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June 25, 2014

Mike D’s Surf Safari

Breaking Waves in Baja with Spike Jonze, Rob Machado and the Beastie Boy Turned Monster Children Guest Editor

“Alex Kopps was a genius for having this digital voice recorder with him all the time,” says Mike D of the filmmaker who shot his all-star trip to surf haven Baja California. “Just recording random conversations. There are some hidden treats there. Spike Jonze got a sense of this, captained the recorder and would kind of steer the dialogue.” Full-name Michael Diamond, the Beastie Boy and Brooklynite has been surfing for nearly a decade, since his son Davis became surf-obsessed at the age of two. When asked to guest edit the art, surf and skateboarding quarterly Monster Children, he set about commissioning the trip: in addition to director Jonze he was joined by professional wave-breakers Kassia Meador, Ford Archbold, Alex Knost, Tanner Rozunko and Rob Machado. The plan was to ride Mexico’s Baja Peninsula—but the weather had different ideas, and strong seasonal winds all but killed the swell. Determined, the clan hit the beach well before sunrise each morning, and passed a blissful week fueled by new friendships, sweet rides, cool beers and a whole lot of peanut butter and jelly.—Timothée Verrecchia

Monster Children #43 is on shelves now.

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Spotlight

Danielle Levitt: Gridiron Culture

The Photographer Shares her Portraits of the Football Fraternity this Super Bowl Sunday

Today we celebrate the pompoms and pageantry of America's premier sporting event with photographer Danielle Levitt's hyper-real homage. More than a billion people worldwide will be tuning in for the kick-off of the 46th Super Bowl in Indianapolis this afternoon as the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants. This glittering climax to the season is a rematch of the final four years ago when the Giants defeated the Patriots and denied them only the second undefeated season in National Football League history. Focusing on frat parties, future stars, college football teams and high school cheerleaders, Levitt’s portraits take us beyond the glitzy façade to the dramatic personal narratives woven into the game. Renowned for the thought-provoking documentation of youth culture and outsiders collected in her 2008 monograph We Are Experienced, as well as work for The New York Times Magazine, AnOther, Arena Homme+ and Time, Levitt found football, with all its tribal rivalry and statistical arcana, an alluring milieu. “I'm passionate about people who are passionate, and it is a full time job to be even a high school football player,” she says. “Football is primary in these kids’ lives, before even the ladies.”

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Spotlight

Yung Chang: China Heavyweight

The Uplifting Stories of Rural China's Boxing Rings

Young pugilist He Zongli gets put through his paces in the gym and receives the wisdom of his coach Qi Moxiang at a training camp for the National Men's Boxing Championship in this extract from Yung Chang new feature documentary China Heavyweight. Working closely with a local crew, the Chinese-Canadian filmmaker traveled far into the Sichuan countryside to capture the daily routines of coach Qi and his teenage boxers. “The first time we met everyone I was struck by their philosophy of trying to change these rural countryside kids, to instil in them values that would help them in the future,” recalls Yung. “Coach Qi seemed to be almost a cliché of a boxing coach—someone who doesn’t make an income, but is so selfless and passionate for the idea of the sport that he’s dedicated his life to it.” Brought up by Chinese parents in Toronto’s rustic backwoods, the director saw movies as a way of escaping his upbringing, and of connecting with other people and their stories. Selected for the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, Yung’s first film Up The Yangtze told the poignant tale of a young girl taking a job on a Yangtze River cruise ship, set against the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Currently the filmmaker is finishing up a third feature documentary, Fruit Hunters, following the lives of obsessive collectors searching for rare and exotic fruits all around the world. “It’s a celebration of diversity in the face of monoculture,” he says.

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