Alt-weekly special issues have been a running topic in this feature for the past few weeks. To briefly summarize: Arts guides and finding-colorful-foliage features are boring, beer issues are not.
But those stoners at Willamette Week have added a new wrinkle to the discussion. What do we make of a weed issue? Where does that fit into the conversation? Our response: “Toke away!”
Willamette Week’s “The Harvest Issue” includes pieces about how weed physically gets to your door (i.e., from farming to delivery), what is “ethical” weed and how do you find it in Oregon, and five recommended strains for the fall. But the piece I clicked on first is “How Does Photographer Eric Christiansen Capture Marijuana at Its Most Microscopic?” Penned by anthropologist and WW contributor Ann Guo, this short, fun-to-read feature opens, “If there were a Ph.D. program for cannabis photography, Eric Christiansen’s Nugshots series would feature first on the syllabus.” Guo then introduces readers to Christiansen and his work. A full-time cannabis photographer since 2015, he has been photographing buds for much longer and specializes in “macro” shots. He explained the process to Guo: “I’m basically taking multiple pictures at different focus points, then combining them together on the computer to unlock a depth of field that you’d normally never be able to capture with a single shot.” The results are mesmerizing, and I’m certainly going to keep an eye out for Christiansen’s book Higher: The Lore, Legends and Legacy of Cannabis, which is scheduled to be released next year.
From the smoky Pacific Northwest, we shift to the Gulf Coast, which, according to “On Their Ends: Years of Flooding and Catastrophic Storms Have Louisiana’s Seafood Industry on the Brink,” is anything but idyllic. In this sprawling feature, Gambit staff writer Kaylee Poche paints a bleak picture of the region and its seafood industry. Spillway openings have wiped out oyster farms. COVID-19 shut down bars and restaurants. As bars and restaurants were reopening, Hurricane Zeta swept through the region, followed by Ida. “We didn’t have much to lose going into this because we already lost everything,” Scott Maurer, who runs Louisiana Oyster Co., told Poche. “That’s the hardest thing.” Maurer’s story isn’t uncommon, Poche writes, and this series of unfortunate events has “left one of the state’s largest industries—worth an estimated $2.4 billion—in shambles and its workers uncertain about what the future holds.” Further complicating matters, residents and government officials accuse the federal government of being slow to respond.
Last week, we featured an East Bay Express story about a famous actress whose life was detailed in a new documentary. This week, a similar story, “Actress Selma Blair Takes on a Role of a Lifetime in New Documentary about Life with MS,” ran in Detroit’s Metro Times. Music and listings editor Jerilyn Jordan crafted a long, sad and, at times, funny story about Blair’s battle with multiple sclerosis. “Blair says her body is eating her teeth now,” writes Jordan, “and she’s started dyeing her pixie cut in shades of white and silvery platinum to disguise the patches of hair loss as a result of her newly acquired alopecia. Sentences sometimes get lost in an uncontrollable brain fog and the sleepiness that inhabits her on this particular day … is a loyal and unwelcome companion. Her body is, and always has been, in flames.” But for the Michigan native Blair, Jordan continues, MS hasn’t been an entirely bad thing, as it led the actress to the role of a lifetime: herself. Blair’s struggles with MS as a single mother and a working actress are the focus of a new documentary, Introducing, Selma Blair. Judging by the trailer, the doc—like Jordan’s story—is raw and real.