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Azealia Banks Talks to Playboy About Pretty Much Everything

q_80-http---images-origin.playboy.com-ogz4nxetbde6-4HEEbq7wJOUeaQmaAAOO60-61c70f8235484137711da49e0e75f824-01.jpgImage via Playboy

When Playboy announced that Azealia Banks was set to cover their annual Sex and Music issue and give a "no-holds-barred" interview, we were expecting that in more of the PR-speak sense and less of the literal sense. It turns out that Banks' Playboy interview is as candid and unrestrained as her Twitter feed. Alongside an interview with Dick Cheney and a surely hard-hitting exposé on the deep web, Banks' thoughts on race, feminism, witchcraft and "sexy Playboy stuff" pack all the more punch in Q&A format. She also opens up about an abusive relationship she was in when she was 17.

Like most things Azealia Banks says, there's a relatable element to them, an element of truth -- she's speaking to black women and girls who shouldn't be afraid to own their power -- but there's also a WTF moment. She'll make an astute comment on race like, "When you rip a people from their land, from their customs, from their culture... People will be like, 'Oh, you're ignorant because you don't speak proper English.' No. This is not mine. I don't even want this shit, so I'm going to do whatever the fuck I want with this language." And then she'll underscore it with, "I'm going to call you a fag or a cracker or a bitch." Which marks the point where it's hard to fully get on board with Azealia's revolution. Nonetheless, here's the best quotes from Azealia Banks' "uncensored" interview, below.

On dating older men:

What's the longest relationship you've had?
Four years. It started when I was 17. He was 43. There's something very wrong with a man that age who wants to date a 17-year-old girl. I didn't know how to shave my bush and shit like that. I had a hairy pussy. I didn't know how to wear perfume. I had neon pink barrettes in my hair. And as "212" started to pop off and my career started to happen, he became jealous. He choked me and beat me up, and of course you should not be fucking with a man who puts his hands on you, but I was stupid and young.

Did that relationship cure you of your attraction to older men?
No, I love older men. The things in an older man's house are better--his furniture, even his knives and his pots. And they smell better. Young guys, they may skip a shower and shit like that.
On black artists and "respectability politics":

Is there someone whose career you'd like to emulate?
Jay Z. That's the only person I have my eye set on. The race thing always comes up, but I want to get there being very black and proud and boisterous about it. You get what I mean? A lot of times when you're a black woman and you're proud, that's why people don't like you. In American society, the game is to be a nonthreatening black person. That's why you have Pharrell or Kendrick Lamar saying, "How can we expect people to respect us if we don't respect ourselves?" He's playing that nonthreatening black man shit, and that gets all the white soccer moms going, "We love him." Even Kanye West plays a little bit of that game -- "Please accept me, white world." Jay Z hasn't played any of those games, and that's what I like.
On being perceived as an "angry black woman":

If people don't like you, does that mean they're racist?
No, not at all. There's misogyny, and then there's something called misogynoir [a term coined by writer Moya Bailey to describe "the unique ways in which black women are pathologized in popular culture"]. We have all these stereotypes in society: The gay man is a faggot and he's over-the-top, or you're an untrustworthy cracker, or you're a loud black bitch. All these things exist for a reason, you know what I'm saying? Yeah, I am loud and boisterous.

And you are black.
And I am black, and I am a pain in your ass. But I'm not really talking to you, and that's what makes those people mad. You're not invited to this conversation. This is not about you.
On getting what's hers:

"I get upset when people are like, "Why don't you just make music?" What would happen if I couldn't sing? Then I'd just be another black bitch to y'all. It's really fucking annoying. Black people need reparations for building this country, and we deserve way more fucking credit and respect."
On solving problems with witchcraft:

You said black people aren't supposed to be Christians. What religion do you identify with?
I don't want to say, but I'll tell you about one form of the religion. It's called 21 Divisions. When they brought the slaves over to the Caribbean, they syncretized all their African gods with Catholic saints. So in 21 Divisions there are black gods and goddesses, and my mother practiced that when I was little. Whenever problems happened, we turned to 21 Divisions to fix it. It's funny, because my friends on the block in Harlem, their mothers would be like, "Oh, you fucking with that witchcraft. You working roots." You can cleanse people with root work or do bad things to them. But 21 Divisions is celestial. 
On penis < pussy:

"I like to feel them out, and then I start talking about my black female problems, and we get into a conversation about race, and then we disagree and don't have another date. Whatever. I'll just hang out with my mother. It's okay, because pussy is way more sacred than penis."

[via Playboy]

John Waters on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Is Amazing


Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
, a pre-Cribs, celebrities-at-home series which aired from 1985 to 1994, was about as garish and camp as you could get. John Waters, therefore, was a shoo-in for a segment and apparently made it on the show sometime in the '90s. Unearthed by Dangerous Minds, watch as Waters proudly shows off his fake food collection, a jar of dirt from John Wayne Gacy's yard and other deeply unglamorous "trinkets from hell" while Robin Leach gamely narrates along.   

ICYMI: See Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd Turn Up At a Roller Rink in "Throw Sum Mo" Music Video


Nicki Minaj, Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug brought your wildest, rollerskating rink-related dreams to life! In the music video for "Throw Sum Mo" the rap duo and Minaj -- along with cameos from Migos, Mike Will Made-It and Birdman -- make it rain whilst showcasing some very elaborate rollerblade choreography. Check it out, above.

Listen to Tinashe's New Mixtape, Amethyst

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.52.12 PM.pngAfter breaking out last year with Aquarius, R&B singer Tinashe is back with a new mixtape, Amethyst. Producers like Ryan Hemsworth and Iamsu lent a hand on the album on tracks "Wrong" and "Worth It," respectively, and Amethyst has much of the same hazy, dream-like vibe as her debut. According to Hot New Hip Hop, which premiered the album, Tinashe recorded the entire thing "in her bedroom during her 2014 Christmas vacation." Damn. We always spend our holiday vacations eating (and drinking) half our weight in sugary carbs.

Listen to Amethyst, below.

Inside the Sprawling World of Christian Music Festivals

Skillet in concert; photo by Christian Rodriguez

To the nonbeliever, Christian music festivals can conjure up lasers piercing clouds of weed-free smoke, Jumbrotrons flashing relentlessly positive refrains and seas of blissful arm-waving. How to get beyond the stereotypes if you're in New York, far from even the touring Christian festivals of early 2015?

As part of our "Do You Believe" issue, we wanted an insider's look at these massive gatherings. We also wanted to talk to some Christian rock artists who, in one way or another, had dipped their toes in the secular pop world. We called up four people: Colton Dixon, a 23-year-old Tennessee native who sang both sacred and profane songs during his fan-adored stint on American Idol; David Crowder, who injects a quiet sense of humor into his churning "Appalachians and Ibiza" sound and whose big beard, specs and trucker hat suggest Brooklyn as much as his native Waco, Texas; John Cooper, singer of the Memphis-based Skillet, which exists on a level of crossover success shared only by Switchfoot, P.O.D. and a few others; and Josh Caterer, a solo artist and worship director based outside of Chicago, whose band Smoking Popes was an early-nineties institution (see: "Need You Around" from the Clueless soundtrack) and whose subsequent band, Duvall, marked Caterer's rebirth as a Christian.

Three of them were doing major gigs when we talked: Crowder was about to play the student-centric Passion Fest, in Atlanta, Skillet was headlining the Winter Jam tour and Dixon was preparing to board a Caribbean cruise hosted by the Christian radio service K-LOVE. All four conversations started out focusing on festivals but quickly veered off into the terra incognita of worship music and what it means to embrace believers and atheists alike. We're excerpting them here, grouped by topic and with a minimum of interruption. 

Colton Dixon; photo by David Molnar

On differences between Christian and secular music festivals

David Crowder: [At Passion] there's this interactive video thing that's like taking a survey of who's in the room. The lights are down, the video is playing, just words on the screen. "Where are you from?" "Who's from Alabama?" And people would raise their phones up, and then sure enough you have questions like, "Who's been injured?" "Who's been hurt?" "Who's had a hard time getting over a relationship?" "Who wonders about whether this Jesus thing is real or not?" You're talking maybe 10 minutes into the thing and there's some big questions that go right to the stuff that's at the bottom of us humans. And it's just nuts to see the people that were there. It was very much a diverse crowd. 

John Cooper: Christian music fans are awesome because they are extremely loyal. It's not like pop music; if they believe in you, they're going to be with you for a very long time. But because of the religious aspect, they can tend to feel that they own a little bit of you. So if you sign an autograph for them, that's not going to be enough; they're also going to want a picture. And if you don't take a picture, they'll accuse you maybe of not being a good Christian. So if you take a photo, then they want a second photo, with a different camera with a funny face. They're not trying to be rude; they honestly feel like, "This is my hero, and he says he's a Christian. How can he possibly not give me the time of day?" When you do a secular event, fans do not expect to meet you, and if you say hi they're just thrilled, and if you take the time to sign something for them, they get on their Twitter and say, "John Cooper from Skillet is the nicest rock star I've ever met!"

Josh Caterer: The thing I remember about Sonshine [a Wisconsin festival that Duvall played in the mid-aughts] was that there were a lot of youth groups in attendance. There were huge busloads of junior high students that would all be wearing the same T-shirt, like a fluorescent tie-dye T-shirt with the name of their youth group on the front, and there'd be like 50 of them all in a cluster. So it was very sanitized -- sort of a cross between a music festival and Disney World. I found that to be a strange environment to play in. I've always understood music from a POV of being an appreciator of the arts and certain artistic qualities you're looking for in music, like the craft and the sense of creative inspiration. But when you go to a music festival where it's mostly youth groups... I just didn't know what they were looking for. There was an entirely different set of criteria that was making them respond to the music, and I couldn't grasp what it was. I feel that way about popular contemporary Christian music to a large extent. I hear what's being played on Christian radio and it seems so processed and so formulaic that it lacks any of the basic spark that would appeal, I would think, to any real appreciator of music.

On drugs

Colton Dixon: I actually live 15 minutes away from Bonnaroo. I've never actually been, but you see the people come through. And this is kind of funny, but the biggest difference I guess I could point out is that, at a Christian Music Festival, it doesn't smell like weed everywhere.

Cooper: Most all the rock bands we've done with festivals with, they tend to be like post-AA. And yes, there have been times when there's been strippers and maybe some drug or alcohol abuse going on, but typically they keep that stuff to themselves, and we keep Jesus to ourselves. 

Skillet; photo by Tim Tronckoe

On the prevalence, at Christian festivals, of worship music -- a form with no equivalent in the secular world and, according to one interviewee, some questionable sources.

Dixon: A worship song is a song that you're singing more about or to God, if that makes sense. That's what I call a "vertical" song. It's basically like a very modernized hymn. 

Cooper: Worship is its own genre within Christian music, with its own rules. With worship music, the idea is that you're not really there to watch Colton perform a worship song; you're there to worship with Colton. We have done worship songs, but it would be almost like Springsteen doing a Beatles cover. We are not a worship band. This is all going around the major difference between Christian music and secular music: Christian music is meant for Christian people, and it is meant to draw people closer to God. And therefore, at Christian festivals there's a lot people that might not even like the music; they're coming to support this idea of Jesus awareness.

Caterer: I'm probably going to come across incredibly cynical about Christian music, and I guess that's OK. [laughs] But my theory would be that Christian music is driven by a much more tightly controlled industry than secular music is. And it pertains to very specific revenue streams that don't exist in secular music because of CCLI -- Christian Copyright Licensing International, which is basically the Christian version of ASCAP or BMI. CCLI keeps track of all the songs that are performed in churches -- every church is supposed to pay an annual fee to CCLI. Then CCLI will pay royalties to the songwriters and publishers of that music. So what you have is a situation where, in secular music, it's becoming more difficult to make music because people aren't buying CDs the way they used to, and the music industry is freaking out, but in Christian music, there's this performance revenue stream that comes from churches performing worship songs every week and that is completely unaffected by album sales. I happen to know from talking to people in the industry that generally they don't care as much about trying to sell albums. Making an album is only a way to get people to perform these songs in their churches, because if a song takes on a life of its own in church world as being a popular worship song, that can become a huge revenue stream, even if they never sell any records. They could give the music away; they just want people to perform it in churches.

On secular music - specifically, on Colton Dixon's decision to play "Bad Romance" as well as a Christian song on American Idol.

Dixon: Yeah, "Bad Romance" was not a good choice as far as the Christian music industry was concerned. Honestly, I was at the point on the show where I was like, "Man, I don't have a lot of options on the sheet of paper for this week, and I know I can do something really rad with this song musically." I didn't really think about how the industry that I wanted to be a part of would think about it, whether right or wrong. So just on that alone, I probably should've gone with something else. But honestly, I think it's a really catchy song. As far as choosing from the other side... when I did "Everything" by Lifehouse, there were people who were like, "He's just banking on the Christian thing." I mean, they can say that all they want to, but that song's not necessarily a Christian song, you know? Lifehouse doesn't proclaim themselves to be a Christian band. On both ends, I was like, "Man, you don't have a lot of ground to say what you're saying," but it is what it is.

On crossing over

Crowder: What I'm doing is so overtly intended for people who are trying to say something in regards to their relationship with God. I think if I were intending to be a crossover artist, I would write different types of songs. But I feel like I'm really here to serve people who come from a similar life's experience that I do and make music that lets them join something deep.

Cooper: Last night there were these four guys in the front row going absolutely mental at our concert. I came down to give them a high five, and they reeked of pot. This is a very, very Christian concert. Those guys, the only reason they were there was to see Skillet. And I think that's a really good thing. Bringing all kinds of people in.

Caterer: Duvall was basically a club band. That's something that set us apart and probably worked against us as far as having any success in Christian music. I became a Christian in my late 20s and just sort of switched from the Popes to Duvall but went back to the clubs that the Popes had played in, because the club scene was something I understood. I had no familiarity with the Christian scene. So when we tried to make our way into the world of Christian music festivals or churches, we didn't know how to navigate it. Our experience at Sonshine left us somewhat perplexed.

Dixon: I don't want to be limited to the Christian bubble by any means. I'm not trying to get all biblical, but God called us to love one another and go out into the world. And if you look at the life of Jesus, he wasn't spending his time in churches and synagogues; he was out hanging out with the prostitutes and the gamblers. And man, I think church has it so backwards nowadays, and it's a shame. But yeah, that's exactly what I'm trying to do: to go out and play music for whoever is willing to listen. Doesn't matter if you're a believer or not. You're always welcome.

Read more from our Do You Believe Issue here

Porn Star Sean Zevran Has An Amazing Butt and an Amazing Brain

Zevran.JPGSean Zevran is a total dreamboat. He has one of the best bodies in porn and also writes intelligent thought-provoking pieces about topics like bare backing in porn and liberal intolerance  on his blog. Talk about a total package. We caught up with Zevran who's recently moved to LA and had lots to tell us about his 4 year adventure in the adult film industry.

Did you have favorite porn stars growing up?
I did not have favorite porn stars growing up. I didn't actually watch much porn until I got into college, and even then it was only sparingly. My initial favorites were Matthew Rush and Brent Everett. Now that I am in the industry myself, I watch a lot more porn and have too many favorites to name. The good thing about being in porn is that I've now fucked quite a few of my favorite porn stars.
What made you decide to get into porn?
I decided to get into porn more or less on an adventurous whim. I had just finished up the last final of my philosophy degree when my friend, Brandon Wilde, whom many readers will know, called to tell me he had sent my contact info and some of my photos over to Randy Blue. I was skeptical at first, but sure enough Randy Blue reached out to me. A few weeks later I was on my way to shoot a solo in Los Angeles. Two and a half years later I signed a contract with Falcon Studios Group. This summer I will have been in the industry for four years now.
Who have been the sexiest costars you've worked with?
I've worked with a lot of incredibly sexy guys, among them have been Topher DiMaggio, Lance Luciano, Armond Rizzo, Brent Corrigan, Ryan Rose, Sebastian Kross, Diego Sans, Nicco Sky, Nick Sterling and many others.
You've talked about race in the past and being a racially mixed man. Is there much racism in porn?
I believe racism in the porn industry is reflective of racism in society. The industry is notably more challenging for black and Asian male models. Furthermore, distinguishing between racism and preference is difficult, and many producers find themselves wrestling with diversity vis-à-vis profits. It's difficult to politicize sexuality, e.g. sexual desires and preferences, but I believe producers can do more to remedy racism by not being so afraid to challenge the status quo. We need to see more of that. I believe a lot of our sexual preferences have to do with social conditioning, and carrying on the status quo only perpetuates racism.
Do you think that society has become more open and less judgmental about people who work in porn?
It's difficult to say whether society has become more open and less judgmental about people who work in porn. Overall, I would say that it probably has become less judgmental. However, within the gay community, there seems to be a split between, what I'll call, puritan (lowercase "p") gays, who try so hard to conform to heteronormativity, and those of us who seek sexual liberation. The latter is obviously more open and less judgmental about sex workers.

Kanye Started Another Meme For You


Kanye West, the gift that keeps on giving, started another meme for all us. How thoughtful! Earlier today, Kanye congratulated his wife, Kim Kardashian on reaching 30 million followers on Twitter. To honor that accomplishment 'Ye tweeted out Kim K's nude photos with various captions, most notably borrowing from his "All Day" lyrics with an enthusiastic, "SWISH!!!" If this proves anything, it's that Kanye is turning out to be an effortless dad with a seemingly unlimited bevy of corny dad jokes.

So feel free to tweet any and everything you think you've perfectly nailed with the caption "SWISH!" today. We, along with Nicki Minaj, will be working tirelessly to make sure IHOP doesn't get out of line with this one.

Heads Up, You Can Listen to Shia LaBeouf's Heartbeat While He's Chilling at SXSW

papermag shia photo.png
(photo via follow-my-heart.net)

Shia LaBeouf is all about weird art. From his marathon performance in neon spandex to when he knifed his face in the name of art, the not-famous person has really had some madcap-chic, rollercoaster of a year. Now, if even the rattail didn't fulfill you, you can listen to LaBeouf's literal heartbeat on this website as he makes the rounds at SXSW. A project between the Austin, Texas festival and Dazed & Confused Magazine, the sound is transmitted via a heart monitor that LaBeouf is reportedly wearing 24/7. The angle? An attempt to "break down the emotive walls between digital culture, Hollywood and real life," says Dazed. Pretty intimate, huh? We didn't realize there were any walls left between us and Shia, but we're so glad they're gone now.

Watch Bjork's Incredible New Video for "family"


Following Bjork's creepy new sea-anemone-chic "lionsong" video, and the gutting  MoMA-commissioned short film for "Black Lake" -- in which fluid flows down the singer as she splits in two, collecting between her legs -- we get something that is somewhere in the middle: Otherworldy, eerie and amazingly yonic. Directed by Andrew Thomas Huang and described as the "moving album cover" for Vulnicura, we see Bjork morph in an out of a molten, fluid form and her physical self, stitching a pink gash in her chest with thread that flows out of it. Indeed, in the sacred words of Azealia Banks by way of Playboy, "pussy is way more sacred than penis."

Oh no: Why Didn't Anyone Stop Meghan Trainor From Sending This Letter to Her Boyfriend?


Speaking as a friend, why didn't anyone stop Meghan Trainor from sending this embarrassing letter to her boyfriend? Or rather, "future husband"? We all have that one friend who is really bad at making decisions when it comes to guys, but don't we all have that other friend who is there to keep that friend in check and stop them from writing crazy letters in the form of song? Maybe not, in Meghan's case.

Wiz Khalifa Is Not a "Shake It Off" Fan


Everything was going swimmingly for Wiz Khalifa during a game of "Catchphrase" on the Tonight Show last night until partner Miles Teller asked him to name Taylor Swift's ubiquitous chart-topper "Shake It Off."  Wiz Khalifa deeply does not know this Taylor Swift song, or apparently any for that matter, and gives Teller a look of sheer panic and blankness that we can only compare to when someone at a party asks you what you've been up to lately. It's awesome. Watch above.  

[Via Uproxx]

Matthew McConaughey and Jimmy Kimmel Made a Commercial For a Local Austin Video Store


In honor of the fact that Jimmy Kimmel is taping his show down in Austin all this week during SXSW, the talk show host decided he wanted to give back to the city by shooting a TV commercial for a local business. He chose Vulcan Video, a video rental store that specializes in, among other things, "Canadian TV" and "Asian Horror" ("they like wet-looking ladies with hair in their face," the clerk tells Jimmy when he asks what makes "Asian Horror" different from "Horror"). Jimmy films three spots for the store and gets a little help from a local friend: Matthew McConaughey. Watch their delightfully weird commercials, above.

Earl Sweatshirt Accidentally Announces Album, Shares a Somber Music Video for "Grief"


In keeping with the trend, Earl Sweatshirt's unannounced album appeared on iTunes early this morning. Like Kendrick Lamar's, Earl's surprise release didn't exactly go according to plan. The rapper sent out a string of angry tweets directed toward his label:

Although his album release didn't exactly work out as flawlessly as Beyoncé's, Earl Sweatshirt shared a new track and music video, "Grief," which is as dark as the title suggests. His album also got a gloriously depressing title: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside. According to the iTunes tracklist, Earl Sweatshirt's current tourmate Vince Staples, among others, appears on the album, out March 23. Watch the video for "Grief," above, and check out the album art, below.


Growing Up in Fairfield, Iowa -- America's Transcendental Meditation Mecca

fd1.jpgMagicians Doug Henning and Debby Douillard

Among the white barns, brick silos and verdant farmlands of Middle America is the city that Maharishi built. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation (T.M.) movement and former spiritual adviser to the Beatles, decided in 1974 to expand his quickly growing empire to, of all places, Fairfield, Iowa. That year, he founded Fairfield's Maharishi International University, a learning center for consciousness-based education, and began to attract wide- eyed idealists from all over the world to the American heartland.

During the 1970s and '80s, some of these newly arrived devotees -- called gurus, or 'roos for short -- came as families, seeking heightened consciousness for themselves and their kids. So how does the second generation of Fairfield meditators, a small crop of far-flung men and women born in the second half of the '70s, look back on the town and relate to its cosmic ideals?

"It sounds like I got high before this, but I didn't," says journalist Claire Hoffman as she tells me about what prompted her family to relocate from New York City to Fairfield. She traces their move to the Taste of Utopia gathering in December 1983, where thousands of followers were called upon to take part in what was called "the Maharishi Effect." She explains: "If the square root of one percent of the population got together in one place and meditated, they would create world peace." That meant convening 7,000 people in Fairfield, many of whom used Maharishi's Yogic Flying technique -- an advanced practice in which participants sat cross-legged while hopping forward. According to Maharishi and his followers, this critical mass of meditation would result in a decrease in poverty, crime and war. "All these people went there and meditated together for weeks in the middle of a crazy, subzero Iowan winter," says Hoffman. "That's what brought us there, and we stayed."

Hoffman grew up with fellow guru kids Benjamin Myers, aka Sergio of the dance-music duo Benoit & Sergio, and Eli Lieb, now an L.A.-based singer-songwriter. Myers says of moving to Fairfield in seventh grade, "I was really bummed out to leave California for the wasteland of Iowa. Superficially, it seemed to be a place full of vegetarians in flowing yoga attire with big dreams of world peace through meditation. But I always found the community strange and fascinating, even when I found it, at times, frustrating." Lieb's affection for the Fairfield way of life predated his family's move. He recalls attending Maharishi's events in his native Washington, DC: "He would be sitting there, and I would run down and give him a rose." Lieb's parents relocated the family to Fairfield to be a part of the colony. "It was a super supportive community," says Lieb, "and everybody was your friend."

fd5.jpgClaire Hoffman (seated fourth from right)

fd3.jpgMaharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment

fd4.jpgGandharva Veda music training

fairfield_03.jpgWilson Park Summer 1993

In Fairfield, children went to public schools or to the private Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (MSAE). That school's website boasts that, with an MSAE education,"students develop 200% of life -- 100% inner development with 100% outer success." Lieb says that most of the curriculum was typical, with a few exceptions: "We would read from the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit." Of course, meditation took place at the start and close of every school day. Hoffman notes that those meditations were graded. "You also took classes on Vedic science," says Myers, "where you'd learn Eastern philosophical precepts." Teachers allowed the young students to lie down and take a nap whenever they wished. Hoffman says, "Those early years were just an enchanted kingdom. We believed that we were changing the world, and it felt amazing."

But as the T.M. kids grew up, some of them began to discover that Fairfield was not all bliss and good vibes. In the 1980s and '90s, there was an ongoing conflict between townies and gurus -- that is, the born-and-bred Iowans and the New Age newcomers. In a city of almost 10,000 people, townies outnumbered gurus roughly four to one. Myers says,"Townie kids tended to be tough and big and somewhat intimidating, raised on beef and farm labor. Guru kids tended to be raised on rice and dal." Hoffman lived in both worlds; when her mother couldn't afford to send her to MSAE for high school, Hoffman was enrolled in the public school system."I would get thrown against the lockers, people would scream shit in my face, they would spit at me," she says. But Myers and Lieb say that, around the time they were in high school, tensions between townies and gurus had begun to ease."We were part of each other's lives from the beginning of them," says Myers. "The townies were our jock brothers, and the gurus their weird younger art-school sisters."

For all its talk of living less materialistically and more spiritually, the Fairfield T.M. community lifestyle was a financial strain on some of its members. From the entry fees for the Utopia conference to tuition for the private MSAE school to real estate -- in particular, custom-built Sthapatya Vedic houses -- the price of enlightenment was steep. "You don't have to live in a Sthapatya Vedic house if you live in Fairfield," says Lieb, who previously lived in one; "everything is your own choice." However, Hoffman, who was raised by a single mother, recalls, "I grew up in a trailer park in Fairfield. The price of everything -- school, going to the Golden Dome, all the Ayurveda treatments -- it was alienating for us as a family. It didn't feel very good not to be able to afford enlightenment."

Decades after growing up in Fairfield -- and three years after Oprah taped an episode there, bringing unprecedented attention -- these three descendants of the original Fairfield gurus still feel the effects of growing up in this unique, cloistered community. "I love going back to Fairfield," says Myers, whose mother and brother still live there."I see value in living a spiritual life. I think these things tend to make most people who practice them more thoughtful, more caring, more dedicated to a common good." Lieb, who left Fairfield at the age of 20 but then lived there again from 2010-2013, says that his return offered him an "anchor of happiness and self-awareness." He attributes his success in the music industry to the calm and confidence that he gained after he left NewYork City and rejoined the Fairfield T.M. community: "The second that that happened is when my career started to take off." To date, his music videos have racked up over 26 million views. And Hoffman, who remains ambivalent about her upbringing, briefly described her experience in her 2013 New York Times Magazine profile of T.M. champion David Lynch. She will further explore the fraught power of belief in an upcoming memoir.

All three guru kids continue to meditate.

fairfield_02.jpgBenjamin Myers

fairfield_01.jpgBenjamin Myers (right) and Friend

The Raj_02.jpgThe Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa

Eli-music video fairfield.jpgEli Lieb

Photography courtesy of the Maharishi University of Management Library, Benjamin Myers and Eli Lieb

"Our Style Is Very Legendary": Migos Talk Versace, Chains and Their Cali-Grown Weed Strain

Migos' Offset, Quavo and Takeoff; photo by Diwang Valdez

When you make your name espousing one of the world's most recognizable high-fashion houses, you better be able to back it up. For Atlanta rap trio Migos -- whose 2013 breakout hit "Versace" branded these decked-out twenty-somethings as one of the hottest acts in hip-hop, and whose own clothing line, YRN, is in the works -- talk is cheap, even if it's in the dizzying triplets that define the "Migos flow." Members Quavo, Takeoff and Offset take their taste for bold prints and custom chains a notch or two beyond other gaudily draped A-Town up-and-comers like Rich Homie Quan and Trinidad James. Also setting them apart is a keen eye for accessorizing: to paraphrase a verse in "Versace," their swag, from backpacks to watches to glasses, is exquisite. Taking our call earlier this year, the trio gave us a glimpse into their accelerating lives -- and rapidly multiplying closets.

How would you define your style?

Quavo: Our fashion style is very legendary and very classic. I feel like it's different, and I feel like everybody got our own different style to bring to the table. When we all come together as one, it just make it look so unique and different, and it's something we all doing: trendsetting.

Takeoff: We like the Transformers -- we come together from different scenes.

Do you have any specific style icons that you admire, musical or otherwise?

Offset: Outkast. We listened to Guwap [aka Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane] coming up.

Quavo: We kind of like the new Outkast. They're comparing us to the Beatles. They're comparing us to legendary people. We didn't grow up listening to them but we knew of these people. We just wanted to be in that same name bracket. The people we grew up watching and listening to -- Outkast, Gucci Mane, Hot Boys, Lil Wayne, Master P -- all that type of stuff, we took those styles and made it our own.

Takeoff: We killin' 10, 12 chains on. Slick Rick style with so many chains on, they be like, "How many chains on your neck?" That's where we get that from.

How is your music reflected in your fashion sense? Or vice versa?

Quavo: We rap about our fashion so much in our music, and how we dress and how we set the trends, and how we came up. We came up talking about our swag anyways. That's what blew us up.

Where did the obsession with Versace begin?

Offset: You know Biggie and Pac, how they be wearing Versace. When we was coming up we was like, "Man, we gonna get that when we get us some money."

Why Versace over other big name fashion houses, like, say, Gucci or Prada?

It's a different feel; we got a different print. When you put it on, you just feel different. We just wanted to keep it like that.

You guys are famous for accessorizing -- watches, chains, backpacks, sunglasses. Do you have a favorite accessory that you never leave the house without?

Quavo: I can't even see without my vintage Versace frames. I don't go nowhere without them on. I can't even live without them. Every time I throw them on, I see all the haters, and I see where the money at.

Speaking of accessories, what's your current favorite strain of weed?

Takeoff: In Cali, we got the Migo Gas! We got our own strain in California, man. Migo Gas.

What makes a great chain?

Takeoff: The Migos chain, if you look at it real closely, it's got a lot of creativity in it. Quavo, he drew it up on paper and went to the jeweler and they made it. But you see Quavo, you see Takeoff, you see Offset. Everybody on there. You can see everything.

Offset, you're the only Migo who doesn't rock dreads. Why's that?

You gotta update, man. I dreaded up.

What do your closets look like? They must be packed with stuff.

Got two, three, four closets. Man, you might get lost in the closet!

Takeoff: We got our own personal [closets]. It's flooded, classic -- Givenchy, all designer brands. We got an upstairs closet, we just put everything in there. All my clothes can't fit in my old closet.

A Feminist History of Amber Rose


U Guys Love Slut Shaming Huh? Good. I feed off that shit. #HowtobeAbadBitch 💋

A photo posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

Despite the wrath of Kardashians scorned, Amber Rose continues to speak openly about her feud with Khloe, her thoughts on Tyga's relationship with Kylie and her relationship with Kanye West. My perception of Amber Rose has always been akin to "I could care less" up until now, but in the face of her divorce from Wiz Khalifa, who allegedly cheated on her, and her former boyfriend of 2-years, Kanye West, acting like he doesn't even know her now, I've come to appreciate Amber Rose. As a strong woman. As a person who is unafraid of her past. And, perhaps most winningly, as a person named Amber Rose who has decided to host a slut walk called "The Amber Rose Slut Walk." This is an appreciation of Amber Rose.

It seems safe to say that the phenomenon of Amber Rose first entered our public consciousness when she started dating Kanye West in 2008. Unfortunately, like many nebulously "famous" women, our attention only gets diverted to them once they are seen in connection to an ostensibly more important man. Like Kim who came after her, Rose was given the label of Kanye's muse. In various corners of the internet, dedicated to celebrity and Kanye obsessives, there are mini requiems to "Kanye Era Amber Rose," marking the distinction between what she was -- is -- and what Kanye briefly turned her into. Additionally disturbing is an old VH1 bio (lol, VH1) that calls Amber Rose the "quintessential American Dream story." Beyond "rags to riches" -- of course, Amber Rose fought her way out of poverty and abuse -- I can't help but think that there's another "American Dream" story that they're referring to. The narrative that starts with a woman utilizing her body, one of the few meager means she has been afforded, and ends with some rich dickhead "saving" her or, less drastically, elevating her. The classic white knight at a strip club, metaphorically or not.

Once Amber Rose started dating Kanye West, she was born, in a sense. Once she was seen on Kanye's arm the "Who is Amber Rose?" primers started popping up. Yet none of them really answered the question. A profile on Rose from 2009 in Elle magazine, Rose was simply reduced to her body. Wearing a catsuit, she explained, like it was an important or particularly juicy bit of gossip: "My hips are a 38 and my waist is a 24." She then went on to discuss Kanye, his opinions of what she wears, all under the banner that this was crucial information. Which, I guess, it was in 2009. In 2009 she was Kanye's new muse and therefore a fashion dilettante worth recognizing. Fast forward to 2015 and the same media song and dance surrounds Kim, too. You might remember that Rose, like Kim in this very magazine, was also styled as an homage to Jean Paul Goude's work at her peak "It Girl."

With Amber Rose's history in mind, her tweets after Kanye's infamous Breakfast Club interview, in which he denounced Rose for firing back at Khloe and involving his wife, Kim Kardashian (and her sex tape) in the great Kylie/Tyga debate of 2015, seem less petty, although still petty, and more... of something else. It's like she saw herself in Kim, in the "game recognize game" way. In the way that women can see each other.

She went on to clarify her comment in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, "I never ever hated on [Kim's sex tape]. I'm all for a woman making something out of nothing. You know what I mean? If you can do something and bring your entire family on and make millions of dollars, that's dope to me. I love that." 

So now it's 2015 and Kanye is with Kim, but, miraculously, Amber Rose still exists despite Kanye's best efforts to erase her with 30 showers. When Kanye West appeared on Power 105's Breakfast Club, he said something that could be considered true: "If Kim had dated me when I first wanted to be with her, there wouldn't be an Amber Rose, you know what I'm saying." Afterall, what is a muse without an artist? Possibly, Kanye would have you believe that a muse is nothing more than a body you can cast in your own image, beholden to the artist's various whims. But Amber Rose is still here. She didn't go away when Kanye broke up with her and she didn't go away after he blasted her on the radio or showered. At 31, Rose has been through a divorce, had a child, stayed boldly bald, and will not stand for any of your shit. That's not a muse, that's a survivor. And now Rose is on to her latest venture: she will walk. She will walk for those 30 showers. She will walk because she no longer wants to be reduced to her body or shamed because of it. "I'm sick of it," she told ET. "I'm here for my girls and we're gonna do the Amber Rose Slut Walk this summer and it's gonna be awesome." With Amber Rose in the lead -- whose Twitter bio unapologetically reads, "MUVA, BALD HEAD SCALLYWAG, MILF, SWEETHEART, BADASS, FEMINIST & ADVOCATE for WOMEN EMPOWERMENT 4 ALL" -- I'm sure it will be.

Why Didn't We Have a Bigger Problem With Joel Madden Dating a Teenage Hilary Duff?

1HDuffJMadden_091705.JPGHilary Duff and Joel Madden. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/patrickmcmullan.com)

In her recent cover story for Cosmopolitan Hilary Duff discussed, among other things, her underage romance with Good Charlotte rocker (and Mr. Nicole Richie), Joel Madden. The interview didn't include anything super revelatory about their relationship, which lasted for three years and began when Duff was 16 and Madden was 24, other than the fact that she (probably) lost her virginity to him. Duff said to Cosmo:

"I had a 26-year-old boyfriend, so everyone can make their own assumptions about what I was doing."
While we'd forgotten about this mid-aughts love story, as soon as it re-entered our brains, we immediately wondered, "Why didn't more people have a problem with a twentysomething dating a teenager?" Was this just a case of misremembering what happened -- or what was reported -- ten years ago? Doubtful. Several Google searches focusing on articles published during the time in question -- roughly 2002-2006 (just to give the results a wide berth) -- turned up very few hits that made any reference to things like "underage" or "illegal," save for one USA Today piece from 2004.

Similarly, other well-known examples of adult men dating female teenagers back in the day (17-year-old Lindsay Lohan dating 24-year-old Wilmer Valderrama or 17-year-old Hayden Panettiere dating 29-year-old Milo Ventimiglia, for example) elicited very little finger-wagging by the press. For every time that a publication like Vibe Magazine called out the inappropriateness of R. Kelly's relationship with (or supposed marriage to) a 15-year-old Aaliyah, there were many more examples of outlets seemingly condoning these kinds of matches.

Take Jerry Seinfeld's relationship with Shoshanna Lonstein, which began after he hit on the then-17-year-old private school student in Central Park. Though Howard Stern ribbed Seinfeld for his behavior, People Magazine took a different tack back in 1994:

"What distance there is between them on life's time line, it seems, they more than make up for with a similar temperament...The Lonsteins have always approved of the romance. 'Shoshanna is very mature,' says a source close to the family. 'Jerry is thoughtful, a good person. The family have nothing but positive feelings about the both of them. Everyone respects their relationship.'
They close the piece with this nice little turn of phrase:

"[Seinfeld] seems serene, a man whose conscience is as clean as his Nikes. 'When I wasn't involved with Shoshanna and was seeing several women, then it was awkward,' he says. 'You go out with one girl and the other sees you with her in the paper. That was uncomfortable. Now I'm not doing anything I'm uncomfortable with. My interest in her is very proper.'
Whatever people actually thought about these couplings, there was very little of the media indignation we see today when outlets discuss the relationships (or rumored relationships) between celebrities like, say, 17-year-old Kylie Jenner and 25-year-old Tyga.

Obviously, a lot of this has to do with the rise of the Internet. The crazy proliferation of gossip sites, news outlets, blogs and social media platforms over the last few years means that there's many more voices chiming in about any given gossip story and many more opinions (good, bad, ugly) being expressed. People Magazine and Page Six aren't the loudest voices in the room anymore -- not when you have Amber Rose on Twitter.

What's equally, if not more, important is the fact that the Internet has made the whole publicist-as-gatekeeper-slash-crisis manager-slash-spin doctor outmoded. Sure, mainstream publications still value their good relationships with publicists, who can provide them access to (or freeze them from) their famous clients, but when you have Reddit, Tumblr, and various celebrities going rogue on Twitter, it's clear just how limited a PR firm's control over the conversation actually is.

There's also the possibility that many of the editors running gossip and celebrity sites today are Gen Xers or Millennials who came of age hearing about the uncomfortable-sounding romances by the aformentioned Aaliyah and R. Kelly or Woody Allen and Soon-Yi, whereas their Baby Boomer predecessors grew up during a time when the only thing depressing about a twentysomething Elvis Presley dating a teenage Priscilla was that the King of Rock was off the market.

Or, you know, maybe years of looking at "Stars -- They're Just Like Us!" columns have finally hammered home the message that, yes, stars are just like us. And just because a 16-year-old might be famous, that doesn't mean her relationship with a full-blown adult isn't any less problematic than the relationship between that girl in your sophomore U.S. History class and her 27-year-old boyfriend, Kevin, whom she met at her after-school job hostessing at the Cheesecake Factory.

Whatever the case may be and whatever is (or isn't) going on between Kylie and Tyga, let's hope that the youngest Jenner doesn't wake up in ten years, get interviewed by a magazine, and give the kind of coy non-statement about her former relationship that has the same whiffs of thinly-veiled regret as Duff's.  

"Despise LA": Watch Chloe Sevigny's Guide to Being a New Yorker


Perennial cool girl and alternative lingerie advocate Chloe Sevigny narrated a helpful guide to being a New Yorker for i-D. Above, you'll find all her tips for surviving New York with an even amount of whimsy and cliché. Spoiler alert: must love cold, soul-crushing weather.

[h/t Gothamist]

"Straight James Franco" Interviews "Gay James Franco," Revealing Nothing

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 5.37.59 PM.pngPhoto by Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

James Franco is no stranger to quasi-meta introspection as art -- take his James Franco X James Franco selfie calendar for our Break the Internet Issue, or his mirror make-out session for the New York Times a few years back. He's also long-gravitated toward artistic projects with gay themes, with his short film Interior. Leather Bar receiving mostly positive reviews and his various roles as gay characters over the years. As a straight man, does Franco view his work as helping to loosen Hollywood from its firmly rooted homophobia or is this all part of the Franconian wink-wink stunty-ness we've come accustomed to over time? 429 Magazine has put Meta James As Art on steroids for their latest issue, having "Straight Franco" interview "Gay Franco" in an attempt, seemingly, to answer those very questions.

The entire piece isn't online, so it's unclear if those topics ever do get addressed, but Slate excerpted the following, with Franco addressing something that has been at the core of many gossip posts, as well as that time his bros totally burned him on his Comedy Central roast.

Straight James: Let's get substantial: are you fucking gay or what?                           

Gay James: Well, I like to think that I'm gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I'm also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I'm straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I'm straight. In the twenties and thirties, they used to define homosexuality by how you acted and not by whom you slept with. Sailors would fuck guys all the time, but as long as they behaved in masculine ways, they weren't considered gay.

So there you have it folks -- James Franco is/is not gay. And now, allow us to introduce Substantial Franco: the best/worst Franco of them all.

Watch People Lie About Loving SXSW Bands That Don't Exist


Last night Jimmy Kimmel reprised his SXSW Lie Witness news segment, in which he interviews attendees about their love for bands that don't actually exist, and the results are as enjoyable and insane as always. Pause that fire new DJ Gluten track you're bumping in your headphones and give it a watch above.