“Rather than shooting away and then gathering names and information, Schukar spent time with the protestors, learning about them and why they were there. The information informed her photos, becoming images of people rather than Pipeline construction and protests. “I’m much more interested in people than I am in photography,” she says.”
“That “entertainment factor” is what led NBC to promote Weir and Lipinski to the top broadcasting slot for figure skating in the run up to PyeongChang 2018, and propelled them to be the delightfully different voices at such venerable sporting institutions as the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby and, now, the Summer Olympics. It is what keeps their social media feeds humming with roughly half a million followers, and also what caused my non-sports-fan friends to gush pronouncements of love for the pair when I told them about my assignment, and that is what makes them so important. In a sports-media landscape choked with old white guys offering hot takes, where antiquated notions of toughness and “honor” are conflated with masculinity and used to obfuscate or excuse violence and misogyny, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski bring something beyond entertainment and knowledge. They bring inclusiveness.”
“The Institute of Inconspicuous Consumption, the Center of the Uni-verse, is in Lukas’s home, located in Brooklyn, of course, south a few blocks from the Barclays Center and just west enough that one’s hamstrings can feel the gentle pull of the neighborhood’s titular park’s slope on approaching the building. Inside, the apartment is filled like a museum with neatly arranged, aesthetically pleasing displays of stuff: mid-century modern advertisements line the walls; baseball stirrups hang from the fireplace; an array of pencil sharpeners line a hallway arch, flipping at the keystone spot so as to keep the handles better arrayed and the sharpeners upright. There is a barber’s chair by the front window, a voluminous bird feeder like a flattened cake pan outside, shelves of vinyl, salesman’s samples displays—dinettes, American Tourister colors/materials, sunglasses, jockstraps, knives—chrome and enamel ball-shaped tap knobs, coin-operated devices (Coke, gumballs).”
“Five of the Beauts, for example, share a home in Hockey Haven, a beautiful manse built in 1920 near the southern edge of Delaware Park. It has hardwood floors, three floors of living space, and beautiful chandeliers. It also has a prominently marked security camera at its intersection, and the occasional sharp rapport of gun shots at night.”
“To create the paintings, Fletcher prepares two canvases, one on the floor—his tee box—and another on the wall; these are placed in what he call his ‘kill room.’ The opaque box made with plastic sheeting, clamped to the overhead light fixtures via silver alligators, drape down to the floor like ghostly kudzu. Fletcher steps into a Tyvek coverall, drapes his mask around his neck, and picks up his implement of choice, an Illinois-made Tommy Armour ‘Big Scot’ 7 iron, to tackle the par 3 opening of his second series.”
“The performance that the Chicago-based singer created to accompany her forthcoming album, Carbon Copy, strips away so much of the magic—the pre-show planning, practicing, programming—which allows artists to effortlessly present whatever image of themselves they choose to their fans. In eschewing this readymade mentality, Kairytė not only strips down her own highly cultivated image—from her boots to her eyebrows, from releasing music on tapes to music videos featuring Grotowski-influenced improvisational dance—but strikes at technology’s impact on how easy it has become to surround one’s self with nearly unlimited curated shades.
“It’s a very raw portrayal of somebody being on the computer,” Kairytė says. “You see everything. You see me type in my password on my actual computer that I use in everyday life. And I didn’t realize this until I did it for the first time: A laptop is something that is so personal, and such a secret, such a mystery, filled with personal history, filled with personal discomforts and securities, like diary entries in the word processor… it’s throbbing with a lot.””
“Paul Rodriguez is set to headline what may be the most elaborate skate movie ever made.
Spanning continents and directed by skate auteur Ty Evans, fully crewed and accoutered with the latest state-of-the art cameras, a van outfitted with video mounts designed for helicopters, a fleet of drones—replete with specially trained pilots—and the royal largesse of a Middle Eastern prince, We Are Blood seems to hew closer to Hollywood-style motion pictures than the collection-of-vignettes, album-like skate videos that get played for inspiration before a mission or to stave off winter, wind, and rain. Its preview trailer looks something like Yeah Right! or Fully Flared or Pretty Sweet, films wherein the aesthetic, vis-a-vis the presentation of the tricks, was almost as important as the tricks themselves. ButWe Are Blood has an obvious thematic thread, that of skateboarding as an internationally recognized culture, demonstrating disproportionately shredded front toes of shoes as lingua franca for a cosmopolitan, honest-to-God culture.”
“Is it any wonder Diocles was so highly paid, his skill set in such strong demand? Consider the circumstances: mounting a chariot—usually pulled by four horses, sometimes two, when really showing off, as many as 10—with the reins tied around his waist like a cummerbund-cum-noose, festooned in the red regalia of his racing team, drowning in the fevered cries of the 250,000 Romans who have packed the mighty Circus Maximus, what Struck poetically called “the beating heart at the center of the empire,” except this heart is screaming, is drinking and dining and cheering and tossing cursed coins, a heart roaring all at once as the gates are sprung.
Thousands of pounds of muscle and metal, wood and blood, all careening about the track of the Circus, the knives flashing and wheels grinding as each full contact lap finds them attempting to ram each other into the spinae, the median, at the center of the track; now they come crashing pell-mell into the hairpin turns, each revolution marked by destruction, death commonplace, as if Mars, Victoria, Mania, and Mercury were all locked in an orgy. Is it any wonder this was the most popular of the famous Roman games?”
“Because fate is particularly cruel, Tom—born in Bloomington, Indiana—is also a devout Indianapolis Colts fan, which makes him something of a pariah whenever he gathers with other Circle City faithful. His Roscoe Village apartment is covered in Colts paraphernalia, including a framed Jim Sorgi jersey and various Colts flags; his bedroom doorway is flanked by the flag of the United States and the Navy torch-bearing flag of Indiana, the whole place pretty well steeped in sigils declaring that he, despite that name, is a member in good standing of Chicago’s proud, quiet Hoosier diaspora. The whole thing is really pretty heavy, sport and love and pain and expectations all attached to a name he drags from show to show and bears as a standard and a cross. It’s also just his name, and just one of the things he drags onstage with him.”
Editor’s note: This profile originally ran in January 2013
“The simple fact is that the Big Dipper is saying nothing that countless straight rappers have not said before, and the novelty of hearing it applied, with skill, mind you, to the male anatomy is something to bemoan, not laud; it is the skill with which he gets vulgar, rather than who he is getting vulgar with, that would be the focus in a perfect world. But while we can take the rubbernecking factor as a negative, or cultural tourism, there is also something inherently positive to be found in the Dipper’s explicit bars. As part of a new guard of gay rappers, he has been afforded the ability to rap and be gay, rather than rap about being gay; to devote himself to songs of carnal pleasure, rather than fighting vehemently for his political rights. Basically, the Big Dipper and other like him represent a dramatic sea change in gay hip-hop: By having to say nothing, they are saying everything.”