Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Vice Guide To Travel

Vice exists as an example of what is possible for those with insight and ambition. Somehow they have created an empire out of a skate zine. With arms in music, film and print, Vice could look like Clear Channel on paper; however, nothing could be further from the truth. The punk ethic that started the first zine, is still the core foundation of Viceland.

"Pack your bags kids, we're going to Chad!"

The Vice Guide To Travel is the company's most ambitious venture yet, and the viewing experience is a fascinating and bizarre ride. The Vice Guide To Travel is a collection of anti-vacation video journals, hosted by Vice employees/correspondents. Instead of going to Paris looking for love, they go to Nueva Germania searching out Nazis.

In total (with the DVD extras) there are about 15 segments, which explore different aspects of our doomed world. It's astonishing the kind of deep access Vice receives in Pakistan and Beirut. These two segments, along with 'Buying a Dirty Bomb in Bulgaria" are the most powerful statements in the film. The hate between nations, capitalism on steroids and black market weapons are presented to the viewer through little to no filter, and the reality is terrifying.

A consistent theme running through the film is great music. Whether it's David Chloe playing drums in the Congo, or Black Lips just being amazing, the soundtrack is expertly crafted. One segment in particular that coupled great music with great images, is Shane Smith and Pella Kagerman's journey to Chernobyl to hunt radioactive boars. The soundtrack to this suicide trip is Panthers "Walk of Shame," and The Content has an exclusive clip for you http://viceland.com/guidetotravel/chernobyl.php . Panthers is one of the many great bands to come out of Vice Records, and a great addition to the soundtrack. They have a DFA1979 funk, fused with a !!! beat.

[mp3] Panthers - Theory of Famous
[mp3] Panthers - We Are Louder
[mp3] Panthers - Thank Me With Your Hands (MSTRKRFT Remix)

The strangest (or most disconcerting) element to The Vice Guide To Travel is its ambiguity. Each exploration ends with little to no resolution, and this becomes the intention of the stories. No one is going to stop black market weapons in Pakistan, or the conflict between Palestine and Israel. The world is going to Hell and it's just a question of who blows up who first. I hope this isn't true, but Vice has sure made a convincing argument for it.

Buy the DVD here

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