“Up to the self,” reads the definition of freedom in a Chinese-English dictionary belonging to Atticus Lish’s heroine Zou Lei. “The United States is a freedom country.”

Yet in Preparation for the Next Life, Lish’s tremendous first novel, the towers have already been struck from New York’s skyline, and the ideals of freedom are seemingly dead. The Patriot Act casts a menacing shadow on millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, light and dark skinned, living in the city’s margins. Abandoned by the government and their families, broken soldiers return from war only to seek drugs and snuff films. Lish presents a starkly realistic New York, a city of sweatshops, street markets, prison gangs, and immigrants, way off the end of the 7 train in Queens, where life at best is bleak. Zou Lei’s dictionary is old, and its definitions are outmoded, but she doesn’t know it yet.
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FROM TLM09: CHARLI XCX

FROM TLM09: CHARLI XCX

RAWIYA KAMEIR
ANGELO PENNETTA
December 15, 2014

Charli XCX sees sounds and hears colors. The twenty-year-old singer-songwriter might not know it, but she ostensibly has synesthesia, a neurological condition that makes the brain process sounds, or other sensory data, as colors. She’s not alone—other musical talents, like Stevie Wonder, Leonard Bernstein, and Frank Ocean, have confessed to seeing sounds too.
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Gabriel Kahane The Ambassador

GABRIEL KAHANE'S LOS ANGELES SONG CYCLE

 
JONATHAN SHIA
December 12, 2014

Gabriel Kahane is not an easy one to pin down. The composer and performer has written concert works, song cycles, folk albums, and even a musical, a varied body of work that is held together by a consistent sense of nuance and wit. For his latest project, The Ambassador, a set of songs tied to Los Angeles buildings both iconic and forgotten, the lines blur even further, between fact and fiction, past and present, myth and memory.
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aerosyn lex mestrovic art

AEROSYN-LEX MESTROVIC'S BOLD STROKES

 
ZACHARY SNIDERMAN
December 12, 2014

Aerosyn-Lex Meštrović, by virtue of his artwork, of his name, of his cultural background, and of his creative reputation, lives in the negative space between where he is now and where he’d like to be. To call Meštrović, who usually goes by “Lex,” an illustrator is reductionist. To call Meštrović an artist or, for that matter, any one thing, is also reductionist. At an enviably quick pace, Meštrović has already worked with Kanye West, Jeff Koons & Kiehls, Kenzo, Nike, Glitch Mob, Diplo, Beck’s Beer, and more. This year, he collaborated with Rodarte, the CFDA, Public School, and exhibited at MoMA for the Armory Arts Week opening gala.
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FROM TLM08: MALGOSIA

FROM TLM08: MALGOSIA

JOSH OLINS
ALASTAIR MCKIMM
December 11, 2014

We’ve been around awhile now, and we know a lot of our readers might not have had the opportunity to experience our earlier issues. So we wanted to give you the chance to discover one of our favorite stories from our archive. Some of them feature actors, musicians, or artists who eventually made it big, talents we are proud to have tapped early in their careers. Some have brilliant writing, and some have beautiful photography. Some have both. But all of them are so great we thought they deserved a second chance. This week we present Josh Olins’ black-and-white shoot of the lithe and elegant Malgosia, styled by Alastair McKimm.