Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance


{ Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren’s daughter, and Togar, their pet lion | more }

Clouds filled with stars cover your skies


…Beyoncé in Texas, her childhood home which she now visits exclusively to achieve Art. The magical thing about Texas is that everything bright-colored becomes Art against the state’s washed-out sandscape backdrop.

A jalapeño pepper in your hand becomes Art. Your friend pushing a cart next to some of the grocery store’s more expensive soup and salad selections becomes Art. A yellow shirt in front of shipping pallets: many an Art is here.

{ Caity Weaver/Gawker | Continue reading }

‘My entire body is hairless.’ –Kim Kardashian


Journalists develop new units of measure to explain complex and elusive concepts. The unit he shared, which he credits to Salopek, is the Jolie. A Jolie is a unit that denotes the amount of international aid a country receives when it becomes the cause celebre of a prominent celebrity. He offers a working definition as the difference between aid per person to Darfur, which benefits from Jolie’s focus and advocacy, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has not.

Jolie is able to attract aid to Darfur through her passion, her hard work, but ultimately through the fact that she’s the subject of a great deal of attention. While her recent films may not have attracted as much attention as her work as Lara Croft, she commands approximately 35 centiKardashians of attention.

The Kardashian is a unit I proposed a few classes back as a measure of attention. Conceptually, the Kardashian is the amount of global attention Kim Kardashian commands across all media over the space of a day.

{ Ethan Zuckerman | Continue reading }

photo { Angelina Jolie by David LaChapelle }

Now you steppin wit a G, from Los Angeles, where the helicopters got cameras


The third (and last) time I went to New Orleans was in September of 1978. I was living in Marin County, and I took the red-eye out of San Francisco, flying on a first-class ticket paid for by Universal Pictures, the studio that was financing the movie I was contracted to write. The story was to be loosely based on an article written by Hunter Thompson that had been recently published in Rolling Stone magazine. Titled “The Banshee Screams for Buffalo Meat,” the 30,000-word piece detailed many of the (supposedly) true-life adventures Hunter had experienced with Oscar Zeta Acosta, the radical Chicano lawyer who he’d earlier canonized in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Hunter and I were in New Orleans to attend the hugely anticipated rematch between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks, the former Olympic champion who, after only seven fights, had defeated Ali in February. The plan was to meet up at the Fairmont, a once-elegant hotel that was located in the center of the business district and within walking distance of the historic French Quarter. Although Hunter was not in his room when I arrived, he’d instructed the hotel management to watch for me and make sure I was treated with great respect.

“I was told by Mister Thompson to mark you down as a VIP, that you were on a mission of considerable importance,” said Inga, the head of guest services, as we rode the elevator up to my floor. “Since he was dressed quite eccentrically, in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, I assumed he was pulling my leg. The bellman who fetched his bags said he was a famous writer. Are you a writer also?” I told her I wrote movies. “Are you famous?”


“Do you have any cocaine?”

I stared at her. Her smile was odd, both reassuring and intensely hopeful. In the cartoon balloon I saw over her head were the words: I’m yours if you do. “Yes, I do.”

“That is good.”

Inga called the hotel manager from my room and told him, in a voice edged with professional disappointment, that she was leaving early because of a “personal matter.” After she hung up, she dialed room service and handed me the phone. She directed me to order two dozen oysters, a fifth of tequila, and two Caesar salads. Then, with a total absence of modesty, she quickly stripped off her clothes, walked into the bathroom, and a moment later I heard the water running in the shower.

{ LA Review of Books | Continue reading }

photo { Richard Kern | More: Shot by Kern | videos }

‘There’s no way to describe what I do. It’s just me.’ –Andy Kaufman

Laurie Anderson: And I thought, I must meet this guy [Andy Kaufman], and I went up to him and said, “I love what you’re doing,” and I became his sidekick. I followed him around for a couple of years and did his straight-man stuff in his clubs. You know, he wrote an incredible book that was never published.

The Believer: Really?

Laurie Anderson: Yeah—it should have been published. He came over here and read it to me on a lot of nights. I don’t know what happened to this book. But in terms of expectation, he was the beyond-master of anyone that I’ve ever come across. He was a genius of disrupted expectation. For example, we’d go out to Coney Island to just practice situations, and we’d get on the roto-whirl where the bottom drops out, and we’d just be spinning around, so there’s a minute where everyone’s locked in. And that’s when he began to freak out: “I think we’re all going to die on this ride! Look at the way the belts are done, they’re really flimsy!” And everyone is like, “Who is this moron?” and second, “Maybe the belts aren’t attached that well,” and it was chaos. Or we’d go over to the test-your-strength thing, and my job was to help him make fun of the guys who were doing it. [Doing Andy’s voice] “Ah, look at this weakling”—and everyone got so angry at that for a while. They’d go, “OK, you try it, wise guy,” and so he would—and I’m supposed to, like, nag him. [Doing a whiney voice] “Get me a bunny, Annndy. I want a big bunny. Look at these guys, you’re a lot stronger than they are!” And, anyway, so he would try, and it would hardly register on the scale at all, it wouldn’t even get up to “Try Again, Weakling,” it just went beep [flatline noise], and at that point he would demand to see the manager: “I don’t know why this happened!” And everyone is like, “Oh god,” and he goes way beyond what’s supposed to happen.

{ Interview with Laurie Anderson | Continue reading }

There’s a place on my arm where I’ve written his name, next to mine


Not many authors can boast of having written a best-selling pornographic novel, much less one regarded as an erotica classic—but Pauline Réage could. Make that Dominique Aury. No: Anne Desclos.

All three were the same woman, but for years the real name behind the incendiary work was among the best-kept secrets in the literary world. Forty years after the publication of the French novel Histoire d’O, the full truth was finally made public. Even then, some still considered it the most shocking book ever written. When the book came out, its purported author was “Pauline Réage,” widely believed to be a pseudonym. Although shocking for its graphic depictions of sadomasochism, the novel was admired for its reticent, even austere literary style. It went on to achieve worldwide success, selling millions of copies, and has never been out of print. (…)

Desclos (or, rather, Aury, as she became known in her early thirties) was obsessed with her married lover, Jean Paulhan. She wrote the book to entice him, claim him, and keep him—and she wrote it exclusively for him. It was the ultimate love letter. (…)

Story of O, the title of the English edition, is an account of a French fashion photographer, known only as O, who descends into debasement, torment, humiliation, violence, and bondage, all in the name of devotion to her lover, René. Over the course of the novel she is blindfolded, chained, flogged, pierced, branded, and more.

{ Guernica | Continue reading }

photo { J. Kursel }

Cold caffeine in a nicotine cloud


{ Vladimir Putin (at the time a KGB agent) undercover in Moscow as a tourist during a visit by then-president Ronald Reagan }


{ Teenage President Bill Clinton meeting John F. Kennedy }

more { Photographs which show historical figures in unexpected places or company | Quora }

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have


Charles Darwin suffered from a persistent, debilitating illness for most of his adult life with a wide range of bizarre symptoms. Attacks of nausea and vomiting were his most distressing complaint but he also experienced headaches, abdominal pains, ‘lumbago’, palpitations and chest pain, numbness and tingling in the fingers, sweating, heat and cold sensitivity, flushing and swelling of his face and extremities, eczema, recurrent boils, attacks of acute anxiety, a sensation of dying and hysterical crying.

Apart from these major symptoms Darwin also occasionally vomited blood, he developed dental decay and skin pigmentation. (…) Darwin also had mild dyslexia. (…) With the dyslexia there is a frequent association of amusica – tone deafness, and Darwin was tone deaf.

{ Butterflies and wheels | Continue reading }

photo { Sanna Kannisto }

You believe in angels, or the saints or that there’s such a thing as a state of grace. And you believe it. But it’s got nothing to do with reality. It’s just an idea.

Psychologists investigating the well-being of patients with an acquired brain injury (ABI) have documented a curious phenomenon, whereby the more serious a person’s brain injury, the higher their self-reported life-satisfaction.

{ BPS | Continue reading }

When we look at the world around us, we feel that we are seeing it as it is. Most of the time, we are — but not because our visual system perceives the world precisely as it is. Rather, our visual system makes informed guesses about the contents of the world based on the compressed signal projected onto our eyes. And, for most practical purposes, those guesses are pretty good. Moreover, this “guessing” system work so seamlessly that we rarely notice any discrepancy between our guesses and reality. Only when we “break” the system can we reveal these default assumptions.

My 7-minute long talk at TEDxUIUC in February 2011 explains why we have to break the visual system to understand how it works.

{ Daniel Simons | Watch the video }

related { Sean Penn faced skepticism when he arrived last year with no medical expertise and no N.G.O. experience, but he has built one of the most efficient aid outfits in Haiti today. | NY Times | full story }

I’ve been waiting for two hours for an employee to come wash my hands like the sign says


{ Why Does Paz de la Huerta Always Match Her Lipstick to Her Dress? }

‘I’ve been married too many times. How terrible to change children’s affiliations, their affections — to give them the insecurity of placing their trust in someone when maybe that someone won’t be there next year.’ –Liz Taylor


{ Andy Warhol, Blue Liz As Cleopatra, 1963 | silkscreen ink and acrylic paint on canvas | Related: Jerry Saltz on Andy Warhol’s Portraits of Liz }

A mental block. And a sense of duty. And a fear.


Jeannie asks, “Why are you here?” and Charlie, dead-panned, replies, without regret: “Drugs.” And then he slowly disarms her bitchiness with his outrageously sexy insouciance, transforming her annoyance into delight (they end up making out).

That’s when we first really noticed Charlie Sheen, and it’s the key moment in his movie career (it now seems to define and sum up everything that followed). He hasn’t been as entertaining since. Until now. In getting himself fired from Two and a Half Men, this privileged child of the media’s sprawling entertainment Empire has now become its most gifted prankster. And now Sheen has embraced the post-Empire, making his bid to explain to all of us what celebrity means in that world. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. It’s where we are, babe. We’re learning something. (…)

Post-Empire isn’t just about admitting doing “illicit” things publicly and coming clean—it’s a (for now) radical attitude that says the Empire lie doesn’t exist anymore, you friggin’ Empire trolls. To Empire gatekeepers, Charlie Sheen seems dangerous and in need of help because he’s destroying (and confirming) illusions about the nature of celebrity. He’s always been a role model for a certain kind of male fantasy. Degrading, perhaps, but aren’t most male fantasies? (I don’t know any straight men who fantasize about Tom Cruise’s personal life.) Sheen has always been a bad boy, which is part of his appeal—to men and women. There’s a manly mock-dignity about Sheen that both sexes like a lot. What Sheen has exemplified and has clarified is the moment in the culture when not giving a fuck about what the public thinks about you or your personal life is what matters most—and what makes the public love you even more (if not exactly CBS or the creator of the show that has made you so wealthy). It’s a different brand of narcissism than Empire narcissism.

{ Bret Easton Ellis | Continue reading }