What to read: Tokion

I just fucking love Tokion. It’s one of the very few ‘hip’ magazines that are insightful, informative, and actually hip, if slightly pretentious.

The latest issue (issue #49) features interviews with Sufjan Stevens, Amy Sedaris, and Takashi Murakami among others.

In the magazine’s interview with Sufjan Stevens, it is revealed that he is named Sufjan because his parents were in a cult, and the leader of the said cult liked to give Muslim names to his followers’ newborns.

Go back a dozen pages, Amy Sedaris learns from her interviewer that the name of the after school special where a nerd played by Helen Hunt does angel dust for the first time, jumps out the window, and cuts her wrists with shattered glass is Desperate Lives.

Skip forward eight pages, the interviewer asks Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse whether “he was worried that someone was going to be mad that [he] took it to the landfill instead of the scrap yard” after Brock told the interviewer that he dumped his junk car in a landfill, only to correct himself by saying he actually to took it to a junkyard one sentence later. That’s a typical issue of Tokion.

The best interview by Tokion (that I’ve read), I have to say is, the one with Mike Mills, the up-and-coming director whom I salivated over (in a very creepy way) on this very blog.

Mills talks at length about how much he hates art-school-y people (no one fucking gives a shit about whether Helvetica is in or not, he remarks) before proceeding to single out Sonic Youth as the most art-school-y people he has ever met, although he is pretty sure they never went to college. (Note: His comment is made all the more asinine by the fact that he is a graduate of the ultra-prestigious Cooper Union. Incidentally, the school is the venue for Tokion’s annual Creativity Now conference, possibly the most pretentious art-themed event in existence. Last year’s coference featured Kim Gordon as a panelist.)

He also rips on Tibor Kalman, the ex-editor of Colors and Mills’ ex-boss and label Beastie Boys’ now-defunct Grand Royal magazine, for which he was a graphics editor, as essentially juvenile and uninteresting. (Note #2: Grand Royal’s editor was Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola’s ex-husband, who Sofia apparently found juvenile, uninteresting, and uncultured.)

The best part of the interview, after the Sonic Youth bit, of course, is where Mills complains about how no one can get a movie made unless there’s some famous actor willing to be in it. The interviewer points out that Mills only got funding for his movie, Thumbsucker, because of Keanu Reeves agreed to do it, and for the rest of interview, he becomes angry and resentful.

In stark contrast to interview by Tokion, Mills is quite well-behaved in practically all other interviews he has done over the last couple months — perhaps he was coking out when Tokion interviewed him?

Interviewing hip people, making them angry and/or confused, publishing the embarassing episode for all to see: that’s what makes Tokion so great.

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