FARMS AND GARDENS are drawing increasing attention these days as people want to know more about their food and where it comes from. In the early days of this country, writes Jane Handel, small farmers and landholders were the backbone of American democracy, considered to be the people best equipped to safeguard democratic ideals. But, she says, “the proponents of agribusiness and factory farming along with their lobbyists in Congress have created a stranglehold on what we eat (leaving us) in thrall to industrial agricultural interests”.
In the forefront of the fight back is Ms. Handel’s alluring magazine, edible Ojai, a recent issue of which covered a report on the inadequate conditions of the region’s 13,000 farm workers picking strawberries and the insufficient provision of shade, rest and water which are all mandated by law. Strawberries, wrote Ramona Bajema, are one of the most vulnerable fruits to pesticide exposure. “Consumers should be angry”.
Edible Ojai was the first in a chain of now more than three-score partners stretching from Hawaii to Toronto, New York to Dallas, all beautiful in appearance, distinctive to their community and wide- ranging in their content. Who, apart from foodies, could have foreseen that such an everyday subject could be so entertaining?
Apart from their upbeat tone, the magazines are different, dabbling in politics over such issues as farmed fish, plastic water bottles, land preservation. South Carolina’s edible Upcountry features growing pecans, curing pork, stalking mushrooms and winter gardens; edible San Francisco advises readers to wash their strawberries in champagne;
edible Dallas & Fort Worth combined food with fashion; edible Manhattan currently displays The Alcohol Issue; edible Toronto spotlights rooftop gardens, local water buffalo and a dish intriguingly titled Sex in a Pan. In New York there’s also a weekly TV show featuring nighttime nosh and chickens in the backyard.
A joke in one Atlanta issue reads: ‘How do you plant kudzu?’ The answer being: Just throw it and run”. The edible series, commented the New York Times, is “spreading like kudzu only faster”.
In 2002, edible Ojai grew out of a design studio in that delightful Southern California town by Tracey Ryder and photographer Carole Topalian (who takes many of the superb cover pictures). Two years later, after a favorable mention in Saveur magazine, 400 calls came in from foodies eager to start similar magazines in their own communities and Edible Communities now includes 70 licensed partners. “We don’t want to tell people what to do”, says edible Austin’s Marla Camp. We want to give them the ability to act if they care to”.
How many American communities can potentially support such a magazine? “Well, way more than 60,” Tracey forecasts. “Maybe 300, maybe 500. Look at our map; we’re not even in most red states yet. For something like this to work, you need to be in love with your subject matter but it's really the local perspective and the personal connection readers are able to make with the people profiled in our magazines that makes them important and compelling — they are their neighbors, friends, and community leaders”. There have been expressions of interest from potential publishers in Paris and Australia.
Very few of the start-ups are run by people with publishing experience, Tracey says. Edible Communities provides some editorial support but there is no “must-run” national content. Some proprietors are retired or have other business interests and are content to break even, but some are netting over $100,000 annually.
Future plans include continuing to launch magazines at a rate of at least 10 per year; expanding programming on Edible Radio, enlarging the online presence; publishing more books and bringing the Edible stories to television.
“People have become so much more aware of the importance of eating in season so now I think the next layer will be asking the question: ‘What is native to where I live and why?’ We've seen things becoming more available like mesquite flour for making tortillas in the southwest — a tradition that had virtually disappeared and in the Southwest, even though you can't see it, it’s mind-boggling that the desert is full of edible plants”.
Setting up the successful series obviously involved a lot of travel and exploration. “Carole and I like to say we've seen every back road in North America,” Tracey says, “ and we've certainly eaten our share of the bounty we've found along the way.”
WILLS AND KATE, the young Royal couple are due to marry on April 30 but until then, says Rod Liddle, the world can expect to be inundated with endless rubbish from the tabloid press with their “long sharp noses for filth and discord”. Already, the Spectator columnist reports, have been criticisms of commoner Kate’s clothes and hairstyle and will inevitably be “frantic digging for dirt” about her family. The media on these occasions, he charges, “behaves like a deranged dog determined to bite off its hind leg”.
“As an officer in India, he showed the quick wit and
good sense that would mark his legal career. Once, for
instance, his armored vehicles were stopped by eight
white-clad maidens lying in the road.. Owen instructed
the most handsome of his soldiers to drop his trousers.
The girls fled”
--from the obituary of Sir John Owen in The Week
LONDON’S BID FOR the 2012 Olympic Games was strongly criticized by skeptics when it was made (and granted) five years ago, and now all the gloomy predictions are coming true. Specifically, it’s not just what it’s going to cost (at least $18bn) but the outrageous demands of the International Olympics Committee which include 40,000 reserved hotel rooms, 500 air-conditioned limos with uniformed chauffeurs, a $500m Olympic Village for competitors and no spectators allowed to wear anything with a brand for unapproved sponsors (police and customs’ confiscation of unofficial items). Authorities ‘are required to obtain control of all (outdoor) advertising for the duration of the Games’ and billboards must be in French as well as English (French is the IOC’s second language). These are only a few of the conditions in the “Olympic technical manuals”, reports the Spectator, which have been kept secret from the public for years until repeated Freedom of Information requests finally got them released.
“Vulgarity is now the ruling characteristic of England, of
the prosperous as of the poor…vulgarity has its place, as
a counterweight to pretension, of course, but as a ruling
national characteristic it is charm-less, stupid and without virtue”
—Theodore Dalrymple in the Spectator
THE WILCOCK WEB: If the Republicans go ahead and cut the subsidies to PBS, it can only improve public broadcasting which will be obliged to use more imagination about their programming, to do better with less money….Congressional leaders are still resisting televising their proceedings because they’re aware of how often ESPN’s cameras might reveal that attendance is so meager….A study by something called Neuroscience Letters reports that chewing gum reduces stress and improves subjects’ “postural stability” improving their ability to stand still without wavering……. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad…. Alex Trebek said that Watson, the IBM computer, could neither hear nor talk, but the questions were addressed simultaneously to all three contestants and the answers from Watson were in a human voice. What a ridiculous contest. They stuff a computer with billions of words from every reference book known to man and expect a human to know more?…...In the small Spanish hill town of Trevelez, a Muslim child was offended by a mention of ham and reported his teacher to the police for offending his religion….. ”People always call it luck” says novelist Ann Tyler, “when you’ve acted more sensibly than they have”…. According to The Week, Germany’s Andreas Muller, 39, won a $30,000 Mini Cooper car by allowing the firm’s logo to be tattooed on his penis…. Supreme Court Justice Uncle Thomas apparently hasn’t spoken during court arguments for five years. Pity he can’t keep his wife quiet, too….A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory…NYT critics complain that this year’s Oscar selections were “a white-out” but it surely would have been even more racist to say, “Hey, better get some black names in that line-up or we’ll have Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott on our tails”….The frauds and criminals who run companies such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and AIG Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and AIG have not been prosecuted for ripping off billions because
Thirty years after since Chinese Post began issuing Zodiac stamps, demand has increased so much, that today their value increases 300% per sheet on the second-hand market within days after they first appear. 2011 is the year of the rabbit.
the SEC and so-called regulators are as deeply involved in the crimes themselves suggests Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi in an anarchy-inspiring piece “How Wall Street’s Crooks Evaded Jail”….The spreading worldwide war of the haves versus the have-nots will inevitably reach America sooner or later....”Sidewalk Rage” becomes the latest outdoor hassle pedestrians have to deal with, according to a Wall Street Journal story headed ‘Get Out of My Way, You Jerk’ and compared the speed of different pedestrians (tourists: 3.79ft per second; people heading for work: 4.41)….In a not-too-complimentary interview in Los Angeles, talk show maven Laura Schlessinger talks about surviving frequent criticisms: “Most everyone who has ever attacked me got away with it…I’ve been bitten up one side and down the other and I’m still here."...A basketball with an internal sensor developed by InfoMotion Sports Technologies transmits an analysis of each shot to your computer ….”The tyrant dies and his rule is over; the martyr dies and his rule begins”—Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55)
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— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
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— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven (continued)--The Underground Press; Army revolt: Â fragging officers; Bowart goes to Millbrook
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven--The singing Tit-o-Gram; The East Village Other; Art & Forgery; Birth of Black Power; The Underground Press
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixâ€”The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fiveâ€”Reefer Madness--The man who turned on the world; Tested by Harvard professors; Jan and Stan change my life
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
– Week of October 3, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Fourâ€”Into the '60s--More Working at The New York Times; Mexico On $5 a Day; What Richard Condon taught me; Henry Miller's wise words
– Week of September 26, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHOÂ and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
– Week of September 19, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--More trouble with our star novelist; Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column; Jean Shepherdâ€™s phantom novel
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
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— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Gilbert Seldes' The Lively Arts; Norman Mailerâ€™s Voice column; Giving parties to meet strangers
– Week of August 29, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
– Week of August 22, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Jack Kent Cooke tells me to stay in Canada; Becoming a New Yorker ;A new Village newspaper; The casual wisdom of Steve Allen
– Week of August 15, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
– Week of August 8, 2015
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in the press...
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler
by Seth Kugel
It was the first handwritten letter I’d received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I’d never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
by John Wilcock
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender
Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the
milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some
of Warhol’s early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a
regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the
old, silvery Factory onWest 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came
up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’”
Already fascinated by Warhol’s persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing
the artist’s closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were
Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been
in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen
Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri
Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of
AndyWarhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971,
and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic
portrait of one of modern art’s least knowable artists during the early
years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing
portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees
offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition
corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright,
Warholian palette with numerous illustrations.
The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955,
and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los
Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.