News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I downloaded Instagram in 2012, in the spring before what would be the worst summer of my life and the best autumn I’ve ever had. I remember them both vividly, sulking at home in the July heat on an air mattress in a sweltering bedroom I shared to save money, convinced my boyfriend was about to dump me.

He did, but it was fine; we got back together a week later, and by September I was studying abroad, city-hopping around Europe with people who would become some of my closest friends.

On my Instagram feed, though, the summer and fall of 2012 are indistinguishable from one another, except for in some photos I am in Brooklyn and others I am in Prague. It is a cohesive, Amaro-filtered grid of Park Slope lattes and Czech beer cans and my smiling face, posing next to friends old and new, with nothing to suggest these two periods of my life felt any different from each other.

Instagram has a way of flattening lived experiences so that my best years look exactly like my bad ones, and that everything seems pretty good, all the time, for everyone. This, obviously, is not how life works for most people, and ever since Instagram has existed experts have debated what seeing an infinite scroll of other people’s happy moments is doing to our brains.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The team at Superchief Gallery was working late into the night building a giant, bloody severed penis. The art gallery’s edgy sensibility had always generated hype, but over the preceding few years, its hard-partying brand had spread its wings, as it set up permanent warehouse spaces in New York and Los Angeles, held massive parties in Miami, and cultivated lasting relationships with established media companies like Juxtapoz and Vice. The next day, on April 27, 2018, Superchief’s New York location, a cavernous 7,000-square-foot warehouse space in Ridgewood, Queens, was opening a solo show for Mike Diana, the first artist ever to be convicted of criminal obscenity in the United States. In honor of the gleeful debasement that defines Diana’s work, Superchief was installing a towering, dismembered human figure in the gallery, and as carpenters built its splayed, marionette-like wooden arms, a small crew knelt on the gallery’s black concrete floors, cutting strips of fabric and tackling the dick problem.

“Part of the piece was this guy had a dick that wrapped around the gallery. It was like 80 feet long,” said Jeanne Hurd, an artist who was then an unpaid volunteer at Superchief. “They were trying to fill this dick with balloons to make it hold up, and I suggested filling it with inflated garbage bags instead,” she added.

Ed Zipco, one of Superchief’s owners, had been standing nearby and took notice of her time-saving innovation. “He was like, ‘Jeanne you’re a genius, you can have any job you want here,’” she said. At first, she was elated, though she wasn’t sure if Zipco was serious. As was often the case, Hurd alleged, “he was tripping on acid.” The next afternoon, Zipco was still interested in hiring Hurd, but she was disappointed to find out the gig only paid $100 a week for four shifts, each between six and 10 hours. It wasn’t enough to pay bills, though Hurd also worked at a coffee shop and figured the experience and exposure would be worth draining her bank account. (Hurd was, according to her, unfairly, fired for lateness in 2018.) Besides, as Zipco always reminded his crew, he doesn’t think of Superchief as a business: it’s a family.

Founded in 2012 by Zipco and partner Bill Dunleavy, Superchief’s tastes favored body horror and creative oddities, drawing on street art, comics, digital works, and LGBTQ cultural communities to build broad rebel aesthetic. Superchief New York was, as one former employee puts it, a “blob” that in addition to showing art, housed artists’ studios, a cyclorama photo studio, and a film screening area. It evolved into less of a classic art gallery and into a sort of event space, a hangout where skaters, graffiti kids, and art nerds congregated, and a nightlife scene, inviting packed-out dance parties like Fight Club, and WWE-style drag-wrestling “extravaganza” Choke Hole.

Read the rest of this article at: Jezebel

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We cruised down West Pico in Adam Sandler’s ride, a custom Chevy passenger van tricked out in the style of an orthopedic shoe. The cup holders jangled with suburban odds and ends — a pair of tiny glasses belonging to his daughter; a bottle of Dry-n-Clear ear drops. We were bound for Hillcrest Country Club, the oldest Jewish country club in Los Angeles. “You’re going to like this,” Sandler said. He whipped the van into the valet station. Alongside the row of town cars and coupes, it looked like an airport courtesy shuttle.

Hillcrest was founded in 1920, when Los Angeles’s Reform Jews started earning major cash and no country club appeared willing to let them spend it. Barred from joining the WASP establishment, they banded together to forge a simulacrum, a place where self-proclaimed “Jewish big shots” could unwind in semiassimilated fashion. Today Hillcrest is an upgraded Eden with 18 holes, a pool, tennis courts and an initiation fee of more than $200,000. The club’s dress code, a three-page document, betrays the legislative eagerness of a people only recently allowed to make the rules: Hat bills must face forward at all times; jeans will be worn only in the Men’s and Ladies’ Card Rooms. That day, Sandler was wearing cheap surf-shop shades, untied and toe-creased Jordans and capri-length silky basketball shorts. He vetted the outfit before the hostess’s stand.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Last May, in the weeks leading up to his presidential inauguration, Volodymyr Zelensky learned that a man named Rudy Giuliani wanted to meet with him. The name was only distantly familiar. But the former mayor of New York City was the personal attorney of the president of the United States, and he apparently wanted to make the case that certain investigations deserved the full attention of the new Ukrainian administration. Zelensky understood that it might be hard to say no.

Zelensky had won his country’s highest office despite having been a politician for little more than four months. Even as he prepared to assume the presidency, he remained a professional comedian and a fixture on television shows, including League of Laughter. Unsure of whether he should agree to meet Giuliani, Zelensky gathered advisers in the headquarters of his entertainment company.

As a film actor and sitcom star, Zelensky thrived in the role of the everyman, often playing the average guy who wins over the beautiful woman seemingly beyond his reach. His former offices, on the top floor of a middle-class apartment building, match the modest characters he liked to portray. Air-conditioning units bulge from the facade; their exposed wires crawl up the cement edifice like ivy. The wooden walls of a cramped elevator have been treated like a Basquiat canvas by vandals. Only upon arriving at the top floor does one confront a brushed-steel door, a metal detector, and the trappings of wealth. Zelensky wasn’t just an entertainer; he was also arguably the nation’s most successful producer.

During the campaign, experts would regularly visit the office to provide him with tutorials on corruption and the other mind-bending problems he promised to confront. Zelensky did little to disguise his inexperience in these meetings, taking extensive notes on a pad of paper. When John Herbst, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, met with Zelensky, he was struck by his seriousness. “He’s a very intent listener,” Herbst told me. “With his body language, he gave the sense that he was paying careful attention.” Zelensky would ask questions in an unmistakable basso profundo, which scrapes along the lowest registers. (His company’s website described his voice as “sexy.”) Only rarely did Zelensky reveal his own opinions in these sessions.

Of the many subjects he struggled to understand over the months, Giuliani was among the most nettlesome. Since the late winter, the city’s elite had been aware of the mayor’s emissaries, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, whom he had dispatched to uncover incriminating material about Joe Biden and his son. The bumbling pair, who had won a meeting with the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, spoke a little too freely about their “secret mission.” But while Giuliani’s strip-club-going proxies could be dismissed, the arrival of President Trump’s lawyer himself was another matter.

Zelensky realized that he needed an American understanding of the situation confronting him, so he sought the advice of a former Obama-administration official named Amos Hochstein, who served on the board of supervisors for Ukraine’s state gas company. During a nearly three-hour session, Zelensky asked pointed questions; he found the mayor’s relationship with the president maddeningly unclear. Was Giuliani an official representative of the Trump administration or a freelance operator? Did Zelensky have a diplomatic obligation to meet with him? And why did Giuliani want to cause so much trouble for a presidency that hadn’t even begun?

Zelensky seemed to sense Giuliani’s capacity for troublemaking. Today, impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives are focused on a single question: Did the president of the United States attempt to extort the president of Ukraine?

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 12.04.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Guns were on everyone’s mind. In January 1987, New Orleans’s Times-Picayune ran a story in its lifestyle section with a picture of a hand gripping a revolver, hovering over a map of the city. The headline posed a question: “Should You Get a Gun?”

A sense of unease overwhelmed New Orleans—journalist Nicholas Lemann, a distressed native, lamented that the city’s “supreme confidence about itself seemed to be truly shaken.” White people had left New Orleans in droves after Ruby Bridges desegregated William Frantz Elementary in 1960. Many of them went to first-ring suburbs like Metairie, where former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke would eventually win a statehouse seat. The oil bust had decimated the economy. Louisiana’s unemployment rate was the highest in the nation—one in eight people were out of work. To save money, New Orleans mayor Sidney Barthelemy laid off 1,100 municipal employees and put the rest on a four-day workweek. The war on drugs had replaced the war on poverty. Mandatory punishment for distribution of heroin was a life sentence. To relieve overcrowding at Orleans Parish Prison, the sheriff set up tents in a nearby park to serve as makeshift cells.¹ Neighbors complained that police radios were interfering with their TV signals.

The Times-Picayune’s gun feature offered readers advice for dealing with their existential anxiety, courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department. “Males, females, young people, the elderly, they’re all talking about guns,” an NOPD officer told the newspaper. “There are a lot of ladies who say they’re in a position they’ve never been in in their life. They’re frightened in their houses, they’re frightened in their cars.” The paper explained where people could attend weapons-training courses. A sidebar with a list of “Things to Consider” encouraged potential gun owners to ask themselves, “Are you committed to using a gun? Can you shoot someone?” If a reader wanted to buy a firearm, the police recommended any name-brand .38 revolver “because it is simplest to load and use, and gets the job done.”

Susan Wolfe, a resident of the affluent Lakeview neighborhood, had a .38 Smith & Wesson blue steel snub-nose five-shot revolver. A medical student at Louisiana State University, Wolfe came home on the afternoon of April 28, 1987, to find her back window open. Someone had climbed inside and thrown her belongings about. In addition to her JVC portable radio, the intruder had taken her gun. The police who came to the scene recovered no physical evidence left by the perpetrator. At Wolfe’s request, a crime-lab unit dusted for fingerprints. None were found.

That night, Wolfe’s stolen .38 was used to shoot a man named Greggie Jones. Police found Jones in the yard of his house at 4639 Wilson Ave. in the neighborhood of New Orleans East. He was wearing a brown checked shirt and a hat. His bicycle was lying nearby. He’d been shot twice and was gasping for breath. One bullet had entered the back side of his right wrist and shattered the tip of the radius bone. A second bullet had entered the right side of his chest. It went through his heart and into his spine. An officer bandaged Jones’s chest wound, then an ambulance drove him two and half miles to Methodist Hospital. There, Jones was pronounced dead.

Back on Wilson Avenue, police took statements from Jones’s neighbors, all potential eyewitnesses. Lester Hill said that he was sitting on his steps across the street when he heard gunshots. Hill saw a gray car, possibly a Ford Pinto, parked in front of Jones’s home, and a black man wearing a beige shirt and dark pants. The man was carrying a gun, which Hill described as “shiny in color.” The suspect walked from the yard and got into the passenger seat of the gray car. Another man was behind the wheel. The pair drove away, turning onto a dirt road that led to the Pecan Grove Apartments on Chef Menteur Highway. Hill did not know either of the men, but he told the police that he would be able to identify the one with the gun.

Jones’s brother Eddie lived next door, and he’d also heard shots. When he looked outside, he saw his brother lying on the ground. Down the street, about a block away, Eddie saw a black man heading toward the highway. Kenneth Walker, who lived at 4648 Wilson Ave., said that he heard shots but didn’t see anyone or anything of note.

The most important witness would prove to be Jones’s live-in girlfriend, Vanessa Causey. She wasn’t home when he was shot. She told police that she’d gone out to look for Jones earlier in the evening and was walking back when she heard gunfire. As she approached the house, Causey saw a black man in a dark shirt and beige hat leaving the yard. She claimed that she recognized the man: His name was Willie, and he’d gotten into an argument with Jones earlier that day. Causey didn’t provide the suspect’s full name.

She described Willie as approximately five foot six and 185 pounds, “walking toward her direction,” according to the police report. “After that, unknown.”

Read the rest of this article at: the Atavist Magazine

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