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what moves you

Coming September 2010

2011 SCION xB

scionnation.ca


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Chairman/Editorial Director Justin Tyler Close justin@thelabmagazineonline.com

Chairman/Editorial Director Jeremy Power Regimbal jeremy@thelabmagazineonline.com

Design Director Xavier Encinas hello@xavierencinas.com

Art Editor Graeme Berglund graeme@thelabmagazineonline.com

Writers Sarah Herman, Tilly Stasiuk, Natalie Robison, Jeremy Power Regimbal, Louise Burns, Sean Tyson, Justin Tyler Close Contributing Writers Jack Black, Steve Earle, Rose Byrne, Elly Smith, Keith Heger, Dave Vertesi, Douglas Haddow, Michael Shindler, Austin Andrews Contributing Artists Rashida Jones, Sebastian Copeland, Tim Blake Nelson, John Carroll Lynch, Nicholas Stoller, Nico Vega, El Perro Del Mar, Florence + The Machine, Gottfried Helnwein, JUCO, The Cheaper Show, Jeff Hamada from Booooooom Blog, Jody Rogac, Shad, Nathan Boey, Aidan Knight, Makeout Videotape, Plants & Animals, Mike Perry Contributing Photographers Frank W. Ockenfels 3, Edwin Tse, Jake Chessum, Jessica Haye & Clark Hsiao, Rainer Hosch, Bryan Sheffield, Anna Wolf, Justin Tyler Close, Jeremy Power Regimbal, JUCO, André Paul Pinces, Kandle Osborne, Xavier Encinas Copy Editors Sarah Herman, Elly Smith, Deni Mori Interns Renée Power, Genesis Mohanraj, Daeun Janet Kim ———— Thank You Roger & Lesley Friedmann, Robert Marshall, Mabel Marshall, The Close Family, The Regimbal Family, The Power Family, Linda Baker, Carol Leflufy, Sherry Etheredge, Cassia Hoffman, Jesse Regimbal, Josh Close, Annie Schmidt, Samantha Marshall, Marina Henao, Drew Nelson, Natalie Robison, Kandle Osborne, Mikey Lipka, Ryan Stinson, Evan Wiebe, Austin Andrews, Alex Bodman, Rhino Print Solutions, Luke Cyca, John Howcroft, Biltmore Cabaret, Scion, DDB, Rethink, Gp Testa, Joy Maire, Mark O'Sullivan, Jolayne Attwood and everyone else… ———— Mailing Address Liberty Square Postal Outlet PO BOX 32679 Vancouver, BC V6B 0H5

Contact +1 604.568.1023 info@thelabmagazineonline.com

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———— Cover Rashida Jones Photography by Frank W. Ockenfels 3 Image retouching by Allan Finamore Styling by Jenny Ricker @ The Wall Group Hair by Amber Kerns @ Solo Artists Make-up by Sammy Mourabit @ MC2 Management ———— Opinions expressed in this issue are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Lab Magazine. 2010 © The Lab Magazine Inc. and its authors. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Printed in Vancouver, BC by Rhino Print Solutions.

the lab magazine ————— issue 02


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EDITORIAL

In an industry where seventy per cent of new magazines don’t live long enough to publish a second issue, we feel pretty fortunate that we’re able to welcome you back to The Lab. But following a successful debut is perhaps even harder than laying a publication to rest, and under pressure from great expectations we knew we had to dig deep for this second trip to the inkwell. As we started searching for inspiration in the world around us what we found wasn't froth-bubbled strawberry milkshakes or beachside stargazing. Instead we watched helplessly as a climate crisis, oil spill, and wars on three continents wreaked havoc on our beautiful blue and green dot. So instead we've put a great big mirror up to the world and revealed a pretty startling reflection to share with you. Photography features like JUCO’s “Galatea in the Garden” and the hypnotic work of our featured artist Gottfried Helnwein set this issue of The Lab apart from anything else you’re likely to find on newsstands this summer. Luckily that mirror also reflected enough sunshine in the wee hours, to guide us through the sleepy dawn streets with Florence Welch after her sold-out show, and who else but Jack Black could turn an interview with Rashida Jones into a chest-thumping duet of Jay Z's, “Empire State of Mind.” We heard Southern gentleman Tim Blake Nelson talk Classics and Wrangler apparel with country-rock legend Steve Earle, found out about Get Him to the Greek director Nicholas Stoller’s ridiculously long eyelashes, and whispered sweet nothings to Sweden’s lovely Sarah Assbring from El Perro Del Mar.

————Nico Vega ₄ ——Florence + The Machine ₁₀ ————El Perro Del Mar ₁₆ ——Galatea in the Garden ₂₂ ————Tim Blake Nelson ₃₂ ——John Carroll Lynch ₃₈ ————Nicholas Stoller ₄₄ ——City by the Sea ₅₀ ————Sebastian Copeland ₅₈ ——The Love Lab ₆₄ ————Gottfried Helnwein ₇₄ ——Rashida Jones ₈₄

And then there was environmentalist Sebastian Copeland. The intrepid photographer who traveled all the way to the Arctic to film the devastating damage our lifestyles have had on the frozen fragile environment we rely on so heavily. We listened as Sebastian and fellow explorer Keith Heger relived their adventure and spoke about the importance of awareness and education in the battle to save these remote regions for future generations. But when you’ve finished reading, our reflection of the world is yours to take away and transform. This magazine is a melting pot of perspectives and ideas, so we hope you get as much out of it as we did making it. The Lab is here to inform, influence and inspire, and for now, it’s here to stay. That’s something worth treasuring, don’t you think? Enjoy!

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this is the ————— music section

NICO VEGA INTERVIEW BY SEAN TYSON — PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK W. OCKENFELS 3

Their intensity is genuine, their motivation is sincere, and their live shows are an unadulterated display of raw talent. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Nico Vega is a three-piece alternative-rock outfit that believes in what they’re doing and thoroughly enjoys themselves in the process. Signed to MySpace/Interscope, the band released their self-titled, full-length album in 2008, and has been touring extensively ever since. They were already turning heads when a performance on Last Call with Carson Daly in 2009 thrust them into the limelight. Whether it’s an office cubicle or a packed and sweaty Viper Room, this group never hesitates. Their on-stage performances involve very little compromise, and often very little clothing. I was able to catch up with their captivating front woman, Aja Volkman, while the band was on the road in Austin, Texas.

SEAN TYSON—So, you’re from Eugene, Oregon – go Ducks! Aja Volkman— [Laughs] Yeah. I’m from a really simple place, and it’s got a kind of hippy mentality – it’s a really laid-back town. I grew up with natural food stores and naked people so it is quite a bit different from Los Angeles. ST—Your tours have taken you pretty much everywhere. Can you tell me more about your Nordstrom show? I heard you played in an office cubicle… AV—Well we don’t like to limit ourselves, so wherever we are we try to use the environment to make it whatever it is. The Nordstrom show ended up being funny because I’m dancing in these people’s faces and they’re on their lunch break wearing their office clothing. It’s just normal day-time and there are neon lights. [Laughs] We’ve had a lot of fun everywhere we’ve played. And yeah, we played in a cubicle at MySpace Records during the day. ST—Nico Vega was named after [original band member] Mike Peña’s mother. He’s no longer in the band but you’ve kept the name, can you elaborate on that? AV—She had a large impact on my life. And that’s even more of a personal topic, but I’m happy to talk about it with you. She had a history of using psychiatric drugs – Prozac and things like that, and she didn’t react well to the medicine. Eventually, she actually died from the side effects. I used to take a lot of psychiatric drugs, and when I met Mike I really wanted to get off them. I’d wanted to get off them for a long time and I really couldn’t find any help. I wanted to take

a more holistic approach to healing, whatever it was I thought was wrong with me and she was the spark in my life change, I guess. So I felt like it was an important thing to honor her. Mike’s still a really big part of our life and he really helped me through a rough time. Now I’m on the other side of all that and I think that it’s kind of part of our message to inspire people to look for other methods of healing, because there is an over-prescription problem, especially in the USA. I know a number of people who have committed suicide who were on psychiatric drugs. And that’s not to say I don’t think highly of Western medicine but I’m really an advocate of looking for another approach. It worked for me after years and years of the wrong drugs. So that’s part of our message, just finding a more liberated approach and accepting who you are versus trying to suppress everything. ST—You’ve spoken before about how you’re a family and how your artistic processes are quite organic and collaborative. There’s obviously no formula, but could you talk about how you write music together, and more importantly, how you challenge each other? AV—Well, a lot of it starts with Rich [Koehler], because he’ll come up with something. He’s a very unique guitar player. So we take something of his and then it’ll inspire us. I’ll usually have something I’m thinking about in the moment, or that I’m pretty passionate about, and I’ll flow something out to it. A lot of times Rich and Dan [Epand] will be jamming on something and I’ll leave the room and write to it and then bring it back and we’ll write a song. Everybody’s fully in control of their own part. I’m clearly the lyricist, Rich is the backbone of the song in a way, and it takes whatever life Dan chooses to give it. If Dan’s feeling country, that’s the direction. If Dan’s feeling tribal, that’s the direction. Usually it’s a pretty good direction. We trust each other, so that helps.

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ST—You’ve described your music as “fiction, freedom, love, honesty”. These are bold, lofty terms, but I think it works because you guys are sincere. You’ve also said, “If you don’t connect with the song you have no business playing it.” I really wish more bands followed that rule, because so many artists these days are just a clever marketing ploy. AV—You’re right, and I hate that. If you can’t do the song justice, why do it? ST—Exactly. It seems like your mantra is about living life and enjoying things without the pretense. No machismo bullshit. You can tell you guys have fun, and more importantly, your music means something. It’s quite apparent in your live shows. They’re something to behold; audiences are completely captivated. Was it a challenge bringing that energy into the recording studio? AV—That was a challenge. We struggled with making the record. It was quite a long process for us, and it was also a really amazing, incredible process with a lot of really incredible people involved. ST—You worked with Doc McGhee and Linda Perry. Jesus, they’ve worked with some pretty big names. AV—Totally. Doc actually didn’t come along till later but we worked with two producers, Linda Perry and Tim Edgar. Oh, and Chad Blake was the mixer on the project.

ST—Chad is legit. That’s amazing that you got him to mix your album. AV—Absolutely. He has his own voice and I think we definitely made him work, too. I think this band tends to be pretty opinionated about what we do, so we push people as much as they push us. ST—Linda said you were a dream to work with. She also did some interesting things with you in the studio. I saw that she tied you up and blindfolded you for “So So Fresh”. How was that? AV—I know. I was like “I cannot imagine Pink doing this.” [Laughs] ST—Obviously there must have been a high level of trust. How was it working with her? AV—She’s amazing. She’s such a powerful, awesome woman. She’s like Neverland. You walk into the studio and you’re Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. You get to do whatever you want to do and she creates a world of music around you. That’s her message - follow your bliss. She trusts the artists. She followed our lead because she knows that by working against the artists’ integrity you’re not going to get the best product. ST—So, you’re with MySpace Records, which is huge. I know they’re going through some interesting times at the moment, but how did that come to be? AV—Oddly enough, it was Tom [MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson], who came to our show and fell in love with our band. It was a blessing because that label has been a dream to work with. I don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. We’re being very patient and just

“You walk into the studio and you’re Peter Pan.„

the lab magazine ————— issue 02


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“It’s like being chased by zombie executives.„

the lab magazine ————— issue 02


this is the ————— music section

watching things unfold. And they’ve been very good to us as far as allocating a certain amount of money for tour support and everything while they go through all this, so it’s not like they’ve just dropped the ball. We have great relationships with all those guys over there. If anything it’s kind of heart-breaking for us, but we’ll see what happens. ST—Yeah, it’s a huge advantage to have those guys on your side especially when it comes to social networking and the promotion of music on the Internet.

ST—Yeah, the video resolves nicely at the end. I think if you listen to the lyrics it completes the story. AV—It’s this relentless battle and the whole point is that you have to fight for it until the death of you. It’s never easy to make your art, make it great, make it have integrity, believe in it and make it stay true to your voice. It’s always a battle, and there’s always going to be people trying to shut it down, change it or talk louder than you. They’ll criticize you or make you feel small and I think that’s the point of the video. It’s like being chased by zombie executives.

AV—Exactly. ST—Now you’ve got an immediate audience when something is released. MySpace is everywhere. AV—You know what, we do, but at the same time it was really important to us not to abuse that. So I would say we didn’t take full advantage of it. We don’t like it when stuff is pushed on us. I don’t think anybody is really excited to discover something if that’s the way it’s discovered. ST—Yeah, you’ve got to keep a healthy balance with fans. No one likes being spammed. AV—Exactly, so we kind of put an end to that early on. ST—I think it was Dan that said releasing individual songs is like releasing individual chapters of a book, it’s not right, it’s not rock and roll. Has your relationship with a social networking company like MySpace affected your outlook on the distribution of music, whether it’s an album or individual songs? AV—We love the record. We’re record people. If you can make a great record from beginning to end I think it’s a huge accomplishment and I think it’s really hard to do these days because there’s so much pressure to get shit done fast. It’s really difficult to make something great and we were really insistent upon having an amazing record, so we pushed for it. Even now, we would only release another EP if we have the unreleased material floating around. I wouldn’t be opposed to releasing an EP, but I definitely think we’re all record people. We’re kind of old school like that.

ST—I think the video for “Burn Burn” is great, too. Skinny [LA-based directing team] has always done a great job of telling stories through mysticism so it’s quite fitting that you teamed up with them. How was it working with those guys? AV—Oh gosh. They’re great friends of ours. We love working with them. We actually just did another video with them for “So So Fresh” that’s going to be released very shortly. ST—Nice. That’s exciting. AV—Oh yeah. It may be one of our best videos to date. I don’t know. I say that every time we do something new because I’m sick of all the old shit. [Laughs] ST—Speaking of new stuff… Obviously, you’re touring now, but any discussion of Europe or travel outside of North America? What’s next for Nico Vega? AV—We just got a European agent, which is great. We’ve been fighting for a long time to try and get over there, so I really hope we’ll get over there within the next year. Then our plan is to make another record. We have the whole thing written, we just need to go record it. We just want to keep making music and keep bringing it to people. It’s a blessing; this whole life is really a blessing.

ST—There’s certainly something about that medium that’s real and holistic. Are you pressing any vinyl? AV—We want to press vinyl so bad; we’ve been fighting for that for a long time. It costs a bit of money though so it would have to come out of our pockets, and we’re not working other jobs, so it can be kind of a struggle. But even if it had to come out of our own pockets, we’re not opposed to it. You know, if punk rockers can do it, then we can do it. I’m sure we can find the money. ST—Your music videos are incredibly intense. At first, the idea of conflict and violence surprised me a bit, and then I realized that Marcus Dunstan [Saw franchise writer and The Collector director] directed the video for “Gravity”. [Laughs] How was it working with him? That must have been an exhausting shoot...

More———— www.nicovega.com

AV—It was really tiring. It was one full day, but he’s amazing. He is the most positive person you will ever meet, which might surprise some people given that he’s a horror film director. That video in particular has a message in it that we wanted to deliver. In a way, it was a metaphor for everything we’ve had to go through to keep the art going. Some people get that and some people don’t, and that’s OK. Some people are like, “Gosh, you guys are more violent than I thought,” and it’s like, “Nah, not really.”

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Tank top & epaulettes Carlie Wong, Feathered skirt Alicia Grunert, Eagle ring Sleep Standing Up, Necklace artist's own, Feather earring Eliza Lau from Gentille Alouette

“I told him I was going to be a producer...„


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FLORENCE THE MACHINE INTERVIEW BY ELLY SMITH — PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDRÉ PAUL PINCES styling by Leila Bani at THEYrep.com, Assisted by Brenna Holler Hair by Tania Becker AT Nobasura Make-up by SONIA LEAL-SERAFIM at THEYrep.com

Before Hollywood gobbled up her first album Lungs to accompany scenes from Grey’s Anatomy, Jennifer’s Body and the latest Twilight movie; before music videos of flowery floating coffins and leggy dancing in gargantuan churches; before “The Machine” even existed, Florence Welch was a south London art-schooler who made provocative statements with artificial flowers and baked a cake with the words, “It’s going to get worse” iced on the top before eating it as part of a performance. This is a girl whose mum partied at Studio 54, who’s been compared to Kate Bush and Aretha Franklin, who gives Gaga a run for her money with her treasuretrove wardrobe. Twenty-three years of living aside, this girl is a legend. Fortunately, she is the sweetest, most personable superstar imaginable. We talked about books, free speech, subatomic particles and crowd surfing in a chainmail dress.

ELLY SMITH—Hi Florence! I really want to know what you’re wearing. FLORENCE WELCH—What am I wearing? I’m actually in my pajamas because I’m at home and I just got up – it’s really disappointing. I’m trying to spend as much time as possible not dressed up when I can. I’m a big fan of pajamas at the moment. ES—Your outfits are always so creative. I saw an interview where you talked about a friend dressing you in a gown made of metal. FW—The chainmail thing? ES—Yeah, the chainmail dress. FW—It’s not that good for crowd-surfing because it was quite heavy. When I first started touring my friend came along with me and we didn’t really have access to a lot of different clothes so we just piled all our clothes in a suitcase and took them with us, and we used to play dress-up before I went on stage, and it was just part of the mishmash that we’d thrown in there. ES—While you were crowd-surfing in chainmail, one of your songs was chosen to appear on the soundtrack for the new Twilight movie, Eclipse. Have you noticed any new fans or attention from your song’s inclusion in the franchise? FW—I have no idea. Maybe... I don’t really check the Internet, so to be honest I would be clueless. I didn’t even know the song had come out until yesterday.

ES—No fanmail or anything? FW—I don’t really do the Internet thing. I’m really shit at keeping updated with Twitter and all that kind of stuff. I sort of forget about it a bit. It’s amazing for me to have done the song. I love the Twilight books and I thought the last two films were really good, and I’d wanted to do something for them. It’s amazing that I got a song in there. I’m sure it has put me in touch with people who wouldn’t have thought to listen to me before, but I don’t really know if they are. ES—A lot of your music is featured in movies and TV shows. Do you think your songs have a particular cinematic quality, or do you just have really good relationships with music supervisors? FW—I always wanted to make quite epic-sounding music. I think my favorite artists are people like Arcade Fire and Interpol, and I’ve being listening to the new Peter Gabriel album Scratch My Back which is just acoustic covers – it’s all strings and drums and big swelling melodies and it’s so powerful. I think I’d always wanted to make something that was quite ambitious in its sound; quite grand, because that’s always the music I’ve been drawn to. Music is such an emotional thing for me, like performing, and I guess that comes across in the songs. ES—When you listen to your own music do you feel some of the emotions you went through when you wrote it, or are you more critical at that stage? FW—When you’re writing a song it’s so much a part of yourself, and then as soon as you’ve played it, and other people are listening to it,

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“It’s a strange existence.„

it’s almost as if you’ve given it away and you’re looking at it in terms of what other people are hearing, and that’s something that can’t really be helped. The song is yours maybe up until you let other people hear it and then it’s released and it’s up to other people to gain meaning from it and it’s up to other people to attach their emotions to it. It sort of becomes less emotional, I think. But that’s cathartic because it means it takes these experiences and then you sort of exorcise them and you can move on to the next thing. ES—So verbalizing those experiences, whether they’re traumatic or great, lets you distance yourself from the emotions and package it up for other people? FW—It helps you see it from a different perspective. You can take something that was painful and you can turn it into a shared experience, and then it can help other people who are going through the same thing. It’s turning something horrible into maybe something useful that can be shared. That’s the great thing about music: if you’re feeling down or alone a song can come on, and it will actually speak to you, and all of a sudden you’ll feel like someone else somewhere went through the same thing. It’s like that with books, and art. It’s just a way of getting in contact, connecting with people. ES—Books, yes. I’m a huge bookworm and I was so excited to learn that you are, too. What are you reading right now? FW—I’m just reading this book by E H Gombrich called A Little History of the World and it’s amazing. It’s a history of the world going all the way back to Mesopotamia and the origins of civilization and humanity told in this storybook way. And it’s incredibly engaging and exciting. Also, there’s this new author called Kirsten Reed who’s written this book called The Ice Age. It’s a book about a young girl who goes on a road trip, and growing up, and it’s really beautiful and quite dark in places. ES—You’ve been reported as saying your second album will be influenced by science. The lyrics and the design of Lungs are very biological, so how will your second album expand on the scientific theme? FW—One of the songs [I’ve been playing] is about chemicals and friction and static between two people. My dad’s always telling me about these two subatomic particles called Strangeness and Charm, and I always thought they were such beautiful, human words for something so scientific and I wanted to use them in a song, and it got me thinking about whether I could use it as a term, as a metaphor for affection. That’s just one of the new songs that I’ve been playing. Who knows, maybe the rest of them will take a more elemental turn. I’m not sure. ES—I like that. The smaller the particle the easier it is to forget that it’s human. I think that’s a good thing. Will your next album be more ethereal in a way, maybe less personal? FW—I think [it will be] something that focuses on looking outside yourself more, looking into the atmosphere. ES—It’s obvious you get a lot of pleasure from your fans, and your touring schedule reflects how much you love performing...

Grey printed dress & grey ruffled dress (worn underneath) Preen by Thornton Bregazzi from Gravity Pope Tailored Goods, Rose quartz necklace The Worship Museum, Other jewelry artist's own

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Tank top, epaulettes & spiked mask Carlie Wong, Feathered skirt Alicia Grunert, Necklace artist's own, Feather earring Eliza Lau from Gentille Alouette

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“It’s a celebration, isn’t it?„ FW—I have a great time. I do enjoy touring. When you’re on tour it’s hard to have regular relationships and it’s hard to keep up and chat to your friends at home. You lose yourself in the rhythm of touring. It’s like having a half-life. Your whole life becomes about the gig; the days in between start to fade. It’s a strange existence. It takes a while to come down after it. ES—As you don’t really use the Internet and find it hard to keep up with your friends, touring must be a kind of relief because you aren’t required to exist outside the day and what you’re doing at that particular time. FW—It’s great. Every day I wake up somewhere different and go exploring to art galleries and see what kind of junk shops there are – it’s fun. It’s like a really extended holiday especially when the weather’s good and I don’t have too much prep to do for that night... if it’s bad weather and I have loads of prep it can get really draining. I do find it hard to touch down and stay in contact with people because you go off in your own world and touring just becomes your whole existence. ES—You made some cheeky art installations when you were at art school – the cake, the flower collage [Florence made a huge fake flower arrangement that spelled out “You’re a twat”]. I was wondering whether you’re able to express that prankster humor in your music. Is there a particular song on Lungs that embodies that? FW—I think probably in some of the more tongue-in-cheek ones like “Kiss with a Fist” and in “Hurricane Drunk”. When I make those grand statements... I think it’s funny to make a song, like a catchy pop song, with lyrics that are completely definite and dark and quite shocking, I think. It’s funny to me to subvert the happy tune of the song with something that’s so nihilistic. That’s kind of my sense of humor really. ES—Do you assume that your audience gets the joke?

More———— www.florenceandthemachine.net

FW—Yeah. It’s a celebration, isn’t it? Songs give you freedom to say things out loud from your imagination that perhaps wouldn’t be acceptable in conversation. You have a couple of thousand people singing: “I’m going out; I’m gonna drink myself to death.” No one actually wants to do that, but it’s a thrill to say something that’s so unhinged and unacceptable. And, it’s funny. ES—Thank you so much Florence, it was a pleasure.

this page— Tank top & epaulettes Carlie Wong, Feathered skirt Alicia Grunert, Eagle ring Sleep Standing Up, Necklace artist's own, Feather earring Eliza Lau from Gentille Alouette opposite page— Jacket & shoes Acne from Gravity Pope Tailored Goods, Tank top & leggings Carlie Wong, Quartz necklace The Worship Museum, Feather earring Eliza Lau from Gentille Alouette, Other jewelry artist's own

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EL PERRO DEL MAR INTERVIEW BY JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE — PHOTOGRAPHY BY XAVIER ENCINAS STYLING BY JOY MAIRE

Sweden, Sarah Assbring says, is kind of boring. “To survive here,” she explains, matter-of-factly, “we have to make something beautiful out of it.” And the Scandinavian native would know – it’s where she retreats to write her music; it’s where the magic happens. Tucked away beneath the warmth of your headphones listening to her one-woman act, El Perro Del Mar, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were snuggled in bed while the Swedish winter howls outside your Gothenburg chalet. The rich musical experience of smooth psychedelics and catchy pop beats has been flattering dimly lit spaces from Stockholm to New York and making a name for itself along the way. Catchy tunes “Change of Heart” and “God Knows (You’ve Gotta Give to Get)”, whimsical videos and breathtaking performances make Sarah more than worthy of some serious Lab time. Here, the serene songstress muses on her collaboration with Finnish Rockers The Rasmus, tells us what English is best used for and lovingly recalls how she became El Perro Del Mar. Sweden may be boring, but it sure makes some sweet music.

JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE—Hi, How are you?

JTC—You play the same show and you tour for so long, how do you keep each show fresh? It must be really strenuous to sing night after night.

SARAH ASSBRING—I’m good. How are you? JTC—Good. Finally, we get to talk.

SA—Yeah. Keeping the show fresh is something you really need to be aware of and always try to work on. It’s definitely like an actor going on stage and having to put themselves through the same emotional...

SA—Yeah, exactly. JTC—Preparation? JTC—I’m glad you made it home safe amongst all the volcano drama. SA—Yeah, definitely. SA—Me too. I got stuck. The volcano erupted and I was stuck in Paris. JTC—Mother Earth is a scary place.

JTC—Having lived with an actor my whole life I know there’s a lot of premeditation and prep work that you have to do before each show and little rituals that performers do as a team. Do you travel with a band?

SA—Yes! SA—Yeah, I do. JTC—Did you just get off a tour? Where did you go? JTC—Do you guys have any secret handshakes? SA—My tour was mostly in the US and I toured Australia and parts of Scandinavia and Argentina. JTC—I know you made your way here to Vancouver and played the Biltmore Cabaret. How was that?

SA—We don’t. I just feel like it is extremely important to be close to each other physically and emotionally. It is very important to be close to each other in the fifteen or twenty minutes before you go on stage, just to feel like you’re synchronized and you have the same kind of rhythms in your bodies.

SA—It was really nice. I always like to play in Vancouver. JTC—How is it touring for you? Do you like it? Is it exhausting? SA—It’s definitely exhausting but it’s kind of a conscious mode you set yourself into and while you’re in that mode it’s enjoyable… I really like it.

JTC—Can you tell me a little bit about your collaboration with The Rasmus? I read that this was the best recording session you’ve ever had! I know you’ve done a lot of stuff on your own, in isolation, not really collaborating with anyone during the recording process...

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SA—It felt extremely natural because we did a lot of talking before actually working together. We’re both very into talking about music and about what we want to do. The thing with him and I was that when we started working it felt like we were twins or something, because it felt natural... JTC—Did this natural feeling come because you guys chatted so much before you decided to record something? SA—It was a lot of theoretical pre-work. That can always be a tricky thing because the beginning of a work can feel good with anyone, but you really don’t know what it’s going to be like. That has been one of the biggest fears that I’ve had and the main reason why I’ve decided to work alone. [The Rasmus lead singer and songwriter, Lauri Ylönen] kind of turned out to be the missing link for me, because when we actually started working together and recording we really didn’t have to talk much because it felt like we were connecting in a subconscious way. I loved everything that he did. I had no critical views on what he did at all, which is kind of rare. JTC—Very rare. Especially when you’re working on something so emotional. It definitely shows in the final record. SA—Yeah. There’s never a guarantee for anything in a collaboration like this and I was after a surprise, and something that would feel fresh for me, but there was never a guarantee. I was after the risk-taking and I was happy about the result. JTC—Me too! I really like the album, now that we’re on the topic. SA—I’m glad! JTC—I’m really happy to have you in The Lab this issue. SA—Thank you, likewise. JTC—Your most recent album is called Love Is Not Pop – do you usually come up with a theme for an album early in the writing stages? SA—I do. It definitely works around a theme and it’s definitely about where I am in life. I cannot ever start writing an album without having that theme to work out of. JTC—In a previous interview of yours, you said that while you were writing songs for this album that you were going to write an album full of love songs. Then, you said your belief in love was over and that it was really hard for you to write cheery love songs when you didn’t believe in love… SA—Yeah. JTC—Were you writing about a past relationship? SA—When I started writing the album, I was looking back at the last month of my life and I felt everything had been about love in one way or the other. I’d just come out from a long relationship where I was not bitter about it having ended. I was, on the contrary, feeling relief and also feeling like I really loved this person that I broke up with. I was seeing all of these different faces of love and what love is, and I wanted to write about all of those different faces of love and also the darker sides of love… When I write songs, I feel like I want to challenge myself. I have a very simple idea and then I want to twist it somewhat and make it feel like there is something twisted about it; something that is not as simple as it seems, you know?

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JTC—I totally understand. I can relate that to one of my favorite film directors, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the writer and director of Amélie and A Very Long Engagement. He also takes these simple ideas and twists them into a beautiful, visual story. I guess it’s a pleasant way to think about creating anything, really… SA—Yeah, I agree. JTC—Coming from Sweden but singing your songs in English, I’ve always wondered, have you ever put out an album in Swedish? SA—I always write in English when it comes to music. I think I’ve only ever written one song in Swedish and that was when I was around nine years old. JTC—I was searching like a mad the Internet and couldn’t find anything…

man

on

SA—Yeah, but there is one. I did a commercial for this Swedish pharmacy company once. That you can find and it’s kind of nice; it’s sweet. It is very sweet to sing in Swedish. There is something very melancholy... there is no shield when it comes to Swedish. I’m very much into linguistics and when it comes to poetry, when it’s sung, English is the best language. English or Portuguese. Swedish, when it’s sung, it lacks some poetic sounds, so I have a problem singing in Swedish, for sure. JTC—I have somewhat of an obsession with French music. I don’t really speak the language, I somewhat understand it, but I really love the French language, especially when it’s sung. SA—Oh yeah. French is also an extremely beautiful language to sing in. JTC—You grew up speaking Swedish? SA—Yeah... I make a very clear distinction because I write a lot of poetry, like literary poetry, and when I write that I could never write it in English, that would feel so wrong, but when it comes to music, it’s always English. JTC—El Perro Del Mar means “the dog from the sea” in Spanish. What’s the meaning behind it? SA—It was definitely not deliberate or conscious, but I feel lucky to have come up with it, because I still feel very happy about what I call myself. It was around 2004 and I was kind of in an existential crisis or something like that. I don’t know what it was but it was something very crucial in my life, and it had a lot to do with me deciding whether I was going to make music or not. I was in Spain, by the sea, and spending a lot of time thinking, just being very much engulfed with these thoughts about what I was going to do with my life. There was this stray dog, like a typical beach dog, walking up to me by the sea and it had something very sweet and very simple, very natural, and it just stopped by my feet and looked in my eyes and there was something about that moment and about that dog that made me really see things in an easier kind of way.


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“I was after a surprise.„

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More———— www.elperrodelmar.com

JTC—Wow! SA—And I kept seeing that dog. That dog came up to me every time I was sitting by that beach when I was in Spain… so I named the dog El Perro Del Mar, so every time I saw it I was like, “Hi, El Perro Del Mar.” It turned into something that I needed and something very sweet – to-the-core sweet. Something that was from the heart and very natural, and when I returned to Sweden I started writing songs again, and in a very natural kind of way, too. I never even thought about any other name.

SA—A couple of days ago. JTC—Oh no. Why? SA—Let’s say something reminded me of the way people come and go through your life. I cry often just remembering how fragile our lives are. JTC—That is sad… SA—I laugh a lot, too, though.

JTC—Sounds like a guardian angel. JTC—That’s good. As long as there’s a balance. SA—It was exactly that. It felt like an amulet or something that I knew I was always going to hold close to my heart. I’m a person who changes with the seasons, but I knew I was going to stick to that name. JTC—Those moments are the ones that stop time, in a way; that live on forever.

SA—Exactly. The balance is of utter importance. JTC—Well, thanks so much for talking to us. We really love your music and wish you all the best. SA—Thank you. Likewise.

SA—Exactly! JTC—OK! So just a heads up, I’m going to ask a few weird questions now... [Laughs] You can say pass if you don’t want to answer… I’m wondering, what was the last movie that really scared the shit out of you?

JTC—I’m pissed off I never got to see your show, so hopefully you’ll come to Vancouver again, very soon. SA—I am actually coming back.

SA—Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu… It’s this old vampire movie with Klaus Kinski.

JTC—OK, good! And maybe I’ll go to Sweden, to research why there are so many amazing artists emerging from its soil.

JTC—That is scary! So to date, what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment?

SA—You should, and just suck in some inspiration and then go back to Vancouver and do something extraordinary.

SA—Cleaning out my bookshelf. [Laughs] JTC—That doesn’t seem too exciting! When was the last time you really cried?

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JTC—Sounds like the perfect plan!


“I’m a person who changes with the seasons.„


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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUCO

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Art Direction by Topsy Design Hair & Make-up by David Tolls with Workgroup Models: Natalia Bonifacci and Beth from FORD L.A

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Suit and white button down shirt Thom Browne, shoes actor's own

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TIM BLAKE NELSON INTERVIEW BY STEVE EARLE — PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAINER HOSCH STYLING BY KIM JOHNSON GROOMING BY RHEANNE WHITE

You can take the man out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the man. Since Tim Blake Nelson’s memorable portrayal of Delmar in the Coen Brothers’ critically acclaimed O Brother,Where Art Thou? he has become a go-to guy for unusual Southern characters, appearing in movies as diverse as The Good Girl, The Incredible Hulk and Syriana. To become the accomplished actor, writer and director he is today, the Oklahoma native bid farewell to Dixieland, ropers, and Wrangler apparel to walk the Hollywood line, but if his latest directorial effort is anything to go by, it’s as if he never left. Set in his hometown of Tulsa, Leaves of Grass sees Edward Norton playing diametrically opposed twins Bill and Brady – one a Classics professor, the other a pot grower – the former forced to return to his redneck roots to help his brother out of a shady spot. The movie is full of humor, hard work and heart, so it makes sense that Tim brought some of his good friends along for the ride. One man who scored a role and is featured on the soundtrack is country rock singer and Tim’s lifelong pal Steve Earle – no wonder he was more than happy to take time out to put a few questions to his fellow Southerner.

STEVE EARLE—Hey man, what’s up? TIM BLAKE NELSON—How are you? Were you on a red eye?

descriptions as I am interested in how much of you is in these characters. I think to some degree both of Ed’s [Edward Norton’s] characters are you, some part of you, and I’m from the same part of the world you’re from and I definitely recognized some of the characters in this movie…

SE—Yeah, I just got off... How are you sir?

TBN—Well there’s the Steve Earle fan, the director, the writer, the actor, the producer and the … no let’s just actually say there’s the Steve Earle fan and the giddy actor/filmmaker getting to realize his eccentric vision of the world with some of the best actors around. How’s that?

TBN—Well I think that any of us, and I would certainly include you on this list, who’ve left the Southwest or any truly specific region of the country for another specific region of the country, have an inherent duality, because while being strongly rooted in where we’re from, we’re also seeking a place that will nourish other aspects of our identities. I think it’s certainly true that the professor character and the potgrowing character are both versions of me. The simplest way I can put it is that I am a father with three kids and a wife, who travels all over the country and sometimes the world making movies as if I weren’t tied to a home life at all. Like most people who do what we do, I live a duality, and so the movie is hopefully a funny but also poignant exploration of that and how difficult it is to balance the strong forces that one can have in a single life.

SE—Cool. That’s actually the answer to my second question, which means you’re fucking clairvoyant on top of everything else. It looked like a lot of work, doing all those different jobs. But I’m not so much asking about job

SE—Which brings us to your basic chicken or egg situation or in this case: Ed Norton or the egg? How did you come to write this particular piece for Edward Norton?

TBN—Steve, I’m sure you’ve been up all night researching questions. SE—I actually have a handful of questions, and they should work just fine, and both of us can talk the ears off a wooden Indian... So Leaves of Grass... There are two Edward Nortons in this movie, how many Tim Blake Nelsons are there?

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“You’re not an artist without a sense of your tradition...„ on that list, and so I think these roles naturally gravitate towards Edward just as much as he gravitates towards them, just because of who he is. SE—Let’s see. What else? Oh yes. There are Jews in Oklahoma? Damn, I grew up in Texas... it’s sort of rhetorical... TBN—Well, yes there are, and that’s part of what the movie examines. And you know, I consider the community in which I grew up a strangely exotic one. I think by virtue of its exoticism, there was very little anti-semitism that I encountered when I was growing up. I actually encountered more anti-semitism when I moved east because people were more familiar with Jews, so I found it easier to scapegoat them and make generalizations. SE—Where I grew up, in San Antonio, Texas, further west and further south, I didn’t know any black people that weren’t in the military.There was one black guy in my high school and everybody thought he was really cool and wanted to hang out with him. But 200 miles east in Houston, where there were just more black folks, it was a completely different situation. I think that is kind of a Southwest thing. Do you think the isolation of a community of people brings that community closer together? Because there’s definitely a strong culture in the Southwest, do they assimilate more or less?

TBN—Well, I’d met Edward because I’d wanted him to do this other project of mine called Seasons of Dust, which you know well because you’re going to play a part... SE—[The script’s] sitting right here on my desk right where I left it… TBN—… And although he decided not to do that film, I felt that he was so gracious and interesting in the way he declined my offer that when I sat down to write Leaves of Grass, I had Edward in mind. I just don’t think there’s another actor who could’ve played both of these roles so well. There’s an argument to be made that Edward would be the first choice for either of the roles. Yet, I was able to get him to play both because they’re identical twins, which is of course the whole game of the movie. Edward and I are also pretty similar in that we strive to have control of our lives in an industry which offers you very little of that and ultimately, that’s also the struggle that the Bill character is going through in the movie.

TBN—There was a degree of healthy insularity in the Jewish community in Tulsa, but that was always stretched out by, again in a very healthy way, a true pride in the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa. So you have an extravagantly philanthropic Jewish community in Tulsa – it really reaches out across cultures, skin colors, and creeds to engage with other communities in a very healthy and giving way. I think any of us who grew up in that part of the country, as Jews, feel extremely lucky, but I would say I feel very lucky to have grown up in the Southwest, no matter what my religion is, wouldn’t you agree? SE—Absolutely. It’s still a huge part of who I am. There are parts of it I still hang on to. I still wear boots… TBN—I think you and I probably have between us the largest number of clothing articles from the George Strait Wrangler collection. SE—That’s absolutely true. A lot of ropers between our closets, no doubt about it. There is definitely a love/hate relationship between Texas and Oklahoma, even outside of football, but I always had the impression that Tulsa was a unique environment in itself. TBN—I like to call Tulsa, “The Paris of Oklahoma.”

SE—I definitely see duality in several of Edward’s performances. TBN—Any complex character is going to have duality. I think that Edward specializes in really complicated characters and quite frankly for roles like this, or a role like the one in Fight Club and in Primal Fear, you need really smart actors. Edward is just a really smart actor. In fact, I would submit that when you think smart actor, he’s always going to be

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SE—Absolutely. I completely get that. By the way I’ve just heard a little bit of a record by Leon Russell and Elton John that’s being made in LA. TBN—Oh my God. SE—Stunning. It’s absolutely stunning.


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TBN—Who’s producing it? SE—T-Bone Burnett. TBN—And he’s doing your next album, right? SE—Yes. We’ve actually done one track for [HBO series] Treme that we’ve already finished... Is this your first comedy? TBN—It is my first comedy as a director. And hopefully will be the first of several. I really did enjoy being on a set of a movie I’d written that wasn’t relentlessly grim.

“I’m going to try to pursue challenges wherever I can find them.„

SE—Your first two films were adaptations of your own plays... TBN—That’s right. Actually, the first one was an adaptation of a very grim play that I wrote called Eye of God and then the second one I didn’t write; it was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. I didn’t write the adaptation either, a guy named Brad Kaaya did… and then the third one was based on my play The Grey Zone, and then this was the first film that I’ve directed that I wrote originally as a screenplay. I did set out to write a comedy this time, because I was at a very down place in my life and I was simply trying to cheer myself up. I wanted to go to the office every day and enjoy myself and this is what came out of it.

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SE—And it is really, really funny. I know you and I have a shared interest in a lot of the same music... it’s sort of part of our connection... but [it was great to be] involved with a film where there’s a character who has TVZ for Townes Van Zandt tattooed on one arm. Actually, the first function I served on this project was a telephone conversation with Edward Norton to sort of steer him in the right direction towards learning how to play a Townes Van Zandt song for the film. I think the fact that the pot-smoking Brady character is a Townes Van Zandt fan is kind of interesting, especially when compared to his twin brother, who’s a Classics professor.


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TBN—I think they’re both classicists in the sense that they go back to the foundations of what interests them. With Brady, that’s growing the purest, most organic and high intensity marijuana he can, but it’s also, when it comes to music, going back to pure and basic forms. As you’ve taught me, because I didn’t know, that was Townes Van Zandt’s attitude toward music as well. You said to me that when folks would ask Townes Van Zandt who his influences were he would say... well, I’ll let you say it yourself... SE—Yeah, Lightning Hopkins and Robert Frost. And I think that’s what’s really interesting about him, compared to say Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan’s more about the Beats and French poets, but Townes, the poetry that he gravitated towards was, by today’s standards, very conventional, lyrical poetry. I think that shows in his work. He was a classicist. TBN—Yeah, because Robert Frost wrote in iambic pentameter. He was also a classicist. He was using a form from Elizabethan England to meter his poetry. All of these classical allusions populate the movie and Townes Van Zandt is one of them. When I cast you in the film that was another classical allusion, because I think you are rooted in a world with a manifest sense of history and the history of the music you play. You’re not an artist without a sense of your tradition... SE—… I wouldn’t know how. I find myself trying to figure out what it is about Texas songwriting... I definitely come from an area where there’s this tradition that’s grown. Most of us trace it back to Mickey Newbury. He was Townes’ direct mentor, and I knew Townes and I knew Guy Clark and Townes knew Lightning Hopkins... Tradition is important because it shows you where to start to go anywhere. It’s the first step out the door. TBN—Leaves of Grass is all about storytelling and it sets out mentioning, in a very direct way, Plautus who wrote a play, Menaechmi, which the character Bill has translated, which is about identical twins. That’s what ultimately, I hope anyway, is funny and playful about the movie. The conceit of its humor is that it’s ultimately a twins movie where you get to watch one actor play two roles – it’s a very traditional conceit because Greek and Roman plays and Shakespeare as well, and then many movies in the last century, use identical twins as the comic engine that makes them move, and that’s what’s at the center of Leaves of Grass. SE—I think what’s really interesting was watching this character try to hide from himself, and he can’t. Where he comes from binds him, tracks him down and draws him back in, and I think that really gives this a beginning, middle and an end… Where do you go from here? What do you do next? TBN—Well, I’ve written a new screenplay, which is going to be a departure. It’s a big fantasy movie that I wrote based on a story I’ve been telling two of my sons, so that might be next as a writer/director. I’m leaving Wednesday for Baton Rouge to do a bank heist movie and I’ve got a couple of other acting roles after that. I’m going to do a film with Lee Daniels about Selma, Alabama and the voting rights movement down there, and I’ll continue to write and read and cobble together what sort of life that I can. I’m going to do an Ethan Coen play next year. But I think I’m going to try to pursue challenges wherever I can find them, and whether that’s in writing, directing or acting, if I pursue them vigorously, I’m only going to get better at all three. SE—Right. Everything you do in other disciplines brings strength to the core discipline. For me, there’s definitely one thing that I do a lot better than I do everything else. I’m not sure if that’s true for you. Being a writer and a director and an actor at the same time seems impossible to me, but it seems to come pretty naturally to you.

TBN—Well thanks, Steve. I just want to get better at it and I think that the challenges specific to Leaves of Grass were only surmountable because I was able to attract a lot of really talented people to help me tell the story. Starting obviously with Edward and his performance and then weaving through every aspect of the movie, and you’re obviously an example of it. You play a significant role as an actor in the movie and then you wrote our closing credits song and ended up teaching Edward how to play “Rex’s Blues”. SE—Over the telephone. He’s a pretty good guitar player. TBN—Yeah. It becomes quite exciting and demanding and challenging in ways that stretch you and only make you better if you’re essentially decent to people and you all enjoy yourselves while you’re at it. SE—It was a blast. TBN—So let’s just say, here’s to doing it again. Well, great talking to you Steve. SE—You too.

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JOHN CARROLL LYNCH INTERVIEW BY JEREMY POWER REGIMBAL — PHOTOGRAPHY BY Jessica Haye & Clark Hsiao styling by scott free, assisted by nicole houston

John Carroll Lynch never imagined himself getting into the film industry, as a master of the stage the thought of swapping live audiences for a camera crew never crossed his mind. Until one day when a fellow thespian recommended he audition for a role in a “little movie” that was filming in town called Fargo. The role was Norm Gunderson and writer/directors the Coen Brothers would change his career path forever. Fast-forward fifteen years and the seasoned ‘everyman’ is in L.A., at The Grove tucking into juicy smoked meat sandwiches with The Lab, telling us all about his varied and vast career in showbiz. Surrounded by larger-than-life movie posters and Hollywood madness, it’s easy to see how ungrounded an actor who’s worked with the likes of David Fincher, Martin Scorcese and Clint Eastwood could become. But that’s not John. The man who sends a shiver down your spine in Zodiac offers a rare and candid glimpse into the world of a hardworking actor, sharing his thoughts on his transition to film, the challenge of bringing characters to life and what he must do before he dies.

JEREMY POWER REGIMBAL—Right now you’re working on a Steve Carell movie. How far along are you on that? JOHN CARROLL LYNCH—Started yesterday. The movie is being directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, they wrote Bad Santa and I Love You, Phillip Morris. The movie’s about Steve Carell and Julianne Moore’s marriage dissolving.

and went to Chicago, ’cause it was a big, hot market at that time; it was right when Steppenwolf really hit so there was a huge influx of young actors who wanted to go to Chicago, and I really liked it. I was there for about eight months and ended up going to the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for a job and then stayed there for eight years. JPR—When you started out were you just doing theater or were you also doing film work?

JPR—So it’s a comedy, obviously? JCL—Oh yeah! [Laughs] And Ryan Gosling plays a guy who’s kind of involved with Steve Carell, who’s basically trying to return him to a sense of caring about his personal appearance and who he is. JPR—Who do you play? JCL—I play a friend of the family whose daughter is their babysitter, but I “break up” with Steve Carell’s character because my wife tells me to. He’s a character who’s lost all sense of personal will, like a completely domesticated animal. And he has no issues with this, he knows he’s the beta dog; it’s all cool with him. JPR—Do you still do any theater work? JCL—As often as I can do it. I like to do it. I’ve averaged typically about a show every three years, which is not enough.

JCL—Just theater. Truth be told I never really imagined I would be doing any film. JPR—Oh, really? JCL—I really thought of myself as going into theater. It’s what I’d done; it’s what I’d wanted to do since I was fourteen. I’ve always been a huge film fan. I don’t know why I didn’t connect the two. I knew people made them, I just didn’t think of myself as being one of those people. JPR—What was the catalyst for the move to movies? JCL—When I was in Minneapolis there was a huge influx of film coming in through the area at that time and I ended up doing little oneline parts in a couple films and then the Coens came to town and they were casting Fargo. JPR—So that was your first ‘real’ part?

JPR—Are the shows usually in LA? JCL—I’ve been able to work three times on stage here in LA, once in Princeton, New Jersey and once back in Minneapolis, where I really kind of grew up as an actor. I got out of Catholic university in DC,

JCL—My first kind of solid part. Talk about a miraculous thing. You know? I’m working in the theater, I’m loving it, and a friend of mine in the play says, “You know I read this script. The Coens are coming to town; you should audition for this part. You’re perfect for this part.”

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“Just tell the truth, you’ll be fine.„ JPR—That’s pretty amazing timing and luck. JCL—Yeah, it was crazy luck and pretty wild. I wouldn’t even have been auditioned in LA or New York; I didn’t have enough film credits. JPR—On movie sets there’s so much technical stuff going on and lots of people. Whereas, in a play, the audience comes there to watch you, and it seems like you can feed off their energy. Is it hard to make the transition from theater to film and to shut out all that background noise? JCL—I didn’t know this when I first started, because it looks like mayhem. There’s so much stuff going on, and everything’s moving and there are so many voices. When you go on as an actor, you’re not sure who to listen to, especially when you come from the theater, because in theater when you’re rehearsing, the room is quiet. You have this one to four day period when you’re installing a play into the actual space that it’s going to be in. It’s called a tech rehearsal. And then you have the lighting, and the costumes, and the sound – all the moving parts of the set. And it’s really cacophonous for that period of time. Well, acting on film is like acting during tech rehearsal because all of that’s happening at once. I know when we’re close to shooting a particular take, or angle; I can feel that the energy is going to that. And then once the energy happens, that space is then made for the actors to work, for the director to work. The difficulty is owning that space. And saying, “OK, the grips have had their time, the cinematographer has had his time, and now it’s our time. JPR—When you’re doing theater, if something doesn’t go as planned you have to improvise and make the best out of it, but with a film it’s like, “Cut! OK, we’re doing it again.” Does that change the way you approach acting? JCL—Well, you have to remember that in the theater the audience and the actor are having a live relationship and the acting company is the final arbiter of how the play is heard and seen. And they’re, in essence, in charge of the transaction. But when you do a film or television, you abdicate any sense of being in charge of the transaction. That’s going to happen well down the line. So much now, you’re acting in front of a green screen to a fake monster. [Laughs] JPR—Yeah, you have to make it your own or else it’s not believable. JCL—You have to make it your own, but that’s where everybody struggles with the balance. Avatar is a perfect example. When they’re creating that world it’s not even their visages that are going to be seen. But the spirit, the animus of what they’re doing is going to be released. When I watch the movie, I’m really impressed with Zoe Saldana’s work in it because I can feel the pulse of the life underneath, even though everything in the movie is absolutely artificial. JPR—You’ve worked with some amazing directors – is it possible to pick a favorite? JCL—There’s absolutely a favorite – the one who’s going to hire me next.

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“That passion is intoxicating.„ Edwards, Elias Koteas and Marty Lodge. When you’re being directed by somebody like David Fincher, who you trust, you get them and they get you. He can say, “Pull this little strand of intention up a little more.” You know, “Pull this tiny thing,” and so one of us would do that, depending on who was asked. And what happened, when they pulled that, is the other three of us slightly changed, just intuitively… and nobody owned it. Nobody made it themselves; it was all happening. It was very alive. That was an amazing experience. JPR—You never know what’s going to happen next? JCL—Yeah, just have all the preparation done and let the moment happen. I’ve had the good fortune of working with Benicio Del Toro. I am forever indebted for the brief time I spent working with him, because he will not go past the moment he’s in. I don’t know how he does it. When you work with him it’s like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff completely engaged in a moment in time, and then something else happens and that moment is what’s happening. JPR—That’s what separates amateur actors from professionals. Professional actors are so into the moment that they don’t know what’s going to happen next. JCL—Bad acting happens to me all the time ’cause I’ll be pulling out a prop before I’ve actually talked about it. And you’d be like, “How did he know that was there?” There’s no moment of trying to find where it is. Doing that all artfully and in time, still playing the scene, is the magic of it. JPR—Good answer. JCL—One of the great things about mature or maturing artists is that they’re no longer trying to prove anything. They’re trying to tell their story and they’re able to use all means necessary to do so. I’ve had the good fortune to work with people like David Fincher, the Coens, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Susanne Bier and these people know exactly what they’re doing. You get a sense of what they’re doing, and then you play with that aesthetic. But there’s no longer a question of, “I wonder if this will work?” It’s fun to work with young artists because of that uncertainty. When you’re working with somebody who’s really mature and knows what they’re doing, there’s no longer that kind of excitement. But there is an assured confidence and a feeling of intuition working on every level in every shot. JPR—It must be nice, too, because you know that you can just drift off into your world of what you’re doing and know that they’re going to print it when it’s ready and they’re going to do as many takes as you need. JCL—Yeah. You have complete and utter trust. JPR—You can focus on being present and go into the world of what you’re focusing on and you know they’re going to capture it amazingly. JCL—Exactly, I did this scene in Zodiac with Mark Ruffalo, Anthony

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JPR—Well put. Could you compare how Clint Eastwood and David Fincher prepare for a film? JCL—You know, it’s very different for everybody. With every job the personality of the primary artists affects the nature of the work. When I was on set with Clint Eastwood, talk about a jazz, that guy wants to find out what’s happening right now. He’s not interested in any other stuff; he just wants to get to the moment. I don’t think that’s just because of his acting background, I think it’s also because of the kind of films he makes. He makes very personal films, usually very intimate films. In Gran Torino, it’s about redemption, you know? It’s a personal story about redemption. So, he’s more interested in what’s happening now. Bee Vang, who played his neighbor, first time he ever acted he was very nervous. Eastwood said to him, “You know, just tell the truth, you’ll be fine.” And he meant it. Then with Fincher and Scorsese, every single shot and every frame is carefully chosen. JPR—You can tell when you watch their films that they are watching every little detail in the frame, even the smallest of set decoration. JCL—Everything. Every tiny, little thing. I’m so impressed with that level of detail. And it’s not that Eastwood’s not interested in details, he is. He’s just worked with the people that he’s worked with for fifty years. JPR—So he just trusts them. They know what he wants, he knows what they want.


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JCL—Exactly, I think of it in terms of somebody who’s a painter, for example. When you’re learning to paint, you go, “Oh, I wonder if I could use shadow to show this? I wonder if I could…” And, they’ve gone well past the point of learning the technical craft of filmmaking to a place where all these techniques come so naturally. And they’re using them in the way that interests them. Which is extraordinary – they can change depending on what the movie is. Like Scorsese… the guy makes Kundun and then he makes Gangs of NewYork. And he’s interested in all of his films and he immerses himself in not only the visual style but in the acting of that visual style. JPR—It seems like the most important part of their success is that they both love it so much… JCL—That’s right. That passion is intoxicating.

JPR—[Laughs] Yeah. JCL—Partly because I’m so self-conscious about it, but also because everything you experienced is actually in reverse. So, your left hand is on the right hand of the frame. Your right hand is on the left hand of the frame. And you’re also seeing what the camera was capturing, but what you were experiencing was like sixty people on set. JPR—Most audience members don’t realize the mayhem that goes on behind the camera for each shot. Last question, do you play any instruments? JCL— I’ve been trying to learn guitar on and off and I’m going to go back to it. I don’t want to die without learning the guitar and learning another language. I don’t want to die without having done both of those.

JPR—To work with them would change everything. JPR—That’s a good goal. It was great to chat with you. JCL—Yeah. JPR—Now, I’m curious. Do you watch your own films? JCL—I do, I do watch my own films. The first time is always like a terrible roller coaster ride.

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NICHOLAS STOLLER INTERVIEW BY ROSE BYRNE — PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRYAN SHEFFIELD Grooming by Jhizet Panosian/Exclusive Artists/Dior Homme

Nicholas Stoller may have spent his youth at boarding school but he’s no snob. As a graduate of the Judd Apatow School of Funny [He wrote on Judd’s college-set series Undeclared] he’s proving one project at a time that he can do brash, shocking, memorable comedy with the best of ’em. After penning the likes of Fun with Dick and Jane and Yes Man, Nick made his directorial debut in 2008 with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which starred Cockney wild man Russell Brand as rock star extraordinaire Aldous Snow. Superbad’s Jonah Hill also put in an appearance as an eccentric waiter. Well, it seems those two didn’t get enough of each other the first time round because Nick’s reunited them in his latest flick Get Him to the Greek. Russell plays Aldous off the rails (he’s just released a nose-diving album about problems in Africa), and Jonah is a record company intern responsible for escorting the leather-clad liability to LA for a career-saving gig. But no Apatowian movie full of bizarre men would be complete without a leading lady: step up Rose Byrne (Damages’ Ellen Parsons), who plays pop star Jackie Q and Aldous’ love interest. Here, she chews the fat with Nick about Jonah Hill’s method acting, The Muppets and the sheer brilliance of improvised comedy.

ROSE BYRNE—Where are you?

you feel about directing these comedies that are essentially quite raunchy? What does your family think?

NICHOLAS STOLLER—I’m in LA. Are you in Australia? RB—No, I’m in New York. Are you at home or in your office? NS—I’m at home – in my home office. RB—How are you enjoying all the press for Get Him to the Greek? Do you find it tiresome?

NS—Well, I come from a nice background, but it’s not like we’re aristocratic or anything. [Laughs] I grew up loving comedy and watching all the stuff that comedy nerds watch, you know, all the Mel Brooks movies and Airplane! – all those kind of movies. My dad was obsessed with comedy. RB—Do you ever want to direct a drama?

NS—As a writer and director I don’t normally do that much press, so I actually really enjoy it. It’s always fun to just talk about yourself [Laughs]. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves? Maybe a Buddhist monk?

NS—You know, I don’t. I could imagine directing something that has more drama in it, but my way in this stuff is always comedic. Essentially, any good comedy is dramatic and then there’s comedy that comes from a serious situation. Obviously, the dialogue’s different.

RB—How do you find the repetition aspect, though? That’s what I struggle with.

RB—Yeah. I feel like in comedy the stakes are pretty high. Is that a fair thing to say?

NS—Yeah, I feel a little bit guilty when I know I’ve repeated the same joke eighteen times, but then I just do it again. As an actor, you have to do so much more. I think if I had to do as much as you guys I wouldn’t find it so novel.

NS—Oh yeah, you have to take it seriously. If you don’t, if you’re ever winking at the camera, then the audience gets bored. RB—You’ve worked with a lot of comedians. Do you think comedians are funny people all the time, or are they actually very serious?

RB—How has the reception been to the film? NS—People seem to really like it – the audiences go nuts during it and it makes me laugh… so I don’t really care. RB—Well, that’s the main thing, and if you think it’s funny, that’s a good sign. I didn’t realize you were from such a posh family – going to boarding school, and then Harvard. Coming from that sort of background, how do

NS—I think there are all kinds. There are people like both Jonah [Hill] and Russell [Brand] who joke around constantly, so they’re a certain kind. Then, although I’ve never worked with him, I’ve heard Steve Martin is one of the funniest people ever. But I’ve also heard he’s quite serious when the cameras aren’t rolling. I think it depends on the personality type.

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RB—The chemistry between Russell and Jonah is great; they’re such an odd couple, like any good pairing – Lethal Weapon or Turner & Hooch… NS—I think that’s a huge part of it. They really like and respect each other, but they’re so different. Russell’s this very polite English guy with some dark stuff in his past. And Jonah’s – I’m Jewish, so I can say this – this brash, hilarious, American Jew. They just really wouldn’t run into each other, except in a professional circumstance. So, for a lot of the movie, they were like, “What makes him tick?” And it comes out on screen. RB—That’s so true, isn’t it? They couldn’t be from more different worlds. Would you consider Jonah primarily a comedian or an actor? NS—I think he’s primarily an actor. He’s done a little bit of stand-up, but he started really as an actor. I had a joke with him, that he’s a Method actor, but he doesn’t know it. RB—[Laughs] NS—I would joke around with him because during a scene where he was breaking up with his girlfriend he’d be like, “I don’t know what’s going on today, I’m just really bummed out.” And then there was a scene where he’s hopped on adrenaline and he was like, “I’m so pumped right now; I have so much energy!” It was during that moment when I turned to him said, “I think you’re a Method actor.” And he was like, “Oh… you might be right.” He is completely not self-aware. He’s not doing it on purpose. RB—And Russell, would you consider him more of a comedian? NS—He’s interesting. I think he has incredible acting chops, but he’s spent the majority of his career doing stand-up. RB—How is it directing a comedian as opposed to directing a dramatic actor? NS—If you’re dealing with a comedian, as I certainly have in the past, sometimes they’ll improv off the story to try and get to a joke that’s not appropriate. Or they’ll be a little bit too broad. But Jonah and Russell are never that. They’re really grounded and really in the moment, and both of them are playing characters. RB—Do you prefer writing or directing? NS—Writing is more solitary; you can make your own schedules, it’s mellower, and from a brainpower standpoint, it’s harder. Directing is more tiring, but it’s really exciting, and I never really know what’s going to happen. I think I’ve become a better writer through directing, ’cause I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. RB—Do you think that you’ve changed since you’ve become a director? NS—I’m not sure if I’ve changed. I think I’m just more demanding. RB—[Laughs] NS—Now, I’m just this huge asshole ’cause I’m a director so I’m allowed that.

A movie can be bad because it tried to be something really interesting and it kind of failed. But given the amount of resources, if you’re doing a studio movie, it’s lack of preparation and laziness that makes a movie bad. RB—What’s the ratio of improv to script that’s on screen? NS—I think it’s always about sixty to seventy per cent scripted and thirty to forty improv. We work on the script for so long and rewrite and rewrite, it also becomes a grey area where you guys improvise in the rehearsals and then we put that into the script. So is that improv or scripted? But I would say it’s around that. RB—Is that method from the Judd [Apatow] school, from when you started on Undeclared? Or is that from your improv work at Harvard? NS—I learned the process from Judd. We did it on Undeclared a little bit, but you don’t have as much time on a TV show to do as much as we do. We certainly did it on Undeclared and I thought it made complete, logical sense, because I wrote on the Lampoon [Harvard’s long-running humor publication] at college and did improv comedy – my improv troupe was amazing! So I think the two sides were both useful. RB—So, it was a perfect match for you to work with Judd? NS—Yeah, it was. I’ve worked on comedies where they just shot the script and when they cut the movie they only had the one joke and that joke didn’t work, so then they’re just screwed. RB—That would be a whole different experience, working on a comedy where you’ve got to stick entirely to the right dialogue and you can’t go off book at all. NS—Yeah, and I think that the kind of comedy that we’re making, where there’s a laugh every thirty seconds, you just can’t do it that way. But the Coen brothers’ movies are so funny, and they don’t ever go off script. They’re a certain genre where you don’t need that laugh every thirty seconds. We have to feed the beast. [Laughs] Honestly, it would be so much easier just to shoot the script. A lot of times during the movie I’d turn to Rodney [Rothman] and be like, “Next time I just want to shoot the script.” RB—Would you like to do something that is more Coen Brothers than Apatow? NS—I love the Coen Brothers’ movies. But when I sit down to write stuff that’s not where my head goes. But, who knows? I’m sure there’ll come a moment where it seems more interesting to move to a different genre, but right now, it seems exciting to keep pushing this kind of comedy. RB—Yeah, absolutely. The next smart generation of big comedies is really the kind that you guys do. They’re the huge, mainstream, popular films that everybody goes to. NS—Had you done comedy before this one? RB—Not really, no. In Australia I think I filmed one. NS—That doesn’t count!

RB—It’s pretty hard to know how you’ve changed. It’s like something only other people can say. NS—Now I know you’re given so many resources to make a good movie, that I have less patience for movies that are bad in a boring way.

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RB—It doesn’t count! NS—Yeah, only if it was in America…


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“It makes me laugh… so I don’t really care.„

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“I always called The Muppets the gateway drug for comedy nerds.„

RB—But over here, not really. I guess Marie Antoinette, the little role I had, she was kind of comedic – she was sort of irreverent… NS—I remember that. RB—But, no. That’s actually why I was very surprised. I knew you’d seen Damages, ’cause I know Aaron [Zelman, Damages writer] is a friend of yours, but I remember thinking, what a stretch for you to even audition me, let alone give me the part, knowing me on that TV show. That show is not a comedy! I’m not funny on that show at all! It’s so serious! So it was quite a leap of faith for you to even get me in to audition. NS—Well when I saw you on the list I was like, “Oh, this’ll be interesting.” because I knew you from Damages. But then when you auditioned you just nailed it. It was instant. We were like, “Oh, yeah. That’s her.” RB—[Laughs] I remember I was not really sure what to expect. And so, you’re doing The Muppets next? That’s so fun! NS—James Bobin who did Flight Of The Conchords is directing it and Jason [Segel] and I are writing it and Jason’s going to be in it. It’s very exciting. RB—Wow. And you’re also doing Stretch Armstrong? NS—I’m doing Stretch Armstrong. I actually just came back from Hasbro. I went to tour their facilities, see the magic. It’s like Willy Wonka’s factory. They have a 3D printer there. It’s crazy. RB—Oh my gosh! NS—That’s really exciting. I’m working with Rob Letterman, who directed Gulliver’s Travels, which I wrote the script for. He’s really talented, and it’s exciting to be working with a superhero genre. I’ve never done that before. RB—Yeah, that’s wild. And The Muppets is obviously another huge, iconic… NS—Yeah, that’s really fun. I always called The Muppets the gateway drug for comedy nerds. It’s like being a kid and you’re, like, “What’s this? I want more.” So it’s exciting to get to work on that. The first time

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I typed “Kermit” I couldn’t believe I was getting to write his dialogue. RB—Oh my God. I used to love the two old men who sat in the… NS—Oh, yeah. Waldorf and Statler. RB—I loved them. They were my favorites. NS—Yeah, they’re really good. RB—I just have one last question for you. How did you get such long eyelashes? NS—[Laughs] Are they? They’re fake eyelashes. RB—They’re fake? I love it! NS—[Laughs] I’m not sure. I just remember when I was a little kid, all my mom’s lady friends coming up to me saying, “You have the longest eyelashes!” and I would be like, “What? So?” RB—They’re kind of like a camel’s. ’Cause they’re so fair, too. NS—I also spit and have a hump. RB—[Laughs] That was a good one. Well thank you so much for letting me interview you. NS—Yeah, thanks for doing this, and I can’t wait for you to see the movie! RB—I know, I’m very excited! NS—You’re going to be either really excited or you’re going to never talk to me again. No, you’re going to love it. Your performance is so funny, it was a crazy cast. RB—From all corners of the world.

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previous page— Knit sweater dress H&M, Headband stylist's own. left— Crochet dress RARE right— Jean jacket topshop, Underwear LA SENZA, Headband stylist's own.

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left— Knit sweater dress H&M, Headband stylist's own. right— Sweater JCREW, Underwear bottoms Victoria's Secret.

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left— Tank top MARK BY MARC JACOBS, Glasses stylist's own. right— Crochet knitted vest TOPSHOP, Thong Victoria's Secret, Necklace LARUICCI.

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SEBASTIAN COPELAND INTERVIEW BY KEITH HEGER — PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAKE CHESSUM assisted by Kevin Trageser styling by Michelle Cameron images retouching by Primary Photographic

The Arctic isn’t at the top of most people’s holiday destination list. Whether you picture a treacherous, frozen wasteland or the spot where Santa’s elves get everything ready for Christmas, chances are you’ve never planned on going there. But for environmental advocate Sebastian Copeland, who visited frequently in his childhood dreams, the Arctic means something else. The North Pole was the destination for a real-life exploration to mark the centennial of Admiral Robert Peary’s 1909 expedition and to experience the rapidly vanishing environment first-hand. This remarkable endeavor was captured on film by Sebastian and can be seen in Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul. This cinematic account of his four-week, 400-mile frostbitten trek sees Sebastian and adventure junkie Keith Heger trade civilization for the physical challenge of minus fifty-degree temperatures and the mental hardships of isolation and endurance. Through stunning visuals and ambitious musical accompaniment, the documentary captures the tragic beauty of this desolate place while delivering a poignant message about our gas-guzzling, RIP-planet lifestyles. Sebastian continues to convey that message with his most recent kite-skiing adventure to Greenland. Arctic pilgrimage partner Keith caught up with Sebastian while he was packing up for the expedition to talk environmental impacts, internal peace and their incredible (and incredibly cold) journey.

KEITH HEGER—Sebastian, how are you doing? SEBASTIAN COPELAND—I’m good, buddy. How are you? KH—I’m well. Where are you at, right now? SC—I’m in LA.

KH—I know it’s about time. Some place warm. SC—But now you’ve got another little kid coming and I can’t help but think of the responsibility that this means in terms of climate change and the responsibility we have to the generations of the future. I want to have a child, and hopefully in the next couple of years it’ll be on the table, but I can’t disassociate the responsibility of a child with the responsibility that we have for advocating on behalf of the planet.

KH—How is it there? SC—It’s fantastic. I’m in the final stages of preparation for the Greenland trip, so I’ve got clothes hanging all over the house and packs of food, technology and camera equipment. It’s a mess out here. I leave in a couple of days… How are you doing? KH—I’m very well. I’m here in Chicago. It’s warm and sunny and I’m wearing my Canucks shorts and thinking about Into the Cold and your next journey to Greenland. SC—I’m bummed that I’m not doing this trip with you. You’re going to be missed on this one. We had such an amazing time in the Arctic. It was as amazing a time as you can get while you’re trekking across, you know, frozen icescape. KH—Yeah, it definitely was amazing. SC—It’s time to do an expedition to Los Angeles, Keith, and come visit.

KH—Every time I go traveling in the Arctic with team members, there’s no stronger sense of purpose in me than encouraging people to be ambassadors. When they go home, they can share the story of the Arctic, however they make that story up. Certainly with Into the Cold you told a compelling story. You’re so focused on the journey and the accomplishment, the hardships and the daily challenge. It takes a moment to step away and recognize your sense of place. That’s the question I have for you: How does traveling to the Arctic and these inhospitable corners of the world strengthen your space in LA? How do you relate the two to each other? SC—I come back with rich content about these places, which are often perceived as the corners of the world. They seem so far away and almost otherworldly, and the reality is that they’re very much part of our world. They’re an inherent, necessary, symbiotic part of our existence on this planet, and as we see the melt occurring - as we see these regions being impacted so dramatically by climate change many see that as a sentimental tale, but in fact it’s really a cautionary one, because as the ice goes, so goes humanity.

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“As the ice goes, so goes humanity.„ KH—I’ve never been as cold as holding that metal body of the Canon camera. It goes all the way right through you. How fitting is the name of the movie? We were immersed in the cold. SC—We really were, and really digging deep into the depths of the soul for all kinds of answers and internal peace. One of the things that I value so much about these trips is that they’re sort of monastic and mostly silent. It takes a certain type of partner to really find complete harmony in that kind of isolation; that’s really what I take back from Into the Cold. This whole North Pole trip with you has just been a really synergistic, harmonious and monastic type of journeying. KH—Yeah. I don’t think you can find that anywhere else on any other expedition. On a mountaineering expedition, you’re always consulting your partner, “Is this the route? Is that the route? What’s the weather look like?” And for us, we spent fourteen hours walking and hardly saying anything to each other and a year later I can easily snap back into the bond that was created in the tent, on the trails. SC—It really is. It’s true. Everything that you say, I echo enthusiastically, because there’s also this notion of feeling completely at peace because we have each other’s back. Of course this became vividly clear to me when I fell through the ice. I’m not easily rattled, but I have to say, in that moment, panic struck me. I remember the ice breaking from under me and sinking clean to my neck in the Arctic water and having this moment of sheer panic. In retrospect I look at it calmly and go: you fall in the water, you pull yourself to the edge, you come back up, you roll onto the ice and you change. But you do this in thirty-five below with clothes, skis and sledges and it really takes a partner to help you out of a situation like this. KH—I felt like time had slowed down and we were both very calm in those twenty minutes afterwards, more so than we were, let’s say, setting up the tent in the first five days, struggling with those poles. SC—That’s so true, and what I especially love about this type of extreme journeying is this notion that you are completely in charge of your destiny with no time-outs, no moments of putting your hand up in the air and asking for a replay, or for a warm blanket. KH—Sure. SC—In moments like these, not only do you need to be completely self-reliant, but you also depend on teamwork. It really requires every single resource you have: mental, physical and social. And it’s quite remarkable; we remained very calm, very focused. I got naked in thirtyfive below… KH—Ooh-ee! Did you!

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Dark gray diner jacket BRIONI, Tee-shirt CALVIN

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SC—… changed my clothes, and it went seamlessly and then we were dressed and we were like, “OK, let’s keep going.” KH—“…into the cold!” SC—That’s right…

“I got naked in thirty-five below...„

KH—I want to know, how would Sebastian Copeland set up a North Pole recruitment advertisement to be placed in the newspaper? SC—… To engage people to come on a North Pole expedition, you mean? KH—Yeah! You’re looking for your next partner, just like [Admiral Robert] Peary and [Matthew] Henson were. SC—Oh, just like Peary and Henson. Well, there’s that great ad that Shackleton had placed for his mission to the South Pole, which was, “Looking for brave man… Low pay… Return uncertain.” KH—That’s exactly what I was thinking about. How would Copeland craft his advertisement? SC—Wow! That’s a really good question. I think it would invariably entail something to the effect of, “A really difficult, miserable experience that will change your life for the better. Forever.”

KH—For the layperson that seems so farfetched, that there’ll be platforms up there, but it’s a lot closer to happening than they probably realize. I think that what may occur in the short term is that since these shipping lanes are now open through the Northwest Passage [A sea route along the northern coast of North America that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans] you’re going to have huge tankers moving cargo up there. Every season is different up there so nothing is a guarantee. You get a cargo ship that runs aground or hits an iceberg and breaks up, now you have all this waste and that’s a reality that could be happening soon, in the next couple of years; this summer in fact. SC—There’s no question. Why, in fact, last year, a German shipper managed to route some of their cargo through the North East Passage. [Otherwise known as the Northern Sea Route, this shipping lane runs along the Russian Arctic coast]. KH—Sure.

KH—Yeah, exactly. SC—How would you advertise that one? KH—I think there’s a portion of misery that you have to imply, but it’s all about the journey. And you know very well that the North Pole that we stood at was ours for those five seconds. SC—That’s right, because of the drift. It’s the equivalent of having a piece of cork floating on the surface of the ocean. It’s just constantly moving. That’s the beauty of the North Pole compared to, say, the South Pole. The South Pole is static and the North Pole is yours for that one instant and then no more… I always get comments like, “Oh, did you see any penguins up there?” Or, if I’m down in Antarctica they’ll go, “How do you defend yourself against polar bears?” It’s one of the reasons that I think it’s important to advocate and to educate and to inspire because, obviously, there are no polar bears in Antarctica, and there are no penguins in the Arctic. It’s also indicative of how foreign these environments are to people. They don’t look at these regions as vital, and that’s a big error. These are the environments that regulate the seasonal crop cycles that have been in place for 15,000 years, and that basically balance our economies, and that allow us to plan our foods and plan our farming and all of those things… KH—Something that you share in your message with Into the Cold, is that at some point, the powers that be are going to be looking at the loss of Arctic Ocean as an opportunity to exploit the natural resources, rather than, “How can we make changes to sustain the current levels, or increase the amount of ice that’s growing each year?”

SC—Not to mention the fact that it’s very disruptive to the ecosystem. This environment has never been encroached upon by this type of industrial activity and this will happen. KH—In the film you briefly mention that you were looking to achieve some peace. For the followers of your Greenland trip, what sort of peace are you looking for? SC—That’s a great question. When you travel cold and inhospitable desert regions like Greenland, you’re entering a world that is very void of features…it’s literally like walking into a blank canvas. There are outside forces, of course, temperatures and wind and light, but by and large it’s empty of all the clutter that we experience in our daily lives. So the peace that you get is by rearranging your internal processes and reshaping yourself in the way that you would like to be… and you have a lot of time to reflect on that. It’s as much a philosophical journey as it is a physical one. That’s the peace I refer to, and every time I go journeying that’s always the one take-away experience I have. I spend a lot of time in my head, I get to re-arrange the world, I get to rearrange myself, and I come back with a sense of internal peace and a wisdom that serves me the rest of my time outside the ice. KH—Yeah. Hey, awesome talking with you, Sebastian. I look forward to our next adventure. SC—Likewise, Keith. I love you, brother, and you’re going to be with me, definitely in spirit.

SC—That’s so true. What can come from exploiting fossil fuels is a way to perpetuate the melting of these environments. Especially, now with this tragic oil spill that is ongoing, it’s really disheartening to think that people are still contemplating drilling in the Arctic. These regions are susceptible to spills, because the forces generated by the movement of the ice make a drilling platform very, very vulnerable. More———— www.sebastiancopeland.com

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THE LOVE——Lab


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Nº I ———— Art

THE CHEAPER SHOW Words by Douglas Haddow Photography by Justin Tyler Close

This time last year it was general knowledge that the art market had developed a bubble, and that bubble had burst. The decade that saw the greatest rise in the value of art in history was going out with a crash, last one to pilfer a bottle of Dom, please turn off the lights. But then in early May, Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” was auctioned for a record $106 million. A few weeks later, another Picasso, “Dove with Green Peas,” among other works, was stolen from the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. A brazen thief simply slipped in through a broken window and within minutes made off with half a billion dollars worth of canvas, and like that it was declared that the Art Marke was revived, and the sigh of a thousand hedge-fund managers was heard round the world. But in Vancouver, an alternative narrative was developing in contrast to these jagged spikes of red and black. It was the story of The Cheaper Show, a phenomenon that started out as a party for the renegades of the East Van art scene, but has in nine years grown into Western Canada’s largest singlenight art event.

The formula is simple: 200 artists with 400 pieces selling at 200 bucks a pop, one night only and a night to remember. Organized by twelve artists and designers from East Vancouver, the show has become something of a cultural institution in Vancouver, so much so that June 26th was recently declared “Cheaper Show Day” by Mayor Gregor Robertson. Attracting approximately 8,000 visitors, Cheaper Show No. 9 took place in a 30,000 square foot space, painted and prepped by the event’s crew and their army of volunteers – a mean feat considering the mere six hours that the space will be open. It’s especially impressive when one considers how viciously the BC government has slashed the wrists of its art programs. But the show carries on regardless, buoyed by the passion of its artists and organizers and the interest of those who come from all over the world to take it all in.

“Anyone can be like Rembrandt… It’s about freedom and guts… That’s the great thing about art. Anybody can do it if you just believe.” While that may just be little more than a pugnacious sound bite, it rings true when you measure the amount of sweat it takes to pull off a production like The Cheaper Show. At these prices, 400 fresh servings of guts and freedom is perhaps even more of a steal than Picasso’s green peas.

More———— www.thecheapershow.com

Damien Hirst, the most divisive figure of the phantom market crash of ’09 recently said

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Nº II ———— Photography

JODY ROGAC Interview by Justin Tyler Close

Born in England, raised in Canada, currently living in New York City, Jody Rogac has created a name for herself by producing beautiful photographs of human beings in their natural habitat. By shooting in the styles of portraiture, editorial and fashion, she continues to create a timeless feeling of romanticism in each of her photos. Her fascination with faces and keen eye for simple human moments is forever evolving within herself and her work. For such a young photographer she has created a portfolio with an old soul, with work comparable to that of the great Henri Cartier-Bresson or Irving Penn – photographers who didn’t rely on Photoshop to fix their mistakes. All they had were a subject, a camera and a dark room. Today, being able to find your niche in an extremely competitive industry is imperative, and Jody’s found it. Hers is the art of being able to capture moments in between moments when the rest of us are blinking…

More———— www.jodyrogac.com

JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE—How did you start doing photography? Who or what inspires you? And where are you currently working? JODY ROGAC—I started photography when I began school at Emily Carr in Vancouver. During my three-year education there I truly fell in love with the medium. Last year I moved to New York and have been working here since and loving it. I’m inspired by everything really - my friends, my environment and especially nature. JTC—If you could shoot with one person in the entire world, dead or alive, from James Dean to Meryl Streep, who would it be? Why? And what would you do? JR—Someone I would love to photograph is Jane Goodall. I think she’s absolutely gorgeous and such an inspiration! I would probably hang out with her for a weekend at her home, or in a forest, and photograph our time together – something really casual. And we’d definitely have to get some chimps in there, too! JTC—You seem to love clean, emotional photos of real people. You don’t do much postproduction and your photography is often simple, but very moody. This is a very hard style to be really great at, which you are. How did this style develop? And why is it important to you? JR—When I began taking photos I only had one piece of equipment and that was my camera – I didn’t have any fancy lights or computers or anything. So I began photographing by making the most out of what I had available to me – my camera and my subject. This really taught me to love how people look when they’re photographed in the most natural way, and I find it very satisfying to photograph in the most simple way I can.

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Nº III ———— Art More———— www.booooooom.com

BOOOOOOOM Interview & photography by Jeremy Power Regimbal

Booooooom started as a fun way for Jeff Hamada to highlight artists he loves; now, it’s one of the most influential blogs running and his full-time job. He’s taken the assumption that artists are bad at business, torched it and shot it out of a cannon into the desert like Hunter S Thompson’s ashes and hasn’t looked back since. Anyone can create a blog and voice their opinion, but not everyone has the power to command over two million hits per month. Let’s just say, Mr. Hamada’s opinion matters more

now than ever, and if Jeff likes you, you’re doing something right. This kooky artist never had a plan when he started blogging, and maybe he still doesn’t, but with his fortune-cookie take on life and those seven lucky Os in Booooooom we see bright things in his future.

JEREMY POWER REGIMBAL—Where are you from and how did the Booooooom blog come to be? JEFF HAMADA—I was born in Vancouver and have lived around here my entire life. I started Booooooom two years ago as a personal project and it suddenly hit me that it had the potential to connect me with every amazing artist in the entire universe. So I started to post up work and send out emails that just said, "Hey, you’re awesome," and that became my routine. I did it every day for two years. So I guess, secretly, Booooooom is just a way for me to make friends. Now it gets well over two million page views each month and it’s my full-time job. JPR—What do you do as an artist besides your blog? JH—I make noodley drawings, a lot of textbased stuff. I like funny little sayings, and I’ll eavesdrop on conversations for funny observations, or make note of really awkward moments. I’m working on a story which may end up being a kids’ book, or at least a book with lots of pictures. JPR—What are your plans for the next five years and beyond? JH—I don’t ever plan that far ahead but I’ve kept two fortune cookie messages, one says, "Minimize expectations to avoid disappointment." I think this is a hilarious fortune and I laugh at it when I read it because I believe the exact opposite. I set ridiculously high expectations for myself and fail regularly and this reassures me that I am doing things I’ve never done before. The other one says, "You will inherit a large sum of money."

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Nº IV ———— Music

SHAD Interview by Dave Vertesi Photography by Justin Tyler Close

Shad’s laid-back demeanor is not indicative of his hard-earned success or musical ambition. He may be happy-go-lucky and upbeat, but he’s also pensive, curious and hungry to share his views. He’s a talented, mature, and self-effacing artist who makes it all look easy. His understated style is infectious and his music is accessible, engaging and intelligent. Effortless has never looked so cool. Comparisons to the rest of the hip-hop world are absolutely unnecessary. All you need to know is Shad’s material is musically rich and lyrically thoughtful. He isn’t reactionary - he’s philosophical and hopeful. His latest album, TSOL, is another poetic journey in the same direction that helped his last record, The Old Prince, earn nominations for a Juno and Polaris Prize. DAVE VERTESI—You talk about your parents a fair amount on each of your records. What are the top three records or artists you’d like to thank your parents for getting you into? SHAD—My parents didn’t listen to too much music, actually. My aunts got me into Simon & Garfunkel, and my dad and I both liked Phil Collins. Other than that my dad listened to lots of Central and East African music and gospel music, which was great, too. DV—You’ve been enrolled in a part-time master’s program in Liberal Arts at Simon Fraser University since the release of your last record The Old Prince. Have any of your courses influenced the writing on your new album? Does Jane Austen have any place in hip hop? S—Jane Austen is pretty Queen Latifah-esque in her own way! I really respect her talent and her sense of virtue.

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DV—The title of your new album, TSOL, is a word that you made up in part to demonstrate the insufficiency of language to express ideas or emotions. As a lyricist have you come to accept that or are you fighting to overcome those limitations? Do you feel you communicated what you wanted on this record? S—It’s a fun and interesting challenge for me. I work hard at crafting lyrics but ultimately people interpret them in all sorts of ways and that’s cool with me, too. It’s more than cool, actually; it’s part of the magic of music. I like that it can mean different things to different people at different times. I’m happily resigned to that.

More———— www.shadk.com


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JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE—So, you’re Aidan Knight! Where did you come from and how did you get into playing music? Nº V ———— Music

AIDAN KNIGHT Interview by Justin Tyler Close Photography by Kandle Osborne

Organic and simple by nature, acoustic singersongwriters do not always create the lasting impression of other genres’ musicians. And then there’s the enchanting Aidan Knight. His debut album, Versicolour, is intensely vivid and very memorable. It’s a journey akin to skimming your hand through a lake, the water thick and dark like oil; bicycling through the suburban summer; lying amongst the barley next to a prairie highway. Versicolour is somewhat nostalgic of a summer in our younger years, however Aidan himself is timeless. He is to 2010, what Nick Drake was to 2005, not necessarily because he sounds like him, but because he encapsulates all the intimate innocence of a true enigmatic and innocent creator. With his smooth voice these songs could be covers of old standards that stood the test of decades. “Jasper” could easily be an old Guy Clark song made famous by Emmylou Harris and sung by countless hillbilly visionaries crossing paths with Johnny Cash. He also loves cereal. He said this much.

AIDAN KNIGHT—In the least funny way possible, I came from my parents in 1986. I was a huge baby and still am – I was ten pounds fourteen ounces and now I’m a little over six feet tall. I grew up in Victoria, BC and did my time in school band and church choirs, but I didn’t really start pursuing ‘Aidan Knight’ as a solo musician until last November. I’ve been writing so-so love songs since I was fifteen, and just released my first record this year. Life seems really good right now. JTC—Your album Versicolour is fantastic! What inspired it? A girlfriend? A place you traveled to? AK—I’m not conceptual enough to create a real theme for the album, at least not on the spot. It’s just about my life: girls, family, past, present, responsibility, not owning a car. You name it: I tried to write about it. When I came to Jon [Record producer, Jonathan Anderson] with the skeletons of the songs in 2008, he listened to me play through a verse and a chorus of each and then asked me, “Where do you want this to go?” I probably didn’t know exactly what I wanted at the time. As I heard a harmony or a certain texture, I started piecing together things I liked. By the time [Toronto’s seven-piece orchestral collective] The O’Darling became involved in

summer 2009, Jon and I had laid out some pretty good sonic beds and they just took everything to another place; a better place. I feel like I’m in love with the album because it has so many of my friends on it. It’d feel pretty selfish to love your own album, right? JTC—For me to get hooked on a certain album, or a certain musician, I have to really believe in the lyrics or in the story they’re telling me. How important are lyrics to your music, and especially performing them to a live audience? AK—I’m not a performer, and it’s really too bad, because I really love live music. I love discovering bands through a live show and I am blown away when people discover me through word of mouth. Maybe everyone enjoys all that nervous energy on stage? Anyways, I really look up to poised, ethereal women on stage. Until I can pull off Erykah Badu, I’m just another indie singersongwriter. I’d love to dance a little more on stage. Lyrics, for me, are best under a haze of questions. I’m a gigantic Jeff Tweedy guy, and I’m sure that most of my lyrical associations of his lyrics are completely different than his. Imagine if everyone knew what Nick Drake was talking about? Or Del? I’d like to even be at the bottom of that list of Great Ambiguous Lyricists.

More———— www.aidanknight.com

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Nº VI ———— Music

More———— www.plantsandanimals.ca

PLANTS AND ANIMALS Interview by Sean Tyson Photography by Anna Wolf Illustration by Mike Perry

Calculated but loose, emotional but cerebral, orchestrated yet organic; Montreal based Plants and Animals are as dialectic as the country and city they represent. From “majestic-folk” to “experimental-indie” to “post-classic-rock” the band has remained successfully elusive. Their music is a timeless journey, an enchanting panorama of everything that’s been great in classic rock over the last 40 years. Their debut album, Parc Avenue, was released in 2008 and quickly garnered critical acclaim. With a Juno Award and Polaris nomination in their back pocket, Plants and Animals began touring with bands like Wolf Parade, Born Ruffians and Patrick Watson.

La La Land is their newly released second album and it too is excellent. It’s a passionate deviation from Parc Avenue, and a big, bold step forward for these endearingly unassuming musicians. We caught up with lead guitarist and do-it-all musician Nicolas Basque before sound check at The Commodore Ballroom on a beautiful spring evening in Vancouver.

SEAN TYSON—I saw several banner ads for your album on Dictionary.com. Has there ever been a point where you’ve thought, “Wow. We’ve actually made it. We’re kind of a big deal”? NICOLAS BASQUE—No. I know my real life outside of the band, and this all feels surreal. When we walked into this venue, I was like, “We’re really playing this room tonight?!” ST—Parc Avenue was such an eclectic and adventurous album, yet its title is so factual and concrete. La La Land on the other hand feels a bit more focused and straightforward, yet the title is obviously quite open and abstract. It seems like you could swap the titles and they would feel more appropriate. You’ve mentioned previously that your touring experiences inspired the idea of La La Land. Were there any specific moments that felt surreal or utterly ridiculous? NB—Yeah, we went to LA to do a concert in this fun venue called Spaceland. Danger Mouse came to the show with the singer from The Shins, after the show he called us and said, “Oh, you want to come to my place and have a party?!” [Laughs] Also, in Iceland, they flew us to some northern town and made us play in a village bar with Buck 65 and a hip-hop band from Iceland. The whole town was there – old people and kids – so that was surreal. ST—Jian Ghomeshi has the biggest crush on you guys. Does that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? NB—[Laughs] Yeah, he’s such a nice guy. Last time I ran into him at Canadian Music Week I tried to convince him to play drums with us when we were going to be on his show. He’s been really supportive. All of CBC has been supportive. Hopefully we’ll get him to play in the band. But he has to play standing up. Just drums, standing up.

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Nº VII ———— Music

MAKEOUT VIDEOTAPE Interview & photography by Justin Tyler Close

It’s Friday night. Picture yourself in the dingiest shithole imaginable – the kind of place where you would rather use the alley than piss in the washroom. Watch as an unidentifiable haze floats across the room and onto the stage. Maybe it’s the two bottles of vino you just drank, but shit’s getting weird. Suddenly, the band appears. Performing tonight: Makeout Videotape – an acid bubblegum trio from Vancouver, who sound like a lovechild from when Harry met Iggy (Nilsson and Pop, respectively). Their lo-fi, cool guy ’tude combined with a melodic sensibility is something most hot 100 writers can only dream

More———— www.myspace.com/makeoutvideotape

of. Their cover of Nilsson’s “I Guess the Lord Must be in New York City” makes you forget the original, and “Heat Wave” is an instant classic, all complemented by surf-verb, warbling vocals and sick beats. And then you’re dancing. Yep, this is pop music at its finest, shining like a diamond through the dingy haze of that Fridaynight shithole, straight into your teenage heart.

JUSTIN TYLER CLOSE—So I’ve been wondering, how did you come up with the name Makeout Videotape? It creates some great visuals, but explain the true story behind the name… MAC DeMARCO—I’m pretty sure the name was some kind of inside joke I had with a girl a few years back. I started this band as a joke between me and her, and now I’m still stuck with that dumb name. It’s really difficult telling old women that I play in something called Makeout Videotape. JTC—Your live shows are beyond a wild time. How important is performing live to you? And what do you bring to make each show different?

MD—Playing shows is one of my favorite things to do. I’m not really working right now either, so it’s not only fun but feeding me. Something about making an idiot of myself in front of a crowd for an hour and getting paid for it really still boggles my mind. Not to belittle it though, I really enjoy singing songs for everybody, too, especially when they’re into it. It’s a good way to get out there. So far we’ve been able to travel all over the US and Canada, and have met some really fresh people and bands along the way. I really enjoy whippin’ around and playing for new people, hopefully we’ll be able to keep doing it for a while. As far as bringing something to the shows goes, I just try to do a good job for the most part, after all, people are paying money to hear me bellyache behind a microphone, might as well be worth it for them. Maybe sometimes we’ll try something a little funky on stage, but only if we feel like it. If I’m not having fun doing shows then I’ll probably stop doing them. JTC—If you were going to the zoo? Which animal would you go see first? MD—Well, I don’t think I’d go to the zoo; I think it’s a little funky seeing all those cool critters confined, but If I did, I’d go see the dolphins, I guess. I heard somewhere they can give themselves blow jobs – that’s a trait I admire.

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Nº VIII ———— Film

NATHAN BOEY Interview & photography by Jeremy Power Regimbal

Today’s overpopulated commercial and music video marketplace can force young directors to make a choice if they want to stand out from the herd of film school graduates and self-taught computer wizards. Either relinquish your creative vision to get a chance with big-name clients or refuse to bow to industry pressure, building an impressive demo reel one low budget project at a time. Somehow Nathan Boey has managed to infuse the best of both worlds, directing material for high-profile clients such as NASCAR, Bank of America and most recently Nickelodeon while still maintaining his artistic integrity and a unique, playful animation style. We spent a day with Nathan pushing shopping carts, drinking too much coffee and pondering ideas from a future galaxy.

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JEREMY POWER REGIMBAL—Where are you from and how did your spaceship end up in the land of film and animation?

‘masters’ in the industry. My goal is to stick with it for sixty more years and hopefully earn that title.

NATHAN BOEY—I’m originally from planet Winnipeg but I moved to the Montreal galaxy to study. I’ve been making movies since I was a kid, but I relate to every good kung fu movie – at some point you need to venture off alone into the forest to train on your skills... Hopefully you have a good sensei.

JPR—I know your cart shredding pro career is really taking off, is there anything else besides that and animation you would like to do in the future... for fun or career wise?

JPR—What’s your opinion of the present state of the commercial/music video world? What do you do to try and stick out amongst the plethora of nerdy film school graduates?

NB—Well, besides the cart shredding scene which is blowing up in Portugal right now, as we all know, I have a ‘Bucket List’ for sure. I have career goals like doing a feature film but also more subtle things like, ‘Impress my girlfriend’s parents by playing that piano song from Charlie Brown.’ There’s a lot of random stuff on there.

NB—It is more saturated with media and artists than ever before so it’s a challenge to stick out. I think this era is producing a lot of people that are ‘really good’ but not a lot of

More———— www.nathanboey.ca


Discover new talent ———— www.thelabmagazineonline.com

Films, Commercials, Music Videos, Web Design.

Vancouver. Toronto. Los Angeles. • www.thestudiomovement.com


GOTTFRIED

HELNWEIN


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II

Nº I————previous page Beautiful Victim I, watercolor on cardboard, 1974, 53 cm x 73 cm. Nº II———— The Disasters of War 3, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2007, 200 cm x 293 cm. In Memory of Francisco de Goya. Nº III———— The Murmur of the Innocents 1, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2009, 198 cm x 290 cm.

III

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VI

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Nº IV———— The Murmur of the Innocents 10, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2009, 127 cm x 190 cm. Nº V———— I Walk Alone, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2003, 121 cm x 172 cm. Nº VI———— Untitled, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2005, 192 cm x 249 cm.

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VIII

More———— www.helnwein.com

Nº VII————previous page Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi), mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 1996, 210 cm x 333 cm. Denver Art Museum, Kent Logan Collection. Nº VIII———— Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple), mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 1998, 210 cm x 310 cm. Jason Lee Collection, Los Angeles. Nº IX———— The Resurrection of the Child, mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 1997, 160 cm x 150 cm.

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Nude silk robe The Row, Necklace ROSEARK, Crown JENNIFER GREEN


this is the ————— film section

RASHIDA JONES INTERVIEW BY Jack Black — PHOTOGRAPHY BY Frank W. Ockenfels 3 Styling by Jenny Ricker @ the wall group Hair by Amber Kerns @ Solo Artist Makeup by Sammy Mourabit @ MC2 Management

Jack Black is nervous. Sitting across from the Tenacious D warbler, who gave Hendrix a run for his money in School of Rock, captured a giant gorilla in King Kong and kicked some serious Kung Fu rump as an animated panda, is the incandescent Rashida Jones. Daughter of Hollywood royals Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, Rashida has been fine-tuning her comedy chops on shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation while proving her big-screen appeal with supporting roles in Cop Out and I Love You, Man; she went to Harvard, she’s in David Fincher’s highly anticipated Facebook movie, she’s a goddess. Yes, Jack, you should be nervous. On a break from filming their feathery new chuckle-fest, The Big Year – it’s about a 365-day bird-watching contest – which also stars Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, the two funny people sat down for a catch-up. Nerves aside, Jack was ready to go all Woodward and Bernstein on Rashida with hard-hitting questions to unearth her geeky past, determine the quality of Ivy League weed and to establish, once and for all, whether nerds really make the best lovers. Be afraid, Rashida, be very afraid...

JACK BLACK—How are you? RASHIDA JONES—I’m good, Jack, you? JB—I’ve had a strange tightness in my left glute for weeks and I’m nervous, too, because I’m not a good interviewer. I have a little bit of the red light... what do you call that?

RJ—In college. JB—Yeah. In the olden days. Where did you go to college again? RJ—I went to Harvard. JB—Yeah! Smar-tay pants! I couldn’t get in there. What plays did you do in college?

RJ—Red-light district? JB—Red-light syndrome. RJ—What’s that? JB—It’s when you see a red light and you know the camera is rolling, so you... clench up. RJ—Right. Your left glute tightens up.

RJ—I did some bad plays. I did some good plays. I did For Colored Girls Considering Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Do you know that play? It’s like a bunch of monologues for black women talking about black women stuff. JB—Wow. So it was just a monologue and then you were done for the night? RJ—Yeah. But it was like a five-page monologue, to the audience, looking at the audience.

JB—Your butt hole gets tight… Um... But, how’s it going? JB—Did you get laughs or was it pretty serious? RJ—It’s going pretty good. How’s it going with you? JB—Good. Today’s a good day. Just looking at birds, and looking at Owen [Wilson], and looking at an ‘X’ that’s supposed to be you.

RJ—There were a couple of laugh moments, but it was pretty serious. I can’t remember what it was about but it was definitely a serious subject matter.

RJ—I know. I was looking at a camera that was supposed to be you. It’s like they’re trying to keep us apart.

JB—So your goal was probably to give people goose bumps. A couple of titters...

JB—The thing is, they are shooting under a tight, tight schedule, otherwise I totally would’ve been there for you. You did some theater before film, yeah?

RJ—I had to cry. JB—Oh man. So you were getting heavy right out of the gate?

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Nude tee-shirt Alternative Apparell, Jeans MIH, Bracelets Irene Neuworth

RJ—I was trying. I tried to keep it heavy. But then I did comedies. I was in the Gilbert & Sullivan Players. We did H.M.S. Pinafore. JB—So you’ve been mostly flexing your comedy muscles since college. Am I right? RJ—Yeah. Probably... mostly. It’s a little bit more mixed. JB—Does it frustrate you? Do you miss going for the heavier stuff? RJ—I like it. I have to say… back me up if you feel the same way. It’s kind of fun that we get to do comedy ’cause then your main goal is to make people around you laugh, which is just, by nature, fun. JB—It’s fun.

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RJ—When I do drama, it’s intense. I have a lot of respect for my friends who are dramatic actors, because if you’re going to do it right, you’re burnt out by the end of the day. JB—You have friends who are dramatic actors? RJ—You don’t? JB— I don’t mix with their kind. Those award-winners... RJ—I know. Damn them. But you know what, that’s the nice thing, too. Everybody likes comedy. Everybody. Nobody’s too serious to enjoy comedy. Everybody needs the relief. It’s nice that we provide relief. JB—Was there any good weed at Harvard?


this is the ————— film section

RJ—Think about it. Harvard is the best at everything. They’re not going to leave out drugs. JB—Right. They were down in the laboratory making the best pot man had ever tasted. RJ—Yes. Exactly. It was good. JB—Is there any similarity between the cultures of Harvard and Hollywood? RJ—I would say there’s a lot of sub-culturing going on at Harvard, where you have to choose who you are and you have to stick with it and you have to be voraciously that thing, which I wasn’t that into because I like to spread out my identity. I like to do a lot of different things; I like to know a lot of different people, so I didn’t like the fact I had to choose something. That’s kind of Hollywood to me a little bit.

“I think less popular people are probably better at sex.„ JB—Like, how they say big, dumb jocks are better at having sex because their brains don’t get in the way, they’re just like, “Raaarrrr!! Monkey!! Raaarrrr!” RJ—Wait. I’m going to take issue with the fact you’re saying big, dumb jocks are better at having sex. They’re not better at having sex. I thought nerds were supposed to be better at having sex. JB—Because they’re so desperate for physical contact, they go the extra mile?

JB—Were you a theater major? RJ—I was a religion major. JB—Yeah… Wow. All the religions of the world? RJ—You have to focus on one or two. But you do a broad overview and then you lock in on one. JB—Did you read any Joseph Campbell? The Hero with a Thousand Faces? RJ—I love Joseph Campbell. Yes. They’re doing a documentary about him and I just did an interview for it. JB—Oh, really? He invented the Force. RJ—He did invent the Force. He is Star Wars. There is no Star Wars without Joseph Campbell. JB—You’re so smart, which is rare in an actor. Let’s face it. Most actors are dumb as a mud fence, myself included. Do you think there’s a reason for that? Do you think that there’s some correlation between dumbness and good acting? I mean, you’re the exception to the rule. You’re a very good actress. RJ—Thanks. JB—But it seems like sometimes, smarts get in the way of good acting. RJ—Sometimes my brain gets in the way of making decisions from the heart. Acting is all about heart and emotion and if you don’t have all these logical ideas, explanations and ties, you’re more likely to take more risks with the way you make things up, the way you imagine a character. You’re less concerned about how people are going to see you and what that means in the grander scheme. You’re not strategizing so you can be in the moment.

RJ—Yeah. I think less popular people are probably better at sex because they’re savoring every moment. They want to make it good. They have every reason to make it good. JB—The perfect man is a dumb, jock, nerd... RJ—Yes. JB—That doesn’t exist in nature. RJ—Does it not? JB—Nerds are almost automatically all super intelligent in some way, or else that’s a real bummer for that nerd. If you’re not a smart nerd, that’s the nerd you don’t wanna be. RJ—That would be a bummer. I feel like now it’s kind of cool to be a nerd. I was a Nerrrrd. JB—Really? RJ—Yeah. I had a computer before it was cool to have a computer. Do you remember when it wasn’t cool to have a computer? JB—Yeah. RJ—Now it’s like you have to have a computer. JB—Are you a little embarrassed to admit your nerdy side? RJ—Well, that’s what I was going to say. Now it’s kind of cool to be a nerd, so no, I’m not. But I will say the reason I am who I am now is because I was kind of a nerd, because I wasn’t like Eighties popular. I didn’t have Eighties hair; guys were not trying to kick it to me all the time. JB—I find that hard to believe. RJ—I swear to god. I swear.

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JB—And in the Nineties were you a closet nerd? Did you have to hide your roots? RJ—Yeah, a little bit. I was a cheerleader so I tried to cover it up with that. JB—Now you can bring out those old photos with pride. So when you did some acting in Harvard was there a light bulb that went off that you were like, “Fuck religion. What have I been majoring in all these years? I’m going to be an actor. This is clearly my calling.” RJ—Yeah, kind of. I was really depressed sophomore year. I think everybody is at eighteen. And I was barely going to class. I’d scheduled all my classes for after 2pm and I didn’t manage to make any of them, and the only thing I wanted to do was make it to play rehearsal. For so long I thought that my extra-curricular was my reward for performing well academically. I had a friend who’d dropped out of school to direct, produce and write films, and she made an independent film – you know when it was so cool to make indies in New York in the Nineties? She made a film in the summer of my junior year and I did it and I was hooked. JB—But how did you get past the moment when you realized, “OK, I’m called to a profession that millions of people think they’re called to, and the competition for any role is insane?” RJ—It is insane. I think I didn’t realize that at first, because my best friend cast me in a movie so it seemed so easy. Then I moved to New York and I realized it wasn’t that easy. And my parents were like, “Are you sure you want to do this?” My dad said, “Why would you go to Harvard to wait in line with 80,000 other people for a job?” He was right. I also don’t like to lose. I’m not ultra competitive, but I like to do well. JB—Come on. You have to be a bit competitive to make it in the biz. You won’t step on skulls to get to the top? RJ—No. Or live heads. I won’t step on anything. I want to do it my own way, but I like to not fail for myself. So once I was in I was like, “Oh I’m going to make this happen.” And it took a while before I got roles. A misconception about growing up in Hollywood and growing up with parents in Hollywood is that people think things are given to you and I swear to God, I would’ve taken them. If they were given to me, I would’ve been very happy to take some favors. It just didn’t happen. JB—No. You do have to carve your own way. Because when you’re just handed something, it usually leads to nothing. There’s something to the struggle. It gets you ready for the thing. Do you have any advice for other bad-ass girls who are looking to carve their way up the mountain? RJ—I say, keep your eye on the prize, work hard, and be good at more than just one thing. My dad told me that, and that was the best advice he ever gave me. Don’t focus on one thing. Be good at at least two things. I think everybody on my show [Parks and Recreation] writes, directs or produces in some capacity… being good at more than one thing guarantees your success in some way. You increase your odds of survival.

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july ————— 

“If I could control my dreams I’d never be awake, ever. Fuck acting class.„

JB—For the people who are reading it’s one of these barres [motions his hands horizontally], not one of these bars [motioning his hand vertically]. It’s not a stripper pole. RJ—[Laughs] I love dancing. I’m not great at it but it blows my mind when people are good. JB—Who’s your favorite band? RJ—Ever? Ever or now? JB—Ever. RJ—Ever? JB—Now.

JB—Do you love acting still? RJ—Fuck. Can I say what I’m listening to now? RJ—I do. I love it. But I also feel lucky because, we were talking about this earlier, I’m surrounded by friends, or people I want to be friends with and I like immediately, and we make each other laugh and it’s fun.

JB—Yes. RJ—OK, I’m listening to... The new Erykah Badu album.

JB—Do you love it the same way you loved it when you were in school? JB—Oh yeah. RJ—I love it more because I’m proud that I can support myself doing this thing and also I’m so grateful for what my job looks like on a dayto-day basis. I do not ever take that for granted.

RJ—So good. I like her because whatever she is, she is just that thing. She hasn’t bent or changed for anybody. She’s like a true artist to me, and really good I think.

JB—Did you have good acting teachers? Who’s your fave? JB—What about The Roots? RJ—My favorite is Greta Seacat. She is incredible. She does a lot of dream work... JB—Dream work? Really? So, you meditate on a character and when you go to sleep you dream about it… That sounds intense. RJ—It’s super intense and awesome.You do a dream assignment, so you write down, before you go to bed, what you’re looking for and when you wake up you write down everything that’s happened and you act it out. JB—Could you tell yourself what kind of dream you wanted to have? RJ—No. I wish. If I could control my dreams I would be a super hero. Awesome. But no. JB—And doing it a lot probably. Flying straight to a bed in the sky. That’s a good acting class.

RJ—I love The Roots. I love anything that The Roots is involved with. They’re on that album. JB—Who’s your favorite Root? RJ—Questlove. That’s my homie. JB—He is the smoothest. RJ—He is. And if you want to know anything about comedy or music, nobody knows more. JB—So, are you going to make babies? RJ—Ummm… [Laughs] I have to have somebody to make babies with first.

RJ—I would love to do that. If I could control my dreams I’d never be awake, ever. Fuck acting class. I’d just be asleep all the time. JB—What blows your mind? RJ—Molten chocolate cake… and good dancers. Really good dancers blow my mind. When somebody can move their body in a way that can move you emotionally...

More———— www.imdb.com/name/nm0429069/

JB—Have you ever taken any classes? RJ—I have. I’m a terrible dancer. But I’ve built myself a dance studio in my house. With a mirror and a barre, and I had a hip-hop class in there with some friends.

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the lab magazine ————— issue 02


this is the ————— film section

————— 93


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The Lab Magazine - Issue 02  

Featuring: Rashida Jones interviewed by Jack Black, Tim Blake Nelson interviewed by Steve Earle, Nicholas Stoller interviewed by Rose Byrne,...

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