“One thing that sets us apart is that we operate as a community center and a museum,” Big Car co-founder and Tube Factory commissioning curator Shauta Marsh tells Creators. Tube Factory is used for neighborhood association meetings, clubs, classes, and other events, as well as showing art and providing work spaces and a tool library.”
HBO’s Real Sports is showing a segment on cockfighting, so I appeared on Marc Daniels’ The Beat of Sports show on Orlando’s 96.9 The Game this morning to talk about the cockers I met and talked with while reporting on cockfighting for VICE Sports.
“While at Lawrence Academy in Groton, Massachusetts, Marnell is introduced to Ritalin and the entire trajectory of her life changes. Armed with a methylphenidate prescription, her grades soar, along with her social status. The performance-enhanced work/play dichotomy first established at Lawrence is repeated throughout the rest of the book, throughout the rest of her career; it is the speed which helps her rip through the hallowed halls of Condé Nast like garden shears through satin, pushes her into parties past dawn, sends her careening about the streets of Alphabet City, fitting in to exceptional designer jeans as she chases more drugs, work and people.
The image of the addict as hopelessly in the gutter, completely incapable of functioning, is torn asunder. She has crippling depressive periods, of course, wherein she does nothing for days, weeks, months, but Marnell is a voltaic little bee for much of her memoir, omnipresent around Magazine World. It would be impossible to deny her work ethic, drug-derived or not; Marnell’s desire to work in magazines and publishing is a constant lodestar, even if one being navigated while on a particularly unstable fuel source.”
“A couple hours south of Cook County, the pool table metropolis of Chicago gives way to the even flatter former prairie, which in turn has been given over to agriculture; on December 1, after the harvest season, tilled fields sit with the luxe organic blackness of oil, interspersed with the dry tans of Shearling coats and a little haggard green, laying like a great flat calico cat fur beneath a dramatic sky, which runs flush with the land on the horizon as massive morning clouds move across it like glaciers. The most dynamic gradients are the overpasses and the billboards advertising seed financing. The wind, unabated, gathers itself up across the plains and pushes the cars on Interstate 75 sideways.”
“Except for one key difference: That steel is American steel, sourced from the productive Hells of Pennsylvania and Ohio—Ohio AK Steel, to be specific, at the time of MUNCHIES’ visit—and the stamping, cutting, embossing, welding, wrapping, packaging, and shipping are all done in America. In an industrial park adjacent to a Friendly’s and a Walmart Super Center, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on the outskirts of the Philadelphia metro area, lies the 30,000-square-foot American Keg, the only producer of stainless steel kegs in the United States.”
“Sports reward toughness, both physical and mental, and the language in which sports gets talked about, from locker rooms on out, hinges on the idea of toughness. Athletes must be able to deal and overcome, to perform, when pressure is high. Their ability to do so, they are told, is what separates them from the general public; the ability to do this seamlessly and perfectly is what separates the transcendent athletes from the merely mediocre or even great. There’s truth in these clichés, but also something that is all too easily weaponized. It’s an outlook that encourages athletes to put up a facade in order to avoid admitting to weakness.”
“Three WhirlyBall courts—Webster, Elston, and Damen, named after the Chicago streets their windows look out upon—serve as the centers of attention; groups congregate outside the Webster and Elston floors, looking on as their friends/coworkers/fellow WhirlyBall players do their things; an announcer/referee provides the soundtrack. People are enjoying themselves, clearly, but also what the hell even is this?
WhirlyBall is equal parts basketball, lacrosse, and polo, and is touted by Flo-Tron Enterprises, the OEM and sole manufacturer of WhirlyBall equipment, as “the world’s only totally mechanized team sport.” Two teams of five take to the WhirlyBall court—a roughly 4,000 square-foot box with electrified floor panels, bumper rails along the walls, and backboards, hung like hoops, with a target in their center—on motorized WhirlyBugs. They use plastic, cesta-esque scoops (jai alai seems the preferred analogue, but in reality they are more closely related to the scoop-ball implements you played with as a child) to fling a softball-sized wiffle ball at the targets.”
“The vast majority of the spooky sounds in the basement emanate from the haunted house of the sixth hole, thigh high and blanched like bone. The only way to the hole is through the house. A partially plucked doll’s head hovers in the window. The carpet around the house bubbles and pulses as if possessed, each step causing gruesome swells in the ground; you are pretty sure this was done on purpose, because the hole is somehow creepy as fuck.
“Her eponymous exhibition at James Cohan Gallery last fall spawned a tempest when New York Times art critic Kevin Johnson appeared to write off the show with strokes broad and base enough to hazard accusations of sexism.
‘Nothing in all this [the exhibition] is more interesting than the unexamined sociological background of the whole,” Johnson wrote in his concluding paragraph. “If the show were a satire of the artist as a comfortably middle-class tenured professor and soccer mom, it would be funny and possibly illuminating, but it’s not.’
In unhinging his jaw to devour the middle class (already an endangered species!) and women in general, rather than Grabner’s work specifically, Johnson made a crucial misstep. He has every right to not like Grabner’s work, of course, but in his generalization—and too-casual tossing off—of the work, Johnson committed the cardinal sin of damning the artist, not the art (and did so incorrectly, at that: Grabner never played soccer, nor was she ever a soccer mom).
All of which makes Grabner’s soccer balls—brightly banded with her signature gingham print—a most pointed sphere indeed.”