Straight Outer Mongolia

A New Documentary Shines a Light on a Little-Known Hip-Hop Heartland

From a wintry rooftop in Ulan Bator, one of Mongolia’s preeminent female rappers, Gennie, reveals the unexpected vibrancy of the country’s emerging hip-hop underground in this excerpt of Mongolian Bling. Going deep into the scene for his debut documentary, Australian director Benj Binks spent six years hanging out with its stars, a motley crew of rappers and beat boys who reveal how the music took root after the collapse of Communism—and how MCing is not so different from song fighting, praise singing and Mongolia’s other distinctive oral traditions. The documentary highlights the rappers’ social calling as they advocate for change in the rapidly urbanizing country, with even shamans and traditional singers advocating a place for hip-hop in the history of the nation. “It’s a film looking at contemporary life in Mongolia through its music,” says Binks. “Gennie raps about social problems like alcoholism and domestic abuse. Her hip-hop gives a voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised.”   

Mongolian Bling plays at the Wesleyan University in Middletown on April 30 and the True Reformer Building in Washington on May 2. Its UK premiere is in London on May 17 at The Horse Hospital. 

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    Luis Venegas: My Magazines

    The Prolific Publisher Shares His Favorite Spreads in a Graphic Short

    Madrid-based magazine wunderkind Luis Venegas unveils his enviable collection of glossy back-issues and collectible periodicals as he launches the latest edition of his cult art title and labor of love, Fanzine137. The 33-year-old creative director, editor and independent publisher spent a year on the project, all the while working on the pioneering “transversal” Candy, as well as the colorful EY! Magateen, devoted to all things young, male and Spanish. Venegas has come a long way since the first issue of Fanzine137 in 2004, funded by a single Dior Homme ad courtesy of a sympathetic Hedi Slimane; fast-forward to 2012 and Venegas’s impressive client list includes collaborations with brands like Loewe, and publications such as GQ Style, Acne Paper and BUTT. Following his black-and-white-themed issue featuring contributions from Christian Lacroix, Bruce Weber, Ryan McGinley and Terry Richardson, the current Fanzine137 celebrates the treasured editions in Venegas' own collection. “I've always wanted to do a tribute to my favorite magazines and the many wonderful creative people who work in them,” he explains. “It took some weeks to photograph and retouch them to make them look as real and fabulous as they deserve.” Here Venegas opens up about his passion for print.

    How difficult was it to select your favorite magazine pages?
    My personal collection of magazines contains more than 10,000 issues, and selecting only 137 double-page spreads wasn’t easy. I wanted to show my favorites but also create an exciting narrative. Crediting everyone involved has also been an exhaustive process––that's my tribute to all of the publications included.

    If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one magazine, what would it be?
    It would be the April 1965 issue of American Harper's Bazaar, with the famous winking hologram cover of Jean Shrimpton. It's a very modern issue edited by Richard Avedon and art directed by the legendary Ruth Ansel, a dear friend of mine. It appeared more than 47 years ago but everything inside looks so contemporary, refined and exciting!

    Are there any magazines you’re still searching for?
    Right now I'm obsessed with acquiring as many 1970s issues of Warhol's Interview as possible. I have around 30, but the search never ends!

    Your hands are tattooed with “HARD” and “WORK”––is this the personal philosophy that allows you to do so much?
    Yes, it is! I read somewhere that the secret to success is the simple addition of hard work and good luck, so I tattooed one part on my hands, which I use constantly, and the other on my feet, so they can carry me to a lucky place. 

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    Marco Brambilla: Atlantis (OV-104)

    NASA’s Manned Space Program is Immortalized in the Filmmaker’s Eerie Analog Ode

    Artist and filmmaker Marco Brambilla salutes the golden age of space travel with Atlantis (OV-104), a video portrait of NASA’s beloved last manned shuttle that distills the dark, unsettling calm of the great beyond. Flickering images captured by an early 80s Ikegami camera recall early space transmissions and deep-sea exploration shots as they reveal the ghostly shape of the film’s eponymous spacecraft. Brambilla enhanced the organic quality of the footage by re-photographing segments of film through a vintage Sony tube monitor. “I wanted the coverage to feel imprecise, like a spotlight on the wreckage of a submarine,” explains the internationally exhibited installation artist and Kanye West collaborator, whose own enthusiasm for space travel began with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center as a child. With the help of public arts organization Creative Time, New York-based Brambilla scored access to the seasoned vessel on the day before it left to be restored for its debut at NASA’s Florida headquarters, where it will be on display beginning this Friday, over a quarter century after its first flight. Atlantis (OV-104) premieres at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica the following day. “Atlantis is the last of a national program that was once the world’s most prestigious and experimental,” says Brambilla. “This marks the end of a huge effort that sought to bring people together.”


    Source of the name
    Atlantis was named after a two-masted sailing ship that was operated for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1930-1966.

    Number of missions

    Distance travelled since its first launch in 1985
    125,935,769 miles.

    Time spent in space
    306 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes, 43 seconds.

    Most time spent in space on single mission
    13 days, 20 hours, 12 minutes, 44 seconds.

    Number of planetary probes deployed
    Two—Magellan for Venus and Galileo for Jupiter.

    Film appearances
    Two—SpaceCamp and Deep Impact.

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