Magazine article The New Yorker

Bong Show

Magazine article The New Yorker

Bong Show

Article excerpt

Bong Show

When David Bienenstock says, "I've been smoking weed professionally for fifteen years," he is referring to his two stints as an editor at High Times and the intervening years as a frequent contributor to Vice, where, among other things, he co-produced the pot-cooking show "Bong Appetit" and once wrote a rebuttal to the Times, entitled "Maureen Dowd Freaked Out on Weed Chocolate Because She's Stupid." (Bienenstock's wife was the "Edibles Editor" at High Times. They both left the magazine recently.) Bienenstock is also the author of the 2016 book "How to Smoke Pot (Properly)," which is less a primer than a plea--less how than why. He considers himself to be an advocacy journalist, a member, in a way, of an abolitionist press. "Cannabis was my gateway to social justice and to the idea of the government as an oppressive, illegitimate force," he said the other day. Still, there is useful advice here and there in the book, such as a three-step plan for combatting "amotivational syndrome," also known as "couch lock":

Step 1: Decide what you're going to do after you get stoned before you get stoned.

Step 2: Get stoned.

Step 3: Do whatever you decided on in Step 1.

Bienenstock came to town from Los Angeles last month, to guest-curate an exhibit, at apexart, in Tribeca, called "Outlaw Glass"--a showcase of glass pipes and bongs, handmade by master lampworkers for the purpose of smoking marijuana in various forms. Technically, this is known as artistic hard glass. There were four large vitrines, each about the size of a coffin and populated by an array of flamboyant, filigreed apparatuses, lurid plumbing in many colors and forms--dragons, skulls, krakens--which one might find either fetching or hideous, depending upon one's taste for velvet heavy-metal posters and airbrushed landscapes on vans. No question, the craftsmanship was humbling. Delicate leaves and lace, tubes within tubes, ghouls embedded inside chambers like ships in bottles. One object widely admired by the other lampworkers was a pea-green monster truck with big black tires and flames exuding from six tailpipes--every inch of it glass. Mais oui: Ceci, c'est une pipe. Bienenstock, who is forty-one and was reared in Rahway (he first smoked pot behind the bowling alley), invited his mother to the opening. She told him, "I can remember throwing out one of your contraptions, but it wasn't nearly as elaborate or beautiful as one of these things."

"Some of these guys probably started out selling weed," Bienenstock said, a couple of days later. …

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