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Isolation is the Mother of Invention

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You might be one of those people who think your parents ruined you. Maybe you sabotage your relationships the minute you realize you’re happy. Perhaps you’re so afraid of commitment you can’t even own a house plant without suffering heart palpitations. And let’s not even discuss the strange obsession you have with Martha Stewart, and I’m not talking about her homemaking tips. No matter what bizarre Freudian issues you have, take a moment to put those aside and appreciate the mind fuck that is the life of the Wolfpack.

Meet the Angulo family. They live in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in a four bedroom apartment where they were home schooled by their mother and forbidden to leave the apartment by their father. Imagine stepping outside of your home only once a year, if that. Daily human interaction consists of contact with no one but your family, which amounts to eight people. Eight. So what did the Angulo boys do all day to keep the boredom at bay? Same thing as you. They watched movies.

Director Crystal Moselle met the Angulo brothers by chance as she was walking down First Avenue. She saw one of them race by her in a suit, his long hair bouncing as he weaved in and out of people on the sidewalk. Then came another. And then another. She said her first instinct was to run after them, and, after catching up to the group at a cross walk, they got to talking. Their friendship developed through a shared love of the cinema, and over time led to the making of a documentary film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 31st Sundance Film Festival. “I thought that it was going to be some sweet film about these kids trying to make a movie,” Crystal Moselle said of The Wolfpack, “…but it became so much bigger than that.”

First watch the documentary, then take a look at what the Angulo brothers are up to these days in VICE’s The Wolfpack goes to Hollywood. Have fun my Strange and Curious friends!

 

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A Stripper Goes to Florida: A Twitter Saga

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Most of my pop culture knowledge comes from the links friends share on Facebook. I’m not up with what’s new in slang, case in point: I had no idea what “Netflix and Chill” meant until last week, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m still not 100% sure. Is it literally to watch Netflix and chill on the couch or is it code for bumping fuzzies all night long? I’m also not up with new products or upcoming films, most probably because I don’t own a TV, which is me being one part cheap and two parts too lazy to carry the fucker up my apartment building stairs.

Anyway, my point is, though Rolling Stone covered the story this past November, I only heard about it a few days ago after seeing an article heading on Facebook to the effect of, “James Franco to Direct Film Based on Stripper Twitter Saga.” Immediately intrigued, I did a google search and found the original posts penned by @_zolarmoon, also known as Aziah “Zola” Wells. Miss Wells taught me a lot through her twitter saga, most notably what it means “to trap” (to prostitute oneself), why you should never take a road trip with people you don’t know (suicidal boyfriends and pimps named Z), and how to make the best of a bad situation (you flip it and become the madam, then get the hell out with a free plane ticket back home so you can avoid the murder investigation).

At first, the saga entices you with its entertaining WTF-ness, and then it drops you into the pit of despair known as human trafficking, American style. But first things first. Enjoy the saga, which is available on Storify here. Then read the Rolling Stone article. After all that, think about this: approximately 80% of sex trafficking involves sexual exploitation. It is the third largest crime industry in the world and its boarders are closer than you think.

Krishna Patel, assistant U.S. attorney in Bridgeport, Connecticut, says in an article for Vanity Fair, “I’d always dismissed the idea of human trafficking in the United States. I’m Indian, and when I went to Mumbai and saw children sold openly, I wondered, Why isn’t anything being done about it? But now I know—it’s no different here. I never would have believed it, but I’ve seen it. Human trafficking—the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and women, via the Internet, strip clubs, escort services, or street prostitution—is on its way to becoming one of the worst crimes in the U.S.”

Sorry about the huge downer. Why don’t you go Netflix and Chill to recover. Tune in next time where I will tell you about seven children raised in the confinement of their New York City apartment, meaning they were never allowed to set foot outside. Ever.

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An Ex-Beauty Queen, a Mormon, and the First Commercially Cloned Puppies

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Quite possibly one of the most WTF documentaries I’ve seen so far. The subject of Errol Morris’s Tabloid (2011) is Joyce McKinney, an ex-beauty queen from North Carolina who was arrested and charged in 1977 for kidnapping and raping Kirk Anderson, a Mormon on a mission trip in the UK.

Here is a woman with a knack for getting what she wants. Even by the end of the film, I couldn’t tell if she was delusional or just a really, really earnest storyteller. Throughout the film, she tilts her head and softens her eyes as she delves into her life and the events leading up to Kirk Anderson’s kidnapping. According to her, Kirk declared his love for her the first time they met. The second day he asked her to marry him, and shortly after that they were naming their kids–all names beginning with Js and Ks, J for Joyce and K for Kirk.

The story really gets going when Kirk “vanished into thin air.” Joyce claimed he was taken by the Mormons against his will. She hired a private investigator, bodyguard, and a pilot with the express purpose of locating and retrieving her kidnapped lover. So what does one take on a rescue mission? Wireless listening devices? Chloroform? Wigs? Chains? A gun? Sure!

We quickly learn that Joyce’s version of “The Case of the Manacled Mormon” might not be all that it seems. There are plenty of facts that don’t make sense. She plays up the romance and portrays herself as a sweet, all-American girl while those who accompanied her on the trip paint her as a calculating woman very aware of her sexuality and its affect on men.

And this is where I leave you. The rest of the story is too wild a ride for me to spoil here. Sit back and let Joyce McKinney tell you her version of reality, and then when you’re done, think about this quote from director Errol Morris: “Joyce McKinney may have it in a stronger form than most people, but we all see ourselves as the protagonists in our autobiographies.”

 

 

 

 

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