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April 2011

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Hey You, Teen Bitch!

April 26, 2011

Calling all teenage girls! I’m looking for girls between the ages of 11 and 18 to interview on camera about dating. Girls need to be in or within a few hours drive of NYC. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please email me ASAP at karleysciortino@gmail.com. And don’t worry, it’s not going to be “racy”. The vibe is more “cute”, so feel free to sign up your daughters :) And p.s., Skype and/or phone calls will not work, so the New York thing is actually important. THANKS!

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Ask Slutever (AKA Ask Bunny)

April 25, 2011

Bunny (and friend Heathcote) modeling (his fave hobby) in Vogue Homme Japan by Ben Toms

For this installment of Ask Slutever I’ve called upon my BFF Bunny to answer some of your very important questions. Most avid readers of this blog know Bunny because I’ve written about him like 500 million times. For those who don’t, he’s kind of like this ambiguously gendered freak with no definitive sexuality, who barely ever has sex because he thinks touching people is gross or something. He once told me that he never watches porn, and on the rare occasion that he masturbates he looks in the mirror. Hot? He’s also some kind of weird genius, and I love him, so for those reasons you should probably blindly accept every word that escapes his mouth as absolute truth. This is what Bunny had to say:

Hi there! Bunny here. Now, I definitely don’t know anything about anything–especially when it comes to love and sex, which is a feeling and activity, respectively, that I engage in infrequently. But, taking a cue from my mother who has recently emerged at age 60 with new, Angel Network-encouraged, post-divorce career aspirations of becoming something called a “Life Coach” in spite of the plentiful evidence available (in the form of empty wine bottles and multiple, highlighted copies of The Seat of Your Soul, all regularly found strewn about on the floor next to her bed) that suggests she ought to hire one of her own before soliciting her questionable existence-coping tactics to anyone else, I too love giving advice when it is clearly so inappropriate for me to be doing so. So, to start: Don’t do drugs, like, all the time, go to class, like, some of the time, and, most importantly, avoid spending your teens hanging out with photographer-slash-DJs and feeling important because of it. Believe me, you’re not. And neither are they! Cool!

1. OMG I’m in love with this guy in my philosophy class but he’s soooo shy. Every time I invite him out with my friends and I he says he doesn’t like going out, and I never see him hanging out with anyone. He’s a total nerd but I love that about him! How do I get his attention? Desperate, Ohio
I was fairly shy and friendless in my younger years (I did, however, also have braces from the summer before eighth grade until the summer after senior year and was known to voluntarily wear kimonos to school on a regular basis because I was “really into Japan”) and I can confidently say, if anyone was romantically interested in me then I never had any idea. I’m still like that, really, but if someone makes it clear, and I mean VERY clear, that they have a thing for me, I will often, as can be partly attributed to a lifetime of social awkwardness and anxiety, reciprocate interest in the person initially simply because they’ve shown an interest in me. But we being a painful combination of shy, male, and mildly retarded means you’ve probably got to make the first move and if we reject you it’s not because we want to reject you, it’s because we’re skinny, scared, autistic losers that, as a condition of our condition, require you to be persistent and try again. Once you finally get him to go out with you, I suggest a healthy application of alcohol to the situation. After about an hour, if I know me–I mean, uh, him–he’ll be so receptive and at ease and in love with you for still sitting with him after an entire hour that he’ll probably already be going down on you badly in the bathroom or puking on your shoes or confessing something really fucked up about his childhood between drunk, snotty sobs. If you can stand it, then congratulations! This is the rest of your life.
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2. I’m going on vacation to London soon. What’s fun to do there that I wouldnt find in an “Idiots Guide To London.” You know, off-the-beaten-path crazy shit. Chris, 24, SF
London is a majestic shithole just brimming with big ass churches, museums and various other cool old buildings undermined by the consistent presence of hideous British people standing in front them, screaming the word “cunt” over and over again while publicly intoxicated on cider on any given weekday morning. It’s the best. But, for the young London tourist wanting to experience something a little more nuanced on their trip rather than the typical, forgettable fare offered by a random ferris wheel and a whatevs clock tower and ten thousand gift shops owned by a seemingly related group of Indian men committed to selling the hell out of the same set of Prince Wonkface wedding towels, here are some alternative suggestions…
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1. Have gay sex in a graveyard
The Stoke Newington Cemetary is ripe with married middle aged men looking to go down low with literally anything be-penised that may wander by. You can’t miss them, they spend all day sitting on benches, looking nervously around as if to say, Enter Me, and yet also I Will Kill You. Nothing says “London in the year 2011” like sexually repressed homo cruising in inappropriate venues in spite of the prevalent existence of things like the internet and several of the members of One Direction.

2. Count the number of people missing limbs on Walworth Road
Walworth Road, of Squallyoaks fame, is an excellent place to go people watching. While living there, I spent many an afternoon staring in awe at the quality of people (and shockingly low collective quantity of body parts I had until then always assumed were necessary to maintain for basic survival) sitting in front of Tesco on their motorized scooters. Listen carefully as they converse with each other in a secret, guttural language that one only achieves fluency in upon sustaining a blood alcohol level so high that to still be capable of opening one’s eyes as can they (well, sort of) suggests that they have essentially either discovered the secret of eternal life or are, conversely, actually already dead but their eyes are still open and their bodies are making death noises confused by the others as words for a very, very long time now.
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3. Become a model
Do you have a face and wear alright clothes? Then you should model! In London, literally everyone is a model. Like, even super fugly, short, fat people over the age of 30 with weird heads are models. I don’t know why more former ANTM contestants don’t come here, they’d be huge! All you have to do is be vaguely cool, and to be vaguely cool all you have to do is have a famous parent or be in a CBB (Crap British Band) or, even better, both. If that’s not you, don’t worry, just wear your best facial piercings and go to Brick Lane and wait there and exist for five to ten minutes and by the end of your stay in London you’ll be in a Burberry campaign for sure.
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3. About two months ago I drunkenly had oral sex with my friend. I was just looking for a fuck buddy, but it’s now been two months and I think he really likes me. But the problem is we haven’t even fucked because he ejaculates immediately on seeing me naked, every single time! It’s sort of put me off him and it’s super awkward. What do I do? Annabelle Dixon, NZ
Having someone immediately ejaculate upon seeing you naked sounds like a sort of sweetly gross compliment to me. You should try looking less good naked. Perhaps consider spending this summer developing a rash of some sort. Or shave your pubes into an unarousing shape or design, such as his mother’s face or a fantasy animal’s penis (you should double check to make sure these are unarousing images to him first, btw), and he will surely be so distracted and disturbed that his pants will be pulled back up and your floor/face/whatever left satisfactorily seedless before you can even say Onan-ah-what’s-my-name. Also, consider gaining lots of weight or suicidally cutting the word “PERFECT” into your forearm like that girl in the Pink video. Or, better yet, take on an unattractive personal style such as “mall goth” or “fashion person” and soon he will find you so repulsive that you will be able to avoid the awkwardness of rejecting him entirely. He’ll be sperming all over someone else’s unsuspecting leg in no time!
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P.S. Send more questions–anything, really!–to karleysciortino@gmail.com
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Hanging with Salem

April 21, 2011
All photos by Hugh Lippe
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A few months ago I went to Michigan to spend a few crazy days with the band Salem for a feature I wrote about them in Dazed and Confused. I don’t usually post my “normal” jounalism on Slutever, but because everyone and their mom seems to be obsessed with Salem, and because the pics are cool, I thought it might be of interest? Read if you feel so inclined. 

Heather Marlatt teeters down the front steps of her Michigan home. Fried blonde hair, neon orange stilettos, huge breasts spilling out of an American flag bikini—she’s hot in that white trash, Anna Nicole Smith sort of way. “Meet Timmy,” she smiles, giving a shake to the Shih Tzu clamped under her right arm. She presses her face affectionately up against the dog’s snout and the two tongue for a bit. From behind her emerges bandmate John Holland, his rickety frame cloaked by enormous black T-shirt. “Hey!” he smiles, revealing a shiny gold front tooth, “isn’t it so nice here? Every time I leave I look forward to coming home and smelling the air.”

Here is Traverse City, a quaint city located at the head of Grand Traverse Bay, just off Lake Michigan. It’s littered with strip malls, fast food restaurants and jankey shacks selling hotdogs–woodsmen, neighborly smiles and big hair all play major roles in the atmosphere. It’s also home to two-thirds of screwgaze trio Salem. Since forming three years ago, Salem’s new breed of syrupy, sideways hip-hop has given wake to myriad copycat bands and cyber disciples, all of whom are wet with anticipation for their forthcoming debut album, King Knight. Like the faith-wasted await the rapture, only indie.

John and Heather recline lazily in the dining room of their home—a modest ranch on a street full of modest ranches. The house’s interior is straight up Brady Brunch: deep shag, wooden paneling, display cases full of gaudy crystal and nick-knacks—most of which are leftovers of the previous occupant. The kitchen surfaces and refrigerator are stocked with diet bread, fat free cheeses and a host of weird health drinks that claim to burn more calories than they provide. “We got fat so we’re on a diet,” says Heather, a cigarette protruding from her puffy lips. “I’m actually going to a work-out class with my mom later.”

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“Other than Heather I don’t have many friends here,” says John, his voice so soft it’s almost a whisper. “Sometimes I’ll sleep with guys and then I’ll hang out with them for a while, but that’s it really. There’s this one older guy who I’ve sort of been seeing recently. He’s married, although his wife is pretty into it.”

“It doesn’t matter that we don’t have that many people around us,” says Heather defiantly, “because we have each other. I would much rather just hang out with John anyway. He’s like family.”

Heather and John’s relationship is intimidatingly close—occupying a space between siblings and lovers. Michigan natives, they met ten years ago at Interlochen Arts Academy, a renowned alternative arts boarding school outside Traverse City, where John’s parents both work as music teachers. “I was a senior and John was a freshman,” recalls Heather. “He just waltzed up to me on the first day of class and asked me to be his friend. I liked him because he looked like he’d never taken a shower.” She laughs. “Not much has changed.”

Around noon the house’s inherent serenity is destroyed by the sound of tires shrieking into the driveway. A car horn blasts obnoxiously. “I guess Jack’s here,” says Heather, rolling her eyes. Seconds later Salem’s final member—Jack Donoghue, here for the weekend from his home in Chicago—bounds into the room. He’s striking, like the alternateen dream out of a Gregg Araki film: beautifully fucked-up. “Get up, we’re going out,” he demands. He’s naked except for a pair of tiny, nylon swim shorts. “I need to buy a funnel and a hose. I wanna make a beer bong.” The others submit somewhat reluctantly, and the trio pile into Heather’s beat-up white Subaru station wagon.

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As we drive the hot, thick Michigan air pours through the car’s open windows. It’s difficult to breathe. Mariah Carey’s “Breakdown” erupts from the car’s blown-out speakers. “You don’t understand how much I love Mariah,” John beams. “She’s just, like, my hero.” After a brief stop at the local Walmart to gather the aforementioned necessities, the group heads to the city’s main attraction: the beach. Upon arrival Heather immediately strips, dives in and begins chain smoking from the water. Jack produces a tab of acid from his shorts pocket and, despite overt grimaces from his friends, happily pops it onto his tongue. He turns to me and offers a teasing grin. “So… like, how big’s your boyfriend’s dick?”

“Bigger than yours.”

“I hope you like being wet,” he spits back as he shoves me off the dock with all my clothes on. As my body sinks and my head is engulfed, from under the water I can hear Heather scream—a warped, illusive yelp that washes over me like something conjured up from a dream. It sounds curiously familiar, not far off from a Salem song. I surface to discover Jack smiling wide, like, no big deal.

One gets the impression Jack is the sort of person who will constantly test the limits of what he can get away with. He radiates charisma, albeit slightly drunk with power. According to Heather, when Jack and John met, the first words out of Jack’s mouth were, “From now on, you can’t have any friends besides me. You have to just disconnect from everyone you know and if you want to talk to anyone, I have to approve it first.” Though on the surface is may appear that Jack makes the rules, the trio clearly share a complex power dynamic.
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“John is so open,” says Heather. “He’s nice to everyone, even if they’ve fucked him over. It’s great that he’s so generous and loving, but it means people sometimes take advantage of him.”

“John is one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever met,” adds Jack. “It’s his vulnerability that allows him to see and feel things that most people fail to.”

“I’m really protective over him,” Heather continues. “I’m constantly telling him he can’t let people walk all over him. I’m the opposite. If someone fucks me over, I’ll be like, ‘Fuck you, I’ll fucking cut your face!’”

John paws his face sheepishly. “Guys, can we, like, change the subject or whatever?”

As a teenager in Michigan, John got heavily into drugs, working as a prostitute to fund his addictions. This continued when he moved to Chicago to study drawing and installation at the Art Institute of Chicago. He’s now completely sober, and seems a bit frustrated at Salem being lazily classified a “junkie band.” (Noteworthy: Their debut EP was entitled Yes, I Smoke Crack.) “Yes, we’ve done drugs,” he says wearily, “but what people don’t get is that it has nothing to do with our band or us as musicians. Everybody has to overcome things in life, and I’ve done that. We’re all better at some points and worse at others.”

“People are constantly offering us drugs and trying to get wasted with us,” says Heather, “like as if that’s all we do. Everyone assumes we’re these really fucked up, morose people, I guess because of what’s been written about us. They don’t get that we’re just normal and joke around like everyone else.”
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Salem formed in Chicago in 2007. Since their first EP, released on Acephale Records in 2008, the trio have released a handful of 7’’s, remixes and mixtapes, and played a minimal amount of live shows, almost all of which were in the US. They’ve given few interviews, and for the most part have remained faceless in their artwork and music videos, preferring to shroud themselves with a stark visual aesthetic that alloys the occult and the apocalypse. Despite keeping a pretty low profile, the band have become the subject of much intrigue, being donned the pioneers of a new genre, drag—a form of ghostly, slow-moving electronic music, heavily influenced by the chopped and screwed sound created by DJ Screw in Houston in the early 90s. Chopped and screwed involves cutting-up and slowing down hip-hop until it sounds like you’re listening to the track through a cloud of nitrous oxide. Though a few journalists have credited Salem with inventing the term, ‘drag’ has actually been around for a while, simply a less popular moniker for ‘screwed’ or occasionally, ‘slowed.’ 

“Screwed started in the south with guys robotripping, you know, drinking sizurp,” says John. “Rappers would mix Sprite with a whole bottle of codeine cough syrup, cause, like, slowed down music sounds really good when you’re all high and stuff. I’ve titled some of the remixes and mixtapes I’ve done with the name drag, so I guess people who aren’t into rap and weren’t familiar with the term could think we made it up, but we didn’t.”

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Whether intentional or not, drag now has a new connotation, being used as an umbrella term for a new scene of bands sprouting up in NYC and beyond, creating aesthetically similar music in wake of Salem’s influence. But did they spearhead the trend, or was it merely zeitgeist? “I think it’s a bit of both, that it’s case specific,” says Jack. “Personally I feel like the music we’re making is very of the time, which is probably why people are so responsive to it. It’s just in the air. And if we’re inspiring other people to make music based on the stuff we’re into, then there will be a whole new generation of kids making music that we might like, and that’s exciting.”

“No art is completely original,” adds John. “People constantly take from and are inspired by each other. That’s how art and music progress and evolve. We’re definitely not threatened, I think it’s a positive thing.”
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Salem’s self-produced debut album, King Night, is out on IAMSOUND this month. The album is epic—a vast underworld of soupy, hypnotic euphoria, with Heather’s voice flying over and under the record like a dove through a futuristic war zone. This is not just drug music; it’s a glimpse into a parallel universe. It’s warped and incestuous—the product of three minds synthesized.

When questioned on the record, the group talk less about the album itself and more about the logic behind their creativity, suggesting that the record is more a byproduct of a process focused entirely on art than it is the band’s definitive interest. “Our attitude has always been that we make music for ourselves and for each other,” says Jack, “and if someone wanted to work with us and help us share it, then that would be great. But we were never thirsting to release a cohesive record. The album is very much a first step—a showcase of where we came from and what we’re moving toward.”

However, as meaty and visceral as their music is on record, it doesn’t always translate live. They’ve received some lukewarm reviews, one in particular by the New York Times this January claiming a performance by the band in NYC was “hollow at the core.” They were also notoriously booed offstage during this year’s SXSW appearance, after which Fader was credited with saying, “Honestly, they were not good.” It should probably be noted, however, that at SXSW Salem performed in the mid-afternoon in the beer garden of the Levis/Fader Fort to a bunch of drunken PR people. It seems fair to argue that perhaps journalists should be more forgiving of the fact that not all art is conducive to every environment—that maybe specific conditions are necessary to accurately imitate the intimate headspace of Salem’s music. After all, isn’t that why churches are dimly lit—to increase the transcendent experience? When your goal is to create music that exists beyond the realm of reality, it seems a difficult task to give it physical form in the harsh light of day.
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“People have gotten physically angry at our shows before,” recalls Heather. “They pay money to dance and have fun, but we’re never going to put on the stereotypical high-energy gig, or have a charismatic lead singer. But to be honest I sort of like when people don’t know how to interpret or deal with our music. I would much rather someone be like ‘What the fuck?’ than just like us because it’s “cool.””

“Heather and I don’t really like to be around a huge amount of people,” says John, “so I guess that can affect the way we perform. If we played a gig and everything was aesthetically perfect, it would be great. Our gigs aren’t always about having fun, but more about creating an experience. I want our shows to be sad and beautiful simultaneously”

“But even using the word ‘beautiful’ is limiting,” adds Jack. “I think it’s more about something being moving, or important. Things that are extremely horrible or ugly can still affect you in a powerful way.”

It’s later in the evening and the band are seated in a bar in the center of town. Women in too-tight skirts wobble back and forth across the room on unsteady, bedazzled heels as men undress them with their eyes. The women seem to like it. Jack is seated at a neighboring table, hitting on a heavily made-up, middle aged woman. She bats her eyelashes at him desperately. It’s hard to tell whether his flirtation is genuine or for comedic value. When the two mysteriously disappear, Heather immediately picks up her mobile. “Jack, please don’t fuck that bar slut. Seriously, we kind of know her. She’s like forty and is probably full of STDs,” she pleads. Twenty minutes later Jack returns, shirt open, face and chest damp with sweat.

Heather: “You’re disgusting.”

Jack: “Duh.”
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Though it might be instantly thrilling to envision Salem as a cult of satanic, junked-out monsters, this isn’t actually the case. Real-life Salem hang out in iHop parking lots, count calories, and have quasi-deep convos about pop stars. And whether Salem are gods in some dark, future religion of cool, or whether they’re merely a symptom of the times, it’s sort of irrelevant. Because there’s something about these three Michigan kids that’s endlessly intriguing–something that draws you in, makes you want to look and listen. They might be making music in the middle of nowhere, but it comes from somewhere beyond what most can know or even imagine.
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Video Memoriez 3

April 18, 2011

Why hello. Yet again I have compiled a selection of some of the things I’ve been looking at through my eyes as of late. I hope you enjoy it. I recently got back to NYC after a two week vacation in London. It was so amazing, I don’t think I realized how much I missed it, or how integral London and my friends there are to who I am (cheesy) until I went back and saw everyone again. FUCK! Whatever. Also, I hoped you liked my last post about Mistress Dee, because I have many more stories about her that will be told very soon. We’ve been spending much quality time beating up and peeing on strange men recently. Life is lolz?

P.S. Like Slutever on Facebook! Duh!