Skinema Review / Interview
[ by Wahid Khoshravani ]
[This is just a shortened version of the interview. Want to read the whole thing? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send it your way. You should ask. It's pretty damn good.]
Getting paid to watch and review porno films for Vice magazine may chart as a close second for guys in their mid-twenties with no specific aim in life, next to actually being the guy doing a scene with Wendi Knight or Jenna Haze. But, who would have the nerve to avoid writing about them and rather fill the blank spaces of each column with their life story? According to Johnny Knoxville, “…an asshole,” who incidentally goes by the name Chris Nieratko. Doing what he knows best, which either consists of instigating confrontation for the mere pleasure of it or just magically attracting trouble, Chris has used Vice’s column to cover the most interesting subject matter to him: himself.
“Skinema,” name of Nieratko’s column, had become so popular with readers over the years that Vice Books decided to bundle the last seven years of his “misadventures” together into one book, properly titled, Skinema. Suicidal ex-girlfriends, 450 pound Elvis impersonators, and cocaine-addicted strippers with baseball bats in their rears are just the icing on the cake. This past Tuesday, Pine had to brush off an interview with Diddy and rather catch up with the 31 year-old New Jersey-native, while in town for a book signing and slide show at Stratosphere Skate Shop. To clean the man’s name, he does not work for the FBI as an Iraqi assassin, as some may believe.
Why the title Skinema?
I inherited the name from Gavin McGinnis who is one of the founders of Vice. They had this column going long before I came along and about eight years ago they asked me to take it over. Somebody was doing it before me and they were reviewing Japanese animated porn, but really reviewing it. Breaking it down scene by scene. I told him, ‘Listen, man. I’ll take it over, but I’m not going to actually do what you do. I’m going to do it my way……
Did you ever think you’d publish a book?
No, I didn’t think I’d live to see thirty. I didn’t have a whole lot of life goals. I had enough material to collect it, they needed a book for their MTV deal, and it just panned out that way. Like I said, I used to do a lot of drugs and I’d never expected myself to make it to thirty……
You dedicated your book to Ghostface Killah. How come?
I’ve never heard anybody speak the way he speaks. He links words together that don’t belong together and he uses phrases that are just absurd, but they’re perfect to describe what he’s talking about. He really uses the English language in a fantastic way. No bullshit. He can tell a great story and make it very colorful. I’ve just really loved hip hop all my life, but I’ve never heard language used the way he uses it. I don’t understand a lot of it still. I read his lyrics in word-form on the internet and I’m just blown away each and every time. He’s really tough and really thug, but at the same time so very romantic and loving. He’s got these soul songs and he’s just a human being through and through his music. He’s got every emotion and aspect of life in there. It’s not just like, ‘I’m only thug-rapping.’ He shows all sides of himself and it’s something that’s commended, especially in hip hop. There’s a line in the book I quote, which I think is the most romantic line I’ve ever heard, and it’s from a thug saying, ‘‘I’m gonna sell all my guns and with the money I’m gonna take you to Vegas.’ It’s so sweet to say, ‘I’m giving it all up. Everything I have, I’m giving it all up for you and we’re gonna run away and get married.’ It’s beautiful…
In the book, you seem to always have the right comeback in an argument. Has anyone ever successfully “shut you up?”
This jokester here (referring to inside joke you’ll never know about) is coming at me like I’m an Iraqi assassin, which is a new one, I haven’’t heard that one, yet. I’m very excited about that one. So, I’’ll put that on my resume: Mistaken for Iraqi assassin. When I was with my buddies in my early twenties, we used to go out looking for trouble. As I got along in my twenties, I just didn’t want to get caught doing drugs, so I chilled out and I found myself in worse situations than before. From here on out, I’m constantly just in crazy misadventures. Not a day goes by that something bizarre doesn’t happen to me. Take it easy (saying goodbye to inside joke). Have a good day. God bless you.
What percentage of the ‘misadventures’ in the book are true?
I would say ninety percent of it is true and the other is only exaggeration, not even lies. It’s like a fishing boat captain. The fish starts out six inches and then after telling the story a hundred times, you caught a ten-foot shark. It’s still fishing and it’s still catching something, but what you caught is completely different. Which one [of the misadventures] off the top of your head was unbelievable?
The one where you got a gun pulled on you in Vegas.
That’s in the slideshow and I talk about that because I have a photo of the dude that caused me to get that gun pulled. So, I tell that story in the slideshow because it’s a very real story. One hundred percent honest story. It’’s a terrible story and to think back about it is awful. A lot of people come up to saying, ‘Man, that shit was funny!’ and I tell them, ‘‘I’m glad you get a kick out of it because I probably truly shit my pants at that moment.’ It’s not like I’m a tough guy trying to claim I can handle people putting guns to my head any time. I was fearing for my life because of a hooker I didn’t order. The ones you think are the most far-fetched in there [book], are the ones that are definitely true……
Is there anything else you’re looking forward to doing next?
I want to do write a parenting guide. An ultimate parenting guide for drug users. For people that have done too many drugs in their life, I want to write a parenting guide of just the absolute worst advice ever heard.
But not ‘serious’ advice, right?
No, no, no. Well, I do and I’ve got some good ideas. I’ve got this Pavlov theory where kids don’t naturally listen, so my philosophy is to get them to listen at a very young age. As soon as they wake up in the morning, backhand them in the forehead before you talk to them and every time you talk, backhand them again. So, after a while, every time you enter a room, they’ll be expecting you to backhand them and they’ll be looking at you, watching your every movement. There, boom. You got them to listen (laughing). I think Dr. Phil will love that one. Oprah, here I come.
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© 2007 chrisnieratko.com