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IOWA CAUCUS: Madame Clinton Feels The Bern

February 2nd, 2016


Artwork by BRIAN KRIM

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The AP will not declare winner in Iowa Democratic caucuses at this time because of the closeness of the race between Clinton and Sanders.

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FEAR & LOATHING: How Not To Build A Stadium

February 2nd, 2016



BY CHARLIE TAYLOR Today’s not-quite-open forum regarding the building of a new football stadium on Temple’s campus didn’t accomplish much outside of bringing simmering tensions between the school brass and neighborhood residents to the surface. At issue was the fact that neighborhood residents were not invited to the forum, with numerous students and residents showing up to protest the exclusion of the neighbors. The forum proved to be a rather contentious affair, and Temple President Theobald and Athletic Director Pat Kraft were only able to answer a few questions before the protests of Temple students ended the forum.

Here’s what we did learn: The stadium will take two years to build and cost $100 million – a large amount, but preferable to the annual $6 million fee Temple will pay the Philadelphia Eagles to use Lincoln Financial Field. In addition, Theobald revealed that 90% of the concessions and all of the parking fees go to the Eagles at the Linc. He says that when Temple has it’s own stadium, those fees will go to into Temple’s coffers. Theobald also revealed that the tentative location for the stadium is between Broad Street and 16th Street, and extends from Norris to Montgomery. Students were glad to hear that they would not be responsible for any extra payments.

However, they were happy about very little else and made that patently clear, repeatedly interrupting proceedings with chants of, “Where is the community?” These chants began in response to Theobald’s statement that building the stadium will take two years. A woman, describing herself as from the North Philadelphia area, asked, “Why do you have these meetings with just the students? You should have a meeting with the community before you make up your mind to build this. We don’t want the noise, we don’t want more parking, we don’t want the lights.” This statement sent the room into an uproar and effectively ended the meeting.

Afterwards, I asked Anna Barnett, a junior at Temple and member of 15 Now Temple (which advocates for a $15 minimum wage for Temple employees) what the next step was for the students opposed to the new stadium. Anna said that, “We have been having meetings every week and this forum was unexpected. Now, we have to keep organizing and prepare for the next meeting of the Board of Trustees.” Hopefully, the Board is prepared for the sound and fury of its student body.

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INCOMING: Win Tix To See A VIP Advanced Screening Of The Coen Brother’s Hail Caesar!

February 1st, 2016



A retro-screwball comedy/sword & sandals burlesque written and directed by the Coen brothers and starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum (because apparently they passed a law that makes it illegal to NOT cast Channing Tatum in a new movie) what more do you need to know? We have a coupla pairs of tix to a special VIP advance screening 7:30 pm tomorrow night (Tue. Feb. 2nd) at the Ritz 5. Note, these are reserved seats, not the usual first come/first served. To qualify to win you must:  A) Friend us on Facebook B) follow us on Twitter C) send an email to PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM telling us you have done so, or already do, along with your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Put the magic words HAIL COENS! in the subject line. Good luck and godspeed!

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MILESTONE: Last Great American Novel Turns 20

February 1st, 2016

infinite jest


HARRY RANSOM CENTER: Twenty years ago, in February of 1996, Little, Brown and Company published David Foster Wallace’s (1962–2008) novel Infinite Jest. It was a bold undertaking for the firm to publish a complex, challenging novel that spans over 1,000 pages and contains hundreds of endnotes, many quite lengthy and all printed in very small type. The sheer size of the book required thatDavid Foster Wallace Newsweek it be sold for $30, an unorthodox price for any novel, let alone a second novel by a young, up-and-coming author.

Wallace began seriously writing Infinite Jest in 1991. The publication of the book took years of hard work not only from Wallace but from his agent Bonnie Nadell, his editor Michael Pietsch, and others who read and supported the book’s development in one way or another. Evidence of this hard work can be found throughout David Foster Wallace’s archive and in other related collections at the Harry Ransom Center.

While working on the novel, Wallace shared his early drafts with his editor, Michael Pietsch. Pietsch read and reread the manuscripts diligently, offering astute advice that helped tighten and clarify the narrative. Pietsch was encouraging but also practical. In a letter he wrote to Wallace on June 10, 1993, he voiced concern about the book’s length: “This should not be a $30 novel so thick readers feel they have to clear their calendars for a month before they can buy it.” Yet it’s apparent that Pietsch found the novel deeply moving and compelling. In a later letter to Wallace, the editor noted, “publishing this novel has probably been the most satisfying and exciting work I’ve ever gotten to do.” MORE


RELATED: The David Foster Wallace Archive @ The University Of Texas Austin

PREVIOUSLY: Jeff Deeney’s Elegy For David Foster Wallace

Infinite Mess

Every Goddamn Thing We Ever Posted About David Foster Wallace

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February 1st, 2016

Charlie Hilton is the only Hilton that matters. From her wonderful just-out debut, Palana.

OFFICIAL BIO: Though she maintains some reservations about the implications of something as abstract as identity, Charlie Hilton, known up until now for her work in the band Blouse, has now forged a new one with her debut solo album, Palana. The album’s title itself is a nod to Hilton’s given Sanskrit name, an identity she shed completely after high school in favor of the androgynous “Charlie,” and Palana‘s overarching theme can be summed up by a quote from Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, a phrase Hilton cites as a personal mantra: “Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form…he is much more an experiment and a transition….”

Enlisting Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait as producer, Hilton freely experimented with diverse Cover_Willssounds and moods — some minimal and some cacophonous — out of the confines of a band structure. “Funny Anyway” is truly stark, featuring only string accompaniments, with Hilton assuming a role akin to a confessional French chanteuse, while “Let’s Go to a Party” is Hilton’s cheeky take on an icy dance track with thick, bouncing synths and a chorus that echoes “I’m only happy when I’m dancing.” Alternatively, tracks like “Pony” harken back to the psychedelic strengths of Blouse, saluting bands like Broadcast and United States of America, and then there’s “100 Million,” the sole track produced by Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere that rounds out the album in a soft, acoustic and light-hearted way with labelmate Mac DeMarco lending his talents on instrumentals and back-up vocals.

This wide range of moods on Palana recall several of Hilton’s key influences — the solemn beauty of Nico, the whimsical nature of Marc Bolan, and the naïveté of Jonathan Richman — but the album is undeniably the work of one artist, perhaps best summed up by the artist herself: “The music on this record is diverse, but so is the inside of a person. I feel like I’m many people.”

Fucking love this song.

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CONTEST: Win Tix To Low’s Sold Out Show @ JB’s

January 30th, 2016



The sadcore avatars of Low are a proverbial riddle wrapped in enigmas: The infinite reverb, the psychotropic tremolos, the barbituated tempos, the endless Sphinx-like silences between the notes, the darkness at the edge of Duluth, the Mormonism, the Rihanna cover, the fact that the lead singer of Led Zeppelin is the president of their fan club, the 2005 breakdown in a remote cabin in the woods where singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk’s became convinced he was the Antichrist and refused to open his eyes or speak for days, and the fact that after 22 years of soft parading they are more popular than ever. These are questions that have puzzled philosophers and theologians and rock critics down through the ages. Don’t expect answers when you go to see them play a way sold-out show at Johnny Brenda’s on Monday in support of the new and altogether swell Ones And Sixes (Sub Pop) just count your blessings that the soft-rock gods have smiled upon thee with a pair of impossible-to-get-tickets courtesy of your old pal Phawker. To get said soft-rock gods to smile upon you must do the following: A) Friend us on Facebook B) follow us on Twitter C) send an email to PHAWKER66@GMAIL.COM telling us you have done so, or already do, along with your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Put the magic words I COULD LIVE IN HOPE in the subject line. Good luck and godspeed!


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CINEMA: There’s No Place Like Home

January 29th, 2016


Ben LehmanBY BEN LEHMAN My last experience with a Michael Moore documentary was in 2004 when Fahrenheit 9/11 was released. I remember watching the film as a 10 year old with my Republican family in the context of the early days of the Iraq War. My parents were quick to dismiss the controversial film; like many Americans in those days, they firmly stood behind President Bush and the invasion of Iraq. The film was provocative and controversial, which are terms one often associates with Moore. But for his latest creative endeavour, Moore chooses a less controversial and more lighthearted approach.

The film begins with a montage of all of the wars the United States has involved itself in since World War II, and how each and every one of them has been a failure that has only led to more war. This is when Moore stands in front a fictional gathering of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to tell them, where should America invade next? And thus begins the journey around the world.

Moore travels to a handful of countries across Europe and North Africa, meeting locals and learning about their culture and values. We learn how all of these countries provide free healthcare, education, paid vacation, and have zero gun culture. Moore “invades” all of these countries, leaving an American flag in each, and decides to bring their brilliant ideas back to the US.

Instead of directly criticizing the United States, Moore allows the comparisons with other countries to speak for themselves. The film brilliantly juxtaposes images from European countries with some from the United States. A Norwegian prison that looks more like a resort is intermixed with clips from American prisons where the inmates are brutally beaten. A school in France where the children eat a four star meal for lunch is contrasted with American lunches, which are grotesque in comparison.
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SERIAL FICTION: The Perpetual Lent Of Leif Cole

January 29th, 2016



Part 5

BY BLAZE ARCHER I am sitting up on my bed. The light from outside has gone and been replaced by bright white lights and darkness. When I slit my eyes, the white lights look like bright halos of finely spun glass—stardust. We are all made of stardust. In me is the nebula of faraway galaxies. The farther I look into the stars, the more I am aware of the past. Light years away, they look as they did thousands of years ago. A time-capsule. But in this room the only stars are electric light. The night outside is black, painted thickly on the air. It’s so thick I imagine I can peel it off as if it were wallpaper. I lift my hands and watch them glow white in the electric light like deep sea anglerfish, a cruel trick of the light. They are so pale, translucent, blue with veins.

These veins I have abused for the past year.

I am counting the hours before detoxification.

I have been lying here staring at the fading light for ten hours. I have gotten to know the ceiling well, like a new acquaintance I am taking in. The shape of a brow. The curve of a lip. I can see a face. The light in the ceiling blends into the white of the room so that it no longer startles me with its silence. The violence of the white walls no longer lacerates my eyes. I have become numb in my head, as if it were filled with cotton wool, keeping my thoughts from landing hard and breaking. There is something about my hands that makes me think of a swan’s wings. I half imagine them fluttering toward the ceiling and then burned by the electric light. But in reality they are fast by my sides, as if they are chained to the bed. They cannot fly.

A nurse shouts, “Dinner!” I blend into the bed and disappear into the airplane bathroom smell of the sheets. A nurse opens my door and peeks in, bearing a tray which he leaves on a table by my bed. He walks out as silently as he came in. I stare at the food. Roast chicken. Green beans. Tea. Orange juice. A nauseating wave ripples through my abdomen, and I curl up on the bed and whimper into the pillow.

Today is my fourth day without food. I have gone past hunger into a state of shock. The electricity has burned me. It still leaves a charge that cannot be anchored. I am floating in flames. They are cold. There is a whiteness to my insides that makes me think of shark’s teeth. They bite into me: but I can no longer feel pain.
A nurse pokes his head in. He stares at the untouched food tray. “You’re not hungry?” he says. “You haven’t eaten all day.”

I am silent, burying my face in the pillow. The nurse is lingering like a foul odor. “You need to eat something,” he says. “Otherwise I’m going to have to write you up.”
“Go ahead,” I mutter. “It doesn’t matter to me.”

I hear him take the tray of food and walk out of the room, leaving the door open behind him. A rush of cold air comes through the door, and I wrap the blanket tighter around me, shivering like a chimp in a lab.

I am beginning to lose my sense of place and time, the hours blending into minutes and the minutes blending into hours till all I am left with is the long hallway of the past. The memory of Richard dangling from the ceiling. How he used to paint pictures of blank walls. It makes me feel like I’m looking into a funhouse mirror, my image distended, flowing in and out of the curved mirror, bulging like a too full balloon, threatening to drift away. I whimper again. The memory of Richard’s cold skin as I lower him to the floor. His bent neck, crooked, broken. I gently finger the red welt where the rope bit into his throat. Hugging his body in my arms till I shake. It is hours before I can call the police. It is hours before I realize he is dead.
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SUICIDE BY ATF: The Death Of LaVoy Finicum

January 29th, 2016

FBI: This is the complete video footage of a joint FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop and OSP officer-involved shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This footage, which has only been edited to blur out aircraft information, was taken by the FBI on 01/26/2016 and released by the FBI on 01/28/2016. Note regarding date/time stamp in the left corner of video: Pilots use Zulu Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), when they fly. Zulu time is eight hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). Therefore, although this footage was taken on January 26, 2016 in Oregon, the date/time stamp on the video shows just after midnight January 27, 2016.

VICE NEWS: The aerial video taken by law enforcement helicopters showed Finicum speed off in a white truck from FBI and Oregon state police and nearly strike a law enforcement officer while trying to evade a police barricade before barreling into a snowbank and exiting the car. The grainy aerial footage shows Finicum raise his hands in the air and then turn and flail his arms moments before he is shot by an officer the FBI identified as a state trooper. Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland office who narrated the video for reporters, said Finicum can be seen reaching for his jacket pocket. But a lack of focus in the video makes Finicum’s precise movements prior to the shooting difficult to discern. The agents and officers do not attempt to administer first aid or attend to Finicum until roughly 10 minutes after he is shot and lying down. MORE

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SERIAL FICTION: The Perpetual Lent Of Leif Cole

January 28th, 2016

Leif Cole Chap4


Part 4

BY BLAZE ARCHER Leif is talking to the woman psychiatrist, who chased me out. There’s something about growing up poor that makes anything like that seem like you’re the hired help having to flee the room. She was a small woman. There was something bludgeoning in the way she put up her hair. Her hair was coarse and black, and so were her eyebrows.

Dropping my cigarette, I crushed it with my sneaker and walked toward the door to prepare for work. I was going to check in on Leif before I put on my scrubs. Something told me that psychiatrist shouldn’t be the last person he talked to. His face was wrinkled with tears.

The door to the roof opened. I wasn’t used to anyone else being up here this time of day. I looked into the shadow of the door and saw Leif in his hospital gown peering out of it. He had a startled expression, like he couldn’t understand what he was doing there. I began to walk toward him, but as I drew near he rushed across the roof.

He skidded to a stop at the edge of the roof, looking over the railing with a wild look. I ran across the roof and lunged at him. All I saw was his white figure, a blur of limbs and creased fabric. I grabbed him around the waist and dragged him to the ground, fumbling with his arms as he pushed against me.

“Let go of me!” He clawed at my hands frantically.

“Jesus Christ, Leif—how the Hell did you get out here?” I had pinned his arms behind his back, but his legs were still kicking. I could feel my arms going numb.
“I can’t—I can’t do this anymore!” Leif screamed. “You-you don’t know what I’ve been through, if you did you’d let me die!”

“No I wouldn’t!” Leif was still struggling, and I prayed he wouldn’t have another cardiac arrest. “Leif—nothing’s so bad that death is worth it! If you die everything’s going to be bad for the rest of your life—that’s what suicide is!”


Leif gave one last kick before going limp. The tears were streaming down his face, dripping onto my sweatshirt. Shakily, I picked him up and got to my feet. He didn’t resist.

I walked toward the open door. “They’re going to 302 you,” I said. “I’ll visit you, if you want.”

“I…I have a final request,” Leif whispered. There was something strained in his voice. I glanced down into his face. It was flushed and thin. I had never noticed how thin it was till now, this close. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him.

“What is it?” I said. Leif gulped.

“I…there’s a supply closet the janitor always forgets to lock,” he said. “I…I want you to fuck me. Please. I…I can’t handle this!”

“Um…” I stopped in my tracks, thinking over my words.

“I think…that’s a really bad idea,” I muttered. “Anyways, I’m…mostly straight. And I don’t want to have sex in a closet.”

“Mostly straight?”
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JOHN CALE: Close Watch

January 28th, 2016

M:FANS, a radical new reworking of one of John Cale’s most unique and lauded solo records, the 1982 masterpiece Music For A New Society, released last week on Double Six / Domino as M:FANS/Music For A Future Society, and it is fucking brilliant. The video features Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman and is directed by Abby Portner.

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SERIAL FICTION: The Perpetual Lent Of Leif Cole

January 27th, 2016

Leif Cole Static


Part 3

BY BLAZE ARCHER I wake up. I am lying on the floor. The carpet is a soft white yet it feels rough on my cheek. I try to sit up, but my limbs are weights and I fall back down again. I lie still and breathe in the recently shampooed carpet. The chemicals make me feel like my head is full of clouds. Even though I am on the floor, I feel like I am plummeting to Earth like a stone. Getting to my knees, I crawl toward my coat and pull out my cell phone before collapsing back on the floor. I scroll through my contacts. Lisa, likes hot wax. Brian, likes whippings. Stan, likes cock and ball torture. Feeling weak, I alight on a name. Dr. Prost.

Putting the phone on speaker, I dial the number and collapse again. The phone rings and rings into oblivion before Dr. Prost picks up. He sounds fuzzy with sleep, and breathes heavily into the receiver. “Hello,” he says. “Leif? What’s going on?”

I struggle to talk, but no words come out. I try to take a breath, but my lungs are weak. Panting into the phone, I flail for words like they are passing targets at a carnival shooting gallery, only I keep missing the shot. Dr. Prost is silent for a minute before muttering, “I’ll be right there.” He hangs up.

I continue to lie on the floor. The carpet is quickly becoming my enemy, but I can’t move. The fibers are making my lungs itch. Breathing in the carpet shampoo, I become light headed, and the carpet becomes a big cloud before my eyes. Twenty minutes passes before there is a knock at the door. I can’t get up, but continue to breathe into the carpet. The doorknob is tried, and the door is shoved open.
I can tell Dr. Prost is walking toward me because he has a very heavy stride. Every step he takes sounds like a banging of a judge’s gavel. He walks across the carpet and stops before me. All I can see are his shoes, which are beat up sneakers with run down laces with the tips missing.

“Christ, Leif, what happened?” he said. I struggle to talk, but my tongue feels like its inflated and is clogging all sound from reaching the air.

Dr. Prost kneels down, so that I can see his face. It is creased and tired, with a five o’clock shadow. He is wearing a sweatshirt and jeans with a hole in the knee. The sweatshirt appears to be from a department store like Target. Dr. Prost clutches my wrist and looks at his watch, calculating my pulse. From somewhere, Dr. Prost produces a stethoscope. Carefully rolling me over, he listens to my heartbeat. The stethoscope is cool on my bare chest. I am not wearing underwear.

“I’m calling an ambulance,” Dr. Prost says. “Is that your phone?”

I can’t nod, and so Dr. Prost picks it up anyway and dials 911. The call is brief, and soon he has hung up.

“I’m coming with you,” he says. “You didn’t take something did you?”

Dr. Prost is still kneeling on the floor beside me.

“What the Hell is that picture?” he says, glancing at an abstract photograph of a woman’s vulva on the wall. “Is that…? Huh. Kinda makes me want to be celibate, Leif.” I do not say anything, though at this point I think I can speak.

“This is a nice place you’ve got here,” Dr. Prost says. “A little too neat for my taste. It kind of reminds me of a museum in here.” There is silence as Dr. Prost looks around the living room.

“They should be here soon,” Dr. Prost says. “Do you have any family you want me to call?” Feebly I shake my head.

There is a knock at the door. Dr. Prost gets up and opens it, and two EMTs come in wheeling a gurney.
“I found him like this,” Dr. Prost says. “He’s having a tachycardia episode.”

The two EMTs lift me up and strap me into the gurney. Dr. Prost follows us as I am wheeled quickly down the hall. I gaze up at the ceiling, the pain in my chest making me soar into the whiteness of the walls.
We go down in the elevator. I feel like I am falling. The EMTs wheel me into the cold night air. All I am in is my robe, and I shiver.

I hear the EMTs open the doors of the ambulance, and I am wheeled in. Dr. Prost follows. There is a slap of a door, and the ambulance starts moving. The sirens begin to wail.

In the small back of the ambulance, Dr. Prost is close enough to me that I can tell his skin is warm, and this comforts me.

“We’re going to figure this out,” Dr. Prost assures me. “I’ll make sure of that.”

Suddenly I feel warm. A faint flush to my cheeks. I immediately begin to panic.

The EMT is administering an anti-arrhythmic medication. My heart is crushing me, but somehow Dr. Prost’s presence is making me calm and yet unsettled—as if I am a cobra being lulled to sleep by a snake charmer’s flute. His hands are large and covered in hair. They are close by me, and I wonder why he is wearing a ring but has never mentioned a wife.

The ambulance stops. A pause, and then the doors are opened, and I am wheeled into the ER where I work. The hospital is cold. I am wheeled into a white room and a doctor is walking in.

“Heart rate still elevated,” the EMT says. “Not responding to medication.”

They are going to get the defibrillator. I wait in agony.

“We’re going to figure this out, Leif.” Dr. Prost says again. “Don’t worry, I’m going to make sure of that.”

The doctor is rubbing the paddles together. The shock of electricity. My body shudders and jumps like a salmon running upstream. The beat of my heart on the monitor relaxes, and everyone exhales.

“Get an EKG,” the doctor says. His name is Dr. Robert, and I am reminded of The Beatles song whenever I see him. The doctor and the nurses disperse. Dr. Prost sits in a chair by my bed.

“Well…” he says. “Try not to be a doctor right now. You’re going to be okay.”

“I…” my throat clamps shut. “I think I’m going to die.”

“You’re not going to die,” Dr. Prost says. “Come on—did you take something?”

“No,” I say. “Dr. Prost…”

“Christ, call me Liam,” Dr. Prost says. “What is this ‘Dr. Prost’ all the time?”

“Dr. Prost…” I say. “If I die, don’t tell my family.”

“You’re going to be okay,” Dr. Prost says. “We’re going to figure this out. What were you doing when this happened?”

“Nothing,” I say, quickly. “I just…I just…”

“What?” Dr. Prost says.

“Just…please don’t leave me,” I say. I begin to cry.
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January 27th, 2016

See? It doesn’t have to be like this. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you on behalf of money or fear.

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