Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

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Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book
October 10th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


Contents

  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources

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Camel Rock Festival held in Scilly

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Camel Rock Festival held in Scilly
October 10th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The August Bank Holiday weekend, as usual, played host to many festivals and musical events around the UK, not least the Camel Rock Festival held at Porthcressa on the Isles of Scilly. But will it be the last?

Local bands included those formed at the Five Islands’ School, the members of the Steamband under the temporary name Senile Shambles and the rhythm and blues band, Roadrunner. Bands imported from mainland England included Murdoch, from Manchester.

The event, deemed ‘unique’ in the local press, raises money for local musical projects on the islands. It’s future is, as always, in doubt due to the amount of work for organisers and volunteers, especially for the clean-up operation. Organiser Paul Lewis hopes that the event will return next year as long as there are still volunteers.

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Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 26) city council candidates speak
October 10th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 26). Four candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Muhammad Alam, Bahar Aminvaziri, Orhan Aybars, Michele Carroll-Smith, Mohamed Dhanani, Abdul Ingar, Geoff Kettel, Debbie Lechter, Natalie Maniates, John Masterson, John Parker, David Thomas, Csaba Vegh, and Fred Williams.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Contents

  • 1 Geoff Kettel
  • 2 Natalie Maniates
  • 3 John Parker
  • 4 Csaba Vegh

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Australian art gallery raided by police; photographer faces possible indecency charge

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Australian art gallery raided by police; photographer faces possible indecency charge
October 6th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Rosley Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney, Australia was raided by police over the weekend following complaints of child pornography. The complaints related to an exhibition of works by photographer Bill Henson, which included several photographs of naked pubescent children. Twenty-one of the forty photographs in the exhibition were seized during the raid, and police have announced that charges will be laid under the NSW Commonwealth and Crimes Act for “publishing an indecent article”. Digital versions have also been removed from the Gallery’s website.

Whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff – frankly I don’t think there are any – just allow kids to be kids.

Politicians on both sides of the fence spoke out against the exhibition. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, speaking to the Nine Network, said he found the photos to be “absolutely revolting […] Whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff – frankly I don’t think there are any – just allow kids to be kids.” His Opposition counterpart, Brendan Nelson, believes that the exhibition “violates the things for which we stand as Australians and indeed as parents”.

Art experts have supported Henson and defended his work, denying claims of child pornography and exploitation. According to Betty Churcher, a former director of the National Gallery of Australia, “[t]here is absolutely no suggestion of pornography in these photographs”. Sydney art dealer Denis Savill hung one of Henson’s works, featuring two nudes, in his gallery window beside an Arthur Boyd nude, to “give them something to grizzle about”.

According to Tony Oxley, husband of gallery owner Roslyn, the gallery’s answering machine has recorded several threats to burn the building down. The police action also calls into question the fate of similar works by Henson in other galleries in Australia and around the world.

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Fijian regime appoints vice-president

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Fijian regime appoints vice-president
October 6th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interim minister for Indigenous Affairs Ratu Epeli Nailatikau has been appointed vice-president by Fiji’s military regime.

Nailatikau, a former military commander, Speaker of the House of Representatives and Minister in the military regime, was sworn in at Government House this morning. He will continue to hold his portfolios in the interim Cabinet.

The appointment follows the promulgation of a decree establishing the office of vice-president and permitting them to perform the functions of the President of Fiji if the President is unable to.

The current president, Josefa Iloilo, is 88 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. He is rarely seen in public, and there is some speculation about his health.

Iloilo abrogated the country’s constitution and revoked all judicial appointments last Friday in response to a Court of Appeal decision declaring the removal of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the appointment of military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister unlawful.

Previously the vice-president was appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs. An earlier attempt by the military regime to appoint Nailatikau as vice-president was rejected by the GCC in April, 2007, leading to the body’s suspension.

Fiji’s government was overthrown by a military coup in 2006.

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Thousands strike in UK over pensions

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Thousands strike in UK over pensions
September 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

As many as 1.5 million government workers, members of 11 unions, went on strike on Tuesday in protest of a government decision to reduce their retirement benefits, a change which would take effect in October.

The strike closed thousands of schools, libraries and leisure centres, disrupted commuters, and reduced some facilities to emergency only staffing.

UNISON claimed that more than a million workers had joined the strike, with General Secretary Dave Prentis saying “this overwhelming show of strength from Lands End to John O’Groats has obviously taken the Local Government Association and some local councils by surprise”.

The benefits change, would effect the “85 year rule,” of the Local Government Pension scheme, which allows government employees to retire at 60 as long as the sum of their age and their years of employment sum to 85 or greater. According to union representatives, the new retirement plan is targeted at lower paid employees, leaving higher paid employees to enjoy the same benefits as before.

Ahead of the strike, the Local Government Association claimed that the changes proposed by unions “would add at least 2% a year to every council taxpayer’s bill”.

The participating unions point out this is likely to be the largest strike in Britain since 1926.

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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019

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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019
September 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Monday, March 25, 2019

From March 15 to 17, the Canadian city of Toronto played host to the tenth Furnal Equinox, an annual event dedicated to the “furry fandom.” Wikinews attended. Programming ranged from music to gender, science to art, covering dozens of aspects of the varied subculture. The event’s featured guests were visual artists Moth Monarch and Cat-Monk Shiro, as well as the co-owners of US fursuit costume builders Don’t Hug Cacti.

The event raised nearly CDN$11,000 for Pet Patrol, a non-profit rescue organization in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, run by volunteers. This exceeded their goal of $10,000, the funds needed to finish a rural sanctuary. The furry community is well-known for their charitable efforts. Along with direct donations, the funds were raised through a charity auction offering original artwork, and a fursuit design by guests of honour “Don’t Hug Cacti.” Last year, Furnal Equinox raised funds for a farm animal sanctuary.

While only 10–15% of people within the fandom own a fursuit according to a 2011 study, event organizers reported this year 908 of the 2240 attendees at Furnal Equinox brought at least one elaborate outfit to the event. The outfits are usually based on original characters, known as “fursonas”.

Guests of Honour Cherie and Sean O’Donnell, known within the community as “Lucky and Skuff Coyote”, held a session on fursuit construction on Saturday afternoon. The married couple are among the most prominent builders in the fandom, under the name Don’t Hug Cacti. The scale of their business was evident, as Sean had made over a thousand pairs of “handpaws”, costume gloves.

The couple encouraged attendees to continue developing their technique, sharing that all professional fursuit makers had developed different techniques. They felt that they learned more from failed projects than successful ones, citing the Chuck Jones quote that “every artist has thousands of bad drawings,” and that you have to work through them to achieve. Cherie, known as Lucky, recalled receiving a Sylvester the Cat plush toy from a Six Flags theme park at age 10. She promptly hollowed the toy out, turning it into a costume. Creating a costume isn’t without its hazards: the company uses 450°F (232°C) glue guns. They’re “like sticking your hand in an oven.”

Other programming included improv comedy, dances, life drawing of fursuiters, a review of scientific research by a research group at four universities called FurScience, a pin collector’s social, and workshops in writing.

The “Dealer’s Den” hall was expanded this year, with even more retailers and artists. While many offered “furry” versions of traditional products, at least one business focused on “pushing the boundaries of fursuit technology.” Along with 3D printing a bone-shaped name tag when Wikinews visited, Grivik was demonstrating miniature computer screens that could be used as “eyes” for a fursuit. The electronic displays projected an animation of eyes looking around, blinking occasionally. The maker has also developed “a way to install a camera inside suit heads, to improve fursuiter visibility.” He hopes the tech would reduce suiting risks and accidents. Without the need for eyeholes, fursuit makers would have “more options for building different eyestyles.”

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Category:April 16, 2010

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Category:April 16, 2010
September 18th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu
? April 15, 2010
April 17, 2010 ?
April 16

Pages in category “April 16, 2010”

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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019

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Fur fans flock to Toronto’s Furnal Equinox 2019
September 7th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Monday, March 25, 2019

From March 15 to 17, the Canadian city of Toronto played host to the tenth Furnal Equinox, an annual event dedicated to the “furry fandom.” Wikinews attended. Programming ranged from music to gender, science to art, covering dozens of aspects of the varied subculture. The event’s featured guests were visual artists Moth Monarch and Cat-Monk Shiro, as well as the co-owners of US fursuit costume builders Don’t Hug Cacti.

The event raised nearly CDN$11,000 for Pet Patrol, a non-profit rescue organization in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, run by volunteers. This exceeded their goal of $10,000, the funds needed to finish a rural sanctuary. The furry community is well-known for their charitable efforts. Along with direct donations, the funds were raised through a charity auction offering original artwork, and a fursuit design by guests of honour “Don’t Hug Cacti.” Last year, Furnal Equinox raised funds for a farm animal sanctuary.

While only 10–15% of people within the fandom own a fursuit according to a 2011 study, event organizers reported this year 908 of the 2240 attendees at Furnal Equinox brought at least one elaborate outfit to the event. The outfits are usually based on original characters, known as “fursonas”.

Guests of Honour Cherie and Sean O’Donnell, known within the community as “Lucky and Skuff Coyote”, held a session on fursuit construction on Saturday afternoon. The married couple are among the most prominent builders in the fandom, under the name Don’t Hug Cacti. The scale of their business was evident, as Sean had made over a thousand pairs of “handpaws”, costume gloves.

The couple encouraged attendees to continue developing their technique, sharing that all professional fursuit makers had developed different techniques. They felt that they learned more from failed projects than successful ones, citing the Chuck Jones quote that “every artist has thousands of bad drawings,” and that you have to work through them to achieve. Cherie, known as Lucky, recalled receiving a Sylvester the Cat plush toy from a Six Flags theme park at age 10. She promptly hollowed the toy out, turning it into a costume. Creating a costume isn’t without its hazards: the company uses 450°F (232°C) glue guns. They’re “like sticking your hand in an oven.”

Other programming included improv comedy, dances, life drawing of fursuiters, a review of scientific research by a research group at four universities called FurScience, a pin collector’s social, and workshops in writing.

The “Dealer’s Den” hall was expanded this year, with even more retailers and artists. While many offered “furry” versions of traditional products, at least one business focused on “pushing the boundaries of fursuit technology.” Along with 3D printing a bone-shaped name tag when Wikinews visited, Grivik was demonstrating miniature computer screens that could be used as “eyes” for a fursuit. The electronic displays projected an animation of eyes looking around, blinking occasionally. The maker has also developed “a way to install a camera inside suit heads, to improve fursuiter visibility.” He hopes the tech would reduce suiting risks and accidents. Without the need for eyeholes, fursuit makers would have “more options for building different eyestyles.”

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“Camp Casey” moves to safer land, as Mother’s protest continues

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“Camp Casey” moves to safer land, as Mother’s protest continues
September 7th, 2019 by 6FjUhLbu

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In Crawford, Texas, anti-war protesters led by American Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen soldier, have found a new place to demonstrate. “A kind gentleman from down the road, closer to the Bush ranch, has offered us the use of his property,” said Sheehan to the reporters, as the camp prepared a move to private land.

The property owner, U.S. Army veteran Fred Mattlage, said, “I just think people should have a right to protest without being harassed, and I’m against the war. I don’t think it’s a war we need to be in.”

Sheehan continued to tell the reporters, “He offered it because he heard about the shots fired at us the other day and he didn’t think that was right. He happens to be the third cousin of the person that fired the shots and so he came down and he said he supports us 100 percent.”

The “shots fired” were those of nearby resident Larry Mattlage, whose land borders the protesters at their current location. After complaining about the proximity of the protesters, he fired a shotgun twice into the air Sunday – in order to prepare for duck hunting season, he said. Mattlage says at no time was he ever threatening the protesters with his shots.

Not all Americans agree with Mrs. Sheehan’s position. On Monday, a man was arrested and charged with vandalism of Camp Casey’s memorial for troops lost in Iraq. Around 10pm the previous night, authorities say the accused used his pickup truck to run over hundreds of small wooden crosses bearing names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

In comments to the press, Bush offered sympathy to Sheehan, “I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her — about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes.”, he said. However, he has still declined to meet her. “I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.” Bush told reporters, “But, I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”

Others have commented that Sheehan is being used by those with their own agendas, “What started out as a grieving mom that we all sympathized with has now turned into … an orchestrated far-left campaign,” commented Greg Mueller, a conservative public-relations executive.

A former FBI special agent, Rowley, and Becky Lourey, whose son was killed in Iraq, will leave for Texas on Thursday and camp at the site for a few days.

Rowley said, “It puts a human face on this issue; many people, if they don’t have a personal connection to the troops, it’s so easy for this to become a discussion that lacks seriousness and urgency. I think it’s good to show that there are real people that are being affected.”

“Our children are dying and I think it’s time to go support Cindy and see if Bush will come out and we can say, ‘President Bush, what is the mission exactly?’,” Becky Lourey added. “Truth has been shifting all around and I think we need to rejoin the world community and not occupy another nation.” Lourey said.

Sheehan wants the withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. President Bush claims that leaving Iraq now wouldn’t be helpful for Iraqis or Americans, but only for terrorists.

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