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Sep 2013 20

by Nicole Powers

“I’m a pop junkie,” says Victoria Hesketh a.k.a. Little Boots, whose stated goal is to write the perfect pop song. It could be argued that the British singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has already done that with the 2009 single “New In Town” from her debut album Hands, but Hesketh modestly insists she has yet to attain that songwriting holy grail.

The word “pop” when describing any artistic medium is often considered to be synonymous with shallow and disposable, but the music Hesketh makes is most definitely not of that ilk. Unlike many who seek popular music success, Hesketh has put in the work and refused to sacrifice her individuality. She’s learnt her craft, paid her dues, and stayed true to her somewhat geeky self, and in doing so has created a DIY electro-pop aesthetic all of her own. Rejecting over-polished pop, Hesketh incorporates lo-fi sounds from offbeat gadgets such as the Stylophone and Tenori-on into her well-crafted songs.

It’s this down to earth, quirky, and honest approach that resonates with fans, who appreciate that she’s never conformed to the pop princess mold – though conversely it’s something that no doubt frustrated her first major label Warner Music Group home. Creative differences led to an amicable split after the release of her first album, and now Little Boots is doing her own thing her own way.

Her second album, Nocturnes, which was produced by Mo’ Wax co-founder Tim Goldsworthy (now of disco-punk label DFA records), was released via Hesketh’s On Repeat Records imprint earlier this year, and a video for the song “Satellite,” which she directed, debuted this month.

We caught up with Hesketh by phone as she was preparing for her upcoming US tour, which kicks off in Santa Ana, California this weekend.

Read our exclusive interview with Little Boots on SuicideGirls.com.

Little Boots album Nocturnes, featuring the single “Satellite”, is out now. Her US tour kicks of at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, CA on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013. For more info visit littlebootsmusic.co.uk/.

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Jul 2013 09

by Nicole Powers

“There’s only one thing worse in society than the poor house and that’s the mad house.” ~ Adam Ant

Back in the early ’80s, Adam Ant was the king of the wild post-punk frontier. Mentored by former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and his fashion designer partner Vivienne Westwood, the London born art school dropout created a visually vivid world of pirates and dandies which brought color back to the palate of a culturally monotone and economically depressed UK.

Having amassed an avid US fanbase with his music, and after starring in a critically acclaimed West End production of the Joe Orton play Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Ant moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. However the price of fame took its toll. Alongside film and TV roles, he also aquired a stalker, which severely impacted his already fragile peace of mind.

Taking a break from the public eye, Ant moved to Tennessee before returning to London, where an altercation outside a pub thrust him back into the headlines again. Following the incident, Ant pled guilty to a single count of causing an affray. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 21, Ant received a suspended sentence and court ordered psychiatric care. Unfortunately, due to the relentless nature of the British press, he was forced to pull his life back together under the tabloid glare.

Though his recovery was very public and far from linear – with every setback being exacerbated by its salacious documentation by the less savory contingent of the UK press – Ant is clearly in a much better place these days. He completed a string of dates in the US and Europe in 2012, before releasing his first studio album in 17 years. The intriguingly titled Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter was released on both side of the Atlantic in January of this year.

SuicideGirls caught up with Ant by phone after a rehearsal with his new band The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse to talk about his new album and his upcoming US tour, which kicks off in San Diego on July 17th.

Read our exclusive interview with Adam Ant on SuicideGirls.com.

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May 2013 25

by Damon Martin

What if you were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease and only had six-months to live? What would you do? Would you quit your job? Would you tell the people in your life that matter the most exactly what they meant to you? Would you travel the world? Would you just crawl into a hole and wait to die?

Being handed a death sentence is nothing anyone can fathom until it’s happened to them, but those questions are answered through a new comic, Death Sentence by Montynero and Mike Dowling – see trailer:

As the tagline reads: “The virus is going to enhance you and then kill you. There is no cure.” Verity Flett was one of the unfortunate souls diagnosed with the debilitating disease known only as the G+ virus, and her story along with several others will play out on the pages of Death Sentence. She was kind enough to speak with us about her role in this new ongoing saga:

Damon Martin: As you understand it, what exactly is the G+ virus?

Verity Flett: It’s an STD that enhances your abilities – but kills you in six months. I’ve got it worse than most and I’m trying to find out why.

DM: There are no words that can describe what it’s like to literally be told you only have months to live, but if you were to tell us what went through your mind on that day what was happening?

VF: Disbelief. Numbness. Fear. Then I got angry. You look at all the other fuckers wasting their time – cheating and lying – and you think…why me? What did I do?!! But fuck it, six months is six months. I’m not done yet.

DM: I haven’t seen someone walk out of their job in a more epic way this side of Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. You certainly left yours in an interesting way. Any regrets?

VF: Fuck regrets! Are you high?! Dude’s lucky I didn’t knock him out!

DM: With time running out, was there any one thing you wanted to do or accomplish?

VF: I wanna paint. I always figured there’d be time, but…shit kept happening! And there’s someone I’d like to see. Make things right, if I can.

DM: What can you tell us about what happened at the Royal London Hospital?

VF: Man…those poor people! If I could go back, I would. But it wasn’t me who instigated that shit! One second we’re chatting and the next they’re all on me with handcuffs and a needle. What the fuck would you do? I felt all this heat, all these frequencies on my skin – and I rejected the lot. Threw it right back out. I don’t have a fuckin’ clue how it happened it and I hope to god there’s no repeat.

DM: If you had one message for all the other people out there with the G+ virus what would it be?

VF: Run.

To read Verity’s story and about the rest of those infected, check out Death Sentence #1, hitting stores on October 9, 2013. The series will also be available to read on the iPad, iPhone, Web, Android and Kindle Fire, exclusively through the comiXology app and comiXology.com. For more information follow @comicstitan.

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May 2013 09

by Nicole Powers

“I know something of the life that this man lives in this film,” says Pierce Brosnan when asked what attracted him to Love Is All You Need. It’s without doubt his most personal role to date. He plays a character very different from the cool, calm and collected men of action that dominate his résumé, which includes the title role in the TV series Remington Steele, and leads in movies such as Dante’s Peak, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Tailor of Panama, as well as a four-film stint as James Bond in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.

Though still suave and sophisticated, in Love Is All You Need Brosnan’s character Philip is very vulnerable beneath his expensive suits and default crabby demeanor. Philip is an English businessman isolated by geography in Denmark, and cut off from love due to the untimely and sudden death of his wife. As a coping mechanism, he divorces himself from his emotions and thrusts himself into his work running an international fruit and vegetable import/export empire. However, on the way to his son’s wedding at a picturesque but neglected Italian villa, surrounded by orange and lemon groves, that he once shared with his late wife, love literally and metaphorically crashes into Philip’s life.

The somewhat chaotic Ida, played with extreme candor and subtlety by Danish actress Tinre Dyrholm, is the last thing Philip wants in his well-ordered and controlled world. But she is everything he needs. They bump into each other when Ida reverses her beat up car into Philip’s pristine one in an airport parking lot. As they exchange information, to their mutual horror and embarrassment, they realize they are both en route to the same wedding since Ida is the mother of the bride.

Ida’s vulnerabilities are far less well concealed than Philip’s. Indeed her wig is knocked off when her car airbag inflates, revealing a scalp left hairless due to the rigors of chemotherapy. But her hair – and a breast – are not the only losses Ida’s recently endured. Her husband has also just walked out on her, and into the arms of a younger woman. As a result, Ida is barely able to keep it together as she suffers the weight of Philip’s frustration and scorn. But her kindness, dignity, and cheerful spirit in the face of adversity prevail, chipping away the stone that encases Philip’s heart.

Though dealing with the grim realities of breast cancer in an unusually honest way, the film –– which was directed by Academy Award-winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier and produced by Vibeke Windeløv, who has worked extensively with Dogme director Lars von Trier –– is very much a celebration of life and love. The two central characters ultimately come to terms with their respective losses, and find a way to move past them, and it’s this aspect that resonates deeply with Brosnan’s own experience.

The Irish born actor lost his first wife, Cassandra Harris, after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer in 1991. She was just 43. Like Philip, Brosnan eventually allowed himself to love again, and married journalist Keely Shaye Smith after a 7 year courtship in 2001. The couple have now been together for over 19 years and tirelessly campaign to raise awareness and money for environmental causes and women’s healthcare issues.

I recently met up with Brosnan at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel to talk about Love Is All You Need, which is in theaters now.

Nicole Powers: You must have been at this all day.

Pierce Brosnan: I have actually. All day, all yesterday, all week, but it’s good, because the film is a beautiful film.

NP: I was just going to say how beautiful it was. It’s a very unusual love story too, because it’s not just about the transformative power of love, it’s about the transformative power of a little honesty and a lot of kindness.

PB: It is. You’re absolutely right in that regard. It is about kindness, it is about affairs of the heart, it’s about the humanity of people’s lives who are mangled by love or by their own infidelities. It’s also about a woman who’s dealing with the rigors and the stress of breast cancer and trying to cleave her way through the healing of that, and a man, like myself, who is dormant within his own widowdom. That’s the power and the glory of Susanne Bier, she’s a really fantastic writer, a fantastic director.

NP: I love the brave choices she made. I mean, there’s the traditional Hollywood portrayal of cancer, but she chose not to take that route. There’s a particularly powerful bathing scene where you actually see…

PB: Her breast.

NP: And her wound. And that was important, to see that and have that honesty in the portrayal.

PB: Yes. I think it’s one of the most gorgeous scenes in the movie. I think it’s probably the epicenter of the movie. You see the vulnerability of this magnificent woman played by Trine Dyrholm. You see the joy away from the pain of cancer [as she’s] just bathing in these gorgeous waters – naked and abandoned to life. Then he thinks she’s drowning, it’s very tender and really beautifully done. It was an amazing setting to play the scene out in, and to see Trine do it with such courage and be naked. It’s not easy to be naked and have a camera on your as well.

NP: I also think it was a very courageous film for you to take on, because it must have brought back some painful memories from your past.

PB: It was come the day for the memories to go there, to go back to the loss of a wife that you loved, to go back and touch into that space and time and heart. But one does that in many different ways in your work. That’s what the job and the art of acting is, to go back to places that you don’t necessarily want to go back to and to bring them alive. That’s the challenge. And if you have a piece like this that is so supportive for those memories, and you have a director like Susanne Bier, who’s directing you through the piece, then you can surrender to it. And you have actors like Trine before you who make you real.

NP: Yes, she’s incredible. When you first saw the script what attracted you to it?

PB: Because I could identify with the emblems that were in this character’s life. Losing a wife, being a single parent, being a widower, being, not necessarily a workaholic – because I do like to do work. I love working, I love acting, and it’s what I do.

NP: And finding love again?

PB: And finding love again, I knew about that. I’ve got a great girl, a great woman who’s my North Star, nineteen years together going down the road. So, you know, I know something of the life that this man lives in this film. It’s about faith, new beginnings, all in the celebration of a wedding. Everyone can identify with a wedding. It’s the bringing together of two families, it’s a bringing together of a man and a woman, a boy and a girl, their love in the eyes of god, so there’s all of that ceremony that is timeless, generation after generation. And then the crazy, madcap world within that when they clash and the alcohol flows and the music flows and the resentments come out and people really begin to show themselves.

NP: The whole thing with family is that you have to love them despite their flaws.

PB: Yeah, you do. Because we’re all cracked and fractured, that’s love and only love really. It’s the essence of being human, being kind with whatever you do – writing, painting, being a dentist or being an accountant or whatever – I think it’s to be kind, to be loving.

NP: How long did you get to spend in Italy? The location was stunning.

PB: We spent just over a month there. It was amazing. It was just fabulous. Sorrento is a gorgeous part of the Italian coastline.

NP: I went on vacation there. It was the best trip I’ve ever had in my entire life. And seeing that villa set amongst the orange and lemon groves made me want smell-o-vision, because it must have smelt good.

PB: Oh, it was mighty, it was really, really unbelievable. I had the time of my life. It’s a film that I will carry in my heart forever and a day, because of the nature of it. Then that it’s there on film, that Morten [Søborg], the DP, captured it in such glorious color. And to wake up every day and go to work and Vibeke [Windeløv], one of the producers on the film, who’s a very charismatic lady. She found a villa for me, so I lived in the Villa Tritone, which was down the back streets. Do you remember when you were there, you could go down the back streets of Sorrento, down to the little village, the little bay? Well, as you go down that avenue, just before you get to the Saracens’ Gate, if you remember that, where the Saracens came through all those centuries ago, on the right there were green gates, and there was the Villa Tritone. So I stayed in this villa. Vibeke made a deal with the lovely owners, I stayed there, and then consequently all the cast and crew could come in – because they wanted to have James Bond in their house. [laughs] God love ‘em! God bless ‘em! [Puts on thick Irish accent] I’m just an actor. There you go, let’s party guys!

NP: This movie, and Mamma Mia, which is also set in a Mediterranean surrounding and centered around a wedding, made me realize that Europeans know how to eat, drink, and be merry, in a way that…

PB: Americans do, Americans do as well.

NP: But the lushness of the land, and the connection of it to the wine and the produce on the table…

PB:: Well, there is that old worldliness to it – that’s what’s so beguiling and captivating. These films are like bookends, Mamma Mia and this one. They sit there like bookends on the shelf. Because both are surrounded by the epicenter of a wedding.

NP: Did the locals enjoy the fact that James Bond was staying in their town? Were there any particularly funny moments with the locals while you were in Sorrento?

PB: Erm…Yes, but I can’t really talk about the one that comes to mind. [laughs] It involves…Oh no, I couldn’t. You’ll have to read the memoirs for that one. [laughs]

NP: [laughs] Damn, that’s a tease!

PB: It’s a tease, isn’t it? No, not really, I wondered around and, you know, the locals…I’d get out and about and I’d go to church Sundays, because the churches are everywhere, on every corner, and they’re so magnificent and such a celebration of faith. And the food was fantastic. I met a family who had a boat, so some days I’d just go around the coast and down the coast of the Amalfi.

NP: Ah, the Amalfi Coast.

PB: It was just around the corner, literally.

NP: Yeah, I took a bus trip along the coastal cliff road, and the bus was so long and the corners were so sharp it felt like we were going to plunge over the edge at times.

PB: Yeah, best not to look too closely. That opening scene with us in the car, that was all along the Amalfi Coast. I don’t know how the hell we managed to do it but we did…But it was an embarrassment of riches.

NP: Well your career’s almost been an embarrassment of riches. I mean you got a big break early on when Tennessee Williams handpicked you to be in the UK premiere of his play [The Red Devil Battery Sign], and then you’ve work with Roman Polanski on The Ghost Writer – is there anyone you feel that you’ve yet to work with?

PB: Oh, so many, so many.

NP: Who? Put their names out into the universe and see what comes back.

PB: I’d love to work with Ang Lee and David O. Russell, I’d love to work with Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino – he wanted to do James Bond.

NP: Yeah?

PB: Yeah.

NP: I could see that actually.

PB: We got so, so polluted one night, he and I. Just absolutely in our cups at the Four Seasons.

NP: That’s a nice euphemism. What were you getting “polluted” on?

PB: Apple Martinis.

NP: They’re lethal.

PB: Ah, lethal.

NP: Because they’re so fruity.

PB: Ah, fruity, we were being very fruity that night, the two of us.

Publicist: [walks through the door and interrupts our conversation to bring the interview to a close] On that fruity note…So sorry

PB: On that fruity note…there we go…

NP: Nooo! Just as I’m getting the story of the night Pierce Brosnan gets drunk on Apple Martinis with Quentin Tarantino – Argh!!!!

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Apr 2013 01

by Nicole Powers

“It’s a weird movie, which is good.”
– Rob Zombie

The Lords of Salem is one hell of a rockin’ horror flick. Written and directed by Rob Zombie – whose feature credits include House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and Halloween I and II – the masterfully textured and paced film puts a timeless new spin on the mythology surrounding the Salem witch trials. It stars Rob’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, who plays Heidi Hawthorne, a local radio station DJ. The spirits of Salem start to stir when Heidi gives airplay to a sheet of vinyl she receives in a mysterious wooden crate, which comes with a cryptic note that merely says it’s “a gift from the Lords.”

After spooking ourselves silly watching a preview, during which we literally jumped out of our seat and squealed on several occasions, we met up with Rob, who’d just returned from Austin where he’d screened the film during SXSW. We spoke in depth about The Lords of Salem and also got the skinny on his new album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, which comes out four days after the film’s April 19th theatrical release.

Read our interview with Rob Zombie on SuicideGirls.com.

**

A Message From Rob Zombie:

Win a walk on role in Rob Zombie’s next movie and a VIP Concert Experience package. Visit LordsOfSalem.com/win for full details.

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Mar 2013 02

by Asher Wolf

A while back I decided to interview @AnonyOps. We chat regularly. As a result, we quickly generated a huge stack of material.

We worked together in a consultative process to trim back the content. The result is true to the nature of the conversation we’ve held over a number of months.

This interview is the first time anyone has interviewed @AnonyOps about his decision to become Anonymous, his fear of persecution, the talent brain-drain and his decision to leave the U.S.

@AnonyOps: I don’t want talk about what country I’m in. Just that I’ve left. We can start the interview now if you want…

@Asher_Wolf: Can you tell me about your background, so people can image you behind the mask?

@AnonyOps: I sit in my mother’s basement and I write code all day. Well, all of that’s true — except the part about my mother’s basement.

I’m not going to hand over identifying information.

In my free time? I sit and stew about state powers and mass surveillance of innocent people, attempts at censorship and general tyranny. These things put gas in my tank.

@Asher_Wolf: Tell me about becoming Anonymous?

@AnonyOps: I had a set of common beliefs in line with others in Anonymous – which, looking back is a bit funny to think about, mostly because we’re not unanimous.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you know what you were getting into when you took up with the Guy Fawkes mask of Anonymous?

@AnonyOps: I was certainly filled with idealism and yes, I was naive.

But, yeah, remembering back to December 2010 – when I saw what happened to WikiLeaks (with the Mastercard, Visa and PayPal financial blockade) I was completely outraged. I wasn’t very optimistic at the start. I had a vision of what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know if I would have any impact at all. I thought – I would probably just be seen as yet another idiot on Twitter.

@Asher_Wolf: You thought you were powerless?

@AnonyOps: Yes. But I was naive. A day or two after I joined Twitter, I live-tweeted a forum, the Personal Democracy Forum 2010.

When I started watching it being streamed online, and seeing what topics they covered – I knew I wanted to participate. So I tweeted, and after about a minute of tweeting at them, they mentioned me in their video feed

That was an interesting moment for me. It’s when I realized that this thing – this mask of Anonymous – could have power.

@Asher_Wolf: How did the public respond?

@AnonyOps: There was lots of retweeting going on immediately. It felt as if a light switch had been flicked on. I felt I had a platform with which to speak, possibly for the first time in my life. I broke my first 100 followers on Twitter that day.

[Note: @AnonyOps now has more than 200k followers]

It was amazing. Such a dinky number of Twitter followers in retrospect, but to have it happen so quickly was interesting.

Live-tweeting something being streamed live online is still my favorite Twitter experience. It’s a rush. It was a bigger rush than some of the hacking I did as a teenager.

And yes – I see it as hacking – hacking public dialog. Taking on the Anonymous character and costume was like hacking my way onto a panel discussion where I’d never have been invited to participate otherwise.

When they announced to the entire room and online conference forum: “Hey everyone! Anonymous is here!” and they were talking about me.

I thought “Now what? I have their attention! Shit, better think of something smart to say next.”

It drove home I really needed to have a message, a vision for what I wanted to do and say. I needed to hone and develop my purpose.

Within just over a year of becoming an Anon, I was invited to speak at Transmediale (a huge a Berlin-based festival exploring art, culture and technology) as a panelist via Skype – representing to some degree a face of Anonymous.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you worry about “not fitting in” with the rest of Anonymous, when you jumped in and became part of the “hive”?

@AnonyOps: Yes, I worried at first. I wasn’t sure I’d mesh well with the hive. I don’t consider myself a typical Anon. After time, I stopped caring about giving a shit about being “different”, and counted it a good trait.

@Asher_Wolf: Does it ever feel like you’re playing at being a superhero?

@AnonyOps: That’s exactly what it felt like – and it still does occasionally. I think Anonymous caught people’s eye. But I’m just a regular joe. Anyone can be an Anon. But doing it well… takes work.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you feel a sense of obligation, knowing the impact you can potentially have ?

@AnonyOps: Do I feel a sense of obligation: of course. But I’m not particularly involved as an activist in “meatspace.” I just care. I do pay attention to politics and I’m careful about what information I put out online, as I know it influences other activists. Giving a shit is half the battle, if not more.

@Asher_Wolf: Some political pundits have criticized Anonymous as anti-American at times?

@AnonyOps: I’m sure there are some anti-American elements. But sometimes it seems difficult to discern between those who are anti-American – and those who love America, but hate how the country is being run.

@Asher_Wolf: Do you still have hope for the U.S.?

@AnonyOps: Not necessarily hope for America as a concept, but hope – and perhaps faith – in the people. I don’t really consider myself nationalistic, but I care about my country, its constitution. I don’t hold the concept of country as more important than people or life itself. American exceptionalism is a curse upon the U.S.

@Asher_Wolf: How do you react to claims by media and government representatives hyping the potential of cyber terrorism, cyber war and Anonymous.

@AnonyOps: Cyber terrorism… it’s one of the things that made me think that perhaps the US wasn’t the place for me anymore. The US government is hungry for enemies, looking for any excuse to find that next danger to the public – “think of the children!!” I don’t want to be that enemy the US administration is looking for. For fuck’s sake – I was trying to fix America, not become public enemy Number One.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you fear the American government would prosecute you? That you would be jailed for hacking something or tweeting something?

@AnonyOps: Coupled with all the evidence about the FBI knowing about plots to kill leaders of Occupy and the violence inflicted by militarized police against peaceful war veterans protesting as part of the Occupy Movement? I didn’t think I’d be jailed for hacking anything, but for tweeting something, sure. I’ve seen it happen to friends. They were hit with amazingly flimsy “conspiracy” charges, or something they said triggered them to be raided – free speech, my ass.

@Asher_Wolf: Like Barrett Brown?

@AnonyOps: Yes, like Barrett. Granted, some of the things he said in video were pretty stupid, but I don’t believe he was planning on killing anyone. He’s looking at potentially landing in prison for 100 years for saying dumb things.

@Asher_Wolf: Anonymous has previously been described by a Fox News affiliate (as well as other commentators) as “domestic terrorists.” Did you ever, for a second, see yourself as a terrorist? And how did it feel to have media describe Anonymous, the movement you became one of many representatives by proxy, described as terrorists?

@AnonyOps: To be personally considered a terrorist was, for me, is the height of idiocy.

To love one’s country and to want to see it live up to the things it says it holds dear – just to be called a terrorist….it’s disheartening, eye-opening and really frustrating.

Sometimes I wonder if news organizations are following in the steps of “shock-jocks” – in that, I mean they’re simply stating things to get a rise out of people. Or that they’re just trolling us. Can they really be that stupid? It’s hard to tell sometimes…

@Asher_Wolf: How did you react to knowing you were being portrayed that way?

@AnonyOps: I just had to continue to fight on, knowing this sentiment isn’t in the majority. Or at least hope it isn’t. We have to fight harder against this stuff. Silence gives consent. You have to yell loudly at that kind of stupidity and not let journalists get away with it. Name and shame.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you feel a need to take special action to keep yourself and your family out of harm’s way since you began to publicly identify as Anonymous?

@AnonyOps: You hide, hope your online anonymity efforts have worked or you get the hell out of the country – which is what I did. I got the hell out.

I’ve known for quite some time that this is where things would end up. Anonymous has left the building, as it were. The idea of leaving occupied my life for about a year.

And being a refugee of sorts, it’s not all roses. I gave up so much; my home, family and friends.

But I’ve seen what my government does to outspoken people, to people who are “too effective” in their criticism.

Just look at Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Andrew Alan Escher Auernheimer, Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown… people *are* being persecuted for trying to speak out against the regime.

I had to leave.

@Asher_Wolf: Did concern that you’d be charged with a crime relating to your involvement with Anonymous play into your decision to leave the U.S.?

@AnonyOps: Yes – mostly I feared they’d fake my involvement in something or try to entrap me, or hit me with some bullshit conspiracy charge.

I left for some of the same reasons Aaron Swartz “left.” I’m sick to death of where the US is going, about the impact it has on people’s lives. But exile was my choice of escape instead. I don’t have suicide in me and I didn’t want to end up in a jail cell.

But I’m so sick of dealing with the bullshit American “justice” system. Sick of seeing prosecutors throw the kitchen sink at people, hoping they’ll plead out so as to avoid, you know, actually going to trial and proving someone guilty. That’s not justice, it’s railroading. Kitchen sink justice is why I left.

I mean… they could still trap me, I’m sure, if they were so inclined, and I’m sure they would if i ever got *so good* at liberating information from their death grips. Perhaps then they might see fit to draw a box and put me in it. So I chose exile, instead

@Asher_Wolf: So this is essentially a form of political exile of sorts?

@AnonyOps: Political exile is better than being a political prisoner. I see how that’s worked out for others. Years in detention like Bradley Manning, Jeremy Hammond or holed up somewhere in Canada like Commander X.

@Asher_Wolf: Where did you decide to go ?

@AnonyOps: Just… away. Probably better not to name where I went. Just, somewhere safer. I think the idea was planted when I saw others leaving. Glen Greenwald left, and other talent has quietly slipped away from the U.S. for quite some time now.

There’s a brain drain, of political dissidents – America’s punishment for screwing with civil liberties.

With the NSA building massive domestic spying programs, I can’t blame anyone for wanting to leave: America – land of the surveilled, home of the logged.

@Asher_Wolf: What do you miss most since you left the US?

@AnonyOps: I miss… being able to hang out with friends and family. And I miss the really expensive health care! (Just kidding!)

@Asher_Wolf: Do you think you’ll ever return to the US?

@AnonyOps: Yes, I’m sure I’ll be coming back to the States. I just won’t be coming back with any electronic equipment.

But yeah, I’ve no illusions that I’m “in hiding” or out of view of the US government. However now if they want me, they have to expend quite a bit more resources to come get me, and have to deal with another government to do so.

@Asher_Wolf: Did you feel regret over leaving?

@AnonyOps: My only regret is leaving has become the choice that seems sanest right now. I regret… I regret that leaving seems like the best option right now. But it seems safer in some ways.

Of course… if the US government deems me an “enemy” or “enemy combatant”, they can easily drone-kill me now. I guess that’s a new danger that didn’t exist before. That’s harder for them to do in the states, but they’ve done it abroad

@Asher_Wolf: But you’re still an American citizen…?

@AnonyOps: The US government doesn’t seem to care about that pesky requirement. 16 year old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was also a U.S. citizen when he was killed by U.S. drone bomb in Yemen.

We need to stop thinking that there is one rule of law for some and another for us. Extrajudicial killing – the US government is literally murdering people. There is no “due process.”

The US has lost the concept of due process. In the US intellectuals, technologists and activists are targeted for harassment at borders: their property is taken, they’re put in “holding” for a long time. There are countless examples of Occupy protesters being singled out because of their involvement in the movement.

But there are countries that have shown that bankers can, in fact, be put in jail and that presidents aren’t immune to the scrutiny of the people, and will be held accountable. I want to live in places where justice isn’t just lip-service.

@Asher_Wolf: Do you worry about the message your decision to leave gives to other activists in the U.S.

@AnonyOps: No, not at all. I mean…. it may give them the message to leave as well – but that doesn’t bother me. Maybe it’s a message activists need to hear and consider carefully at this point in U.S. history: from my perspective, it’s time to either leave or hide.

***

Journalist, information-activist, and commentator, Asher Wolf has been described as a “twitter journalist” by the Sydney Morning Herald, and “one of the key activists across the world in coordinating news and information relating to breaking the old information hegemony”, by Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge.

A prolific user of Twitter, Asher is a contributor to the New Matilda and a member of the Australian MEAA journalist’s union. She’s also the founder of the CryptoParty movement, with events promoting personal privacy and cryptography in over 60 locations around the world.

Boho feral, feminist and fascinated by the implications of all things machine and geek, Asher Wolf is tinkering at the crossroads of government transparency, personal privacy, journalism, social media, technology and activism.

For more from Ahser read her blog and follow her on Twitter.

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Mar 2013 01

by Nicole Powers

“How could this have been here since the ‘50s and nobody know?”
– Jules Stewart

Jules Stewart is the mother of a certain Twilight star, but to even mention that almost does a disservice to her latest project, which is an edgy and challenging example of independent filmmaking at its finest. Having spent three decades working in Hollywood as a script supervisor, with a résumé that spans 30 films and over 50 TV shows, Stewart knows a thing or two about what makes a good story and how to avoid the grind of tired and traditional screenwriting formulas. Consequently, K-11, which she co-wrote with Jared Kurt, is a compelling and very unique take on the prison drama. The highly accomplished film, which features an extraordinary ensemble cast, also marks Stewart’s directorial debut.

Read our interview with Jules Stewart on SuicideGirls.com.

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