Search Results for: Wells Tower

Barry Hannah in Conversation with Wells Tower

Barry Hannah in Conversation with Wells Tower

Barry Hannah in Conversation with Wells Tower

Longreads Pick

“Barry Hannah is America’s greatest living writer” is something I started saying when I first read Hannah’s work in the late 1990s. I’m sad I had to stop saying it on March 1 of this year, when Barry passed away. … “HANNAH: The alcohol had the code and mystery about it as a writer’s drug, but I’m glad that’s been debunked. But the trouble with the drinking, much as I hate to admit it, is it helped the work. The first two drinks were always wonderfully liberating. You think better. You’re braver, and you’ll say anything. If you could just hang in there with two or three, it’d be beautiful. The trouble was I couldn’t.”

Source: The Believer
Published: Oct 1, 2010
Length: 17 minutes (4,488 words)

How a Prolific Counterfeiter Tricked a Swiss Paper Mill Into Helping Him

In GQ magazine, Wells Tower talks to Frank Bourassa, one of the most prolific counterfeiters in American history who reproduced more than $200 million in twenty dollar bills. U.S. dollars are printed on rag paper comprised of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen, and asking a paper mill to provide you with some is an easy way to get yourself raided by the Secret Service. Bourassa was able to convince a mill in Switzerland to help him:

In correspondence included in court documents that Frank shared with me, Maxwell told his mark that Keystone was looking to print bond certificates on secure rag paper—customized with one or two security measures designed to, um, foil counterfeiters. Frank says that after Artoz accepted the basics of his bond-brokerage story, he tweaked and refined his order over many months, nudging one felonious tidbit after another onto the papermaker’s plate. He got them to add linen to the recipe. He asked them to mix in chemicals to thwart security pens and black-light tests. He persuaded them to sew in a security strip reading, in near microscopic print, usa twenty. (“I told them it was, you know, for a $20 bond.”)

Artoz, he says, also agreed to imprint his paper with a watermark, an image etched into a cylindrical printing drum and pressed into the paper while the pulp is still wet. To get the equipment Artoz would need to do this, Frank paid $15,000, routed under a surrogate’s name through a Swiss bank account, to a company in Düren, Germany, that manufactured a drum etched with the likenesses of Andrew Jackson’s face. How did he manage that, exactly? “It was easy,” said Frank. “To you, he’s Andrew Jackson. To some guy in Germany, who the fuck is it? Some guy’s face. He doesn’t know.”

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How Billionaires Do Burning Man

Like all people who hate Burning Man, I enjoy nothing more than reading articles about Burning Man. In February, Felix Gillette chronicled the semi-clad class warfare at last year’s Burning Man for Bloomberg BusinessweekDespite being a festival based on radical self-reliance, Black Rock City is seemingly overrun with tech billionaires setting up their own exclusive festivals-within-a-festival; ultra-luxe camps that are fully built and staffed by paid “sherpas.” In his piece, Gillette described plans for an over-the-top camp hosted by Jim Tananbaum, a former member of Burning Man’s governing board:

 In the spring [Tananbaum] and his team sent out a detailed invitation, enticing potential guests with an early vision of the camp, named Caravancicle. Anyone concerned about living in a hot, unforgiving wilderness could rest assured. There would be no roughing it at Caravancicle. Accommodations would consist of a series of cubical tents with carbon fiber skeletons. Each cube would have 9-foot ceilings, comfortable bedding, and air conditioning. The surrounding camp, enclosed by high walls, would be safe and private. Amenities would include a central lounge housed in a geodesic dome, private showers and toilets, solar panels, wireless Internet, and a 24-hour bar. Guests could count on a “full-service” staff, who would among other things help create “handcrafted, artisanal popsicles” to offer passers-by. To help blend in with the Burning Man regulars, who tend to parade around the commons in wild, racy outfits (if anything at all), the camp would include an entire shipping container full of costumes.

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See Also:
1. “The Old Man at Burning Man” (GQ, Feb. 2013)

Wells Tower’s legendary 2013 GQ account of attending the aforementioned festival with his father.

2. “Why the Rich Love Burning Man” (Jacobin, Aug. 2015)

An essay by Keith A. Spencer about why business leaders, particularly in Silicon Valley, are so enamored with Burning Man:

 This is the dark heart of Burning Man, the reason that high-powered capitalists — and especially capitalist libertarians — love Burning Man so much. It heralds their ideal world: one where vague notions of participation replace real democracy, and the only form of taxation is self-imposed charity. Recall Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s op-ed, in the wake of the Obamacare announcement, in which he proposed a healthcare system reliant on “voluntary, tax-deductible donations.”

Longreads Best of 2014: Sports Writing

We asked a few writers and editors to choose some of their favorite stories of the year in specific categories. Here, the best in sports writing.

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Eva Holland
Freelance writer based in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

Together We Make Football (Louisa Thomas, Grantland)

It’s been a bad year for football: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, the lingering Jameis Winston saga. And a bad year for football means a big year for think pieces about violence and football—I couldn’t tell you how many of those I read this year. But one of them stood out. In “Together We Make Football,” Louisa Thomas reflects on the uncomfortable relationship between the NFL, masculinity, violence, and women. She takes her time, building a case slowly and methodically, before driving home her point: that violence is inherent to, and integral to, the NFL. That although the vast majority of football players don’t beat their wives, there may be no way to separate the bad violence—the off-field violence—from the on-field violence that we love. Here’s Thomas: Read more…

Longreads Best of 2014: Here Are All of Our No. 1 Story Picks from This Year

All through December, we’ll be featuring Longreads’ Best of 2014. To get you ready, here’s a list of every story that was chosen as No. 1 in our weekly Top 5 email.

If you like these, you can sign up to receive our free weekly email every Friday. Read more…

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

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The Great Paper Caper

Longreads Pick

Wells Tower talks to Frank Bourassa, the “most prolific counterfeiter in American history” who reproduced more than $200 million in nearly flawless fake twenty dollar bills.

Source: GQ
Published: Oct 28, 2014
Length: 21 minutes (5,491 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Photo: doug88888, Flickr

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

Read more…