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GANGSTERS DOODLE

We take a look inside the world of Post-It Note Illustrator turned author Marlon Sassy. The Vancouver based artist has grown a considerable following for his hip-hop culture inspired “doodles,” and with his first book under his belt, it seems like things are only going up for our friend Marlon.

IN THE NAME OF LOVE

Facing discrimination, Uganda's gay community is finding a voice, and Rachel Adams is there to tell their story

RACHEL ADAMS / performers

Rachel Adams

The world is changing fast. A half century removed from colonialism and a quarter century after the reign of Idi Amin, Uganda is facing all the challenges that come along with an underdeveloped economy and a legacy of political turmoil and sweeping tragedy. More recently though, one story caught the attention of the global community, which shed a troubling light on the tension within Uganda, between old and new ideas. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, first proposed in 2009 by Member of Parliament David Bahati, represents a substantial threat to Uganda’s LGBT community on the whole, proposing harsh criminalization of homosexual behavior of any kind. In some versions of the bill, offences have carried with them proposed punishments such as life imprisonment and even the death penalty. It would be hard to imagine a more high-tension backdrop for ground level photojournalism than the one UK-born, Cairo-based photographer Rachel Adams has chosen to explore.

There’s something genuinely heroic about the kind of DIY journalism Adams does. With something as simple as a camera and a computer, Rachel’s been able to offer a glimpse into a world, and a set of issues of that might otherwise remain impenetrable. Of course, from afar, it’s the kind of situation that’s easy to moralize about in broad, sweeping terms. But for Rachel, watching from home hardly seemed like something she could do.

And so last year, Rachel found herself in Kampala, Uganda for a small, but momentous event in the history of the LGBT community there: their first pride parade. Through words and images, Rachel told the story of that day–all the way up to its unfortunate conclusion, which included several arrests by local authorities–and soon after attracted the attention of media outlets worldwide. Already, Rachel had captured a powerful moment, a snapshot of a community pushed to the fringes of their society, struggling to be heard, and to find a space in which to celebrate a fundamental piece of their own identities. Since then, Rachel has spent time in Uganda, documenting the issue from all sides, from an intimate portrait series of transgender performers in Kampala, to an in-person interview with Bahati, the man behind the infamous bill, published by Vice late last year. That her own safety and well-being has often been in jeopardy throughout the course of this project isn’t all that surprising, but it should give you an idea of her commitment to great journalism. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Rachel about her experiences, in Uganda and beyond, and about the stories she’s been able to tell so poignantly.

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EIGHT DAYS IN AUSTIN

A brief look back at our return to SXSW

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Schoolboy Q
Schoolboy Q

I wish I could do last week justice. By way of introduction, I spent eight days in Austin getting supremely jooged with opportunity after opportunity at the gigantic clusterfuck they call South by Southwest. Armed feebly with a few disposable cameras, I navigated my way through a sea of showcases and free functions, thanks in large part to Jesse and Brandon. I started the week off watching Shaq talk tech and finished it falsettoing to Prince, who happened to be standing ten or fifteen feet away from my face. Somewhere in between, I met some great folks, spent time with some even better ones, and survived the onslaught of a thousand corporations trying to attach themselves to everyone else’s cool. I suppose their dozens of open bars didn’t hurt their cause.

For the record, I saw some great shows and sets–Ryan Hemsworth brought the smoothness, FlyLo blew my brains out and Mac Demarco got naked. Schoolboy and Future both killed it too, and a drop-in from Usher with a live band is always welcome (Fader Fort came correct). Maybe most encouraging though, was seeing all the like-minded, creative folks doing great work, out there making moves. As it should be. Shout out to Daghe, Hyphen, Antwon, 100′s, Duck, Murph and the whole Licks crew. There’s no doubt in my mind, the best is yet to come. A special thank you too to Danielle, Ben, Cal, and once again, to Jesse and Brandon for making it all possible.

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COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE

Transatlantic design duo Department International turn exercise to excellence

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Department International

Given the platform we’re working on here, it probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you how impactful the internet has been on my own creative potential. But honestly, it damn near astonishes me every day. In a strange way, we really have the world at our fingertips here–a vast continuum of dope shit to peruse and creatives to connect with. No partnership illustrates that better than Department International, the design firm and creative experiment founded by Brian Okarski and Bobby Singh, two graphic artists living on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Forging a friendship and creative practice via the interwebs, NYC’s Brian Okarski and London’s Bobby Singh began their collaboration with a simple goal: creating something, anything, every day for 100 consecutive days, and sharing their favorite work online. As one might expect, all that practice eventually spawned a rather impressive collection of work, the kind that emerges out of close collaboration and a fruitful exchange of ideas. Psychedelic, warped color and stately typography quickly became staples of the iconic images and hypothetical magazine covers created under the Department International banner, and before long, that mass of recreational material caught the attention of those interested in harnessing Brian and Bobby’s keen aesthetic sensibilities. Among those impressed by DI’s output was our good friend Hassan Rahim, who recruited the duo for the latest in his Ghosting zine series, giving the duo the opportunity to curate a stunning collection of work from their contemporaries. Recently, I had the chance to touch base with Brian and Bobby and ask them a few questions about, among other things, where they’ve been, where they’re headed, and even the genius of Soulja Boy.

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FRANK OCEAN FOR BAND OF OUTSIDERS

Frank joins the Band for a candid collection of Polaroids

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Frank Ocean

Today it seems as though few are surprised by the meteoric rise of Frank Ocean. I remember it was a Facebook post from Nic Nac that introduced me to the gem lying beneath Odd Future’s massive sphere of influence. A classic album, a poignant letter and a couple Grammys later and April 2013 Frank Ocean, quite frankly (pun intended), can do whatever the fuck he wants. For example, lending his likeness to the searingly relevant aesthetic of Scott Sternberg’s Band of Outsiders. Shot in a whimsical fashion by Sternberg himself outside the Los Angeles Times building, these Polaroid portraits place Frank on an illustrious list of creatives who have graced the pages of Band of Outsiders’ understated campaigns. From Jason Schwartzman to Kirsten Dunst, and now Frank, the Band reminds us that often, it’s not always about the clothes, but more so who’s wearing them.

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AZIZ ANSARI ON RELATIONSHIPS

Aziz lends his thoughts on how to find love in the digitized world

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Excerpt from A.V. Club

AVC: There’s a bit on Dangerously Delicious about what a terrible sign it is for a relationship if it starts with a woman meeting a drunk guy at a club. Where would you advise people to go looking for love instead?

AA: I have no fucking clue. I talked with a friend about this last night. Where do you meet classy men and women? When I talk to men and women, a general sentiment is just, “Where are the good, normal, nice, non-crazy people?” This is when people say things like “go the grocery store” or “go to a museum.” I’ve gone to both, and it doesn’t quite work out. But maybe if I spent as much time at Whole Foods as I do drinking at bars, I’d have a different experience. I would also be a weirdo that hangs out at grocery stores way too long. I would have to live off those little samples. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

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KENDRICK LAMAR & JAY-Z – “BITCH DON’T KILL MY VIBE”

Hov joins Kendrick for a memorable take on his unforgettable anthem

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Kendrick Lamar

The implications of the whole Kobe-MJ thing have probably already been the subject of some heated debates in the last 24 hours or so. After all, the ever-evolving pissing competition that is the rap game lends itself pretty well to arbitrary sports comparisons. In some ways, the more you try to compare, the more Hov’s spot as the proverbial Mike seems kind of inevitable. From “Renegade” to “Mr. Carter”, we now have more than a decade of moments like these to look back on. And even when Hov supposedly gets out-sixteened, it’s hard to argue that he’s been the standard against which greatness is measured for a while now.

But really, this one’s about Kendrick. To say he’s had a moment would be a pretty substantial understatement. Good Kid is as impressive an accomplishment as anybody’s had in the genre in years: a cohesive concept album stacked with unforgettable moments and forward-thinking musical sensibilities, that checked off just about every box imaginable on the application for instant classic status. What’s even more impressive though, is the notion that Kendrick, and particularly songs like “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” have become undeniable touchstones in our hip-hop vocabulary even as its foundations continue to crumble and fragment. Kendrick’s flow on the remix here is bananas–I could rattle off a half dozen lines worth running back a few times in his second verse alone–but he’s earned his spot at the top for more than just technical execution. Like Hov or Yeezy before him, it’s the strength of the music that’s put him here, right at the center of that constantly shifting universe.

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THICK

Exploring standards of beauty at home and abroad

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Photography By Matt Blum

The other day, a girlfriend and I were walking the streets of Brooklyn when a young gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was a “thick ass white girl”. My girlfriend was immediately horrified and called his remarks rude, disgusting, and insulting. Her sticking up for me was lovely, but she was making me feel wrong for feeling flattered.

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WINE & BOWTIES PRESENTS: SYD THE KYD

With accompanying sets from Trev Case & Koslöv, April 5th at the New Parish in Oakland

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Slowly but surely we continued on. Along the way we stopped to celebrate the moments. The grind was real, but all work and no play was for the birds. Our goal, to create those classic nights. We were going hard, but we could go harder. Thankfully Syd, Trev, Sophie, and John were there to help. April 5th marks our next Wine & Bowties celebration. Oakland is the location, New Parish is the destination. Doors open at 9.

Advance Tickets Here

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SLOWLY BUT SURELY

SlowlybutSurely

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THE ART OF CURATION

Meet Jacob Klein and Nathan Cowen, the creative duo behind Haw-lin

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Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Haw-lin. Some would probably label it “your favorite blogger’s favorite blog,” or something lightweight pretentious like that. But at its core, Haw-lin is a great resource for creatives. The brainchild of Nathan Cowen and Jacob Klein, Haw-lin has emerged as one of the preeminent destinations of the Tumblsphere while continuing to serve as a source for ideas and inspiration. A visual mood board of sorts, Haw-lin brings together a wide range of cultural artifacts, juxtaposing them against each other to take on new meanings when viewed as a whole. A simple concept with rather complex execution, I suppose. Aside from the blog, the duo also collaborate on Haw-lin Services, a full-fledged design and art direction firm they started together. In this short feature above from international interview magazine Freunde von Freunden, the duo touch on their approach to research, curation, and their ever-evolving aesthetic.

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MOHSIN HAMID

Fresh off a monumental third novel, Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid is a literary hero for the globalized world

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Mohsin Hamid
 

The memory is eternal. Young, perusing through countless novels, I would be leaving for college in a week or two, and I would have to decide which pieces of literature were going to come with me. Of course, I had already stowed away personal essentials like Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams and William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. But, when I turned the corner and came face to face with the paperback novel that would shape my perspective on life–its cover splashed with an azul hue and a thick cloud of smoke billowing vertically out of a man’s mouth–I knew I had stumbled upon something special. The familiarity and the connection I felt with Mohsin Hamid’s debut novel Moth Smoke that summer before college stays within my soul, harnessing a certain energy which, at that pivotal moment in my life, was foreign to me. The copy’s been written in, highlighted, bent, twisted and re-read on every trip I embark on, to remind me of where I once was and how far I’ve come.

Years later, Lahore, Pakistan’s very own Mohsin Hamid is at a pivotal moment in his journey. Fresh on the heels of his critically acclaimed third novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Hamid’s second, The Reluctant Fundamentalist was recently optioned for a feature film starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland. The notion that Lahore, at the heart of a nation that’s been targeted more recently in the media as a “failed state”, has produced a writer on the verge of becoming an international literary mainstay–speaks not only to Hamid’s mastery of his craft, but to the undeniable relevance of Hamid’s global perspective. Known for his unparalleled ability to capture the complexities of Pakistan’s rapidly changing sociopolitical climate, Mohsin is at the forefront of a rising generation of writers, an author whose insight and genuineness leap off the page, and who is unafraid to experiment in form or style.

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RYAN HEMSWORTH: THE FADER MIX

Hemsworth drops off a dreamy collection of mood music

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Ryan Hemsworth

Take a cursory look around at some of the cooler events going down at SXSW this week, and see how long you can make it without seeing Ryan Hemsworth’s name. And there’s good reason why he’s being so heavily sought after. Coming on the heels of a huge year, 2013 is already looking eventful for the Halifax producer, who’s followed last year’s excellent solo releases with a slew of remixes likely to be among the year’s most memorable. Aside from all that though, and the handful of high-profile DJ sets ahead of him, Ryan’s also made time to churn out a few gorgeous and immersive mixes, the latest of which comes to us via The FADER.

Like his FACT mix, The FADER mix is an extensive trip into Hemsworth’s cloudy sonic world. Alongside some soulful source material, there’s plenty of the dreamy atmosphere, chilly synths, and skittering drums that have become hallmarks of his style already. But maybe even more so than before, the 50-minute collection showcases Ryan’s eclectic taste, weaving from familiar ’90s R&B and Spaceghost Purrp, to Rhye and Bjork, and sprinkling in a few jams from the WeDidIt fam along the way. There’s even a remix of my personal favorite Broken Social Scene song, albeit one thrown together when Hemsworth was still in high school. Given the ground he’s covered already though, I guess that eclecticism shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise. As far as I can tell, it’s just another sign of things to come.

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HYENA MEN

South African photographer Pieter Hugo captures a unique partnership forged on survival

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“Get it how you live.” It’s a phrase Benny Basic and the Big Tymers made prevalent in my life since the early 2000′s. Broadly speaking, more or less, it means do what you gotta do to make ends meet. Do what you gotta do to survive. The phrase comes to mind when examining the work of South African photographer Pieter Hugo, whose documentary work has shed light on one of Nigeria’s most extraordinary yet controversial business practices.

Pieter happened upon the traveling circus of Hyena handlers, known simply as “The Hyena Men”, after a cell phone photo of the troupe was reproduced in a South African newspaper. Provoked by the photograph, Hugo ventured to the city of Abuja, Nigeria to meet the group, traveling with them for a number of days to document their practice. The images he collected while travelling with the group tell a captivating story–a tale of tradition, economic strife and ultimately, survival. Read on for a look inside the world of the Hyena Men.

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