As you may have noticed, since I say it every five minutes on the show, I’m a novelist. It’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me; literally what I’ve always wanted to do.
I remember the moment I learned to read, when the squiggles became a code I code break, and I could suddenly see Spot run. That was it, man, I was hooked, and I have been ever since. I was the kid reading under the covers with a flashlight, the one who sat in the back row of class so he could devour a fantasy novel instead of pay attention.
Now I consider it one of the real blessings of my life that I get email from readers, people I don’t know, who tell me that one of my books caused them to miss their train stop, or that I owe them a night’s sleep.
And since the show first aired, a number of you have been kind enough to say you’d like to read one of my books, and have asked which to start with.
First off, thank you.
Continue reading: For Those Who Asked »
I don’t believe in ghosts. Or spirits, demons, or angels. Understand, I’ve got no problem with the idea that there is life and consciousness greater than our own. If you want to label that consciousness God, hey, knock yourself out.
But me, I can sum up my spiritual philosophy by cribbing Shakespeare—there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies. I just don’t believe those things are particularly concerned with us.
All of which is preamble to the moment in a voodoo temple in New Orleans. Dolls and gifts and beads and booze and statues, piled and layered atop one another, bills rolled and tucked in every crack, messages written on every surface, the whole cluster draped in Christmas lights and hazed by incense smoke.
And the priestess across the table from me just blew my goddamn mind.
Continue reading: Chalk it up to New Orleans »
It’s a point of some pride that one of our stories from San Francisco is the murder of Harvey Milk. Don’t get me wrong, I dig serial killers and bank robbers, and just like Paris, we’ll always have them.
But this murder—this assassination—is different.
I was thrilled with the chance to dig into it, and overwhelmed by the people I spoke to. These are people on the front lines of history; brilliant, compassionate, political, fervent, funny. And I’m very proud of the story we told. I’m proud that we didn’t simplify things, that we didn’t make it as simple as gay-straight, good-evil.
However, one consistent bit of piss in my punch is that the constraints of television mean that there are always things we can’t cover in a story. There just isn’t time. Inevitably, things have to be left out, some of them quite wonderful.
And so I’d like to take a moment to talk a little about my understanding of Harvey the man, rather than Harvey the victim.
Continue reading: Saints and Sex »
I’m behind the proverbial eight this week. If you haven’t guessed, I write the show as well as host it, and right now I’m nipples-deep in the final two destinations of the season, Seattle and Anchorage. Both are shaping up to be pretty fantastic episodes.
But here are some brief thoughts on the Los Angeles episode and LA in general.
• The most difficult part of interviewing a porn star is deciding what you’re going to wear. Go ahead, try it. After that, if you’re interviewing someone as articulate and thoughtful as Kayden Kross, the rest is easy.
• Los Angeles is unfairly gifted with beauty. I’m a Midwestern boy, and proud of it, but there’s no denying how gorgeous the place can be.
• Especially Malibu.
• My favorite Thai restaurant in America is Jitlada, on Sunset west of Normandie. The food is stunning, inventive, and nuclear spicy.
• It’s amazing to sit down with a man who honestly believes—and makes a good case for—the idea that his father was a serial killer. It changes something in a man’s eyes to know that about your father.
• Soot Bull Jeep. Korean BBQ. Go there. Trust me.
• If I spent all my waking hours for the next twenty years studying dance and gymnastics, I wouldn’t be able to pull off the moves the kids in tonight’s episode make look easy.
• Watching the sun set over the basin from the Griffith Park Observatory is absolutely cliché. It’s also absolutely worth doing.
I’ll be live-tweeting tonight’s episode, by the way. Got any questions? Thoughts? Insults? Fire away: @MarcusSakey, or tag #HiddenCity.
I’m being turned into an old man. The woman is a pro—under her touch my hair falls out and fades to gray, my skin wrinkles and pits, the lines around my eyes and mouth deepen. The process takes an hour and ages me thirty years.
When it’s done, I look like this.
Apart from the fact that I look awesome—go ahead, admit it, that shit’s hot—the reason I’m doing this is to understand what it feels like to hide in plain sight. The gig is that I’ll now go wander around while three people search for me. They’ll have photos of my pre-transformation self, and they’re betting they can catch me within fifteen minutes.
Continue reading: The Best Place to Hide a Needle »
There’s no other word for it. I’d like to say that I’m asking for critical details, that I’m trying to paint a complete picture, that I’m hoping to dig into the man’s soul to understand his motivations. But really, I’m just stalling.
In my defense, the reason I’m stalling is that the man is a security consultant who, in about ten seconds, is going to hit me square in the eyes with tactical-strength pepper spray. I’ve asked him to do this, which does not say impressive things about my intelligence. But I want to know what it’s like.
Why, you ask? Can’t we all just presume that it sucks? That it hurts, a lot? That taking two million Scoville units in the retinas—two hundred times hotter than a jalapeno—is not the way sane people choose to spend a Thursday afternoon?
Well…yes. But also no.
Continue reading: I’ve Had Better Ideas »