Friday, April 20, 2018

This 72-Year-Old Takes Wacky, Wonderful Photos of Life in the Deep South

A Pro Joint Roller Made Smokeable 'Rick and Morty' Characters for 4/20

What 'Westworld' Fans Can Expect from Season Two

In the first season of Westworld, actor Clifton Collins Jr., as Mexican outlaw Lawrence/El Lazo, delivered one of the best “motherfucker” lines ever filmed. With the second season making its long-awaited debut on HBO this Sunday, April 22, I skyped with the 47-year-old vet. His career spans Poetic Justice, Menace II Society, Traffic, Star Trek, Ballers, a cookbook titled Prison Ramen, and even a healthcare app. We talked about how he got involved with Westworld, what fans can expect from the new season, and how he helped make Super Troopers 2.

VICE: How did you get involved with Westworld? And what did you think of your role in the beginning?
Clifton Collins Jr.: Originally, I auditioned for one of either Ben Barnes or Jimmi Simpson’s roles. I got a phone call that the showrunners wanted to meet with me for something different. I wasn't really even sure what it was. [Screenwriter] Lisa Joy sat me down and spoke to me about some of my previous projects that she was a fan of. She started to put through this idea of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) having a sidekick. I was intrigued. Who doesn't love Michael Crichton? Who doesn't love the original Westworld?

They literally tailored and handcrafted this role for me, which is really special because my grandfather was a contract player for John Wayne Westerns. After 30 years of acting, I got a legitimate Western. It's kinda ironic that I wouldn't do any Westerns until I got something that was fantastic and brilliant. It’s a dream gig for me, truth told. I wake up pinching myself every day. I'm sad when I'm on hiatus—I miss being on set.

What can fans expect from Westworld and your Lawrence/El Lazo character this season?
That's a loaded question, and you're gonna experience the loaded answer when you're watching. That's a spin I can't even articulate. It's interesting, when you watch a show like Westworld, it really sets the bar high. Having been in the business as long as I have, one always hopes for the best, but they've really done it.

This new season's gonna blow people's minds. I mean, when you've got your cast members showing up to set and their jaws are on the floor like, "Did you read the scene last night?" And like, "Holy shit!" It's just mind boggling, man. It's not gonna let anybody down. I’ll put it that way: It's gonna meet everybody's expectations, and even surpass others.

Your “motherfucker” line is a personal favorite of mine. How much preparation was involved in delivering something like that?
There was a lot of preparation. There's so many emotions in the show that one has to go through, but in addressing a cool little line like that, it's almost a line that could be branded. The king of “motherfuckers” is one of my mentors, Samuel L. Jackson. I can only hope to recreate something [like him]. I can't even articulate to you how many hours I spent “motherfuckering” and saying “motherfucker” to everybody I saw, met, and spoke to. With friends, I could say it 'cause they know [me]. But running into people in everyday life, in my mind I would say, Oh thank you very much. I can hardly wait to read this script, motherfucker. Just finding ways to do it in my head.

How did your character’s relationship with the Man in Black evolve over the course of season one, and how do you see it evolving in the new season?
You've got an idea on the page when you read these scripts, but they're so intricate and so complex, one never knows how an edit's gonna turn out. The show's so cerebral, the rewrites continue to the very end—'til the show's actually presented. Another way to rewrite the story is through edits and taking pieces from other episodes. I'd venture to say that there's an evolution of consciousness, which for me is the most effective art. Art that touches society most is the art that reflects society; art that reflects the moments that we are all experiencing as human beings. What I can say is, there's some dope-ass horseback riding and I'm alive to talk about now. It's been a blast riding with my compadres.

You published a book, Prison Ramen, with your homeboy who was in prison. How did that come about?
I was on set and saw the headline “Riot at Chino Prison.” My buddy Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez was there. I was finding out about people getting shot on the yard by the National Guard and was worried about my friend. I eventually got ahold of Goose days later. He explained to me everything that'd happened. In Southern and Northern California, blacks and Latinos generally don't get along. Goose spent a total of 13-and-a-half years in prison, and through that he's learned a lot of tremendous life lessons that help to encourage and promote empathy and compassion.

After the riot, a lot of the black inmates were locked outside of their cells and per usual, forced to fend for themselves. It was cold. It was smoky. People were bleeding, hurt, in need of attention, and nobody's helping them. Goose took it upon himself to collect everybody's ramen noodle packets and make a giant spread that he passed through the hole that was made in the steel security door that was busted open before the riot was calmed down. Goose brought unity to everybody in that prison through ramen. And as a result, he was like, "I want to spread more of this kinda unity." He goes, "I wanna write a cookbook.”

I said, “Cookbook? You just survived a prison riot. I can still smell the burnt wood, and you wanna do a cookbook?" I just didn't get it. Ramen is a form of currency and staple of food in prison. I said, "Wow. Well, how do we extend this message and provide unity? How do we get more human powers involved?" And that brought me to Father Greg at Homeboy Industries. I brought Father Greg in to help out, and we donated a portion of the proceeds. A lot of my celebrity friends like Danny Trejo, Jacob Vargas, Mister Cartoon, and Shia LaBeouf helped out tremendously with the book. Samuel L. Jackson wrote the foreword. Every recipe comes with a story.

What's your secret as a actor? How do you slip seamlessly into so many different roles?
I never felt that I was good enough to portray myself on film. Clifton Collins Jr. is not good enough to be Clifton Collins Jr. But I could present to you this other character. I saw this dude in the hood that was very intriguing to me. I saw this other kid walking on the street. I was hanging out with my redneck uncles and I can create a character. Unbeknownst to myself, I was exercising survival tools. When I went to hang out with the homies in the hood, the Latino ones, I would act and speak accordingly.

When I was hanging out with my Crip friends, I would switch to the ebonics that I exercised. Let me present that to you most recently with John Hawkes in Small Town Crime. But the truth of the matter is, it was a tool of survival. Growing up around so many difficult cultures and having to travel, and not having a father figure, I was always being inspired and influenced by others. As a kid, I would imitate the characters that my grandfather would act with, whether it was John Wayne or Walter Brennan. I would do these voices as a kid.

Not only is Westworld debuting this month, Super Troopers 2 is coming out too. How’d you get involved in that?
I'm a fan of Super Troopers. I'm friends with all the Broken Lizards. They're great guys, and they're fans of mine, which is weird to even say. They reached out to me to help them with this film. There were a couple of surprises involved with that film as well. It was weird because I was like, "Guys, why don't we get a big name, like an Anthony Hopkins, Sam Jackson, or Morgan Freeman?" They were like, "No, you're great. You're the guy we want.” I hooked them up with Emmanuelle Chriqui, who ended up playing the lead actress in it. This is a great cast, including Linda Carter and all kinds of great people.

Finally, what can you tell me about the app you helped develop?
I've partnered up with this app called FaceCure. It’s the first urgent-care application. If you're sick, just download FaceCure. If you can't make it to a doctor's, or you don't have the time to set up a meeting or a car to get there, you can have a certified medical assistant come to your house. If you don't have insurance, we're doing a trial where you just pay $99. We have the hardware and the gear to actually do live stats on you—your lungs, your heart—in addition to all kinds of other applications such as IVs and B12 shots. Once they run all your stats, they're able to put you on with a live doctor who will assess you. You'll meet the doctor live on-camera. He doesn't have to come to your house, and you don't have to go to his office. He can give you a prescription right there and they'll have the meds delivered right to your door within the hour. It's the future of medicine.

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The 13 Best Western Movies and TV Shows on Netflix Right Now

'Overwhelmed' Mailman Arrested for Only Delivering 'Important Mail'

In the fourth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang is scared into getting health insurance after Dee has a minor heart attack. In their grand scheme to get coverage, Charlie and Mack wind up working in an office mailroom, which doesn't go well from the start. They quickly incinerate the mail they deem "unimportant," and Charlie gets overwhelmed when he can't find an employee named Pepe Silvia, starts hallucinating, and ultimately stops delivering any mail at all.

The endless piles of mail put the gang through unprecedented levels of stress—stress that ultimately real-life Brooklyn mail worker Aleksey Germash says caused him to hoard 17,000 pieces of undelivered letters and packages for more than a decade, Pix 11 reports.

Like Mack and Charlie, the 53-year-old allegedly told investigators he was "overwhelmed by the amount of mail that he had to deliver" and resorted only to delivering mail he deemed "important," according NBC New York. He was arrested after police received a tip that he had 20 bags of mail piled up in his car, and investigators later found 10,000 pieces of mail in the vehicle, as well as about 1,000 pieces in his locker, and around 6,000 pieces in his apartment.

Besides bearing resemblance to the Always Sunny plot line, the case is similar to two others that occurred earlier this month. Cops in Italy just arrested a mail carrier with 880 pounds of undelivered mail who had just stopped doing his job because he felt he was underpaid. And postal inspectors in New York recently removed 60 "kitchen-sized bags" of mail that postal worker in Long Island had stashed in his shed.

Although Charlie and Mack were fired after only a few days on the job, the postal workers in Brooklyn, Italy, and Long Island all managed to get away with keeping people's letters for months or even years. It all goes to show that working at a job for years that induces enough stress to make you a hoarder probably isn't worth having—no matter how good the health insurance might be.

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'The Very Best of Killer Acid's Weed Comics' Today's Comic by Killer Acid

Legal Cannabis Could Change 4/20 Forever

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

On April 20 this year, stoners will convene once again in cities around the world to celebrate cannabis and denounce the laws that prohibit it.

In Canada, where the tradition originates, there are at least a dozen events planned across the country ranging from community-minded garbage pick-ups to full-on smoke-outs with tens of thousands of people. But no matter how the day is acknowledged, 4/20 celebrations this year will be the last of their kind in Canada because this time next year, we will be living under legalization.

While that prospect might seem like everything that any 4/20-goer could want, legal weed in Canada won’t be entirely free of harsh tokes.

Eight years ago when I entered the world of cannabis, I went to my first 4/20 rally in Toronto. Having spent most of my life as a non-pot smoker, I had some preconceived notions about what a 4/20 event would be like. The thought of hanging out downtown with a bunch of sketchy hippies smoking weed was not something I had any interest in at the time. But having been wrong about virtually everything I had thought I knew about cannabis, I decided to check it out.

Failing to convince a single friend that it was going to be a fun time, I went alone. The thing that struck me that day—and every year since—is how relaxed the vibe was. Sure there were a few hippies and a sketchy person or two, but there was also just about every other type of person as well. Throughout the afternoon, activists and advocates took to the stage denouncing the criminalization of the plant. Standing in that square looking around at the hugely diverse group—people aged 18 to 80—I realized that all these people had a shared dream: They wanted a 4/20 where we would celebrate the victory of the long fight for cannabis legalization.

In most western popular culture, 4/20 is to weed what 13 is to bad luck, 666 to Satan, and 69 to sex. How the number became synonymous with cannabis is something that has been argued and debated by weed enthusiasts for decades. In recent years, however, credit has been given to a group of young stoners in California in the 1970s called the Waldos.

The Waldos would convene at 4:20 PM every day to imbibe in the sweet leaf and generally used the three-digit number to refer to all things weed. This ritual was then passed on to the arbiters of all things hippie, The Grateful Dead, by one of the Waldos who had the good fortune (in a hippie’s mind at least) to be able to hang around the band while they practiced. The pot-smoking ritual was further disseminated through the band’s dedicated fanbase, and as the “Deadheads” made their way around the globe, so too did the numerical shorthand, making 4/20 the call sign for cannabis.

So it was only natural that back in 1995, when employees Dana Rozek and Cindy Lassu at Vancouver’s pioneering Hemp BC store were selecting a date for their peaceful protest against Canada’s cannabis laws, they would select day 20 of the fourth month. Within a few years, similar events began springing up around North America and over the world and now 4/20 has become the most popular day of the year to acknowledge cannabis and the ridiculous laws around it. The Canadian government itself even seemed to acknowledge the significance when they chose the date in 2016 to announce legalization legislation.

The Liberal government has been adamant about sticking to midsummer this year as the date for legalization. Although distribution methods have been left in the hands of the provinces, the framework proposed is pretty rigid. People are looking anywhere in Canada for the medicated candies or glass cases of dabs and prefilled vapor pens seen in the less-than-legal dispensaries in places like Toronto or Vancouver these days may be a little disappointed in legalization. Edibles and most extractions are forbidden under the new laws, which is unfortunate as both provide convenient, odorless (or mostly odorless) options. Which is ironic because chances are you won’t have anywhere to smoke your black boxed flowers! In fact, mass smoke-outs outdoors are DEFINITELY not something that’s allowed under legalization.

That’s not to say that laws preventing people from communing and smoking outside will stop 4/20 rallies from happening… I mean, this shit is totally illegal now and that hasn’t stopped it! On the contrary, this shows why a peaceful day of protest is necessary. This may be called legalization but the reality is more like Prohibition 2.0, according to many people in cannabis circles.

Cannabis legalization has been an economic victory, not a moral one. Despite decades of cannabis activists pointing out the moral obtuseness of cannabis prohibition, it wasn’t peaceful protests or well-worded arguments that won the day. This is a legalization brought about by seeing the money that’s being made in places like Colorado and Washington as well as in the multi-billion dollar Canadian cannabis black market and saying: “Yes, give us some of that.”

If this had been a moral victory, legalization would have happened differently. You would have had a liberal party come into power and immediately call for the end of all cannabis-related arrests. They would have opened the cells of all people in jail in Canada for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses. They would have wiped the records clean of all people who have been unjustly criminalized for a plant that we are all pretty much in agreement was wrong to prohibit in the first place. They would have addressed the racial biases that informed this criminalization (and continues to do so even in places where legalization has happened). They would make it affordable to access. They’d be talking about prioritizing investing in research into the plant and all the claims of the medicinal benefits of millions of people (myself included). They would find a way to allow people to grow their own. And, boy oh boy, would that be a 4/20 worth celebrating!

But, again, this is an economic victory. Instead of a great overhaul of the justice system, we have the government setting the stage for an unprecedented number of cannabis-related arrests as they try to bring a $6-billion [$4.7-billion USD] industry under their thumb. While there’s is no exact dollar figure on what the justice system has spent in the past two years on raids on dispensaries, the number is certainly in the multi-millions, even though you have senior police officers saying the raids are ineffective and pointless. There is seemingly no hurry to deal with the people criminalized by their involvement with this plant, simply a push to criminalize more people.

The government has to get rid of all competition because the only way to control a commodity that can be grown anywhere is to control the supply. Under legalization, people are going to be allowed, in theory, to grow their own cannabis. The ability to actually legally do so is going to be decided province by province and even then, only if someone owns their own spot. People who developed strains and techniques for growing and have had to pay for their commitment to cannabis with their freedom are not welcome in the new market.

Outside of cannabis circles, conversations around legalization generally don’t seem to center much around affordable access, amnesty for pot prisoners, and certainly not on the potential medical and health benefits that could arise from real study of the plant. The discussion seems to center around how much money stands to be made from this glorious plant and the need to protect society from it once it is legal… but still profit off it.

This year, on the day we set aside to glorify cannabis, when the clock strikes 4:20 PM and I take the traditional toke (who am I kidding, it will probably be a dab), I’m going to breathe a little deeper and hold it in a little longer because God only knows what 4/20 is going to look like next year.

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