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A delayed bit of Basel with a taste of Nathan Lam Vuong and a touch of Liz Tracy

david rohn the amazing ultran nathan lam vuong

I didn’t have much time to dedicate to THL this Art Basel Miami Beach. Time is a limited and valuable commodity, and I had to offer all of mine to making income. To all the haters, I think it’s an understandable trade.

I know no one cares about Basel anymore, it was like so two weeks ago. I get it, but I’ve got something left to say. My old roommate and bestie artist Nathan Lam Vuong, who you may know as DJ Sticky Rice, came into town from Los Angeles and enjoyed the week with me. I planned out a packed week of art, parties, work, and socializing, because I’m an obsessive hyper-planner and I had to budget time for writing. You can check out some highlights from our week on Nate’s Tumblr, and/or you can read about them here. Do both.

We had fun. I must say, it was a good time. I started the week before Nate got here farting around town with Bleeding Palm. We went by Pulse and Scope and Design Miami and the MOCA party – Miami’s Mark Handforth’s work is big and badass – and the French party at the old Perrotin space, ending the night at the Roofless Records party at Churchill’s. Some guy from Patrick McMullen took our photo, made me feel special. That was all in one evening. The freaking party at the former Perrotin space was again a blast. Every year, the best, the end. There were definitely less people than in the past this Basel, but it didn’t take away from the free-flowing wine and awesomely bad dance music. As usual, they ran out of glasses and I made the guy pour out a Sprite can to fill with up with spirits. There’s a Lil Kim joke in there somewhere.

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Unrequited crushes

subway crush

We all have unrequited crushes
be they half-asleep
or mostly dead criminals,
these hunky finds will keep hope alive for the phrase “I don’t have a type.”


R.E.M. (1980-2011)

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R.E.M. committed suicide on September 21, 2011. The college band that started in 1980 wrote many radio hits including stream of consciousness “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” “Stand” (featured on the opening Chris Elliott’s FOX show Get A Life), “Losing My Religion” (to the band, an unexpected hit, and oddly but understandably about “a crush”), and “Man on the Moon” (also the title of the film starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman). Some think that naked pictures from frontman Michael Stipe in an artful[ish] slideshow video led to the band’s demise, despite the band saying its time to dip out, yo!

Share your R.E.M. encounters and thoughts with us at


Evidence of THL's What a Mission summer extravaganza!

the heat lightning what a mission

All photos by Ivan Santiago.

Last Friday, The Heat Lightning celebrated the talents of its staff and friends at the end’s current Design District space with art, booze, music, and all sorts of treats. The purpose of the event wasn’t to make money, because Lord knows I made none, but rather, it was to build our community and show the world how amazing my friends are. Check out photos and commentary on the evening here, and also a long list of thank yous for all of the people that helped make What a Mission a true summer extravaganza!

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Post-ironic 17: She's Mad

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Post-ironic 16: Growing Dinosaurs

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Post-ironic: grad assistant

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Please give Nathan Lam Vuong money to make art

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Nathan Vuong goes by many names, including Lam, which is his birth name. Then there’s Nathan, the Jewish name his sister gave him as a kid, and, of course, his DJ name Sticky Rice. I’m just going to call him Nathan for simplicity’s sake.

The Heat Lightning contributor, who is also my favorite Vietnamese man, was born to shrimpers in Mississippi, raised in Tampa playing violin while his mother karaoked and did nails, came to Miami to study at University of Miami, and is now earning his MFA at CalArts. Through photographs, watercolor, video, and performance, Nathan creates revealing and honest work that makes misery kind of romantic and sweet. Visit Nails by Asians to fully receive his vision.

Nathan was offered a residency in frigid but lovely Banff, Canada this winter. He needs to raise some dough to get up there and stuff. The great news is that if you contribute to the cause of getting Nathan north of the border, he’ll send you a gift – something he’s made. Click here to donate and receive.

Let the man tell you a little bit more about himself so that you might be more inclined to give.

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Post-ironic: Storm

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Post-ironic: birthday cake 2

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Post-ironic: birthday cake

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Post-ironic: friendship bear

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Check out more of Nathan’s comics here.

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Post-ironic: puppy

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Post-ironic: death

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Post-ironic: baby unicorns

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Post-ironic: knee touching

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Post-ironic: preparation Voyager

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Post-ironic 5: Flashcards

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Wish you were here: San Francisco Gay Pride 2010

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Last Thursday, I was invited to Gay Pride San Francisco by a professor. She’s like the Queen of the Damned of Lipstick Lesbians (seriously, and amazing). I quickly dropped whatever plans I had (summer nothings and depressive moping), and dipped out with her, a classmate, and her dog Cricket the next day. As broke as I was, I was really sad I couldn’t try to find a way to a friend’s wedding two hours away, but I wasn’t driving so I thought, “hmm… ok, it is what it is.” Being a Southerner really awed me to see what San Francisco had to offer. I like to think that L.A. is just like Miami x50, and San Francisco is NY but cleaner, but my friend said, “it’s that, plus the people are nicer and sooo much more less pretentious.” There must be a reason the gays get more action in San Fran then.

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Post-ironic: The Eskimo kiss

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Post-ironic: The scarf

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Post-ironic: Gay chicken

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Post-ironic: After the beep

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