Each year, the staff at Rooster Magazine spends their working lives toiling over what we think is important versus what's going viral online. And each year, we decide that what's best for our own sanity is to bring readers the stories we find that not only entertain, but provide insight and a unique perspective to the world at large. Sure, we chase the clickbait dragon from time to time, but only because it's easy and likely closer to happy hour than most of us are comfortable with when deadlines loom.
So without further Apu, here are our most read stories of 2017. And to think, we're just getting started. …
10. I went to a furry rave to see how furries get down
Each spring, Furnal Equinox is host to dozens of raving furries — people who dress up in full character regalia to cosplay something they’re not. We sent writer Chris D’Alessandro and photographer Sarah Renton there to capture just what the heck is going on. “Buried below the happy, friendly, clean surface, we got the impression that there was a festering underground of hedonism,” said D’Alessandro. Maybe this year we’ll finally find out if there is or not.
9. Wook hunters bag and tag our smelliest invasive species
Academic Christina Allaback, with her fancy PhD, studied the all-pervasive species of “wooks” in her 2009 paper titled, “Theater of Jambands: Performance of Resistance.” Because of her expertise, we reached out to get the Encyclopedia Britannica on what exactly they are, and what everyone should do to avoid their dirty little mooching hands at all costs.
8. Music festival’s ass-eating competition has no winners
The Lost Lands Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio, was gross. How gross, you daringly ask? Just go check out some of the video shot by bewildered bystanders and decide for yourself. The story didn’t garner many “likes” in the social media sphere, but until you see for yourself, you’ll understand why.
7. Wyoming coroners ready for mass suicide of doomsday cults during eclipse
Another eclipse happened this year and that got the Internet talking. But what wasn’t mentioned by any other outlet was how Wyoming coroners were prepping for the invasion of tourists (and religious cults threatening mass suicide). Coroner Connie Jacobson told us what to expect and if she was herself worried about the possibility of disaster.
6. Renewed war on kratom legalization claims its first victims
This past year was a big one for kratom, a semi-legal drug that users say changes lives. It was so important in the scene because the community fought the DEA, and won. Except, a renewed war on it claimed victims in its wake, most notably Levi and Judah Love who shuttered the doors on their kratom bar mere days before it was set to open fearing the possibility of prison.
5. What I learned trying KATY, the legal, plant-based MDMA alternative
Knock-off drugs are so hot right now, the biggest of which is a new plant-based alternative to MDMA called KATY. Reporter Isabelle Kohn took us down the rabbit-hole through her own experience of trying it at a Sigur Rós show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Good talk.
4. The Mormon church is furious about an ex's hidden videos
We’ve never shied away from calling out the bullshit, yet this time, ex-Mormon Mike Norton did the dirty work for us. "(Mike’s) breaking laws, he's invading privacy," said Doug Anderson, spokesman for the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. "They're sacred and they're pretty special and it's pretty disrespectful to be engaging in even talking about it."
3. A Scandinavian sex shaman explains the 9 types of vaginas and why they matter
Athena Lund is a Norwegian-born healer and life coach that now operates out of Boulder, Colorado. She gave us some insight on what types of vaginas there are in the world and why it matters. Hundreds of thousands of readers agree, they’re pretty cool no matter what kind of animal it looks like.
2. Scientists are building a DMT machine that will help them 'talk to aliens'
A small group of internal explorers believe they may have found the key to communicating with interstellar life — hooking themselves up to a homemade machine that keeps a person high on DMT for an entire workday. After the story was shared thousands of times on Facebook, the story continued to go bananas and still sparks conversations about the scant possibility of it worldwide.
1. Iceland's casual sex culture is the most liberal in the world, but it comes at a cost
The small majestic country just east of the states has a population smaller than St. Louis. But that doesn’t keep it from having one of the more interesting sex cultures on the planet. Read as sex experts, Icelantic locals and naysayers alike all chime in on what makes the scene there miles above the rest.