Skinema Review / Interview
[ by Kelly O. ]
The Porn Supremacy. Real Stories from a Real Asshole.
Vice is doing books now. They're going to be a force if every title is as brutally funny as Chris Nieratko's Skinema. This collection of seven years' worth of Nieratko's Vice magazine column is almost impossible to stop looking at—like that video on YouTube where the Afroed guy with the nunchaku falls flat on his face. Johnny Knoxville calls Nieratko (former Big Brother skate magazine editor and early Jackass crony) an "asshole" in the introduction. The book is a bunch of chicken-nugget-length porn "reviews"—titles like Anal Mermaids, Supersize My Snatch, #2, and Oops! I Got Gang-Banged Again. Only they're not actually reviews, but unapologetic stories from Nieratko's crazy-train of a life with lots of bad sex, booze, and even marriage. I'm not sure what it is about his combination of absolute crassness and actual vulnerability that makes this antihero so god-awful funny, but I dare you to start reading Skinema and not finish it.
Tell me your last name again, because I think I just mispronounced it.
Nerr-rat-ko. It's been butchered a million different ways.
The book is 150 so-called porn reviews. But they're not really reviews, they're stories from your own life that relate to the porn title or box cover. Are you assigned titles? How does that process work?
I'm not assigned anything. I think the [Vice] editors are more surprised that I even turn anything in, because sometimes I disappear for weeks on end. But I get hundreds of porn DVDs every month—most of them tend to be the same movie over and over again. I scour through them, hoping one of the titles will jump out at me—spark something in my head about something that's happened in my life—because, ultimately, who wants to read a porn review?
You don't watch them?
If I see some kind of grandiose sex act on the cover, or some words that lead me to believe that there's going to be something there that I've never seen before, I'll pop it in—but it's generally a letdown. Like the woman with the champagne bottle in her butt on the back cover, uh, she's actually nowhere in the video.
I love how you offer condolences to ex-girlfriends. Have any of them read your Vice column, or the book, and gotten pissed at you?
No. Generally people tend to get excited that I even remembered them. Actually, that was going to be the title of the book—To All the Girls I've Loved Before—but it was too wordy. Really, though, I feel bad for any woman who has had the displeasure of bedding down with me.
Have you ever gotten your ass kicked by a girl?
I've dated a lot of crazy women. One slammed my hand repeatedly in my own apartment door, breaking three of my fingers. I've had my nose broken.
I've read a bunch of your interviews on your website. Isn't that how you started writing?
Yes, my favorite interviews are when people don't take my bullshit and retaliate—and it seems like it's going to turn to violence. That's what makes me happiest, and I don't mind putting myself in a shitty situation to make people laugh. I think people doing press feel obligated to answer every question, and I like to get them to the point where they finally say, "Fuck it—fuck the free press, I just want to knock this guy's teeth out."
I love all the photos in Skinema. Did you take those?
Yeah, point and shoot. Everybody's a photographer that has camera nowadays.
It's more about being in the right place at the right time.
I tend to be in the worst place, all the time. There's one photo I wish I could find—from "My Crazy Seattle Story." I was up there visiting some friends from Goods and Manik a couple years back, and we went to some shithole bar, I don't know what it was called. We were drinking from like noon until like 4:00 p.m., playing pool. This big, butchy girl walks into the bar. She orders a beer, slams it down, goes into the bathroom, and comes out buck-naked. I swear to you—nothing but a smile on her face. She goes back over to the bar, orders another beer, slams that one, and is like, "Oh, I left my wallet in the bathroom." She goes back in the bathroom, gets dressed, pays for the two beers, and splits. All I could think was: 'Did anybody else even see that happen? Or did I just make that up?' She was precious. We need those people... definitely need more of those people in this world.
Nieratko reads from Skinema in Portland on Mon July 23 at Cal's Pharmacy at 8 pm.
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