The Rise of Psychedelic Truffles in Amsterdam

The Rise of Psychedelic Truffles in Amsterdam


[MUSIC PLAYING] HAMILTON MORRIS: Today is
Queen’s Day in Amsterdam, and I have three containers of psilocybin-containing truffles. I’m going to start by taking
8 grams of this 15-gram container, because that’s what
the man at the smart shop advised me to do. And then I suppose I’m going to
go out and walk around on Queen’s Day, which is incredibly
chaotic and disgusting. And probably the worst possible
place to take them. [SIGHING] This is the first time
I’ve ever consumed a psychedelic truffle. You can’t really get
these in the United States as far as I know. It’s actually much less
of a mushroom. It doesn’t seem like
very much at all. OK. Yesterday, I arrived in
Amsterdam, doubtlessly one of the sickest places on Earth to
get blazed on dank nugs. But my interest is not solely
confined to blazing dank nugs. Amsterdam is fertile ground
for all manner of psychoactive substance. I came here to find the
psilocybe tampanensis sclerotium, or philosopher’s
stone truffle. It was not until the infamous
mushroom ban of 2008 that the psychedelic sclerotium gained
widespread popularity, due to the fact that its effects and
chemical composition are almost indistinguishable from
the psilocybin mushroom. Mushrooms were once
completely legal. And since the early ’90s, the
Netherlands led the world in the development of commercial
psychedelic mushroom-growing techniques. But everything changed in
2008, when the Dutch government banned
psilocybin-containing mushrooms, responding to a
number of highly publicized deaths misguidedly blamed
on the innocent fungus. Truffles escaped the ban
unscathed and hold a place inside the hearts of
all true Dutch. I am here to learn about how
these strange protuberances are cultivated and why they
have not been banned. There are no better people to
consult than the Truffle Brothers, two of the world’s
leading experts in the mass production of psychedelic
sclerotia. I visited the brothers’ farm in
Hazerwoude-Dorp, formerly the second-largest mushroom
farm in the Netherlands. Having survived the mushroom
ban, the Truffle Brothers now dominate the psilocybin-containing fungus industry. I sat down with Murat and Ali to
discuss the secrets of the philosopher’s stone. ALI: First of all,
my name is Ali. Next to me is sitting
my brother, Murat. We are, in fact, known as
the Truffle Brothers. You are here at the farm
of magictruffles.com. We produce sclerotia, also
known as magic truffles. HAMILTON MORRIS: And how did
this company get started? ALI: Interesting story. Long story that started
somewhere around 1993, ’94, I guess. I learned mushroom growing
in Belgium. Mushrooms for eating– normal,
white button mushrooms. That was my occupation before I started with these mushrooms. And so I had quite a great
network in that area, in that field. And one day, a friend of mine
comes up to me and says, look what I found. He shows me a Petri
dish with spores. That’s interesting, what
kind of mushroom is it? He said, well, it’s
a magic mushroom. And I’d never heard of it. So I took a closer look. I went to a friend of mine
who owned a laboratory, a mycological laboratory, and
asked him, can we do something with these spores? He says, well, let’s
give it a try. And after two weeks, there was
one mushroom in the aquarium. But it was a giant mushroom. It was about [INAUDIBLE] this tall. And we were looking at it. I said, OK, let’s harvest it. HAMILTON MORRIS: And you were
operating a pizza restaurant beforehand, you said? MURAT: At that time, yes. HAMILTON MORRIS: The life cycle
of a mushroom begins when two spores of opposite
mating types germinate in a growth substrate and send out
threads called “hyphae.” The hyphae form a clamp connection
where genetic information is exchanged and then expand into
a web of undifferentiated threads called “mycelium.” If
the conditions are right, the mycelium organizes itself into
a mushroom with special reproductive cells called
basidia, which catapult spores into the air and give rise
to new mushrooms. And you bought this property? MURAT: Not in the first place. ALI: First of all,
we were in the– MURAT: We started in my place,
in the bedroom of my daughter. With several aquaria
this time. After the one aquarium, I
started to get our aquariums. ALI: Start searching on the
street at night and people were throwing out their
old aquariums. Yeah, there’s one. Let’s take it. MURAT: My daughter’s room was
filled with, I think, about 12 aquaria ALI: Something like that. MURAT: Or something. And we started to grow
mushrooms in there. Then we rented our first
place, in a town called Leiderdorp, not far from here. We made some sheds out
of plastic foil with shelves in it. And there we started our first
professional growth. ALI: Yeah, yeah. Right after that, we moved to
a bigger plays with ten growing houses. MURAT: But it wasn’t enough. The demand was so high that we couldn’t make enough mushrooms. ALI: And then we saw this,
which was far more ideal. HAMILTON MORRIS: And what
were you growing– What sorts of mushrooms were
you growing before the mushroom ban? MURAT: We had several species
of the psilocybe cubensis. And the panaeolus cyanescens. HAMILTON MORRIS: And
that was what you sold more than anything? More than the truffles
you sold? MURAT: Yes. Truffles were just for
the connoisseur. It was a side project
in that time. HAMILTON MORRIS: To better
understand the prohibition of the sacred mushroom, I go to
meet criminal lawyer Karem Canatan, who explained the
nuances of Dutch drug law. KAREM CANATAN: OK. Well, first of all, like many
countries, we have class A drugs and class B drugs. So that that’s not different
from any other countries. So we have lists of drugs
that are illegal– to buy it, to use it, to bring
it over the border to trade. It’s completely illegal. Then we have a small
portion of drugs– in Holland, we call it the “soft
drugs”– where you have weed and hashish
and the joints. Or we call it joints, because
we smoke joints. I don’t know if that’s the
correct term, but we have which is called like a tolerance
policy by the Dutch government. And they have on paper saying
that if the amount isn’t bigger than so-and-so much, then
it’s allowed to have it, it’s allowed to smoke it, and
you are allowed to sell it. So up until around 2007,
it was OK to use the magic mushrooms. HAMILTON MORRIS: These were the
salad days for mushrooms. But a series of unfortunate
incidents where mentally ill tourists hurt themselves turned
politicians against the sacred mushroom. And they began to
legislate a ban. [SPEAKING DUTCH] HAMILTON MORRIS: And there had
been scattered mushroom incidents in Amsterdam for
decades, it was not until the death of a 17-year-old French
student named Gaelle Caroff that lawmakers began taking
serious steps towards banning the sale and consumption of
psychedelic mushrooms. [SPEAKING DUTCH] [SPEAKING FRENCH] HAMILTON MORRIS: After
the incident with Gaelle, others followed. A Frenchman, supposedly under
the influence of mushrooms, ritualistically sacrificed his
dog with a pair of kitchen shears in order to free
the dog’s mind from its corporeal shackles. [SPEAKING DUTCH] ALI: He said, well, I
was on mushrooms. He had psychosis. And it had nothing to
do with mushrooms. He wasn’t even close
to mushrooms. Since these products are legal
in this country, it’s very easy to hide yourself
behind it. [SHOUTING IN DUTCH] HAMILTON MORRIS: With
prohibition looming on the horizon, protesters swarmed the
parliament building, armed with Super Soakers filled with
psychedelic mushroom spores, which they used to spray the
surrounding parks and lawns. They demanded their right
to consume mushrooms. But parliament ruled in
favor of the ban. So in 2008 they banned
all of these different genus and species. KAREM CANATAN: Yeah. Well, part of them were
already on it. But especially this
list from here. The magic mushroom list. And it says here that magic
mushrooms are mushrooms who have by nature these and these
active ingredients. And then all these species
are on the list. ALI: The law changed in 2008– 1st of December, 2008. Sad day. Saddest day of my life. HAMILTON MORRIS: How much time
did they give you after the ban to get rid of your
stock of mushrooms? MURAT: 10 days. ALI: 10 days to clear 16
growing houses, all the equipment, and so on. HAMILTON MORRIS: And you were
saying all these other different bans have been given
enormous amounts of time, years before they have to– ALI: Mink farms, for instance. They got 10 years to
change the plans. HAMILTON MORRIS: 10 years? ALI: 10 years. HAMILTON MORRIS: And
you got ten days. ALI: 10 days. Look at that. HAMILTON MORRIS: How did you
get rid of the mushrooms? ALI: That was the easiest part,
because people were lined up here. the last mushrooms, the
last mushrooms. HAMILTON MORRIS: Despite the
chemical and biological similarity to the mushroom,
parliament decided not to ban the magic truffle. ALI: When the law changed in
2008, we just continued with the truffles that we were
already growing in that time. HAMILTON MORRIS: So
what is a truffle? And how is it different
from a mushroom? MURAT: [INAUDIBLE] for nutrients and moisture. HAMILTON MORRIS: Like
all organisms, a fungus seeks to reproduce. But environmental conditions are
not always ideal to do so. If the substrate is too dry,
cold, hot, or poor in nutrients, the mycelium will
grow inwards, forming a tangled clump of globular fungus
called a sclerotium. These hard structures are
able to survive in harsh environmental conditions until
the time is right to send forth mushrooms. Murat offered to give me
a guided tour of their innovative sclerotium
cultivation facilities. MURAT: We’ll start where
it all begins. That’s the dirty side where
all raw materials come in. HAMILTON MORRIS: First, the rye
grass seed substrate is sterilized in an
industrial-sized autoclave to kill opportunistic bacteria and
fungi, which are equally eager to consume the bags of
warm, moist nutrients. Then the bags are inoculated
with a liquid culture of mycelium. MURAT: This is a class
100 cleanroom. That means that only 100
particles of 0.00096 micron may be present in one
cubic feet of air. Normally in an operating room
it’s class 10,000, so 10,000 particles may appear in
a cubic foot of air. HAMILTON MORRIS: Impressive. ALI: If you do everything, like
your laboratory work and your growing, under one roof,
you get a cross-contamination somewhere, somehow. And that risk was so big that
we looked for a proper building with at least two
separate departments. HAMILTON MORRIS: Then the bags
are transported to an incubation chamber, where a
temperature of 28 degrees Celsius is maintained to
accelerate the colonization of the substrate. How do you prevent the
growth of mushrooms? MURAT: By controlling the
temperature and the microclimate in the bag. The microclimate in the bag
is not suitable for formation of mushrooms. HAMILTON MORRIS: The final stage
is the nursery, where the bags are kept in darkness
for as many as five months before the sclerotia
are mature. And what is the capacity of
this plant at the moment? MURAT: Full capacity, if we
worked 24 hours a day in three shifts, 18,000 tons per year. ALI: Something like
that, yeah. HAMILTON MORRIS: 18,000 tons? ALI: Yes. MURAT: Yeah. MURAT: I think that sclerotia,
to go for the mushroom market one-on-one, by now– ALI: By now it’s one-on-one,
yeah. HAMILTON MORRIS: Upon maturity,
the bags are opened the sclerotia are plucked from
their substrate, cleaned with a soft-bristled brush, and
packaged for distribution. It seems your brand is the only
brand, except for one another that I saw, that
you can get at smart shops in Amsterdam. MURAT: Yeah. That might be correct. There are some home growers,
but as far as commercially grown sclerotia, I think
we’re the largest. HAMILTON MORRIS: Do you
have any competitors? MURAT: Everyone who grows a
truffle is a competitor. HAMILTON MORRIS: Ah. Each package contains a single
serving of fresh, psilocybin-containing
sclerotia. MURAT: We deliver them to
the shop in boxes of 24. We give the shops 24 booklets so
that people get the proper information. HAMILTON MORRIS: Good. Murat invited me to join him
on his delivery route and visit the magic truffle
storefront in Amsterdam. The Dutch countryside touched
us both deeply, but we could not linger on these
natural delights. We had important sclerotium
deliveries to make. One of the stops was a wholesale
psychedelics distributor specializing
in peyote cacti. We finally made it to the shop,
and not a minute too soon as the hoards of
truffle-hungry Dutch waited eagerly for their Queen’s
Day delights. [BACKGROUND CHATTER] HAMILTON MORRIS: Chills and
Thrills was not the truffle theme park I was expecting, but
I knew the real ride would come later. SPEAKER 1: you? HAMILTON MORRIS: I’m good. I would like to buy some
P. Tampanensis. SPEAKER 1: HAMILTON MORRIS: Thank you. SPEAKER 1: you. Enjoy. HAMILTON MORRIS: The truffles
require no preparation. And thought the truffle
brothers recommended a truffle-based milkshake, I chose
to take them raw so that I could savor their essences. That’s not bad at all. It’s actually kind of good. Well. It has almost a sour aftertaste,
but sour is the last taste I would associate
with a truffle. Do you want some
truffle crumbs? Scarf them down. Mmm. Tastes pretty darn– uh, like a wet nut. This is a drug? This is a drug? This is technically a drug? All right. KAREM CANATAN: Well,
I don’t have any experience with the truffles. But if it’s not a health risk
and it doesn’t have any other negative side effects,
I would say allow it. And then make sure you
can control it. HAMILTON MORRIS: What
sort of person buys psychedelic truffles? MURAT: I don’t think there’s
a specific type of person. Age has nothing to do with it. We’ve had people in their 80s
coming for mushrooms. ALI: Yeah, or people who are
curious for the experience who think there’s more
in life than the regular things we see. And there’s also the real
cosmonauts, who use it for the real spiritual thing, like
the shamanic experiences. HAMILTON MORRIS: What category
would you put yourselves into? ALI: None. HAMILTON MORRIS: None? You don’t use your
own product? ALI: No. MURAT: Bummer. HAMILTON MORRIS: While the
Mazatec Indians prescribed special conditions under which
the sacred mushroom should be consumed, there exist
little-known rituals surrounding the psychedelic
sclerotium. Their history remains
unwritten. Though I feel sweaty and
overwhelmed by the chaos of Queen’s Day, I feel no
compulsion to ritualistically stab a dog and play with its
internal organs in a van. Nor do I wish to jump off a
bridge to a watery death. I’m glad that the resilient
structure of the sclerotium has survived the inhospitable
environment of prohibition. And I hope that it sends forth
mycelial threads of liberty for many years to come.

Inside China’s Bug-Eating Industry (Part 1)

Inside China’s Bug-Eating Industry (Part 1)


This is Matthew
from VICE’s Brooklyn office. China’s tradition of insect eating
is far from mainstream. But recently there’s been
a resurgence in the culture. VICE China explores
this peculiar industry. This is What we Buy:
Bug Eating Industry – Part 1. His shoes should be fine. It’s ok if he wears
his own shoes. You have to change your shoes. It’s… It’s Josh,
I’m about to go into a wasp habitat. Yunnan Province is the spiritual home
of insect eating in China. And the area, which borders
Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar is almost as famous for edible bugs
as it is for tea and wild mushrooms. The area’s subtropical climate means you can pretty much
grow anything here. Pretty busy scene. There’s a huge variety of fruit. Different kinds of eggs,
vegetables, wild mushrooms. There are actually some
little insects here. Did you guys gather this
bee pupae yourselves? Can you eat them raw? Yes. We make them into a traditional
dish called Sadaluma It’s made from raw pupae. Is it good? Very tasty. It’s really sweet. Insects are kind of treated between
being a meat and a vegetable. They’re part of the land. So, traditionally
people have eaten a lot of insects. What kind of insects
do you have here? This is coconut worm. This one is bee pupa. And these are locusts. -Whoa, a brick of locusts.
-Yeah. This is rice grasshopper. It’s another kind of locust. This one is 60 yuan [$9] per bag. This one is 100 [$15]. This one is 50 [$7].
This one is 60 [$8]. 25 [$3.50].
20 [$3.00]. And this one is 80 yuan
[$12] per bag. 80 yuan for such a tiny bag? Yes. This is the tastiest one. It’s high in protein. They say the protein in one pupa is equal to four or five eggs. -Really?
-Yes. It’s really high in protein. When they’re frozen
they look a little bit like figs. I cross between a fig
and a magot. You just missed our local specialty, the “cow-dung beetle.” It lives in cow manure, and it tastes
a bit like manure, too. Does seem a bit crazy that
in a landscape that has so much to offer in terms of
produce and meat and foraged vegetables that insects are still
going to be on the menu. After the market
I headed to nearby Mangshi to meet a
professor of entomology who’s passionate
about insect cuisine. -Hi Professor Guo
-Hi. Where are we now? This is our laboratory. Our research is focused on
edible insects. Are these… are these wasps? Yes. This is the biggest wasp
in the world, the Asian Giant Hornet. And this is medicinal hornet liquor. -You can open it.
-Ok. Is the liquid sorghum liquor?
Or something else? It’s rice wine.
You can have a taste. How does it taste? How does it taste?
Of course I’ll say it tastes good. Take this one. It’s ok, I can drink yours. Take a fresh bottle. I know you foreigners don’t share
bottles with people. There’s a nice
floating wasp on the top. Okay. Relax, just have a sip. Your mouth feels
a little numb, right? Yeah. If it gives you a tingly numb feeling
in your mouth it means you’re affected
by rheumatism. This liquor helps treat the disease. If you don’t feel any numbness, it means you’re healthy enough. You can enjoy it as a drink, but you don’t need it
as treatment. In the very beginning, insects were the first protein
our ancestors could eat. Eating insects gave us
the strength to catch bigger animals. -They needed insect protein first.
-Right. That’s exactly what I mean.
Humans started by eating insects. What kind of nutrition
do insects provide? The main nutritional value of
insects is their protein. This insect protein
is also low in fat. Besides protein, insects also have
many active nutrients that can enhance the immune system. But right now, insect products remain
unacceptable to many people. The public, especially people from big cities, think we’re barbarians in the
middle of nowhere, who only eat bugs because
we can’t afford meat. That’s a misunderstanding. It’s superficial. Is the insect industry in China
becoming more modernized now? We’re not at that stage yet. Insect products don’t have
brand recognition yet. We need something famous like
Lao Gan Ma fermented soybean sauce… but for insect foods. Like “Professors Guo’s
Wasp Medecine.” -We need an iconic brand.
-Sounds good to me. I still don’t fully understand why insects are so expensive. In order to ensure
the quality of edible insects, we have to farm them in the wild. So the price of
insect products is higher than
other foods. Quality products
are always worth a premium. I wanted to see what
an insect farm actually looked like. So Professor Guo
took me to his wasp farm. Look, the wasps
are coming out for us. This looks like a joke. This one is a large? Right, large. This foreigner has big shoes. How stupid is this? I’m not totally clear on that yet. The small wasps aren’t
that dangerous, right? Yes. Now we only farm small wasps, and they’re less
aggressive than the big ones. -Are you ok with this?
-I’m ok. Kind of feel like I’m getting
ready to go diving. This one’s too big for me. He looks like a cartoon character. I was the first in Yunnan to start
wearing these wasp-protection suits. Ok? Hey, it’s Joshua
in Yunnan Province and we’re going to
check out a wasp farm. Someone is coming out. We’re heading out. Let’s go. Watch out. Here it is. Hello. This is pretty nuts. We’re just being
totally swarmed by insects. They’re all over me,
they’re all over his phone, they’re all over the camera. This guy in super high-tech gear. Which looks much better
than what we have. What’s he doing? He’s digging out the wasp pupae
from the beehive. How dangerous is this? It’s definitely dangerous
without a protective suit. Before we had the wasp suits, we had to torch the
wasps to kill them. Now you can take the pupae directly. Yeah, we can take the pupae
without hurting these wasps. Then we leave the wasps
to breed and rebuild their hive. It’s sustainable. Is wasp farming
really that profitable? Yes. Very profitable. The price of pupae is
100 yuan [$15] per 500 grams, so a bag of 5 kilos can be sold
for 1000 yuan [$150]. The price is even higher
at restaurants. I can feel the bugs hitting me. Look, he’s taking out the hive. Come on, show the camera. Look, he’s moving more than us now, so the wasps are attracted to him. We’re standing still,
so the wasps ignore us. Now he’s peeling the hive open. Whoa, wow. -Sir?
-What? -Do you get scared?
-No. How long have you
been doing this job? About four or five years. What was your job before that? I’ve been doing this kind of
work all my life, harvesting wasps and bees. -Is it lucrative?
-Yeah. How much can you make a month? About 6000 or 7000 yuan [$1000]. They make more than us professors. It’s not just wasps that
are big business in Yunnan. I met up with Li Zengliang,
a chef that specializes in bugs in Mr. Li took me out to the jungle so that we can dig up
some grub for dinner. Here’s a fat one. Just like after a few seconds
of digging basically we found this
which is Shā chóng, like sand worm type thing. It’s quite gross looking,
but it can’t move fast at least. It’s just a pale white color
and it just looks like an alien. All-natural. It was kind of shocking
how easy it was to get them out of the mud. Mr. Li and I quickly gathered a
full dishes worth of sand worms. so he took me
straight to the kitchen. I kept trying to convince myself
they were no different from shrimp. But, in reality they looked like cold
shriveled fingers stuffed with mud. The first step of the preparation
is to throw them into boiling water. And then kind of
cut open the worms butt to scoop out all the dirt
and digestive tract. So they look a little bit like shrimp
because they’ve got a few small legs. And then kind of like a meaty part,
except what you can’t eat is the sack thing at the bottom
which is full of its’ intestines and the mud and stuff that it eats. So it is actually pretty gross. It’s not that appealing. Now we’re going to
stuff it with pork In here. You can add some more
meat to this one, till it’s filled up. It’s like worm dumplings
filed with pork. So I’m at a bug feast with 13 different
kinds of insects in Yunnan. Mr. Li is the chef responsible
for all these dishes. Almost all these dishes
are deep fried. Yeah, that’s right. If you don’t deep fry insects,
no one would want to eat them. If you boil or stir-fry them, the inside part of the insects
would stay soft. No one would eat that. But now, nutrition is the first factor
for many people, the second is curiosity. They really want to try
eating insects. Most of our customers are tourists. They’re curious
and want to give it a try. So, time to try it. Kind of just taste like
fried nothing. With a slight lemon grass flavor
which is actually pretty nice. These are the sand worms
we just dug up. How do I eat this? Eat the head first. The head? And then continue
with the pork part? That’s right. Ok. Alright. How is it? It’s still… full of juice inside. Kind of soft, right? Uh. What’s inside of its head? It’s a juicy part. Evidently. The fluid is good for you. Do you like it? Let’s drink, I need a drink. This one’s called… Sorry, my memory… This is “chestnut worm.” -“Chestnut worm.”
-Yes. Should I eat it in one bite or… Of course eat it in one bite. Not a fan. Not a fan at all. Why don’t you have one? Don’t you like it? You can’t handle it? I don’t really like it either. I see how it is. Even the chef doesn’t like it… Now I get why you’re
looking at me like that. He doesn’t want to eat them. These days only a few
people order the worm dishes. Because the worms are mainly
gathered in the wild, and it’s a bit expensive. How much would a worm feast
like this cost? Around 1000 yuan [$150]. I think it’s an interesting
paradox. I mean,
originally it would have been people who couldn’t afford other meat
who would have to eat worms, But now it’s more like a… -a high-class…
-Luxury. -Luxury
-Exactly. For a guy who runs
an insect restaurant Mr. Li didn’t seem too enthusiastic
about any of the bug dishes. But he was definitely
making good money off them. I can totally accept that
bugs are high in protein and amino acids. But, pricey bug dishes
seem to mainly be a novelty for Chinese tourists. Even in Yunnan insect eating
still isn’t mainstream. And while it might be
a tradition for some no one has quite figured out
how to make them taste that good yet. Elsewhere in China entrepreneurs
are starting to invest more money into insects as a luxury item
and food of the future. It turns like this, and slowly surfaces. It’s a tool for yourself
to become independent in your food production to just know
for sure what you’re eating. They’re just crawling everywhere
where it’s really warm and hot. It smells like
New York City sidewalk. This is Josh… That’s just demeaning.

Uganda’s Moonshine Epidemic

Uganda’s Moonshine Epidemic


THOMAS MORTON: We’re
in Uganda. Uganda’s had a pretty good spell
the last 25 years– no major civil wars, a little bit
of an Ebola outbreak every so often, including right now. And they’re the alcoholism
capital of Africa. One favorite type of booze the
locals make is called waragi. We’re going to go make
some, drink some, and hopefully not go blind. In 2004, the World Health
Organization released its global status report on alcohol
and health, finding Uganda as the top contender
for per capita alcohol consumption in the world. Since 2011, the numbers
have only increased. Basically, making Uganda the
drunkest place on earth. So when Vice heard about
Uganda’s countrywide production of a type of
moonshine called for waragi, we were interested. But after we discovered that
people were going blind and dying for drinking waragi cut
with industrial chemicals, we knew this was something we
needed to taste for ourselves. Making its way through
my system. I can feel it kind
of spreading out. Following the release of the
World Health Organization’s report, the administration of
President Yoweri Museveni, acting through Uganda’s
Parliament, ordered a commission to be formed
to fact check the report’s findings. If you’re wondering what
prompted a reaction that seems like the geopolitical equivalent
of an angry work email, here’s some context. Musevini has been president
of Uganda for 27 years. He came to power after fighting
a six year bush war against this guy, who had been
president from 1966 to 1971, before being ousted
in a coup by this guy, who was a sociopath. This guy gave himself lots of
medals, royal titles, and ruled with an iron fist until
he was deposed by this guy, who was then president again
until he lost a civil war against the National Resistance
Movement, led by our old pal, Museveni. Running up to Uganda’s 2006
election, Museveni and the now political National Resistance
Movement abolished presidential term limits. On top of that, Museveni’s been
lying about his age for five or six-odd years in order
to avoid the maximum age for the presidency stipulated in
the country’s constitution. So when the commission put in
place by Uganda’s parliament to investigate just how drunk
they were at the international office party made the decision
to appoint Doctor Kabann Kabananukye, Professor of
Makerere University, and director of the Victor
Rehabilitation Center to head up the commission,
it struck us is uncharacteristically sober. What is Ugandans’ relationship
with alcohol like? Do a lot of people drink here? The more we talk to people about
the subject, the more we begin to understand not only the
extent of Uganda’s issue with libations, but also just
how different the problem manifested itself in different
parts of the country. So we headed out of the city,
40 kilometers up into the hills above Kampala,
to a village in the rural Kaliro district. Thank you. Where do you guys make
the waragi here? Cool. So is this somebody’s house? This is the waragi hut, huh? And you’re the one
who makes it? Can she explain what’s
happening here? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: So it’s
your basic still. You’ve got the mash in there. It’s boiling and fermenting. The vapor from it comes up
through these copper tubes, then condenses. You cool it off there, and it
drips into this gas tank. MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: And there’s
your finished waragi. Seem like it might be strong. Eh? Yeah, that tastes like liquor. It’s actually pretty smooth. This tastes really
clean and fresh. How long does it take to make? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: Oh, do you mind
if I kill this really quick? Thank you. A native language corruption of
the English phrase War Gin, waragi was originally contrived
to embolden Ugandan soldiers in the King’s East
Africa Rifles during World Wars I and II with what the
British cheekily referred to as Dutch courage. Much to the colonial governor’s
chagrin, the beverage later became the drink
of choice for those resisting the crown during the
drive for independence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It’s up from the store house. That’s great. Thank you. It’s even better. You can kind of taste of the
banana more with that one when it’s cooled down. Is there some reason why women
make waragi more than men? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: Does the
government care that you make waragi? Do you ever get interfered
with? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: You said some
people come up from Kampal two buy your waragi. Why would people travel
this far? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: That
sounds way worse. Bananas are a lot better than
factory reject sugar cane. Who’s winning here? You’re winning. No, not anymore. The ladies are all over there. They’re kind of segregated,
middle school dance style. So do people only drink waragi
here, or do you drink beer and other things, too? [LAUGHTER] JOJO: No, no, no, no. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: What’s
the hangover like? We’re drinking all this. How bad is it going to
be in the morning? JOJO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: Did you say they
give the child alcohol? KABANN KABANANUKYE: Yes, in
some communities, yes. It is part of our culture. For you? For you? THOMAS MORTON: Yeah,
is that OK? Yeah, I’d love some. There we go. Perfect. Good, right? To [INAUDIBLE]. To [INAUDIBLE]. There we go. Now you’re me. Look at me. With the day wearing on, and the
festivities beginning to take a physical toll on our
hosts, we realized it was time to get these folks
some dinner. So, we’re going to go get
some food for the party. I get the feeling this means
we’re going to get something that isn’t yet food, probably
something we’re going to have to watch die before
it becomes food. There’s like a whole dragoon
of kids behind us now. This is dinner? I see. Oh, lord. Kind of isn’t a Vice party
until something dies. We’re going to eat that? Yeah, OK, that’s
what I thought. I feel bad saying this about the
goat that’s about to die, but that thing’s balls
are enormous. This went from some sort of
weird Breugel’s village life scene into some perverse
take on the old Judaic scapegoat ritual. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: This was in the
goat about 20 minutes ago. Give it another 20 minutes
it’ll be inside me. Lord. [INAUDIBLE] THOMAS MORTON: I’m just here
getting my head rubbed and trying to eat some goat
that’s way too hot. It’s about 7 o’clock
in the evening. I’ve got to wait a second. This thing is way
too hot for me. As our new friends begin to hit
the deck one by one, we noticed that besides her
initial sip during our interview, Mistress Kaliro was
the only one who hadn’t touched a drop of the waragi
during the party. Is waragi something
that people drink here like every day? Or is it just kind of
more for special occasions, for parties? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: What would
happens if they stopped drinking it? MISTRESS KALIRO:
[SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: It’s like
their medicine. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: Everybody
gets out of work. Everybody lets their
worries wash away in a stream of waragi. Somebody kills a goat. They day is over. You start anew the next day. What happens in the city,
though, is another story. We’re going to go
check that out. [MUSIC PLAYING] Our visit to the very
traditional waragi operation in Kaliro had ended with a lot
of older men on the ground before sunset. It seemed like we were watching
people drink for the first time. But based on what we observed,
that was probably just the everyday norm. Curious about how moonshine
worked in the rest of the country, we visited the Kataza
suburb of Kampala to explore a much larger and much,
much prettier setup. Oh wow. Now this is a far cry. Hello, how are you? All the kids came with us. That’s cute and distressing,
because this looks like some sort of creepy industrial slog
yard filled with bubbling vats of half-buried booze. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: Can I see? Oh wow. Oh, I can smell it. Bubbling. There’s so many drums. And how much does
each of these– a whole barrel, how much waragi
comes out of that? So 40 liters a day,
then basically. That’s a big operation. How many people work here? Why do women make waragi? It feels like everybody
we’ve met who makes waragi is a woman. It’s the only job a woman
can give herself. [SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE] THOMAS MORTON: How much do
you sell a liter for? OK. OK, that’s 600, and that’s,
what, one too? In 1965, Ugandan Parliament
enacted the Enguli Act, requiring a license for bringing
and distillation of all locally produced alcohol. But for really obvious reasons,
the Enguli Act has never been successfully
enforced, as unlicensed production of waragi rampantly
persists across the country. Can we buy some bottles? I’d like to buy a couple
bottles if possible. Whatever shit that’s in there
is going to kill a lot more germs than water would have. Yes, that’s ours. This is Robert, our driver. As you could tell by
his ability to gulp down bootleg liquor. Can we go over and
see the drinkers? Well thank you. I’m glad that me showing
up and drinking is an honor to you. Yeah, it’s nice, when the day is
done, when the work’s over, quitting time. Just like a neighborhood bar. Good to meet you, James. JAMES: You are called Thomaso? THOMAS MORTON: Oh,
just Thomas. Thomas. JAMES: Thomas. THOMAS MORTON: Thomas Morton. My last name? Morton. Oh it is. JAMES: [INAUDIBLE]. THOMAS MORTON: Yeah,
it’s great. It’s nice and strong. Who? Which one? Oh, him? JOE STRAMOWSKI: I can see why
you give it the name. Here, here, we’re good. Then– THOMAS MORTON: In April 2010,
more than 80 people died after drinking waragi contaminated
with high amounts of methanol over a three week period in
the Kambala district. THOMAS MORTON: It’s like when
drug dealers stamp out their supply, and they put
filler in it. Yeah. Wow. That’s– oh man– that’s a lot stronger
than yesterday. [INAUDIBLE]. How do I benefit? I get to come to Africa. I get to come to Africa and
hang out with you guys. That’s how I benefit. This is fun, man! No, this is fun. This is my reward,
hanging out. Dude. So after you’ve got your waragi,
and you’ve got a little buzz going, everybody
comes down here. This is Kalagala, kind of the
red light district on Kampala. And basically this
is Sunday night. It kind of looks like Cardiff,
or like Glasgow or something on a Friday. Tons of people out. Everybody’s staggering, picking
fights, and hugging. A lot of women out who look
like they’re charging. This is sort of like Britain’s
lasting legacy here, you now? Instead of rum, sodomy, and the
lash Ugandans opted for gin, no sodomy, and hookers. [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] [MUSIC PLAYING]

HIV Crisis on the Texas-Mexico Border

HIV Crisis on the Texas-Mexico Border


let’s go back to the day that you found
out what’s the first thing that went through your mind am I gonna die I I
really thought I was gonna die growing up no one ever mentioned HIV to
me like it wasn’t in the schools it wasn’t the conversation held at home
like I said I grew up I’m latina I grew up in a Catholic household and we’re in
Texas it’s an abstinence-only state and so that conversation wasn’t had with me
or many of my peers do you think in this community that there is an HIV crisis oh
yeah waita cries yeah it’s a crisis right now the number one group getting
infected disproportionately a young gay and bisexual men known as men who sex
with men 24 younger I could have avoided this you know I never had any classes
that taught me to protect myself or anything so I’ll just going for my
parents is a pent up gave me a whole talk that if you’re gay you’re gonna get
beeps and that stigma is so alive and thriving in the valley my name is Paula Ramos and this is Latin
ex the word Latin ex has been given a lot of different meanings in the media
but at its core it stands for all the people within the Latino community who
struggle to fit into one identity which covers a lot in this series we need to
document the most pressing racial political sexual and cultural issues
facing one of America’s fastest growing demographics so we’re here at the us-mexico border
and Brownsville where we are is one of the 34 permanent checkpoints and what
you see is this right you see a blend of two cultures two identities two
languages two countries Brownsville itself is ninety percent
Latino a lot of people a lot of immigrants come here knowing exactly
what they’re stepping into they have hopes and dreams ambitions the one thing
they don’t know is that in Brownsville in this entire region there’s a huge HIV
epidemic particularly among the Latino community the Rio Grande Valley is one
of the most politically contentious regions in the country it also happens
to be a place where HIV is affecting increasing numbers of queer Latinos
according to the CDC HIV diagnosis decline in the u.s. from
2011 to 2015 yet rates of new HIV infections for
Latino men who have sex with men have increased in the Rio Grande Valley
specifically eighty five percent of people who contract HIV are Latino and
seventy five percent of new cases are male but why we wanted to meet some of
the people being affected by this crisis and learn more about the unconventional
means they are using to do something about it
Joey vadas also known as Beatrix Lestrange started a program called drag
out HIV in 2017 to use drag as a platform to confront social stigma
head-on hi my name is Jo : Elias I am a
community organizing coordinator for by the AIDS Council and I am also trying to
as beatrix estranged so if you’re like in brownsville says
heaven XP i like will do that happy now right yes especially here in downtown
bronzo on one end you have the international bridge that goes into
Mexico and then here you have a little Mexican restaurants like family-owned
yeah literally that goes on every point debacles on everything
if you come to Brownsville Texas you’ll have buckles in every corner no that’s
something I love about the city it’s like I feel like every corner we turn
into it’s like a celebration of our culture especially even here in town
like even in terms of religion and faith and spirituality yeah like you’ll have
like the immaculate like the cathedrals and then you have like the 80s the bull
any custom or spiritual spaces that are based on like traditional Mexican folk
healing so there’s like literally a little bit for everyone here so the
spoiler there’s my building there are so many people that are dedicated to
helping our community here in the valley but I feel like there definitely is a
crisis especially because in communities of color if you’re queer bisexual your
risk for HIV is significantly higher because both of the communities that
don’t have access to proper sexual education or access to reproductive
health care or health insurance you know facing all these kinds of barriers that
essentially prevent them from even knowing how to take care of themselves
I’ve had situations where I’ve had younger people coming to get tested who
don’t even know what the term vagina is on a young age but they are still having
sex right so it’s that bad what’s the story behind drag-out HIV how was it one
drug raid HIV was kind of born out of the work that I had been doing in the
community you know what what if we did this kind of program where we get to
train other drag queens to do what I do teach them that like drag can be more
than just nightlife once we put the call out we recruited a series of nine drag
queens and then those nine Queens were given the opportunity to participate in
like four different trainings and workshops to learn about different
issues affecting the valley the directive it’s work is essentially
the same thing as a work as a tester or someone who’s doing risk reduction in
our offices it’s just in a way that’s a little bit more accessible for people I
had already been doing like amazing events for different nonprofits
pretty much like a year into that someone from Bali AIDS Council reached
out because they were interested in hosting a series of RuPaul’s Drag Race
viewing parties but what the intention of having testing staff on-site and do
like a community outreach event at the same time and they were basically
looking for someone to host and that’s why I met Oscar Lopez when I first heard
doing this work I was borderline homeless didn’t really have a lot going
on I don’t have a degree but he definitely saw something in me and he
would definitely give me that opportunity we’re going through the
valley AIDS clinic to get a sense of what is causing the HIV epidemic here in
this region oh and the Rio Grande Valley to understand why Latinos are
predominantly affected by this one of the first things that you notice is that
there’s no signage at all that this is an AIDS clinic there’s no evidence
whatsoever in the streets that you’re walking into an AIDS clinic we have to
be discreet about who we are to protect our clients so Westbrook clinic is the
name of the clinics that we operate and that’s because just having the words HIV
or Sita or or AIDS on anything er yeah it scares people
it makes them worry about who will see them coming in here when you say here
where are we like what are we seeing right now so this is our largest of all
of our sites of our three sites so we have an in-house pharmacy we have
in-house x-rays in-house dentists in-house mental health care and therapy
we developed that way because we learned the hard way that when we referred them
out to other clinics other doctors inevitably somebody would notice them
that recognize them through a remember or somebody would accidentally
help them or even in some cases purposely do so just out of ignorance
that we’re working to to make a difference to change things to make it
better Oscar grew up in the Rio Grande Valley
and has been working in the public health field since the AIDS crisis of
the 1980s HIV affected me personally because when I was living here in the
river valley when we first started to see people died from aids-related causes
my job then was to offer condoms to go out to the community to get people to
take care of their themselves in their health but my job also after work was to
recover the bodies after they died because the funeral homes wouldn’t bury
them so that forever changed who I became and have you noticed a difference
since thirty years ago is this still the same deal down the valley that you saw
back then or have things changed in a lot of ways and a lot of unfortunate
ways it’s still the same in terms of the homophobia the stigma of the disease
people are afraid to tell their family members the the way women are treated
and and and not respected and they’re not cheeseball do you think in this
community that there is an HIV crisis particularly among Latino men oh yeah
wieszczyk right yeah it’s a crisis right now the number one group getting
infected disproportionately a young gay and bisexual men known as men who sex
with men 24 in younger this does impact women that I want people to realize that
our Latino men are disproportionately infected by HIV here for the valley for
example one out of every four young Latino males will be come HIV positive
in their lifetime within the next two years so religion is obviously such a
big part of Latino culture right even walking down this hall you see crosses
don’t I see we’d kind of mighty yeah right behind me so it’s it’s it’s
present how does religion how would you say religion is playing a role and sort
of fomenting these these stigmas it continues to perpetuate that the norm is
wait til you get married that being heterosexual is ideal that anything else
then heterosexual is an abomination you’re bringing a disgrace upon the
family do the associate being at least in Latino culture being queer with
having HIV yeah that one equals the other so it is late denisita exactly and
you get what you deserve for for breaking all those rules that you know
our family does not and take a listen to your stomach and no
stomach issues is nausea vomiting diarrhea constipation stomach pains or
anything and appetites good oh please my name is Michael I’m 26
I’ve lived here my entire life I’ve been positive for about three years one on
three years was Jill did you tell people immediately or did you wait no I waited
about two days because I let it settled in with myself first I made peace with
it first before I told anybody on the first person I told was my best friend
then the second person I told was my mom did you tell your father I told her yeah
here’s what third person I told him and he felt like failures because they had
like warned me because it kind of gave me a whole talk that if you’re gay
you’re gonna get babes and that it would all come down to this would you say
among latino gay men and Latino bisexual men um do you think people are taking
care of themselves do you think people take the steps to come to these clinics
I don’t think everybody does my I mean some people are scared to run into
somebody they know I mean I I would sometimes feel scared I would I would be
scared to come over to the clinic because I’d be scared to see Daniel and
I wouldn’t want them to think anything of me or he’s having sex or anything are
people open about their HIV status are people even open about their the fact
that they’re gay there are a few people who are open about their HIV status but
that’s very few there’s not a lot of people that I know that are positive but
I assume there’s they’re out there you know Brownsville is a place steeped in Latino
culture and I can see why many Latinos feel at home here but then there’s the
undeniable machismo and while stigma surrounding queer identity and HIV isn’t
always obvious it’s still felt by many in the community we stay Campion Sally
they look Latino surveys I think I saw a guy in a bulimia sequentially ya know looking at him I wanted to know more about what it’s like
to be clear in the valley Sebastian who’s also known as Luna
Lestrange started using drag less than a year ago as a way to empower the
community through education so now where are we driving towards right now we’re
going to my grandma yeah we’re going just gonna go have like breakfast I
guess are they do they know about yes as you were growing up how did you
wouldn’t we were extreme most of the time like when I was growing up I
couldn’t understand because it was about to like boys like I was always used to
like an girl okay so then when was the moment that you decided to stop hiding
it after I came back from the army I got yeah yeah yeah and then I was like you
know what – like I don’t need to hide Who I am
especially because after I came back like three four months later I started
doing jog so what do you feel like when you put on drag when I put on like Luna
it’s like a whole process because that first is still Sebastian they’re still a
little boy underneath but as soon as like
transformed into Luna I feel like so much power it’s an amazing idea to talk
about the issues and drug because people are gonna listen they want to hear what
this big monster it has to say you know that way so you’ve always had a you’ve
always been close is that how you would describe your relationship very very
close yeah it’s kind of like we’re like stuck together from like II still don’t
believe oh yeah I’m like a big mama’s boy it’s just a bond that we have and
Erica you know in a lot of Latino families there’s always this expectation
right that the Sun not get Dean I guess had much all right that they have to
sort of grow up to be these not very exactly he’s much us is that sort of the
vision you had of Sebastian when he was a kid
no it was like whatever makes him happy that’s gonna make me happy do you think
that’s something that most Latino families think no a la cultura the you
know me I can Oh siempre es de que no a silver one tiene que ser hombre y tiene
que se las velas como era la paz pero and luckily I do peer circle of me
Horace lo que la our Feliz my Oh Sara me Feliz
you know it’s also a llama let’s have a menos we work on it see she put you on
rocky come where our VidCon costume yeah Guerrero
condo Marcia drug yeah yeah neither go Neela drag out HIV
have you been there with him no no they’ve never seen me perform I was like
it’s at night and they’re like morning people
mm-hmm you’re late almost were like a buoy nearly as here is okay okay sin
tienen el el impacto que está teniendo lo que él está siendo si como no tengo
esta effect on a la comunidad y Saluki cuando yo tenía la da de l i7 que por
atras mu normal antes normal Chevy lava media Maria de la rose’ ax y Los Dinos
ambient a second estaba la hospital que él tenía HIV each Athenian ago la Vida
Houston oysters Xavier que que él era a let’s say int efika kimono Maremma sex
wallow siempre lo you can see that the perfect marriage le haut no it’s just oh
yeah la ronde yamir mother of the day is notice it because like a lot o you see
toys yeah poor sucker yeah yeah so see post
overzealous Ramirez que no que por que no she open her on her toes yeah
ustedes no area viendo VV Durst experience yeah like como se puede
cambiar de su se puede cambiar en la manera como estamos Joey Sebastiaan
al-haram poco más con la gente a breeze más un poco elemental edad de como Dyson
del machismo Dec todos podemos un poquito se habla de esto aqui Ayanda
Kiera scar okay Rivero can you so we’re in mcallen which is actually
one of the poorest cities of America but it’s in this most unexpected background
that we’re about to go to drag out HIV which is a party that brings together
the community to empower them to motivate them and to inspire them to get
tested I do expect this to be more than just a party and actually a space we’re
really important conversations are taking place how long does it take to go
through this whole process standard beer trucks phase takes like an hour and if I
have time I’ll like go and do detailed work but stuff like drag our ATVs like a
passion project so I want to make sure that I try to look my best but I also
want to make sure that I make time for all the other stuff like running the
show and making sure the queens are on time and making sure the DJ’s on time
and making sure the space is comfortable for the queens that everyone has what
they need so tell me a little bit about what happens outside of this room what
is born walking it’s a fun way to do HIV outreach and prevention okay I mean
that’s not really that clear it is because people feel so much more
confident or they let down their wall one day see a drag performer because
sometimes being in an office in a clinic seeing all these like sexual health
messages that can be like overwhelming for people but if you’re at a bar it
just makes it so much easier for these little process and even if you’re not
here for the octave as part of it at least your senior drug show but
hopefully you left with something more than just this is just a drag show
well many Latinos who are HIV positive are still hesitant to talk publicly
about it I met one person living with a disease
who was willing to speak up about the challenges and barriers he faced my name
is Adrian Castellanos people call me Adan I’m 25 years old I’m from the Rio
Grande Valley I’m an intersectional activist and I’m HIV positive these are
all kind of taken at different times this is after I found out what what went
through your mind how do you do find out so I had been sick a few months leading
up to before I found out and they got to the point where one day I got home from
work and I collapsed at home like I just I couldn’t walk anymore my mom found me
and so she drove me to the hospital and the next day the doctor came in he kind
of like paused for a second and I was like what’s going on and he said you has
a positive for HIV but he said your HIV has progressed so we’re diagnosing you
with AIDS basically my muse is so much that he don’t like I was on my way up
why do you think it took you so long to know that you were HIV positive yeah the
health literacy level in the area and I think just in the state in general it’s
really low these conversations aren’t happening on top of that this is a
really poverty-stricken area and so I couldn’t afford to take time off of work
to go and get tested for a lot of people I think everywhere but especially in
this area a lot of people it’s either do you want to be able to put food in a day
or just continue being sick and hopefully deal with it later
explain to me how exactly how you’re turning this experience right in your
journey into empowering other people you know I I’ve been really fortunate to
have a really strong support system you know my family is on board and I’m able
to say like yeah I mean should be positive and I’m gay and I’ve been
through these things and I’m still here but I know that not everybody is lucky
to have that and so that’s kind of why I do the work that I do and I put myself
out in such a public way because we need to we need to have that conversation
it wasn’t happening before so I’m gonna do it
how’s everyone doing yeah makes a nice father please since I got HIV supports
all one who knows her status raise your home’s if you don’t know your status or
if you’ve been questioning your status because maybe you hooked up with someone
or you know whatever happened our team I beli AIDS Council is here for you wait
who hears on prep prep is the pill that you take once a TA that helps prevent
you from becoming infected with HIV if you’re exposed so if you didn’t know
that now you do until the thing is even if this message isn’t for you tonight
take it home to someone that you know because maybe they need to hear from
someone close to them and maybe hear that person tonight so again thank you
guys so much for being here who’s ready for some fucking drugs make some noise when you’re queer brown and Latin X
you’re constantly made to feel like you need to apologize for it I’m doing dry
it’s your way of taking all that power back and not having to apologize for who
you are to me your clinic is present everywhere in the valley is that
something that you imagined 30 years ago that this clinic could become such an
important support system for so many beyond these walls back then there was
no chance to imagine because we were just about saving who he could and
burying who had passed but I do believe that there is a greater purpose for us
and what we’re doing now and what we’re seeing is all these wonderful young
empowered individuals they’ve got their own support groups they’ve got their own
organizations up and running and we have to as a community as a whole support the
LGBT community on the us-mexican border so that we can survive and we will
survive and everybody gets the bail out of their house stops being afraid stops
being embarrassed and can’t test it just open up the little door listen we’ll
take care of the rest these potatoes tonight by Beatrix
estranged it’s been a pleasure and an honor being here
sharing the space forever you guys are loved you are important
you matter thank you for being a part of this journey it’s been a pleasure please from the outside the stats the stigma
the culture went to an HIV epidemic that sees no hope but the second that you
actually step into this town you realize that the valley is actually at the
forefront of change and that’s because there’s a group of Latin acts that are
using the most unconventional platform to change people’s minds right to open
people’s eyes so I I do feel optimistic about the way that the valley will
continue to be at the forefront of change you

Eat Insects and Testicles at the World’s First Paleo Restaurant

Eat Insects and Testicles at the World’s First Paleo Restaurant


Lamb testicles are very
tasty, very tasty. They say your sperm
tastes of what you eat. I don’t know if this
is true in this case. These taste like a mix
between chicken and fish. I’m Boris, founder of
the Sauvage restaurant, the world’s first
Paleo restaurant. Today, I’ll be cooking
a unique 3-course meal. Using my favorite
Paleo ingredients. Lamb testicles, live
insects, and bone marrow. I’ve also invited some
friends over to taste the food. I’m excited to see
whether they’ll go through with it or not. The Paleo diet
is based on the hunter-gatherer
way of eating. It’s how humans used to
eat 10,000 years ago. This means a number of
products are forbidden. Grain products, dairy products, vegetable
oils, as well as all industrially produced
foods. They all don’t belong
in a Paleo diet. I’ll be cooking
three dishes today. First: roasted bone
marrow with sesame seed, sunflower seed and
mealworm crackers. Second: lamb testicles
on parsnip and celeriac. With larger mealworms. And third: a raw
biscuit with dates and figs with fermented
coconut yogurt. Here we have
the mealworms. These are large
mealworms, alive. Food of the future. Rich in protein,
full of healthy fats. I’ve got some dried
ones here as well. Smaller ones. They taste
like hazelnuts. Which is fitting for
desserts. Paleo is all about
nose-to-tail. Using every part
of the animal. So eating insects
just makes sense. There’s nothing
more nose-to-tail, than eating insects. Furthermore, insects
have a very interesting nutritional profile. And they require
far less water and energy to breed,
compared to cattle. Here we have a cow bone. These are dates, figs. Cocoa beans. And bee pollen. Coconut milk is a very
nice milk alternative. It burns body fat faster. We fermented it and
turned it into yogurt. Which amplifies
the coconut’s nutritional qualities. Fruit and vegetables. Parsnip, cauliflower and
celeriac. And, at last, we also
have the lamb testicles. It might look
a bit strange, but it tastes good. Right, let’s head
to the kitchen. We need to finely
grate the cauliflower. So we can use it raw in
the salad with thinly chopped shallots and
chopped parsley. A little lime juice. And garlic. And very mild olive oil. Salt and pepper. And the salad is done. In a bit, we’ll put the
bone marrow in the oven. As a side, we’ll not
only serve the salad, but also crackers. These are made from
sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and
the dried mealworms. For this you
need a mortar. Once you’ve mixed
everything, you just add
one eggwhite. You roll it
into shape and bake it into the oven,
at a low temperature. Now I’ll prepare
the lamb testicles. That’s always
a bit tricky. You need to make
a small cut. And then, you just press. This is the first
layer of skin. There’s a second layer. This one is more
difficult to remove. I feel like the bigger
ones are easier. So, this is it. Very, very tender meat. Now, you just portion it. We’ll use the size of
a scallop for reference. The reason why
the testicle meat doesn’t taste like sperm is
because the sperm is only produced here. One of the advantages of
the Paleo diet is that your sex drive
is improved. Your libido. You start to feel better,
look better and you have more energy. Of course, your sex appeal is
going to improve. Right, so now we’re
roasting the lamb testicles. You just toss them
in the pan for a couple of minutes. And then, they’re ready. Here we have
the large mealworms. It’s important that you
remove the dead ones. Because you don’t know
what they died of. What’s interesting about
these mealworms: you can feed them herbs or
apples, and they take on that flavor. Before you start
cooking with them, it’s important that you don’t
feed them for three days. That way the intestinal
tract is emptied naturally. After rinsing them, you dip them into
boiling water. Just briefly,
for two minutes. Then, transfer
them to a hot pan. Toss them for one minute
and they’re done. For us, eating insects
might be a bit unusual. But for
a majority of people, this is what’s on
the daily menu. As a main dish,
we have the parsnip with celeriac, the lamb
testicles, a lime and shallots relish and
a few of our mealworms. The third course will
be a raw biscuit, made from dried fruits, cocoa
beans and hazelnuts. And a few dried
mealworms. I’ll chop all
of this up now. Then, we need to
mix everything. Finally, toss it in
a pan for a moment. One serving. Make sure it’s firm. Coconut milk yogurt. And lastly,
the bee pollen. So, here are two good
friends of mine. This is Rodrigo,
co-founder of the Sauvage and head-chef at
the Sauvage in Neukolln. And Alex cooks at
the Sauvage in Prenzlauer Berg. Dig in. Mm. Here you have
lamb oysters. Well, this is actually
the first time I’ve tried worms and-. He once said to me he
would never eat an insect in his life. Mm!
I’ve been there, and now I’m, I’m converted. They’re really
delicious and they have, they have
a really nice texture. They’re very,
just like, and the flavor is
just like nuts? Yeah, it’s exactly
like nuts. Like nuts. It’s, it’s nuts.

The Brutal Tattoo Ritual Built on Pain

The Brutal Tattoo Ritual Built on Pain


Yeah, it’s always
the question why, but… I feel more complete every time
I have a session, you know. Everybody wants to look like how you see yourself, you know. For the Brutal Black project, the most important [thing]
is the experience. It’s like a kind of rite
of passage thing, like a ritual. They believe that they want to push
their body physically to its limit. The whole energy
changes in the room. Like, everyone that’s tattooing
goes quiet, focused, unless Valerio tattoos them, and then it’s pain. My job is to take you
to the end of it. And yours is to complete it. Sometimes, I insult people. I say, “What the fuck are you doing? Stay down! Don’t fuck
around with me!” It’s not black. It’s not fucking black! They go beyond their limit,
so from then on it’s all new. In that moment,
they live a new experience, so they go beyond. My name’s Cameron Stewart. Most people know me as
Cammy Stewart. I’ve been tattooing for
almost 12 years. And the Brutal Black Project is basically a concept
that was designed between me
and my friend Valerio for making wide scale blackwork
done in a… what some people might
describe as a chaotic way. The Brutal Black
Project in three words… could be: ignorant,
violent, and primitive. That’s it. When we do a tattoo, we modify a big amount of skin. We work on a lot of skin. It could even be
considered extreme, so there’s a real
transformation of this person. In the beginning,
we were more structured in how we went about making the
tattoos more traditional. Like, we would use
a stencil and preliminary drawing, etcetera. But, after seeing how people
reacted to getting the tattoo, we would change the
concept a little bit, and it became more about the freedom of working on someone
without constraint. I basically want to make people
look like savages. I want it be really
primitive and tribal. If you want a brutal
looking tattoo, there’s only one way to get it, brutally. That’s it. If you want to look brutal, you’ve
got to go through the process. And for the project, the most important [thing]
is the experience. So I’m Frankie. I’m from
the Netherlands. I arrived yesterday in Italy. I’m going to get tattooed by
Cammy and Valerio. I think we started about
half a year ago, something like that. This is going to be my final session
with the Brutal Black Project. I expect a lot of pain, and blood. I’m fucking nervous, man. I’ve always faced my
fear of suffering, of experiencing the feeling of pain. Because it’s not suffering, it’s just a feeling. But in our society, it’s labeled as…
it’s seen as something negative. Like when a kid falls, and his mother goes,
“Oh, you poor thing!” No. He doesn’t need an
apprehensive mother. He just needs someone who can
help him overcome that moment of growth, and overcome his fear. This is kind of what we
do with tattoos. There’s no need for me
to reassure you, to tell you,
“Oh, you poor thing!” Quite the opposite. Sometimes, I insult people. I say, “What the fuck are you doing?
Stay down! Don’t fuck around with me!” But, I only do this once they’ve
gone beyond their limit. They go beyond their limit, so from
then on, it’s all new. They don’t know what to do.
They don’t know how to behave. They have never seen it.
They have never experienced it. In that moment, they live
a new experience. That’s enough! That’s enough! If they’re pleading
with you to stop, you stop, but only if
they really have to. They are essentially in control. It’s not forced upon them. They’re here of their own free will. I think some people look at it
and think it’s like a negative thing. But, as far as I’m concerned,
if they want to get it done, and we want to do it,
and no one’s getting seriously hurt, I don’t see what
the problem is. I started tattooing when I was quite
young. I was only about 22. And I had done basic work,
any kind of work, traditional, Japanese, etcetera. And the work that I made
initially was probably a little bit more refined
and less dense. And, as I got into doing —
learning technique, and being able to put in
heavier amounts of ink, the work changed slightly, and blackwork, I suppose,
is what came out of it. I think I’m drawn to blackwork
because it was extreme, and it was pushing it to the limit. Doing sort of an outsider’s
type of tattooing that wasn’t commercial. It just clicked. For the tattooee, for the person who’s
getting tattooed, I suppose it’s kind of
difficult for me to comment on because, I think their interest in it is different than mine. They’re obviously
interested in having work that appeals to them,
sort of, come to us, because they’ve seen it online, and they want to get
something like that. And some people come maybe
because they want the experience, like a kind of rite of passage
thing, like a ritual. They believe that they want to push
their body physically to its limit. It’s the same as anything, you know,
like skydiving, bungee jumping, anything that releases
adrenaline and endorphins, [blackwork] could be compared to
[as] the same. I don’t give a fuck about pain. You just need to take it. If you don’t feel pain,
you’re not alive. Yeah, I was always into tattooing
when I was younger. My family members,
they all have tattoos. And one time, I went with my
mom to a tattoo shop. I saw how it’s all done
[unintelligible] in the tattoo shop. And I liked it, so… Yeah, it’s always the question why, but it’s the same like, why do some
girls do Botox in their lips, put implants in their ass,
and shit like that, you know. Everybody wants to look like
how you see yourself, you know. This will be the last session
of the Brutal Black Project. We have decided to end
the Brutal Black Project here. We kind of wanted to end it because
we don’t want it to become dilute and overdone. We will work on work together, but the concept will probably
change and develop just so you’re not recycling
the same thing all the time. Clean. Done. I think we’ve already
reached our maximum. We can’t do more than this. It dies here. We kill our own monster. When I start tattooing, I kind of feel like
I want to stay quiet. It’s not even purposefully.
Like, it just becomes that, and you just get submerged in it. I enable people to live their own experience to live freely, to face the challenge with pain. You feel like you perceive your body in its complete wholeness. This is not black! – What?
– This is not black! This is not fucking black.
Please tell him. He keeps torturing him,
and it’s not even fucking black. If it has to be black, you got to
make it black in one round. It’s not black. It’s not fucking black! Goddamn it! Basically, you’re going to get
body-bagged out of here in the trolley. I’ll push you home man, I promise. Too much? Mate, you’ve only just started.
It’ll take a while. I think you’ll get more into it
over the course of time. You think you won’t, but you’re fucking
probably a lot stronger than what you give
yourself credit for. I’m fucking sick. I feel bad for him. Yeah, death to Frankie, man. It’s only going to get worse
throughout the day. The thing is, when someone
comes in initially, they’re like normal and they
have to adjust, so your body will
release endorphins, adrenaline, just to get through it. But initially, it’s not easy. The first hour, not so good. Second hour, easier. Third hour, okay. Fourth hour, if he makes it that far, done probably. I reckon four,
four hours max. So I have to work fast
to try and get the coverage. Wait, wait! Let’s just finish… Let’s finish this spot. -We can finish it, no problem.
-It’s fast. The Brutal Black Project is an experience that’s
100 percent real. You get it as soon as you feel
very strong pain. If you decide to take part in it,
there are no compromises. The only compromise is your limit. Once you go beyond your limit,
that’s it. You have reached your goal. As a tattooist, I think pushing yourself is a good
thing all the time. Not as a tattooist,
as an artist, as anyone in any job or hobby or… In my opinion, you should always
take yourself to the maximum. It felt like torturing
from medieval times. In a session like that, you get to
know yourself a little bit better. I’m still feeling sick, but I’m
happy with — that I could take it. It’s never done. Even if you’re fully covered,
you’re going to find some spot to fill in. It’s never done, because yeah, I feel more complete every time I
have a session, you know.