The Vice Guide to Travel
By Kurly Tlapoyawa
Vice Guide to Travel
Directed by Eddy Moretti, Shane Smith
Vice Magazine is one of those übercool glossy rags you usually find safely tucked away on the bookshelf of any self-respecting hipster (next to those copies of Giant Robot and back issues of Love & Rockets, no doubt). Operating out of New York City since 1996, Vice was established by a trio of friends with the intention of covering taboo issues and counterculture in all its messy glory. And with articles such as “Bukkake On My Face: Welcome to the Ancient Tradition of the Japanese Facial,” I would say they have their particular market nailed. So it came as a welcome surprise when the fine folks at Vice decided to release their Vice Guide To Travel, a nifty little DVD/book combo which takes us to those parts of the world many adventurous souls talk about visiting, but few seldom do.
The Vice Guide To Travel drags us along to seven locations located waaaay off the beaten path. An Aryan utopia established by Friedrich Nietzsche’s sister in Paraguay? Check. Hunting three-eyed boars in Chernobyl? Got it. Mujahideen warriors living in Pakistani caves and making guns from scratch with their bare hands? Brother, you came to the right place. All of these locations offer us some insight, however brief, into parts of the world most of us never even think about. I mean, let’s face it, most Americans are a sheltered and pampered lot who remain blissfully ignorant that a world even exists beyond our borders.
The DVD is an easily navigated collection of vignettes which serve as first-person supplemental material to the information provided in the book. I would suggest reading a chapter at a time and watching the corresponding video to get the most out of the travel guide. My personal fave has journalist Suroosh Alvi taking a trek into Pakistan to visit the world’s largest illegal arms market, where counterfeit weapons are carefully constructed by hand for the Mujahideen. As Alvi so eloquently puts it, “Darra is to guns what Canal Street in New York is to fake Louis Vuitton bags.” Of course, Louis Vuitton bags can’t blow a hole out the back of your head.
Another particularly nerve-wracking sequence has our guide, an uptight, square white guy spiffed up in a suit, taking a camera into one of Brazil’s notorious “funk balls.” Man, I seriously thought that guy was gonna die. He did, too.
Even if you have never considered traveling to another country (you should, though), you would be well served by checking out The Vice Guide To Travel. And, no, sipping drinks on the beaches of Acapulco doesn’t really qualify you as a world traveler. The world is a big place with a hell of a lot of culture, tastes and sounds to experience. I’m not saying you need to go to the life-and-limb-threatening extremes these guys did, but I think everyone needs to see the world. Myself, I have my eyes set on Tokyo.
The packaging on this bad boy is wicked slick. A nicely designed slipcase slides out to reveal a small hardback book with a DVD snugged firmly into a sleeve on the back page. As far as cool extras are concerned, this thing delivers the groceries. Hell, the sequence with comedian David Cross chowing down on some dog at a Chinese restaurant before donning an Uncle Sam outfit and yelling “America won the Superbowl!” is worth the price alone. And who knows? You might just be inspired to ditch the yearly trip to Disneyland in favor of some far more colorful destination. Just steer clear of the funk balls. (Vice Films, $20)
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