetry… I had this image of girls in bikinis and pink ski masks with unicorn patches on a white beach holding guns. I wanted the colors to be bursting like an electric neon painting. I liked the idea of a film being like candy-coating, like these girls. And then all the message and the feeling is the residue of that. I told Benoît [Debie, cinematographer behind Enter the Void] that I wanted to light the whole thing with Skittles. I wanted the tone and ambiance to be the star, like you could touch it. Same with the sound: an audio barrage. I wanted the whole film to be experiential from beginning to end, very quick, and then just disappear into the night. To hit you and then evaporate.
Read the entire interview, “This Is 40? The Spiritually Triumphant Films of Harmony Korine,” but beware that there are some potentially NSFW photos alongside it.
A modern rarity: perfect barrels at Oz’s iconic Kirra pointbreak, captured at 240 frames per second by Talon Clemow. Via Surfer’s Journal.
From the right vantage point, the images in Yao’s New Landscapes series bear a striking similarity to classic Chinese landscapes, from their wispy clouds floating between mountain peaks, right down to the presence of traditional red “appreciation seals,” small stamps that historically functioned as signatures for artists and studios. But those bucolic settings are in fact digitally altered composite photographs of mounds of garbage covered with green mesh. That pastoral hillside? It’s more like a landfill. That babbling brook? A littered roadside.
I wrote about Yao Lu’s New Landscapes for CoExist.