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Sep 2016 11

by Nicole Powers

“Human beings don’t cultivate ideas.
On the contrary… ideas cultivate us.”
— Dr. Wrong, Fight Club 2

The years haven’t been kind to Sebastian, aka The Narrator, aka the co-founder of Fight Club. Having traded his position as leader of Project Mayhem — an underground organization inspired by the Cacophony Society and its precursor the Suicide Club — for all the trappings of the American dream, Sebastian now has a 9 to 5 job, a wife, a home and a kid, and is the father he vowed he’d never become. Trapped in the mundanity of this seemingly cookie-cutter life, Sebastian seeks solace in his psychiatrist, Dr. Wrong, and the prescription pills he pedals. Meanwhile, Tyler Durden, Sebastian’s stalwartly subversive alter-ego, has been biding his time, plotting his comeback to wreak havoc on a society that is, for the most part, populated by sheep in need of a shepherd, or a surrogate father as writer, mythologist and philosopher Joseph Campbell might say. And thus, a new installment of junior-arsonist-turned-adult-novelist Chuck Palahniuk’s iconic Fight Club begins.

Taking comic book form, the long-awaited and much-anticipated sequel to the original 1996 Fight Club novel (on which David Fincher’s 1999 movie was based) first hit stores in May, 2015. The ten-part series paired Palahniuk’s dialog and plot with art by Cameron Stewart (whose credits include Batman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Assassin’s Creed and SuicideGirls’ own comic series, to name but a few). This sequel was something that Palahniuk resisted for many years. However, ideas sometimes have a life of their own, and this one was pulling Palahniuk back to Project Mayhem’s home on Paper Street. Now, as the series is being collected and bound together as a hardcover graphic novel (out June 28 via Dark Horse Comics), Palahnuik is working on the third installment of an idea, which like Tyler Durden, refuses to die. We caught up with Palahniuk by phone to find out more…

Read the full interview on SuicideGirls.com.

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Sep 2016 11

by Sandor Stern

Dear Republican Friends

Regarding Your Presidential Nomination

It’s been four years since I’ve contacted you but your choice for President has me too curious to remain silent. You have nominated Donald Trump who advocates deporting eleven million illegal immigrants, building an insurmountable wall along the Mexican border, and preventing Muslims from entering this country. He has been recently waffling over the Muslim ban and the President of Mexico has told him that Mexico will not pay for that wall. No one knows where he’ll end up but you nominated him when he was adamant about all these issues. You believed in them. There is an old adage: “Be careful what you wish for.” It would be wise to examine your wish. Let’s just start with deportation.

The deportation of millions of people has not been seen since Nazi Germany sent their “illegals” to concentration camps. Of course these victims had not illegally entered Germany. They were either German citizens or citizens of Nazi conquered countries. But in the eyes of the Nazis they were all illegal human beings who deserved to die. Can you grasp the enormity of the hostile reaction from around the world over Trump’s deportation plans? The United States of America, the democratic beacon to the world for two hundred years would employ this fascist draconian measure to uproot and send eleven million human beings — three out of every one hundred men, women, and children to countries in which they have no family, friends, jobs or familiarity. Can you imagine the recruitment bonanza for terrorist organizations? What destinations are we considering? Do you believe that all these people came from Mexico? They came from around the world including Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. Why would you assume that their country of origin would accept them? They were not sent here by government decree. You expect these governments to welcome a strain on their economies? Do you think all you have to do is put these millions of people on airplanes and drop them in the respective countries? How? By parachute? No country is obligated to allow planes to land at their airports. Do we force that? How? A threat of military action?

Trump speaks of a force that will round up these people. How big and how costly will this force be? How long will it take to round up eleven million people? Do you think that they will all go like lambs to the slaughter? People born here, people who have lived here twenty years, people who have established businesses and professions — they will all bow peacefully to the inevitable? There will be people who will constantly move one step ahead of the deportation decree adding to the costs. There will be people so outraged by this government action against them they will take up arms. And what of their citizen neighbors? There will be millions of citizens who oppose this fascist act who will do everything in their power to help these illegals escape the deportation. And there will be millions of citizens like you who will aid the deportation. Trump is sowing the seeds for an armed revolution and you have placed him in the position of Commander in Chief.

The estimated cost of deporting eleven million people is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. But that is only the cost of the deportation force and the ancillary costs such as travel and food. There is a much bigger cost to add. What about the costs to landlords when millions of rental apartments and houses are emptied? What about the costs to businesses that lose employees and the retail businesses that lose customers? Those are costs passed on to the federal government in the form of lower tax revenues. And speaking of tax revenues, you have been fed a steady diet of misinformation regarding illegal immigrants. The vast majority of them pay taxes. If they are drawing a paycheck, that paycheck has tax deductions. Any employer who does not make those deductions is guilty of a crime. That’s his crime not the employee’s. Illegal employees represent a large chunk of Federal and State income. Even those who do not pay income tax pay sales tax on their purchases.

You have also been misinformed about the social welfare bestowed on these “undeserving illegals.” Those illegals who have social security and Medicare payments deducted from their paychecks will never receive a social security check or Medicare coverage when they retire because they have no social security ID or use a false one to get employment. You somehow envision all illegals as those groups of men standing in the parking lots of Home Depot hoping to get a day job. Would you like to live a life like that? Would you be happy picking fruit in the orchards of California, washing cars, bussing dishes, cleaning houses? These men and women are doing jobs that citizens will not do. The work is too hard and the pay too little. What happens when those illegals are deported? Who will do the work? Trump’s deportation policy will strip all these businesses of employees unless they pay living wages. The very reason they hire illegals is because they cannot afford increasing their costs. They will do that or go out of business. How happy will you be when you see the rising costs of everything including groceries?

Trump is talking about deporting the illegals and then allowing them to return legally. He is talking about vetting eleven million people. It will take years. What will these people do for income in the countries in which they have been deposited? The vast majority of these countries have huge unemployment which is the reason these people fled in the first place. And what of those who manage to be vetted and return? To what do they return? Will their old job be there? If they have no job to go to, will we allow them to return and join the ranks of the unemployed? Has anyone in your party bothered to think this policy through?

The deportation is about more than dollar costs. It is about our humanity. How can you watch families torn apart? How can you witness people being forced from their homes at gunpoint? How can you accept a high school or college student brought here as a toddler or born here forced to return to a country he/she has never known? I guess if you have no heart, you have no problem with this? I’m praying you have a heart and on examining what you’ve wished for, you will find it.

Just saying…

Your friend,

Sandy

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Sep 2016 11

by Dennis J. Bernstein and Greg Palast

If you believe the Republican hysteria machine, there’s an unprecedented election crime wave sweeping America involving a staggering 7.2 million suspected double voters. Thousands of these supposed criminals — who, if found guilty, have committed a felony punishable by 5-years in the slammer — have already lost their right to vote, with 41,000 people in Virginia alone being struck off voter roles. Statistical analysis of the evidence uncovered by investigative reporter Greg Palast shows that one million Americans may lose their vote by November. It also shows that a high proportion of these black, white, and brown voters have one thing in common: they tend to vote blue. In this week’s Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Election Crimes Bulletin, Palast gives Flashpoints’ Dennis J. Bernstein the skinny on this election crime wave, which in reality is little more than a GOP-generated racist sham designed to filter the blue out of the votes at the polls.

Listen to the podcast in the player below or subscribe to it on iTunes. (Transcript available here.)

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Jul 2016 21

By Nicole Powers

The problem with clowns is that it’s easy to dismiss them as a joke — but if you do that with Insane Clown Posse, then the joke’s on you. With record sales in the multi-millions and a loyal fanbase that is comparable only to that of the Grateful Dead, the Juggalo juggernaut has been trucking for 25 + years, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Much maligned and misunderstood, the band and the fan-created “Juggalo” world that surrounds them, are steeped in controversy — much of it being caused perhaps by over-literal interpretations of their tongue-in-cheek horrorcore lyrics. However, despite much-publicized brushes with the law, for many in the Juggalo community, Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are seen as saviors rather than sinners — their inclusive philosophy serving as a lifeline.

Very much in sympatico with the ethos of SuicideGirls, those in Insane Clown Posse’s world celebrate the strange, the weird, and the fucked up — and have an innate understanding that it’s these differences which make us beautiful. The Gathering of the Juggalos serves as a visceral illustration of this. Now in its 17th year, the Lollapalooza-like event — which takes place this year from July 20th thru 23rd at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio — is a family reunion for the disenfranchised and a festival for those from all walks of life who feel a need to get their freak-on.

Earlier this year, SuicideGirls caught up with Violent J (left), Shaggy 2 Dope (right), and Young Wicked (center) on their tour bus, in a nondescript parking lot somewhere near LAX. Read the full interview here.

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May 2015 31

By Nicole Powers

It’s frightening how little the West understands The People’s Republic of China. And what we don’t know is hurting us — and them. Inside China’s borders resides the largest population on the planet (1.357 billion compared to the United States’ paltry 318 million), which is guarded by the largest army in terms of active personnel and a formidable nuclear arsenal. China also hosts one of the fastest growing economies, and as a result, the planet’s largest middle class. The Republic is therefore revered by more open capitalist cultures as much as it is feared.

Those within China who have benefited from its unprecedented prosperity have paid a high price, however, in terms of freedom of expression and oppression. Meanwhile the foreign corporations that do business there, in order to continue to reap the rewards of China’s burgeoning markets, choose to turn a blind eye to these human rights abuses — they have to, since it’s the only way the state allows them to function. Thus, the Chinese government and the overseas corporations doing business within the Republic’s borders are essentially in cahoots in maintaining the status quo; The Great Wall of China is no longer a physical one protecting the insular nation, but one built on silence.

Chinese lawyer and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Chinese lawyer and human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

Enter documentarian Vanessa Hope, whose previous credits include William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe and China in Three Words. Through the language of film, Vanessa — who has dedicated her personal and professional life to exploring China’s culture — hopes to foster greater understanding and break the state imposed and business endorsed wall of silence.

Her latest project All Eyes And Ears is remarkable, both in terms of scope and access. Through Vanessa’s lens, we follow the former Mormon Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, as he moves to China with his glamorous wife Mary Kaye and their adopted Chinese daughter Gracie to take up office as the Obama-appointed U.S. Ambassador. Vanessa took a longitudinal approach, filming over the course of five years from the end of 2009 through the beginning of 2014. Consequently, Huntsman’s term in office and Vanessa’s film bears witness not ony to the rise of authoritarian leader Xi Jinping, but also the rise of the proletariat in the Occupy-inspired Jasmine Spring. The arc of Huntsman’s story also converges with that of the blind, self-taught Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who escaped from house arrest in 2012 to claim asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. This unexpected turn of events, which occurred during a key international diplomatic summit, sparked one of the greatest crisis in U.S. / China relations in recent times.

We caught up with Vanessa by phone to talk about the project. Read our exclusive interview with Vanessa on SuicideGirls.

For more information visit alleyesandears.org, and follow @VHopeful and @alleyesearsdoc on Twitter. If you’d like to support All Eyes And Ears, visit the Indiegogo page.

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Oct 2014 15

by Nicole Powers

“What’s on the inside comes out. And I think at the moment we just feel like in some ways we’ve been regenerated.” – Andy Bell, Erasure

In spiritual teachings, the violet flame is a divine transcendent force that transmutes the negative and transforms it into a positive. It’s therefore a fitting name for Erasure’s sixteenth studio album, which was released on September 23rd, 2014. Though the effervescent synth-pop grooves are nothing short of a party, the lyrics hint at darker times.

As Andy tells me in our phone interview (which took place on the eve of the album’s release), following the death of his manager and former long-term partner in 2012, he found solace in a new relationship and feels like he’s been given a second chance in life. It’s this return to the good times that served as the creative fuel for The Violet Flame.

During the course of our conversation we talk about the new album and tour, the challenges of being out in an increasingly corporate and closed industry, and his two and four-legged sources of love and inspiration.

Read the full interview on SuicideGirls.com/.

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May 2014 27

by Nicole Powers

One of the most intriguing characters in the new series of House of Cards, is that of hacker Gavin Orsay played by Jimmi Simpson. The political drama, which is written and produced by Beau Willimon and stars Kevin Spacey as the Machiavellian politician Francis Underwood, is highly addictive and a breakout hit on Netflix.

One of the secrets of the show’s success is that it exposes the down and dirty machinations behind the sanitized spin we’re usually presented with in the media. Indeed, much of the House of Cards action is centered around not only the insider intrigues within the White House, but the power play between politicians and the press.

We’re first introduced to Orsay in House of Cards, when a Washington Herald journalist, Lucas Goddwin (played by Sebastian Arcelus), seeks out the help of the online collective Anonymous, after more traditional forms of investigation lead to nothing but dead ends. Wanting to maintain House of Cards’ consummate sense of authenticity, when Willimon delved into the world of the hactivist hive he sought advice from one of its most respected members, Gregg Housh, who is credited as being one of the people who put the iconic Guy Fawkes mask on the group.

When it comes to recreating reality, the devil is in the detail, and one such detail Willimon included in his fictional series as a result of his association with Housh has had positive repercussions in real life. In a scene in which Orsay is negotiating his way out from under the thumb of an FBI agent, he also requests that “all of Barrett Brown’s charges are dropped.” For the uninitiated, Brown is a talented and colorful Vanity Fair and Guardian journalist with a penchant for red wine and bubble baths, who is currently residing in a Texas penitentiary facing charges related to the sharing of a hyperlink. The case is potentially precedent-setting –– and with threats of a 105-year jail term, has had a chilling effect on journalism –– so a pointed mention in such a highly respected and successful show was lauded by Brown’s supporters, online activists, and journalists alike.

SuicideGirls spoke with Simpson by phone on a Saturday in early March. The actor, who has had memorable recurring roles in the TV series 24, Breakout Kings, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Psych, and prominent supporting roles in the films The Invention of Lying, Date Night, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and White House Down, among others, also happens to be a member of our community. Our interview was arranged during enforced downtime, while Simpson was awaiting surgery on his collarbone. Though under doctor’s orders to take things easy himself, he spoke to us while he was waiting for a group of his friends to jump out of a plane.

Read our exclusive interview with Jimmi Simpson on SuicideGirls.com/.

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