Welcome to the Stories Issue. Christian Delfino shot our cover in Jinan, the capital of the Shandong Province in eastern China. The photo's part of his Disconnected series, his project on the world's biggest cities. We were struck by the claustrophobia and voyeurism this image evokes—how you look at it and want to know what's happening in each of these building's rooms. (Plus, we were able to use the "stories" pun for our title.)
For our features this month, we have an excerpt from Emily Witt's upcoming book, Nollywood: The Making of a Film Empire, about how a Nigerian film epic gets produced; David Severn captures resilience and traditions in Britain's former industrial heartlands; photographers Samantha Friend and Jessica Pettway provide snapshots from a flower festival in Valencia, Spain; and respected Indonesian author Eka Kurniawan shares a story with us about acceptance and loss.
For shorter reads, Jason Leopold, our FOIA expert, describes an FBI file that reveals how the government investigated reporter Ben Bagdikian, who rattled the Nixon White House and landed on FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's enemies list. Journalist Alice Newell-Hanson spends a day running errands with furniture-making fashion icon Michèle Lamy, and in her recurring column, "Why We Wear It," explains the history behind the widely mocked fanny packs. Our resident infographic wizard Haisam Hussein breaks down the impact of making denim. We also meet some grandmothers from Nairobi, Kenya, fighting back against sexual assault; look at Cuba's bustling Hemingway-themed tourism industry; and Krishna Andavolu, host and executive producer of Weediquette on our TV channel VICELAND, investigates how medical marijuana is becoming more accepted for everyone but pregnant women.
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