SEX ISSU E
Dear Readers, It was a very long and hot summer here in NYC and now it’s all gone. But while we relish in a blissful autumn mood, getting ready for cocoon time, we thought it was a good time to launch our Sex issue . Sex is everywhere, everything, all the time… good and bad, transcendent and irrelevant, tragic and magical, highbrow and gutsy. And it is with great pleasure that we bring a few stories pertaining to the subject in the following issue. Haiti has been in our thoughts, as with the recent tragedies of natural disasters, economical hardships, and a distressing epidemic of cholera, but also there have been big problems of rape and sexual abuse of women in the camps . Our feature follows a group of courageous women as they confront these heinous transgressions of mind and body. And joining in the fight for equal rights and opportunities, we have an article on the Transgender movement, a subject that fortunately has been highlighted a lot in the media lately, as we hope this will lead to greater understanding (and less ignorance) for a lot of people. What else awaits you ahead? How about an interview with the famous French gay porn star François Sagat? Or a piece written by a luxury sex-toy maker? And of course we also have several great interviews! From the alluring essence of actress Shannyn Sossamon, to the studly Brit-pop sensation Dan Black, the very funny writer Sloane Crosley, the spicy singer Maluca, sultry artist Rosson Crow and much much more. Enjoy! Giovanna Editor in Chief
editor in chief GIOVANNA BADILLA creative director SUSANNA WIDLUND designer TAKAHIRO INADA
contributing designer SHERRY WANG senior editor JOSEPH ISHO LEVINSON editor at large NICK COPE senior copy editor REBECCA KANENGISER fashion director GUILLAUME BOULEZ contributing writers AUDREY LEFÈVRE, TISH JOHNSON-COOK, LISA PRZYSTUP, CARL MAGNUSON, AMAURY FERON, KARINA CIFUENTES, ALEXANDRE STIPANOVICH, ARIENNE THOMPSON, ANDREW STEINKUEHLER, AMANDA BRANSFORD, ERIC CORSON, CORINNA SPRINGER, SERENA HALLER, JAMES DEWILLE, MARINE DE LA MORANDIERE, MARIA LUCIA HERNANDEZ GUIDO, TEENA KANG, DAR MESHI contributing photographers and illustrators AINGERU ZORITA, MIKE HEMY, MICHAEL BEAUPLET, JOACHIM JOHNSON, SILJA MAGG, ALASTAIR STRONG, DEBORA MITTELSTAEDT, ARMEN DJERRAHIAN, GABRIELLA CAMEROTTI, MICHELLE MARRION HAITEM, LUKAS WASSMAN, SUSAN PITTARD, ELIOT LEE HAZEL, FEDERICO SANTIAGO RAFFETTO, COLIN McMASTER, SARAH SINGH, ELISABETH MOCH contributing fashion editors KETEVAN GVARAMADZE, DEAN SIDAWAY, DELPHINE DAHNIER, NICOLAS KLAM, APRIL JOHNSON special thanks to MADELINE BOHM, HAL HULL-AMBERS, GAETAN ROUSSEAU & MARIETA BLASKOVA @ WWW.PARADOXAL.NET, ROSS KASOVITZ @ WWW.EXOPOSURECAPTURE.COM, MARIANA VIDAL, NEIL GILKS, DANIEL REYNOLDS, MARLA WOJACZYK, HENLEY HALEM, KIRK HARDING, CLAUDIA KIM, MARINA MUNOZ, MIKAEL OHLIN.
SHOES BY CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA, MAKEUP BY SHU UEMURA BOWWOW! MAGIC QUEEN PALETTE.
TAINTED LOVE illustrations SARA SINGH
BRA AND PANTIES BY ERES, SHOES BY NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD.
JEWELRY BY FENTON FALLON.
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Photography by GABRIELLA CAMEROTTI
BAD ROMANCE by SERENA HALLER
he film Stealing Beauty came out when I was 16, and I remember watching, deeply engrossed, as Liv Tyler playing 19 year old Lucy, goes to Tuscany for a summer of adolescent discovery after her mother commits suicide. She’s confronted with death and sex and at some point in the film, an old painter who is going senile (a proper foil to the inexperienced and virginal Liv), quotes the French poet Jean Cocteau, telling them all
“IL N’Y A PAS D’AMOUR, IL Y A QUE DES PREUVES D’AMOUR” WHICH TRANSLATED, MEANS “THERE IS NO LOVE, ONLY PROOF OF LOVE.”
At age 16, I had little comprehension of romance beyond the clichéd images we’re force-fed in media. However, looking back, I probably had more of a sense of romance in that inexperienced stage of my life than I do now. As Cocteau essentially said, love is shown through action, and it seems in this age of absolute connectivity, where we expose our entire lives to the world in real time, we are more single, disconnected and “action-less” than ever. This disconnect begs the question: how does one reconcile modern life with the desire for love and romance? And is, as everyone seems to be claiming these days, romance dead? The concept of romance that exists today is the mangled descendent of the medieval “amour courtois”, also known as Chivalric love. Conceptually, chivalry was fairly modern for its time. The lover (idolizer) accepted the independence of his mistress, who was often married to another man, and tried to prove himself worthy of her by acting bravely and honorably and by performing whatever deeds his lady might desire so that he might win her favor. Sexual satisfaction was not necessarily the end goal, as Chivalric love aimed, in its idealism, to exist as ‘love for love’s sake’ and was seen as existing on a spiritual level because of the sacrifice involved - although the love was not entirely Platonic either, as it was based on a certain amount of sexual attraction. Our modern associations of romance conjure commercial images- we’ve even built an entire holiday around selling the idea of love - a far cry from the exalted love knights expressed to their ladies. However, the idea of wooing, courting and seduction still play a significant part in our concept of love and romance. As Cocteau seemed to understand, love is shown through actions, and the idea of romance is what fuels those actions. Our current lack of action (and therefore, romance), speaks to the problem that love is still
dependent on a sense of connectivity and intimacy, which has become increasingly rare as we become more and more independent of any sort of obligations or community. We live our lives singly, at our computers, at our work desks, on facebook, on twitter, showing everyone what we’re doing and thinking, but never actually “connecting” with others. We still desire this sense of attachment, but without actually being attached. We desire love without the inherent risk of vulnerability and hurt that potentially accompany any romantic experience. Therefore, we try to find our ideal mates online, weeding them out through a series of questionnaires and photos, hoping that we’ll get what we ordered and not have to go through the bumps of actually putting oneself out there. Romance requires going beyond oneself, which in this day seems to be beyond the scope of most people’s behavior because we live such self-centered lives. Chivalry and intimacy both require extending oneself beyond the immediate desires of the ego-loving for love’s sake, rather than desiring love so that we will be loved. It is only in actively extending oneself, through acts of thoughtfulness or consideration that romance exists.
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Our independence has, in a sense, crippled us from forming intimate bonds because we’re not forced to deal with the realities of relationships, whether they’re romantic or not. We can move on from the guy who’s balding and chews with his mouth open or the girl who’s too needy and likes to watch reality TV. We can safely exist in our independence but we also maintain this idealism and sense of entitlement that the perfect person is out there waiting for us somewhere, and we’re content to have “fuck buddies” and get our intimacy from our friendships until they come along.
The reality, of course, is that until the last 40 years of history in the western world and even currently in much of the world, relationships were engaged between the sexes as a contractual agreement; the concept of romance played a very small part in these bonds. Marriage was established as a contract between families to secure wealth, power and security. A man would secure his legacy through heirs and a woman would ensure that she would be provided for and kept safe. With the industrial Revolution and the increased access to earning one’s own living, we gained more independence and freedom, and weren’t as obligated to enter into the contract of marriage. If we fast-forward from then into our current state of hyper independence, it’s the norm for people to leave home at the end of their teenage years and go seek their fortune in life. The downside to this is that the social structure that existed previously through family and community, provided a sense of attachment and connectivity (and a specific amount of choices) that today seems to be lacking. In 1960, 88% of men aged 35-44 were married, for women it was 87%. By 2007 this percentage had fallen to 69% for men and 72% for women.
Nevertheless, somehow the idea and desire for romance and connectivity persist. People complain about being lonely and single, but they create their own situation by failing to open up and connect to other people. The dichotomy is that we still maintain the same dusty ideal of romance that has existed for centuries even though social fabric and lifestyles have changed immensely over the centuries. It’s interesting that a concept that has existed over 900 years is still pervasive, and perhaps it speaks to our desire for a love greater than our desire for immediate gratification.
Photography by GABRIELLA CAMEROTTI
“WE CAN SAFELY EXIST IN OUR INDEPENDENCE BUT WE ALSO MAINTAIN THIS IDEALISM AND SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT THAT THE PERFECT PERSON IS OUT THERE WAITING FOR US SOMEWHERE, AND WE’RE CONTENT TO HAVE “FUCK BUDDIES” AND GET OUR INTIMACY FROM OUR FRIENDSHIPS UNTIL THEY COME ALONG.”
MOVING BEYOND RAPE IN HAITI by TISH JOHNSON COOK
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t has been eight months since the January 12th earthquake leveled Haiti, leaving more than 1.5 million homeless in cramped encampments composed of plastic tarps, salvaged wood, bed sheets and cardboard. The most defenseless of this displaced population are women and children, who not only face a lack of housing, food, potable water and the absence of family members, but a devastatingly increasing number of violent rapes and sexual assaults. This latest crisis is as much a human rights issue as it is a societal one, wherein the inferior role of Haitian women is being revealed and their empowerment is seen as the key to recovery.
“Women tell us about having their tents ripped open with machetes, gagged and gang raped, guns to their heads and removed from the tents,” describes Lisa Davis, Esq., a Human Rights Advocacy Director with the women’s rights organization, MADRE. MADRE had been assisting rape survivors in Haiti well before the earthquake in partnership with the Commission of Women Victims for Victims (KOFAVIV). As part of a delegation of lawyers documenting sexual violence in the camps in May, Davis says one of the more distressing stories was, “hearing a plea for help from a grandmother whose five-year-old granddaughter had been raped.” The victims of rape are stigmatized in Haiti, the act was only considered a crime in 2005, and the majority of women find it hard to report or to be treated seriously if they do. During the armed rebellion in 2004, which ousted President Aristide, rape was used as a political weapon as well as during the military coup in 1991. The current climate is one where rape is as much a vestige of political warfare as it is a result of escaped convicts living amid overcrowded and unlit camps. When countries descend into anarchy and there is an air of impunity, the problem of rape escalates as seen in the exYugoslavian countries to the current tragedy in Congo. Despite the United Nation’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Sub-Cluster’s presence, they’ve been criticized for a slow response; however, the grassroots efforts of MADRE and KOFAVIV are providing tangible solutions, including accompaniment for rape victims to ensure they seek medical care and have legal aid; administering flashlights and teaching women how to use whistles to alert neighbors of crimes
Photography by MICHELLE MARRION
“AFTER LEARNING THE BASICS OF HOW TO TAKE PHOTOS, THE WOMEN CHOSE A THEME TO REPRESENT. THEY ALL WANTED TO TELL THEIR STORY AND MANY OF THEM CHOSE TO TELL THE STORY OF SADNESS,
in progress. The collaboration also facilitates psychosocial support through peer-counseling groups. While these efforts may appear minimal in contrast to the vast scope of what is left to do to create security and stability, they still represent signs of hope. Another organization providing support to the victims of rape is Digital Democracy (Dd), which utilizes photography to encourage women to document their lives. “We were invited to Haiti three months after the earthquake by the UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs,” says Emily Jacobi co-founder of Dd. Rather than remain isolated from the local community, Jacobi says, “My partner Abby [Goldberg] and I would go off-campus to conduct photo training with women who were directly affected by rape.” The two joined forces with Haitian women’s groups, KONAMAVID and FAVILEK, as well as The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and affiliate Bureau des Avocats Internationaux. After learning the basics of how to take photos, the women chose a theme to represent. “They all wanted to tell their story and many of them chose to tell the story of sadness, tristesse,” Jacobi shares. The images not only give voice to their pain and suffering, but to the immense strength these women find in one another. Photography becomes a means of healing, as well as a powerful way of shifting from the shame of being a victim into the promise of an encouraging future that these women are in fact creating. To discover more or donate to the work of Digital Democracy or Madre please visit: http://digital-democracy.org/ http://www.madre.org/ Watch a video about gender-based violence in Haiti: http://vimeo.com/11091051
Photography by MICHELLE MARRION
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON SEX
by CORINNA SPRINGER
hat is sex, what does it mean to us and how is it perceived in our society? Could sex exist at the very core of our metaphysical being, bearing with it the potential to free us from our perceptional puritanical prison?
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Yes, sex is a vast and complex physical, emotional and energetic exchange that can greatly transform one’s life when practiced consciously. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the potential depth of the act itself—or the fact that it can be used to facilitate an expansive energetic opening and spiritual process. Everything in this universe is vibrating; however, the rate and density of the vibrations are variable - the denser the vibration, the more solid things appear. Sound, emotion and thought are expressions of high vibrations, thus, they are less solid. Each expression of that energy has a unique resonance that directly affects the vibration of our organs. Sex can be understood as a high vibrating energy not only because of its physical and emotional intensity but because it has been and still is considered in many cultures to be a sacred energy—not only because it potentially leads to the miracle of life, but because it allows us to travel to deeper energetic states of being. Throughout the energetic fields within and surrounding our physical body, there are at least five main ethereal channels that lead from the root chakra at the base of the spine, up the spine to the crown chakra, otherwise known as, “the fontanelle,” at the top of our head. These channels are connected to the chakra and nadis system that are thought to directly relate to the endocrine system, glands, hormones and other bodily functions. The nadis describe a network of hundreds of thousands of energetic vessels- the same pathways that are most often used in acupuncture and that are cleansed through certain breathing exercises in yoga. The energetic flow that moves through this complex system, regulates our emotional and physical health as it interacts with the endocrine system. For example, the secretion of serotonin directly influences mood, sleep regulation, sensory perception and learning. Therefore, with the stimulation of a healthy flow of energy, certain glands secrete a variety of hormones and thus keep the body, mind and spirit in balance. A less known interplay of the subtle
body happens when high vibrating energy travels through those aforementioned energetic channels and nadis to the neocortex of the brain. When this happens, electrical impulses potentially activate certain parts of the neocortex that may contain latent psychic abilities. The pineal gland is often referred to as the third-eye. It is connected to those parts of the brain that are located within the 90% of unexplored and unexplained cranial territory, containing clairaudient, clairvoyant and clairsentient abilities. However, as long as the main energetic channels are closed, it is impossible for any of these higher centers with psychic sensory perception in the brain to be activated. By adding sexual energy into the equation, we get an increased potential for the channels to open. Specifically, if this energy is properly channeled through our physical system, the extremely high vibrating sexual energy that we experience as an orgasm- can trigger these parts of the brain to help unveil “paranormal” perception. This is a process that might very well happen slowly through the evolution of our species, but in these times, a person aspiring to full consciousness, still needs to learn how to tap into this energy, lead it up the spine and channel it through the crown chakra. The mastery of this process requires appropriate teaching since accessing this energy can be dangerous in certain cases: psychological problems and imbalances can result if the energy is unleashed too quickly. The conscious use of sexual energy is only one way to activate “paranormal” perception. There are many other pathways to accessing psychic abilities. Certain meditations that focus on the subtle energies of light and sound can be practiced over a short period of time in order to stimulate the pineal gland - while fluoride actually achieves the contrary and quickens calcification of the latter. However, since sexual energy is the quickest and strongest path to accessing the untapped treasures of the neocortex, and orgasms are so inherently pleasurable, why not learn to use sex in order to expand one’s consciousness?
If we examine sex from this energetic perspective and compare it to the way in which it is portrayed in our society, we realize how much sexuality has been demonized throughout the centuries, especially by the Church. While sexual expression is nowadays much more commonplace and acceptable in our culture, there is still a great deal of of unconscious guilt attached to it. This guilt needs to be cleared so that the general public can experience sex, not only as a means for creating and recreation, but also as a way to get in touch with the subtle energies; better yet, sex can facili-
tate a widened perception and maybe even a divine purpose. It could very well be that through fashion, photography, film, music and the fine arts, part of humanity is processing the subconscious negativity attached to sexuality by bringing it to the surface. As our society evolves into a higher state of consciousness, sacred sexual alchemy could eventually lead to the restituation of sexuality.
THE SWEDISH TUNE by KARINA CIFUENTES
hrough the perception of North American culture, Swedish music has been highly identified with cheesy quartets that sing love ballads about seeing the sign and a song about a guy named Fernando. But now, Swedes everywhere can rejoice that a new generation has entered the game of contemporary culture with songs that’ll get people talking, moving, and ultimately, dancing.
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It’s no surprise that the emergence of Swedish music has appealed to so many self-proclaimed music sleuths who are constantly scouring for untapped artists sure to crossover into the realm of mainstream popularity. For the most part, the culture of Sweden has been identified as a progressive society. Swedes are at the cusp of innovative design and rank high on the list in the world of minimal fashion, boldly influencing and redefining style. A similar influence has emerged in music, propelling the country to the top of the charts on myriad blogs and music magazines alike—so much so, that they have even caught the attention of advertisers. Take, for example, Lykke Li. The petite songstress caught everyone’s attention with her single “Little Bit,” which landed in a Victoria’s Secret ad. Li even paired up with the likes of Kanye West and Santigold for a track called, “Gifted,” which made little airplay but spread like wildfire across the blogosphere, gaining the songstress even more notoriety across a larger market. Back in 2006, the indie-electronic band, The Knife, hit the U.S. market with their off-kilter beats and enthralling electronically generated singing. When they released their track, Heartbeats, which was eventually covered by fellow Swede, Jose Gonzalez, DJs everywhere had bar goers and club kids surrounding their booth, requesting the danceable track. Similarly to Lykke Li, the Gonzalez cover was also tapped by the ad world for a Sony Bravia commercial, Balls, in which millions of balls bounced off the streets of San Francisco while the folk-inspired cover played in the background. The Knife, who gained popularity in the early 2000s, is undoubtedly responsible for the crossover of Swedish music into the U.S. market. They were even able to receive financial backing from the Swedish Arts Council in 2001, for their self-titled debut album. They received 45,000 Swedish Kronor (SEK), about $6,327. Not much, but definitely a propeller in their establishment. And although their success teetered a few years later, (Karin Andersson Dreijer worked on her solo project as Fever Ray whilst brother Olof Dreijer wrote an opera), they gave other musicians a helping hand when establishing themselves in the American market. Much like The Knife, pop sensation Robyn is one of the more seasoned artists from Sweden who has withstood
the test of time with various pop hits like Show Me Love off of her debut album Robyn Is Here, back in 1997. Most recently, her track Dancing On My Own reached international awareness and catapulted the songstress into stardom; she is now a sought-after musician, having just wrapped a summer tour with American singer Kelis in support of her Body Talks album. One of the newer musicians to get the attention of Swedish music fiends is Miike Snow. American songwriter Andrew Wyatt leads the band, which formed in 2007. The fusion between Swedish band members, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, and an American musician has, in part, helped. Karlsson, who was formerly a part of the Swedish hip-hop band, Goldmine, exposed his talents and extended his network when touring with The Fugees. Eventually he paired up with Winnberg and Wyatt and formed Miike Snow, who are now signed to a major record label, Downtown Records, which also rosters Justice, Mos Def and French First Lady, Carla Bruni. Their song Animal even landed in the trailer for the film Cyrus starring Marisa Tomei and John C. Reilly. Another Hollywood darling is Jens Lekman, who is no stranger to landing musical cameos in movies. Most popularly, his music graced the soundtrack of the film “Whip It”, directed by self-proclaimed music lover Drew Barrymore. Lekman’s airy and folk-like music has appealed to a generation of optimists, and word on the street is that Lekman now resides in the popular area of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Williamsburg is an indie artist’s Mecca. The musically inclined environment is partial to under-the-radar music, which in turn, helps usher a buzz-band on the radar. There is no doubt that music aficionados have latched on to Swedish music with possession. Knowing about the next new artist coming out of the country means you’re at the top of your game when it comes to discovering new tunes. There’s a sense of exoticism associated with the undeniable edginess of their style. But is the break of Swedish music into U.S. culture just a fad or could they be here to stay? If their success in appealing to advertisers, Hollywood and Brooklynites is any indication, then we can rejoice that Swedes are here to stay.
APPETITE FOR DISROBEMENT
by JAMES DEWILLE
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n this summer’s opulent film, “I Am Love,” Tilda Swinton is the matriarch of a Milanese family who embarks on an affair with a young chef, played by Edoardo Gabbriellini. Early in the film, a plate of succulent, glazed prawns, prepared by Gabbriellini, is placed before Swinton and all her alien grace. As she slowly skewers a bite, the restaurant dims and a spot of light immerses Swinton in a glow. She chews and swallows. Enraptured, she goes for more. While Swinton’s affair with this rugged, back-to-land chef is consummated much later on the dirt of a rural hillside, its best notes and its true beginning in that plate, bathed in a golden broth beneath Swinton’s ready fork. The prawns here are sex, and the sensuality of the scene far surpasses its later physical counterpart. Food has long been a vehicle through which a plot is furthered or a relationship is conveyed on film. It has also provided a unique cocktail through which sexuality can be visualized, from Swinton’s rich-in-every-way foodgasm to Jason Biggs’ less glamorous pastry experimentations in “American Pie.” Since food is universally experienced on a physical and emotional level, it is easily translatable to the screen and packed with meaning. Where sex scenes can be clumsily blocked and awkwardly cheesy, adding the element of food as a metaphor, a sensory delight or mere garnish can make a scene more powerful and often, better than the act of love itself. In satisfying hunger on the big screen, stars are brought down to earth; they become subject to the obsessions of all creatures. While Swinton is gorgeously shot and cloaked in Fendi, she sheds her poise for something wholly human as she chows down. Her transformation, from a perfectly prim and coiffed lady to a wild and ravenous creature of love is testament to our visceral needs and animal desires. Food and sex made on-screen debuts in silent films, like Erich von Stroheim’s 1928 “The Wedding March.” This film, notorious for a wild orgy sequence, uses food to display the wealth of aristocracy—a parallel to the excess of the orgy—as well as in smaller moments. When the director turned star, von Stroheim, offers his love a box of chocolates, she is delighted. In the throws of love, the exchange of food here, like the prawns in “I Am Love,” is the materialization of complex and ripe romantic emotion.
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Before the 1930s, filmmakers like von Stroheim enjoyed a surprising freedom in which to depict sexuality. Proto-porn “stag” films showed frank images of sex while starlet Theda Bara bore her breasts in The Queen of Sheba (1921). This all came to a screeching halt in the 1930s, with the adoption of the Hays Code, which set a new moral standard for the screen. Sex was out. As was nudity. However, studios quickly found ways to get around the regulations. Innuendo ruled and food was increasingly used as proper proxy for sexual appetite. In Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief,“ 1955, Grace Kelly picnics with Cary Grant and asks if he would prefer a “leg or a breast”; the doubleentendre speaks for itself, and the sexual energy surges without so much as a bare buttock or even a flirtatious wink. Later, films took more liberties. In “Tom Jones,” from 1963, Albert Finney charms a woman over the dinner table. The meal becomes increasingly sexual, with coy smiles and oyster slurping. Despite all these moments, food and sex did not first meet on-set. The two have long been linked, from Michelangelo’s Eve reaching for the forbidden fruit, to Greek sculptures of a well-fed Dionysus and Titian’s Bacchanalia. The moralizing efforts of images of the forbidden fruit, the use of eating as a sign for the less-proper aspects of man, are echoed in film. Lust and gluttony are cardinal sins after all, and in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Augustus Gloop faces a sad fate when he gorges himself at the chocolate river. Violet Beauregarde is punished too—sent to the juicer after satisfying her oral fixation. Meanwhile, other films celebrate the sensual pleasures of eating. In “9 ½ Weeks,” a now unrecognizable Mickey Rourke sensually feeds Kim Basinger cherries, JELL-O, peppers and milk. She sits by the fridge, eye closed, as Rourke dribbles honey on her tongue and across her bare legs before going in for the kiss. The 1985 Japanese film “Tampopo” delivers perhaps the most stunning food scene ever. In a single, lingering shot, two lovers kiss while passing a fragile egg yolk between themselves. The climax is exhilarating. As these characters detach from conventional behavior to fulfill deep longings we watch, as enraptured as Swinton with her prawns; however, instead of seafood, we clasp a serious handful of popcorn to
our mouths in anticipation. These films seem like a modern update of the celebration of the feast and the worship of Dionysus, Greek god of food, pleasure and wine. His cult of female worshippers, the Maenads, have even found a place in modern entertainment—who could forget Michelle Forbe’s guest appearance as orgy and feast enthusiast Maryann on the last season of “True Blood?” Even “Fantasia” gets in on the action. The “Pastoral Symphony,” otherwise known as Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 6 in F” portraying Bacchus and his buddies, is basically structured like a coital encounter. The section begins slowly: centaurs courting one another during the celebratory feast of wine making. The scene transitions into a thunderstorm—a climax complete with Zeus firing phallic lightning bolts to earth—and finishes with the dewy, sleepy aftermath of the night’s wildness. Cartoon sex. In recalling the Bacchanalia, film shifts the animalistic elements of food and sex into something divine. It’s a little acknowledgement to a holy trinity of eating, praying and loving. While the centaurs and satyrs in Fantasia are all half-animal, they are in the company of a god. Even the pleasure of scenes like Basinger and Rourke’s food-fest are delivered with a full dose of divinity. Swinton’s prawn encounter, with its heavenly lighting, can best be compared to Bernini’s 1652 sculpture, “The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa,” depicting a woman’s physical and internal encounter with God, and a moment some scholars have compared to orgasm. In this way, food and sex on film can be about both the animalistic and the heavenly. Condemned or celebrated, it’s a true awakening to what is essentially human—the urges that unite us and perpetuate us, and the joys that we can’t quite explain. Therefore, Swinton’s prawn encounter is so engrossing because we know the feeling of emotional hunger. It’s the arrival of Julliette Binoche and her chocolates in a small French town or Basinger, wide mouthed, waiting for honey on her tongue. It’s both a heartily human Bruegel peasant feast and the divine in Da Vinci’s Last Supper. In a space as purely visual as the movie theater—or the cathedral for that matter—food is the perfect vessel to fill with both the complex mysteries and animal instincts of human emotion. In other words, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
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POP STAR FOR A DIGITAL UNIVERSE by ANDREW STEINKUEHLER
an Black is trending. After splitting with the popular London rockers, The Servant, Black became a YouTube sensation with a self-produced music video for his clever, but entirely earnest, re-imagining of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.” Cribbing a beat from Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and an orchestral sample from the 1984 film “Starman,” Black filtered the Bed-Stuy legend’s flow through his vulnerable high tenor with a pathos that somehow managed to quash knee-jerk accusations of both parodic grandstanding and hipster posing - no easy task in today’s hypercritical media environment. Unlike so many much-twittered about, but ultimately ephemeral novelties, “HYPNTZ” was, and is, that rare specimen of mash-up culture that manages to come across as a genuinely significant pop song. While the buzz surrounding the song scored Black a major label deal, “HYPNTZ,” at least in its original form, it would never see an official release. After a dispute with the Biggie Smalls estate, Black was denied permission to use the deceased rapper’s verses. Undaunted, and with his original beat and melody for “HYPNTZ” in figurative hand, Black channeled his frustration into the wistfully transcendental lyrics for the re-christened “Symphonies.” Now, “Symphonies” is the lead single for Black’s debut album Un, which finally arrived stateside in March. An eclectic, thoroughly contemporary blend of digital break
beats, synth-pop grandeur and enough leftfield glitchtronica to satisfy the novelty-craving ears of a generation inundated with mash-ups, remixes, and the participatory overload of all things Web 2.0, Un has the timely Black poised for inevitable commercial success. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will. I got a chance to talk with Dan on his way out to Los Angeles for the MTV Video Music Awards, where the video for “Symphonies” has been nominated in the Breakthrough Video and Best Special Effects categories.
“WHEN YOU’RE MAKING MUSIC ON THE COMPUTER, YOU HAVE SO MANY TOOLS AT YOUR DISPOSAL THAT IT NATURALLY LEADS YOU TO TRY THINGS MUSICALLY THAT YOU WOULDN’T OTHERWISE. IT ENCOURAGES YOU TO TAKE MORE RISKS.” So you’re heading out to Los Angeles for the VMAs pretty soon. Is it a little surreal to be nominated in the same category as someone like, say, Lady Gaga [in the Best Special Effects category]? A bit. I mean, I don’t know if I feel like I’ve quote unquote made it. It’s more as if I was in the plains and now I’m in the foothills. Just happy to be here, really. You’ve come pretty far in the past couple of years. And this all started after you left The Servant in 2007. What was your experience like with The Servant and why did you eventually decide to go your own way?
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When I met the guys in The Servant, they were into stuff like the Kinks and Led Zeppelin - bands I love, you know, but very macho music. So I was like, okay, I can do this – I’d end up sitting around strumming chords for hours, coming up with melodies. It’s odd, I haven’t even picked up a guitar in the 3 years since. And what led you all to eventually part ways? I was listening to a lot of hip-hop, a lot of early Prince and some house music. They thought that was all complete rubbish. Again, they had these very macho tastes and weren’t exactly open to taking things in a different direction. The proverbial creative differences. Exactly. Fast-forward to 2009 and “HYPNTZ” has become a minisensation. Musically, the chorus is this gorgeous, Sigur Ros-like affair with big swooning strings and yet you’re throwing down these very hardcore East Coast gangsta rap lyrics over it. How did you reconcile the stylistic clash there? Is it just a superficial conflict to you? I’ve always had an omnivorous kind of taste. There’s so much that I love in hip-hop. It would almost be disingenuous for me to keep those elements out of my music – just as it would be disingenuous for me to discount the influence of a band like Sigur Ros. It goes back to the situation I was in with the Servant. I didn’t want to limit myself to this one very narrow genre of music. Also, when you’re making music on the computer with Reason or Logic or Live [music production software], you have so many tools at your disposal that it naturally leads you to try things musically that you wouldn’t otherwise. It encourages you to take more risks.
How would you describe your compositional process then? Do you start with a sample and sort of flesh it out from there, or do you start with a melody...how does it work usually? One of the nice things about composing on the computer is that, whatever program I’m working with, there’s an incredible amount of tools and effects and presets that you can dig into. So part of it is just trying things out. Sometimes I’ll take a sample and just tweak it beyond recognition and start there. Going back to “HYPNTZ.” Biggie’s estate refused you permission to use his lyrics, so you just kept the beat and wrote the lyrics for what became “Symphonies.” And as we discussed earlier, the video for “Symphonies” has now been nominated for two VMAs. Seemed to all work out fairly well, in the end. How did the concept for that video develop? A couple friends of mine, Corinne Bance and Axel d’Harcourt, they’ve got a production company called Chic & Artistic. I collaborate with them on all the visual aspects of my work. They do everything – videos, graphic design, photography, everything. They approached me with the idea of mocking up end credits to some of our favorite films and running these fake credits throughout the video. So we could make all these references, some of them were to old Westerns, there were a few Kurosawa bits in there. Also, this Japanese cartoon “Ulysses” that I grew up with in England. In fact, I was initially dubious about the idea, but obviously it ended up being terrific. Did I notice a Blade Runner reference in there? Yes, that’s definitely in there. So you and the folks at Chic & Artistic have developed a pretty distinct visual style for the Dan Black brand, if you will. That applies not only to the video for ‘Symphonies’, but to the cover of your first LP, Un, as well. How does that collaboration work? We’re all good friends, so it’s a very open exchange – a lot of back and forth. Sometimes I’ll come to them with an idea and we’ll work together to execute it, or they’ll just bring something to me. For the cover of Un, I had this idea of having me float while parts of my body are kind of breaking off. In retrospect, it’s an almost religious image, though I’m certainly not a religious person. Very far from it.
Photography by ARMEN DJERRAHIAN
So they took that idea and ran with it basically? Yeah. And the album art inside the jacket was all their work. I was just a prop for that stuff. It’s all terrific, of course. They’re just amazing, creative people. You said the cover image has a religious quality to it. But that wasn’t your conscious intent, was it? Yes and no. I’ve actually been asked about the cover a lot lately and I’ve had to come up with a rationale kind of on the fly. At the time, it was just an image that had stuck with me. I wasn’t thinking about the symbolic significance of it or anything. Thinking about it now, I do see this religious quality to it, which makes sense for me because music is my way of experiencing the sublime, or accessing God, or whatever. If I can help someone else, a listener, experience that, well, that’s all I can ask for.
MICHAEL BEAUPLET styling KETEVAN GVARAMADZE photographer
GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO MAC LIPSTICK HUETOPIA MAKE UP FOR EVER STAR POWDER ORANGE SEPHORA NAIL POLISH CLIENTE CORAL SUNGLASSES BY DITA.
GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO MAC LIPLINER MAGENTA MAC LIPSTICK GIRL ABOUT TOWN OPI NAIL POLISH STRAWBERRY MARGARITA SUNGLASSES BY ADAM KIMMEL.
GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO MAC LIPLINER GIRLFRIEND MAC LIPSTICK SAINT GERMAIN BOBBI BROWN GEL EYELINER BLACK SUNGLASSES BY D&G.
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GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO TRUCCO HYBRID POWDER PENCIL SUNRISE MAKE UP FOR EVER 12 FLASH COLOR CASE 013 YELLOW SEPHORA NAIL POLISH CLIENTE CORAL SUNGLASSES BY RAYBAN.
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GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO CHANEL ROUGE ALLURE LIPSTICK FATALE 71 ESSIE NAIL POLISH 660 TOMBOY NO MORE SUNGLASSES BY TOM FORD.
GIORGIO ARMANI SILK FOUNDATION NARS BRONZER CASINO MAC LIPLINER CHERRY MAC LIPSTICK RUBY WOO SUNGLASSES BY OLIVER PEOPLES LIMITED EDITION FOR BALMAIN.
MARIKO ARAI hair stylist BRYCE SCARLETT FOR BUMBLE AND BUMBLE model VICTORIA @ DNA make-up
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NORWEGIAN WOOD photography GIOVANNA BADILLA stylist DELPHINE DAHNIER
BRA BY COSABELLA
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ABOVE: ENTIRE LOOK BY MANDY COON. LEFT: SKIRT BY MANDY COON; BRA BY COSABELLA; SCARF BY BERNHARD WILLHELM.
ENTIRE LOOK BY MANDY COON
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ABOVE: SKIRT BY MANDY COON; BRA BY COSABELLA; SCARF BY BERNHARD WILLHELM. RIGHT: DRESS BY MANDY COON.
BRA BY COSABELLA; SKIRT BY MANDY COON.
makeup ASAMI MATSUDA using mac cosmetics hair CHARLIE BROWN model AMELIA @ trump
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IN YOUR ROOM photographer MIKE HEMY stylist NICOLAS KLAM
DOUBLE BREASTED SUIT, SHIRT, TIE & LEATHER WINGTIPS BY RAF SIMONS.
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JACKET BY BALMAIN. TROUSERS, BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
DENIM SHIRT, OVERSHIRT, TROUSERS & BOOTS, BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
SUIT, INVERSED COLLAR SHIRT & TIE BY DIOR HOMME. LEATHER BOOTS BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
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SUIT, SHIRT, & HOODIE, BY ALEXANDER MCQUEEN.
TEDDY JACKET BY BALMAIN.
DENIM SHIRT, OVERSHIRT , TROUSERS & BOOTS, BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
QUILTED LEATHER VEST BY PHILIP LIM SHIRT, TIE BY RAF SIMONS
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TRENCH COAT, SHIRT, TROUSERS & LEATHER BOOTS, BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
FAUX FUR COAT, TROUSERS & LEATHER BOOTS, BY BURBERRY PRORSUM.
BOMBER JACKET, SHIRT, & LEATHER WINGTIPS BY RAF SIMONS.
hair LOK LAU photographer’s assistant MARTIN ROSENGREN stylist’s assistant MICHAELA LEE model AXEL GILLOT @ SUCCESS
TURTLE NECK SWEATER WITH ZIPPER, BELT, TROUSERS & GLOVES BY LANVIN.
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SERGE GAINSBOURG LEMON INCEST THE GENIUS UNVEILS TABOOS by ALEXANDRE STIPANOVICH
erge Gainsbourg (1928-1991) was obsessed with sex and seduction. After all, he was an expert. Despite his self-proclaimed ugliness, he conquered some of the most beautiful ladies of his time: Brigitte Bardot, Isabelle Adjani, France Gall, Francoise Hardy and Jane Birkin…to name a few. Gainsbourg’s charm tormented the most vigorous playboys, especially given the fact that he made his conquests known to the world. He arrogantly illustrated the superiority of charm and spirit over appearance when he used to say: “Provocation is my oxygen”. He was smart and elegant, as well as trashy and provocative—and sometimes he was all of these things at the same time, in the same sentence. The mixture got more explosive and flavorful over the years. Serge Gainsbourg started using sex in his art to explore new emotional landscapes when he began to gain notoriety. This taste for lust was like an answer to the hungry audience that was freshly staring at him. In his imaginary world, he used to transform into Gainsbarre, an evil figure of destruction. Reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll, this night hawk alter-ego was filled with perverse desires. He repeated that Gainsbarre would eventually kill Gainsbourg by his excess, provocation and morbidity. The confrontation of the two characters was fascinating, and the only thing the two agreed on was that sex could be an infinite playground and a provocative mode to release wild creativity. In 1965, France Gall performed one of Gainsgourg’s songs, “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” at the Eurovision contest and won the first prize, putting Gainsbourg under the limelight. “Lollipops,” the next song he wrote for her, was the first of his repertoire to contain a sexual twist in it, since it wasn’t really about lollipops, but about oral sex. In 1969, he released “Je t’aime... moi non plus,” which featured explicit lyrics accompanied by Serge’s girlfriend Jane Birkin simulating sounds of orgasm.
After the huge success of these first melodious sexual flirtations, Gainsbourg released Histoire de Melody Nelson in 1971, a concept album that tells the story of a Lolitaesque affair, starring Gainsbourg as the narrator and Jane Birkin as the red-haired girl, Melody. Although this album was not a commercial success, it is now widely recognized as a great masterpiece. It narrates musically how Gainsbourg unintentionally collides his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage nymphet Melody Nelson’s bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. As the music critic David Nadelle explains, “’Melody’ is the impact between an inebriated, well-trodden rogue and an innocent but world-ready nymphet; between an overpowering of will and a submission to emotion, and between wanton lust and pure love.” The poetic and sexual interest for nymphets is a reminiscence of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita”. Gainsbourg invites Melody to visit “L’hôtel Particulier” (The Private Mansion), actually a brothel, most likely to initiate Melody to sexual acts. In a similar fashion, the narrator of Lolita, Humbert Humbert, drives the nymphet across the country
“HE USED TO TRANSFORM INTO GAINSBARRE, AN EVIL FIGURE OF DESTRUCTION. REMINISCENT OF DR. JEKYLL, THIS NIGHT HAWK ALTER-EGO WAS FILLED WITH PERVERSE DESIRES. HE REPEATED THAT GAINSBARRE WOULD EVENTUALLY KILL GAINSBOURG BY HIS EXESS, PROVOCATION AND MORBIDITY.”
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asking her for sexual favors. Gainsbourg and Nabokov, both artists with Russian origins, were also both fascinated by purity and innocence, in the names of Melody and Lolita, respectively. Both of these middle-aged men felt the need to confront innocent teenage girls with sexual impulses, to finally realize those were already experimented. And Gainsbourg goes further into his exploration with his biggest provocative hit “Lemon Incest.” “Lemon Incest” (a wordplay on “un zeste de citron”—a tang of lemon) is taken from the Love on the beat album, released in 1984. The music is set to Frédéric Chopin’s Etude No. 3, Tristesse, which is usually played at weddings. On this track, Serge Gainsbourg sings with his now-famous daughter Charlotte, who was twelve at the time. Interestingly, in Nabokov’s novel, Lolita is also twelve when she meets Humbert, and Charlotte is her mother’s name. Charlotte Gainsbourg sings to her dad: “the love we will never make together is the most beautiful, the rarest, the most disturbing, the purest, the highest…” and her father answers calmly on the song: “sweet girl, my flesh and my blood, oh my baby my soul” approving and encouraging the taboo his daughter defies. The music video shows Gainsbourg, shirtless and in jeans, and Charlotte, wearing a shirt and panties, lying on a bed. The bed is huge, made of black stone, built like a shrine for human sacrifice to be watched by hundreds of people; and the room is vast like a cathedral underneath a volcano. As the forbidden couple whispers on the beat, lava smoke fills the air and Gainsbourg wants us to see how he can make the ultimate sin happen. An innocent child breathless and a middle-aged man, the Nabokov scheme is set again, the offering of purity and innocence is ready, while evil flames are burning everywhere. As we are watching the provocative short movie, that Gainsbourg wrote and produced, we feel that this blasphemous couple takes us on the other side of the taboo, underneath the volcano, to the core of the archaic psyche of mankind, where love is like a volatile substance attracted by itself. Gainsbourg is in love with his own creation: the musical version of Lolita. In “Stan the Flasher,” a movie Gainsbourg wrote and produced, an old man gives lessons to young girls at daytime and becomes an exhibitionist at night. Again, the fascination for the confrontation of innocence against perversion is described, as if Gainsbourg really wanted us to think he was a pervert. He probably thought the energy created by
this type of character was infinite provocation, thereby infinite oxygen. In “Love on the beat” (from the album of the same name, 1984) we hear how Gainsbourg’s last wife, Bambou, screams as she gets beaten, adding a provocative masochist feeling to the song. As Gainsbourg sings, he describes explicitly how he makes love to her. His tone reminds us of Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando in “Heart of Darkness,” where an ultimate form of poetry can somehow rise up from sadism. On Gainsbourg’s last album, You’re Under Arrest, launched in 1987, the singer depicts his love for a prostitute Samantha, as well as love for very young women, in such songs as “Suck baby Suck” or “Five Easy Pisseuses” (pisseuse is a French slang word meaning prepubescent). The quest for innocence has disappeared and the artist is rather in need of fast and dirty love. In the meantime the real Serge becomes heavily addicted to alcohol. During one of his last television appearance in December 1988, while judging a film festival in Val d’Isère, Gainsbourg appeared raging drunk at a local theatre where he was to do a presentation. While on stage he began to tell an obscene story about Brigitte Bardot and a champagne bottle, only to stagger offstage and collapse in a nearby seat. In the late 1990s, Gainsbourg had been struggling with alcoholism and depression for the last fifteen years. Eventually, one night, his heart collapsed. The 21st of March, his girlfriend Bambou discovered him lying dead in his bed. Baudelaire in leather - a dark angel haunted with the sublime - Lolita’s dad, provocative freak, musical genius, too many characters died with him that day.
Illustration by ELISABETH MOCH
INTERIORS OF DECADENCE AND SPLENDOUR by AUDREY LEFÈVRE
osson Crow’s paintings are like a visit in an abandonned house, exciting our curiosity and provoking our imagination. The bicoastal artist’s work has already been hung on many art collector’s walls, and in some of the most key galleries for contemporary art. Follow Rosson for a walk-through of her artwork...
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Do you think that your hometown influenced your art? If so, in what way? I am from Dallas, Texas, and yes, I think I am very Texan— very loud, and outspoken. I think many Texans are, it’s the kind of “everything’s bigger in Texas” thing. I love making big bold paintings. So I think it does all come from being raised a Texan. You have a studio in NY and LA. How do you organize your time between both cities? I hate making plans so I tend to move whenever I can. I am just starting to try the bicoastal thing. And I feel that it’s important to remove yourself from situations that you get used to, and instead experience new environments; it’s good to refresh. What is your background in art? Did you use to paint as a child? I was always pretty artistic as a kid. My mother is an interior decorator, so I grew up with a strong idea of design. Then I studied art in NY, and afterwards at Yale.
Did your style change after school? I like to think that my work changes a little bit all of the time. I’m trying to push myself to make things work differently and think about things differently. I don’t know if being done with school was a specific marker because I was already making the work that I wanted to make long before school started. It’s just an evolution. How would you describe the images that you paint? I think I would describe my paintings as paintings of Americana, history paintings, but maybe [depicting] a darker history—a more decadent underworld of Americana. I’m really obsessed with Edward Hopper at the moment, and I am reading a book about his take on Americana; I can really identify with it right now. Which other artists inspire you? I love historical artists like David or Gericault, Courbet, Goya. Also Bacon and De Koening. You have a profound interest in history. Are there any periods that you are particularly keen on?
Did art school help you perfect the skills you already had? Art schools can be a joke, I guess... I think that what I learned at the time was from being in NY and making things happen for myself. I got very little from the school itself. I think going to Yale was great though; it was a real education. Academics! That was great. As far as influencing me, I think school just made me think about the ideas behind my work more seriously, being able to articulate what I am wanting to convey in my work in a stronger way.
It changes all the time. American history is my primary inspiration. I went through a period when I was obsessed with French history, which is why I wanted to to move to Paris to do a residency. Living in Paris made me realize that I liked the French 17th and 18th century baroque and roccocco, but I had a preference for the fake American version of those styles. The Las Vegas version of Paris, rather than the real version. Because I am always fascinated by theatrical aspects and fake constructs or cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles—cities recreating history that never existed there.
SHORTS AND SUSPENDER BRA BY JEREMY SCOTT.
“I THINK I WOULD DESCRIBE MY PAINTINGS AS PAINTINGS OF AMERICANA, HISTORY PAINTINGS, BUT MAYBE [DEPICTING] A DARKER HISTORY - A MORE DECADENT UNDERWORLD OF AMERICANA.” What are the techniques you use? As far as the paintings go, only oil paint. I like the quality of oil paint because it goes with the ideas of lush, dark, dripping decadence. Also, I use a lot of oil in my paints, so it drips, and creates that smeared look. What are the subjects you enjoy painting the most? I like to think that I can paint anything if I’m in the mood and inspired. So it’s not particular to a piece of furniture for example. I did have a moment when I used to paint chandeliers a lot though. But not as much lately.
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You do not do many portraits or paintings of living beings. How can you explain that? I am just not so interested in painting figures. At school I did some history paintings with people in them but I always made the figures look fake. I was always less interested in them than furniture, and wondered why I was even putting them in my paintings. As I started making bigger paintings, they became empty spaces in which the viewer could enter and participate in, almost like theatrical backdrops. While figures are always kind of superfluous, empty spaces are more open to interpretation. Maybe these spaces have been empty for a hundred years? Or maybe just for two minutes. When is your work the strongest? Night or day? A certain regimen? A specific mood? I hardly ever work at night, and usually thrive in the morning and early afternoon. And coffee! No matter the time of day, I have to be in the right mind state. It’s almost like a transe state. I have to feel so energetic and focused that I am willing to stop worrying about petty to-do’s such as laundry. Sometimes, I have worked a few days in a row. I like to work up until the last minute for shows, although I always have enough paintings to show. Then I have as much work possible available, and just choose the best for the show. Do you get frustrated sometimes, and stop working on pieces? Or destroy them? Yes, sometimes I just know when a painting won’t work out. I used to get really angry and throw paint at them! But not anymore.
DRESS BY BURBERRY PRORSUM
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LEFT: LACE DRESS BY DOLCE & GABBANA. NECKLACE BY ETRO RIGHT: BIKER JACKET BY BLUMARINE; UNDERWEAR BY KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE;
You seem to produce a lot, or at least huge pieces. Do you have any help, assistants? No, I have never had an assistant. I feel there is not much I would need an assistant to do. I hate cleaning my brushes though! That’s probably something I would need someone to do… But other than that I don’t really need help. Even for stretching canvases, it’s just part of the process. Where was your first exhibition, and how were you discovered? I used to intern at Deitch Projects and there I met Kathy Grayson (was Deitch Projects gallery director, now founder of The Hole gallery), we became friends and she started bringing collectors to my studio. I was really young and still studying. She also introduced me to the people at Canada Gallery, where I had my first show.
“MY BACK UP PLAN IN CASE PAINTING DIDN’T WORK OUT WAS ALWAYS TO BE A BARREL RACER! IT’S A RODEO THING... YOU RIDE A HORSE AROUND THREE BARRELS AND YOU GET TO WEAR REALLY GLAMOUROUS OUTFITS.”
ABOVE: BUSTIER DRESS BY KSUBI. RIGHT: DRESS BY ZAC POSEN; GLOVES BY LA CRASIA.
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LEFT: PANTS BY HERVE LEGER BY MAX AZRIA; CORSET BY KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE. RIGHT: PANTS BY PARIS 68; MESH TURTLENECK BY PARK CHOO MOON.
Being young and successful in the art world, do you feel your life has changed a lot? No... It’s pretty much the same! It’s nice to have a studio in NY and LA though. I’m really grateful and happy.
Once I was red and another time pink! She doesn’t give any instructions. I just had to be with her on stage and do whatever I wanted. Besides painting, are there any other art forms you perform in? music, design, photography?
Do you feel attached to a particular art scene? I don’t know if I’m attached to a scene. I don’t feel that I am, I’m not friends with that many artists. Do you ever collaborate with other artists on some projects? Not on paintings. But I design prints for Zac Posen, which I really enjoy. I have also performed with Kembra Pfahler for a couple of shows of “The Voluptuous horror of Karen Black“. Which involves having ones body painted entirely.
I’d like to do more acting. I studied acting in school. In fact I almost went to Columbia for acting instead of Yale for painting. I haven’t done anything recently other than being very theatrical in day to day!! But I would love to do stuff, anything! And I sing. I just formed a band, Bang Time. We haven’t been together for long so we are just in the first stages of writing and composing songs... It’s still kind of top secret! I’ve always sung, but never officially learned. You obviously have a strong sense for fashion. Where does that come from? Is it a passion of yours?
I have always loved clothes. My aunt used to send me tons of dresses she used to buy at yard sales. So I grew up playing dress up. Now I collect clothes. I find great vintage clothes in LA. Vintage shopping is my favorite thing to do when I go to other states. And I wear a lot of Zac Posen. It’s great to be able to wear my own paintings!
Cinncinati in November, and it’s about motorcycles. And my next gallery show is in Los Angeles, in February at Honor Fraser Gallery.
If you were to have another profession, what would it be?
I think my paintings are very much about desire and lusting after decadent spaces, objects or experiences. And spaces that convey power or authority, like palaces. Something about that is kind of sexy.
Acting, or something creative. Or my back up plan in case painting didn’t work out was always to be a barrel racer! It’s a rodeo thing... You ride a horse around three barrels. And you get to wear really glamourous outfits. What are your current projects? Are you currently working on an exhibition? I’m doing a solo show at the Contemporary Art Center in
Since this is the SEX issue, I would like to ask you if sex ever inspires you in your work.
Photography: Aingeru Zorita Paintings: Rosson Crow. Stylist: Guillaume Boulez. Photo Assistant: Lukas Bonaventura Stylistâ€™s Assistant: Eduardo Venguer. Hair and Makeup: Jillian Halouska for WT Management using Smashbox Cosmetics. Retouching: Jane Tam
DRESS BY THREEASFOUR
FROM U.N.I.T.Y. TO THE BARBIE MOVEMENT: A SURVEY OF FEMALE RAPPERS
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by ARIENNE THOMPSON
he female rapper, like the unicorn, is revered, but seldom seen. Since the 1980s, a lone female powerhouse comes along and is hailed the next this or that, but more often than not, doesn’t stick around long enough to make the same sort of lasting impression as their pop or R&B counterparts, such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé and Madonna.
Acts like Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Salt-n-Pepa dominated the ‘80s with a specific brand of conscious, sexually playful and meaningful lyrics. “Queen Latifah and MC Lyte were their own women and not the by-product or offspring of a male counterpart,” explains west coast rap veteran Alonzo Williams. “When the Queen and Lyte spit, they were kicking rhymes that they wrote and felt in their hearts.” But, the ‘90s saw the advent of something far more raw. Lil’ Kim’s 1996 debut album, Hard Core, exploded the image of the female rapper with overt sexuality and unrelenting delivery. And, her sexuality-fueled fearlessness, for better or worse, seemed to change the rap game for good. With lyrics like these from the song Fuck You, she proved she wasn’t afraid to say what other people were thinking: “See, that’s the difference between me and other bitches/ They fuck to get they riches/ I fuck to bust a nut/ Lil Kim not a slut/ I gotta reputation to look out for” “Being more of the tomboy with baggy pants and sitting on the stoop with the fellas rapping was more in back then than it is now,” says Ethnicity Models founder and CEO LaShawnna Stanley.
“I think that Lil Kim brought that whole change about. She came out and was super raunchy and super nasty and people buy into that. It kind of evolved from there as far as other rappers coming after her. They saw that working. You know, everybody in this industry is a copycat. They see somebody doing something that works, and they go do it.” One of the female rappers accused of most blatantly emulating Lil Kim is newcomer Nicki Minaj, who has created enough buzz to crown her the next rookie without yet releasing a studio album. Her debut, Pink Friday, is due Nov. 23, but for now, she has shot to the top of the game by aligning herself with rappers like Drake, Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane, proving that she can hang with the big boys. However, her “Barbie” style and killer bod more than prove that she’s also a pretty face. “She came out at a time when curves – big butt, small waist, boobs – were in,” Stanley explains. But, that’s not to say that Minaj has no skills. Employing a range of different accents and cartoonish voices, the Trinidadian newcomer impressed Lil Wayne enough for him to sign her to his Young Money imprint as its most prominent female artist. Her musical DNA is almost completely opposite of the female rap trailblazers from the ‘80s and ‘90s, something that is seemingly not lost on Minaj herself.
ÂŠCash Money Motown Records
“SALT-N-PEPA WERE THE CUTE TEASES, QUEEN LATIFAH AND MISSY ELLIOTT THE BUTCHY ARE-THEY-OR-AREN’T-THEY LESBIANS. LIL KIM AND FOXY BROWN DIDN’T LEAVE MUCH ROOM FOR GRAY WITH THEIR OVERT SEXUAL CONTENT, AND EVE FLAUNTED HER PAWPRINTED ASSETS AS THE ONLY GIRL IN THE RUFF RYDERS CREW TO GOOD EFFECT. MINAJ IS A SEEMING AMALGAMATION OF ALL OF THESE TYPES.” “I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness,” she told Interview this spring. “I want people – especially young girls – to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You’ve got to have something else to go with that.”
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Stanley, who works to turn the concept of the “video ho” on its head, says that Minaj’s ambitious aspiration may be easier said than done. “Sexuality definitely plays a role in it. If you’re attractive and sexy, then people are attracted to that. I think those are the two biggest things. As we see, you can be (male and) ugly and people will still buy into it. You don’t see too many ugly female rappers,” Stanley says. With older acts, however, we saw a wide spectrum of sexuality – and beauty – that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Salt-n-Pepa were the cute teases, MC Lyte the asexual tomboy, Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott the butchy are-they-or-aren’tthey lesbians and Lauryn Hill, the near-flawless saint. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown didn’t leave much room for gray with their overt sexual content, and Eve flaunted her paw-printed assets as the only girl in the Ruff Ryders crew to good effect. Minaj is a seeming amalgamation of all of these “types,” with her rough raps, out-of-this-world measurements and bi-curiosity, which adds to her appeal as much as anything else. “If I say I only stop for pedestrian and a real, real bad lesbian – did that say and then I go home and have sex with that lesbian? I just embrace all people of all lifestyles and I don’t tell them they are bad people,” Minaj told Vibe in its July issue. “And I say girls are beautiful and girls are sexy and they need to be told that, and if they don’t have anyone to tell them that and mean it, I’m gonna tell them that. But I feel like people always wanna define me and I don’t wanna be defined.”
Her resistance to the sex-bomb treatment is wise, says Williams. “A female artist needs to be aware of her sexuality, but not use it as her base for being in the industry. If she does, she only leaves herself open to be knocked off by the next overtly sexy female.” For now, that woman is Minaj and with the inevitable success of Pink Friday, she is poised to do what no woman has done since the now-reclusive Lauryn Hill reigned supreme in the late ‘90s: stick around. What Minaj gives her audience may align more with what they want than what they need, as the rap genre in general appears to be in flux. Acts like Soulja Boy and B.o.B. dominate radio airplay, leaving hip-hop purists shuddering at their too-easy success. Williams thinks that women have the potential to fill the creative void in the rap industry. He says, “I would like to see more female rappers take on the concept of artists like Mary J. (Blige) by expressing real everyday issues in a positive manner, such as single parenthood, women raising boys or just give us some uplifting music from a woman’s prospective.” Stanley is less optimistic about where the genre – whether helmed by men or women – is headed. “As Lauryn Hill said, music was meant to inspire. Is it inspiring us anymore? It’s a little more entertainment, a little more gimmicky and (is about) what’s a beat and what’s catchy,” Stanley laments. “It’s not really saying too much. When you listen to music, you used to get chills. Nobody’s getting chills off the music that’s being made anymore. Everything makes a 360, so it may come back around and get a little more conscious, or it may have to go a little bit further to the left where it’s worse than what it is now.” Only time will tell if the Barbie from Trinidad can save us.
Photography by LUKAS WASSMAN
SAGAT UNABRIDGED, UNCUT & UNCENSORED by AUDREY LEFÈVRE
or those who are unfamiliar with the gay porn scene, Francois Sagat is an internationally renown star. He took a massive leap from the fashion industry to porn and is now starring in Christophe Honore’s new movie Man at bath. Francois gives us a peek through the keyhole at his untypical path.
You worked in fashion before gravitating towards porn. How was that experience? It seems to be something that still interests you as you have recently collaborated with designers like Bernhard Willhelm, Jeremy Scott, and Fade. Since I was a child, I always followed fashion in the press, and I knew how to draw. So, my calling, or what I thought of as a calling, was to be a fashion designer. Therefore I studied fashion in Paris at Studio Bercot and worked for a few designers like Thierry Mugler, Givenchy and Balenciaga for a while. I feel I was a little young and not ready to face that world, as everything was going very fast for me. So I didn’t persevere; I got discouraged and impatient. How did you transition from fashion to porn movies? I was someone who didn’t know how to play the game of dressing up, building my own style and seducing as one does in the fashion industry. So I concentrated on fashioning my own body. I rejected sartorial efforts to focus on working out and moulded the body I wanted to have. Originally, I had a slim body, no shoulders—and wasn’t fit at all. The transformation I decided to go through was a way of proving to myself that I was masculine and virile, in the classic aesthetic sense, by being muscly. A year later, I had a different body and I was contacted to do a porn scene. Do you feel there is a big gap between the man you are and the actor you are? I think so. Porn movie productions, in the USA for instance, where I do most of my films, show the actors in a very cliche way. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the commercial requirements of the industry. But I realize that I went with it and fit in the mould. In movies, very few emotions emanate from me, and masculinity in general is very exagerated. So there is a huge difference between me as a man and me as an actor, because I feel I am not that virile, physically maybe, but I do have a feminine part that I always have had. I consider myself as a variable, without being bipolar, but with different shades like most people. When you watched porn before you entered the industry, did you ever imagine being a porn actor?
Yes, I was always fascinated by the aesthetics and image of porn. It’s a huge business, and porn movie productions have many specific obligations in terms of image in order to have commercial success. But as a viewer, I felt one could take elements from porn and make them artistic by removing them from their context. So gay images, and even some straight porn images really captivated me. And based on the questions I am often asked [in interviews,] I realize it fascinates many people. What do men like to see in gay porn movies? What excites them the most? I know that most men fast-forward or rewind to cameo shots of ejaculation. There are so many different fetish types and sexual practices; it’s very vast. I would say that mainly, porn consumers want to see hyper-masculine guys, often in cliche uniforms (leather, cops, mechanics, etc…) It also depends if the viewer is active or passive. Most men even prefer that the passive guy looks very masculine. But it really varies and depends on each individual’s fantasies. Did the fact you chose this type of work change your relationship with your family or friends? My family knows—but I don’t inform them much and keep details very vague. For example, I will never show them images, not even soft images. My friends find it fun, and being intelligent and non-judgemental people, it’s not at all a problem for them. And I don’t care about what people I don’t know think. Maybe later in life if I want to change professions, it might be an obstacle but I have never yet experienced any barrier related to my work. Did doing porn movies change your own sexual behavior? Do you think you have acquired habits from work? At first, yes I did. When I was shooting a lot, I picked up some behavioral and languistic habits from my work. As I used to shoot in English, I sometimes found myself saying “Fuck me” or “Oh Yeah” to my French real-life partners! Very cliche things like that. Or even the mechanical way of going from one position to another. It’s true that one
can sometimes lack natural flow in private. Another thing, some partners obviously knew who I was and my work, and in some cases I felt they were either a little impressed or had aprehension. But I am a normal person, and not the mechanical character they see in my films; I am not some kind of android! Does all the sexual activity you have in your work give you more space to focus on love in your private life? No. It is worse actually. In my experience, I feel it reduces the chance of having a more stable love life. While being a porn actor, one can of course have a love life, but I can just not envision it for myself. It’s a little difficult ; the ambiguity, anxiety, or confusion it can create with one’s partner. I don’t have regular partners in private and don’t feel ready for a relationship, preferring to focus on my work for now – porn or not.
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What do you prefer in your job? And what do you find difficult? What I prefer is the shooting itself, being on set or on location and the performance. And what I dislike is what goes on around the film, like promotion, photo shoots, meeting such and such person, gossip, award events, blogs. I find it all a bit boring… What is a typical shooting day like? They are very organized and planned. We start at 9am on the set on location and go until about 5pm. Typically, one scene is shot in two days. Is it tiring, physically? Yes, it is quite exhausting. Even psychologically. Once I almost vomited after a scene because I was so tired. My productions with Titan films are also very concerned with the non sexual scenes; the acting can be demanding when one is just walking or riding in a car. They need a lot of footage for editing the movies. What are your relationships like with your movie partners between the scenes? Outside of work? Usually the atmosphere is good and we get on well. I avoid getting too familiar with my partners outside shootings. Besides, we are not in the same country as I live in France and just go to the US for shooting. I have very few friends in the milieu. Most of my friends are not in the porn business. I tend to keep my two worlds separate.
“WHEN I WAS SHOOTING A LOT, I PICKED UP SOME BEHAVIORAL AND LANGUISTIC HABITS FROM MY WORK. AS I USED TO SHOOT IN ENGLISH, I SOMETIMES FOUND MYSELF SAYING “FUCK ME” OR “OH YEAH” TO MY FRENCH REAL-LIFE PARTNERS! “
Selfportrait by FRANÇOIS SAGAT
the wild magazine
Have you ever had some frights while shooting extreme scenes? Have you ever felt things were going beyond your limits? And particularly for LA Zombie, Bruce LaBruce‘s new movie that you star in? Not so much. I have had some stressful moments though. Once I had a partner who wouldn’t listen to me. He was hurting me and just carried on. I almost got angry but managed to keep calm. Another time, I was shooting in the Czech Republic, with Hungarian straight guys as partners. Some porn actors are actually straight even though they perform in gay porn. They didn’t seem too glad to have me as a partner. There was a kind of fight scene in which one of them had to strangle me with a belt, and he was pulling hard and really strangling me. I also shot in Lebanon, among ruins, and no secured area, sometimes policemen would pass so I was quite on edge. Usually on location we are really protected and the security is tight. But for LA Zombie, we were shooting in downtown LA and it felt more risky as there were many bums and junkies around. So, yes, it was a little more stressful than usual. Regarding LA Zombie, does the mixture of horror and sex excite you particularly? Or do you think it will excite the viewers? Not exciting, but baffling for sure. The makeup and blood was so uncomfortable that it made me forget the sexual aspect. It is quite distracting. But I think the porn scenes are good in the end. The viewers will never see all the problems that we encountered while shooting. I don’t know how aroused they will be when they see all the blood and guts during the sex scenes! How did you meet legendary Bruce LaBruce? I met him in Paris two years ago through mutual friends. He was promoting his previous movie, Otto, and had seen some videos of me that I had posted on online in which I am made up like an albino vampire of sorts. He said why Photography by LUKAS WASSMAN
“IF A DIRECTOR OFFERED ME TO PLAY THE ROLE OF A FATHER FOR EXAMPLE, A FAMILY MAN, THE IDEA WOULD BE QUITE ATTRACTIVE TO ME. I LIKE TO EXPLORE THINGS THAT I AM NOT, THAT ARE UNFAMILIAR TO ME. WOULD I BE GOOD AT IT, I DON’T KNOW, BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD BE MOTIVATING.”
not make another zombie or vampire film together. We stayed in touch and offered me the main role in LA Zombie, which was shot in September 2009. You shot a PSA in which you show how to use a condom. Are you very cautious with your health? And, is safe sex now widely practiced in the porn industry? It is very important to me. One should be cautious. It was a good idea to do that condom video and show how to use one in a realistic way. Usually it is shown on a banana or another phallic object. For a teenager or young man who is not aware of how to use a condom, I find that this is an efficient way to teach them. Unfortunately that video couldn’t be shown on YouTube for censorship reasons. And regarding safe sex in porn movies, it is not yet generally applied. Many production companies still shoot without protection. But the production company I work with has always shot protected sex. There are no laws against unsafe sex in movies, but it is often related to budget and commercial matters, which is sad. You have been taking a break from shooting porn for one year now. What would you see yourself working on when you feel you are too old to shoot porn? I am 31 now. I started at 25 and feel that if one has been in the industry for five years or so, we are implicitely told that we have been seen too much, that we are seniors. I can’t imagine myself shooting porn in more than five years. Directing is something I have thought of. But if I directed a porn movie, I would do something more artistic and creative, unlike the commercial films which are currently on the market. I would prefer to make a quality film without the intention of earning lots of money from it. You are in Christophe Honore’s new movie, Homme au Bain. Is it your first part in a non-porn movie ? Yes, non-porn, but there are many sexy images which are just suggestive though.
Were you more nervous than before shooting a porn movie? I am not really afraid of anything. As I am used being in front of a camera, it is not a problem. However, it is more compromising as one has to give more emotions, emotions that one wouldn’t show in a porn movie. But I would need to test myself on a film with a huge amount of dialogue, that might be something else… I don’t yet consider myself an actor. Would you like to pursue a classical actor career? If a director offered me to play the role of a father for example, a family man, the idea would be quite attractive to me. I like to explore things that I am not, that are unfamiliar to me. Would I be good at it, I don’t know, but it certainly would be motivating. So, yes if there were interesting projects I might do some more acting. I would definitely be specific with the choices I make, and not just shoot anything for the sake of doing a movie. I would already consider myself lucky if I had some propositions. Is there a funny or memorable shooting anecdote you would like to tell? It was on a porn shooting on location, in the woods in Pescadero, California. I was in the woods taking my partner “doggy style”, and when I raised my head at some point, I saw a deer staring at us, with an astonished look on its face. And then I just lost my capacities, it completely blocked me—as if Bambi was looking at us. Time just stopped. It was actually a touching moment. A very strange, but beautiful moment. And finally, is there something you would like to tell people who are unfamiliar with the gay porn world? Don’t trust appearances. You see someone that seems untouchable, or impressive, but that person is also sensitive, and not a “sex machine”!
the wild magazine issue one
RISE OF THE PLEASURE OBJECT by CARL MAGNUSON
n November of 2004, a small Swedish company called LELO (an acronym for Luxury Erotic Lifestyle Objects) unveiled its first “pleasure object” collection, comprising rechargeable clitoral vibrators IDA and YVA, in select female-friendly erotic boutiques in Stockholm and Paris. LELO had been co-founded just over one year prior by conceptual business adventurer and occasional narrator Carl Magnuson, designer Eric Kalén and engineer Filip Sedic.
The founding trio embarked on an important mission: to bring to market a new breed of sex toys – for women and their partners – based on high-end engineering and sleek Scandinavian design. This delicate task had befallen these gentlemen by a mutual desire to make things right, perhaps even to create new standards, in an industry previously devoid of quality, refinement, elegance and style. My nose feels funny and slightly numb. Not being personally equipped with womankind’s unique and quite fabulous marvel of anatomy, I have been using the tip of my nose as a test bed to weed out the best of an impressive assortment of vibrator engines. Power, noise levels, oscillation characteristics and the hypothetical potential to impart pleasure are all carefully noted. After weeks of testing Filip’s various mass-volume-engine-battery-combinations, I feel we are getting very close. My over-stimulated nose will certainly be happy for the relief. I am yanked from this last surreal reflection by a dull plonk. On the table in front of me, Eric has just unloaded yet another sketch model. After having toyed with well over twenty different concepts, some elaborate, some less so, this one appears to be almost under-designed at first. I reach over to fortably in my hand, almost snuggling itself into position. pick it up. The purposefully shaped piece of clay rests comfortably in my hand, almost snuggling itself into position. As I absorb the elements of the design, something tells me that this is exactly “right.” This particular pebble-esque object oozes with subdued, yet sensual, sophistication – exactly the kind of effortless “less is more” I had been
striving to articulate and more importantly, Eric had been striving to design. For a moment, the two of us stare at the putty-coloured lump, visualizing it as a finished product – discrete, slick and glossy. Ready to deliver, in style, all manner of pleasure, joy and ecstasy! With technology, form and functionality seemingly ready to blend, this feels like a defining moment. What began as a playful, conceptual and almost intangible notion is becoming real and perhaps even feasible. When we first embarked on our mission, chances of success were in no way guaranteed. As with all edgy and innovative ventures, communicating the essence of our idea, its inherent importance and benefit to the world to those willing to listen was tricky. Upon hearing the words “sex toy industry,” people would invariably tense up and look uneasy. Mental images of gigantic wobbly flesh-coloured dildos made from suspicious rubber-concoctions, semi-translucent, glow-in-the-dark, multi-appendage vibrators, in the shape of magical fauna, were almost visibly passing through their minds. What we were setting out to do, however, was to completely deviate from prevalent stereotypes defining the sex toy industry. Our vision was to create something sophisticated for women and their partners, along the lines of a high-end fashion brand with uncompromising quality and sculptural, understated aesthetic. Our products would not be “sex toys” in the traditional sense; they would be “pleasure objects.” Upon learning these distinctions, people would relax and a look of curiosity
would replace the unease. Our concept was straightforward enough to grasp and accept, and perhaps even innovative enough to like and support.
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That being said, we knew nothing of the market we intended to enter, nor did we know much about the products themselves. A strict regimen of learning by using, in-depth anatomy studies, sometime awkward, always enlightening input from female friends, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, resulted in a certain level of expertise. With academic zeal, we deliberated over the median width of an engorged clitoris, the average speed of muscle contractions during female orgasm, how to best navigate the
realm of the elusive G-spot, the most ergonomic masturbation technique and the various health benefits of a daily erotic climax. As far as developing “pleasure objects” was concerned, we eventually knew what we were doing. Getting to know the market space was quite a different matter. What loomed ahead appeared to be fragmented, porn-based, mostly male-oriented and without real definition. Catering to unusual niches was clearly the norm, but in all areas of quality, price point and presentation, the retail channels felt homogenous, low-end and sleazy. It was “adult novelty” galore, as though no or little thought had ever been given to the possibility that purchasing accessories for sexual pleasure should in and of itself be a sensual,
“UPON HEARING THE WORDS SEX TOY INDUSTRY, PEOPLE WOULD INVARIABLY TENSE UP AND LOOK UNEASY. MENTAL IMAGES OF GIGANTIC WOBBLY FLESH-COLOURED DILDOS MADE FROM SUSPICIOUS RUBBER-CONCOCTIONS, SEMI-TRANSLUCENT, GLOW-IN-THE-DARK, MULTI-APPENDAGE VIBRATORS, IN THE SHAPE OF MAGICAL FAUNA, WERE ALMOST VISIBLY PASSING THROUGH THEIR MINDS.” inspiring and alluring experience. The shady, back-alleyesque nature of our most obvious market space was not what we originally had in mind. Would it be possible to sell our “pleasure objects” in such an environment? Was the market ready for a high-end, female- and couples-oriented niche? Lingerie stores, department stores and eclectic design stores seemed a more natural fit, but entering such conventional domains would likely require timing, astute persuasion and the assistance of some genuinely rebellious and open-minded buyers. Undeterred we moved stealthily and steadily ahead – befitting retail channels would just have to follow. Paradigm-shifting ideas tend to travel in packs. Inspired by some common force, similar
light-bulb moments enter unconnected minds at similar points in time. Whilst we, the LELO-fellows, were busy perfecting the form and function of our first would-be “pleasure objects”, others such as Myla, Coco de mer and Kiki de Montparnasse were about to enter the ring with tasteful, female-friendly, high-end erotic retail formats. Whereas we had been pondering the lack of suitable environments in which to sell, they had been pondering the lack of suitably stylish products to offer. Time was ripe for the sex accessories market to get its feathers ruffled.
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“I FIND MYSELF STARING AT A LIVE PORNOGRAPHY SHOOT SOME TEN METERS IN FRONT OF ME. TO MY LEFT A VAGINA-SCENTED BODY SPRAY IS BEING DEMONSTRATED TO A CROWD OF PODGY MIDDLE-AGED GERMAN GENTLEMEN... IN MY STRICT SUIT, STARCHED SHIRT, CUFFLINKS, AND SILK TIE À LA WINDSOR KNOT, I FEEL DECIDEDLY OUT OF PLACE.” I find myself staring at a live pornography shoot some ten meters in front of me. To my left a Vagina-scented body spray is being demonstrated to a crowd of podgy middleaged German gentlemen, to my right an amicable American fellow is hawking re-mastered 70’s “happy” porn” classics to the occasional connoisseur. Filling the gaps between these scenes, various monitors screen trailers of pornographic movies for every conceivable taste and fantasy. There is plentiful nude pole-dancing by limber young ladies accompanied by a cacophony of deafening techno beats. And of course, sex toys... a plethora of sex toys in all the customary shapes, colours, and sizes. In my strict suit, starched shirt, cufflinks, and silk tie à la Windsor knot, I feel decidedly out of place. The year is 2005 and LELO had descended on the Venus fair in Berlin, the world’s largest erotic trade fair, to plant our flag at the very center of “the business” and to unveil our latest pleasure object, LILY. Our tiny booth stands out as a slick, modernist dream of black and white, in stark contrast to all the red, pink and fluorescent eyesores accompanying the madness around us. At this particular point and place in time, we are clearly an oddity, but also a breath of fresh air. The business we manage to conduct from our stylish refuge turns out to be very good indeed. As the fair comes to a happy end, despite the hardcore erotic imagery thoroughly etched on our retinas, we make haste for our modest pleasure object “factory” to fulfil orders from the four corners of the world. Production is a challenging thing. Especially when there are no manufacturers around that cater to “your” particular niche or needs and adhere to “your” particular standards. After a steep learning curve dotted with compromises, improvisation and more compromises, we soon resorted to assembling the “plea-
sure objects” ourselves. Although this was not a part of our original plan, it was the only way to monitor our desired levels of quality, finish and engineering. From our first “factory” which comprised little more than an extra desk in our small Stockholm-office, we swiftly graduated to a LELO-dedicated and now ISO-certified manufacturing facility just north of Shanghai. Floating through the yawning bright space that harbours our main production lines, it is hard to fathom how we began in all crudeness with some lumps of clay. To my left, fastidious and focused workers wearing white cotton gloves and LELOembroidered polo shirts put the final touches on our cutting-edge vibrating cock-ring TOR, our G-spot vibrator GIGI and our modular geisha ball systems LUNA. Esoteric assembly contraptions ping and purr. To my right, a panel of women with a keen sense of detail, conduct the final quality control of a new batch of INA, our first “rabbit-style” vibrator. Any flaw that might have slipped through the various Quality Control-steps preceding will theoretically go no further. Our 1-year warranty and 10-year quality assurance backs up our confidence. Strolling ahead, I reach the inhouse “lab” where experiments of a delicate nature appear to be under way. All is neat, orderly and efficient. All is well. In the brief time since LELO and other high-end, female and couples-oriented brands and businesses first made their appearance, the fabric of the erotic market space has been largely disrupted. Stigmas and taboos are dissipating, and the traditional, male-oriented, low-end, porn-based business model that dominated the industry has more or less crumbled. Standards are on the rise on all fronts. Even household appliance manu-
facturer, Philips, is dipping a toe in the water with a couples-oriented range of sensual massage apparatuses. Although there is definitely a ways to go, part of the market is now mainstream enough to almost be deemed “wholesome.“ The spark that brought about this change cannot be attributed to any one specific event; the need for a paradigm shift in “the business” had likely been brewing for quite some time. Even so, one factor stands out as a conclusive trigger – Sex and the City. Whilst the Sex and the City influence was mostly indirect for LELO, as a common denominator, it surely inspired and primed the market foundation on which we and other female, and couples-oriented sex businesses chose to stand. With equal amounts finesse and no-nonsense crudeness, the erotic antics of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, if not liberated then certainly empowered, inspired and demystified female sexuality just about everywhere. In essence, LELO and others have taken these cues to the next logical level – making available for modern women and their partners, physical quality objects to explore and fulfil desires, uninhibited and with panache. To the casual spectator, these developments might appear superficial, perhaps even fleeting. On a fundamental level however, I believe we are looking at market and an industry altered to its very core. Consumer mindsets have attained new preset levels in everything from standards and aesthetics, where and how to purchase, and most importantly how to employ “pleasure objects” as natural implements – not substitutes – in their sexual lives. The “pleasure objects” of today are reinvigorating an innocence lost to the “adult novelties” of yore, a state of affairs obliterating previously established notions of propriety. While the future advances of this industry are currently unknown, the combination of increasingly sophisticated consumers and the slow but steady liberalisation of society, indicates that these tangents are likely to prevail. Sex life accessories will continue to evolve, driven by market demand, to new levels of quality, refinement, elegance and style. For all uncompromising aficionados of zesty bedroom endeavours, many budding orgasms – be it with a partner, by “pleasure object”, or the two in concert – undoubtedly lie ahead. As for LELO, the co-founders original mission may have been more or less fulfilled, but the brand will continue to
play its role as one of the pioneers, creating and making available some of the finest – admittedly biased – “pleasure objects”, presently known to humanity. Other fine and equally pioneering brands such as JimmyJane, Je Joue and Fun Factory, are likewise pushing the boundaries with beautiful, superior and innovative pleasure-inducing things. New, edgy and eager brands are likely lurking on the sidelines, preparing to enter the market space in the coming few years. Someone, somewhere, might even be using their nose as a test bed for next generation vibrator engines as you read this very sentence. We live in exciting times, don’t we?
the wild magazine issue one
KISS ME BLACK photography SILJA MAGG stylist GUILLAUME BOULEZ
LEFT: DRESS BY D&G. RIGHT: SWEATER BY D&G, STYLIST’S OWN VINTAGE TIARA.
BRA BY KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE.
BELOW: CAMISOLE BY DOLCE & GABBANA.
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RIGHT: CARDIGAN BY STELLA MCCARTNEY, STYLIST’S OWN VINTAGE TIARA.
model INNA @ ford models makeup ANDREA HELGADOTTIR @ themagnetagency.com using chanel makeup hair OWEN GOULD using sachajuan products stylist’s assitant EDUARDO VENGUER
SHIRT BY ANN DEMEULEMEESTER; JACKET BY DOLCE & GABBANA.
STARRY STARRY NIGHT
photography by JOACHIM JOHNSON styled by APRIL JOHNSON
ABOVE: VINTAGE LEATHER JACKET; JEANS BY MARC JACOBS. RIGHT: SWEATER BY MARC JACOBS; LEOPARD CARDIGAN BY GAULTIER; JEANS BY MARC JACOBS.
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VINTAGE LEATHER JACKET.
LACE BLOUSE BY ALEXANDER WANG; JEANS BY MARC JACOBS.
the wild magazine TOP BY ISABEL MARANT; JEANS BY MARC JACOBS.
TOP BY COMME DES GARCONS.
ABOVE: SHIRT BY ANN DEMEULEMEESTER; JACKET BY DOLCE & GABBANA. RIGHT: LACE AND SILK BLOUSE BY MOSCHINO.
LACE BLOUSE BY ALEXANDER WANG; JEANS BY MARC JACOBS.
Makeup: Thorsten Weiss @ Community. Hair: Yukiko. Photographic Assistant: Chris Leung. Model: Aris @ Fusion Production: Sonia Adamczak @ 2B Management. Thanks to: K&M Camera & Ten Ton Studios.
LEFT: TWEED COAT WITH KNITTED SLEEVES BY BURBERRY LONDON; KNIT TOP BY HAYLAY LEI. RIGHT: KNIT CARDIGAN BY NICOLE FARHI; MESH VEST BY OSTWALD HELGASON; TWEED TROUSERS FROM BEYOND RETRO.
TOP LEFT: KNITTED DRESS BY LINA OSTERMAN. BOTTOM LEFT: DRESS WITH PADDED SLEEVES BY HEIKKI SALONEN. RIGHT: LEATHER AND MESH TOP BY GRAEME ARMOUR; MESH WAISTER BY OSTWALD HEGASON; TWEED TROUSERS FROM BEYOND RETRO.
LEFT: ‘BOY’ NECKLACE BY JORDAN ASKILL; SLEEVELESS TOP BY SIMONE ROCHA; SILK TROUSERS BY LISA OSTERMAN.
RIGHT: SHEER APRON DRESS BY VALERIE VON KITTLITZ; STRETCH SHORTS BY GRAEME ARMOUR; VELVET DR. MARTEN BOOTS BY HEIKKI SALONEN.
Makeup: Lucy Burt @ Premier Hair and Make Up. Hair: Teiji Utsumi using Bumble and Bumble. Photographic Assistant: Katrina More-Molyneux. Styling Assistant: Sophie Monro-Pruett. Model: Ellie @ Select Thanks to: Yellow Jacket Productions. Casting: Myra Gonzalez at MillnDoll Creative. Creative, Re-touching: FTP Digital.
PLEAT SKIRT/TROUSERS BY KATIE BARRETT; VELVET DR. MARTEN BOOTS BY HEIKKI SALONEN.
the wild magazine
CHALLENGING THE GENDER BINARY by LISA PRZYSTUP
Transvestite / Crossdresser / Transsexual /Pre op transsexual / Post op transsexual / Part Time / Full Time / Transgender / Gender Variant / Butch Queen / Femme / Butch Queen Up in Drags / Male to Female / Female to Male / Transbian / Trannie / Gender Bender / Transwoman / Transman / Gender Dysphoric / Gender Euphoric / he list of terms for transgender people is almost as long as the shades of grey that color the space between the male and female gender binary. The issues in both transgender communities – male-tofemale transwomen and female-to-male transmen – are just as nuanced and complex.
“People still look at gender as a binary,” says Genny Beheman, the director of the Stonewall Center at the University of Massachusetts. “Even the transgender community has historically been a very binary community.” Although transgender people have quite an extensive history, it is very rare for those of us who have not been close to a transgender person to have a comprehensive understanding of their world.
Sure, many of us know about Amanda Lepore and RuPaul, we’ve seen “Transamerica” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” but as far as the inner workings of transwomen are concerned there’s still a lot of confusion and ignorance out there.
Having terms and working definitions helps quite a bit: a transwoman who is attracted to women is called gynephilic attraction, a transwoman who is attracted to men is called androphilic attraction, and a transwoman who is attracted to both women and men will say they are bisexual transwomen. There are also male-to-females who have sex with other male-to-females – also known as transbians. Beheman says the general public’s lack of education and understanding surrounding the trans community has to do with the fact that transgender people are an invisible population of sorts. “Most people today can say that they know a gay or lesbian person but few can say they know a transgender person,” she says. And the sort of media dedicated to transgenders doesn’t help either. “People achieve celebrity status by virtue of the fact that they are transgender,” says Beheman. In television shows or movies it’s never that the character is a writer who happens to be transgender. Instead it’s that they are a transgender writer. “Transgender people become the central plot element,” she says. Take for instance Lea T., Riccardo Tisci’s assistant and model in the Givenchy fall/winter 2010 ad campaign. Or Isis Tsunami, the transgender model from the fall 2008 season of America’s Next Top Model. Both girls made headlines and caught buzz, not because they were beautiful women but because they were transwomen. “We make good press, we objectify ourselves,” says Mona Rae Mason, a transgender researcher, ethnographer, as well as a transwoman herself. She says that when most people think of transwomen, they expect to see someone with big hair like Dolly Parton or an overthe-top sensationalized personality. It’s exactly this sensationalism that manages to eclipse the basic facts and understanding of the transgender community. The first most basic concept is that being transgender has to do with gender - ones self-identification as a woman, man, neither, or both. This gender identification is a completely separate issue from sexuality. Transgender people may identify as being heterosexual, homosexual, or even bisexual. Mason says that, “So many people equate gender with sex – I have sex with men but I don’t think of myself as gay.” That’s because Mason identifies as being a woman. A tall brunette, Mason has legs that look like they stop somewhere near her neck, a warm baritone voice, and a hearty laugh that could give Julia Roberts’ signature guffaw a run for its money.
She hates her nose. She also played semi-pro football for a now long defunct Jersey Shore league in an effort to “correct” herself. “It was so semi-pro, most of us had to buy our own uniforms,” she laughs. “I would go play ball every Sunday, hang with the guys for awhile in a local bar after the games and then go home, shower, and put on a dress.” According to Mona, this idea that one can “fix” oneself by playing sports, getting married, or joining the military is a common misconception that many transwomen suffer from. Some transwomen like Mona live their lives full-time as women. Some of these women have breasts and a penis, some undergo expensive gender reassignment surgery, transitioning completely. Others like Genny live part-time. “I was assigned male at birth and was never comfortable being male but I never had a burning desire to transition to being female.” Genny has had electrolysis and laser hair removal but no hormones or surgery. “I’m comfortable being someplace in between,” she says. Regardless of their status as full or part-time, many transgender people face unemployment and job discrimination, which leads to economic insecurity that finds many toeing the line between poverty and possible homelessness. “The whole issue of discrimination is huge, especially for transwomen, who by virtue of biology have a harder time blending in,” says Mason. “We still have a society where women experience job discrimination, and for transwomen it’s even more difficult.” In an effort to document this problem, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force launched a national six-month data collection process, interviewing 6,450 transgender people through a questionnaire that covered topics from employment and education, to health care and housing. According to the November 2009 survey, participants experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole, and 97 percent of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job. Fifteen percent of transgender people in the survey sample lived on $10,000 a year or less, and 19 percent have been or are homeless. Poverty combined with a lack of an adequate emotional support system can lead to homelessness, which leads many transwomen to turn to prostitution and survival sex.
“MOST PEOPLE TODAY CAN SAY THAT THEY KNOW A GAY OR LESBIAN PERSON BUT FEW CAN SAY THEY KNOW A TRANSGENDER PERSON.” Mason, who served as the field coordinator for The Transgender Project, a five-year longitudinal study of the maleto-female population in the New York metro area, says that prostitution starts young in the transgender community because transkids are coming out to their families at a younger age and getting kicked out of their homes earlier than previous generations. “Hunger and cold drives people to do things they would never normally do. Prostitution very quickly becomes the means by which these young people survive,” she says. “I guarantee you that no one wakes up one day and says: ‘When I grow up, I want to be a prostitute.’” Even more troubling than the vicious cycle prostitution propagates - depression that leads to drug use, which leads back to prostitution - is the high incidence of HIV infection in ethnic groups. According to a report on Lifetime Risk Factors for HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections among Male-to-Female Transgender Persons, HIV was 3.5 percent among white Americans compared to 49.6 percent among Hispanics and 48.1 percent among African Americans. The report found a direct correlation between the high incidence of HIV infection in the African American and Hispanic community, and subjects who presented themselves as women in social settings. The takeaway: expressing who you feel you are is hazardous to your health.
t s e v r s d n s s a o r r r T C e op t
For Mason, the key in helping alleviate all of this is plain and simple: education. “You have to go to your schools, talk to the parents, the teachers, the community and hopefully this will create a strong support group for transgender people out there.”
In the meantime, Beheman says, media attention helps educate people. As long as people like Lea T. are out there helping give a face to the transgender community and raising public awareness, people will begin to understand more about them. Just please, for RuPaul’s sake, don’t call them trannies.
THROUGH THE ROAD DARKLY by JOSEPH ISHO LEVINSON
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ctress Shannyn Sossamon referred to her photo shoot with Eliot Lee Hazel as: “Batty, like nutty, but not the word nutty cause its overused.” Batty seems to be a constant unconscious reflection of Sossamon’s aura graved on celluloid and snapshots. Her next film is Monte Hellman’s uber-enigmatic “Road to Nowhere,” recently presented at the Venice Film Festival. You surely remember her effortless smile from films like: “A Knights Tale,” “40 days and 40 nights,” “The Rules of Attraction” (cast down smiles?) and “Wristcutters” (even if her character couldn’t smile in this one). We had a nice chat on a Sunday afternoon, where I inadvertently caught her in the process of cleaning up the mess left by her seven-year-old son and his friend.
“MONTE FELT IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT FOR MY CHARACTER TO REMAIN STILL, AND BY STILL I MEAN, STILL. I’M NATURALLY VERY EXPRESSIVE WITH MY HANDS—GOT A BIT OF A NEUROTIC PERSONALITY. MY HANDS FLY ALL OVER THE PLACE WHEN I TALK AND I’M LOOKING IN ALL KINDS OF DIRECTIONS...” Even though you’re a mom, you’ve still had a pretty steady work flow through the years. Yeah, but it’s not the same with people that are super busy doing four or five huge studio films a year; it’s time consuming. I think with me it’s been like I’ve done a lot of smaller parts in things, and I’ve done appearances in two different TV shows, so that’s kinda light. Last year I did a major lead again, and I guess “Wristcutters” was a pretty major lead too. For the Monte Hellman film, I actually had to leave my kid with his dad to spend the whole summer in North Carolina, Italy and London. So I have had work in spurts, that’s correct but it still feels like I’ve been home a lot as well. You just came back from Venice having been at the festival promoting the Monte Hellman film, can you give me a small recap of what the festival was like for you? It was incredible, I’d only been to Sundance once with “Wristcutters” a couple of years ago. I’d never been to a festival like that one, it was incredible. They love film so much there, so it felt romantic, how they put everything on; they just do it right. It felt like this big spectacle in a great way, like there was magic in the air, even when you had to do press photo kinda things. It didn’t feel grueling, it felt magical. One, it’s Venice, and two, Marco, who puts the festival on, takes pride in it. He would stand on every single red carpet with his hands proudly clasped. As the director of the festival, you can see how much passion he puts into it. It was a wonderful experience. How were the parties in Venice? Where they anything like the Martini commercial you shot with George Clooney? (Laughs) You’re funny. No, not really. You know, I was not at that many parties, but there were a lot of wonderful dinners. I liked that. I didn’t go to many parties. I don’t think there are that many in Venice, I don’t think it’s quite like that.
Photography by ELIOT LEE HAZEL
Tell me about the Monte Hellman film, cause I consider myself a pretty good Googler and I still haven’t found much info on it, other than the synopsis and a really short trailer. It seems like the project has been kept a little “hush, hush.” It is being kept like that because Monte is so passionate about the film being an experience from the beginning to end, and that’s the only way it can be watched. It’s not really plot driven, although there is a complex plot in there. It is an experience, it’s an atmospheric film. But it is also a strange experience and it’s best for people to just dive in and that’s it.
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It seems to me that it has this sort of David Lynch quality to it. Yeah, people have been saying that, and I think that’s true because they’re operating from the same place, it’s kind of letting the film reveal itself to you. And you feel comfortable in that unknown space cause you know that you are 100% trusting in your imagination, in your subconscious mind, in your instincts, and sometimes when you trust those there is an unknown. It does become quite mysterious and atmospheric, so in that way there are similarities for sure, I think they have different subconscious minds, though not much much much different. How did you prepare yourself for this film? I had one thing I needed to do, Monte felt it was very important for my character to remain still, and by still I mean still, you know I’m very expressive with my hands, got a bit of a neurotic personality, my hands fly all over the place when I talk, and I’m looking at all kinds of directions... It’s not even that that wouldn’t have worked for her, I don’t think. When I read the script I didn’t think “oh, I’m gonna have to do that.” When I saw the film I got why he wanted me to be that way. I had to prepare for that, I had to do a lot of yoga, had a really clean diet, I didn’t drink any alcohol while we were shooting, not even a glass of wine at night because anything that altered my nervous system I knew would fuck it up. That was the only thing I had to prepare for, and the rest was just my instincts. And what can you tell me about the character that you play? She is very mysterious, it was important to Monte that she were incredibly mysterious so I didn’t ever try to play any one color too much. He doesn’t want you to know what’s going on in her mind cause that kinda would just ruin the film in a way. And then the other lead character, which is a film director, he kinda has the same thing going on a little bit, the two leads are both very mysterious, which is what makes it kinda interesting. She is an actress in the film, but sometimes you even question that, she is dangerous in a quiet way.
Photography by ELIOT LEE HAZEL
You have a tendency to play darker roles, or be in thrillers and horror movies. Is there any particular appeal or comfort that you find in those roles? No, my first film was A Knights Tale, that’s what so strange about it, and then 40 days and 40 nights, and they weren’t slapstick or anything but they were lighter. And then it just kinda took this turn, and I’m not surprised, I know why it did because I know myself now well enough, I’m aware of the more intense colors. It doesn’t surprise me at all but it wasn’t something that I was consciously attracted to, I think it’s just where it went. At that time in my life I went through darker things, maybe that’s why that kind of work was coming to me. I would love to do comedy, it just has to be the right topic. And it’ll happen. I mean most of my friends and family that know me, they don’t understand my work, they just don’t think that I’ve ever done anything close to experiencing me in real life. So they think I’m watering myself down in a lot of the work, which I agree with them. Probably it was just people seeing or sensing an intensity in me and so that’s why that material came.
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Any particular brand of comedy that you would like to do? I like, obviously, Woody Allen. It’s that kind of character comedy, subtle. That’s what I like. I don’t like Legally Blonde, and such... If it doesn’t make me laugh, I’m not gonna be able to do it. I read an interview you did a few years ago where they ask you to choose between being a Bond girl and doing a really great indie film, and you said you’d chose the Bond girl because of the exposure. Do you still feel the same way? Oh, that’s awesome. I wonder what interview that was and I wonder how I really really said it. Well it depends on the role, if it was an independent film that I feel like I had seen before, then I might make that business decision. And Bond girls are a pretty crappy example. I think that interviewer was referring to something with more visibility, something
more commercial and mainstream, a little more vanilla. But you don’t have to make a Bond girl so vanilla, you can do something interesting, which I’d try to do if I were to play a Bond girl. Yeah, I might still even make that business decision now, but sometimes the better business is the independent film with this meaty role that you’ve never done, where the script is incredible, the director is incredible... But you know I get a lot of independent film offers and I turn them down because there’s no money, and it costs me to be away from my son. And two, because I don’t feel like there’s anything original about it, independent film just does not equal original. It’s like deep down it really wants to be a big budget romantic comedy, or it really wants to be like Se7en, you can just smell it in them. You’re trying to make this because it wasn’t able to get sold in a bigger way. And I’ve done a couple of those too, and I learned the hard way. Photography by ELIOT LEE HAZEL
You are immersed in other art forms as well, where are you with your art projects? I just directed a music video, and I made a lot of art videos for myself, so it was very interesting to do something that I knew was going to be seen a lot, and had to present it proudly, and it kinda kicked my ass a little bit, like “hurry up with this.” I think in between films I’m gonna start directing music videos and commercials. One, for my enjoyment, and it’s kinda like film school, I get to learn. It will also pay the bills we all need to pay, and then I won’t have to do jobs that I don’t like, cause it just hurts my heart too much when I do. And if it’s nothing I would ever watch, I just don’t wanna do that anymore. I’ve seen your videos and you seem to have a very keen sense of aesthetics and some of them involve dance... I love dance. I want to incorporate it somehow into my life, so it does not go away. At that time in my life I kept having these dreams, and these feelings of this weird world, these little characters blipped in this little black box. You don’t know what time or place it was, and I didn’t care. I was able to shoot those on super16 and to explore. I never really presented them out there, they’ve been sitting on Vimeo, there’s nothing to promote, there’s no story, they’re just art videos. They’re just there, people discover them, nobody knows that MaudeGone is this other thing I got. I just want to get what’s in my imagination out of me, otherwise it feels like I’d go crazy. I feel very happy on set when I’m behind the camera because I get to just be sloppy and wear my own clothes, and I don’t have to doll up, and be in that goddamn mode when I don’t feel like it. I don’t mind that mode once in a while, it’s charming and it’s fun to be a beautiful girl but I don’t like to be there all the time, no way. So I love to direct cause I get to be my nutty self, wearing what I’m wearing. Where did MaudeGone come from? I liked those two words how they looked put together. There’s actually not a huge huge meaning behind it. Who did you do the music video for? My sister’s band and my old band that I was in, it’s called Warpaint. Are you still involved with them musically? No, but it’s not a bad thing. They had to focus in a way that I couldn’t do at that time, and they deserve to bring it somewhere. And I was a drummer there, I just couldn’t imagine spending the bulk of my life on a drum stool, even though I had a lot of fun doing it. I feel drumming is like dancing. I had a blast, and musically I still feel very attached to them. The video has been a blessing, it’s a way in which we can still be in each other’s lives, in a weird way it feels like I’m still in the band when I get to do something like that.
“I DON’T LIKE LEGALLY BLONDE, AND SUCH... IF IT DOESN’T MAKE ME LAUGH, I’M NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO DO IT.”
Photography by ELIOT LEE HAZEL
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SEXUALITY AND THE ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER HERO: A SURVEY by ERIC CORSON
don’t want to spoil it for you, but at the end, you get the girl, kill the bad guys and save the entire planet,” a doctor says to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Douglas Quaid, in Total Recall (1990). In this particular scene, the doctor refers to the specific kind of memory that he implants inside Quaid’s head; however, this characterization works just as well to define Schwarzenegger’s body of work as the ultimate action hero of the 1980’s and 90’s.
The defining trait of the Schwarzenegger hero is brute physical force. In Predator (1987), the first handshake between Schwarzenegger’s Dutch and his boss Dillon is an excuse to show us an extreme close-up of Arnold’s contracting biceps. In this world, muscles are more important than human exchange. Comando (1985) introduces its main character, John Matrix, as a gigantic meatloaf. The camera zeros in on his biceps and bulky torso until the screen reveals that he is carrying a huge chainsaw in one hand and a huger tree trunk in the other. Similarly, Conan The Barbarian (1982) imposes himself as the hero of the movie when his muscle increases. In a montage that captures his transformation from youth into the bulging muscleman he becomes, the emphasis is clearly placed on physical force again. We get shots of arms and legs that grow and grow in frightening proportions until Conan finally reaches his prime. At the same time, mental matu-
rity that would ideally develop with age is not alluded to or expressed in any way. In a world where men only seem to communicate through physical violence, intellectual abilities become a non-issue—maybe even a hindrance. What then, about sexuality? After all, killing the bad guys and saving the planet is only worth half as much if the hero can’t score the babe at the end of the film. Manly men such as the hulk-type Arnold embodies, should, by design, breathe sexual competence. So, how is the Schwarzenegger hero faring in this regard? On the surface, Schwarzenegger’s films are surprisingly asexual. With the blatant celebration of flesh and musculature, sex scenes are sparse; interactions between the sexes are usually reduced to the typical, damsel in distress meets male savior spiel that has prevailed throughout the
“IF THE FIGHT SCENE STANDS IN FOR THE SEXUAL ACT, AND THE DESTRUCTION OF AN ENEMY SYMBOLIZES THE CUMSHOT, THE SCHWARZENEGGER ONE-LINER IS NOTHING MORE THAN THE SELF-AFFIRMING HOW WAS I?”
history of film. Conan The Barbarian gives us the most explicit view of the Schwarzenegger hero’s sexual behavior. When Conan loses his virginity, his lover morphs into a non-descript reptile, indicating that the hero’s lovemaking is simply unearthly—despite the fact that it is technically his first time in the sac. However, at the end of the sexual act, Conan throws his lover into an open fire. This violent climax is congruent with his treatment of a group of women in a latter scene when he exclaims: “you’re all sluts!” Here we are given a primary indication of the Schwarzenegger hero’s view on women: he “loves [them] long time,” but has ultimately no regard for them (the scene in Total Recall where Quaid shoots his wife in the head and says “consider this a divorce” seems to support this thesis). However, to get a better sense of the Schwarzenegger hero’s attitude towards sexuality, we have to dig a little deeper. In an article for the German weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, Peter Kümmel writes that in porno movies, the cumshot is the “vulgar visualization of the last belief the educated western man can cling to. The belief in his viri-
lity, in the death defying value of his own potency.” In our capitalistic world, “the orgasm is our most valuable commodity: it symbolizes the stoppage of time, a tear of eternity. I live for I am aroused. I am here for I reach the climax.”* If this diatribe holds true for pornography, Arnold’s movie characters live and breathe by the same modus operandi. The cumshot is simply substituted by the explosion, the blood spurt and the death inducing power move. Therefore, acts of violence literally outgun communication and/or god forbid, thinking. Schwarzenegger’s infamous one-liners symbolize the shoot-first-then-ask mentality of his films. “Bleed, bastard,” “Let off some steam” and “consider this a divorce,” are all triumphant macho expressions that follow an explosion or a terminating shootout confirming his “death defying potency.”* If the fight scene stands in for the sexual act, and the destruction of an enemy symbolizes the cumshot, the Schwarzenegger one-liner is nothing more than the self-affirming “how was I?” after the sexual act. Mind you, the robot-like delivery of said one-liners imply that sexual expertise is not being called into question; it is guaranteed.
It is the final act that is important. In the opening sequence of Raw Deal (1986), Schwarzenegger drives a car as sheriff Mark Kaminsky. He is in hot pursuit of a suspect on a motorcycle and the chase is dangerous and tedious. However, like most of these Arnold heroes, this man knows what he is doing; we never get the impression that Kaminsky could make a wrong move or lose sight of the suspect. After a while, he cuts through the woods, stops his car, splashes the road with gasoline, and lights up a cigar while the suspect drives up the road. Kaminsky takes a puff or two, throws the cigar on the gasoline just at the right moment, causing an instantaneous explosion that violently knocks the criminal off his bike. It is this last pose that warrants highlighting due to the coolness with which the man finishes his handiwork. Like the chase, the sexual act is a mere accessory to the truly masculine act of ejaculating or crushing an antagonist with an explosion. In this sense, the Schwarzenegger hero is truly a sex machine. The question then becomes if the ideal man should really exhibit this type of chest-beating sexuality. As a contestant on the New Dating Game in 1973, a young Arnold Schwar-
zenegger describes his measurements to one female con testant: biceps: 22 inches, chest 57, and waist 33. “What do we have in common?”, he asks her. “You get smaller as you go down”, she answers laughing. Trying to regain his masculine dominance, Arnold stutters, “by the way, this is not true!” But it appears that outside of movie parallel reality, the Schwarzenegger hero might kill the bad guys and save the planet, but probably wouldn’t get the girl.
IMAGES: Body Building: © Albert Busek Commando: ©1985 20th Century Fox Terminator: © 2001 MGM Home Entertainment Predator: © 20th Century Fox Raw Deal: © De Laurentis Entertainment Group Terminator 2: © Carolco Pictures Total Recall: © Carolco Pictures
THE DOMINICAN DOMINANCE
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by AMAURY FERON
ne of the latest additions to the Mad Decent (Diplo’s Label) family, Maluca, made a lot of noise with the release of her single ‘El Tigeraso’ (produced by Diplo) last year. The song is an electro-heavy track with merengue sounds like nothing you have ever heard before; hear it just once and it has you asking for more. Born and raised in Manhattan by Dominican parents, Maluca’s music is a resonant and resounding representation of her ancestral heritage and urban influences. She’s a much-needed breath of fresh air in the industry and someone to keep a close eye on in 2011. When The Wild Magazine caught up with her for an interview, she told us stories about her career, her writing process and being Dominican in NYC, proving that she is as unique and special as her masterful music. To be honest with you, I wasn’t familiar with your music at all until recently. When I was first introduced to it, I was told you were a Latin version of M.I.A. Do you think it is a fair comparison?
Well, I don’t think our music particularly sounds the same but I can understand why people make the comparison. She is super talented, she was an intricate part of the whole world music meets hipster sound and we are both brown (laughs.) If you had to place yourself within a genre though, would you agree that your music is kind of similar to M.I.A.’s in sound, or is it completely different? I grew up with Diplo and a lot of producers in that circle. I always say I’m half hoodrat, half hipster (laughs.) I’m Dominican and I’m from New York City so my music is very New York, very urban but it’s still a combination of producers like Diplo and that whole kind of sound. You just mentioned working with Diplo. How did you guys meet up? We met years ago at this Karaoke bar that I was working at. I was bartending there. My friend was friends with Jasper and we all met. We did Karaoke all night and that’s pretty much how it happened. I didn’t know too much about Diplo and I didn’t know who he was when I met him. Diplo and Mad Decent knew that I made music and they kept asking me to send them something. It took me a year to do it.
BATHING SUIT AND KAFTAN BY THREEASFOUR SHOES BY SERGIO ROSSI
“...THEY WERE LIKE: WHAT ARE YOU? ARE YOU BLACK? ARE YOU WHITE? IT WAS INTERESTING. I THINK I FELT MORE COMFORTABLE BEING A DOMINICAN BECAUSE I MET SO MANY DOMINICANS WHO WERE, LIKE, THE WEIRD ONES, STILL REPRESENTING THEIR CULTURE BUT WILLING TO EXPERIMENT AND PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT A DOMINICAN IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE.”
Did the songs from this demo ever come out? No they didn’t come out. But I’m waiting because I want to put them on my album. When you first started to work together, was the direction of your music pretty obvious or did you create a new sound with him? It wasn’t planned at all. It was very organic. I’ve written a song over rhythms from The Dominican Republic and I sent it to him. He had an idea for a beat with another sound from The Dominican Republic; so we combined forces. I read that you describe your style of music as “tropical punk.” Can you tell us a little more about it? I’m very inspired by the sound coming from the E.S.G., a post-punk band from the Bronx. They are four Puerto Rican girls and what they did was that they took Puerto
Rican sounds and mixed it with a little punk. Even though my music is not punk rock, it’s still on the outskirts. It’s raw and that’s why I called it “tropical punk.”
many Dominicans who were, like, the weird ones, still representing their culture but willing to experiment and push the boundaries of what a Dominican is supposed to be like.
What are some of the others genres that have influenced you?
There are a lot of different genres of Latin music that haven’t yet crossed the seas to Europe. Do you think your music, as a mash-up of all these genres, will help people get familiar with them?
Hip-Hop, obviously, and music from The Dominican Republic and other Latin countries. I think that New York, more so in general, influences me as a musician and as an artist, visually and sonically. Speaking about New York, what was your experience as a Dominican girl growing up in the city? Growing up, I always felt like on the outskirts because I was never Dominican enough. Living downtown, the neighborhood that I moved in was predominantly white so they didn’t really get it, they were like: “What are you? Are you black? Are you white?” It was interesting. I think I felt more comfortable being a Dominican because I met so
Yes, with ‘El Tigeraso.’ When I visit countries, and I’m touring, and some of these kids, their English is really broken—and to hear them yapping with me in Spanish it is a big thing because that’s the whole point. Especially here in America, you rarely hear Latin sounds on Hot 97. Sometimes you go overseas and you see kids singing in English and they don’t even know what they are saying sometimes. I like to do it in a way that’s not very obvious. I just don’t want to do Merengue, so it’s important for me to expose myself and hopefully expose other people out there to different types of music.
Having Dominican origins and making the music that you make, how are you perceived by the Latin Community in the US and in South America? I don’t know. I think it has been very well received but there are still people who don’t get it. It’s too weird and it’s not traditional enough. It’s fresh and it’s new. I really would like to push the boundaries and experiment with this kind of sound. Your song ‘El Tigeraso’ made a lot of noise when it dropped last year. Can you explain the meaning behind it? ‘El Tigeraso’ is just a guy who is a bad boy, who has swagger and who’s always trying to holler at you and call you over, and your mom doesn’t want you to date him. The song was inspired by my experience growing up uptown, walking down the streets and just being called over by guys on the corner. I was just poking fun at the old experiences.
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Aside from the music, you seem to develop your own style of fashion too in the video for the song. Did you use a stylist or did it all come from you? I worked with a stylist but with everything I do, I’m very hands-on. Whether it is with my music, visually or with my website—everything that I do. I had a concept of what I wanted to look like, but sometimes you need a stylist to execute what you have envisioned and to pull out stuff from showrooms and stuff like that. Was it easy to find the cast for the video because I assume a lot of these dudes got some ego to them? No, because we have casted a lot of my friends during the video and I wanted to have a mix of uptown and downtown kids. The video was shot in two predominantly Dominican neighborhoods so to have the hipsters from downtown go uptown, it was so new to them and they were like: “What is this?” I meant to have a lot of the kids from the streets in the video too. It was like a culture shock I guess because the kids from the streets were like: “Who are these weird kids?” (laughs) It was kind of easy to get everyone in a room, I guess. You said that ‘El Tigeraso’ was inspired by your experience. Is experience your only source of inspiration when you write a song? It depends; sometimes some songs are written by my experience, my life and some songs are inspired by something else. I always sleep with my laptop in my bed so I never know when I’m going to have a “cookie dream” or sometimes I write someone else’s story. What’s the craziest inspiration you had so far? We were touring in Sweden and it was dark and wintertime and I had the worst jetlag, and I was really bugging
CATSUIT BY THREEASFOUR BANDEAU BY AMERICAN APPAREL BOOTS BY D&G
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Photography: Giovanna Badilla Stylist : Guillaume Boulez Hair and Makeup: Jillian Halouska for WT Management using SmashboxCosmetics. Special Thanks to Maryâ€™s Unisex Salon, 129 Rivington Street, NEW YORK
up. I have this song called ‘Hector’ and the inspiration was that I wanted to free myself and do what I wanted to do, then it evolved. I was very inspired by Sailor Moon and Captain Planet. A part of it was that I felt my team at the time, my DJ, my dancers; we have our own special powers separately but when we come together it’s like a big force. If you listen closely to the song, there’s a man’s voice behind Hector’s story… he’s from 3009 and they took his music. He picked me to tell his story. I literally woke up from a dream and wrote this song in 10 minutes. The video for the song used footage from the anime “Sailor Moon”. Were you the person behind it?
push it because we are in a recession and you don’t know if these kids would be able to get the money to get your shows and you don’t know what’s happening. There is no time to go on stage and find that your sound is bad and there is no room for any of that kind of shit because it’s not about you anymore. Once I’m on stage, there is no ego. It’s not about me, it’s about the people in the audience and getting them the best show possible. You need to give your 200% and if they like it, they like it. If they don’t, that means that you didn’t give them your best and it’s good because it makes you push harder. If everybody likes you, it’s boring because nobody would talk shit about you on the blogs. (laughs)
It was collaboration between Paul Devro and me. We didn’t really have much money for a video so we decided to make it look like a YouTube video with references to the generation like the YouTube kids. We took images of the Dark Sailor Moon and had it colorized and added epilepsy. A lot of people were like: “Why didn’t you put yourself in the video?” But it wasn’t about me, it was about this guy named Hector so I thought it would be cool to keep me out of the video and just have it really trippy.
Do you check the blogs to see what people say about you?
The song appeared on your mixtape, “China Food” this summer. What made you go with this title?
There is a lot of positive feedback, but you still have some people who are like, “Oh Maluca has a camel-toe” or just like dumb shit which just makes me really laugh. Somepeople hate me like, “bitch get out of here” and I’m not mad because I know they are going to buy my album. They just don’t know it yet.
Growing up in New York City, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to go eat Chinese/Dominican food. There’s a lot of Chinese in our culture so we would go to these restaurants and see
egg rolls and rice and beans. It was nothing to us. So I just felt like it was a testament to New York and how we are so diverse. The mixtape can be split into three parts: I wanted to show people what inspired me, what kind of music I’m making at the present and where I want to take music in the future. I was wondering: every time I hear about one of your performances, I’m told that you have a lot of energy. Is it hard being Maluca all day? Maluca is obviously an integral part of my personality but when I’m in the shower by myself, I’m just taking a shower. (laughs) I have my moments when I’m taking a shit. Maluca is taking a shit like everybody else! (laughs) But it is important for me to have this character and really
Hmmm, you know people would say: “I don’t look at that stuff.” That’s a fucking lie! (laughs) I’m a human being; sometimes I want to know what the people are saying. I’m not obsessively on every blog, but sometimes I check it. What’s the feedback so far?
Speaking about your album, can you give us a few details about it? I can’t really talk about it but there is definitely an album coming. That’s the next step.
Back to my second home, Tokyo! After a long and (way too) hot summer, here we are starting to see a glimpse of autumn’s chill atmosphere. Feels nice to breathe some fresh air again and give in to my favorite pastime, walking around and getting lost in this crazy maze that is Tokyo… I’ve been away for a couple of months and my favorite store, The Contemporary Fix, has already had a makeover; that’s how fast paced this city is! All for the best, because now that they moved their clothing selection to the first floor, the ground floor with it’s trendy « at home » interior design and chilled music has become my second home! They serve healthy style food and have the most unique gelato (avocado and watermelon flavor is my favorite combination, strange I know… but delicious!) The first floor is a mix of edgy designer clothing, curious design objects, art books, records etc... I especially enjoyed the Goyard flowerpots and the Original fake dolls. Not far from there, I stumbled upon this little hidden bamboo passageway, which turned out to be Paul Smith Space. Although it’s a very secret venue, this four level store is quite big, with an interesting photo exhibit on the top floor, fun design objects spread throughout the space, very good books in the basement, and inspirational pictures framed on the wall, perfectly matching Paul Smith’s quirky personality! Around the corner is Mihara Yasuhiro, a to-watch-for Japanese designer who is also a threat to my bank account whenever I set foot in his store! Still in the same area, try United Arrows, Addition and Wut Berlin for their very good sense of mixing Japanese and international designers (Mikio Sakabe, Toga, Julius, Comme des Garçons, etc…) I also love running around Daikanyama area, more laid back than central Tokyo, but very cutting edge with up and coming designer stores popping up on every corner, art galleries and stylish cafés. I usually spend hours in Bonjour records listening to their amazing music selection, reading the last ACNE paper and going through their retail section (you’ll find the latest Kitsuné collaborations, Gonzalez and Revolver Tee’s, Damir Doma for Six scents perfume...) The music scene is very challenging as Japan is very keen on finding the latest bands, dj’s etc… After a summer of amazing rock festivals (Summersonic, Fujirock, Zushi etc…) I’ve had the chance to see Chilly Gonzalez perform after a Louis Vuitton event, Rox at the Topshop Opening, Verbal and Mlle Yulia for Opening Ceremony’s 1st anniversary, and Klaxons! Those nights usually end up at the very French HQ, Le Baron de Paris, and eventually in the more secret back rooms, L’Amour. Those very private karaoke « boudoir » rooms are where all the magic happens... if only walls could talk… Even though Japanese sex culture is usually kept in the darkness, it is a major part of the new generation’s pop culture. Tokyo’s iconic photographer Yone is one of the leaders of that movement. His signature « lo-fi sexy » photographic style, erotic cheki polas of very young Japanese girls is said to have inspired American Apparel’s sexy ads. His recent collaborations include Krink, and Numéro Tokyo, among others. And that’s just a preview; knowing Tokyo, let’s expect a lot more for the rest of the season!
by MARINE DE LA MORANDIER
LOS ANGELES Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono band performed at The Orpheum Theatre in downtown. Named after the God of Music & Poetry, Orpheus, this theatre is such an esthetically stunning place, inside and out - you just immediately feel magical when your there.. experiencing downtown in the most authentic way possible…one of the treasures of being in LA… a historical landmark of hollywood and showbizzness!! A lower east side transplant when I’m feeling nostalgic and missing my old neighborhood in NYC - I love to visit the downtown LA location of Babycakes, offering gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free baked yummies, and since I’m gluten sensitive and love dounuts and cupcakes, this already adorable & lovable bakery is a match made in heaven for me! I don’t feel left out anymore. Every second Saturday of the month I look forward to some good sweaty dancing all night long at A Club Called Rhonda...monthly themed..they say an hour of dancing everyday keeps you healthy.. well, I get my whole months worth all in one night here at Rhonda..the best house music all night long treat you’ll get w/ some of the best fashion frenzy fabulous party hosts. One of my favorite places to get my sushi fix is IKE sushi! I love this place even though it’s smells fishy.. it’s simple, quick, clean, and the fish is always pretty fresh and reasonably priced. Unpretentious and located in a strip-mall off Gower on Hollywood blvd. Scoops ice cream serves weird flavors like pink grape banana sorbet, thai ice tea, orange avocado lychee, salty caramel, guiness mocha.. whaaat!!! yes guiness beer that is! Huge scoops for $2 what a steal! you can also have 2 flavors in 1 big scoop option.. brilliant idea! I like the way they think. This is why I love to go there and support. Located by the back door to Los Angeles City College on Heliotrope. Amoeba Records is a bit overwhelming but amazing… rated as the world’s largest independently owned record store.. located in Hollywood and conveniently located right across from the Cinerama dome.. I love to get lost here and browse through cds, vinyl, and avante garde films.. they also stock a huge classical music section! Nothing beats a good hosue party in LA esp. when it’s a gorgeous sunny day out and the band is set up and playing on the roof. School Night at Bardot on Monday nights, sometimes has special guest live performances. Also Mustache Mondays downtown is party monster all over again fun gay night for some good ol’ club kid style. San nam luoung resturant, I’ve been coming here for years..a Hollywood thai town classic - open late nights diner, inexpensive authentic thai food (I think the owner used to be a professional champion thai boxer). The Plaza on la brea is a little hole in the wall tranny bar with live lip sync performances…I always love this place to get a away from any scene as this unpretentious enviroment here is all about fun and make believe.. Tub tim in Hollywood on Hillhurst has the best Thai papaya salad on the east side.
by TEENA KANG
BERLIN For me, Berlin is all about the art. Try heading over to a train station which was converted into a modern art museum called Hamburger Bahnhof (Invalidenstrasse 50). The place is free on Thursday afternoons and they’re housing a Carsten Höller exhibit starting in November. When you’re done, walk directly behind the museum because there’s a collection of hip galleries back there and right across the street (Heidestrasse). Another great exhibition space is Martin Gropius Bau (Niederkirchnerstrasse 7). This fall there’s a show by one of my favorites, László Moholy-Nagy. You can also stroll around Mitte for great people watching, shopping and more galleries. I like walking along Augustrasse, Gipstrasse and Sophienstrasse. On Augustrasse, stop by KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Augustrasse 69) and if the weather is right, you can have brunch in the courtyard before seeing the exhibition. For great art and design books check out Pro qm (Almstadtstrasse 48-50). Pro qm often holds interesting talks and art film screenings in the evenings, so be sure to look into it if you’re heading over. If you get hungry, grab a baked potato at Bixels (Mulackstrasse 38). Bixels is kind of hard to find, so just look for the place with black interior and the huge wooden table right next to the APC store. Finally, if you happen to be passing by Brunnenstrasse 9, find the headphone jack sticking out of the building and plug yourself in. There are seismological sensors embedded at various points in the building’s structure. The vibrations are then converted into sound so you can actually listen to the building. It’s one of my favorite little things in Berlin. Hope you enjoy the city as much as I do!
by DAR MESHI
BOGOTA MY BOGOTA… … Is under construction. Everywhere you go you can see people working on new roads, bridges and the construction of more Transmilenio in one of the major avenues of the city, so as you can imagine traffic is quite chaotic nowadays. This month is one of the most important in the year for the arts. In mid October starts ARTBO, the biggest art fair in the country where national and international galleries and artists exhibit their work for a whole week. What i like most of ARTBO is the section Arte Camara, a space in which you can see the work of the newest talent in the local art field, curated by one of the most important art academics, Maria Iovino. Another important exhibition going on in Bogotá in October is the “Bienal de Artes Plásticas y Visuales”, in which different national contemporary artists compete for the first prize. A stand out artist this year is Adriana Marmorek; she explores different expressions of sexuality and the limits between what is public and private regarding this concept. She is now working with lace, looking for the meaning of this fabric in women and how it is attached to the essence of romance, the bedroom, and many other intimacy rituals. I was lucky enough to see her in a photo shoot for a Colombian magazine in a gallery where she was showing her work. Also from mid October and until January, 2011, the city is going to enjoy the work of the surrealist photographer Man Ray.
by MARIA LUCIA HERNANDEZ GUIDO
SLOANE CROSLEY: “IT’S A ME THING” by JOSEPH ISHO LEVINSON
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n between giggles, chuckles and spurts of laughter, I talked to Sloane Crosley about her new book How did you get this number? and her bestseller collection of essays I was told there’d be cake. Sloane daylights as a publicist for such notables as Dave Eggers, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Lethem and Bret Easton Ellis, and somehow still cleverly engineers hilarious and endearing personal essays about getting rid of toy ponies, being an accessory to furniture stealing schemes, bursting out of smelly NY cabs, and confessing to a priest after announcing her Judaism. We met at Epistrophy in Nolita, and when she was running late I knew she had gotten lost, having read of her disconcerting lack of spatial awareness. I had prepared my first question way in advance, suspecting (hoping?) she’d have trouble finding the place. Did you have trouble finding this place? Because of my directional problem? It’s so funny, you can’t give me too much time to get lost, it’s like if you give me enough rope I’ll hang myself. And I actually know this area pretty well, I’ve been here. That’s how sad it is. I’m always so humiliated in my own city to ask anyone for directions. You can pretend you’re not from around here. Well, I do fake an accent. What type of accent? Indiscriminate.(Laughs) It sort of varies between Puerto Rican and Irish and Russian. Can you do it now? Absolutely not. (Laughs) Especially since you have an accent, I’ll pick up on it inadvertently and you’ll think I’m making fun of you. So no, I will not be doing that. After reading that one essay about your spatial agnosia, I couldn’t help but have that in mind for every other essay I read from you. I kept thinking, not only was she lonely in Lisbon, but she was truly lost!
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“IT’S JUST A LITTLE BIT WEIRD WHEN YOU WRITE A PERSONAL ESSAY, THEY START EVALUATING YOU AS A PERSON, AND THERE’S THIS WEIRD MELDING THAT HAPPENS AND SUDDENLY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A GROUP THERAPY SESSION WITH THE NATION”.
It’s funny I was telling my friend that I want to learn how to play the guitar, I’m trying to get someone to teach me for free and she said: is that such a good idea? And I’m like: Why? I think I’d be fine. And she was like: You can’t tell time, and how are you gonna do the spatial up and down thing with like the G chord? And I’m like, yeah that might be kinda interesting, I wonder if it falls under that umbrella. It’s funny what falls under that umbrella and what doesn’t. You’ve said your first book is about Disappointment; what is your second book about? I don’t know if I have a word. It’s just darker disappointment. I just like the idea of taking situations that were ostensibly and incredibly unfunny, like me getting lost, or seeing the baby bear get shot, oh, sorry I ruined it, don’t print that, retraction! Or just getting your heart broken and making it funny. You have a very impressive memory. How much of what you write is creative license? I don’t think my memory is that great, I just think I’m picking wisely. Nobody held a gun to my head and said these are the experiences you must write about, in which case I wouldn’t always know, but I’m writing about them cause I do remember them, cause they had some sort of impact on me, or because I believe they’re relevant or possibly entertaining to someone else. If someone told me to write about the day before yesterday, I could barely tell you what I wore yesterday. A lot of your narrative is very self-aware, even self-deprecating at times... Comes naturally… The photographer was yelling at me cause I kept apologizing to her. She said: Is that an American thing? And I said: No, that’s a “me” thing.
Do you get sent crazy amounts of ponies? [referring to the essay in her first book about getting toy ponies from suitors].
This is really funny!
I totally want it, I even want the tea stains. My favorite thing that I read, a friend of mine sent me the clipping from the New Orleans Times Tribune and it’s almost too perfect. What makes it so funny is that it has this Christopher Guest quality, they don’t realize this is actually hilarious. Basically there were these circus performers in New Orleans, cause there’s a lot of them, and they were specifically mimes, and their apartment got broken into and they were robbed, and I don’t know what the deal was but they just weren’t cooperating with the police, and so the head line in the Tribune says “Mimes refuse to talk to police”
What do you do with them? I put them back in the drawer. Yeah, where else are you gonna put them? (Laughs) Make a movie all out of them. Decapitate them and use their necks for silverware. I don’t know. (Laughs) But you know, it’s kind of ironic, and I mean I do appreciate the ponies cause it means that there’s someone who’s a fan and I’m never insulted, but people just translate things how they want to. I just wrote an essay about trying to get rid of ponies, but they think “Oh, ponies!” And everyone’s like that, who has the time to remember every detail, like every pathway into someone else’s emotions? Especially if you don’t know them, which is why the ponies become such a compliment. Speaking of ponies, I actually brought you something, but I spilled tea all over it. I found it this morning and it made me laugh [it’s a news article about a mid-sized toy pony found in a park in Orlando that was thought to be a potential terrorist threat. The bomb squad came and blew up the pony.] A Toy pony blow up? Wait, is it from The Onion or something? Wait, this is real! Oh my god, I love stuff that’s real! And you can go to the site and they actually have the video of them blowing it up. (Reading) It’s a terrorist pony! God, for all the terrorist ponies there are. It’s a trojan horse. (Keeps reading)
I notice that in your books, you don’t curse a lot, but when you do it feels just right. Thank you, it’s hard to use it judiciously. In your life, do you save your “fucks” and “shits” for special occasions? Mostly I save that for when I’m off the Tourette’s medication. What? No, that’s a joke. (laughs) Do you read any of your reviews? I don’t read every single one, but I read the big ones. I don’t read every blog post, but if the LA Times has a review of my book I’m gonna read it. It’s just a little bit weird when you write a personal essay, they start evaluating you as a person, and there’s this weird melding that happens and suddenly you find your self in a group therapy session with the nation... the Minneapolis Star Tribune is gonna tell me what my problem is, and I’m like alright. (Laughs)
The natural reaction to reading personal essays is that they make you feel like you know the person who’s telling their story. And that’s good, I want that, I just don’t wanna hug a lot of people. Do people ask for hugs a lot? Cause I was thinking of asking for one later.
Can I print that? Yeah! You can print... well... I mean... (Laughs) Do what you want. I don’t care. I guess the thing is that I feel like someone should have pressed the “Find” key on Microsoft Word and typed in the word “Glance” and it would be in every page. Everyone’s just glancing at everyone. They’re glancing. They’re glancing. They’re glancing. But you read the whole thing.
(Laughs) I just don’t want to be touched. You want them to feel like they know you, but if someone feels like they know me I feel like they know the wrong version of me. In many ways you’re like a female David Sedaris...
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A girl can dream. Well, I’m not the first person to ever say that, and I was wondering how you felt about having an actual David Sedaris blurb on the front cover of your book. Oh my god, it was great. It was great because I sent it to him and I didn’t think he was gonna blurb it, and the email came in, you know how email works, you see certain unread messages in bold, and to see his name in bold in my inbox, yeah, my head exploded, so once I cleaned that up, I read it. Do you find that people treat you differently now that you’ve achieved some level of success? My friends don’t. They misunderstand what it means to have a book that’s a bestseller as opposed to a movie or an album that’s a bestseller, so I think sometimes I have to pay for drinks. That sucks. (Laughs) It’s like “you guys know I make a dollar a book, right? Awesome”. In a world saturated with media trash you must surely have guilty pleasures Well, because I don’t have TiVo and I don’t really get cable, I’m trying to think... I read all the Twilight books.
Oh yeah. It’s like softcore porn for girls. Which is ironic considering it’s mormon. Well I guess my guilty pleasure is True Blood then, if we’re gonna go along the bloodsucking vampire thing. The whole plot of the guilty pleasure question generally, whether interview or conversationally, is so weird because if you can answer right away you’re not feeling that guilty about it. You know, it’d be something that’s so buried... I like to OD on cereal. (Laughs) That does happen! I love how you say it happens as if it is a natural phenomenon, you’re like “I’ve heard of such a thing.” The problem is you eat the cereal, and you think you got the right ratio of milk, and especially if it’s soy milk then you’re really screwed because you think it’s healthy and it’s not, and then you have leftover something, if there’s leftover milk it needs more cereal, or if it’s cereal it needs more milk, and far be it from you to not tend to this problem and before you know it, it’s half a box of Kix. What’s up with the HBO series about “I was told there’d be cake” ? It’s still in development. I don’t know, we’ll see. What’s the show’s angle? Are they gonna repeat some of your stories there? The idea would be to repeat some of the stories, but I don’t really know. To tell you the truth, I feel very underqualified to talk about it, cause it’s their project and not mine. So is Sloane Crosley the next Carrie Bradshaw?
Now that’s something I did not expect. Did you also watch the movies? Yup. I like the movies. The books are horrible. Horrible.
I don’t have the footwear. (Laughs)
Photography by DEBORA MITTELSTAEDT
THE HOLE by AMANDA BRANSFORD
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“PEOPLE SOMETIMES THINK, YOU GUYS A TRUE AT ALL. THESE ARE REAL SHOWS. SERIOUS!” COLEMAN JUMPS IN.
e own The Hole,” says gallerist Kathy Grayson of herself and Meghan Coleman. “I always wanted to say that because in feminist theory people talk about ‘own your hole’. We own our Hole.”
The Hole in question is the nascent gallery that the two 29-year old women opened this past June in New York, on Soho’s Greene Street. Until their former employer, Jeffrey Deitch, shuttered Deitch Projects - his contemporary art gallery known for its innovative, often provocative shows - to take a job as director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, they never anticipated opening their own gallery. “I was really happy working at Deitch,” says Grayson. “Meghan made these crazy art exhibitions actually happen, and I got to dream up crazy things and curate wild stuff, and Jeffrey paid for all of this by working really hard and selling art.” “And now we have to do all of it!” Coleman adds. Not that the two young women are complaining. In addition to the abundant amount of additional work that comes with running a business, owning their own space allows them to plan their shows with unlimited freedom and creativity. They’ve recently had an exhibition with artist and musician Cody Critcheloe, and are currently running a Mat Brinkman show that features pen and ink drawings displayed in rooms that are flooded with different colored light. They’re also working with well-known New York artists like Barry McGee and Terence Koh. Clearly, The Hole is keeping the professional spirit of Deitch Projects alive, while also taking the opportunity to focus on young and emerging artists. Grayson and Coleman explain, completing each other’s sentences, that they’ve also brought with them some of Deitch Projects’ reputation for wildness. “People sometimes think, you guys are having too much fun to be serious!” says Grayson. “Which is not true at all. These are real shows. Just because they look awesome…” “Doesn’t mean they’re not serious!” Coleman jumps in. “If anything, we want to be a little bit weirder than Deitch even,” says Grayson. “But we don’t want to be a circus,” Coleman emphasizes. And, like their predecessor, they’re managing to walk the line. To balance creative experiments such as rooftop performances by Critcheloe’s band SSION and performer No Bra, or a fashion show in a school gym, the duo has also
Guests : Peggy Noland, Guillaume Boulez, Matthu Placek, A Suzanne Geiss, Jaimie Warren, Meghan Coleman and Rosso
ARE HAVING TOO MUCH FUN TO BE SERIOUS!” SAYS GRAYSON. “WHICH IS NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOK AWESOME…” — “...DOESN’T MEAN THEY’RE NOT
Avery Newman, Kathy Grayson, Teddy Willoughby, Matt Moravec, Spencer Sweeney, Michael T. Jackson, on Crow.
taken on some larger-scale projects, like expanding the Wynwood Walls murals that Deitch Projects orchestrated in Miami. They hope to curate a benefit show every year in order to raise money for a select cause. This year their charitable event will impact education reform. The Hole’s next show, opening November 4th, is a longanticipated collaboration between Dearraindrop, a Virginia-based artist collective that creates exuberantly colorful installations, and Kenny Scharf, whose cartoonish paintings first brought him to prominence in 1980s downtown New York. The ability to collaborate with artists operating in different modes – from drawing, painting, and video to performance and music – is part of what Coleman and Grayson love about having their own gallery. It’s also what’s setting The Hole apart. “There’s something really exciting in the art world right now,” says Grayson. “Underground and emerging artists are doing all of this interdisciplinary activity. If you want to reflect what’s really happening, you have to cover these bases too. The Hole, with its newborn energy, is working to cover all the bases one gallery can.
Teddy Willoughby wearing his own design What is your signature dish you bring ? General Tso’s chicken casserole with mozzarella cheese and lardons and chives Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? Yes, oysters and champagne have a very pleasant effect on my mojo What do you find sexy? T and A What’s UN-sexy? Deal-breaker fetish? Diapers Leather or lace? Lace
What’s your sign? Does it matter? Cancer, Of course!
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Hottest Disney princess? Pocahontas
Matthu Placek wearing threeASFOUR tunic and vintage shoes What is your signature dish you bring to dinner parties? I always seem to host the dinner party, so everything. Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? Certainly! What do you find sexy? Talent What's UN-sexy? Anyone who lives in New York and has said, "I'm bored." Deal-breaker fetish? Furries Leather or lace? Leather What's sexier: 9 1/2 Weeks, Tropic of Cancer, or The Origin of the World? L' Origine du monde What's your sign? Does it matter? Scorpio. Absolutely!
What is your signature dish you bring to dinner parties? Maybe some cupcakes with Chanel logos on them. Corny? NO! Cute? YES! Or casserole. Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? Yeah! Like, what about a big juicy steak! What do you find sexy? Raw meat and boners. What’s UN-sexy? Not trying hard enough Leather or lace? Maybe some leather get-up with a little lace trim? Don’t you think? What’s your sign? Does it matter? I’m a cusp. Guess which one?
Peggy Noland wearing her own design
Jaimie Warren wearing her own vintage dress What is your signature dish you bring to dinner parties? Diet Dr. Pepper! Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? Ew! What do you find sexy? John Goodman! I think John Goodman is hottttt. Okay, I know this is gross, but in The Big Lebowski, his character (minus the handgun) looks and acts EXACTLY like my Dad!!! However, that is not the John Goodman I am attracted to. I am mostly attracted to John Goodman of the early episodes of Roseanne. What’s UN-sexy? Me with no bra Hottest Disney princess? The Beauty and the Beast girl because she hooks up with the Beast and he is HOTT! I had a dream recently that me and the Terminator were making out. What’s your sign? Does it matter? Aries! Yes it matters because it reminds me why I am such a huge bossy bitch! (or so my millions of LOVERS tell me so)
What is your signature dish you bring to dinner parties? Alcohol or cookies. Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? Yes! What do you find sexy? Confidence. What’s UN-sexy? Arrogance. Deal-breaker fetish? Quite a few. Leather or lace? Leather AND lace. What’s your sign? Does it matter? Libra. Not sure!
Rosson Crow wearing her own vintage dress
Mike Jackson with Suzanna Geiss wearing threeASFOUR caftan and vest
What is your signature dish you bring to dinner parties? Seafood risotto, but I always host.
Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods? No. Separate appetites. What do you find sexy? **** What’s UN-sexy? **** Leather or lace? Burlap What’s your sign? Does it matter? Aquarius; no, I don’t think so.
J Meghan Coleman wearing BLAND jumpsuit and belt with Kathy Grayson Photographer : Susan Pittard Art Direction : Guillaume Boulez Hair : Jillian Halouska for WT Management Make-up : Andrea Helgadottir @ The Magnet Agency Assistant stylist : Eduardo Venguer Installation : Cody Critcheloe / SSION Boy Installation at The Hole, NYC Food : Boomba on Youmba Special thanks to Shoot Digital, Aaron Zych and Burcu Avsar
BLACK DRAWINGS illustrations FEDERICO SANTIAGO RAFFETTO
CHAMBRE CLOSE illustrations COLIN McMASTER