Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist.

The porn trilogy for Nintendos. Atari games from the 1980s. Pristine nostalgia, potentially worth millions, all went missing one night:

The contents of that safe had taken him nearly 30 years to acquire, a few titles only a handful of people had ever seen. The safe itself he’d bought secondhand from a local real estate agent who was going out of business. Inside the safe, he had 120 games on three shelves, along with $19,000 in silver coins and bars and $10,000 in cash. He would only be able to claim around $100,000 as the value of the stolen games, because the insurance adjuster would only use comparison prices from other sales. Hardly any of the games in the safe ever came up for sale in the decades he’d been collecting. The reality had him choking out tears into the dark.

“Every single game that was in the safe was very deliberate,” Brassard says. “I had the ultimate copies of those games, I had really sought them out over the years. They were in there for a reason. I identified with those games. Like…people know Jason owns those games that no one else has. And I shared them. I had archived them, preserved them.” It felt, he said, “like a tragedy for the video game community more than anything.”

Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Jun 27, 2022
Length: 23 minutes (5,900 words)

How the Atlanta Spa Shootings — The Victims, The Survivors — Tell a Story of America

On the one-year anniversary of a rampage in which eight people, including six Asian women, were killed, May Jeong meticulously reconstructs the crime, tells the stories of the victims, and places it all in the sprawling context of racism, immigration, and U.S. foreign policy:

Before the immigrant becomes an immigrant, before this single act comes to define her, she is preoccupied with what lies ahead. She knows that this leaving will take her away from home. But what she often does not know is that folded into the decision to go away is also the decision to potentially never see her family or homeland again. On one side of the scale, she has put the sum of her life thus far. On the other is America and some vague yet hopeful feeling that life will be better there. And because she has to, or because she wants to, she chooses that one vague and hopeful feeling over everything else — an act that speaks to the vast and violent inequalities that exist in the world.

Author: May Jeong
Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Mar 14, 2022
Length: 29 minutes (7,400 words)

XXX-Files: Who Torched the Pornhub Palace?

“Whatever the cause, Antoon’s inferno was searingly symbolic. It represented not just bad juju befalling the XXX site, but an overheated, inflammatory political climate in the ongoing war against online porn.”

Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Jan 18, 2022
Length: 26 minutes (6,519 words)

On Becoming Lucy Sante

“The renowned writer, culture critic, and scholar of the demimonde discusses her transition — and finding herself.”
Author: Lucy Sante
Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Jan 20, 2022
Length: 17 minutes (4,300 words)

“Who the Fuck Cares About Adam McKay?” (We Do, and With Good Reason)

“But success, as we’re obliged to say in the personal-profiles business, has come at a price—bouts of depression, a heart attack, a rotating cast of therapists, a tortured relationship with his mother, and a bitter breakup with his former creative partner Will Ferrell. As it turns out, every movie is the most personal movie Adam McKay’s ever made—until it’s over and he moves on to the most personal movie he’d ever made. On one level, it’s the nature of his art—locating the pulse of the zeitgeist and making entertainment from it before the zeitgeist moves on. And McKay is nothing if not a topical writer and director. But it begs a question: How does Adam McKay move on from a movie about the end of the world?”

Author: Joe Hagan
Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Nov 29, 2021
Length: 26 minutes (6,522 words)

“I Did Not Know It Was a Man”: The Surreal Story of How a Deadly Crash Upended South Dakota Politics

“The public and political reaction to the crash has been driven by a fundamental and, perhaps, ultimately unknowable question, one that will cast a shadow long after Ravnsborg emerges from the criminal and potential civil litigation: Was he really unaware that he hit another man?”

Author: Tom Kludt
Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Aug 25, 2021
Length: 21 minutes (5,386 words)

‘All Roads Lead to Mar-a-Lago’: Inside the Fury and Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Florida

“Roger Stone, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Ben Shapiro—they’ve all made their way to the Sunshine State, fueling and profiting from a tabloid culture that turns politics into spectacle, arguably Florida’s greatest export.”

Author: Joe Hagan
Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Aug 10, 2021
Length: 24 minutes (6,221 words)

‘I Got a Second Chance’: From Puff Daddy to Diddy to Love

“Sean Combs was the original influencer. Now the artist and mogul is defining his next era—and launching a record label.”

Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Aug 3, 2021
Length: 21 minutes (5,255 words)

Did Paying a Ransom for a Stolen Magritte Painting Inadvertently Fund Terrorism?

“Modern art crime, like the arms trade, still thrives in the shadow of global conflict, which gives rise to criminal networks that make from the detritus of war immensely profitable commodities.”

Source: Vanity Fair
Published: May 27, 2021
Length: 21 minutes (5,477 words)

Cracking the Case of London’s Elusive, Acrobatic Rare-Book Thieves

“How detectives from Scotland Yard, Romania, Germany, and Italy nabbed the so-called Mission: Impossible gang, which pulled off a string of daring warehouse heists.”

Source: Vanity Fair
Published: Apr 25, 2021
Length: 18 minutes (4,500 words)