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Oct 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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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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Jan 2015 07

by Nicole Powers

In my imaginary Venn diagram of All Things Awesome, singer/songwriters Kate Pierson and Sia Furler occupy two giant yet equally large circles, and the new album, which these ridiculously talented and staunchly individual ladies collaborated on, Guitars and Microphones, occupies the utterly epic place where the two circles intersect.

Billed as Pierson’s debut solo album, from a songwriting perspective the release is very much a collaborative effort between the inimitable B-52s band member and the erstwhile Zero 7 frontwoman. However, featuring wonderfully quirky melodies and grooves, and Pierson’s unmistakable uplifting vocals, sonically the album is very much a child of the B-52s — the iconic Athens, Georgia retro-futuristic genre-defying outfit which Pierson co-founded in 1976 with cohorts Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, Ricky Wilson and Keith Strickland.

I recently caught up with Pierson by phone to talk about Guitars and Microphones, which hits stores on February 17, 2015. Read the full interview on SuicideGirls.com/.

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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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May 2014 21

by Nicole Powers

Brody Dalle has been the main attraction and driving creative force behind the last two band’s she’s founded and fronted –– The Distillers and Spinnerette –– so it’s about time she stepped out with an album under her own name.

Beautiful and badass, the 35-year old singer, songwriter and musician has been rockin’ hard for over two decades. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, she escaped a dysfunctional family home by joining the all teen rock band Sourpuss in 1993, when she was just 14. Two years later, she met her future ex-husband, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, while doing a festival gig.

Dalle married Armstrong, who was 13 years her senior, at 18 and moved to Los Angeles, where she formed the highly respected punk outfit The Distillers. One EP and three albums later, after forces from inside and outside the band tore it apart, Dalle regrouped under the moniker Spinnerette, releasing the Ghetto Love EP in 2008 and an eponymous album in 2009.

By this time, she’d divorced Armstrong, and had married Joshua Homme of the desert rock bands Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal. Though the relationship with Homme provided the emotional stability and creative support she craved, postnatal depression following the birth of the couple’s first child, a daughter called Camille, seriously impacted the development of Spinnerette. Dalle began work on what would become her debut solo album, Diploid Love, shortly before she found out she was pregnant with her second child, a son called Ryder. The first song she’d written for the project was intuitively entitled “Meet The Foetus.”

Now fully formed, Diploid Love will be released digitally on April 29 and more tangibly on CD and vinyl on May 19. Though motherhood greatly influenced the gestation of the album, it hasn’t mellowed Dalle’s melodic punk rock power pop. The album is everything fans could want from Dalle, who wrote all the songs and played all the instruments bar a few notable exceptions involving guest players such as Nick Valensi (of The Strokes) and Michael Shuman (of Queens of the Stone Age).

SuicideGirls caught up with Dalle by phone before a rehearsal for her upcoming solo tour.

Read our exclusive interview with Brody on SuicideGirls.com.

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