Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael has been a senior editor at MoJo for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. In addition to editing stories for print and web, he is in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael has been a senior editor at MoJo for eight years, after spending the previous six as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. In addition to editing stories for print and web, he is in charge of the magazine's Mixed Media section. His writing has appeared in a range of alt-weeklies, newspapers, and magazines including Wired, The Industry Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He originally set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize tropical frog poisons. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a masters in journalism from Cal. In 2009, he was named a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his contribution to MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. (His contribution, "Voluntary Confinement," involved a reality TV show that held contestants in isolation.) He also won a 2014 Society for Professional Journalists award for "It Was Kind of Like Slavery," a photoessay he wrote with photographer Nina Berman. Michael lives with his family in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and punk-rock drumming, he now sits on his front porch and tries to play the fiddle.

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Film Review: "The Elephant in the Living Room"

| Mon Jun. 20, 2011 8:51 PM EDT

The Elephant in the Living Room

NIGHTFLY ENTERTAINMENT

95 minutes

Don't be misled: The only animals you'll see in a living room in this doc are a cougar and a Burmese python. (The runaway—slitheraway?— Gabon viper is nabbed in a garage.) Director Michael Webber's fast-moving, bittersweet film reveals a world of dangerous and entirely unregulated pets (lions, tigers, bears) raised behind closed doors. Much of the action takes place in suburban Ohio, a state that rivals parts of Florida for nuisance alligators. Hidden cameras rolling, we attend a reptile show where dads cart off snakes that could devour their offspring. But the real drama lies in the interplay between a passionate cop who moonlights as an exotic-animal rescuer and a sympathetic sadsack who can't bear to part with his full-grown African lions. The cat owner's tear-jerking travails drive home the filmmaker's point better than any finger-wagging activist ever could.

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