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ISSUE 14 SPRING 2014 / VHCLE MAGAZINE

Disrespecting the Life Cycle – When Pop Culture Comes Back From the Dead, The Real Zombie Survival Guide / Vhcle Books: The Quiet American, The Goldfinch, Johnny Get Your Hatchet / Vhcle Man Recommendations / Andy Denzler, Suhita Shirodkar


Suhita Shirodkar iPhone Boy

Featured A rt work ( pp60-75)

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contents VHCLE MAGAZINE / ISSUE 14

art

04 contents

music film

05 MASTHEAD

photography Design

06-07 Contributors

fashion life

08-13 Disrespecting the Life Cycle – When Pop Culture

books

Comes Back From the Dead

Vhcle man / Woman

By Marc Ingber 14-19 The Real Zombie By Tim Sunderman 20-33

Survival Guide

Vhcle Books

22-25 The Quiet American Reviewed by Jamie Thunder 26-29 The Goldfinch Reviewed by Emma Davies 30-33 Johnny Get Your By Myles Lawrence-Briggs

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Hatchet

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Vhcle Man – Benjamin Schwartz

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Featured Artists

40-59 Q&A

with Andy Denzler

60-75 Q&A

with Suhita Shirodkar


masthead MASTHEAD / CONTRIBUTORS

Charlie Lee / Founding Director charlie@vhcle.com Editorial

Cassie Lee / Founding Editor cassie@vhcle.com Jamie Thunder / Books Editor, Sub-Editor jamie@vhcle.com Designers

Raoul Ortega / Visual Director raoul@vhcle.com Thomas Adcock / Visual Designer thomas@vhcle.com CONTRIBUTORS

Marc Ingber, Tim Sunderman, Jamie Thunder, Emma Davies, Myles Lawrence-Briggs, Benjamin Schwartz, Andy Denzler, Suhita Shirodkar Cover:

Suhita Shirodkar, Bicycles p14): Monstersinsuits (Instagram: @monstersinsuits) Books: Illustration by Thomas Adcock Man: Photos by Ariel Berlin

Illustration (Zombie, Vhcle Vhcle

-Vhcle Magazine Tel: USA +1 415.364.8568 Email: contact@vhcle.com Issuu: issuu.com/vhcle / Twitter: @vhcle / Facebook: Vhcle Mag -Published by Charlie Lee: Vhcle Magazine, www.vhcle.com. All content copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Without limiting rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior written permission from both the copyright owner and the publisher of this magazine. Vhcle Magazine is not responsible for the return or loss of, or for any damage or injury to, any unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.

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CONTRIBUTORS alphabe t ically by las t name

– Vhcle — Occidental, CA

Myles Lawrence-Briggs / Writer Myles Lawrence-Briggs is a 24-year-old recent graduate from CU Boulder in English literature, Myles has moved back to the wine country to start a wine label with two childhood friends. He manages the estate vineyard and in his spare time reads far too much and writes far too little. www.senseswines.com – Vhcle — United Kingdom

Emma Davies / WRITER Emma Davies is a journalist from the south-west of England. She likes books, red wine and her duvet, and is at her happiest when managing to combine this trio of good things. – Vhcle — Zurich, Switzerland

ANDY DENZLER / ARTIST Andy Denzler lives and works in Zurich. He trained at the Kunstgewerbeschule and the F&F Schule für Gestaltung in Zurich, both schools of applied arts, as well as at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. In 2006 he graduated as Master of Fine Arts from London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design. www.andydenzler.com – Vhcle — Minneapolis, MN

marc ingber / writer Marc Ingber is a communications specialist and writer for a nonprofit based in Minneapolis, MN. He was born and raised in the Twin Cities and attended journalism school at the University of Kansas. His primary interests include rock n’ roll, movies, food and drink, the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins – probably in that order.

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– Vhcle — Sacramento, CA BENJAMIN SCHWARTZ / vhcle MAN Benjamin Schwartz is owner and designer of BENJAMINS, a shoe brand located in Sacramento, California. Everything is made locally – look out for his shop later this year. www.benjamins-shoes.com – Vhcle — San Francisco, CA

SUHITA SHIRODKAR / ARTIST Suhita Shirodkar is an obsessive sketcher, doodler, and graphic designer. She draws inspiration when she travels. Check out her sketches at www.etsy.com/shop/sketchaway. – Vhcle — San Francisco, CA

tim sunderman / writer Tim Sunderman is a graphic designer in the San Francisco bay area who does most of his art without a computer, using traditional techniques in drawing, painting, photography, calligraphy, and even sculpture. He is a graduate of the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He eschews speaking of himself in the third person, as he is here, but doesn’t mind too much for shameless self-promotion. www.timsunderman.com – Vhcle — Reading, UK

Jamie thunder / writer Jamie Thunder is Vhcle’s books editor, and he works, reads and writes in the South of England. When he’s not doing any of these he runs long distances, and is always very relieved when he’s got to the end.

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Disrespecting the Life Cycle – When Pop Culture Comes Back From the Dead By Marc Ingber /

V hcle Maga zine Issue 14, pp08 -13

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a whole lot about Reddit, the popular online community, but one thing I’m aware it has brought to the world is the A M A, or Ask Me Anything, interview for celebrities. These are exactly what they sound like – a forum for random people on the internet to ask stars random questions. I don’t k now

Jerry Seinfeld participated in one of these Q& A sessions in January, when a fan of Seinfeld asked him what the show would be like if it was still on today. After commenting that his character would probably have gotten married and started a family, he added something interesting: “But I still think everything has its life cycle and if you respect it, people enjoy it longer. And if you disrespect it – look at The Hangover movie. If you made just one, the movie would be a comedy legend. Because they made three, it isn’t.”


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I’m not qualif ied to offer too many opinions on The Hangover, as I never saw numbers 2 and 3, but I think Jerry was on to something. W hen the original one came out, it made boatloads of money and garnered generally positive critical reviews. At the time, it seemed fair to say The Hangover could go on to become a low-brow classic, along the lines of Animal House. But with two sequels that just about everyone was disappointed with, the original movie has seemed to lose some of its “classic” status.

then it is only partially through its life cycle, and if it can’t, then its life cycle is complete.

This is not a new phenomenon – Holly wood has been making bad sequels for decades. But what I found interesting about Seinfeld’s answer was his use of the term “life cycle” – it’s not a term most people use to describe a T V show or movie. Major Holly wood studios probably only care about a movie’s “life cycle” to the extent that people are willing to shell out $10 to see “the next chapter” of it on a Friday night. Cynically speaking, if market research shows that a movie can open to X amount of dollars,

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There was no question Hangover 2 was going to make a lot of money, which is exactly why it was made. I have a hard time believing its director, Todd Phillips, could tell you with a straight face that he envisioned The Hangover to be the f irst part of a trilog y from the get-go. With the fracturing of American taste into hundreds of sub-genres, along with the rise of crowd-sourced funding like Kickstarter, we seem to be on the precipice of a different type of sequel. An age where pop culture comes back from the dead, partially to make some money, of course, but also to please its loyal fans. And sometimes even on their dime. Much has been written about the death of the mono-culture in today’s society. The idea is that since Americans have access to so many more T V channels, radio stations, internet sites, etc. than they used to, everyone just sticks to


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their own niche interests. Nothing ever reaches critical mass in pop culture like, say Michael Jackson in 1984, to give an example. Obviously we’ll always have hit pop songs, movies and T V shows. But we are frequently living in a splintered pop culture landscape, with dozens of quirky oddities that have their own relatively small, yet extremely loyal followings. In some cases, thanks to the Internet’s organizing opportunities, these groups have actually willed dead projects back into existence, either by literally paying for them through a vehicle like Kickstarter, or simply by showing there was enough of a market to warrant their continuation. Take the case of Arrested Development. After Fox canceled the sitcom midway through its third season, Arrested Development took on a cult-like status for close to 10 years. If this was 1993, that’s probably what it would have a remained – a cult obsession that would live on in the hearts and minds of its fans and whoever happens to be

standing next to them at a party. But in 2013, with more and more entities getting into the “T V” business, Arrested Development was re-animated and now actually exists again in the present – sort of. Seeing that the original episodes still attracted plenty of viewers on Netf lix, the company – new to producing content – decided it would produce a new “fourth season” of Arrested Development, close to a decade after the show was unceremoniously given the axe. A ll the main actors from the cast returned, but it wasn’t exactly the show fans so fondly remembered. Due to scheduling complications, most of the actors couldn’t f ilm at the same time, meaning the majority of the scenes typically consisted of only one or two of the regulars. W hile it was certainly similar to the classic episodes of the show, many critics pointed out that “Arrested 2.0” didn’t quite have the same f low that made the original so great.

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Arrested Development did deserve a longer run than it was given when it originally aired, but I was never one of these fans who was clamoring for more episodes. I liked the show a lot, but f igured a reunion could never live up to the expectations of what had been building in fans’ heads for almost a decade. Sometimes I feel I’m in the minority in that I don’t want my favorite T V shows and movies to live on in perpetuity. There seems to be an accepted notion that if there is a show or movie you really like, the only logical thing to do is demand more of it. This doesn’t make any sense to me. As Seinfeld suggested, it seems to “disrespect” the life cycle of the work in question, ultimately making it less valuable in the grand scheme of things. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that neither the Veronica Mars movie nor the Garden State sequel that have been successfully funded by fans on Kickstarter (neither have been released yet) will live up to their expectations.

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Maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe simply the fact that these two f ilms will soon exist is a victory in itself for the fans. My taste in comedies ranges from quirky, cult obsessions like Bottle Rocket to large cult obsessions like The Big Lebowski to huge box-off ice hits like Dumb and Dumber. But for me, the one thing they all have in common is that I don’t think any of them should have a sequel. Having something you love come back might seem like an enticing proposition, but usually the best sequels live inside your head, unharmed by reality.


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Much has been written about the death of the mono-culture in today’s society. The idea is that since Americans have access to so many more T V channels, radio stations, internet sites, etc. than they used to, everyone just sticks to their own niche interests...

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The Real Zombie Survival Guide By Tim Sunderman Illustration by Monstersinsuits /

Issue 14, pp14 -19

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15 that this is just another one of those articles about how to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. But this is far more practical. Let’s face facts. There is only a very slim possibility that you will be one of the few lucky living people during that time – estimates place the likelihood below one percent. It is almost a certainty that you will be one of the unliving, a stumbling, cretinous minion of the dead. So it only makes sense to take some prudent precautions and prepare for what will, for most of us, become the inevitable future. You might be t hi n k i ng


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Let’s start by dispelling some myths about zombies. First of all, zombie is not a virus. There seems to be a lot of disinformation f loating around out there about the transmission and epidemiolog y of zombif ication, as though it were simply a disease to be contracted and passed on. This is not an entirely unfounded misinterpretation: when people are bitten by zombies, they often become zombies themselves. But this is not because of some old wives tale about a zombie virus. It is because zombies’ mouths are a breeding ground absolutely f illed with very toxic bacteria, not least Ebola, tetanus, and rabies. Without an immune system to counteract the proliferation of bacteria and diseases in the zombie body, it is no wonder that their bite can create a very serious infection in the living. So, the fever, chills, and swelling around the bite area are often mistaken for a specif ic zombie virus. In itself, it is not necessarily fatal, but in most

cases you are going to die. And since hell will be full at that time, you will have to wander the earth aimlessly as a zombie. Another myth about the coming zompocalypse is severing the head from a zombie will kill It. Look, they are already dead, but cutting off the head won’t stop it from moving around. Its cells will remain animate until each one is ruptured or incinerated. However, once the head is removed, it’s not like the head can tell the body what to do – putting you, as a zombie, in a diff icult situation. Finally, zombies can’t run. That’s just a bunch of Holly wood nonsense where they try to sensationalize the fear factor surrounding dead people walking around. It is a scientif ically proven fact that zombies lack the coordination and focus to run.


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Now that we have cleared up some of the misconceptions, it would be advisable to move on to some of the more practical considerations that the vast majority of us will have to face. I know what you are thinking. Believe me, I know. “Not me. Not me.” I can hear it now. Yes, none of us want to face the reality that statistically we are destined to joining the ranks of the morbidly deceased. May you be so blessed as not to. Hey, we all want to win the lottery too, but we need a back-up plan. So, in the case of having made “the turn,” let’s take a calm and sober look at what we can expect. First of all, don’t panic. Sure, becoming a zombie can be a confusing awkward time where your body will be going through some new and strange feelings, but it can also be one of the most exciting times. It’s just that you will never feel excitement again. You will feel blood pool up in your

extremities and coagulate. You will never have to sleep again, or work, or pay bills. Pain will be but a dull sensation. You can be reckless and free. It’s not like you are going to die. But you may also become moody for no reason. You may become very aggressive, lashing out, and not knowing the reasons why. You will likely have a burning insatiable hunger in your stomach that seeks only living human brain matter to brief ly allay its torment. You may become depressed or anxious. Many zombies might f ind it helpful to join a support group. You might f ind that you are not the only one struggling with these changes. Aside from emotions, there are other more down-to-earth choices that will require some attention. In life, you might have enjoyed the benef its of fastidious personal hygiene and a certain freshness of countenance. But, as a zombie, modesty must prevail.

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Do not – I repeat – DO NOT shower. Do not brush your hair or teeth. You will be much more delicate. You do not want to dissolve large sloughs of f lesh or pull out large patches of hair. You must try to always be aware that you will not be growing any new cells. You may need to limit your presentation to your clothing.

are great, but entrails will still do the trick. Obviously, you can’t eat dead people. You’re not a vulture, for God’s sake. Nor will you want to eat other animals. It causes intense debilitating headaches and nausea beyond any discomfort you have known. It’s time to leave the critters alone.

You may f ind your smell to be utterly repulsive, but do not try to mask it over with scented oils or colognes. Nobody wants to smell fetid necrotic tissue mixed with the smell of strawberry perfume, especially other zombies, with their heightened sense of smell. Don’t be embarrassed. Your new friends will be as malodorous as you. Another challenge in adapting to your new zombie unlife will be f inding food, and lots of it. You will have to adapt to a very narrow diet. Only living human f lesh will suff ice. Brains

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So, where do you go to strap on the human feedbag? To the mall, of course. That’s where you will f ind every dim-witted, unimaginative, plodding, cow-like human who, because they have seen one zombie movie, think they know something no one else knows – that they will be safe at the mall. Everyone will be there. Talk about low hanging fruit. It will be a feast. They won’t be the cleverest of people, so that should help level the playing f ield a bit. Let’s face it – as a zombie, the old synapses won’t be f iring as quickly as they used to. Tactics and cunning won’t be your strength, nor


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coordination and heroics. Rely on your sheer numbers to overwhelm the living. Walk shoulder to shoulder with your ilk in the dignity of the common man, who, by the misfortune of history, happen to be undead. There is no shame in this, nor malice, nor misdeed. It is simply a new way. We have always prided ourselves on our adaptability. This will be no different. We will assess our situation, adjust to the new world, then move ahead consuming everything in our path, leaving behind a lifeless wasteland, just as we have always done.

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/ Illustration by Thomas Adcock


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The Quiet American Graham Greene --

Reviewed by Jamie Thunder /

V hcle Book s, Issue 14, pp22-25

For a n yon e with any familiarity with Graham Greene’s work, the elements of Greeneland are unmistakable: whether it’s in wartime London, the south coast of England, colonial Africa, or an Argentinian town, the dialogue is bare, the measures are generous, and the moral heat is sweltering.

These characteristics are all present in Greene’s The Quiet American – the crucible here is 1950s Vietnam, where British foreign correspondent Fowler f inds himself posted to cover the French intervention. In the f irst chapter we’re introduced to the titular character, Pyle – or more accurately, we’re told of his


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death. The rest of the novel is an extended f lashback, covering idealistic Pyle’s ill-fated and shady involvement in the war and Fowler’s love life.

pieces feel like exactly that, and are strangely divorced from the more ref lective and revealing interaction between Pyle and Fowler (Pyle’s awkward insistence on playing fair even as he tries to steal Phuong from Fowler is particularly well done). Greene’s eye for psycholog y is still keen, though – he f inds his scabs accurately – and on a sentence-by-sentence level it’s a perfectly good book.

A h yes – it wouldn’t be a Graham Greene novel without a pained love affair. Here it’s Pyle and Fowler’s gentlemanly tussle over Phuong, a young Vietnamese who dreams of “X X X”. One of the major criticisms levelled at Greene’s work is his f lat depiction of women, and in this case it’s entirely justif ied. To say that Phuong is passive is an understatement; she seems to exist only to f ix Fowler an opium pipe or three and to play the part of her country in the analog y that runs through each page. It’s a shame, as by robbing the Pyle-Fowler-Phuong triangle of one of its sides, the book loses a lot of its interest, and Fowler’s musings aren’t quite perceptive enough to carry it. Reading this novel in the early 21st Century, it’s a little hard to keep in mind that this all takes place before the Vietnam war ‘proper’ began. It’s an angry book, and unfortunately that anger overwhelms the story. Its set

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The problem is the work as a whole, and particularly its Message – not the content, but its ubiquity. Greene was inspired to write The Quiet American following a conversation with an American aid worker (that aid worker was channelled into Pyle’s obsession with a ‘Third Force’ to solve the impasse between France and Vietnam), and it’s really a lengthy riposte to that view. More than half a century on it feels very dated, not to mention a little baff ling at times to anyone not wellversed in the conf lict. In other books Greene has been able to keep the moral questions – most famously around religion –in the background for f lavour, but he does


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have a habit of letting them f lood forth, and here it’s to his detriment. It wasn’t until around three-quarters of the way through that I realised there was intended to be a murder mystery, so uninvolving was the plot, and by the end I felt like I’d made the mistake of off handedly challenging a politico only to receive an unending repudiatory diatribe. Ultimately, The Quiet American isn’t quite sure what it’s trying to be. Is it a murder mystery? Is it a love story? Is it a clandestine thriller? Or is it just a polemic? W hatever it is, there are better examples of all three, and certainly better introductions to a writer who at his best was the most incisive British author of the 20 th century.

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The Goldfinch Donna Tartt --

Reviewed by Emma Davies /

V hcle Book s, Issue 14, pp26 -29

E very ac t ion has a consequence, is the moral here. Even accidents can set chains of ripples into motion, and ripples can easily accumulate into waves. A 13-year-old boy’s trouble at school, for instance, could lead to him stopping off at an art museum with his mother on the way to an appointment regarding his suspension. The desire for one last glimpse at a beloved work could lead to them being momentarily separated, at which point the museum could be wracked by a blast, killing the mother. In the dazed, chaotic aftermath, the boy could walk away with two things: a vow made to a dying man, and a priceless, little-known painting by Carel Fabritius. Even happenstance can shape a life, setting off on a crooked, guilt-marred track such as Theo Decker’s.


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The small, titular oil painting, depicting a bird tethered to a pipe by a thin golden chain, becomes something of an obsession for the protagonist; it forms one constant he is tied to in his makeshift, ever-shifting world. Both painting and the promise that accompanies its accrual are what drive a plot that arcs across more than a decade. Theo is batted between friends, family and barely functional independence like a lost parcel, across the urban streets of New York City, the sprawling desert hinterland of Las Vegas and the claustrophobic old-town conf ines of Amsterdam. This is an intimate portrait, painted in unf linching fashion, from youthful petty thievery to a woozy retreat into the cushioned haven of narcotics.

have a timeless quality. There’s the stoic, dependable Hobie, a restorer and dealer of antiques who takes on the role of Theo’s surrogate father – as close to a moral compass as is offered, and oft ignored, here. Boris, in contrast, is the dark angel on the shoulder; a teenage best friend with little but bad intentions, whose closeness with Theo treads a delicately homoerotic line. And looming large over it all is Theo’s deceased mother, representing so much lost promise. Her absence is writ starkly across his life and, tellingly, she largely remains an ethereal, idealised f igure in contrast to the solidity of Hobie and Boris.

It’s in the novel’s relationships that Tartt’s eye for detail shines through most brightly. The occasional, jarring modern references (Harry Potter, iPhones and the like) come across as almost anachronistic, but the interactions between characters

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Even at its most meandering – and this is indeed a novel that tempers its heady action with length passages of near-inertia – this is deep with poise and purpose. It is a story that threads its way into your brain by degrees, gradually ensnaring you to the point of compulsion. There is nothing that is not deliberate; everything is carefully placed by the author with


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regard to its consequence. 11 years in the writing, this is closer in both tone and atmosphere to The Secret History than The Little Friend, deft of touch and masterful of phrase. The Goldfinch is a sweeping modern bildungsroman, in whichTartt manages to weave almost 800 pages into a taut, satisf ying denouement.

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Johnny Get Your Hatchet --

by Myles Lawrence-Briggs /

V hcle Book s, Issue 14, pp30 -33

I love n egat ive r eviews . They exist in a place where snark and biting wit are the chief weapons in the writer’s arsenal and welcome a sort of authorial-gallows-humor that few other forms of writing readily lend themselves to. Maybe I’m just a pathetic misanthrope who enjoys deriding his fellow human beings. Maybe I really am the master of witty sarcasm I imagine myself to be. Regardless, I’ve noticed a very strange trend in the realm of negative reviews; namely that they’ve been disappearing.

This makes no sense when you take into account that more books than ever before in history are being published today. Self-published books hit a new record of 391,000 in 2013 in the U.S. alone, more titles than were traditionally published as recently as 2010. On top of that a good 80% of these titles are f iction. Yet amidst this title-wave (sorry, couldn’t resist) of new f iction large publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed and the Huff ington Post have sounded a general retreat from negative reviews, with BuzzFeed leading the way by banning them from their website altogether. A ll have recently published articles by repentant authors and critics apologizing for past hatchet jobs they themselves wrote and preaching the new gospel of “if you can’t say anything nice, elaborate”.


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Madeline Crum, associate books editor at the Huff ington Post gives voice to this new phenomenon. Her article refutes a couple of points usually cited in defense of negative reviews; mainly that they do not impact book sales and due to their brevity of about 300 words they do not promote discussion. She concludes:

incessantly is the life of Crum’s boring little party. I love that guy. I’d be the guy sitting next to him pouring him another drink. Some of our most lovable and quotable authors in the English literary tradition were “that guy”. Oscar Wilde was when he said of Nobel Prize winning play wright George Bernard Shaw: “An excellent man: he has no enemies, and none of his friends like him.” Mark Twain was when he said of Jane Austen, “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin bone!” The scathing negative review with its use of over-the-top metaphor and smug derision is a time-honored art form and I refuse to watch it go quietly. I’d say these new-wave positive only reviewers would have to take me down kicking and screaming but I have the feeling they’d rather hug me and have a chat about my anger issues.

This leaves us with one f inal, indefensible purpose for penning a negative book review: to hear ourselves talk. If you’re not encouraging discourse, and you’re not preventing a bad book from being read, then it seems you’re that guy at the dinner party: the one blathering about his various opinions, but falling silent when pressed for evidence. Well, yeah. One person’s crowing over their dislike of a book isn’t going to stop many people from buying it and I doubt anyone has ever set out to contribute to the philosophical discussion surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey. Negative reviews are about entertainment. Most forms of writing are about entertainment. That guy at the dinner table blathering on

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So yes, negative reviews exist for the sake of entertainment. But that does not mean they are entirely useless. Consider the amount of work that goes into writing a book and editing it. An author could go through an inf inite number of drafts before he or she even shows it to a test


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audience. Then if it even makes it to a publisher’s desk it’s more than likely to be sent back with red lines through half the manuscript. Editing is a brutal, tortuous process that can take months or even years (I’m looking at you, George R.R. Martin). Are we really going to pretend that after all of this work and heartbreak that an author wouldn’t want to know what we think of their book if we don’t like it? That they’d rather we just forget it ever existed and let it fade into obscurity? I can’t speak for everyone but personally I’d rather know why my book failed so I don’t make the same mistakes with the next one. Heaping praise exclusively on an author leaves no room for improvement and there are very few books that cannot be improved upon in at least some small way.

insignif icant and can’t cause any real damage. I do know that when I eventually write and publish that novel, I’ll sure as hell want to know what people dislike about it so I can improve as a writer. Besides, a literary landscape bereft of the witticisms of the Oscar Wildes and Mark Twains of the world strikes me as incredibly boring.

I am acutely aware that I am writing from a place of no authority. I have never written a book, let alone published one. A ll I can lay claim to is a handful of (not all negative) reviews and essays and several unpublished short stories. I’m slowly working my way towards writing the next great American novel. Maybe this is why I feel no qualms in penning the occasional hatchet job; I know I’m

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Photos ( pp34, 37) by A r i e l Ber l i n / Issue 12, pp38- 43


VHCLE MAN

Benjamin Schwartz


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I’m a menswear nerd. It’s gotten a bit out of hand to be honest. Over the years I’ve succumbed to purchasing 30 or more books on the subject, including gems like Fuck Yeah Menswear and Take Ivy. About five years ago I began studying shoemaking, which eventually led to BENJAMINS, a shoe brand started with a few close friends. Everything is made right here in California and we’re opening our shop later this year.

Spring is my favorite time of year, but it can be a challenge to dress for since the weather tends to change quite a bit throughout the day. I’m about to leave town for a trip to Boston, so I wanted to pick a few must-haves that I’ll be taking with me.

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A / Barbour / Bedale jack et

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“The best part about life is obviously wearing cool jackets” – Jon Moy, Four-Pins. I’ve had a Bedale jacket from Barbour for a few years now and it’s by far the most versatile jacket that I own. It’s made from waxed cotton, which makes it waterproof, wind-proof, and thorn-proof (seriously). The armpit vents will let you breathe if it heats up later in the day, and the detachable hood will help keep you dry in the worst conditions (I just took it with me to Tahoe and it was a champ in the snow). If you’re going to invest in one piece of clothing, a jacket has to be the best move. With re-waxing and repair service offered by Barbour, this one will last you long enough that you’ll be able to pass it on to your kids.

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B / gant / Ba r r é Aw n ing Sc a r f Menswear heads are always talking about layers. Layering, reverse-layering, and it’s not a bad move, but if you’re not careful you can end up feeling like your clothes are slowly trying to squeeze you to death. A scarf is good to keep around because it’s easy to take off if you get too hot, and it’s small enough to throw into a pocket when you do. In the spring I keep a cotton one around instead of the traditional wool since it’s lighter weight. This one that Gant recently dropped is a solid choice. C C / ursa major / Essential FACE WIPES Traveling is something that I have always loved, but after a few hours on a plane I tend to feel like I need a shower, and rarely is that an option. I just picked up these face wipes from Ursa Major and I like them so much that I’ve been leaving them with friends to try out. They’re made without any parabens, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances, and they smell like an orange tree and a douglas fir had a baby. 038


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D / tarrago / Nano protector I prefer to stay dry when the weather gets all tut tut, but it feels wrong to be stomping around in rain boots in spring. Recently I found this Nano Protector spray and it’s such a great product that we started stocking it in our online shop. Thanks to this stuff I can leave the house in suede mocs or chukkas giving zero fucks as to whether or not they’re going to get ruined. It also helps if you tend to do things like spill coffee all over yourself. One bottle should be able to handle most if not all of your shoe collection.

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If I had to choose just one piece of clothing, regardless of season or location, I’m taking this fleece shawl cardigan from Club Monaco. This thing is so soft I have to force myself not to wear it every day. I’m actually wearing it as I type this. I even wrote a letter to Club Monaco asking them to keep stocking it because I saw it was on sale and thought they might be axing it from the lineup. Trust me on this one, it’s not even listed under sweaters, it’s under “sweatshirts and sweatpants”. Sweatpants for your torso, power flex.

F F / klean kanteens I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m horrible at reminding myself to drink water throughout the day, and have suffered medical repercussions as a result. Recently my girlfriend snagged me one of these Klean Kanteens and I have to admit it’s the Rolls Royce of canteens. It’s vacuum insulated, and keeps your drinks hot for 6 hours, or cold for 24.

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Decision


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Vreneli vom Gug gisberg

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Touch

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Tell us a little bit about yourself In art school I spent a lot of time playing with audio-visual gear – mostly photography and film. One day when I was experimenting with abstract composition, I saw colour fields appear on the canvas, like you get with long exposure times in photography. The effect was as if something was hovering beneath the surface of the paint. It’s as if I’ve pressed the fast-forward on a video machine then hit the pause button, so reality comes to a stand-still. I speed up and slow down the colours. What remains is a distorted moment – classically painted, oil on canvas – that upon closer inspection is very abstract, but from a distance looks real. Boardwalk

What’s the inspiration behind your paintings, and can you tell us a bit about your style/technique? Inspiration comes from many places, but mostly observation of everyday people. I always have a camera close by. I also enjoy portraying people, but not in a staged way. Film has a strong influence too. In fact, I’m something of a film addict. The rawness of Andy Warhol’s screen tests has influenced me. Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and

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the Butterfly, Short Cuts by Robert Altman, Songs from the Second Floor by Roy Andersson, and the Coen Brothers are all on my current shortlist. I seem to have an obsession with time; I want to capture a moment in time that begets a narrative that the viewer can complete. I like to raise questions about issues of modern society that nag away at me. By asking questions, my perception of the world finds its way into my paintings. Applying distortion to parts or across a composition, one not only feels time or the stoppage of time through the movement, but is invited to project one’s own narrative or emotions. Time also plays a role in how a piece takes shape – in my technique and process. Because I’m painting wet-on-wet with thick layers of pastos, the process is very time-sensitive. This might be a difficult question as you have so much amazing work, but do you have a favorite piece? At the moment a small portrait which I made last year, with the title “Decision”.

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What advice would you give to other artists? To be honest and faithful with yourself I think is the biggest challenge for an artist. Try to be passionate, disciplined and unique in what you do! Favorite drink? No turps, just coffee and water.


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Girl with a Peach

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No Mans Land III

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Untitled Screen Test

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Nico

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Dennis Hopper

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Mongolia II

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Westcoast 6

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Rower I

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Nature Women

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Ghost in Me

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Vhcle Issue 14, pp60-75

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I am Suhita, a watercolor artist, obsessive sketcher and graphic designer. I grew up in India and moved to the United States 15 years ago. I am deeply influenced by both countries. I attribute my love of color and of drawing masses of people to growing up in the metropolis of Mumbai, India, and my loose, bold style is something I could only have developed in the United States.  I draw to see deeply, and remember vividly. A piece that works is one that captures what I feel and how I perceive my environment in that moment. My subjects are varied but always personal. I draw the world around me: my kids, my neighborhood, the places I travel to, things that catch my eye, either for their extraordinary-ness or because they are so everyday they are often overlooked. I work almost completely on location. My ‘studio’ lives in my bag: sketchbooks, pens, a tiny watercolor kit (see this post about my sketch kit: http://www.parkablogs.com/content/art-tools-of-suhita-shirodkar). Working like this helps me capture without the filter of

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a photograph or memory. I capture what I see and how I react to it in that moment. Your bio says travel inspires your work – in what way? To travel is to put yourself in an environment that is so different from your everyday surroundings. It’s a great way to look at the world around me through fresh eyes. What is everyday, mundane stuff to a local is new and interesting to the traveller. It is that vision – the ability to see what we don’t in our everyday life – that I find most inspiring about travel.  To sketch what I see is also to see deeply, in a way that I wouldn’t if I weren’t looking with a pen and paint kit in hand. I rarely make it through a whole museum (or even a whole section of a museum) anymore, but what I do see and draw, I see and come to know so well! Of course, I don’t travel all the time, but what I try to bring to all my work is that same traveller’s eye – inquiring, observant and always ready to be fascinated by the littlest thing.


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Custom Portraitt

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Bicycles

If there could be one thing you’d like a person to walk away with after viewing your work, what would it be?  I love when my art connects people with their own experiences: of a place, a time, the light, a feeling.    Name some artists who inspire you I love artists who capture life as they see it, regardless of whether their work is categorized as painting, illustration, photography, or any other genre. Among my favorites are Edward Hopper, for his amazingly haunting work. Norman Rockwell’s idealized America, bustling with life, appeals to me too. Sargent

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is my favorite watercolorist – I love the energy of his work and his unconventional use of the medium. And my favorite group of artists is a group I am an active member of called ‘Urban Sketchers’. This worldwide group of people sketch the world around them on location, and document their work at urbansketchers.org. Favorite drink? That depends on my mood. A rum and coke when I miss India, Pastis reminds me of when I lived in New York, Agua the Tamarindo in the summer, or a tall cold hefeweizen...


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Bombay Taxi

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Ferris Wheel (This page), Chrysler (Right)

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View From Cole Valley (Lef t.), Combay Fruitwala (This page)

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Malvan Boats Catch

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Quiet Street

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Varanasi Quick Light

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Barcelona Medieval Barri Gotic Musician

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Five Wounds Tracks Church

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Vhcle Issue 14  

ISSUE 14 -- Disrespecting the Life Cycle – When Pop Culture Comes Back From the Dead, The Real Zombie Survival Guide / Vhcle Books: The Quie...

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