“I thought, Is trying to direct a movie really what you want? Don’t you want to just rest? Or be with your family? And Stacy has said to me, ‘Why should I stop doing what I love? What am I going to do? Just sit in this chair and die?’”
In her final feature for Los Angeles Magazine, Amy Wallace tells the incredible story of Jonathan Koch, “one of Hollywood’s great closers,” who lost several limbs and nearly his life to septic shock before receiving a revolutionary hand transplant.
Wallace talks the only doctor authorized by the FDA to do a specific penis enlargement surgery, and the men who’ve elected to pay $13,000 to become more endowed.
Controversy at the Hugo Awards, which has been plagued by accusations by a faction of mostly white male authors who argue that storytelling has taken a backseat to identity politics.
We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in crime reporting.
One family’s answer to one of America’s most famous unsolved Mob mysteries.
On the trial of Joseph Hall, who murdered his neo-Nazi father when he was 10 years old. (For more background on the story, see Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s Feb. 2013 piece.)
Did an atmosphere of hate drive Joseph to kill? Did his stepmother? Or was it his childish misreading of a TV show? Or a complicated amalgam of factors, tangled together in a damaged brain? Was Joseph confused or deranged, a victim or a victimizer? Had he simply changed his story and implicated Krista because he was tired of being locked up? Or did he finally find the strength to tell the truth, months after the killing, because he was no longer under her sway? There were many questions, but Judge Leonard focused on one: Did Joseph know when he pulled the trigger that what he was doing was wrong?
The gifted R&B singer, who’s spent years fighting addiction, attempts a comeback:
“Black stardom is rough, dude,” Chris Rock tells me when I reach him to talk about D. “I always say Tom Hanks is an amazing actor and Denzel Washington is a god to his people. If you’re a black ballerina, you represent the race, and you have responsibilities that go beyond your art. How dare you just be excellent?”
After Brown Sugar went platinum, Rock put D’Angelo on The Chris Rock Show. Later, when D was mixing Voodoo, Rock hung out some in the studio. No surprise, then, that the first thing out of Rock’s mouth after “Hello” is a joyful “He’s back!” But he adds a sobering downbeat: “D’Angelo. Chris Tucker. Dave Chappelle. Lauryn Hill. They all hang out on the same island. The island of What Do We Do with All This Talent? It frustrates me.”
What makes a smart, well-educated mother of four go on a killing spree? In the more than 12 months since Amy Bishop became the first academic in US history to be accused of gunning down fellow professors, many theories have been offered up. One is that she’s a lunatic. That suggestion came from her attorney.
“Here’s a peek into my insanity,” Charlie Sheen tells me one afternoon in February. “People say, ‘What are you thinking?’ and here’s the truth. It’s generally a quote from ‘Apocalypse Now’ or ‘Jaws.'” It’s Sheen’s fourteenth day of sobriety (this time around), and he’s calling from a baseball diamond on the west side of Los Angeles. Batting practice is like therapy for the former star athlete, people who know him say, and he’s spent the past few hours hitting balls with his friend Tony Todd, whom he met in Little League when they were 8 years old. This has been “the best day ever,” says Sheen, 45. His voice is relaxed and fluid. He sounds like he’s on the mend. But when I say as much, he’s quick to correct me. “We’re past ‘on the mend,’ ” he says. “We’re not dealing with normal DNA here, you know what I’m saying? All those other sissies and amateurs, they can take their fucking time.”