• The Magician's Retreat

    A black winged creature flew into the room and fluttered about erratically. “A bat!” I screamed. Transylvanian thoughts caromed through my mind. “No… wait! It’s a fucking moth!” Raf shouted, as it hurtled to a stop upside down in a corner where the ceiling met the wall. “Holy shi…

  • Romanian Notes

    In Bucharest, the psychological damage inflicted on a society subjected to surveillance terror is apparent everywhere when you scratch the surface, even 24 years after the fall of Ceauşescu. There, no problem is too small to be insoluble, no conflict unthreatening enough to resol…

  • I Tried to Take Part in a Star Trek World Record

    Star Trek conventions are always a sight to behold for their sheer eccentricity and spectacle, but this year's 12th Annual Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas was unique. They attempted to break the world record for the most Star Trek costumes in one room, and it was my dr…

  • Prison Pit

    In a rancid, sweltering prison yard ringed by a high wall topped with barbed wire sat three cages. They stood about 12 feet wide and 15 feet tall—each crammed with more than 30 human bodies.

  • Parisians' Sordid Love Affair with Brooklyn

    In the Paris subcultures that love peppering their conversation with English and wear outfits that would even be obnoxious in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a Wes-Anderson-meets-Woody-Allen fever dream and being called a hipster is an odd kind of compliment.

  • Manchester's Muslims Threw a Wild Street Party for Eid

    The Muslims of Greater Manchester flock to Curry Mile to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in a wild party atmosphere, where the curry houses, shisha bars, and milkshake cafes are packed and street vendors and performers pepper the pavement.

  • I'm a Russian Lesbian Pretending to Be Straight to Avoid Persecution

    Almost every day, the Russian government releases new laws and government statements that make queer Russians’ lives more and more difficult—if not next to impossible. Right now, I’m a Russian lesbian visiting relatives in Russia. To survive the past two weeks, I’ve had to preten…

  • Drinking Camel Urine in Yemen

    People have been consuming camel piss on the Arabian Peninsula for a long, long time. It’s been used by the Bedouin people as a shampoo and medicine for centuries, and it’s part of Muslim tradition as well; the Prophet Mohammed is said to have once told some of his sick followers…

  • There Was a Harry Potter Craft Fair in Los Angeles

    One of the strangest things in Los Angeles is its “Harry Potter store" on Wilshire Boulevard. Whimsic Alley, as it’s officially called, continues to draw in fans years since the last book hit shelves, or the last movie hit theaters. It's like the real Wizarding World attraction,…

  • Inside Schilling

    The 12 Least Overrated Things in Los Angeles

    A local writer took the city to task for being "overrated." Well, I live in Los Angeles, and I take offense to people making fun of all the amazing things the city has to offer. LA has the most pre-war movie houses in the world, some of the top art museums in the United States, a…

  • Techno-Raving and Dead-Goat Polo at the Silk Road Festival

    At the end of June, while a bunch of people were losing their minds listening to music and stomping around Chicago, I too was surrounded by good vibes and thousands of revelers glued to a sound system somewhere. Only, that…

  • It’s Good to Be the King

    I was traveling with Arjan Roskam, self-described “King of Cannabis,” through the mountains and jungles of Colombia, along with a crew of international pot growers he calls the “Strain Hunters.” We were searching for three exceptional but elusive varieties of marijuana that have…

  • Detroit Is Already Starting to Gentrify

    With the addition of a new, lower priced Whole Foods Market in Midtown, Detroit appears to be positioning itself for the inevitable influx of poor artists, writers, musicians, and a-holes. We went to check out the Whole Foods and get a sense of what the Motor City's "urban explor…

  • Thailand's Full Moon Parties Have Been Taken Over by YOLO Idiots

    It’s an old cliché to bemoan what is compared to what used to be. But as the morning sun rises over the fluorescent debris and thousands of empty plastic cups from the night before, it's hard for me to do much else.