August 2, 2012

Since playing a troubled gay teenager in the third season of In Treatment, Dane DeHaan has gone on to land roles on True Blood, the sci-fi sleeper hit Chronicle, and some of this year’s most prestigious films, including the supernatural lesbian romance Jack and Diane, the Prohibition-era drama Lawless (with Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, and Guy Pearce), and the crime saga The Place Beyond the Pines, Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to Blue Valentine. Later this year, DeHaan will star as Lucien Carr opposite Daniel Radcliffe’s Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings. We spoke to the 25-year-old Pennsylvania native about his breakout success and those pesky Leonardo DiCaprio comparisons.

What can you tell me about the character you play Kill Your Darlings?
Well, in Kill Your Darlings I play this guy, Lucien Carr. When Allen Ginsberg first went to college he ran into Lucien Carr, and they ended up having a very complicated but inspirational relationship, especially on Ginsberg’s end. Lucien Carr is really the person who introduced Ginsberg to Kerouac and to Burroughs, and he was really the person to be like, We are the new vision, we are the beat poets, and this is what we are going to do. He kind of set the movement in action. But he also had a very complicated relationship with an older man named David Kammerer, who was his cub master when Lucien was fourteen and David was twenty-five. And David would actually follow Lucien around from private school to private school and college to college as Lucien was getting kicked out for basically going out at night with David. And this relationship kind of became very overbearing, as Lucien was becoming a man, and becoming more of an adult himself. And he kind of just couldn’t take it anymore and murdered David Kammerer, then colored the murder as an “honor-slaying,” which back then meant he claimed he was being raped by a man and killed him in self-defense, which actually pretty much gets you off for murder in the 40s.

Were you surprised by Chronicle’s success?
Yeah, I guess I was surprised, because I feel like the marketing for it was almost all viral and, in terms movies these days, almost non-existent. The fact that we really made that big of a splash with the little bit of marketing that Fox gave us was surprising, and I think really speaks to the fact that we were four people that were really committed to making that movie what it should be. There was also a part of me that thinks that if it came out at a different time and there was just a little more out there, it could have been even bigger.

Has there been a marked difference in your life post-Chronicle?
I think In Treatment was really the first time that the film and television industry first started taking note of me. But I think Chronicle is my first introduction into the mainstream world, like, Here I am, I’m in movies now. My life isn’t that much different, honestly. I mean, it might just be because it’s all being put into perspective, because most of the time I’m hanging out with Daniel Radcliffe, and he’s just constantly being flocked by people and has no privacy whatsoever and goes around with body guards in SUVs. So it’s certainly not to that extreme yet, and it’s certainly not the extreme it was with Shia during Lawless.

Why do you think so many people compare you to Leonardo DiCaprio?
Why do I think they do it? Well, I think we have very similar eyes. I really like DiCaprio, the younger work especially. I think that he played a lot of very varied, but fully-embodied characters, and I would hope that’s true for my work too. I don’t think it’s just a physical thing – although I think there are undeniable physical things we have in common – I think we bring an intensity to the screen that is somewhat comparable.

How did you make the leap from local theater to doing acting professionally?
I went to college for it at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where I really kind of learned how to work on it and how to do it. And then from there, they have a showcase where you basically do two two-minute scenes and hope to get an agent out of it, and I was lucky enough to get an agent. I mean, honestly, from there I just never stopped working, and the jobs kept getting bigger, and I just kept taking them and saying, “thank you,” and moving on to the next. I honestly haven’t struggled that much, I’ve been unbelievably lucky.

Comments >
The Bullet Holiday Gift Guide
August 1, 2012
Timur Kim designer
Jessie Hands
 Petra Metzger designer
David Koma designer
Timur Kim designer
Jessie Hands
Petra Metzger designer
David Koma designer

David Koma
At the age of 18, the now 26-year-old womenswear designer David Koma moved from his native Georgia to the U.K., where he earned his MA from London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Koma has since won a number of awards for his architectural, body-contouring creations, which have been worn by superstars from Beyoncé to Lady Gaga.

Which of the Seven Deadly Sins best characterizes your collection?
Pride feels right.

Would your collection fit in better in heaven or hell?
It fits better on Earth, but it would be great if it could get into heaven.

What is your most extravagant desire?
To have original Caravaggio paintings in my studio.

How do you dress for a lazy day?
In a sweatshirt and old jeans.

What’s the most frustrating thing about your craft?
The speed of the industry. I just wish we could pause for a moment.

What designer are you most jealous of?
Nicolas Ghesquière. I think the man’s a genius.

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 27, 2012
1.	From Left: <a href="http://www.dolcegabbana.com/">Dolce & Gabbana</a>, <a href="http://www.marcjacobs.com/">Marc Jacobs</a>,<a href="http://www.hugoboss.com/"> Hugo Boss</a>, <a href="http://www.bottegaveneta.com/default/">Bottega Veneta</a>, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>.
2.	From Left: Bag, <a href="http://www.hermes.com/">Hermes</a>; Perfume, <a href="http://www.juicycouture.com/">Juicy Couture</a>; Notebook, <a href="http://www.hermes.com/">Hermes</a>; Lipstick, <a href="http://www.tomford.com/">Tom Ford</a>; Comb and earrings, <a href="http://www.dolcegabbana.com/">Dolce & Gabbana</a>, La Vernis Nail Colour, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>; Gloves, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>; Watch, <a href="http://www.movado.com/">Movado</a>; Ring, <a href="http://www.arielledepinto.com/">Arielle de Pinto</a>; Bracelets, <a href="http://www.fauxrealnyc.com/">FAUX/real</a>.
4.	Hooded jacket, <a href="http://www.versace.com/">Versace</a>; Sunglasses, <a href="http://www.gucci.com/us/home">Gucci</a>.
3.	Hooded jacket, <a href="http://www.versace.com/">Versace</a>; Sunglasses, <a href="http://www.louisvuitton.com/front/#/dispatch">Louis Vuitton</a>.
5.	Bodysuit, <a href="http://www.dolcegabbana.com/">Dolce & Gabanna</a>; Tights, <a href="http://www.falke.co.za/">Falke</a>; Fragrance, <a href="http://www.dior.com/beauty/usa/en/women_fragrance_and_men_fragrance_by_christian_dio/women-fragrance/les_poisons/lpoisonfpl.html">Dior Poison</a>; Rings from left: <a href="http://www.davidyurman.com/">David Yurman</a>, <a href="http://www.maisonmartinmargiela.com/">Maison Martin Margiela</a>, <a href="http://www.pvmonline.com/">Patricia von Musulin</a>; Le Vernis Nail Colour, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>; Earrings, <a href="http://www.givenchy.com/">Givenchy</a>.
6.	Bag, <a href="http://www.armani.com/us/emporioarmani">Emporio Armani</a>; Acessories clockwise from the top left: Sunglasses, <a href="http://www.gucci.com/us/home">Gucci</a>; Gold and diamond necklace, <a href="http://www.givenchy.com/">Givenchy</a>; Blush Variation in Coriander, <a href="http://www.ysl.com/en_US">YSL</a>; Pearl and Roman coin necklace, <a href="http://torrubia-torrubia.com/">Torrubia & Torrubia</a>; Watch, <a href="http://www.gucci.com/us/home">Gucci</a>; Lipstick in Red Satin, <a href="http://www.maccosmetics.com/index.tmpl">MAC</a>; Haute Couleur Xtreme Wear Nail Lacquer in Red Royalty, <a href="http://www.dior.com/">Dior</a>; Lipstain Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Gloss Stain in Rogue Lacque, <a href="http://www.ysl.com/en_US">YSL</a>; Diorific Rouge Lipstick in Magic Wine, <a href="http://www.dior.com/">Dior</a>; Moisturizing Bronzing Powder in Terre Epice Soleil Tan de Chanel, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>; Gold leather Jesus necklace, <a href="http://www.nataliabrilli.fr/">Natalia Brilli</a>; Powder brush, <a href="www.dior.com">Dior</a>; Blending brush, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>; Sunglasses, <a href="http://www.persol.com/">Persol</a>; Black Orchid Perfume, <a href="http://www.tomford.com/">Tom Ford</a>; Lipgloss in Little Red Dress, <a href="http://www.dior.com/">Dior Addict</a>.
7.	Shoes, <a href="http://www.hugoboss.com/">Hugo Boss</a>; Gold cuff, <a href="http://www.hermes.com/">Hermes</a>; Rings from left: <a href="http://solange.co.uk/">Solange Azagury-Partridge</a>, <a href="http://torrubia-torrubia.com/">Torrubia & Torrubia</a>, Le Vernis Nail Colour, <a href="http://www.chanel.com/">Chanel</a>.
8.	Trench, <a href="http://www.burberry.com/">Burberry</a>; Bracelet, <a href="http://www.dior.com/home/en_us/">Christian Dior</a>; Ring, <a href="http://solange.co.uk/">Solange Azagury-Partridge</a>; Gloves,<a href="http://tableauxvivantsdesign.com/"> Tableaux Vivants</a>; Le Vernis Nail Colour, <a href="www.chanel.com">Chanel</a>; Lipstick in hand Rouge Pur #41, <a href="http://www.ysl.com/en_US">YSL</a>.
2. From Left: Bag, Hermes; Perfume, Juicy Couture; Notebook, Hermes; Lipstick, Tom Ford; Comb and earrings, Dolce & Gabbana, La Vernis Nail Colour, Chanel; Gloves, Chanel; Watch, Movado; Ring, Arielle de Pinto; Bracelets, FAUX/real.
4. Hooded jacket, Versace; Sunglasses, Gucci.
3. Hooded jacket, Versace; Sunglasses, Louis Vuitton.
5. Bodysuit, Dolce & Gabanna; Tights, Falke; Fragrance, Dior Poison; Rings from left: David Yurman, Maison Martin Margiela, Patricia von Musulin; Le Vernis Nail Colour, Chanel; Earrings, Givenchy.
6. Bag, Emporio Armani; Acessories clockwise from the top left: Sunglasses, Gucci; Gold and diamond necklace, Givenchy; Blush Variation in Coriander, YSL; Pearl and Roman coin necklace, Torrubia & Torrubia; Watch, Gucci; Lipstick in Red Satin, MAC; Haute Couleur Xtreme Wear Nail Lacquer in Red Royalty, Dior; Lipstain Rouge Pur Couture Vernis a Levres Gloss Stain in Rogue Lacque, YSL; Diorific Rouge Lipstick in Magic Wine, Dior; Moisturizing Bronzing Powder in Terre Epice Soleil Tan de Chanel, Chanel; Gold leather Jesus necklace, Natalia Brilli; Powder brush, Dior; Blending brush, Chanel; Sunglasses, Persol; Black Orchid Perfume, Tom Ford; Lipgloss in Little Red Dress, Dior Addict.
7. Shoes, Hugo Boss; Gold cuff, Hermes; Rings from left: Solange Azagury-Partridge, Torrubia & Torrubia, Le Vernis Nail Colour, Chanel.
8. Trench, Burberry; Bracelet, Christian Dior; Ring, Solange Azagury-Partridge; Gloves, Tableaux Vivants; Le Vernis Nail Colour, Chanel; Lipstick in hand Rouge Pur #41, YSL.

Styling: Avena Gallagher; Makeup: Deanna Melluso; Hair: Wesley O’Meara at The Wall Group; Hair Color: Ricardo Santiago at Bumble & Bumble; Prop Stylist: Lisa Edsalv; Manicurist: Ana-Maria at Artists by Timothy Priano; Set Assistants: Erika Kishiku and Amy Tien; Stylist Assistant: Taryn Bensky; Location: Jessica Lichtenstein’s Studio; Model: Elisaveta Stoilova.

Photography by Plamen Petkov

Avena Gallagher

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 26, 2012

Myla Dalbesio is a Ford model who was discovered at a beauty pageant in her native Wisconsin, and quickly began hacking away at the mold for what constitutes a “normal” size. Having entered into the world of performance art with three shows in 2011—Homecoming, Homecoming: Sophomore Year, and her Young Money exhibition, a garish critique of American culture replete with booze, sex, and hip-hop—she’s quickly emerged as a multitalented force for whom even the rigid beauty standards of high fashion can’t help but bend. Here she is on the dark side of modeling, her Real Housewives addiction, and coming to New York.

You model and you’re an artist. How do you reconcile the two? Is modeling just a way to pay the bills?
Well, it started as that when I first signed. I had another job and it was just something that fell into my lap and seemed like a good way to make easy money.

It seems like that happens for most girls, right? It just falls into their laps.
I think there are a lot of girls who grow up wanting to do it, which was never really my thing because I grew up wanting to write or do art, but it just happened and I’m really grateful that it did. What started as something I didn’t care too much about became something that is really fulfilling to me. I think a lot of that comes from the people that I get to work with, and the opportunities that it has awarded me outside of just the normal stuff like, Oh, I get to travel.

Did you get discovered?
Actually, it came through the beauty pageants, which I’m sure you’re going to ask me about. I was scouted by this couple from St. Louis who had been working with the people that ran the pageant.  They originally were pushing me to do straight-sized work, which didn’t work for me because I’m not that size.

When did you start making art?
As baby. My grandfather was an artist—a printmaker—so my earliest memories are of him taking my sister and I to the shop and teaching us how to do lithographs and copper etchings. Every time he came to our house he’d bring a pound of clay, or watercolor paper. I guess it’s always been my thing.

You’ve spoken about the darkness of the modeling world.
Sure, I mean, the only think I have to say about the modeling world is that, yeah, there is a lot of dark shit that happens, but that’s like 1% of it, and that 1% I find really inspiring and interesting. That’s all anyone wants to focus on, because everybody needs a story. But the reality of it is that 99% of the time, it’s fucking amazing.

Do you watch a lot of TV to research your art?
I watch Toddlers & Tiaras and the Real Housewives franchise.  What I think is so interesting about the housewives is how it affects these women that are participating in these shows. A lot of it is involving the American public, and it seems like they start these shows and it’s expected that they have this house that’s this size, and these kinds of cars, and carry this bag, and they need to look this way and wear this dress. It seems like it eats them alive, and over the course of 3 or 4 seasons, which I guess translates into 3 or 4 years, it consumes them and they are crumbling in the public eye, but it’s us that did this to them.

I know that you’re tired of talking about your Young Money performance, but what is it like moving beyond such a career-defining moment?
I’m moving beyond it because I’m growing as an artist and that’s the natural process. But it’s definitely affected me outside of art. Just emotionally in my everyday life, it was a really powerful experience. You can’t go through something like that without having it change you a little bit.

Do you ever watch footage from it?
I have.

What do you think when you see it?
It’s really strange. When I’m doing a performance, it’s not me. I was looking at it the other day, and I can’t believe I fucking did that. It was one of those moments were I was like, Holy shit.

Are you guilty of any sins?
At this point in my life I’ve gotten over jealousy issues, which is really freeing. It’s part of the reason why for a while I felt uncomfortable working in the fashion industry, because it’s really easy to feel jealous. I’m sure there are a million girls out there who are completely supportive of everyone else, and that’s part of why I love working in the plus side of the industry, because it is very small and we are friends and we all really support each other. If I see someone on the cover of a magazine, I’m like, good for them. That’s fucking great. Way to go, girl. But when you’re not working as much, or when you’re not where you want to be, it’s easy to slip into that mindset of, why her and not me? Once I got past that and started focusing on other things like art, it was so freeing to not care about bullshit like that. I’d say my sin would be gluttony. I like to consume. I love food and drink and the pleasures of life. I love to relax and go to the beach and to enjoy myself. You know, just fucking enjoy what we’re given in the world.

You get a lot of attention because of your body. Was there a time when you weren’t comfortable with it?
Absolutely! Who in high school is ever really comfortable with what they are, or who they are, or what they look like? I wouldn’t say that I’m any different from anyone else in that respect, and it was hard for many years like, this is what I look like and this is how it’s going to be and there’s nothing to I can do to change it.

What about once you got into the modeling world, did that insecurity come with you?
Absolutely! It’s like, you can’t ever really shake it once it’s in your head, but I’m lucky enough to work with people that are really encouraging. There’s not one day where I go up to my agency where I don’t hear, you’re so beautiful, and you’re so great. They’re just so, so supportive; it’s almost insane. That really helps me get my mind right. And also finding other focuses is really important, well it was for me to just realize that the way you look is not everything.

Do you ever go back home? What do you think about where you came from—how do you see that place?
For a long time, it was really hard for me to go home. When I turned 18 and I finished my year of school, I was like, I’m out, I’m done, I want to get to New York. And for a few years after that it was just like, I never want to go back and it was really difficult to go and visit and I would get anxiety attacks. But growing older and overcoming whatever issues I had with family, it’s become so pleasurable to go home now.

You must have been exposed to an entirely new world here.
Oh, absolutely. The first summer I spent here, I didn’t know anyone. I had a cousin here but that was it, and I just figured it out on my own. That year was the hardest of my life, but it so shaped who I am now. It made me so tough. I wouldn’t go back, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You gotta be tough to live in New York and I really value what it’s given to me. Everyone here is from somewhere else, and is here for the same reason. It’s like the land of misfits. It just feels like I was waiting to come here for years and I didn’t even know it. 

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 24, 2012

The Martin Amis canon is not for the faint of heart. “I like drastic, ridiculous extremes,” says the 62-year-old British author, whose morally complex books grapple with everything from greed (Money) to Auschwitz (Time’s Arrow) to dead babies (Dead Babies). His latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, set for release in August, takes a dim, satirical view of modern celebrity culture by placing its antihero, the thuggish Asbo, directly in the eye of fame’s vortex while he reaps its hollow rewards. “Fame for no reason, and punishment for some reason, are ridiculously exaggerated,” says Amis from his home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where he resides with his wife, writer Isabel Fonseca. The book’s title character, whose last name is an acronym for Anti-Social Behaviour Order (the controversial British civil order implemented by Tony Blair to curb delinquent behavior), is, according to Amis, an “utterly ambitionless” chav who wins a £139,999,999.50 lottery while in prison for having started a brawl at a wedding, becoming, in a perverse turn of events, a tabloid darling. The product of a turbulent culture whose core values are best reflected in reality television, Asbo offers a pointed criticism of society’s status quo.

Did this novel have any communication with Occupy Wall Street, or was it already at the presses by the time that started?
I handed it in around September, and I’d been working on it for two years, so the Occupy movement hadn’t really started at that point. I’m not as prescient about it as Don DeLillo, who did seem to see it coming in a short story he wrote for Harper’s Magazine in 2010 [Hammer and Sickle]. But it’s part of the ether, this culture of huge inequalities. I’ve always felt that drastic inequality was an evil thing. There should be lots of differences and scales, but not enormous inequality. That’s very demoralizing for a society. The Occupy movement excites me, and I think its time has come. It’s a necessary response to something that’s gotten out of hand.

Did you approach the character of Lionel Asbo knowing right away that he’d be a member of the working class?
Yes, and he was always going to win the lottery, and go from criminality to billionaire-dom. It took me quite a while to realize that the form of the book resembles a fairy tale: huge rewards and huge punishments, albeit arbitrary ones and without any real moral.

I like that power doesn’t corrupt Lionel absolutely. He’s corrupt with money, and he’s corrupt without it.
Money doesn’t change him in that way. He’s just as mean as he was, even meaner. John Updike once said, “What we like in fiction has nothing to do with what we like in life.” You wouldn’t want to go near Lionel in real life, but a novel puts the monster in a cage. You can enjoy looking at it without any risk to yourself. I think he retains a kind of charm. Updike also said, “What we like in a novel is life, not virtue.”

Why is it that we like to see moral trashiness, or monstrousness, exalted like that?
I’m not sure I understand why. We just delight in vulgarity. Don’t you think it’s about self-hatred on some level?

I think we’re justifying our own lives: No matter how bad things get, at least I’m not that guy.
Humor is always an assertion of superiority. Every joke that you tell—the full, anecdotal kind of joke—is an assertion of that. You’re saying how stupid or vulgar or venal someone is, always with the assumption that you’re on a higher plane. It’s very much the way humor works. And that’s why, in a culturally egalitarian age, you feel like you have to be tremendously careful when you make a joke. Nietzsche said, “A joke is an epigram on the death of a feeling.” That’s a very good definition of a sick joke, but it won’t do for regular everyday humor. I met with a friend of mine the day after Princess Diana died, and he was sort of choked by it. Then a week later I saw him and he said, with that look he has when he’s about to tell a joke, “Princess Di was on the radio the other night—and on the windscreen, and on the dashboard.” And then he said, “The minute I heard that joke, I knew it was all over.” That sad feeling had died in him, and the joke was an epigram on its death.

There’s less and less space between the tragic event and the snarky aftermath, especially with the Internet.
Absolutely. It’s almost light-speed now. The interval of mourning has disappeared. It’s not us at our noblest, is it? Everyone talks about dumbing down, but there’s a parallel process that you could  call “numbing down.” I think that’s partly why people talk on their mobile phones all the time. It’s that they don’t want to be alone with their feelings. Introspection is under pressure from all of these technologies. It’s why poetry isn’t much read anymore. Poetry stops the clock and makes you examine the poet’s feelings and compare them with your own. It’s also why novels have become more narrative-driven and less essayistic. You can’t have digressions anymore in novels. I don’t think the great intellectual novels of the 1970s could find an audience now.

You won’t find people reading William Gaddis’ J R for fun.
But they should! Take [Saul] Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift. That spent months on the best-seller list when it came out, but it’s very hard to imagine more than 1,000 people who are up to it now—temperamentally as well as intellectually. I think that our faculty of concentration has been diluted. Too much pressure, too much clamoring for our attention, and the muscle of concentration gets weak and flabby. The Internet is like the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Bible and in Paradise Lost. When Eve bites into that apple before Adam, she’s getting knowledge of both good and evil, and it’s inevitable that she gains that knowledge. But there are huge benefits available through it, probably with a huge price to pay.

Photography by Francisco Garcia

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 23, 2012
bag BALENCIAGA; shoes TOM FORD; leather coat YSL; dress (right) CHRISTOPHER KANE; dress (center) GIVENCHY; dress (left) HAIDER ACKERMANN
bag BALENCIAGA; shoes TOM FORD; leather coat YSL; dress (right) CHRISTOPHER KANE; dress (center) GIVENCHY; dress (left) HAIDER ACKERMANN

Kate Lanphear, style director for Elle, has become a street-style sensation thanks to what New York magazine calls “The Lanphear Look,” her inimitable pairing of laid-back cool (leather bombers, ripped T-shirts) and avant-garde fashion (everything on this page).

bag BALENCIAGA; shoes TOM FORD; leather coat YSL; dress (right) CHRISTOPHER KANE; dress (center) GIVENCHY; dress (left) HAIDER ACKERMANN

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 19, 2012

“If somebody had been chased around this room and beaten with a bat—if there was blood over everything—how would you clean that up?” asks Doug Baruchin, co-owner of Island Trauma Services, a New York–area crime-scene cleanup company that specializes in erasing the physical evidence of suicides, homicides, and level-three hoarders. (Level-one hoarders are regular folks, while level-two hoarders are slightly more zealous pack rats, but level-three hoarders are so trapped under collections of garbage and animals that the stench and fire hazards become serious health concerns.) In 2009, even with the crime rate in the New York area at an all-time low, there were a reported 466 murders, which is where companies like Island Trauma (or Steri-Clean in Los Angeles, Aftermath in Las Vegas, and Bio-Trauma 911 in Indianapolis) come in, because even on a day like today, when the sun shines and birds sing, there will be blood.

On this particular spring afternoon, the Island Trauma office is empty. All of Baruchin’s 30 staffers have been dispatched on so-called “dirty” jobs. A “clean job” is, of course, a relative term, and often refers to less emotionally scarring tasks, such as sewage removal. When Baruchin agreed to meet me, I half-expected him to look like death—the very thing to which he’s devoted his life. Instead, following a trip from Manhattan to Ronkonkoma on the Long Island Rail Road, a chiseled and tanned smooth talker dressed in designer blue jeans greeted me with a lively smile and a firm handshake.

A native New Yorker, Baruchin quit his job as an auditor at a life insurance company 10 years ago when he and his business partner, Joe Gentile, decided to open Island Trauma under the umbrella of the latter’s preexisting fire-, smoke-, and mold-damage restoration business, PCI Services. In that time, Island Trauma has grown into a $7 million-a-year enterprise, with his employees earning annual salaries of anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000. Still, it’s not without its occupational hazards. “Have you ever seen a movie where someone gets shot in the head?” he asks. “This is the epilogue.”

The Island Trauma headquarters are surrounded by the banalities of suburban life. A nearby mini-strip mall, a gym, a yarn shop, and a row of manicured trees lend an inconspicuous air to Baruchin’s Laundromat of Loss. “We don’t want to scare the neighbors, or attract gawkers,” he says. Inside, the clinically pristine space looks like a real-estate office, but with a massive climate-controlled warehouse in its back room, which is where their equipment is stored.

Little to no experience or expertise is required of crime-scene cleaners, who are encouraged—although not required by law—to undergo a six-week training session. In many cases, it’s as simple as slapping on a pair of latex gloves, zipping up a hazmat suit—with its double-filter respirators and chemical-spill boots—and loading up on 55-gallon heavy-duty bags, ozone machines (to eliminate the “death stench”), and high-grade disinfectant spray. Baruchin admits that nearly all of his cleaners have endured and overcome some sort of trauma in their lives, which is part of the reason they’re so willing to endure—and equipped to handle—the demands of the job.

In 2008, hot on the heels of her successful turn as a fairy-tale princess in Disney’s Enchanted, Amy Adams starred alongside Emily Blunt as Rose Lorkowski, a struggling single mother who starts a cleanup business after being fired from a waitressing job, in Sunshine Cleaning. The comedy, which was a modest box-office success, had the sweet-as-candy Adams scrubbing blood, carrying soiled mattresses, and delivering lines like, “We come into people’s lives when they have experienced something profound and sad, and we help. In some small way, we help.” Baruchin scoffs at the film’s Hallmark portrayal of his field, as well as the more hardboiled—but equally glorified—depictions broadcast across the globe on television series like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. “People think it’s exciting, maybe even badass,” he says. “I was at a 7-Eleven, and the guy behind the counter looked at my Island Trauma jacket and said, ‘Wow! Your job must be sick, man!’ A lot of people think we get to interact with sexy detectives or something, but it’s about as glamorous as taking a plastic scraper and scraping someone’s brains off a wall.”

Comments >
The Bullet Shop
July 11, 2012
Top DKNY
Dress Burberry Prorsum, Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti
Jacket Nicole Miller, Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti. Hair: Kristen Shaw at the Magnet Agency, Makeup: Will Lemon at the Magnet Agency, Location: The Dream Factory, Los Angeles
Top DKNY
Dress Burberry Prorsum, Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti
Jacket Nicole Miller, Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti. Hair: Kristen Shaw at the Magnet Agency, Makeup: Will Lemon at the Magnet Agency, Location: The Dream Factory, Los Angeles

Although she’s best known for her spot-on portrayal of the arcane, acerbic cousin Maeby Fünke on Fox’s widely adored comedy series Arrested Development (which returns early next year with 10 new episodes that will stream on Netflix and, later, a feature film), Los Angeles–based actor Alia Shawkat is also a painter whose visual art is heavily inspired by the work of gonzo illustrator Ralph Steadman. Following the May opening of her second group art show at the Brachfeld Gallery in Paris, the 23-year-old costar of this summer’s Ruby Sparks (written by and featuring actor Zoe Kazan, and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the duo behind Little Miss Sunshine) will appear in five other films, including The To-Do List, a bucket list–type sex comedy opposite Aubrey Plaza, and The Oranges, an awkward family drama with Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt. For this issue, we asked Shawkat to interview herself, which she says was “scarily easy.” Below is the complete transcript, even the part where she compares fans to anal protrusions.

So, uh, hi.
Yes, hi.

When was the last time I saw you?
I’m not sure. I don’t keep track of things like that.

Oh.
No offense. I just, you know, need my space.

If I remember correctly, I saw you last at that weird party for Pharrell’s new alcohol, Qream.
Is that a combination of queef and cream?

Kind of, but I don’t know if they meant to do that.
Who would?

In any case, it’s been a while since we talked. How have you been?
As good as I can be right now. I can’t remember the last time I slept in the same place twice. Every morning I wake up surrounded by a new environment, always with lots of blurry-faced people.

That sounds like a nightmare.
It is. I sleep to dream.

Have you been working on any cool projects lately?
Who told you to ask me that?

Well, uh, BULLETT. They asked me to interview you, so…
Wait, wait, wait. What the fuck is this for? What are you getting at?

That’s why we’re doing this, right? It’s publicity for you and your career.
Stop right there. My career is none of your business.

Okay. Well, what is my business? Has anything interesting happened to you recently?
Interesting to whom? Not long ago, I woke up in the bedroom of a Detroit busboy whose single bed’s spine was broken down the middle.

The busboy’s spine was broken?
No, the bed’s spine. Otherwise I would have called him a “handicapped busboy” or an “invertebrate busboy.” I waited out the whole night to get lucky with him. He was a beautiful African-American guy who liked Adult Swim and video games. I thought, I can keep up with this guy. So we spent the night playing video games and watching the Metalocalypse Christmas special. Then he fell asleep. I put in four hours of fake nerd talk for a dick I’d have to wait until morning to see.

Oh boy.
“Oh boy” is right. Morning came and we finally fooled around until he said he had to feed his roommate’s pet tarantula. I spent the next four hours wading through the trash in his room, which was like an actualized ball pit, only to escape with an irritated vagina and a dead arm. I had to hop in a cab and get back to my hotel in time to shower and get picked up for work.

What were you doing in Michigan?
I was making a film called Cedar Rapids. I played a blond whore, so…

I liked that movie. Miguel Arteta is a great director.
That’s what all the girls say.

So, wait—why or how do you end up in a new place every morning?
When you live life without fear, you find yourself with many new beginnings. I don’t wait around long enough to see things end. Endings are mundane. Why stick around to see them happen?

To make deeper connections? To build relationships?
Ha! Okay.

It looks like you were busy last summer making a lot of films that will be coming out later this year.
List them.

What?
List. Them.

Um, okay: The Brass Teapot, That’s What She Said
That is what she said.

Shall I keep going?
Don’t ever stop.

Ruby Sparks, The To-Do List, The MomentThe Oranges.
Goddamn, The! The! The!

Most movie titles start with The.
You start with The.

I am The Alia Shawkat. There’s also the ever-so-talked-about Arrested Development movie along with new episodes, right?
That’s the story of my life, people asking me why I look familiar and “Have we met before?” “Did you go to Pasadena High?” Do I look like I went to Pasadena High?

A little bit. People recognize you a lot, huh?
They expect me to run through my résumé for them instead of taking a second to think that my job might be one that lingers in people’s minds as memories of moments lived.

Are you high right now?
Very.

Photography by Luke Gilford

Comments >
The Bullet Holiday Gift Guide
July 5, 2012

Meet Miss Cakehead, the London-based blogger behind Evil Cakes, whose latest confectionary creation is a recipe for disaster.

1. Food equivalent of rigor mortis: Weetabix cereal. Unless you wash up within 10 seconds of finishing a bowl, it sets like cement and needs at least three days of soaking before you can remove it.

2. Frosting most evocative of inner organs: Fluffy frosting has a firm but squishy marshmallow consistency—as does the liver, I’d imagine.

3. Most sinful ingredient: Carrot cake is the most evil-tasting thing I have ever had the misfortune to sample.

4. Most adulterous ingredient: Pop Rocks. As an adult, I can’t resist indulging in them, even though they’re clearly meant for children. It’s like having something in your mouth that’s not meant for you, which always makes me feel kind of guilty.

5. Taste of evil: A semen-, mango-, and ash-flavored smoothie.

6. Most decadent ingredient: Caramel. It’s never essential but always welcome.

7. Ingredient that should be illegal: Red food coloring has driven many bakers to the dark side.

8. If Jack the Ripper were a cake, he’d have: The purest white royal icing. I don’t think he was a member of the Royal Family, as many suspect, but I do think he led a normal, respectable life when he wasn’t out murdering women. It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch! All sorts of delicious deviance can be hidden under a perfectly iced cake.

9. If Eve had been seduced by confectionary goods instead of a piece of fruit, it would have been: Chocolate-covered foam bananas.

10. Least sexual part of a cupcake: The sponge is the one ingredient you can’t lick off of, or out from, a cupcake.

11. Most slothful: Vanilla is the laziest of all cupcake flavors. Beyond blah.

12. Most delicious of inner organs: The heart. All the love and heartbreak it contains is bound to add something intriguing to the taste. I think mine would taste like cherry compote—salted, of course, due to all the heartbreak tears.

13. Most blasphemous ingredient: Using Kabbalah water in baking makes it ridiculously expensive, especially when you could use tap water—which is probably what’s inside the bottle anyway—but it offends so many people that it’s worth the money!

14. Most violent flour: Corn flour. It takes no prisoners when used for thickening.

15. Most delicious part of the human body: It depends on what you’re in the mood for…

Baking by Natasha Collins.

Photography by Nathan Pask

Comments >
The Bullet Holiday Gift Guide