Just listen while you still can!! This link isn’t gonna last… AND ENJOY!!
What Is Schizo-Culture? A Classic Conversation with William S. Burroughs
Sunday, MoMA PS1 joined with publisher Semiotext(e) to present The Return of Schizo-Culture, an afternoon of screenings, music, performances, and readings from the storied 1975 Schizo-Culture conference, which featured an array of cultural, intellectual, and artistic radicals. The conference produced a series of writings that were later collected into a book designed by a group of artists including Kathryn Bigelow and Denise Green. Taken together, the book and the papers from the conference document the chaotic downtown arts and cultural scene of NYC in the 1970s and feature an amazing collection of interviews and essays from artists, writers, and musicians including Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, The Ramones, John Cage, Philip Glass, Jack Smith, and William S. Burroughs.
So what in the hell is Schizo-Culture? This is not an easy question to answer. It appears to be, on one hand, the undulating breakdown of governmental control in society, a development which leads to 1) new forms of psychological control (think: the 1970s fascination with mind control techniques) and 2) new forms of social organization that don’t rely on conventions, like political parties.
“There can be no doubt that a cultural revolution of unprecedented dimensions has taken place in America during the last thirty years,” William S. Burroughs writes in his seminal “The Limits of Control.” “And since America is now the model for the rest of the western world, this revolution is worldwide… the fact that this worldwide revolution has taken place indicates that the controllers have been forced to make concessions.” But what is the schizo-cultural revolution that Burroughs is identifying? His broader point is that governments are making political concessions to the dissenting population, but that these concessions are just another form of control, albeit a preferable one.” He continues: “They could of course take all the concessions back, but that would expose them to the double jeopardy of revolution and the much greater danger of overt fascism.”
So Schizo-Culture, from Burroughs’ angle, is both the recognition and rejection of new forms of control. Or as Sylvère Lotringer writes: “‘Schizo’ does not refer here to any clinical entity, but to the process by which social controls of all kinds, endlessly re-imposed by capitalism, are broken up and opened to revolutionary change.” The below Q&A, excerpted from the recently republished Schizo-Culture book, shows Lotringer in a lively and sometimes hilarious conversation with Burroughs.
What is schizo-culture according to you?
William Burroughs: Well, I think the “schizo-culture” here is being used in rather a special sense. Not referring rather to clinical schizophrenia but to the fact that the culture is divided up into all sorts of classes and groups, etc., and that some of the old lines are breaking down, and that this is a healthy sign.
Do you think that too much concentration is being placed in our culture on identifying, describing, you know, saying “This is this,” and this kind of a description of what exactly our culture is, “What we are?” like, you know, as opposed to past cultures that maybe were more preoccupied with basic arts and, you know, cultural uh…
William Burroughs:Well yes, this defining, etc., is a luxury that the affluent society permits itself. I mean, poor people in Morocco and Spain and places like that are just too busy keeping alive to think about what they are, who they are…
Can I ask one thing? What do you think of all this fascism [audience laughter]?
William Burroughs:Ah, well … [chuckles]
And if…we have been told that we are, and how they interpret the fact that they are fascist if they are.
William Burroughs:Well, every question is different, and poses a different problem.
Just because it would be stupid to call in the army, that’s no reassurance that they won’t call in the army. All the examples seem like cases where they were least likely to before.
William Burroughs:Every time they have done so they have regretted it. I don’t say that they won’t. I say they’ll regret it if they do. Because some of these people have read history, after all. They know what happened in the Roman Republic, they know what happened in Germany, and to a lesser extent what happened in Spain, all those places…
It seems your analysis is based on one good thing, and that is hoping for enlightened self-interest amongst leaders. Seems that one hitch in what you said, that you need to work out is, if we get an insane leader…
William Burroughs:Well, are we fooling ourselves? These are very serious concessions that are being made. Remember that all censorship is political, and when they start removing censorship they have made a concession, and that’s important. Don’t expect to get everything all at once, because you won’t — yeah?
A lot of your analysis was in terms of the limits of the use of control—what about, which you mention in passing when answering his question, what about the demand to be controlled? Don’t you think that in some sense if fascism is to develop it has to develop either through a growth in the demand to be controlled or, more subtly you might say, in the growth of the control of the demand to be controlled?
William Burroughs:I…don’t quite follow you. [audience laughter]
No, but that’s what I’m saying, is that, I mean, as you get a greater and greater amount of co-operation, it’s quite obvious that a lot of people get freaked out by it, and people have a great problem dealing with change, so I mean obviously they’re going to want something to control that change and slow it down. No, if the impasses that you’ve described are correct, the leadership has to control that demand to slow down change, and ’cause that could always get out of hand, and from your analysis it would seem that if it did get out of hand that would create exactly the kind of situations where they would have to exercise the sorts of repression that would be suicidal for them to exercise. You see, and that’s how even giving them the assumptions of rationality you are forgetting about insane leaders, and things still could get out of hand.
William Burroughs:Well, of course, I said that. They’re never more dangerous than when embarking on a self-defeating course. That’s what happens. It’s unlikely that it would happen unless we got in some kind of war, I mean a serious war.
Do you think that it’s happening now is what I really want to ask you…
William Burroughs:No, I don’t think so.
I have a related question. You said that you were optimistic; that is, we have every reason to believe this change will continue in its present direction. You also said that “they,” I guess you were referring to the leaders, are not in fact [likely] to take back any of their concessions. Are we then to assume that this is to culminate in a complete lack of control, at some point in the future, or rather, I think more pragmatically, is that there is going to be a trade-off point?
William Burroughs:Trade-off point. I think there will be continued modifications of control. They can’t very well take everything back at this point.
What do you mean by “continued modifications”?
William Burroughs:Well, what we have seen in the last thirty years. Now even ten or twenty years ago there was no right to protest, even the right to protest is a very important concession. A minority group thirty years ago had absolutely no recourse against police brutality or anything else. Now they can protest and that undoubtedly has an effect.
So are we to assume that there will be a culmination of this general direction, resulting in a total lack of control?
William Burroughs: Ah well, I wouldn’t…I mean, I’m not a prophet; I wouldn’t speculate about the future. I’m talking about what has happened up until now.
This seems to be a sort of big boom theory of history, with sort of a continual diffusion of power, and theoretically I mean it would seem to come down to this area of total noncontrol or … But it seems clear that what we know until now is that societies can reconstitute themselves at high levels of control, and I think that what some of the earlier questions were about—you’ve defined some of the techniques by which governments or those in power maintain their control…And you also defined a situation where one group would want to re-establish or establish control, but what you don’t seem to have spoken to as far of the question was, what the specific techniques of this re-establishing or establishing controls would be when there is a low level of control.
William Burroughs:Well, it depends on what you mean by “low level of control”—if you have complete anarchy, such as we might have if we got in a war with China, and this country was subject to atom bombing, the control reverts to almost a mediaeval or warlord state, where anyone with a small army is in a pretty good position. If that’s what you mean by when control reaches a state when it doesn’t exist, well then you do get warlords and city states in that kind of a situation.
Yeah, but we’re not in the Middle Ages anymore, I mean, that might’ve been, we may be able to explain how power was reconstitute in the Middle Ages, but how would you see that happening now, I mean do you see it happening in the very same way?
William Burroughs:It isn’t happening now. It isn’t happening now. We’re not anywhere near that, we’re not in a state of anarchy.
But don’t you see that point coming?
William Burroughs:Well, I could see it coming under certain circumstances. I could see it coming if we got in a war; I could see it coming with a complete economic collapse. But none of these things are right here now, or even around the corner.
Can you envision a complex social organization where control does exist?
William Burroughs:Uhm, no, not with regard to a heterogeneous city population. I mean, there is, a certain control is absolutely necessary. Where’s all the food come from here—it’s brought in, right? There’s a whole unseen bureaucracy that is bringing that food in, and putting it in the shops, it’s providing power, etc. If those people didn’t work, millions of people would be starving overnight. So any system must find a way to keep those people on their jobs, whether economically or giving them food coupons, or whatever.
But your presentation was from the standpoint of controllers and exploitation, and are those necessarily connected?
William Burroughs:No, I mean, I wouldn’t say that you would say that the necessity of maintaining power and food in a big city was necessarily a part of exploitation…
[Shouted] Down with Foucault!
William Burroughs: [Chuckling] Hear hear…well, okay…
Originally published in
James Williamson Re-Licked Album Stream
by Tobe Damit
Iggy always knew he needed Williamson at his side to perform at his best (read previous post called ”Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell”). Not everyone was convinced and if you still are not convinced today that he truly was a driving force behind the Stooges well this album should do the job. Williamson surrounded himself by some of the top artists in punk including Jello Biafra, Mark Lanegan, Alison Mosshart, Ariel Pink, The Orwell’s Mario Cuomo, The BellRays’ Lisa Kekaula, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, The Icarus Line’s Joe Cardamone and Carolyn Wonderland and they all did a pretty good job keeping up with Williamson screaming out loud, edgy and powerfull guitar, the production is probably one of the best of soundwise, it is well ”re-licked” but God forgive me..I couldn’t help to picture Iggy singing them instead of all those very well chosen singers and other players. Still the album is worth buying for sure plus Re-Licked was released on vinyl and CD, packaged together with a 24-page booklet of liner notes and photos, as well as a special ‘making-of’ documentary DVD. I just wanna add that some people can be mighty good singing some of the Stooge’s songs and they truly are good here but F***! NO ONE can do it like Iggy, no matter hard they try…. Not because they aren’t good enoug…It’s just cuz…Iggy is….well..Iggy!
In the Land of Retinal Delights with Sylvia Ji
Possessing an artistic voice as unique as the times we live in, Sylvia Ji is at once contemplative, spiritual, enigmatic, and yet whimsically funny. Above all else, it is perhaps beauty that emerges as her defining characteristic, and her art reflects this: an extension of herself; a passionate appreciation of simple aesthetic pleasure fused with intimately complex subject matter.
Make no mistake – Sylvia Ji is the real deal: an artist of genuine, sometimes brutal, sincerity in a world of swirling uncertainty and constant change. Yet, she does more than consistently adjust to the change that life brings, she thrives on it; taking life as it is, content to simply “be”. Using the simplest of materials to create her work….she would say “letting it magically happen”… the results obliterate the antiquated lines between ostensibly “high brow” and “low brow” art.
A self-professed lover of travel and life long student of international culture and art, Sylvia’s experiences and relationships continue to shape her exploration of indefinable human emotion. And while the future remains as mysterious to her as she may be to her audience, Sylvia stands confidently poised to continue to surprise. Now, and in the years to come, her life’s journey is more than the sum of its parts – drawn from her past, built on the present and beyond fascinating expressions of love and lust, beauty and decay, delicacy and passion.
Bring Me the Horizon -DROWN
What doesn’t kill you
Makes you wish you were dead
Got a hole in my soul growing deeper and deeper
And I can’t take
One more moment of this silence
The loneliness is haunting me
And the weight of the worlds getting harder to hold up
It comes in waves
I close my eyes
Hold my breath
And let it bury me
I’m not alright
And it’s not ok
Won’t you drag the lake
And bring me home again
Who will fix me now?
Dive in when I’m down?
Save me from myself,
Don’t let me drown
Who will make me fight?
Drag me out alive?
Save me from myself,
Don’t let me drown
What doesn’t destroy you
Leaves you broken instead.
You know that I can’t do this on my own.
Directed by Jacob Printzlau. Production company: The Wœrks.
Music video by Bring Me The Horizon performing Drown. (P) 2014 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited
Walt Disney’s & Salvador Dali – Destino
The film tells the story of Chronos, the personification of time and the inability to realize his desire to love for a mortal. The scenes blend a series of surreal paintings of Dali with dancing and metamorphosis. The target production began in 1945, 58 years before its completion and was a collaboration between Walt Disney and the Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dalí. Salvador Dali and Walt Disney Destiny was produced by Dali and John Hench for 8 months between 1945 and 1946. Dali, at the time, Hench described as a “ghostly figure” who knew better than Dali or the secrets of the Disney film. For some time, the project remained a secret. The work of painter Salvador Dali was to prepare a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers and special effects for a movie in the same format of “Fantasia.” Dali in the studio working on The Disney characters are fighting against time, the giant sundial that emerges from the great stone face of Jupiter and that determines the fate of all human novels. Dalí and Hench were creating a new animation technique, the cinematic equivalent of “paranoid critique” of Dali. Method inspired by the work of Freud on the subconscious and the inclusion of hidden and double images.
Dalí said: “Entertainment highlights the art, its possibilities are endless.” The plot of the film was described by. Dalí as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.”
Walt Disney said it was “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”
PS: You get a better view with green/red 3D viewing device (glasses)
DADA IS NOT AN ARTISTIC MOVEMENT AND THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN IT ARE NOT ARTISTS!
Dada was, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art. That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Of course, there is a bit more to the story of Dadaism than this simplistic explanation. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestoes, art theory, theater, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works.
Dada was a literary and artistic movement born in Europe at a time when the horror of World War I was being played out in what amounted to citizens’ front yards. Due to the war, a number of artists, writers and intellectuals — notably of French and German nationality — found themselves congregating in the refuge that Zurich (in neutral Switzerland) offered. Far from merely feeling relief at their respective escapes, this bunch was pretty ticked off that modern European society would allowthe war to have happened. They were so angry, in fact, that they undertook the time-honored artistic tradition of protesting. Many Dadaists believed that the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war. They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality. For example,George Grosz later recalled that his Dadaist art was intended as a protest “against this world of mutual destruction.”
Banding together in a loosely-knit group, these writers and artists used any public forum they could find to (metaphorically) spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism which they felt had contributed to a senseless war. In other words, the Dadaists were fed up. If society is going in this direction, they said, we’ll have no part of it or its traditions. Including… no, wait!… especially artistic traditions. We, who are non-artists, will create non-art — since art (and everything else in the world) has no meaning, anyway.
About the only thing these non-artists all had in common were their ideals. They even had a hard time agreeing on a name for their project. “Dada” – which some say means “hobby horse” in French and others feel is just baby talk — was the catch-phrase that made the least amount of sense, so “Dada” it was.
Using an early form of Shock Art, the Dadaists thrust mild obscenities, scatological humor, visual puns and everyday objects (renamed as “art”) into the public eye. Marcel Duchamp performed the most notable outrages by painting a mustache on a copy of theMona Lisa (and scribbling an obscenity beneath) and proudly displaying his sculpture entitled Fountain (which was actually a urinal, sans plumbing, to which he added a fake signature).
The public, of course, was revulsed — which the Dadaists found wildly encouraging. Enthusiasm being contagious, the (non)movement spread from Zurich to other parts of Europe and New York City. And just as mainstream artists were giving it serious consideration, in the early 1920s, Dada (true to form) dissolved itself.
In an interesting twist, this art of protest — based on a serious underlying principle — is delightful. The nonsense factor rings true. Dada art is whimsical, colorful, wittily sarcastic and, at times, downright silly. If one wasn’t aware that there was, indeed, a rationale behind Dadaism, it would be fun to speculate as to just what these gentlemen were “on” when they created these pieces.
Key Characteristics of Dada Art
Dada began in Zurich and became an international movement. Or non-movement, as it were.
Dada had only one rule: Never follow any known rules.
Dada was intended to provoke an emotional reaction from the viewer (typically shock or outrage). If its art failed to offend traditionalists, Dada writing — particularly Tristan Tzara’s manifestoes — proved a fine, nose-thumbing Plan B.
Dada art is nonsensical to the point of whimsy. Almost all of the people who created it were ferociously serious, though.
Abstraction and Expressionism were the main influences on Dada, followed byCubism and, to a lesser extent, Futurism.
There was no predominant medium in Dadaist art. All things from geometric tapestries to glass to plaster and wooden reliefs were fair game. It’s worth noting, though, that assemblage, collage, photomontage and the use of ready made objects all gained wide acceptance due to their use in Dada art.
For something that supposedly meant nothing, Dada certainly created a lot of offshoots. In addition to spawning numerous literary journals, Dada influenced many concurrent trends in the visual arts (especially in the case ofConstructivism). The best-known movement Dada was directly responsible for is Surrealism.
Dada self-destructed when it was in danger of becoming “acceptable”.
Now let’s be more specific because there are some references related to Dadaism that simply cannot be obliterated. Some sources state that Dada coalesced on October 6 at the Cabaret Voltaire. Other sources state that Dada did not originate fully in a Zurich literary salon but grew out of an already vibrant artistic tradition in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania, that transposed to Switzerland when a group of Jewish modernistartists (Tzara, Marcel & Iuliu Iancu, Arthur Segal, and others) settled in Zurich. In the years prior to World War I similar art had already risen in Bucharest and other Eastern European cities; it is likely that DADA’s catalyst was the arrival in Zurich of artists like Tzara and Janco. The New Yorkers, though not particularly organized, called their activities Dada, but they did not issue manifestos. They issued challenges to art and culture through publications such as The Blind Man, Rongwrong, and New York Dada in which they criticized the traditionalist basis for museum art. New York Dada lacked the disillusionment of European Dada and was instead driven by a sense of irony and humor. In his book Adventures in the arts: informal chapters on painters, vaudeville and poets Marsden Hartley included an essay on “The Importance of Being ‘Dada‘“.
During this time Duchamp began exhibiting “readymades” (everyday objects found or purchased and declared art) such as a bottle rack, and was active in the Society of Independent Artists. In 1917 he submitted the now famous Fountain, a urinal signed R. Mutt, to the Society of Independent Artists exhibition only to have the piece rejected. First an object of scorn within the arts community, the Fountain has since become almost canonized by some as one of the most recognizable modernist works of sculpture. The committee presiding over Britain‘s prestigious Turner Prize in 2004, for example, called it “the most influential work of modern art.” By 1921, most of the original players moved to Paris where Dada experienced its last major incarnation. While broad, the movement was unstable. By 1924 in Paris, Dada was melding into surrealism, and artists had gone on to other ideas and movements, including surrealism, social realism and other forms of modernism. Some theorists argue that Dada was actually the beginning of postmodern art.
The opening of the exhibition Dada Max Ernst at the gallery Au Sans Pareil in Paris, May 2, 1921; left to right: René Hilsum, Benjamin Péret, Serge Charchoune, Philippe Soupault (at the top of the ladder), Jacques Rigaut (upside down), and André Breton
Dada’s brief reign in the City of Light began with the return to Paris of Francis Picabia in March 1919, followed by Tristan Tzara’s arrival in January 1920. It fizzled out around 1923 in an atmosphere of abuse and recrimination. An international movement, Dada originated in Zurich and New York, but Parisian Dada was special and significant, Michel Sanouillet argues in this weighty tome, not least because of the crucial role it played in the genesis of Surrealism.
Dada in Paris presents an alternative history of Dada to the one popularized by the founder of Surrealism, André Breton. In essence, this is the story of a power grab by Breton, who exerted his considerable influence over the group until he eventually squeezed out Picabia and Tzara, who had both arrived from Zurich, so had perhaps the greater claim to being “pure” Dadaists. As Sanouillet tells it, Breton took Parisian Dada in a new direction, and one antithetical, in his view, to the original impulse behind the movement. In short, this is an account of how Parisian Dada became increasingly sectarian, pitting the “Bretonians” against the “Tzaraists”, and how “Dada-according-to-Tzara” gave way to “Dada-according-to-Breton”, which was at once both illiberal (in fact, “quasi-totalitarian”) and unspontaneous, falling back on accepted literary forms and traditional politics (culminating in Surrealism’s rapprochement with communism).
Surrealism was never as radically new as Dadaism, Sanouillet insists, and part of his mission is to reassert the chronological fact that Dada predated Surrealism and that Surrealism was dependent on Dada ideas and concepts. As he points out, there is an obvious “spiritual dissonance” between the two movements. Dadadism was simply more fun than Surrealism. “Tzara’s manifestos radiate an extraordinary impression of vitality, warmth and, above all, unrestrained joy that one rarely finds in Breton’s”, he observes. “Surrealism was, unfortunately, too often Dada without laughter.”
Paris in the immediate post-war years was the perfect place for Dada ideas to take root and flourish. Parisians were well read, refined and sophisticated, but also inclined to be sceptical and blaisé”. And yet there was also a “Parisian literary scene known for its sclerosis, inertia, and bourgeois attachment to certain ways of life and thought, and to those anachronistic structures perpetuated by the literary press and other intellectual coteries”. André Breton and his friends Philippe Soupault and Louis Aragon were especially ripe for conquest by the new spirit of Dada. They belonged to a younger generation damaged by the First World War in which they had all seen active service. Soupault remembered them in the winter of 1917-18 in Paris, shortly before they encountered Dadaism: “we were roaming through the smoke of the railway circle line in our sullied uniforms, neglecting to salute the officers,neglecting any sort of manners, neglecting the time of day and ourselves”.
Dada poetry was as much a response to watime propaganda and popular enthusiasm for the war as the poetry of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, but it was a very different response. (It is worth remembering that Marcel Duchamp, regarded by Sanouillet as the archetypal Dadaist, the “free electron” of Dada, “a kind of guru” and the one who best played “the great Dada game”, was born in the same year as Rupert Brooke; Picabia was only a year younger than Edward Thomas; Tzara and Breton only three years younger than Wilfred Owen.) To understand Dada, says Sanouillet, we need to understand the wartime culture: “the silly patriotic romances, the songs calling for revenge . . . the artless painting of battle scenes”, but also the men of letters, writers and poets who extolled the heroism of “our boys” and the beauty of war. In contrast, the Dadaists were “sickened by the stench of a bygone belle époque” and “branded alive by the outrageous butchery of the 1914-18 conflict, intent on expressing in every possible way their abhorrence for compromise, and seeking to find, at any cost, an escape to a new way of living, writing and feeling”. Some flavour of Dada’s challenge to the post-war culture can be gleaned from Picabia”s “Cannibal Manifesto” (1920):
Dada smells like nothing, it is nothing, nothing, nothing.
It is like your hopes: nothing.
Like your paradises: nothing.
Like your idols: nothing.
Like your politicians: nothing.
Like your heroes: nothing.
Like your artists: nothing.
Like your religions: nothing.
Picabia is invariably described as “Machiavellian” in this book, but it is perhaps André Breton who best deserves the epithet. Sanouillet describes Breton’s personality as “bewitching”, but he fails to account for it fully. In his retelling of events, the “hypersensitive” young Breton comes across as temperamentally unsuited to ever becoming a Dadaist, and we are told that he “only relectantly indulged in Dadaistic extravagances”. In fact, says Sanouillet, Breton was too solemn and serious to properly comprehend what Dada meant. His “unswerving moral severity” ran counter to the Dada spirit, whereas Tzara and Picabia positively delighted in moral ambivalence.
For Breton, Jacques Vaché, the wounded soldier he met in 1916 at a hospital in Nantes where Breton was a temporary intern, was a reincarnation of Rimbaud and a major part of the literary legacy of Dadaism. Howevder, Sanouillet cannot accept Vaché (who died from an overdose of opium in 1919) as an incarnation of Dada, and Breton’s assertion that Vaché was “Dada before Dada” is plainly contradicted by a letter Sanouillet has unearthed, written from Soupault to Tzara in 1919, very clearly stating that Vaché admired Tzara’s “Manifesto 1918″, which Sanouillet regards as “the first, the true, and the great gospel of Dadaism”. At a push, Sanouillet begrudgingly allows that Vaché’s influence put Breton in a more receptive state of mind to receive Tzara’s ideas.
Breton and his friends encountered the poetry of Picabia and Tzara in 1919. “It was at that point”, wrote Breton much later, “that we intercepted signals that were so disruptive it was as if they had come from another planet.” He launched his own avant-garde periodical, Littérature, in March 1919, and in January 1920 he visited Picabia at his home on the rue Émile-Augier. “We can, in fact, consider this meeting with Picabia as the precise date on which the Dada movement began in Paris”, declares Sanouillet. This encounter struck Breton like a second “revelation”, the first being Tzara’s “Manifesto 1918″.
Breton seems to have transferred all of his feelings for Jacques Vaché on to Tzara, whose arrival in Paris he awaited as if Tzara were Rimbaud, Sade and Lautréamont all rolled into one. Tzara turned up in January 1920: he was short, slightly stooped, wore a monocle, and spoke bad French with a strong Romanian accent; the way he said “Dada” (“two brief syllables that rattled out like a machine gun”) sounded ridiculous. The Littérature group were initially dismayed, but Tzara won them over with his stage techniques, honed at the Cabaret Voltaire, and he became for them an incarnation of the Dada spirit, “Zurich Dadaism in the flesh”. At their first Dada session together at the Palais des Fêtes, the imperturbable Tzara continued reading as the audience hurled abuse (“Back to Zurich! Shoot him!”) – unlike the others, he had seen it all before.
In the first few months of 1920, one performance followed another and Dada briefly conquered tout Paris; “around the month of April 1920″, says Sanouillet, “the words ‘Dada, Dadaism, Dadaist’ were literally on everyone’s lips”. The good times would not last, however, and during the Dada Season of 1921 it became increasingly apparent that the Littérature group and the “Zurich vererans” were pulling in opposite directions. The schism was only accentuated by the fact that Tzara was mocked for his foreign name and strange accent by the French press, whereas the members of the Littérature groupe were generally spared. Similarly, the Editor of the Nouvelle Revue Française, Jacques Rivière, looked favourably on Breton and Aragon as talented young men with bright futures ahead of them, whereas Tzara and Picabia were beyond reform. When Breton published his “Reconnaissance à Dada” in the NRF, it outraged not only the paper’s more conservative contributors, but also the Tzaraists.
According to Sanouillet, the mock trial of the nationalist author Maurice Barrès in 1921 “sounded Dada’s death knell” in Paris. It was a clear indication of Breton’s authoritarian streak, whereas Tzara and Picabia “baulked at the idea of a Dadaism that set itself up as arbitrator and critic – or, even worse, enforcer of the law”. Tzara did his best to undermine the trial. “I judge nothing”, he declared, before concluding with a “short dada song”:
The song of an elevator
Which had Dada in its heart
Tired out its motor part
That had Dada in its heart.
Breton was not impressed, but Tzara’s little song is a good description of what was happening to Dada. As Sanouillet puts it, “it seemed that the movement . . . was being insidiously drained of its substance and ‘recharged’ with a completely different energy. Only the Dada wrapping remained intact; the product was becoming unrecognisable. The Littérature group, like a hermit crab, was occupying Dada’s shell”.
Immediately after the trial, Picabia objected that “Now Dada has a court, lawyers, and before long, probably policemen. . . . The Dada Spirit really existed for only three or four years, it was personified by Marcel Duchamp and myself at the end of 1912″. Later he wrote: “Dada galloped off in a cloud of dust. Little urchins jump on its back, stroke the animal, give it sugar, put blinders on it, pull its bridle to the right. Poor wild Dada. . . . Dada is dead”.
With Picabia gone, Tzara held out for a while against Breton and the Littérature group, but in 1922 they denounced him as “an imposter hungry for fame”. He countered that Breton “would not exist but for Dada” and – in response to an article by Breton entitled “After Dada” – Tzara wrote: “One of these days it will be known that before Dada, after Dada, without Dada, towards Dada, for Dada, against Dada, with Dada, in spirte of Dada, it is always Dada. And all that is of no importance”. Parisian Dada ran out of steam around 1923. A year later, Breton launched Surrealism on the world.
Dada à Paris was first published in 1965, but Sanouillet began work on this comprehensive account of Parisian Dada at the end of the 1940′s, when, as he observes, “most of the Dadaists of the 1920′s had attained a sort of serenity. Nostalgia for their youth had led them to look upon their earlier wild confrontations with tender amusement”. He spoke to all of the available witnesses and has sifted through every interview and unreliable memoir by Dada’s main players (and numerous bit players). Sharmila Ganguly’s excellent English translation of the fully revised and expanded French edition of 2005 includes more than 200 letters in a vast appendix, “the very web on which we have embroidered our account”, says Sanouillet. There is correspondence between Breton, Tzara and Picabia, plus some fifty letters from Dadaists, as well as Apollinaire, Cocteau, Max Jacob and even Marcel Proust. Add to this a bibliography of more than a thousand volumes and a list of online sources, and Dada in Paris is an essential reference for anyone interested in the “Dada adventure”.
It might seem paradoxical to produce a book of abundant documentation about a movement that so loudly insisted on its own ephemerality and inconsequentiality (although as Sanouillet notes, Picabia, Tzara and Breton carefully preserved their press clippings), but beyond the accumulated detail Michel Sanouillet proves himself a sensitive interpreter of the true Dada spirit, its creative destruction and profound euphoria. Dada was essentially nihilistic, but Sanouillet chooses instead to celebrate its “vitalistic aspect”. The Dadaists were never more alive, he argues, than when they wanted to destroy everything from top to bottm. Dada’s artistic legacy is about violence and aggression, certainly, but also spontaneity, dynamism and an outspoken desire to escape from the rules and constraints governing creation.
Here are some movies that are considered DADA and opened the way to surrealism and other forms of art. I chose to present those movies because you can already sense in them all the form of arts that would later become an independant form of art by themselves… They were shown to various reunions and when the battle between the 2 factions of Dadaism was about to break loose, they managed to reunite both ideologies. AND DO NOT FORGET TO ENJOY!!!!
Marcel Duchamp – Anemic Cinema
Erik Satie/René Clair: Entr’Acte (1924)
“Ballet mecanique” (1924) – Fernand Léger – Original Silent Version
UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1929)
Now here is a Surrealist film Directed by Luis Bunuel and based on a script by Salvatore Dali :
Now to end this with a bang! Here is a movie very few have seen. It is a movie that Dali made but signed as a Bunuel. So this movie is a false Bunuel, a true Dali. I can only link it so just click on its title:
Born in London in 1968, the eldest of four. She was a shy introverted child lacking in self confidence with a passion for drawing.
At 13 she was sent away to boarding school, a Church of England private girls school with compulsory morning and evening chapel services. At first it was a living hell really, and it was art and music that helped transport me away. Although her mother had plans for her to have a career in medicine she had other ideas, and with the support of her headmistress and art teacher they managed to persuade my reluctant parents to let her study graphic design, which as it turned out was absolutely useless.She studied ‘old school’ methods, that’s to say, cut and paste by hand. Computers had not quite come to her college yet, but by the time she left they were the new way. To add insult to injury, after she graduated and was looking for work, schlepping her portfolio all over town — it was promptly stolen, and she had nothing to show for her years in college. Lucky for her, this time wasn’t a total loss — because it would be the town where she’d meet her lovely husband Colin. He was a DJ at the time and although he never played the music she requested, she was besotted and eventually made him hers.
In 1992 they moved to S. Florida, year of Hurricane Andrew. They started their own couture latex company called Hotbox Inc. They specialized in custom made fetish rubber clothing. They manufactured their own sheet rubber, which at the time was unheard of. Without any money to push the business forward it was a hard task and eventually they had to call it quits.
Sas worked in a department store, at a commercial art studio and a PIP printing (where she quit on her first day, before lunch)! It was around this time that she first saw an issue of Juxtapoz with a cover by Mark Ryden – and was struck. The urge to paint was growing, but she lacked the knowledge and confidence to do anything about it. It seemed so complicated. Her very early attempts were very graphic, comic book style. Hard colors. ”
Jam Sandwich” was the first layered painting she produced, and is the only one of her pieces that she will keep.
Her original inspirations relied heavily on anime, Tamara De Lempicka and Mark Ryden. She loved the creative expression of the Harajuku kids in Tokyo. They filled her with such hope and excitement. Originally the intention of her paintings was just about creating a strong image, purely visual. She wanted to impart a modern tongue-in-cheek humor, incorporating her experiences. Contemporary, ballsy, flirty, weepy girls; punk, catholic, no-nonsense, damaged but not broken girls. Funny, intelligent, unusual, independent, odd ball, outsiders. Lovely.
The next logical step for her was to move into oils. With no formal fine art training whatsoever, and no knowledge of art history and even less of art technique it seemed like the most complicated thing in the world — fat over lean? What the hell did that mean? So, in 2003 she bought a book off the Internet “How to Paint with Oils.” she decided to give it a go, and has never looked back. Oils have a whole new set of rules.
As time goes on she finds herself relying less on the narrative and more on the emotive. She hopes that her work can connect with people on different levels. She is trying to harness a single moment in time, an emotional response, seemingly insignificant gesture that can mean so much.
”If you have a creative impulse, whether it be art, music, writing, theater, cooking, whatever — express it. Don’t let you own hang-ups, caution, fear of failure or ridicule stop you…?”
TARA MCPHERSON’S WANDERING LUMINATIONS
Tara McPherson is an artist based out of New York City. Creating art about people and their odd ways, her characters seem to exude an idealized innocence with a glimpse of hard earned wisdom in their eyes. Recalling myths and legends, issues from childhood and good old life experience, she creates images that are thought provoking and seductive. People and their relationships are a central theme throughout her work.
TO GET TO TARA MCPHERSON WEBSITE, CLICK ON ANY IMAGES ABOVE!
World’s first drone-filmed porno actually quite picturesque!
Somewhere underneath the civil liberties issues and surveillance-creep worries about drones is something much more concrete: What if some peeping Tom with a drone caught me naked? What if it caught me fucking?
That fear is the impetus behind one of the world’s first drone-shot pornographic films, which, to be fair, skews way more artsy and thought provoking than your average entrant into the genre. (This is of course the point.)
“We wanted to explore the whole idea of drone privacy and strikes—this idea of ‘make porn, not war,’” Brandon LaGanke, one of the Brooklyn-based filmmakers behind “Drone Boning“ told me. “It started as a kind of funny commentary on privacy and voyeurism, but it quickly became a conceptual grounding.”
Tinder for threesomes. The Oculus Rift boob-grabbing sim. Every time humanity invents a new technology, enterprising pervs will inevitably figure out a way to bring sex into the equation. Well, Brooklyn film company Ghost+Cow have now done it with the first ever drone-shot porno. It’s called Drone Boning.
According to the filmmaker Brandon LaGanke, the idea started out as a light-hearted riff on surveillance culture and privacy. “The plan was to take beautiful landscapes,” he told Motherboard, “and just put people fucking in them.”
Sounds good to us! Filmed in San Francisco, the video shows straight and gay couples boning in the middle of sweeping landscapes, mountain vistas, and majestic beaches. It’s an aerial National Geographic with more breasts.
Unless the beauty of Mother Nature proves to be a real turn-on, you might struggle to get off on this. But hey, it’s worth a try for such a cinematic trailblazer.
Watch Drone Boning below (obviously NSFW):
Bull Shot-Gun Paintings
There is no exact process. If you want to do shotgun art, you take a piece of plywood, put a can of spracy paint in front of it, and shoot it with a shotgun or high powered rifle. The paint’s under high pressure so it explodes! Throws the can 300 feed. The paint sprays in exploding color across your surface. You can have as many colors as you want. Turn it around, do it sideways, and have one color coming in from this side and this side. Of course, they hit. Mix in all kinds of unpredictable patterns. This is related to Pollack’s drip canvases, although this is a rather more basically random process, there’s no possibility of predicting what patterns you’re going to get.
I’ve had some I’ve worked over for months. Get the original after the explosions and work it over with brushes and spray paints and silhouettes until I’m satisfied. So, there isn’t any set procedure. Sometimes you get it right there and you don’t touch it. The most important thing in painting is to know when to stop, when everything is finished. Doesn’t mean anything in writing.
During his later years in Kansas, Burroughs also developed a painting technique whereby he created abstract compositions by placing spray paint cans in front of, and some distance from, blank canvasses, and then shooting at the paint cans with a shot gun. These splattered canvasses were shown in at least one New York City gallery in the early 1990s.
In an interview with Gregory Ego, entitled “William Burroughs & the Flicker Machine,” as published in David Kerekes’ 2003 “Headpress (the journal of sex religion death),” William explains how he made ths shotgun art painting, and others.
Here’s is an excerpt from the interview:
EGO: Are you still doing your “shotgun art?”
BURROUGHS: Oh, all kinds. Brushwork. Shotgun. Paint. Knife.
EGO: What exact process do you use for your visual art?
BURROUGHS: There is no exact process. If you want to do shotgun art, you take a piece of plywood, put a can of spracy paint in front of it, and shoot it with a shotgun or high powered rifle. The paint’s under high pressure so it explodes! Throws the can 300 feed. The paint sprays in exploding color across your surface. You can have as many colors as you want. Turn it around, do it sideways, and have one color coming in from this side and this side. Of course, they hit. Mix in all kinds of unpredictable patterns. This is related to Pollack’s drip canvases, although this is a rather more basically random process, there’s no possibility of predicting what patterns you’re going to get.
I’ve had some I’ve worked over for months. Get the original after the explosions and work it over with brushes and spray paints and silhouettes until I’m satisfied. So, there isn’t any set procedure. Sometimes you get it right there and you don’t touch it. The most important thing in painting is to know when to stop, when everything is finished. Doesn’t mean anything in writing.
EGO: It does rely to a high degree on chance — the shotgun art?
BURROUGHS: It introduces a random factor, certainly.
EGO: Just like the cut-up method.
BURROUGHS: Yes. But you don’t have to use it all, you can use that as background. There’re a lot of other randomizing procedures like “marbling.” Take water and spray your paint on top of the water and then put your paper or whatever in the water and pull it out and it sticks in all sorts of random patterns. And then there’s the old inkblot. [Ruffles imaginary paper] Like that. Sometimes they’re good only as background or sometimes you get a picture that you’re satisfied with at once. There is no certain procedure.
EGO: Allen Ginsberg proposed to me that the cut-up technique you developed with Brion Gysin is a sort of counter-brainwashing technique. Do you agree with that?
BURROUGHS: It has that aspect in that you’re breaking down the word, you’re creating new words. Right as soon as you start cutting, you’re getting new words, new combinations of words. Yes, it has that aspect, sure.
But remember that all this brainwashing and propaganda, etc., is not by any means expected to reach any intelligent corners. It isn’t expected to convince anybody that has any sense. If they can get ten percent, that’s good. That’s the aim of propaganda; to get ten percent. They’re not trying to convince people that have a grain of sense.
OTHER SHORTS FROM OR WITH BURROUGHS
The Cut-Up Films
William S. Burroughs in UbuWeb Sound
A machine with a doll face mimics images on television screen in search of a satisfactory visage. Doll Face presents a visual account of desires misplaced and identities fractured by our technological extension into the future. I know this is nothing new, it’s been out there for years but maybe some of you haven’t seen it yet?? If so you will love it…
”I WILL GO TO THE OPENING OF ANYTHING, INCLUDING A TOILET SEAT”
I have social disease, I have to go out every night. If I stay home one nogtht spreading rumors to my dogs. Once I stayed home for a week and my dogs had a nervous breakdown. I love going out every night. It’s so exciting. I paint until the last minute and then go home for my first dinner of the night. I always have something simple and nutritious, because I don’t trust food anywhere but home. My favorite dinner is turkey and mashed potatoes-it looks clean.
I usually go out with one kid from my office-the Factory-like Fred Hugues, my business manager, or Bob Colacello, the editor of my magazine Interview. Enployees make the best dates. You don’t have to pick them up and they’re always tax-deductible. I also like the feeling of having several of having several of my employees all around a party-it’s like being at the office.
You really have Social Disease when you make all play work. The only reason to play hard is to work hard, not the other way around like most people think. That’s why I take my tape recorder everywhere I can. I also take my camera everywhere. Having a few rolls of film to develop gives me a good reason to get up in the morning.
I love the new, small, automatic-focus 35mm cameras like Minox and Konica. That’s what I used for the photos in this book. I think anybody can take a good picture. My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and a famous person doing something unfamous. It’s being in the right place at the wrong time. That’s why my favorite photographer is Ron Galella.
But back to m,y nightlife. After I’ve filled my plastic shopping bag from Brownie’s Health Food Shop with TDK ninety-minutes tapes, Kodak, TX-36 black-and-white film, and Duracell Alkaline AA batteries, I run out to my first party of the evening. I ususally catch the tail end of a cokctail party, then go to a couple of dinners, stop off at Le Club, Regine’s, or Xenon, and end up at Studio 54. Or I go to a SoHo opening, a Broadway opening, a boutique opening, a restaurant opening-when it opens I go. When it cloeses, I go too. I just go. That’s Social Disease.
The symptoms of Social Disease: You want to go out every night because you’re afraid if you stay home you might miss something. You choose your friends according to wether or not they have a limousine. You prefer exhiliration to conversation unless the subject is gossip. You judge a party by how many celebreties are there-if they serve caviar they don’t have any celebrities. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is read the society columns. If your name is actually mentionned your day is made. Publicity is the ultimate symptom of Social Disease. But you know it’s fatal when you don’t want to get rid of it. You couldn’t anyway. How do you catch Social Disease? By kissing someone on both cheeks. Kissing people on both cheeks started out in France, like most diseases. It’s the society thing to do. Socialites never shakes hands. It hurts too much.
People say there’s no such thing as Society anymore. I think they’re wrong. There’s a new kind of Society. Now it doesn’t matter if you came over on the Mayflower, so long as you can get in Studio 54. Anyone rich, powerfull, beautiful, or famous can get into Society. If you’re a few of those things you can really get to the top.
This book is about the people at the top, or around the top. But the top’s the bottom. Everyone up there has Social Disease…
It’s the bubonic plague of our time, the black and white life and death.
WHEN HARRY MET DEBBIE…
“Hi, it’s Deb. You know, when I woke up this morning I had a realization about myself. I was always Blondie. People always called me Blondie, ever since I was a little kid. What I realized is that at some point I became Dirty Harry. I couldn’t be Blondie anymore, so I became Dirty Harry.”
Debbie Harry of Blondie, Coney Island, NY, 1977 —Image © Bob Gruen
“It was in the early ’70s and I was trying to get across town at two or three o’clock in the morning. This little car kept coming around and offering me a ride. I kept saying ‘No’ but finally I took the ride because I couldn’t get a cab.”
“I got in the car and the windows were are rolled up, except for a tiny crack. This driver had an incredibly bad smell to him. I looked down and there were no door handles. The inside of the car was stripped. The hairs on the back of my neck just stood up.”
“I wiggled my arm out of the window and pulled the door handle from the outside. I don’t know how I did it, but I got out. He tried to stop me by spinning the car but it sort of helped me fling myself out.”
” Afterwards I saw him on the news– Ted Bundy.”
Debbie Harry, NYC, 1976 — Image © Bob Gruen
1978 — Debbie Harry of Blondie — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
Debbie Harry, New Jersey, 1978 – Image © Bob Gruen New Jersey’s own Debbie Harry is an icon and sex symbol (those dead eyes and daft lips…) of the 1970s Punk / New Wave / Art scene. She originally hailed from Hawthorne and went on to graduate from Centenary College in Hackettstown — all just a long stones’ throw from my own stomping grounds. Eesh.
Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop, Toronto, Canada, 1977 — Images © Bob Gruen
1982 — Debbie Harry of Blondie — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis-
New York, 1978 — Debbie Harry of Blondie — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
Los Angeles, California, 1977 — Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, Chris Stein, Debbie Harry, Gary Valentine. — Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis
Los Angeles, California, 1977 — Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri, Debbie Harry, Gary Valentine, Clem Burke. — Image by © Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis
1977 — Debbie Harry of Blondie — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
A young Debbie Harry
1978 — Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
1978 — Debbie Harry, lead singer of the Rock Group, Blondie — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
1978 — Debbie Harry, lead singer of the Rock Group, Blondie — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
1979 — Blondie — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
ca. 1980s — Debbie Harry of Blondie — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
Los Angeles, California, 1977 — New wave band Blondie, from left– Gary Valentine, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri, and Clem Burke. — Image by © Henry Diltz/Corbis
1978 — Debbie Harry with a Knife — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis
Debbie Harry, Basquiat, Fab Fred, NYC 1981 — Image by © Lynn Goldsmith
Debbie Harry of Blondie models for one of Andy Warhol’s paintings — Image by © Chris Stein via
ca. 1970s — Rockers Vicki Blue, Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, David Johansen, Joey Ramone, and Mickey Leigh perform a fake wedding ceremony. — Image by © Corbis
Debbie Harry of Blondie
1978 — Joan Jett and Debbie Harry of Blondie backstage at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, PA at a gig featuring The Runaways, The Ramones & The Jam — Image by © Scott Weiner/Retna Ltd./Corbis
Debbie Harry and Nancy Spungen
The Clash with Al Fields, David Johansen and Debbie Harry, NYC, 1979 — Image by © Bob Gruen
ca. 1970s — Debbie Harry of Blondie booty-bumpin’ a beater.
1978 — Debbie Harry and Chris Stein — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
1978, Philadelphia, PA — Chris Stein and Debbie Harry — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis-
New York — An early publicity photo of new wave band Blondie. From left– Gary Valentine, Clem Burke, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, and Jimmy Destri — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis
1978, London, England — Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie at the opening of Blondie in Camera exhibition at the Mirandy Gallery — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
1978, London, England — Debbie Harry of Blondie at the opening of Blondie in Camera exhibition at the Mirandy Gallery — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis
Debbie Harry, 1969
Original post by JP in
1967– Sharon Tate for a spread in Esquire Magazine, 1967, in a t-shirt printed with the Vietnam Star. –Photo by William Helburn
So this is what the internets are recently abuzz about– The Mad Men costume designer channeling the essence of Sharon Tate, circa Esquire Magazine 1969, by placing the same Vietnam Star T-shirt on Megan Draper. Which, mind you– was probably not for sale at your local Hot Topic, head shop, or Amazon.com back then, so kinda random and creepy. It’s a pretty good ploy to generate some buzz– made me look twice, and I haven’t watched the show in a few years now. Probably exactly what they were going for. I will say, for the record, that the original photography by William Helburn is amazing– downright titillating, even.
But if you find this kind of stuff remotely interesting, the real tingler is how Steve McQueen himself almost ended up a part of the Manson massacre, and could have shared in Sharon Tate and the other’s gruesome fate…
Sharon Tate for Esquire magazine, 1967 –Photo by William Helburn
Sharon Tate for Esquire magazine, 1967 –Photo by William Helburn
1967– Sharon Tate for a spread in Esquire Magazine, 1967, in a t-shirt printed with the Vietnam Star. –Photo by William Helburn
From The Daily Mail, the alleged accounts of McQueen’s infidelities and loathsome ways that put him on the road to creeps-ville, and in the path of Manson’s murderous crew–
”For years, as his [a young Steve McQueen's] career failed to ignite, he leeched off a successful dancer called Neile Adams — spending her earnings on new cars, drugs and other women.
Eventually marrying her in 1956, he landed a small role soon afterwards in the film of Harold Robbins’s trashy novel, Never Love A Stranger. Within days, he’d embarked on an intensely sexual affair with the film’s leading lady actress Lita Milan — and then proudly told his wife about it. According to Neile: ‘Lita would be the first in a long line of flings that would plague me throughout our married life. OK, I thought, I can handle it — I have to — as long as he doesn’t flaunt it.”
But, as McQueen’s career gathered pace, he never stopped flaunting his affairs — with co-stars including Jacqueline Bisset and Lee Remick, not to mention a host of starlets and fans. Perhaps as a test of his wife’s devotion, he made indiscreet phone calls within her hearing and left lipstick smudges on his shirts (and trousers) and love notes in his pockets.
By 1960, Neile had given up work and given birth to a son and daughter. Still struggling to be the kind of wife he wanted, she’d boil up the high-grade peyote he bought from Navajo Indians, and then disappear while McQueen got stoned with his friends.
He also started going for all-night benders at the Whisky a Go Go club on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, where he met one of his chief partners in crime: a womanising hairdresser called Jay Sebring. The two men, fuelled by alcohol and cocaine, shared the sexual favours of a Bambi-eyed starlet called Sharon Tate, often in the same bed at the same time. And their friendship continued even after she married the director Roman Polanski.
Sharon Tate for Esquire magazine, 1967 –Photo by William Helburn
On the afternoon of August 7, 1969, Sebring went to McQueen’s house to give him a trim and suggested they attend a party that evening at Sharon’s house. McQueen said he’d be there. Before setting out, however, he was called by a young and beautiful blonde he was seeing at the time. Come along to the party, he said — but she told him she had a better idea for just the two of them.
Thus, by a whisker, Steve McQueen avoided being massacred by the Manson ‘family’, the hippie followers of the manipulative psychopath Charles Manson, who butchered Tate and three guests — including Sebring, who was shot and stabbed. Ironically, McQueen’s adultery had saved his life.
Two months later, when the killers were arrested, police discovered McQueen’s name on a hit-list of people whom Manson had decided to kill. It turned out that someone at McQueen’s production company had once rejected a screenplay by Manson. From then on, the actor carried a loaded Magnum at all times.
Letter written to McQueen’s attorney, Edward “Eddie” Rubin on Le Mans / Solar Productions letterhead, by Steve McQueen, documenting his concerns about Charles Manson and his murdering crew of misfits. He, as wells as, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Tome Jones (good company…) were believed, through an investigation of the murders, to be targeted for assassination by Charles Manson’s crew.
Original article published in
Nick Cave’s mind is a deep spring of dark beauty and improbable inspirations. He is a restless creator, skipping blithely across genres and forms, from music and literature to screenwriting, acting, and even theater. After cutting his teeth in the late ’70s and early ’80s with the bombastic Australian goth-rock progenitors the Birthday Party, Cave assembled the seminal post-punk outfit the Bad Seeds in 1983, refining his music’s mix of blues, gospel, and experimental elements. He also fully came into his persona as a noir antihero with his elegiac baritone and a narrative songwriting style that has always suggested a deeper mythology. But the role of rock musician has never been enough to contain Cave’s overflow of creative energy. He published his first book, King Ink, in 1988 and since then has published four more (And the Ass Saw the Angel in 1989, The Complete Lyrics in 2001 and 2006, andThe Death of Bunny Munro in 2009). He has written screenplays for the spectacularly gory Western The Proposition (2005) and the 1930s crime drama Lawless(2012); and, with his longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, he has composed numerous original films scores, including those for Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) and John Hillcoat’s The Road (2009). He has even found himself in front of the camera on occasion, appearing in the 1989 Australian filmGhosts … of the Civil Dead and the 1991 indie classic Johnny Suede, and has worked with Ellis to score stage productions ofWoyzeck, Metamorphosis, and Faust for the Vesturport and Reykjavík City Theatre companies in Iceland.
Following a five-year hiatus during which Cave explored garage-rock ferocity with his side band Grinderman, the Bad Seeds returned in February with their 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.), a quieter, more minimalist collection of songs than the group’s previous effort, 2008′sDig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, but one that still manages to convey the Seeds’ brand of mystery and menace.
Cave, now 55, recently reunited with Jesse James director Dominik at the Sunset Marquis hotel bar in West Hollywood, where their conversation spanned the Cave oeuvre and even included a surprise guest appearance by the original Wild Rose herself, Kylie Minogue, who was in Los Angeles recording an album.
ANDREW DOMINIK: I’m curious about when you write a song about a particular person or an event in your life—like the song “Far From Me.” Do you think of that person or thing when you hear the song?
NICK CAVE: Yeah. And when I sing those songs at a gig, they bring me to that person, like they kind of regenerate the memory of that person over and over and over again—an imagined memory of that person. When I’m singing “Deanna,” for example, which I sing pretty much every night, it brings forward a kind of imagined, romanticized lie about this particular person, which I find really comforting and exciting to sing about. Sometimes the song isn’t strong enough to contain the fiction, because memories are fictions. And the songs kind of break down and are not singable, so they don’t ever get played live, because they’re not strong enough to contain the memory of that person. But “Deanna,” who you know, because she became your girlfriend and you have a child from her …
DOMINIK: Actually, when I started going out with Deanna [Bond] was when the song came out.
CAVE: Oh, really? I didn’t know that! [laughs]
DOMINIK: I don’t find your lyrics obtuse or difficult to understand in any way. I’ve been listening to you for 25 years. Those songs have always been a part of my life, so I have ideas about all of them—all the ones that have meant something to me. With “Deanna,” the one thing I always used to wonder about was the chorus: “I ain’t down here for your money / I ain’t down here for your love / … I’m down here for your soul.”
CAVE: For me, that particular chorus is beautiful in that song because in a live situation, it takes that song out of the personal and becomes something that I’m singing to everybody, and then it kind of telescopes back into this song about this mythic relationship that I had with your former girlfriend. [laughs]
DOMINIK: She told me you’d known her for, like, two weeks, and you’d gone to England and come back, and she went to the recording studio, and the first thing that she was presented with was you singing the song to her. And the song predicts the life that you’re going to lead together to some extent.
CAVE: Songs do do that, and that’s the uncanny and sometimes scary thing about a song. Susie [Bick], my wife, understands that very well. I wrote a song off the new record called “Wide Lovely Eyes,” which is about a woman going away and their sort of disassembling of a relationship. She’s like, “Why did you write that?” Not that she would ever ask me what a line is in a song, because she’s an artist at heart, and artists don’t ask other artists that because they understand that you just write what you can write. But the songs do kind of feel like they know something sometimes that I don’t know. Or even that they are more courageous, in the sense that your art can pave the way for what might follow. But “Wide Lovely Eyes” is really about the anxiety I feel when Susie goes away. It’s basically a song where I watch her out of the windows of my place do this walk that goes through the gardens in front of my house and down to the sea. And there is an anxiety that one day she won’t come back. Not that she’s going to leave me or something, but in the most abstract sense that’s what drives the melancholy of that particular song.
DOMINIK: Do you worry, then, if you come across a bit of grit in a song? A line might suggest that there’s a loose thread in your life?
CAVE: Well, I think our relationship is in much better shape if I’m writing songs like that than, you know, “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You.”
DOMINIK: I agree. There has to be room for all sides of a person, otherwise, if something’s repressed, it’s going to pop at some point.
CAVE: Going back to the “Deanna” song, even though it’s a wildly imagined universe—it’s a mythic kind of song, obviously—there’s much in it that is quite accurate in a weird sort of way about that short period of time I spent with her. Those songs do, in a live situation, if they’re any good, springboard me back into the past or encourage the ghosts of the past to come that little bit closer. And the older I get, the more I feel those kinds of ghosts—especially the women in my life—moving out of the shadows a bit more and becoming more present in my life.
DOMINIK: What do you mean?
CAVE: Those kind of memories—before it was kind of one after another and you found a new one. But the value of those relationships is much more important to me now than 10 years ago. Maybe it’s because I’m settled in a relationship. They feel like they’re coming out of the shadows. I’m only talking in the most abstract way. I have no interest in reconnecting on Facebook with these people or something like that. But those memories are becoming clearer to me.
DOMINIK: Movies are the same way. They have an unconscious thing going on inside them. The song comes into being in a certain period of time before it’s lost its mystery, before you know what it means to you. You can write a script and you’re following some impulse, but you’re not really aware of its meaning. But after you live with it for, like, three years, you start to see that the things that are predicted come true, or you start to see what it’s about, and it’s like the unconscious energy dissipates.
CAVE: Your movies seem to be about fiction and myth and what happened and what didn’t happen, or at least Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James feel very much about that. I know you were meticulous, or as meticulous as you could be, with Jesse James, but that film seems to me to be very much imagined, mythic.
DOMINIK: Yeah, but there’s two people—one of them is very anxious and the other one’s depressed—and it’s really a sort of tale of suicide. It reminds me of events in my life, things that I’ve been around. It’s a fantasy, but still it has emotional energies, and they come from somewhere.
CAVE: Is it easier for you to do that in a period film? You were saying on the bus last night, when we were going to the gig [in San Diego], that they’re the books you’re most interested in—books that occur in another period of time. Is that because it’s easier to fictionalize and to imagine?
DOMINIK: I just think it’s more mythological somehow. There’s something more archetypal about it. They say that stories are how we give meaning to our lives; they’re how we organize reality. Fairy tales are descriptions of unconscious processes that a child has in order to deal with abandonment, and this is potentially the use of movies, of stories. And I think songs are the same. A song can offer advice on how to deal with a situation. It can be a conduit to grief—to being able to feel something.
CAVE: I think it can work in that way. But I would hate to think my songs were giving advice to people. DOMINIK: It’s more in the sense of survival.
CAVE: Yeah. I often get people writing to me about how these songs helped them through a situation. But I would have thought the power of a good song is that it draws you out of your own situation and that you enter a completely different world. And that’s what I like about watching a movie: you enter an imagined world that’s more interesting, more engaging than your own. Or less painful than your own.
DOMINIK: The fantasy gives you the courage to feel things.
CAVE: Movies are wonderful like that. Where you find yourself weeping in the cinema, and it’s over a little thing. One of my triggers is a man trying to do the right thing. It gets me every time.
DOMINIK: Do you want to know how the subject of the song reacts to it?
CAVE: No. Early on I realized when you write a song about someone, it flatters them on some level, and gives you a lot of room to move within a relationship. A song can kind of get the girl, for sure. But for me and Susie, there is a kind of pact that goes on between the writer and subject, or the particular muse at the time. There is nothing private and there’s nothing sacred—there’s nothing that isn’t food for the songs.
DOMINIK: This is a conversation that you’ve had?
CAVE: I have talked to her about this: “You’ll get immortalized, you’ll be in songs. But you’ve got to understand that anything vaguely interesting that happens between us will end up mashed into some sort of song.” [laughs] But it doesn’t really matter what’s said about the person, ultimately. That someone sat down and spent that amount of time thinking about them, no matter how they’re thinking about them, is a compliment in some way.
DOMINIK: Like “Scum.”
CAVE: I was just thinking about “Scum.” Mat [Snow, the music journalist] loves that song.
DOMINIK: I’m sure he does. What do you think of “Scum?” Is it something that was tossed off?
CAVE: Musically, it was very much tossed off, because we didn’t want to spend any time doing the music to it—it would have defeated the purpose.
DOMINIK: It’s a favorite of mine, because it’s so vicious. The feeling in it is so palpable.
CAVE: The thing about that song is that what initiated it was the tiniest thing. I remember to this day that I’d opened up the paper … Snow had written a review of the first Bad Seeds record, From Her to Eternity , calling it one of the greatest rock records ever made. Then we put out the next one, that bluesy one—
DOMINIK: The Firstborn Is Dead .
CAVE: Which he said in a review of a single by [the German industrial band] Einstürzende Neubauten, something like, “Unlike the Bad Seeds’ latest record, which lacks dramatic intensity, this record, blah blah blah …” I just grabbed hold of those fucking three words like, “You fucker.” As I do, I stewed on that and sat down and wrote this bilious song about him, because I had lived with him.
DOMINIK: You weren’t living there at the time.
CAVE: No. But that kind of rage behind something like that is infectious and ultimately really enjoyable.
DOMINIK: It must be great to be able to vent things immediately. That’s the thing that I look at with such envy about music.
CAVE: Well, I’ve watched you make movies. I’ve watched John Hillcoat making movies, and I cannot understand how he can do what he does. Hang on to an idea and just push on and push on …
DOMINIK: Orson Welles said making a movie is like playing with the biggest train set any boy ever had. It involves every discipline: you write, you deal with performance, you deal with architecture, you deal with sound, you deal with music. And there’s a certain point in the making of a film when you feel like you’re in charge of an orchestra, and every little piece of it is building to something. What you really need more than anything is just the ability to endure frustration.
CAVE: Yeah … John has that ability.
DOMINIK: The other thing I wanted to ask about songwriting is about the relationship between words and music. I know that some people will come up with a riff, and then they have to get vowel sounds—”ar,” “eh”—the sound that will sound good with that music. They almost scat along before the words appear.
CAVE: That happens when we do songwriting together as a band, which we do with Grinderman. I ad lib initially, and that has just as much to do with what sounds good as with what something means. There is a great thing that goes on with that, because we do it for five or six days solid—playing from the morning till late at night without stopping. That does create a certain type of hysteria in the studio—lyrical hysteria, where you’re singing just to entertain the troops. You’re singing about stuff that, taken out of context, you can’t even believe is coming out of your mouth. And sometimes that stuff works really well with Grinderman, where it’s a kind of theme that you can develop.
DOMINIK: And then there are other songs that start with words?
CAVE: Yeah, they go in different ways. But it’s kind of a private thing—other than those Grinderman sessions where I’m dealing very much with the band members, I’m alone in an office somewhere writing songs with a pencil.
DOMINIK: And what’s it like when you have to present a song to the band?
CAVE: It used to be terrifying. There’s much more communication within the Bad Seeds now than there used to be. No one talked about music or ever said anything like, “That sounds good.” So you would say, “Right, this one goes like this,” and you start playing at the piano and singing, and then you finish and everyone just stands there, and they drift off and pick up the thing. So you never knew the effect that the songs had back then. Now, with Warren in the band, he talks about music all the time.
DOMINIK: At least they enjoyed playing it, right?
CAVE: Blixa [Bargeld, former Bad Seeds guitarist], usually after a record, would come up to me and go, “Darling, we’ve made a good record.” And then, “Goodbye.” That always meant a whole lot to me.
DOMINIK: Would he tell you if he didn’t like something?
CAVE: Oh, yeah. One time I wrote this song called “Sheep May Safely Graze,” which was about my child, and how I’ll protect him from the wolves and the crocodiles. It was, to be fair, a pretty sentimental kind of thing. Blixa came over and said, “Darling, let’s leave that one for the child.” [laughs] “Go home and play it to him. Let’s not inflict that on the world.”
DOMINIK: The new record seems less narrative.
CAVE: I’ve always hated narrative songs. I hate those songs where, basically, it’s an unfolding of a story. Dylan wrote like that. I can’t bear them, to be honest—you know, “The Ballad of Such and Such.” You listen to the story—and it’s beautifully written. But on some level, you hear it once and you’ve got the gist of it. There’s this kind of tyranny of the narrative, where you have to engage from the beginning of the song and listen to the end. But I’ve always found that that’s just the way I write. If I can’t visualize the thing on the page, it’s completely meaningless to me. I can’t write that “I love you, baby,” which are the songs I love, like a James Brown song, that just come and “get funky!” They’re the songs that I really respond to myself. But I’m a storyteller. I felt really pleased with this record and, to a certain extent, the last record, that the narrative structure had been shattered, but there are still highly visual songs where you enter a kind of world when you listen to them and things are going on, but you don’t have to get locked into them.
DOMINIK: I was thinking, watching the show last night, that that’s sort of similar to “Stranger Than Kindness.” It is an unusual song because it is like a collection of poetic non sequiturs that describe a relationship that you see in a dream fashion. That’s similar to the new record.
CAVE: I love that song because I didn’t write it, for one thing. Anita [Lane] wrote the lyrics, and I don’t fully understand it. I know it’s about me.
DOMINIK: You certainly get pictures—you get the essence of something. And therefore it’s larger.
CAVE: It all connects me very much to that memory of Anita. That’s what I was talking about before. That’s what all the songs to me are largely about: memory. That’s why when I hear that our record’s been bought, that we’ve lost our catalogs to some multinational company—EMI—and then they sold them to somewhere else, and there’s someone there that’s looking at the figures and seeing whether they should delete this record, you know, whether it’s worth it even being manufactured anymore … It is terrifying.
DOMINIK: Do you think there’s any danger of that?
CAVE: Oh, yeah, for sure.
DOMINIK: Well, Bella [Heathcote, Dominik's partner] got up this morning and bought the entire Bad Seeds back catalog.
CAVE: Did she? [laughs] Very good. You know the great thing about the internet is that it’s gonna save that. Maybe nobody’s making any money on it—I don’t really care about that aspect—but at least you can listen to pretty much any song I’ve ever done, or anybody’s ever done. And those songs’ fate isn’t at the whim of some fucking bean counter at EMI.
DOMINIK: Why did you get into being a musician?
CAVE: I was talking to my kids, actually—they’re 12—I remember being that age and deciding I wanted to be a painter. I went to school and really got into painting and learned all about art history. It was the one subject that I excelled at because I had a genuine interest in it. I went to art school and then failed second year. I just thought I was the fucking greatest painter in the world. I was—we all were—heavily influenced by Brett Whiteley, the Australian painter, or Francis Bacon. We were makin’ Bacon, as they say. But I wasn’t actually painting very much in my second year. I was more meeting people and hanging out with the other artists. Being in art school was just amazing.
DOMINIK: Film school was the same.
CAVE: I’d gone from this stultifying grammar school and suddenly I was considered to be a fag and all the rest of it, and I was amongst these artists. It was amazing, but I failed. So my only option was this band; it had just been this thing we did on the weekends …
DOMINIK: Did you have any anxiety about getting up and singing? Did you have any shyness about it?
CAVE: I do have huge anxieties about it, not shyness. Maybe it’s shyness …
DOMINIK: You do now?
CAVE: I always do, yeah.
DOMINIK: But you didn’t feel that last night when you played your gig …
CAVE: No, I didn’t. You know, it’s just a thing about the voice. Last night was a good night for me—at least vocally. Some nights it’s not good. I was the singer because I was the unmusical one—I didn’t play anything amongst a group of friends at school. I had a certain way about being on stage, I guess. And then I could sort of scurry through the door of punk rock with my voice.
DOMINIK: When did you start to take it seriously?
CAVE: I don’t know how to answer that question, but I do know the moment when I realized we were on to something. We’d made the Birthday Party record [Prayers on Fire, 1981] with the song “King Ink.” I remember really clearly listening to the record with Rowland S. Howard after it had come out. It was like, “There’s something going on there. That’s not like other people’s songs.” There was something going on narratively and musically that was kind of gelling in that song that was different—that not only surpassed our influences but raised its head or broke free of the influences that are so apparent on that earlier Boys Next Door [Cave's previous band] stuff.
DOMINIK: Rowland has said many times that it was fantastic to be in the Birthday Party, because he was in the best band in the world. They seemed like a thing that could explode at any moment. It kind of ended at the peak, right?
CAVE: Well, who knows where the peak was. But it ended very suddenly.
DOMINIK: Do you remember those times?
CAVE: I remember that there was a gig at a university or something like that, and this guy doing our publicity got all the record companies to come, and all these celebrities were there. It was a big showcase of the Birthday Party, and it was a night of absolute horror on every level. Tracy [Pew] had OD’d in the band room—we literally had to inject him with amphetamine to get him to wake up to get him on stage. Mick Harvey knocked me out on stage—there was some altercation with someone out front between me and the microphone stand and his head. And then Tracy kept falling over. And I think Rowland OD’d after the show. We got a big audience because of those sorts of gigs, I guess. [laughs] In a way, the Birthday Party set up something that we could react against for years to come. It was kind of a lovely force field that existed in people’s imaginations to propel the Bad Seeds’ career, where we could do different sorts of records. That kind of feeling of confusing or confounding the audience has always been one of those things that holds us together.
DOMINIK: Are you a contrary person by nature?
CAVE: There’s definitely a love of defending the indefensible. I’m sure you know that very well. [both laugh]
DOMINIK: Yeah. There’s a real joy that I feel in doing that, but much less as I get older.
DOMINIK: Do you find life is easier with a project to organize it around? Have you gone through periods of doing nothing?
CAVE: Yeah. After the first time I went into a rehab, I came out and did nothing for, like, eight months—didn’t write a song, didn’t do any touring, just was supposed to be getting clean. And I just sat in this room on my own. I lived with Evan English—do you know him? He’s a producer …
DOMINIK: Yeah. That would’ve been awful. [laughs]
CAVE: I think I was watching seven videos a day.
DOMINIK: Would you not go to meetings and all that stuff?
CAVE: No, I didn’t get into that whole scene. People would come over and I would just sort of sit there with the remote like some mad person. They would try to talk and I would just turn up the volume.
DOMINIK: Did you not have the feeling of being restored when you got clean? Any sense of joy?
CAVE: No. I just thought, Okay, this is what life is; this is the fucking hell.
DOMINIK: You were just white-knuckling it.
CAVE: Then someone decided to do a tour of Brazil … [laughs] I just walked out into the sunshine there, grabbed a beer, and fell in love on the second day. And just never went home—stayed in Brazil. So that was not doing anything.
DOMINIK: That’s the last time?
CAVE: Well, no. There were other times where I couldn’t do anything because I was so fucked up. But since I stopped taking drugs 14 years ago, I’ve just worked, worked, worked. And progressively so. You may not remember saying this, but we were talking about scriptwriting, and you said, “What the fuck are you doing that for?” It had quite an impact. When I got asked to write The Proposition, it was this really exciting thing. I didn’t know anything about scriptwriting, so it was really exciting to just write the story I wanted to write. Then I did Lawless—and I had written a couple in between them, which were fun, too—and was suddenly like, “Oh, I’m a scriptwriter. This is what scriptwriters do; they get their notes and dash out something and send it back.” Around that time was when you said, “Why do you do this?”
DOMINIK: I guess I knew you took songwriting really seriously and that you took screenwriting less seriously, but if it’s fun—
CAVE: And I think you also said, “Maybe you should hack it out.” [laughs]
DOMINIK: Look, I figured it would be unpleasant for you to have to be taking notes, because you don’t have to. So why do it? I mean, if you can make music …
CAVE: Yeah. But the problem with making music is that no one wants you to make more than one record every three years. It’s different now because of the internet and the whole collapse of the record industry. But back in those days, it fucked up their marketing schedule if you made a record every two years, let alone one every year. It just wasn’t enough work, so that’s why I started doing extracurricular activities like writing books and that sort of stuff.
DOMINIK: The other thing I wanted to ask you is whether you believe in god.
CAVE: Well, I believe in the idea more than the actuality. I think it’s a part of us as human beings that we search outside of ourselves for meaning. It’s a hugely endearing aspect of our characters as human beings, despite how corrupt and destructive some of those ideas can be. But whether I actually believe in a god, in the traditional sense? I don’t. Religion is an act of the imagination, but on some level, it can be seen as a kind of failure of the imagination, because the idea is not that great. The idea is as small as our collective imagination can be, if you know what I mean. I’ve got to say that the first thing that disappeared for me when I got clean was my belief in god. I was fucking crazy. Towards the end, I was waking up cold turkey and going to church, sick as a fucking dog. I’m sitting there sweating and listening to everything, and then trotting down to the golden road and scoring and getting back home and shooting up and going, “I’m living a well-rounded existence.” [both laugh] You know, a bit of this and a bit of that. So the first thing that went was that supposed spiritual need of that conventional kind. But I don’t know why we went from nothing to something.
DOMINIK: What do you mean?
CAVE: The origins of the world and all that sort of stuff. I guess we know the how with the Big Bang, but what exists behind that gives me a certain kind of vertigo, even getting my head around that.
DOMINIK: So it’s the stories.
CAVE: Personally I find the story of Christ incredibly moving. And the way that the Gospels were written—despite the kind of hell those stories unleashed upon the world, even to this day, I find those stories very powerful and moving.
[Kylie Minogue and a rep from her management company enter the restaurant]
DOMINIK: Hey, some fancy ladies.
KYLIE MINOGUE: Hey, how are you?
DOMINIK: God, you look beautiful. How are you? I’m wearing these because I’m deaf and blind from seeing the Bad Seeds last night.
CAVE: We’re doing an interview.
MINOGUE: And I come in just at the end?
DOMINIK: Yeah, you can make a cameo appearance.
CAVE: Why are you here?
MINOGUE: I’m recording.
CAVE: Are you making a record here?
MINOGUE: I’ve actually got a listening session. I’ve got to go back to play it for the label.
CAVE: Oh, really? They haven’t heard it?
MINOGUE: It’s nearly done.
[Tape recorder pauses, then comes back with Minogue and Dominik talking]
MINOGUE: Okay. So while Nick is away, rustling up a menu, I can tell you that few men have really been very influential in my career, but he’s one of them.
CAVE: Are you on?
DOMINIK: We were talking about you.
CAVE: How influential?
MINOGUE: Super-influential. I don’t want to embarrass you.
CAVE: It doesn’t embarrass me.
MINOGUE: It’s only good things. [laughs]
DOMINIK: So do you remember when you became aware of Nick Cave?
MINOGUE: Yeah. When Michael Hutchence [the late lead singer of INXS] said to me, “My friend Nick wants to do a record with you.”
DOMINIK: I remember Mick Harvey had been ringing me to try to find your number for Michele [Bennett, a former girlfriend of Hutchence's]. No, I think it was Mick rang me to get Michele to get Michael’s number.
MINOGUE: Wow, convoluted. So you spoke to Michael?
CAVE: I can’t remember. But anyway, Michael got spoken to [Minogue laughs], like, “Where’s Kylie? Because we want to ask her to sing.” And he goes, “She’s sitting right here.” You were at a hotel.
MINOGUE: Yes, maybe we were on holiday somewhere. Anyway, the message got passed, and then nothing happened for six years.
MINOGUE: When did we do “Where the Wild Roses Grow”?
CAVE: I thought you came straight away and did it.
MINOGUE: No, because we did that in the mid-’90s, and I was dating Michael in, like, 1990, ’91.
CAVE: Are you sure about that? Because I thought we talked to you and said we got this song.
MINOGUE: Yeah, but that was years later in Melbourne, where it came through Mushroom Records. You were signed on Mushroom for a bit, right?
CAVE: Suicide Records, which was a subsidiary.
MINOGUE: Somehow we were on the same label, and I was asked about it, and a CD was sent over with your vocals and Blixa’s. And then I called you, but you were out, so I left a message with your mum. I said to her, “Well, he can call me at my mum’s house.” [laughs] And then the first day I met Nick was in the studio, which was cool because—
CAVE: We were all sitting there on our best behavior.
MINOGUE: You’ve always been on your best behavior when you’re with me. But it was great because it was like you were directing me.
CAVE: You sang it first take and there was a little bit of warbling on the end of the notes. Then we just asked you to not—
MINOGUE: To not sing it so much.
CAVE: To not sing it so well.
MINOGUE: Almost talking singing, and very fragile.
CAVE: And then you sang it.
MINOGUE: I don’t know how many takes, but it was really fast.
CAVE: Two takes.
MINOGUE: Was it? [laughs]
CAVE: Legend has it.
ANDREW DOMINIK IS AN AUSTRALIAN SCREENWRITER AND DIRECTOR.
Prison storytelling, Subcultural Anthropology and the Allure of Darkness.
by Maria Popova
In the 1970’s, while American hippies were busy inking themselves with peace signs and psychedelic rainbows, Danzig Baldayev, a guard at St. Petersburg’s notorious Kresty Prison, began documenting the far less Woodstockian body art of Russia’s most infamous criminals.
For 33 years, Baldayev used his exclusive access to and rapport with the prisoners to hand-illustrate and capture in artful photographs more than 3,600 inmate tattoos — as admirable a feat artistically as it was sociologically.
In 2003, when he was in his late 70’s, Baldayev began releasing his magnificent archive as a series of books revealing a rich and eerie intersection of art and violence.
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volumes I, IIand III offer not only a visceral record of this intersection, but also Baldayev’s aambitious effort to, through text and illustrations, parse the meaning of these tattoos and place them in the context of this fiercely self-contained subculture. (Or, as it were, institution-contained as well.)
Perhaps even more striking than the body art itself is how Baldayev was able to talk some of Russia’s most dangerous convicts into posing for such intimate and often vulnerable portraits, an intimacy also seen in the work of Canadian photographer Donald Weber:
For a related glimpse of this darkly enigmatic world, the excellent Oscar-nominated 2007 film Eastern Promises about the Russian mob in London, starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortensen, offers an intriguing look at tattoos as storytelling, a narrative through which prisoners told their life stories and conveyed their credos.
Each of the volumes is an absolute masterpiece and a fascinating slice of (sub)cultural anthropology. It’s the kind of thing that adds instant conversation potential to any home library or coffee table, and guaranteed you’re-cooler-than-my-other-friends gifting recognition.
Some images by Donald Weber
PINK FLOYD FOUNDER SYD BARRETT’S FIRST PSYCHEDELIC TRIP, CAPTURED ON FILM
JUST CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW FOOTAGE!
In 2000, at my favorite outré movie rental shop B-Ware Video, a cheap, bootleg-looking DVD arrived in stock, with a shoddily designed cover announcing its contents to be footage of founding Pink Floyd top dog Syd Barrett’s first psychedelic trip. I never did rent it—though I was keen to see it, I hadn’t partaken of psychedelics or even pot in years by then, so my interest wasn’t so great that there wasn’t always something else I’d have rather rented. So a long succession of “maybe next times” turned into an unequivocal “never” when, to my heartbreak, the store closed. I attended their inventory liquidation, but though I came home with a lot of brilliant stuff, someone seems to have beaten me to snapping up that Syd Barrett DVD; I couldn’t find it, so my curiosity about the formative psychedelic experience of one of the great architects of psychedelic music went unsatisfied.
But time and YouTube heal many of those kinds of wounds, and sure enough, it’s online in all its amateurish 8mm glory. The first half of the film features some dreamy and quite lovely overexposed footage of the young Barrett and some fellow hallucinogenic travelers gamboling through a field and setting a small brush fire – kids, don’t set fires when you’re tripping at home, OK? Then, at about 5:38 of the 11:34 opus, the scene abruptly shifts to the outside of Abbey Road Studios in London, where Pink Floyd are celebrating the signing of their recording contract with EMI. It would only be a few years before Barrett’s gifts were lost to the world due to drug-fueled mental illness, and the band would go on to inconhood without him. The man who shot the footage, Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, contributed this synopsis to the film’s IMDB page:
I am Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon and I shot this film of Syd on a visit from film school in London to my hometown, Cambridge. We were on the Gog Magog hills with a bunch of friends. David Gale is there along with Andrew Rawlinson, Russell Page, Lucy Pryor and my wife, Jenny. She’s the one in the yellow mac talking to the tree. The mushroom images are iconic and will last forever. It is an unselfconscious film. It was not planned. It just happened. The guy on the balcony is me at 101 Cromwell Road, London SW7. This footage was shot by Jenny. When David Gale wrote about 101 in The Independent he recalled: As the 60s began to generate heat, I found myself running with a fast crowd. I had moved into a flat near the Royal College of Art. I shared the flat with some close friends from Cambridge, including Syd Barrett, who was busy becoming a rock star with Pink Floyd. A few hundred yards down the street at 101 Cromwell Road, our preternaturally cool friend Nigel was running the hipster equivalent of an arty salon. Between our place and his, there passed the cream of London alternative society – poets, painters, film-makers, charlatans, activists, bores and self-styled visionaries. It was a good time for name-dropping: how could I forget the time at Nigels when I came across Allen Ginsberg asleep on a divan with a tiny white kitten on his bare chest? And wasn’t that Mick Jagger visible through the fumes? Look, there’s Nigel’s postcard from William Burroughs, who looks forward to meeting him when next he visits London! The other material is of the band outside EMI after their contract signing. It’s raw, unedited footage and stunning even so. It is silent but many people have subsequently put music to it on their youtube an google postings. Good luck to them.
I’ve heard it told that among the party with Barrett that day was the young, soon to be legendary (and sadly, as of April 2013, deceased) graphic artist Storm Thorgerson, who would go on to co-found the design group Hipgnosis, and to personally design some of the most indelible album covers in rock history, including many for Pink Floyd. But as the actual shooter’s synopsis omits that bit of rock lore, I’m becoming inclined to doubt that legend’s veracity.
The accompanying music is spacey and ambient, and though maybe more than a hair too new-agey, it underscores the film’s dreaminess well. But as is noted in the synopsis, it was added later and it’s not Pink Floyd, and so this relic may not be of significant interest to the band’s more casual fans. But as a document of one of rock music’s consummate originals, it can be enjoyable in its own right so long as your expectations for it aren’t unrealistic. Copies are available for purchase in DVD and VHSformats. Just Click on image above for footage!
Thanks to DM reader Rafael de Alday for shaking this loose from my memory banks.
Posted by Ron Kretsch
Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett-London 66-67
Recently rediscovered ZBS foundation Syd Barrett Interview Part 1-2 from August 1967
Pink Floyd – See Emily Play (Syd Barrett)
Pink Floyd – Arnold Layne (Syd Barrett)
LITCHI HIKARI CLUB by FURUYA USAMARU
Based on the Tokyo Grand Guignol play Litchi Hikari Club.
Litchi Hikari Club revolves around a group of schoolboys who plan to create the ultimate in Artificial Intelligence.
As the story progresses, we watch the group gradually fall apart due to internal conflict and as the boys, under corrupt leadership, involve increasingly more twisted and depraved methods to reach their goal.
A group of nine boys (called the Hikari Club) are intent on making the Ultimate AI. The attractive leader of the club, Zera, is a twisted man polluting the minds of the club members to make them do whatever he pleases. Tamiya, the original founder of the club, wants to reclaim the club. Niko, the second in command, is pissed off at Jaibo, the one obsessed with Zera. They kidnap a schoolgirl, but the AI Raichi falls in love with her and she with him, and things get messy.
Furuya Usamaru Also made the action to take place in a world where the Japanese and the Nazis have won the Second World War, even if it doesn’t play a very important role in the action, it always made me thaught how affected the Japanaese were by their defeat and how close their way of thinking is close to the Germans.
Also it was written by the same author who wrote the troubling Suicide Club (Jisatsu Circle) who was later on made a succesfull and equally troubling movie by Sion Sono as young students, subliminally influenced by apparently teen pop artists bands into a trend of comitting group suicide.
OCTOBER 10, 2014 LEGS MCNEIL
BY KORY GROW
Filmmaker Dario Argento and singer Iggy Pop have thrown their support behind a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a movie adaptation of the terrifying, 19th century German depiction of the Sandman.
Iggy Pop is set to play The Sandman in Dario Argento’s latest horror film – but the pair are crowdfunding so that they can make the movie “our way”.
The 67-year-old singer has been cast as a serial killer in the Italian director’s adaption of the original German tale written by ETA Hoffmann. Not to be confused with author Neil Gaiman’s celebrated comic book series of the same name, Argento’s vision of the Sandman comes from author E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story Der Sandmann, in which the titular villain steals the eyes of sleep-deprived children and feeds them to his own children on the moon.
Argento, the director of artistic horror classics like Suspiria, Opera and Profundo Rosso, has cast the Stooges frontman – whose acting credits include roles in Cry-Baby, Tank Girl, The Crow: City of Angels and The Adventures of Pete and Pete – as the Sandman. The production is seeking to raise $250,000 over the next 31 days via an IndieGogo campaign.
Argento and Iggy have set up a campaign on the website Indiegogo, in the hopes of raising $250,000 for the project. With 30 days to go they have so far raised $13,833 – or six per cent of the total….
Iggy said in a promotional video posted on YouTube: “To make a Christmas movie with the maestro, with Dario Argento, that would be a dream come true.
“The master of Italian horror, the man whose strange and beautiful and terrifying films always fascinated and thrilled me.”
The Italian filmmaker’s adaptation will tell the story of a young man named Nathan who, as a child, had a brush with a masked serial killer called “The Sandman,” known for slaughtering his victims with, as the campaign puts it, a “lethally jagged melon spoon” and claiming their eyes. Nathan killed that Sandman one Christmas Eve, after the villain killed the young man’s mother. The movie’s plot takes off when Nathan sees a killer dressed like the Sandman of his youth murder a young woman in an apartment across the way from him. From there, the hunt is on.
“The script was written as a kind of tribute to my movies and my whole career,” Argento said in a video statement. “I am tired of these Christmas movies showing goodness, beauty, snowflakes, sleds pulled by reindeer. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also strength, violence, horror, and this is what I’m going to do.”
“If I could play the Sandman for Dario, it would make my life complete,” Pop said. “And I hope I haven’t just written my own epitaph.”
The film would be a co-production shot between Germany and Canada and the filming would take place in Ontario. Screenwriter David Tully, whose credits include the Tobe Hooper–directed Djinn and an English-language German TV movie called The Village, wrote the script. The soundtrack will feature an exclusive song by former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland and the rest of the music will be performed by Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, one of two incarnations of the Goblin band that wrote music for Argento’s Suspiria, Profondo Rosso and Phenomena, among others.
Crowdfunding rewards range from one month of free streaming on movie site Fandor.com to executive producer credits that allow the funder on set and dinner with both Argento and Pop. One perk even allows the donor to appear in a scene with Pop directed by Argento. Other notable rewards include signed posters, priority treatment of questions during a Reddit AMA, a chance to have a script reviewed by Argento, one of the two fairytale book props in the movie and a chance to play the “black gloved killer” in the movie.
Argento, known for horror flicks such as Suspiria and Inferno, said he wanted to shake-up the saccharine offerings of the festive season.
“I am tired of these Christmas movies showing goodness,” he said.
“Beauty, snowflakes, sleds pulled by reindeer – I’m tired of these things. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also strength violence, horror, and this is what I am going to do. Christmas is coming and so is The Sandman!”
The movie’s producers hope to begin principal photography in 2015, but suggest that the time when shooting would begin depends on interest in the campaign. No other cast members have been announced.
Charles Bukowski. Uncensored.
In 1993, candid conversations between Charles Bukowski, his wife, and his producer took place in Bukowski’s home during the recording session for his classic Run With the Hunted.
We brought the outtakes to life for HarperCollins.
Animation by Drew Christie drewchristie.com/
ROLE MODELS by John Waters
“Pink Flamingoes” director and Pope of Trash JOHN WATERS discusses how his odd roster of role models inspired him to achieve neurotic happiness. In this conversation with Paul Holdengräber, Waters also offers subversive tips for how to dress, steal flowers and die.
JOHN WATERS is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, and visual artist best known for his cult films, including Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, and Cecil B. DeMented. He lives in Baltimore.
PAUL HOLDENGRÄBER is the Director of Public Programs – known as LIVE from the NYPL- for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library. This conversation occurred on June 7, 2010.
~ Conversation Portrait by Flash Rosenberg ~
Artist-in-Residence, LIVE from the New York Public Library
~ ideas drawn as they are discussed in real time ~
2011 LES Film Festival Winner for ‘Best Animation’
executive producers: Ron Qurashi, Diane Charles
– for Intelligent Life Productions
sponsor: Lexus for L/Studio.com
– for Team One Advertising: Chris Graves
– for Lexus:Robin Pisz
live-drawing and direction: Flash Rosenberg
video editor: Sarah Lohman
music: Ken Rosenberg
© Flash Rosenberg 2010
A Shaded View on Fashion
Check out this subversive fashion video for House Casting in New York City. It is based on the Iggy Pop song ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’.
The video was played at the Center George Pompidou in Paris in September 09, as part of the ‘A Shaded View On Fashion’, during the larger fashion week.
Directed by Leg’s Georgie Greville. welcometolegs.com
UPDATE: THE VIDEO WON THE GRAND PRIX AT THE FILM FESTIVAL…
How Teen Models from Russia Are Exploited…
It kinda works like either a pinp or a cult…Your pick… At first glance it seem’s all good but after awhile you are like hmmmm…There is definitely something wrong … BTW The Girl on top in the video is now the trainer in the documentary film for those who haven’t noticed…and she speaks quite frankly. PS: Baby fetishes are quite frequent and normnal in Japan btw….
SWEET SIXTEEN | Iggy Pop
A William S. Burroughs Community
William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain: A Dossier
In honor of what would have been Kurt Cobain’s 40th birthday on 20 February 2007, RealityStudio offers this dossier documenting the relationship between Cobain and William S. Burroughs. Cobain greatly admired Burroughs, instigating their collaboration on The “Priest” They Called Him and visiting the Beat legend at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. And while Burroughs does not seem to have been especially impressed with the music of Nirvana, he was greatly saddened by Cobain’s suicide. Here is the story.
At Timberland Library [high school senior Kurt Cobain] discovered S.E. Hinton and William Burroughs, whose work would have an increasing influence on Cobain’s life. He read Burgess admiringly and J.D. Salinger without complaint. Cobain hated Scott Fitzgerald, whose critical resurgence was in decline, neither liked nor understood Faulkner and couldn’t talk about Hemingway without losing his temper.
Allen [Ginsberg] wasn’t always a good judge of talent. The Kerouac School rejected Kurt Cobain’s application, but they accepted mine. Go figure. Life isn’t just unfair, it’s weird.
When the tour hit Rotterdam on the first of September , it was almost with a nostalgic wistfulness that Kurt approached the last show. He was wearing the same T-shirt he’d had on two weeks earlier — it was a bootlegged Sonic Youth t-shirt — which had gone unwashed, as had his jeans, the only pair of pants he owned. His luggage consisted of a tiny bag containing only a copy of William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, which he had found in a London bookstall.
Kurt’s got a literary bent, and jokes that he likes “anything that starts with a B. I think I like Burroughs best, and I’m into Bukowski and Beckett.” He’s a fan of William Burroughs’ dense style, and admires the “cut-up” writing technique he pioneered in the ’40s, calling it revolutionary.
In the autumn of 1992 Burroughs and Cobain collaborated on The “Priest” They Called Him. (Listen to an excerpt.)
Cobain himself was an acknowledged fan of Burroughs’ oeuvre and first met with his hero in culture-space on a recording entitled The “Priest” They Called Him. This EP is constructed from a reading by Burroughs (recorded at his home in Lawrence, Kansas on 25 September 1992) overdubbed with Cobain’s guitar accompaniment (recorded in November 1992, at Laundry Room Studios in Seattle). Cobain later faxed Burroughs asking if he would play a crucifixion victim in a video for Nirvana’s forthcoming “Heart-Shaped Box” single. Burroughs declined but a meeting between the two was arranged and took place at Burroughs’ home in October 1993.
Father Tom’s prediction in Drugstore Cowboy
“Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized. The idea that anyone can use drugs and escape a horrible fate is an anathema to these idiots. I predict in the near future right-wingers will use drug hysteria as a pretext to set up an international police apparatus. I’m an old man and I may not live to see a solution to the drug problem.”
nterviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?
Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.
Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?
Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.
Interviewer: The song you’ve recorded together makes references to shooting up, and Burroughs’ own history of drug-taking is no secret. Were you worried that this collaboration might throw the spotlight on press rumours that you’ve had considerable experience with hard drugs yourself?
Cobain: I don’t think it’s any secret any more, it’s been reported so much for so long. I really don’t care what anyone thinks about my past drug use — I mean, I’m definitely not trying to glorify it in some way. Maybe when I was a kid, when I was reading some of his books, I may have got the wrong impression. I might have thought at that time that it might be kind of cool to do drugs. I can’t put the blame on that influence but it’s a mixture of rock’n’roll in general — you know, the Keith Richards thing and Iggy Pop and all these other people who did drugs. I just thought it was one of those things that you do to relieve the pain, but… As I expected before I started heroin, I knew at the beginning that it would become just as boring as marijuana does. All drugs, after a few months, it’s just as boring as breathing air. I’ve always lied about it because I never wanted to influence anybody, I didn’t want anyone to consider the thought of doing drugs because it’s really stupid.
I’ve collaborated with one of my only Idols William Burroughs and I couldn’t feel cooler.
Courtney returns, so we head back downstairs and, after a little difficulty trying to get the tape deck to work, myself and Courtney sit cross-legged on the floor. An avalanche of records surrounds us; Sub Pop singles of the month, Kleenex, Opal, Mudhoney, even Suede is here, PJ Harvey’s “Rid Of Me” is on the turntable, and a few books are scattered on the carpet; John Steinbeck, Jean Paul Sartre, William Burroughs’ Queer. Kurt grabs a book by Leonard Cohen, looks at us bemusedly and retreats upstairs.
What “Heart-Shaped Box” meant to Kurt is best surmised by the treatment he wrote for the song’s video. Kurt envisioned it starring William S. Burroughs, and he wrote Burroughs begging him to appear in the video. “I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives,” he wrote. “Let me assure you, this is not the case.” But exactly what Kurt hoped to achieve by casting the writer was never clear. In his attempt to convince Burroughs to participate, he had offered to obscure the writer’s face, so that no one other than Kurt himself would know of his cameo. Burroughs declined the invitation.
The journals sketch the evolution of the video’s symbol-laden, elliptically autobiographical narrative. At first, it was to star William Burroughs, whom Cobain evidently revered as a long-lived defier of convention (overlooking the fact that Burroughs survived only because he switched from heroin to marijuana early on) and for his aleatoric compositional technique, morbid mythology, and sardonic W.C. Fieldsian cynicism. Here was the first scene, expressing Cobain’s sense of himself as repository of Burroughs’ artistic spirit: “William and I sitting across from one another at a table (black and white) lots of Blinding Sun from the windows behind us holding hands staring into each others eyes. He gropes me from behind and falls dead on top of me. Medical footage of sperm flowing through penis. A ghost vapor comes out of his chest and groin area and enters me Body.”
Burroughs wouldn’t do the video, so Cobain used a generic old man on a cross and pecked at by crows. To him, birds also symbolized old men advocating death: “Me–old man,” he writes. “Have made my conclusion. But nobody will listen anymore. Birds [are] reincarnated old men with tourrets syndrome . . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.” Clearly, Cobain spoke bird.
In October 1993 Cobain met in Burroughs in Lawrence, KS.
During this first week of the tour, Alex MacLeod drove Kurt to Lawrence, Kansas, to meet William S. Burroughs. The previous year Kurt had produced a single with Burroughs titled The “Priest” They Called Him, on T/K Records, but they’d accomplished the recording by sending tapes back and forth. “Meeting William was a real big deal for him,” MacLeod remembered. “It was something he never thought would happen.” They chatted for several hours, but Burroughs later claimed the subject of drugs didn’t come up. As Kurt drove away, Burroughs remarked to his assistant. “There’s something wrong with that boy; he frowns for no good reason.”
Burroughs describes the meeting… “I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.” The two exchanged presents — Burroughs gave him a painting, while Cobain gave him a Leadbelly biography that he had signed. Kurt and music video director Kevin Kerslake originally wanted Burroughs to appear in the video for “In Bloom.”
“I’ve been relieved of so much pressure in the last year and a half,” Cobain says with a discernible relief in his voice. “I’m still kind of mesmerized by it.” He ticks off the reasons for his content: “Pulling this record off. My family. My child. Meeting William Burroughs and doing a record with him.
Cobain killed himself on 5 April 1994.
In Lawrence, meanwhile, William Burroughs sat poring over the lyric sheet of In Utero. There was surely poignancy in the sight of the eighty-year-old author, himself no stranger to tragedy, scouring Cobain’s songs for clues to his suicide. In the event he found only the “general despair” he had already noted during their one meeting. “The thing I remember about him is the deathly grey complexion of his cheeks. It wasn’t an act of will for Kurt to kill himself. As far as I was concerned, he was dead already.” Burroughs is one of those who feel Cobain “let down his family” and “demoralized the fans” by committing suicide.
A group calling itself “Friends Understanding Kurt” faxed a press release to various news organizations, claiming a “string of suicides associated with the [dream] machine since the 1960s.” The press release stated after he obtained one of the devices, “Kurt immediately commenced a habitual, perhaps maniacal use of the Dream-machine, then took it with him to his and Courtney’s shared Seattle mansion where he stationed himself with the device in a room above the garage.” It stated the Dream Machine was found in the room where Cobain died, although police and medical examiner reports contradict that. Nevertheless, the claims were widely published. William S. Burroughs, who knew Cobain and had collaborated with him, dismissed such speculation as “nonsense…” The Cobain story was ultimately proved to be a hoax.
An old diary of mine from my love affair (marriage) surfaced at Sanctuary today. I read it. I miss being loved by a husband very much… there were pictures of Kurt in there… pictures of Kurt walking with William Burroughs. I really miss him.
A source that wishes to remain anonymous provided these pictures of a painted collage that Burroughs sent to Cobain for his 27th birthday, less than two short months before the singer’s death.
A Walk into the Sea:
Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory
is director Esther Robinson’s personal inquiry into the truth behind her Uncle Danny Williams’ mysterious 1966 disappearance. Virtually unknown today, Danny was Andy Warhol’s lover, and a promising young filmmaker.
The discovery of 20 never-before-seen films William’s made during his time at the Factory– and whose many subjects include Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Paul Morrissey, Brigid Berlin, Billy Name and what may be the earliest known footage of the Velvet Underground— reveals a luminous talent and a stark gap in the historical record. Combined with Robinson’s intimate interviews of surviving Factory members, the film gets beyond the icons and quietly dismantles the Warhol myth-making machine, allowing a deeper examination of the human fragility on which Andy Warhol’s empire was built.
In 1965, Danny Williams was living at a fast pace. He dropped out of Harvard against his family’s wishes and moved to Manhattan to begin a film career. There he edited two films for Albert and David Maysles. He became a fixture at the Warhol Factory, fell in love with Andy Warhol and moved in with Andy and his mother. He also made over 20 films and designed the groundbreaking Velvet Underground/ Exploding Plastic Inevitable (EPI) light show.
1966 proved a more difficult year for Danny. Right before the EPI national tour, Warhol ended their affair. Three months away from New York and a growing dependence on amphetamines increased Danny’s anxiety. After a Variety review called Danny the “mastermind” of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable show, Factory members accused him of trying to take credit for Warhol’s work and maneuvered for his ouster.
After the tour ended in July, Danny went home to his family in Massachusetts. He brought with him a wooden box filled with amphetamine-fueled journals, lighting diagrams, personal effects and letters. His only other bag was a shaving kit filled with drugs. After a family meal, he left in his mother’s car. He was never seen again.
Thirty-four years later, just after the turn of the millennium his niece, director Esther Robinson, took a job as Program Director at a foundation funded and housed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts
One day that summer, her grandmother Nadia paid her a visit at work. On meeting the staff of the Warhol Foundation. Nadia casually mentioned that her son, Danny Williams, had lived with Warhol and his mother and then mysteriously disappeared. A stunned silence filled the room. Esther was urgently told: “You need to speak with Callie Angell right away.”
While archiving the Warhol collection at the Museum of Modern Art, Ms. Angell had stumbled upon a strange set of 20 experimental silent films. Shot on 16 mm black-and-white stock, they featured Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, The Velvet Underground and other well-known Warhol subjects. They were also dramatically different from Warhol’s films; highly stylized, clearly personal, and quite obviously conceived by someone other than Warhol. They were all marked “Danny Williams,” and, according to Ms. Angell, were “extraordinary.”
Believing these films might hold the key to the mystery surrounding her uncle’s abbreviated life, Esther asked MOMA to return them to her family. As she engaged the MOMA bureaucracy, she began researching her uncle’s life in New York City. Frustrated by the scarcity of references to Danny in books about the 60′s Warhol factory, Esther was intrigued when her grandmother gave her Danny’s box of papers and journals. They were filled with clues about art-making and Factory infighting.
Curious about how little was said about Danny both by family and Factory members she began to make a film about her uncle’s last year. In interviews with her family, she started to tease out the story behind his disappearance, his complex relationship to his family and their unspoken fears. When MoMA finally released the films, the footage was every bit as remarkable as promised: luminous, intimate, and revealing. A new question emerged: how was this young talent dropped from the historic record?
Esther then started tracking down and interviewing surviving Warhol Factory members. Surprisingly intimate, these interviews began to dismantle the mythmaking machine and allow a deeper examination of the human fragility on which the Warhol empire was built.
A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory is the story of her search to uncover the facts behind her uncle’s disappearance and tragically shortened life. It is the story of an extraordinary talent abandoned by two dysfunctional families; one upright and traditional, the other bohemian and legendary. It is a story of abandonment by history itself. And it is a journey into a sea of family, missing histories, and the failings of memory.
Movie parts shot by Danny Williams. Some of those are not in the documentary. (If I remember correctly.. :/ )
I think this one was shot by Warhol himself. that is what the credit says..
This was not shot by Williams, I couldn’t find any more footage shot by Williams but it is still very interesting if , like me you love the Velvet Underground:
Acquired Tastes From Candyland
Southern California artist Brandi Milne was born and raised in Anaheim. She grew up happily, surrounded by a wealth of inspiration as a child, taking pleasure in classic cartoons, crayons and coloring books, Sid and Marty Kroft creations, toys, candies and kitschy fabrics and notions of the times. Self-taught and emotionally driven, Milne’s work speaks of love, loss, pain and heartbreak in the first person. She decorates it oddly with a wink of humor and a delicious candied-coat finish – a combination that can be considered highly addictive to viewers around the world. Milne’s work is celebrated and supported in fine art galleries across the US, and has been featured in both print and online publications such as Hi-Fructose Magazine, Babyboss magazine and Juxtapoz. She published her first book “So Good for Little Bunnies” in 2008 with Baby Tattoo Books and Milne has collaborated with notable companies including 686, Hurley and Billabong. For more information please visit brandimilne.com
Banksy is an anonymous English street art Artist and activist who has become a cult hero for his anti-establishment and rebellious artwork.Unlike someone I know, who stays in his house all day drawing comics and watchingSimpsons reruns, Banksy is a REAL artist who challenges the status quo, forces people to think and puts himself in danger, all while remaining a complete mystery to the world. I mean think about it, he’s one of the most famous artists on the planet, his work has been popping up in major cities for the past 10 years and sell for millions of dollars and no one knows who the hell this guy is! I take my hat off to the dude.
If you haven’t seen it, I recommend the documentary Banksy directed, Exit Through the Gift Shop. What was meant to be a film about Banksy instead turned into a movie about the man who was obsessed in trying to meet him. Although many have claimed that it’s a ‘mockumentary’ and the plot a set-up, it’s still a brilliant film. It not only documents the street art movement, it also deals with the meaning of art, and whether or not an artist actually needs any talent or can just survive on hype alone. Two thumbs up!
This quote was taken from Banksy’s 2004 book Cut It Out. Some of the passage was inspired/appropriated from an essay by artist Sean Tejaratchi. I rearranged the last couple of sentences for this comic.
CRASS | There Is No Authority But Yourself
There is No Authority But Yourself is a Dutch film directed by Alexander Oey documenting the history of anarchist punk band Crass. The film features archive footage of the band and interviews with former members Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher. As well as reflecting on the band’s past the film focusses on their current activities, and includes footage of Rimbaud performing with Last Amendment at the Vortex jazz club in Hackney, a compost toilet building workshop and a permaculture course held at Dial House in the spring of 2006.
The title of the film is derived from the final lines of the Crass album Yes Sir, I Will; “You must learn to live with your own conscience, your own morality, your own decision, your own self. You alone can do it. There is no authority but yourself.”
There is No Authority But Yourself premiered at the Raindance Film Festival at the Piccadilly Circus, London Trocadero in October 2006 and was part of the Official Selection film programme at the Flipside film festival in May 2008.
The Art Of Punk – Crass – The Art of Dave King and Gee Vaucher – Art + Music – MOCAtv
On the next installment of The Art of Punk, we tear into the art of Crass. From the assaulting black and white photo-realistic paintings of protest, anarchy, and social satire, to their legendary adopted brand and two headed snake and cross symbol. We head up to the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco to meet up with Gee Vaucher, and founding Crass member, writer, and activist, Penny Rimbaud. We discuss the art and the lifestyle stemming from the infamous Dial House, where they have lived, worked, and crated their own brand of anarchistic beauty, for more than 3 decades. We have a sit down with artist Scott Campbell, at his own New York tattoo shop, and talk about how the art of Crass, and one single t-shirt created a fork in his own road of life. Owen Thornton talks some shit. Finally we hang out with British graphic designer Dave King – the creator of the infamous snake and cross symbol, and discuss post war England, hippies, punk, graphic design, and more, that led him to the creation of the symbol made legend by Crass.
Created, directed, and Executive Produced by writer/author of ‘Fucked Up + Photocopied’, Bryan Ray Turcotte (Kill Your Idols), and Bo Bushnell (The Western Empire), The Art Of Punk traces the roots of the punk movement and the artists behind the iconic logos of punk bands such as: Black Flag (Raymond Pettibon), The Dead Kennedys (Winston Smith), and Crass (Dave King).
In addition to profiling the artists, the series includes intimate interviews with former band members, notable artists, and celebrities who have been heavily influenced by the art of punk rock including Jello Biafra, Tim Biskup, Scott Campbell, Chuck Dukowski, Flea, Steve Olson, Penny Rimbaud, Henry Rollins, Owen Thornton, and Gee Vaucher.
The filmmakers Bryan Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell take a unique approach to exploring the rich histories of these three seminal punk legends by focusing on the influential imagery and seeking out stories that have not been told yet through the artwork, which is integral to the importance and influence of each band.
BRYAN RAY TURCOTTE
In 1969, a Boy Snuck into John Lennon’s Hotel Room with a Recorder. It Went Like This.
In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon’s every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit, and timeless message. I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).
Actors: Jerry Levitan, John Lennon
Director: Josh Raskin
Producer: Jerry Levitan
Scenario: Josh Rankin
Release Date: 2007
William S. Burroughs, F.F. Coppola – 1993 Short
Danny, a poor unfortunate junkie who reveals his last remains of selflessness and humanity despite his urgent physical predicament. Directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel. William S. Burroughs wrote the story and narrates the film; he also appears in live-action footage at the beginning and end of the film. The story originally appeared in the 1989 collection Interzone and the recording of Burroughs reading the story was also released on the CD Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales.
NEW YORK CITY IN 1977: A BEAUTIFUL ROCK AND ROLL HELLHOLE
by Marc Campbell in Dangerous Minds
Punk, disco, hip hop, the blackout, Son of Sam, Tony Manero, CBGB, Studio 54, Max’s Kansas City, Show World, Paradise Garage, cocaine, polyester and leather—1977 in New York City was exhilarating, a nightmare, fun, dangerous and never boring. It was the year I arrived in downtown Manhattan with a beautiful woman, no money and a rock and roll band. I hit the streets running and never looked back…unless it was to watch my back.
I was living in the decaying Hotel Earle in the West Village when NYC went black. The power failure of July 13, 1977 knocked the city to its knees. I was sitting on the window sill of my room keeping cool or as cool as one could keep during a sweltering summer night in the city. I was drinking a nice cold beer and listening to the music of the streets when at around 9:30 p.m. everything suddenly went completely dark…and I mean dark, dark as Aleister Crowley’s asshole. It was the strangest fucking thing you could imagine. One moment the city was there, then next it was gone. The only illumination came from automobile headlights lacerating the night like ghostly Ginsu knives. My girlfriend and I clutched hands and felt our way down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. We walked to Bleecker street in spooky darkness. We weren’t alone. The avenues were teeming with the dazed and confused. Not that unusual for the Village, but the confusion was different. Was the world coming to an end?
By midnight the streets were mobbed with people who had figured out that civilization wasn’t ending, it was on vacation. There was a festive vibe in the air. It was like Mardi Gras for the blind. The bars and pubs that stayed open were candlelit and booze was flowing for free. Refrigerators weren’t working and there was no way to keep perishables from spoiling so instead of facing the prospect of throwing food away some joints were feeding people for free. A few cabbies got into the spirit of things and maneuvered their taxis in such a way as to shine their headlights into the cafes providing diners with surreal mood lighting. It was a prison break theme park. And this wild night was bringing out the best in New Yorkers. But it didn’t last. As the blackout continued through the next day and night, things started to change. The novelty of the crisis wore off and it got ugly. What had started out as a party turned into looting and violence. An unexpected payday for the poor and desperate.
The blackout put the whole gamut of what makes New York marvelous and miserable on display: the “I got your back, brother” slamming into the “fuck you!”
These were times when the city was an unseemly beast, a scabrous, moulting fat rat that was exciting to look at but terrifying. Part of the excitement came from the ever present sense that things could go haywire at any minute. I lived intensely in the moment, acutely aware of everything around me, jacked up in a state of heightened consciousness that was both Zen and manic. Being in the here and now of New York City in 1977 wasn’t a hippie thing, it was survival. And when I got inside the safety zone of Max’s or CBGB, among my tribe, I was ready to get fucked up, to get high, to dance and celebrate.
In the city of night, we went to bed at dawn and rose at dusk. We were vampires before vampires became hip.
NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell is a terrific documentary that captures a pivotal moment in the history of a city and its pop culture. Here’s the whole beautiful mess.
Iconic set design: The Shining’s Overlook Hotel
The Shining’s Overlook hotel remains one of the most disturbing locations in horror. Ryan looks over its history, and how it tells Kubrick’s story…
Cinema is full of set designs so beautiful, you almost wish you they were real. Fritz Lang had vast chunks of city built forMetropolis. Joseph Mankiewicz nearly brought 20th Century Fox to its knees, so huge and sumptuous were his sets for 1963’sCleopatra.
Thinking back over the course of movie history, how many films can you think of where the set itself is as big a star as the actors that emote within it? In Alien or Blade Runner, perhaps. The impossibly creepy motel and Victorian house of horrors in Psycho, maybe. The set in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, I’d argue, towers over all these.
In no other film has an interior felt so mundane and yet so palpably evil – Jack Nicholson may rant and rave spectacularly as unhinged writer Jack Torrance, and Shelley Duval may act convincingly exhausted and terrified as his beleaguered wife, but it’s production designer Roy Walker’s set design that constantly dazzles.
Credit must also go, of course, to John Alcott’s prowling cinematography, aided Garrett Brown and his wonder invention, the Steadicam, which allowed Stanley Kubrick, ever the technician, to pull off some of the most striking long takes in all cinema.
Nevertheless, it’s the Overlook Hotel, at the time the biggest indoor set ever built, that bears so much of the film’s dramatic weight. This is partially because The Shining has such a simple story to tell. Pared back even by the standards of Stephen King’s source novel, the movie contains none of the rampaging elephant-shaped hedges or infernos of the original book. Instead, Kubrick’s film presents us with little more than embittered, failed writer, Jack, slowly growing crazy in a remote hotel. His wife Wendy (Duvall) and telepathic son Danny (Danny Lloyd) can do little more than look on in horror.
At first glance, Kubrick and Walker appear to have created the perfect fusion between exterior and interior shots. At the start of the film, the outside of the Overlook we see is actually the Timberline Lodge, located in Oregon. The rest of the film’s exteriors and interiors, meanwhile, were immaculately constructed back at Elstree Studios in the UK.
A world away from the dusty, peeling interiors usually seen in horror movies, the hotel interior envisioned by Kubrick is spacious and modern. The set generates tension not through claustrophobia and dark spaces, but with high ceilings and lonely expanses. Characters are frequently dwarfed by gigantic columns or huge windows. Even the carpets accentuate the how small and vulnerable Danny and his mother are; one shot shows the little boy playing on a carpet whose huge geometric patterns surround him like a cage.
As he did in 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick uses violent contrasts of colour to heighten the feeling of unease. There’s a key moment, where Grady (Philip Stone) ushers Jack into a bathroom and urges him, rather unsubtly, to “correct” his family. The acting in this scene is so intense that it’s easy to miss just how striking the actors’ surroundings are; unlike the warm, boozy golds of the ballroom Jack was drinking in seconds before, the bathroom is bathed in stark artificial light. The pure white ceiling and floor merely accentuate the startling crimson of the walls.
The room is utterly unlike any other in the hotel – it’s as though it’s a direct projection of Jack’s violent mind, which it almost certainly is. It’s but one example of how Kubrick uses colour and design to reflect the mood of his characters.
As an example of how The Shining’s set takes us through those moods, take a look at the manager’s room, where Jack is interviewed at the beginning of the film – it’s a typical 70s office, its ugly salmon-coloured walls festooned with framed pictures. It’s vastly different from the supernatural ballroom or evil-looking bathroom seen in the film’s final act.
When Walker set about designing the film’s rooms, he took inspiration from real hotel rooms from around America, and went all over the country photographing different interiors. On his returm, Kubrick leafed through the pictures, chose the ones he liked, and had his production team construct rooms that looked exactly the same. The director described the process of designing the film’s sets in aninterview with writer Michel Ciment.
“We wanted the hotel to look authentic rather than like a traditionally spooky movie hotel,” Kubrick said. “The hotel’s labyrinthine layout and huge rooms, I believed, would alone provide an eerie enough atmosphere. This realistic approach was also followed in the lighting, and in every aspect of the decor it seemed to me that the perfect guide for this approach could be found in Kafka’s writing style. His stories are fantastic and allegorical, but his writing is simple and straightforward, almost journalistic.”
Writer Rob Ager made an exhaustive and brilliant examination of The Shining’s set design, and suggested that Kubrick deliberately built anomalies into the hotel’s layout in order to confuse the viewer’s spatial awareness. (It’s a fascinating piece of work, and you can read it, and watch an accompanying video, here.)
From a plan view, as one might see in an architect’s drawing, the Overlook’s layout doesn’t make any sense; hotel rooms open out straight onto balconies; what should be internal windows appear to have light coming from outside; corridors lead to abrupt dead ends.
Not everyone agrees with Ager’s thesis, but I’d argue it’s too plausible to dismiss entirely. While it’s possible that Kubrick and his designers may have cut a few corners to cram their already enormous sets into the space available at Elstree, it’s unlikely that a director as meticulous and obsessed with minor detail as Kubrick would make so many glaring errors.
Besides, Kubrick makes it obvious from the outset that the hotel’s architecture is vital to his story. His use of Steadicam isn’t merely a gimmicky use of new technology – it allows him to lead us around this weird interior landscape, across horrid carpets, polished floors and rugs, through its sprawling kitchen and storage rooms. He wants us to know how gigantic and dehumanising this place is – before the psychological wargames begin, he shows us the battleground on which they’ll take place.
In the Overlook, Kubrick created a hotel that acts as a kind of psychological torture chamber, trapping its victims in a labyrinth of impossible corridors and rooms. Its design mirrors that of the hedge maze outside, cunningly built from a wood and wire mesh frame, with foliage threaded through it. This maze, with its eight-foot high walls, was complex enough for the crew to get lost in.
Kubrick’s daughter Vivian shot a candid documentary of The Shining’s making, and the director and his crew are seen consulting maps of the maze’s layout. It’s been said that, at one point in The Shining’s year-long shoot, Kubrick had the maze walls rearranged, without telling certain members of the crew. When they became lost in its new layout, their cries for help were met with peals of laughter from Kubrick – laughter that, disconcertingly, seemed to becoming from all directions at once.
The Shining is the perfect example of the use of set design to enhance a narrative. Combined with its cinematography, the viewer is left with the impression of a building that isn’t merely haunted, but alive, and actively observing its occupants’ every move. No other set in cinema is quite so oppressive, or so convincingly depicted – we barely notice the spatial anomalies that Ager points out, but it’s likely that on some subconscious level, our brain notices, and shudders.
The Shining’s shoot was long and arduous. In his quest for perfection, Kubrick went through take after take. Scatman Crothers and Shelly Duvall clashed with the director. The latter even collapsed, exhausted, which was caught on camera by Vivian Kubrick.
The film’s extraordinarily realistic lighting also took its toll: the pale sun shining through the vast windows in the main room was achieved with a bank of powerful studio lights – so powerful were these, the set eventually caught fire. Rather than work with the footage he’d already shot, Kubrick, perfectionist to the last, had the set rebuilt from scratch.
Kubrick’s maniacal approach to filmmaking resulted in one of the most unusual entries in the horror canon. Its performances are desperate and sometimes bizarre, its images wavering violently between the starkly real and the surreal. And then there’s the Overlook itself, watching, waiting – it’s entirely unforgettable, and perhaps the most striking haunted house in all cinema.
Some little extras I found on Youtube…Enjoy!! I did!!
odditiesoflife: The Real Abandoned Overlook Hotel Unlike the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, this hotel is really named the Overlook. The abandoned hotel is located in the small, wine growing town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany. Other than it has been unoccupied for about 13 years, there is no information as to why the hotel was closed. All of the furniture remains and it looks as if everyone there simply left. There are rumors that the hotel is haunted. According to urban explorers who frequent the spooky site, cameras malfunction, sounds can be heard throughout the premises and items seem to move around the hotel by themselves.
The Real Abandoned Overlook Hotel
Unlike the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, this hotel is really named the Overlook. The abandoned hotel is located in the small, wine growing town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany. Other than it has been unoccupied for about 13 years, there is no information as to why the hotel was closed. All of the furniture remains and it looks as if everyone there simply left. There are rumors that the hotel is haunted. According to urban explorers who frequent the spooky site, cameras malfunction, sounds can be heard throughout the premises and items seem to move around the hotel by themselves.
by Phil Weaver
I’m a huge fan of Victor Bockris’ book Beat Punks, a collection of interviews and photographs documenting the relationship between the Beat generation and the punk movement in the 1970s downtown New York scene. The book does a great job of illustrating the cross-pollination of two generations (’50s Beats and ’70s punks) that resulted in one of the most extraordinary cultural flowerings of the 20th century. I recently talked to Bockris about some of the ideas behind the book, and I was pleased to hear he’s about to begin work on a follow up with interlinking prose. He didn’t want to give away too much about the forthcoming book, so I proposed a general interview on the history of the counterculture’s clashes with the establishment in the mid-to-late 20th century. Burroughs was the through-line in a cultural revolution that began in the ’50s with the Beats, blossomed in the psychedelic explosion of the late ’60s, peaked in the ’70s with the Beat-Punk fusion, burned out in the neoconservative revolution of the ’80s and was briefly revived by Kurt Cobain and the alternative wave of the early ’90s. Throughout this era many of the leading figures of the counterculture found themselves the targets of harassment and campaigns of repression, yet they still managed to produce some of their best work. I wanted to trace this multigenerational struggle for the liberation of the human spirit with the great author and raconteur Victor Bockris, biographer of William S. Burroughs, Andy Warhol and Keith Richards, and the man dubbed the “poet laureate of the underground.”
PHIL WEAVER: Describe the counterculture’s confrontation with LBJ.
VICTOR BOCKRIS: Key point: the counterculture changed dramatically in 1965. Before then it had been populated by a relatively small, international collection of avant-garde artists in every form, left-wing political activists, civil rights activists, academics and members of the clergy. With the appearance of the electric Dylan and semi-radical songs by the Beatles and the Stones (“Satisfaction”), an enormous new group became countercultural enthusiasts overnight: college students listening to Simon and Garfunkel, and high school long hairs known as folkies now folk rockers. Consequently, demonstrators grew in numbers of younger enthusiastic girls and boys. Johnson had been popular in 1964, even into ’65, but he was forced into supporting the Vietnam war to a ridiculous extent. The brutal, burning napalm dropped on the civilian population, and the well-oiled anti-war machine did a good job of dramatizing the suffering of women and children. Johnson was a far superior President than Kennedy, but his classically Stetson-hatted good old boy image was easy to turn into a bogeyman.
By 1966 the demonstrators rarely gave him any peace. Their “Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” chant wafted into the White House from Lafayette Park across the street. Every time he left or came back they were always there. In his mind, they became the voice of the youth. He had been a rebellious youth himself, and it began to drive him nuts. This was greatly exacerbated by his fear that the country really wanted another Kennedy in the White House and the seething hatred of Robert Kennedy. The irony was that the arrogant Kennedy brothers were incapable of getting any bills passed, because they did not know how the Congress really operated, where Johnson was a master politician – probably the best we’ve ever had as President. Johnson tried to explain how the Senate worked, but Kennedy just didn’t want to hear anything from that “old galoot.” That kind of name calling might be funny in high school – not when you’re running the country (and too busy fucking badly to pay attention). Think of how successful the Kennedy administration could have been if they’d used Johnson like a cruise missile. This is a naive thing to say, but if memory serves this is one of the corners of history where the truth was of no importance – image took over. This initially benefited the counterculture. When Johnson refused to run for President in 1968, he later wrote that the hawks of war on his right and the anti-war demonstrators on his left gave him no room to further contribute to the well-being of the nation. It is shocking (does that word still exist?) to see only recently the outpouring of reverence for John Kennedy, despite everything written about him since his death, while Johnson fades in the nation’s memory. This embracing of huge lies is what allows us Americans to go on supporting just the kind of atrocities by our nation we fought so hard to erase in World War II. Bombs, genocide and unbelievable lies shower down upon us daily. It seems that we live in an increasingly immoral nation. Where is the peace movement? Where are the heroes who stood up against all the power of the United States to reveal the elements of control? People like William Burroughs and Andy Warhol. People like Muhammad Ali, who turned his back on many millions and almost destroyed his life by standing up against the war machine when everybody told him he was crazy?
That’s only to mention the world famous. But this is what happens, I believe, when the education system writes the counterculture out of existence. Does anyone remember that it was the first time in history that an international population of a non-military people, with no political or religious base, played an unquestionable role in changing the way we live by bringing down one American President and creating an atmosphere in which the next was driven from office? Also, please note the appropriation of many of the counterculture’s key practices, which have been manipulated into today’s mainstream. Any humanist interested in the well-being of our nation’s history could see the counterculture as one of the greatest, most imaginative, most nurturing contributions we have ever made to the world. The media always finds violence – often created by the media itself – to undercut the best things about this country. New York Punk was not a violent movement, it was very loving, but once one Yobo, (in persona of poor dumb manipulated Sid Vicious) believed he had murdered his murdered girlfriend, punk was all about violence.
Change is always dangerous for its agents, but anyone who watched the carefully managed police and FBI undercover riots in Chicago must find it hilarious to see the peace movement turned into Sodom and Gomorrah, when the shoe was really on the other foot. We still live with the extraordinary conflict of the Catholic Church threatening endless pain to those advocating the joys of love from behind a logo of a guy nailed to a piece of wood. My favorite example of robbing the beautiful truth from the population was, and still is maybe, the image of Jack Kerouac, who wrote the most loving, tender and exemplary celebrations of the beauty of America, being hounded to death by the establishment. America is a beautiful place, but it’s hard to see sometimes because of the waters of slaughter.
WEAVER: Can you talk a bit about William Burroughs’ clashes with the establishment in the 1970s?
BOCKRIS: Bill was very active in the early 1970s; he was still living in London. He published The Job, The Wild Boys, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, Exterminatorand Port of Saints. Of these books The Job is the most political. In terms of clashes with the establishment, everything he wrote and said in interviews continued his attempt to reveal their attempt to control the population. But to be specific, you have to look at the reaction to him in different countries. In England he was protected by his relationship with Lord Goodman, a powerful behind the scenes financial lawyer for many powerful government figures.
He did not have such connections in New York, but after trying to move back there in 1965, and again in 1972, he had been threatened by the police who were trying to set him up for a bust. By the time he did return, the fall of Nixon had turned him into a prophet, and he was embraced as a king returned from exile. So I think he avoided any particularly overt confrontation during the 1970s, due to his desire to find a new life and continue writing.
His clash with authority came in more subtle ways than marching in the streets as he had in Chicago in 1968. His “Time of the Assassins” columns in the rock magCrawdaddy! would have been read by teenagers and college students, and his appearance at the many readings he gave across the country would have been very influential.
He was also interviewed by the still existing underground press. The name Burroughs was a clash with the establishment. When I knew him in the late seventies he was virulently critical of U.S. foreign policy, but I recall him definitely not wanting to draw attention to himself in public.
WEAVER: Describe the relationship between William Burroughs and the punks.
BOCKRIS: Burroughs’ relationship with the punks was, as I see it, a vital connection which drew attention to the vitality of his writing. This happened on two levels. First Patti Smith and Richard Hell were both Burroughs fans before he moved back here. She was the first to note his presence.
The Nova Convention was the big turning point in terms of his recognition, the first time he brought together several new subcultures based in the punk ethos. Then over 1977-1982 I introduced him to Lou Reed, Blondie and The Clash among others; they were thrilled to meet him. He appreciated their interest and enjoyed their company. They were his children.
However, there was a strange disconnect. Every beautiful punk girl I knew had a copy of Junkie on their table, but they were all taking heroin. It was like they had not understood the book, which was an indictment of being a junkie. It had nothing to do with Bill that a 24/7 heroin supermarket protected by the police suddenly emerged blocks from CBGB’s, but there were bags called Dr Nova. Heroin decimated the New York punks. When he made all those spoken word records, a number of punks contributed. Burroughs’ profile grew considerably during the 1970s. The support of punk, and his inclusion in the punk press, had a lot to do with it.
WEAVER: In what ways was the punk rock ethos inspired by the Beats?
BOCKRIS: The New York punks came out of the same ethos as the Beats. I can only speak for the New York punks. That is to say, there were three generations of American artists operating under the umbrella of a shared reaction to WWII (for civil rights against genocide and the bomb): the Beats (1950s); the artists of the ’60s personified by Warhol (including the Rolling Stones, Goddard and Truffaut, Antonioni etc); and the Punks of the 1970s, with the whole thing coalescing in the late seventies.
I mean, Elvis was punk; Lennon was punk; Richards, Dylan, Reed were all punks. Punk is Beat speeded up, like the Stones are Chuck Berry speeded up. Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, later Richard Hell, Iggy Pop and on and on were all influenced by Rimbaud and Celine and the surrealists and comic books – just like the Beats.
They were all influenced by Warhol. The difference between Lennon and Richards, and NY punk was the Warhol influence. My book Beat Punks should have been called Beat Warhol Punks, it just doesn’t read so well.
WEAVER: Describe some of the tactics the establishment used to repress the counterculture in the 1970s.
BOCKRIS: Nixon’s administration targeted the counterculture from both ends. They put the IRS on famous counterculture artists like Warhol, Mailer, etc. They hounded Terry Southern, a great writer (author of Candy, Dr. Strangelove and Red Dirt Marijuana), nearly to death.
Warhol was audited every year until his death. The IRS were vicious. Meanwhile the FBI infiltrated the yippies and hippies and caused riots at demonstrations by manufacturing violence. They also sowed rumors like Allen Ginsberg was an FBI snitch. The overall effect was to bring the counterculture to its knees by 1973. Groups like the Stones, Lennon and Dylan rose above the corruption and carried the flag. Burroughs’ return to New York in 1974 took on a larger importance just because he returned to take his rightful place as the King of the Counterculture on the fall of that great yahoo demon, “Tricky Dick” Nixon.
In fact, 1974 was a great year for the counterculture: Ginsberg won a National Book Award for The Fall of America (poems); Ali regained the World Heavyweight Crown he lost in 1967 after refusing to be drafted; Warhol won an MLA Award and moved to a new upscale Factory. In 1975 he published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. If you pause to ask, who else could have used such a title and been taken seriously by the New York Times, you can gauge a sense of how far the counterculture had come. Don’t forget this was a worldwide movement, so these American artists were being given credence as the leaders of the new way of life that would find its terrible climax in 1983.
WEAVER: Describe WSB’s involvement with magick. Did he use it against the establishment?
BOCKRIS: Bill’s involvement with magic dates back to the time he spent in Paris with Brion Gysin. Read The Beat Hotel by my favorite writer Barry Miles, or pick up his brand new bio Call Me Burroughs. It’s great. In “The Electronic Revolution” (essay in The Job) Burroughs explains the ways he used the tape recorder to change reality. I remember one night he read from the Necronomicon in an attempt to call up Humwawa, but several people there were on verge of flipping out so he canceled it. They really thought Humwawa was gonna sweep them away! Bill believed in magic. He certainly practiced magic everyday. To him writing was a magic act.
WEAVER: What effect did the Reagan-era 1980s have on the counterculture?
BOCKRIS: The counterculture in New York was delivered a knockout blow by the combination of the heroin epidemic and AIDS in 1983-1985, which I consider to be the end of the counterculture as we had lived it.
Of course, Reagan was the great yahoo, but I think the counterculture was too exhausted to confront him, as they had President Johnson. There’s much more to that. Reagan oversaw the great theft of the rich that changed the way America operates. He was a murdering corpse, a kind of Edgar Allan Poe version of Howdy Doody. I remember Burroughs telling me in 1991 that we were looking at a very grim decade. He was always much more aware than most of us of what was really happening.
WEAVER: In what ways did Kurt Cobain revitalize the “Beat Punk” ethos?
BOCKRIS: Kurt Cobain’s image revitalized the Beat Punk Ethos:
1. Because his real being suffered as a result of the straight world, and his music and words like “Rape Me” were consequently a universal howl of rage, which captured the attention of teenagers around the world.
2. His awareness of Burroughs and desire to collaborate with him were similar to Patti Smith’s homage to Burroughs in 1974. Cobain became the agent of Beat Punk continuity who connected his generation to the Beats. Mind you, there were many other musicians, filmmakers, writers doing the same. By 1995 the U.S. literary establishment recognized the Beats far more widely and positively than ever before. There was a great revival of Kerouac in 1995. All his books are now in print and sell. College reading lists are not complete without at the least Burroughs, Ginsberg and Kerouac. I think it’s pretty much established by now that the Beats began the whole cultural revolution of the late ’50s to early ’80s. Burroughs had his vision of a love generation in 1958.
Each decade seems to have a pivotal celebrity death which becomes a turning point and an international gathering place. I remember John Belushi’s death in 1982 was heard in New York, and around the world, as the shot that announced the beginning of the end of the counterculture.
I remember Kurt Cobain’s death a decade later was eerily similar, the difference was that there was no deep audience for it, there was no counterculture to pick it up. So the question is what happens then? When the young civil rights worker Medgar Evers got murdered in the 1960s, his death catalyzed the people to rise up. When Brian Jones was found dead in his badass swimming pool at midnight (a great fantasy) in 1969, it made the Rolling Stones the most pain-stained suffering band, at a time in America (early seventies) when the more pain you were in, the cooler you were.
I called Burroughs when Cobain died, and it turned out we were both in the middle of reading a short, recently published mass paperback bio of Kurt, which I still have. Bill chuckled in a Burroughsian manner and said he thought it was pretty good. Bill used to get really upset when certain special people he would meet in relation to his work died. He would recognize them.
Of course Kurt Cobain was a Beat Punk. I knew many people who had stopped following the latest music in 1991-1992, but they all had Nirvana’s first LP. And we all got it; you didn’t have to say anything about it it was totally accepted as part of us.
So Kurt Cobain broke through the surface with his music and his band, but he also spoke loudly with his songs. I’ll never forget hearing him sing “Rape Me” over and over again in the subway, in the streets, on the radio, in the deli, in the cab, “Rape Meeeeee, Raaape mee!” I thought it was so brave.
He backed those songs up with his body and his behavior. Cobain was one of those stars (like James Dean) who can almost play their way into your intuition.
Everything he did was a confrontation with the establishment.
Most rockstars do that from the comfort of protection. You felt Cobain was never protected. He was so drawn, he got to look like he was bleeding on the cross. That’s how far he got. Seems like Jesus Cobain crossed a line… oh Lord, where is this taking me?
Interject: Could the above description of Cobain be applied too William Burroughs? No. They each had their own trips. Cobain’s life was the most vivid line of connection to the beat punk movement at the time, but people did not make as much as they could out of it. Sid Vicious got a film and endless fucked up books celebrating his stupidity. There is also a beat punk connection between Sid and Kurt. They both received the same out pouring of pain from all those little girls chasing them in their black mini-skirts.
Originally filmed in 1922, this version was updated in the mid 1960′s to include english narration by William S Burroughs while he was in London. The writer and director Benjamin Christensen discloses a historical view of the witches through the seven parts of this silent movie. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan cultures in the Middle Ages regarding their vision of demons and witches. Then there is a dramatization of the situation of the witches in the Middle Ages, with the witchcraft and the witch-hunts. Finally Benjamin Christensen compares the behavior of hysteria of the modern women of 1921 with the behavior of the witches in the Middle Ages, concluding that they are very similar.
Travis Louie’s paintings come from the tiny little drawings and many writings in his journals. He has created his own imaginary world that is grounded in Victorian and Edwardian times. It is inhabited by human oddities, mythical beings, and otherworldly characters who appear to have had their formal portraits taken to mark their existence and place in society. The underlining thread that connects all these characters is the unusual circumstances that shape who they were and how they lived. Some of their origins are a complete muster while others are hinted at. A man is cursed by a goat, a strange furry being is discovered sleeping in a hedge, an engine driver can’t seem to stop vibrating in his sleep, a man overcomes his phobia of spiders, etc, … Using inventive techniques of painting with acrylic washing and simple textures on smooth boards, he has created portraits from an alternative universe that seemingly may or may not have existed.
Abandonned Parisian Nightclub Hijacked by Street Art
The site of a stunning 1885-era Parisian municipal bathhouse, HOME to the previous Les Bains Douches Nightclub, is now set to be revamped into a Luxury Boutique Hotel. Earlier this year, a group of 50 Art practitioners filled it up with their own art, creating their very own pop up art gallery from it.
Built as a municipal bathhouse in the late 19th century, Les Bains-Douches would eventually become one of the hottest Night Clubs in Paris known simply as Les Bains, a destination for the likes of Kate Moss, Mick Jagger, Johnny Depp and even Andy Warhol. Due to some faulty construction in 2010 the building was declared a safety hazard and is now slated for complete RENOVATION in just a few days to pave way for La Société des Bains, a new space that will open in 2014. In the meantime, owner Jean-Pierre Marois turned over the building to 50 street artists commissioned by Magda Danysz Gallery who have been working since January to turn the decaying building into an endless canvas of amazing Artwork.
Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, the film examines what makes us who we are, and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.
One of the best rock documentaries in years, precisely because it deliberately ignores the genre’s conventions. Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard create a fictionalised world for an artist well familiar with inhabiting them – Nick Cave – and the sets and scenarios in which they place him in, chatting with Kylie Minogue or visiting his archive, allow for illuminating insight, focusing on his drive to create and the obsessions that permeate his body of work.
I remember when I saw Nick Cave in Wim Winders’ Wings of Desire, I had then such an impulse to jump into this dark world and allow myself to feel those sudden passions and impulses without losing my lucidity, rather exploring them as if they were a part of me that always has been there but that I wouldn’t allow to exist because I didn’t know thw way to do it in style. All of a sudden I wanted to become Nick Cave because he knew… But beware of Nick Cave because he can come as a friend and feed you some rotten chicken that will get you sick or he could lead you into thinking he’s a sadistic jumping devil jumping on his tender prey when he is in fact just a guy wandering through a broken night with a dark heart but always, always a clear head….
Since my first Birthday Party, I always knew he was the guy I wanted to be and this guy could be anyone without being a poser. There are no conflicts in his many faces. I even went to the funerals of Bunny Monroe without any doubts that the sensitive crooner with a deep sensitive graveyard voice could always resurface when it would be getting too creepy for other people to be around but does it ever get too creepy??? It doesn’t matter because we always know that there is another side. Enuf said, I simply cannot wait to see this fictitious reality based movie, now knowing that I will never be Nick Cave but that I can learn so much from him to be a little bit more of myself and so can all the dreamy Henrys of this Earth….
“She was almost proud of the fact that her teeth were rotten, that her hair was grey…her skin was bad, she had needle tracks all over. She liked that. That was her aesthetic.”
The above quote, attributed to James Young – Nico’s keyboard player from 1981-86 – summarizes the often harrowing watch that is filmmaker Susanne Ofteringer’s 1995 documentary, Nico Icon. It was Young who penned the fascinating on-the road-with-Nico tell all, Songs They Don’t Play On The Radio, chronicling his days in her ad hoc touring band. But unlike Young’s book, which is frequently injected with (and buoyed by) levity, Ofteringer’s Icon is a meditative, often dark, look at the woman born Christa Päffgen. While hardly wholly representative of Nico the artist/muse/person, the film is an engaging 67 minutes beginning with Nico’s early years modeling in Germany and France, onto to her Zelig-like existence moving through sixties pop culture (Alain Delon, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol…) and beyond. And it’s the beyond, Nico’s “desire for her own annihilation”, and heroin, that looms heavily over the remainder of the film.
Nico Icon is once again (at the time of this writing) available to stream, in full, via Youtube.
With the discovery and digitisation of a cache of his personal polaroids, we gain access into the luminous world of Andrei Tarkovsky…
Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky is often cited as the greatest cinematic artist of all time. His roster of just seven films – including Andrei Rublev, Ivan’s Children and Solaris – have made him one of the most lauded directors in history, awarded a Golden Lion, the Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes and, posthumously, the Lenin Prize – the highest accolade in the Soviet Union. One of his heroes, Ingmar Bergman, stated, “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”
Veneration for Tarkovsky has not dimmed since his premature death in 1986, making the recent discovery of a cache of his polaroids a thrilling find. Taken between 1979 and 1984, in the years before his death from a cancer supposedly contracted on the set of Stalker, they span his last months in the Soviet Union and the years he spent researching and filming in Italy. Very much in the spirit of his moving image work, they capture nature, individuals and light in images that shine with the singular humanity which imbues his films. He once pronounced that “the director’s task is to recreate life, its movement, its contradictions, its dynamic and conflicts. It is his duty to reveal every iota of the truth he has seen…” In these vignettes from his personal world, populated by his dog, his children, his garden and the view from his window, we are left spellbound by a quiet and captivating insight into the world of a man who rendered dreams reality, creating worlds of wonder and truth that have never been equalled despite all the bombast of modern technology.
Text by Tish Wrigley
© Андрей Тарковский/Ultreya, Milano
See the full array of polaroids here.
Burroughs and the William Tell Act Tragedy
”I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing. I live with the constant threat of possession, and a constant need to escape from possession, from control. So the death of Joan brought me in contact with the invader, the Ugly Spirit, and maneuvered me into a life long struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.”- William S. Burroughs
On the Mexican afternoon that it hapened, Bill found himself his face litteraly covered with tears, without any explainatory logic. One day we will rather think like: ”How could you NOT sense that in a few hours you were about to kill the person you love the most right in between the eyes.” One day our senses will have developped and we will be more trusty of our …”occult” senses…. Burroughs always has been a believer of the occult…
bURROUGHS WAS AN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE KID, THIS IS WHAT’S BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT BURROUGHS FEELINGS ABOUT THE years following the great flood, causing loss of human lifes and lots of material damages…
”EVEN THEN BURROUGHS SAW BEYOND THE SURFACE OF THINGS AND SENSED, THE DREAD BENEATH THE VENEER.YEARS LATER HE WROTE:”WHEN I LIVED IN ST-LOUIS (MISSOURI) AND DROVE HOME PASS THE BARE CLAY OF SUBDIVIDED LOTS, HERE AND THERE, HOUSES SET DOWN ON PLATFORMS OF CONCRETE IN THE MUD, PLAY-HOUSES OF CHILDREN WHO LOOK HAPPY AND HEALTHY BUT EMPTY HORROR AND PANIC IN CLEAR GRAY-BLUE EYES, AND WHEN I DRIVE TO THE SUBDIVISION ALWAYS FELT DEEP IMPACT IN STOMACH AND FINAL LONELINESS AND DESPAIR”
- This was an extract taken from ”PLEASE CALL ME BURROUGHS;A life” by Barry Miles page 48
In 1951, they were living in Mexico City when they found themselves drunk at a party.
“It was during this party that at one point he just told Joan, ‘Let’s do our William Tell act,’ ” Miles says. “And she put this shot glass on her head and he whipped out his gun, and he missed. He shot low and got her in the forehead. It was quite clearly an accident, but he felt that some bad part of him, some evil spirit in him, had motivated him.”
In 1985, Burroughs told me he spent the rest of his life trying to write his way out of Joan’s death.
“It was an event that made me see, or, made me into a writer,” he said. “And of course, a writer often has — all his work will pivot around some simple idea, like Poe, the fear of being buried alive, which happened in those days. But it was a sort of a pivotal event.”
Before that, in novels like Queer and Junky, Burroughs’ writing was more or less straightforward autobiography. Afterward, he began to write the denser, visionary prose of Naked Lunch, The Soft Machineand Nova Express. Even autobiographical characters, like Kim Carsons of 1984′s The Place Of Dead Roads, became more fantastic. Here’s how Burroughs describes Carsons in the book:
“Kim is a slimy, morbid youth of unwholesome proclivities with an insatiable appetite for the extreme and the sensational. His mother had been into table-tapping and Kim adores ectoplasms, crystal balls, spirit guides and auras. He wallows in abominations, unspeakable rites, diseased demon lovers …
‘We’ve Barely Started To Touch Him’
Burroughs became a magnet for artists, musicians and wannabe hipsters, but biographer Miles says the writer’s influence is yet to be completely understood.
“I think the Beats have now, they’ve all died — all the main ones except Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And we’re now starting to be able to see them from a distance and appreciate who was really important and who wasn’t,” he says. “And I think Burroughs is possibly now the leader, really the lead contender. [He's] someone whose work is so deep and on so many levels … that we’ve barely started to touch him.”
William S. Burroughs died in 1997 at the age of 83.
Here is an extensive list of Burroughs Bibliography:
William S. Burroughs by Charles Burns
Exerpt from ”El Borbah”“Are the El Borbah stories actually, you know, important? Hell no. This is Burns pop recycling at his manic and hysterical best. For all his later work, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Burns is, you know, a really funny guy. And never has this been more on display as through El Borbah’s adventures, vague detective tales where our hardboiled antihero is a misanthrope in a Mexican wrestling outfit, unraveling mysteries with equal doses of contempt and fisticuffs, like every weird television moment of the fifties and sixties exploding onto a page. El Borbah is a giant book with beautiful stuff inside. Well worth it at twice the price.”
– Matt Fraction at www.artbomb.net
Big Baby is a particularly impressionable young boy named Tony Delmonte, who lives in a seemingly typical American suburb until he sneaks out of his room one night and becomes entangled in a horrific plot involving summer camp murders and backyard burials. Burns’ clinical precision as an artist adds a sinister chill to his droll sense of humor, and his affection for 20th-century pulp fiction permeates throughout, creating a brilliant narrative that perfectly captures the unease and fear of adolescence. “At once alluring and grotesque, Burns’ imagery has been eagerly embraced by the counterculture, mainstream media, and a recalcitrant art world without ever compromising his strikingly singular aesthetic.” – Juxtapoz
“The work of Charles Burns is a vision that’s both horrifying and hilariously funny, and which he executes with cold, ruthless clarity… It’s almost as if the artist… as if her weren’t quite… human!” – R. Crumb
“These comics are brilliant, loaded with humor and a love of B-movies, pulps, and old comic books. ‘Curse of the Molemen’ is a classic of modern cartooning, and alone would make this book worth buying.” – John Porcellino
Click here and there for put in links!!! (watch for the hand)
All Images courtesy of Ray Caesar/Gallery House
For his latest show, “The Trouble with Angels” coming up on February 14 at Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome, Ray Caesar takes viewers into an icy queendom where a sense of foreboding belies the pristine beauty of his characters and their surroundings. Caesar works digitally to create a haunting world inspired by the Rococo period, specifically the time before the French Revolution. The title of Caesar’s latest show speaks to the duality he sees in the worlds he creates as well as within himself — it is an allusion to the struggle between good and evil. “Making art is a way for me to get in touch with that inner angelic guide that instinctively knows what is right and not right for me, even when I disagree,” said Caesar. “Sometimes that path is hard and challenging so that inner angel can also be a bit of a troublemaking demon.” The February 14 opening of “The Trouble with Angels” will be followed by a retrospective of Caesar’s work opening on the 15th at the Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana in Turin.
His plots play out like fever dreams, swirling through time and perception, but Charles Burns’ aesthetic style alone is enough to make you queasy. In a class on underground comix, I was assigned Burns’ most popular tome, Black Hole, as an introduction to contemporary comic art. During the second session on Burns, a few of my classmates begged the professor to let us move on. “I just can’t look at this stuff anymore,” one of them said. She was sitting close to the projector screen and a page from Black Hole from superimposed on her hair. I remember it being these panel: My only qualm with Black Hole, though I do love it, is the sinister use of yonic imagery. Some useful information emerges from the vaginal openings Burns draws in his characters’ feet or throats, but mostly it’s just more nightmares. Flipping through Burns’ book, you begin to feel tension building around the image of what most characters call “the slit”. Oh great, another evil vagina, come to absorb you and your agency. What I found most exciting in Black Hole were the repeated images of monstrous teenagers.
They experience bodily changes which mirror “normal” stages of puberty (i.e. new patches of body hair, sensual urges toward others, changes in skin texture), becoming alienated from unchanged teens around them.
The kids in Black Hole are altered and mutated by a sexually transmitted infection (or something, it’s never fully explained.) Although they have a lot in common, they fall into isolation by blaming each other, losing themselves in numbing drug use, or fading into repetitive nightmares which blend into Burns’ depictions of reality. The reader is left questioning what’s real and what isn’t.
As far as monsters, the most engaging depictions in Black Hole are the yearbook-photo style drawings lining the jacket. Readers love these anonymous, twisted, rotting teenagers so much that they’ve even recreated some of the portraits in photos. Burns’ teen faces are made grotesque with the addition of insect parts, or by the omission of recognizable human traits like eyebrows or hair. It’s funny how a teen with vicious acne and greasy hair is considered “normal,” while a teen with larger teeth and a rotting scalp becomes something else, something more disturbing, simply because we don’t recognize these changes. Monsters, again, need to be slightly unfamiliar or surprising.
As far as monsters, the most engaging depictions in Black Hole are the yearbook-photo style drawings lining the jacket. Readers love these anonymous, twisted, rotting teenagers so much that they’ve even recreated some of the portraits in photos.
It would be a disservice to Charles Burns to discuss his flair for monstrous images without discussing his other pieces. So far I’ve found The Hive trilogy more engaging, as its set in a world different than our own. His use of flat color, without depth of focus or gradients, makes his creatures look as if they’ve been drawn for children, and this makes the books more uncomfortable to read.
Interesting in The Hive and X’ed Out, the first two installments of Burns’ most recent collection, is the hierarchy of monsters. Burns doesn’t explicate his monstrous society through character dialogue, but his art suggesst some monsters, though capable of fear and trauma, are just food for the larger, humanoid creatures.
n a sequence that has haunted me since I read it, an unintelligible creature eats an obviously terrified worm-monster. There are a few questions at play here: what separates a monster from an animal? Is this larger creature a cannibal, or is he simply eating the way we eat, popping prey into his mouth? His sneer suggests that he’s aware of the worm’s fear (or worse, he’s into it.) Burns’ narrator, who bears a disturbing resemblance to Tin Tin, looks on in stunned silence.
As for other works: Burn’s Big Baby is interesting, because monstrous humans are difficult to depict in graphic novels. Burns’ protagonist, Big Baby, is both childlike and devious. My issue with Big Baby is the fact that the character resembles old racist cartoons of Asian Americans, depicted with exaggerated facial features to suggest, as I’m always talking about, a monstrous otherness.
Although I was disappointed with Fears of the Dark in general, Burns’ short animated segment had some interesting moments. His creaky insectoids, as they cared for their victim, were pretty unsettling. As usual, I wanted more from the human characters; Burns’ humans tend to appear numb, or only vaguely ruffled despite the atrocities he puts them through.
After taking that class on comix, I started work on my undergraduate thesis, Humane Monsters, Monstrous Humans, and I found a lot of inspiration as I explored Burns’ work.
He certainly has an eye for round, jutting ugliness, and I admire how tension undulates through most of his stories. More uncomfortable than horrifying, Burns is a classic for any monster-lover. I imagine I’ll give his books to a teenage kid one day. At the very least, I think any offspring I’d have would enjoy Uncle Death:
“The Past is just a Story we are telling ourselves. ” -Her
Still from ”Stalker”, Andrei Tarkowski
En mars 1967, Jimi Hendrix est pratiquement un inconnu lorsque Jean-Noël Coghe l’accompagne en tournée en France et en Belgique. Cet album constitue un témoignage sur le vif réunissant une foule d’anecdotes et de documents.
À partir de photos inédites, Moebius (alias Jean Giraud) réalise une série de dessins qui projettent Jimi Hendrix dans l’imaginaire et propulsent à l’infini cette épopée. Il révèle un univers cosmique, féerique.
Jean-Noël Coghe évoque avec passion et émotion la fulgurante carrière du plus célèbre des guitaristes. Il nous fait côtoyer les principaux protagonistes de l’époque. Nous assistons au début d’un mythe que seuls quelques anonymes ont pressenti.
Titre exact : Jimi hendrix. Emotions électriques
Catégorie : Art, architecture et photo
Date de parution : 1 février 2000
Éditeur : Castor astral
ISBN : 9782859203863
Auteur : Moebus/ Cogne, Jean-noël
The UnHoly Holy Trinity Hits UK HARD!
Extract from YOUR PRETTY FACE IS GOING TO HELL by Dave Thompson:
Aylesbury Friars would be Bowie’s final show for a month, before he headed into the studios first and then Mott the Hoople. It was also designed to be Bowie’s introduction to an American press that MainMan had flown in for the occasion, writers and taste makers who had read so much about the new British superstar in the imported papers, but where still waiting to be convinced themselves. The Spiders’ U.S. tour was now scheduled for September 1972, and if all went according to MainMan’s plan, reviews and reports from the Aylesbury show would see the excitement reaching fever pitch right around the time of the first concert.
On Saturday July 15th, wined and dined at the height of luxury, lodged in the finest hotels, and shepherded every place they needed to go, the American journalists felt like royalty as they were driven into the leafy confines of Aylesbury ushered into the Friars club-and confronted with an audience that was even more rabid than the British press reports had ever warned them. Boisterous though they most have been, and determined to remain aloof, that first rush ofadrenalined shrieking caught them off guard, sending their ears reeling before they’d even found a place to stand. Then their eyes took over, bombarding their senses with the sight of a thousand wide-eyed Bowie clones, Angela doubles,Ronsondoppelgangers.
”Ode to Joy” piped throught the PA, Loud enough to shake coherent thought from their heads, but not deafening as to be painful, and then the band appeared, ripping straight into ”Hang Onto Yourself”, and all reservations fell away. The show was stunning, the performances seamless, and when Bowie started throwing his silk scarves into the crowd, the writers were as desparate to catch them as the kids.
The Lou Reed show the previous evening had been a revelation. Taking the stage shortly after midnight and kicking right into a deliciously clunky ”White Night White Heat”, Reed was at his best, a spectral ring-leader, not quite ad-libbing his lyrics but certainly having a wonderful time teasing the Tots with his timing, and if he was the only person in the room who didn’t cringe a little when the band unleashed their backing vocals, that didn’t detract from the sheer thrill of seeing him up there.
”Waiting for my man”, layered with flourishes that the song had never before carried; a resonant ”Ride into the Sun”; a fragile ”New Age”, Reed singing instead of mumbling as expected,; on and on through the best of Lou Reed and the finest of the Velvet Underground, Reed may have been leading the crowd into unchartered territory for much of the set, but the roar that greeted ”Sweet Jane” was as heartfelt as the smile with which Reed repaid the recognition.”I Can’t Stand It” was punchy, ”Going Down” was gentle,”Wild Child” was brittle, ”Berlin” was beautiful, and if ”Rock’n’Roll” picked up more appplause than the eerie, closing ”Heroin”, that just proved how much easier it was to find Loaded in a British record store than any of the records that preceded it.
The Stooges would really need to be on form to top that.
Again the show started after midnight, allowing the handful of Bowie fans who’d also hit Aylesbury to race back in time for the Stooge’s, together with all the journalists who accepted MainMan’s offer of a bus back into London. A few of them might have thought they knew what to expect, nursing memories of the shows the band had played back in New-York a couple of years before. But they left their expectations on the dance floor. Mick Jones, four years away from forming the Clash at the birth of the British punk movmement, was there, astonished by the incandescence of the show. ”The full-on quality of the Stooges was great, like flamethrowers!”
Iggy lived up to his outrageous reputation, dressing in silver leather trousers, with matching silver hair, black lipstick and made-up eyes. After lurching and prowling over every inch of the stage in the first two numbers, he decided to wander into audience, followed where possible by spotlight. He stopped occasionally to stare deep into people’s eyes, talking about wanting to find something “interesting” and calling the crowd hippies that didn’t inspire him.Pop was everywhere trailing a mix cord the length of the building as he wandered out into the audience, alternately grabbing and caressing whoever lay in his path. One girl discovered him sitting in her lap, staring into her eyes as he serenaded her; one boy found himself being shaken like a rat as Pop grabbed hold of his head and used it to cath the rythm of the song. At some point, there was a problem with the sound. Pop stood still for a moment, stock-still and scowling, then howled with rage and hurled his mic to the ground. It shattered on impact., so he walked to another one, and treated the silent crowd to ”The Shadow of your smile” a suave accapella that kept everyone entranced while the problems were solved. Then it was back to the programmed set, loud, lewd and brutal. The concert was attended by a group of noisy skinhead types, who voiced their impatience during one of several breaks due to technical problems, which caused Iggy to respond, “What did you say, you piece of shit,” as he advanced threateningly across the stage. The cat-caller’s memory suddenly failed him as he melted back into the crowd. After the microphone was fixed, the Stooges commenced another song but halfway through one of the amplifiers broke down, causing a long delay. Later in the show, the leader of the skinhead gang went down to the front of the stage to shout obscenities. This time, Iggy went berserk, leaping across the stage to aim a boot in the guy’s face. Roadies pounced on the guy and bundled him out of a side exit; the rest of the mob shut up completely.
”We did a bunch of things that were new and we started wearing lots of makeup for one thing.and that was different, Williamson recalled. II think we had rehearsed pretty much by that point. It didn’t seem unique to me. We did a lot of stuff with the crowd at that show, which was bizarre for the Londoner, but it was typical for us. That’s what we were used to doing.”
They took Pop’s activities in stride, ”It was part of the show, but we had to really cover a lot for him because he was very improvisational, as was the whole band. We knew, but if you weren’t used to it, you didn’t know when he was going to start a song or when it was going to stop or what to do in the middle because it wasnt exactly youd recorded it. He was very unpredictable”
In attendance at the King’s Cross Cinema were several aspiring musicians, who would go on to become highly influential in the British punk rock movement which exploded a few years later, including Joe Strummer (the Clash), Johnny Rotten (the Sex Pistols), Brian James (the Damned), and Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie and the Banshees). The concert has been called the birth of British punk rock. “That show changed the history of English music, because of who was there,” notes Iggy. “People checked us out and realised we had changed the playing field for what was possible.”
The Stooges drew predominantly positive reviews, although it was obvious that they made the British critics somewhat uneasy. “The total effect was more frightening than all the Alice Coopers and Clockwork Oranges put together, simply because these guys weren’t joking,” said Nick Kent in New Musical Express. Michael Oldfield of Melody Maker felt Iggy and the band were on the verge of the dangerous, “It’s like a flashback 200 years, to the times when the rich paid to go into insane asylums and see madmen go into convulsions.”
Photographer Mick Rock admitted that he felt “distinctly intimidated” as he photographed the show.He never did precisely know what he was preserving. When MainMan called him down to the show, he was told only that the night needed to be captured in all its flaming Glory. It would be another year before one of the shots he took that evening was blown up for the cover of the Stooges’ third album, a close up of the singers torso, leaning on his mic stand, his face set and beautiful, staring into space. Pop later claimed that he hated it.
Pop, Rock said, ”was already in my mind more mythological than human. His appeal was omnisexual; he was physically very beautiful, (and) the silver hair and silver trousers only added to the sense of the mythological. He seemed to have emerged from some bizarre primal hinterland, so much bigger than life, emoting and projecting a tingling menace. He was…a cultural revolutionary, operating well ahead of his time.” The question that nobody dared ask was, was anybody truly ready to take the burden on? …..
14-07-72 (technically this was really 15-07 because Lou did not play till after midnight)
SCALA CINEMA, KING’S CROSS, LONDON, UK
White Light/White Heat – I’m Waiting For The Man – Ride Into The Sun – New Age – Walk And Talk It – Sweet Jane – Going Down – I Can’t Stand It – Berlin – Cool It Down – Wild Child – Rock And Roll – Heroin
Friars Aylesbury, Borough Assembly Hall, Market Square, AYLesbury, UK
HANG ON TO YOURSELF; ZIGGY STARDUST; THE SUPERMEN; QUEEN BITCH; SONG FOR BOB DYLAN; CHANGES; STARMAN; FIVE YEARS; SPACE ODDITY; ANDY WARHOL; AMSTERDAM; I FEEL FREE; MOONAGE DAYDREAM; WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT; GOT TO GET A JOB; SUFFRAGETTE CITY; ROCK N ROLL SUICIDE
Iggy Pop and The Stooges:
15-07 (technically this was really 16-07 because they did not play till after midnight)
SCALA CINEMA or King Sound (I guess was the name of King’s Cross Cinema, at least temporarily), KING’S CROSS, LONDON, UK
I got a right, Scene of the Crime, Gimme Some Skin, Im Sick of you, The Shadow of your Smile (Tony Benett cover) , Money That What I Want (Barret Strong Cover), Tight Pants,Fresh Rag, Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, Search and Destroy, Penetration
This is literally the most terrifying thing I can imagine. I am someone who enjoys being scared (moderately), I like watching scary movies, cuddled up to my SO and possibly sleeping with the lights on or watching a sappy rom-com afterwards if I get too freaked out – this goes beyond my wildest nightmares.
The location is actually in their own private home as it started in 2012 back when you could just show up very early on week-ends only and go by groups of 4 and maybe wait for 12 hours before going in.IN 2013 they tried to ”go pro” , move to a different location and tone it down to a PG-13 and charge an actual fee for entering but it didn’t work because the local authorities were VERY concerned with what was happening there and decided not to go along with the project and not give them the required permits and authorizations. They are now back doing it in their own house BUT the tour that was given back in 2012 cannot be compared in any way to what is happening now: This isn’t your average haunted house… it’s honestly a walk through your worst nightmares, and by walk I mean gauntlet. Located in San Diego, McKamey Manor is one of the most intense and scariest haunted houses on the planet….. and that’s putting it lightly. Russ McKamey is the evil genius behind this haunt that he started about 14 years ago. They now operate exclusively by reservations and it can take place on any given day/night and it is much more personalised as only 2 people at a time can take the tour. They’re allowed to touch you, gag you, put a bag over your head and pretty much anything that’s not illegal.Here are a few requirements you must pass to even be able to enter: you now must be 21 years of age (previously was 18), you’re required to sign a waiver, and you must be in excellent physical condition. Only two people go in at a time, and get this… it can last anywhere from 4 – 7 hours. It’s also one of the few haunted houses that stays open year round, and the only haunted house in the world where admission is free….. (Or so they say?). You MUST understand just how insanely scary this experience is, it is like you are in your very own, personalized horror movie. From the many satisfied (?!) reviews, they refrain from all sexual and religious undertones – it is pure horror, for FOUR to SEVEN HOURS! Gore, being attacked/grabbed/held down/screamed at/forced to eat disgusting SOMETHINGs, covered in blood and water and probably your own urine, because this stuff is terrifying.
Think you can handle it?? Check out their website here and make your reservation…. oh and just because you make a reservation doesn’t mean you will get selected. It’s almost like by invitation only, or how Russ likes to call it, a “Golden Ticket” to put it mildly cuz the reservation list is 17 000 names long and rock stars, actors, very rich and/or famous people as well as ordinary people from all over the world are on that list. Assuming you would book yourself right now and just wait it out, you probably would be put on the tour in a decade or so.. The only admission is a bag of donations to a dog rescue BUT It has been whispered (no actual reliable source) that there is some money involved coming from a live video feed that is viewed by some gamblers from Vegas placing bets on how long or which treatment would be getting the participants. Of course it seems a bit far-fetched but anyone who has been to Vegas knows that there is definitely some sick stuff happening there and that some people would bet on anything, the adrenaline rush being an addiction for them as well… Now, even if that wasn’t true, you surely find it as suspicious as I do to think that around half a millions dollars would be invested in equipment only and that all the ”actors” involved to this for free, all the time… BUT I can also admit that the crazy underworld in which all of these people seeking such high adrenaline rush maybe has different rules and people get their kicks in many mysterious ways…
I get the thrill of normal haunted houses – BOO! Oh, haha, I was scared for a minute… Living in your own personal traumatic kidnapped and toyed with by an insane serial killer mansion for several hours seems like you already have some SERIOUS masochist tendencies to actually sign up to do this, much less leave a raving review on it afterwards. The HT is : Would you do this? Do you think anyone willing to do this is absolutely off their rocker? Well it seems there’s a whole bunch of them!!! I must admit it actually got me very curious…
Every 15 seconds, a computer, network, or mobile device is hacked by cyber-terrorists. To combat this problem, Syntek Industries has manufactured data couriers designed from advanced machine robotics. These couriers are known as SYNCS. Syncs are programmed to securely deliver data packages without interruption.
Produced, Written and Directed by Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull
Representation: Scott Glassgold / I AM Entertainment
The poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, taken from segments of the 2010 film featuring James Franco as Ginsberg and with illustrations by Eric Drooker
On June 3, 1926, Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark, New Jersey. The son of Louis and Naomi Ginsberg, two Jewish members of the New York literary counterculture of the 1920s, Ginsberg was raised among several progressive political perspectives. A supporter of the Communist party, Ginsberg’s mother was a nudist whose mental health was a concern throughout the poet’s childhood. According to biographer Barry Miles, “Naomi’s illness gave Allen an enormous empathy and tolerance for madness, neurosis, and psychosis.”
As an adolescent, Ginsberg savored Walt Whitman, though in 1939, when Ginsberg graduated high school, he consideredEdgar Allan Poe his favorite poet. Eager to follow a childhood hero who had received a scholarship to Columbia University, Ginsberg made a vow that if he got into the school he would devote his life to helping the working class, a cause he took seriously over the course of the next several years.
He was admitted to Columbia University, and as a student there in the 1940s, he began close friendships with William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and Jack Kerouac, all of whom later became leading figures of the Beat movement. The group led Ginsberg to a “New Vision,” which he defined in his journal: “Since art is merely and ultimately self-expressive, we conclude that the fullest art, the most individual, uninfluenced, unrepressed, uninhibited expression of art is true expression and the true art.”
Around this time, Ginsberg also had what he referred to as his “Blake vision,” an auditory hallucination of William Blakereading his poems “Ah Sunflower,” “The Sick Rose,” and “Little Girl Lost.” Ginsberg noted the occurrence several times as a pivotal moment for him in his comprehension of the universe, affecting fundamental beliefs about his life and his work. While Ginsberg claimed that no drugs were involved, he later stated that he used various drugs in an attempt to recapture the feelings inspired by the vision.
In 1954, Ginsberg moved to San Francisco. His mentor,William Carlos Williams, introduced him to key figures in the San Francisco poetry scene, including Kenneth Rexroth. He also met Michael McClure, who handed off the duties of curating a reading for the newly established “6” Gallery. With the help of Rexroth, the result was “The ‘6’ Gallery Reading” which took place on October 7, 1955. The event has been hailed as the birth of the Beat Generation, in no small part because it was also the first public reading of Ginsberg’s “Howl,” a poem that garnered worldwide attention for him and the poets he associated with.
In response to Ginsberg’s reading, McClure wrote: “Ginsberg read on to the end of the poem, which left us standing in wonder, or cheering and wondering, but knowing at the deepest level that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America.”
Shortly after Howl and Other Poems was published in 1956 by City Lights Bookstore, it was banned for obscenity. The work overcame censorship trials, however, and “Howl” became one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters. As the leading icon of the Beats, Ginsberg was involved in countless political activities, including protests against the Vietnam War, and he spoke openly about issues that concerned him, such as free speech and gay rights agendas.
Ginsberg went on to publish numerous collections of poetry, including Kaddish and Other Poems (1961), Planet News(1968), and The Fall of America: Poems of These States(1973), which won the National Book Award.
In 1993, Ginsberg received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (the Order of Arts and Letters) from the French minister of culture. He also co-founded and directed the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Colorado. In his later years, Ginsberg became a distinguished professor at Brooklyn College.
On April 5, 1997, in New York City, he died from complications of hepatitis.
Howl and Other Poems (1956)
Kaddish and Other Poems (1961)
Reality Sandwiches (1963)
The Yage Letters (with William S. Burroughs, 1963)
Planet News (1968)
The Gates of Wrath: Rhymed Poems 1948–1951 (1972)
Iron Horse (1972)
The Fall of America: Poems of These States (1973)
First Blues: Rags, Ballads & Harmonium Songs 1971 – 1974(1975)
Mind Breaths (1978)
Plutonian Ode: Poems 1977–1980 (1982)
Collected Poems: 1947–1980 (1984)
White Shroud Poems: 1980–1985 (1986)
Cosmopolitan Greetings Poems: 1986–1993 (1994)
Howl Annotated (1995)
Illuminated Poems (1996)
Selected Poems: 1947–1995 (1996)
Death and Fame: Poems 1993–1997 (1999)
Deliberate Prose 1952–1995 (2000)
The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems 1937-1952 (2006)
You Only Get One Shot…
by Tobe Damit
A little after 4 pm on Monday, June the 3rd, 1968,Valerie Solanas marched into The Factory and fired 3 bullets at Warhol. Just one of them missed, but when Billy Names rushed over to cradle Warhol’s head in his lap while blinking away tears, Warhol only words where ”Please don’t make me laugh, it hurts too much”.
I always was curious to know who she was and what were the exact reasons that led to that tragic day that would have many ramifications in the way it affected modern arts, cinema, music, theatre, live performances, and so many other forms of art as Warhol was most definitely involved in so many projects. Warhol was never the same after that and there is no way to precisely mesure the importance this had but it sure did modify the face of what was happening in the late sixties and early seventies. Let’s have a closer look at the sad life of Valerie Solanas and the events that led to the day she got her 15 minutes of Fame.
On April 9, 1936 in Ventor, New Jersey, Valerie Jean Solanas was born to Louis and Dorothy Bondo Solanas. Her father sexually molested her; sometime in the 1940′s her parents divorced, and Valerie moved with her mother to Washington, D.C.. In 1949 Valerie’s mother married Red Moran. Rebellious and stubborn, Valerie disobeyed her parents and refused to stay in Catholic high school; in response her grandfather whipped her.
At the age of 15 in 1951, Valerie ended up on her own. She dated a sailor and may have gotten pregnant by him but still managed to graduate from high school in 1954. She was a good student at the University of Maryland at College Park, supporting herself by working in the psycology department’s animal laboratory. She did nearly a year of graduate work in psychology at University of Minnesota.
After college, Solanas panhandled and worked as a prostitute to support herself. She traveled around the country and ended up in Greenwich Village in 1966. There she wrote “Up Your Ass”, a play ” about a man-hating hustler and a panhandler. In one version, the woman kills the man. In another, a mother strangles her son.”
Early in 1967 Solanas approached Andy Warhol at his studio, the Factory, about producing ” Up Your Ass”, as a play and gave him her copy of the script. At the time Warhol told the journalist Grechen Berg: ” I thought the title was so wonderful and I’m so friendly that I invited her to come up with it, but it was so dirty that I think she must have been a lady cop…. We haven’t seen her since and I’m not surprised. I guess she thought that was the perfect thing for Andy Warhol.”
Also in 1967 Solanas wrote and self published the Scum Manifesto. While selling mimeographed copies on the streets, she meant Maurice Girodias of Olympia Press (French publisher of Lolita, Candy and Tropic of Cancer) who gave her an advance for a novel based on the manifesto. (With this $600 cash she visited San Francisco.)During this time Ultra Violet read the Manifesto to Warhol who commented, ” She’s a hot water bottle with tits. You know, she’s writing a script for us. She has a lot of ideas.”
Later, in May 1967, after Warhol had returned from a trip to France and England, Solanas demanded her script back; Warhol informed her he had lost it. Apparently, Warhol had never any intention to produce Up Your Ass as either a play or a movie; the script was simply lost in the shuffle, thrown into one of the Factory’s many stacks of unsolicited manuscripts and papers. Solanas began telephoning insistently, ordering Warhol to give her money for the play.
In July 1967 Warhol paid Solanas twenty-five dollars for performing in “I, a Man,” a feature-length film he was making with Paul Morrissey. Valerie appeared as herself, a tough lesbian who rejects the advances of a male stud with the line that she has instincts that “tell me to dig chicks—- why should my standards be lower than yours?” Solanas also appeared in a nonspeaking role in “Bikeboy,” another 1967 Warhol film. Warhol was pleased with her frank and funny performance; Solanas also was satisfied enough that she brought Girodias to the studio to see a rough cut of the film. Girodias noted that Solanas “seemed very relaxed and friendly with Warhol, whose conversation consisted of protracted silences.”
In the fall of 1967 at the New York cafe, Max’s Kansas City, Warhol spotted Solanas sitting at a nearby table. He instigated Viva’s insult of Solanas; “You dyke! You’re disgusting!” Valerie answered with the story of her sexual abuse at the hands of her father.”No wonder your a lesbian,” Viva callously replied.
Over the winter of 1967-68, Solanas was interviewed by the Robert Mamorstein of the Village Voice. The article,”Scum Goddess: a Winter Memory of Valerie Solanas” was not published until June 13, 1968, after the shooting. Solanas commented on the men interested SCUM:”… creeps. Masochists. Probably would love me to spit on them. I wouldn’t give them the pleasure…. The men want to kiss my feet and all that crap.” Her comment on women and sex: ” The girls are okay. They’re willing to help any way they can. Some of them are interested in nothing but sex though. Sex with me, I mean. I can’t be bothered …. I’m no lesbian. I haven’t got time for sex of any kind. That’s a hang–up.” She told Mamorstein that Warhol was a son of a bitch: ” A snake couldn’t eat a meal off what he paid out.” Solanas also talked about her life; she had surfed as a little girl. She panhandled and even sold an article on panhandling to a magazine.” I’ve had some funny experiences with strange guys in cars.”
According to the interview, she wrote a few sex novels and was paid $500 for one. (Could this have been the novel that was to have been based on the SCUM Manifesto?) She was interviewed on Alan Burke”s TV talk show; when she refused to censor herself, he walked off the set. The interview was never aired. According to Paul Morrissey in a 1996 interview with Taylor Meade,the contract that Solanas signed with Olympia Press ” this stupid piece of paper, two sentences, tiny little letter. On it Maurice Girodias said: ” I will give you five hundred dollars, and you will give me your next writing, and other writings.” Solanas had interpreted it to mean that Girodias would own every thing she ever wrote. She told Morrissey: ” Oh no, everything I write will be his. He’s done this to me, He’s screwed me!” Morrissey believed Solanas couldn’t write the novel based on the SCUM Manifesto she had promised to Girodias and used this idea that Girodias owned all that she wrote as an excuse. In Solanas’ mind, Warhol, having appropriated Up Your Ass, wanted Girodias to steal her work for Warhol’s use and never pay her so he got Girodias to sign this contract with her.
In early 1968 Solanas went to writer Paul Krassner to ask him for $50. According to Krassner, writing in 2009 and rejecting part of Morrissey’s account, she asked Krassner for the money for food and he loaned it to her. Krassner also speculated in 2009 that she could have used the money to buy the gun as the shooting was a few days later. According to Freddie Baer, when she asked Krassner for money in 1968, she told him she wanted to shoot Girodias and she used the $50 Krassner gave her to buy a .32automatic pistol . In any event, in 2009 Krassner denied that he knew in 1968 that Solanas intended to kill Warhol.
But in 2009, Margo Feiden said in an interview with James Barron of The New York Times that she did know that Solanas intended to kill Warhol, but could not prevent it. (A New York Times assistant Metro editor responded to an online comment regarding the story, saying that the Times”does not present the account as definitive.”)
According to an unquoted source in The Outlaw Bible of American Literature, on June 3, 1968, at 9:00 am, Solanas arrived at the Chelsea Hotel, where Girodias lived. She asked for him at the desk but was told he was gone for the weekend. She remained for three hours before heading to the Grove Press, where she asked for Barney Rosset, who was also not available.
Noted Solanas scholar Breanne Fahs, in her 2014 biography, Valerie Solanas, rejects as unlikely that Solanas appeared at the Chelsea Hotel looking for Maurice Girodias. Professor Fahs states that Girodias may have fabricated the account in order to boost sales of the SCUM Manifesto, which he had published. Dr. Fahs states that “the more likely story…places Valerie at the Actor’s Studio at 432 West Forty-Fourth Street early that morning.” Actress Sylvia Miles states that Valerie appeared at the Actor’s Studio looking for Lee Strasberg, asking to leave her play for him. Miles said that Valerie “had a different look, a bit tousled, like somebody whose appearance is the last thing on her mind.” Miles told Valerie that Strasberg would not be in until the afternoon. Miles said that she accepted a copy of the play from Valerie and then “I shut the door because I knew she was trouble. I didn’t know what sort of trouble, but I knew she was trouble.
Fahs records that Valerie then traveled to producer Margo Feiden’s (then Margo Eden) residence in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, as Valerie believed that Feiden would be willing to produce her play. As related to Fahs, Valerie talked to Feiden for almost four hours, trying to convince her to produce the play and discussing her vision for a world without men. Throughout this time, Feiden repeatedly refused to produce Valerie’s play. According to Feiden, Valerie then pulled out her gun, and when Feiden again refused to commit to producing the play, Valerie responded, “Yes, you will produce the play because I’ll shoot Andy Warhol and that will make me famous and the play famous, and then you’ll produce it.” As she was leaving Feiden’s residence, Valerie handed Feiden a copy of her play and other personal papers.
Fahs describes how Feiden then “frantically called her local police precinct, Andy Warhol’s precinct, police headquarters in Lower Manhattan, and the offices of Mayor John V. Lindsay and Governor Nelson Rockafeller to report what happened and inform them that Valerie was on her way at that very moment to shoot Andy Warhol.” In some instances, the police responded that “You can’t arrest someone because you believe she is going to kill Andy Warhol,” and even asked Feiden “Listen lady, how would you know what a real gun looked like?”
Fahs additionally cites Assistant District Attorney Roderick Lankler’s handwritten notes on the case, written on June 4, 1968, which begin with Margo Feiden’s stage name, “Margo Eden”, address, and telephone numbers at the top of the page. So..In Short..Let’s just say that in the spring of 1968, Solanas approached underground newspaper publisher (The Realist) Paul Krassner for money, saying “I want to shoot Maurice Girodias.” He gave her $50, which was enough for her to buy a .32 automatic pistol.
On June 3, 1968 at 9 a.m. Solanas went to the Chelsea Hotel where Maurice Girodias lived: she asked at the desk for him and was told that he was gone for the weekend. Still, she remained there for three hours. Around noon she went to the new relocated Factory and waited outside for Warhol. Paul Morrissey met her in front and asked her what she was doing there. “I’m waiting for Andy to get money,” she replied. To get rid of her, Morrissey told her that Warhol wasn’t coming in that day. “Well that’s alright. I’ll wait,” she said.
About 2:00 she came up to the studio in the elevator. Once again Morrissey told her that Warhol wasn’t coming and that she couldn’t hang around so she left. She came up the elevator another seven times before she finally came up with Warhol at 4:15. She was dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and a raincoat, with her hair styled and wearing lipstick and make-up; she carried a brown paper bag. Warhol even commented “Look doesn’t Varlerie look good!” Morrissey told her to get out”. . . We got business, and if you don’t go I’m gonna beat the hell out of you and trow you out, and I don’t want . . . ” Then the phone rang; Morrissey answered— it was Viva, for Warhol. Morrissey then excused himself to go to the bathroom. As Warhol spoke on the phone, Solanas shot him three times. Between the first and second shot, both of which missed, Warhol screamed, “No! No! Valarie, don’t do it.” Her third shot sent a bullet through Warhol’s left lung, spleen, stomach, liver, esophagus and right lung.
As Warhol lay bleeding, Solanas then fired twice upon Mario Amaya, an art critic and curator who had been waiting to meet Warhol. She hit him above the right hip with her fifth shot; he ran from the room to the back studio and leaned against the door. Solanas then turned to Fred Hughes, Warhol’s manager, put her gun to his head and fired; the gun jammed. At that point the elevator door opened; there was no one on it. Hughes said to Solanas, ” Oh, there’s the elevator. Why don’t you get on, Valerie?” She replied: ” That’s a good idea” and left.
That evening at 8 p.m. Solanas turned herself in to a rookie traffic officer in Time Square; she said, “The police are looking for me and want me.” She then took the .32 automatic and a .22 pistol from the pockets of her raincoat, handing them to the cop. As she did so, she stated that she had shot Andy Warhol and in way of explanation offered, “He had too much control of my life.”
A mob of journalists and photographers shouting questions greeted Solanas as she was brought to the 13th Precinct booking room. When asked why she did it, her response was, “I have lots of reasons. Read my manifesto and it will tell you who I am.” Solanas was fingerprinted and charged with felonious assault and possession of a deadly weapon.
Later that night Valerie Solanas was brought before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge David Getzoff. She told the judge: “It’s not often that I shoot somebody. I didn’t do it for nothing. Warhol had me tied up, lock stock, and barrel. He was going to do something to me which would have ruined me.” When the judge asked if she could afford an attorney, she replied: “No, I can’t. I want to defend myself. This is going to stay in my own competent hands. I was right in what I did! I have nothing to regret!” The judge struck her comments from the court record, and Solanas was taken to the Bellevue Hospital psychiatric ward for observation.
Solanas appeared in front of State Surpreme Court Justice Thomas Dickens on June 13, 1968, represented by radical feminist lawyer Florynce Kennedy. Kennedy asked for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that Solanas was being held inappropriately at Bellevue. The judge denied the motion and sent Solanas back to Bellevue. On June 28, Solanas was indicted on charges of attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun. She was declared “incompetent” in August and sent to Wards Island to be hospitalized. That same month, Olympia Press published the SCUM Manifesto with essays by Girodias and Krassner.
The night before Christmas, 1968: Warhol answered the phone at the factory; it was Solanas calling. She demanded that Warhol pay $20,000 for her manuscripts that she would use for her legal defense.She wanted him to drop all criminal charges against her, put her in more of his movies and get her on the Johnny Carson Show. Solanas said if Warhol didn’t do this, she “could always do it again.”
In January, 1969, Solanas underwent psychiatric evaluation and was diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. In June, she was finally deemed fit to stand trial. She represented herself without an attorney and pleaded guilty to “reckless assault with intent to harm”.She was sentenced to three years in prison, with the year she spent in a psychiatric ward counted as time served. It has been suggested that Warhol’s refusal to testify against Solanas contributed to the short sentence.
According to Robert Marmorstein in 1968, “she has dedicated the remainder of her life to the avowed purpose of eliminating every single male from the face of the earth.” Feminist Robin Morgan (later editor of Ms. Magazine) demonstrated for Solanas’s release from prison. English professor Dana Heller argued that Solanas was “very much aware of feminist organizations and activism”, but that she “had no interest in participating in what she often described as ‘a civil disobedience luncheon club.’” Heller also stated that Solanas could “reject mainstream liberal feminism for its blind adherence to cultural codes of feminine politeness and decorum which the SCUM Manifesto identifies as the source of women’s debased social status. After Solanas was released from the New York State Prison for Women in 1971, she stalked Warhol and others over the telephone and was arrested again in November 1971. She was subsequently institutionalized several times and then drifted into obscurity. In 1973 Solanas was in and out of mental institutions; she spent eight months in South Florida State Hospital in 1975.
The attack had a profound impact on Warhol and his art, and the Factory scene became much more tightly controlled afterward. For the rest of his life, Warhol lived in fear that Solanas would attack him again. “It was the Cardboard Andy, not the Andy I could love and play with,” said close friend and collaborator Billy Name. “He was so sensitized you couldn’t put your hand on him without him jumping. I couldn’t even love him anymore, because it hurt him to touch him.”
In the July 25, 1977 Village Voice, Howard Smith interviewed Valerie Solanas. She claimed to be working on a new book, about her life “bullshit,” titled Valerie Solanas. She was supposed to have received $ 100,000,000 in advance from “The Mob”, whom she describes as “the Money Men;” she talked at length about “the Contact Man” for this entity.
In the interview she discussed the Society for Cutting Up Men: “It’s hypothetical. No, hypothetical is the wrong word. It’s just a literary device. There’s no organization called SCUM. . . . Smith: “It’s just you.” Solanas: “It’s not even me . . . I mean, I thought of it as a state of mind. In other words, women who think a certain way are in SCUM. Men who think a certain way are in the men’s auxiliary of SCUM.”
She also protested a 1968 statement of Smith’s: “The part where she said, ‘ She’s a man-hater, not a lesbian’ . . . . I thought that was just totally unwarrented. Because I have been a lesbian . . . Although at the time time I wasn’t sexual, I was into all kinds of other things. . . . The way it was worded gave the impression that I’m a heterosexual, you know. . . . “
The next issue of the Village Voice on August 1, 1977 has another piece by Howard Smith,”Valerie Solanas Replies.” In it Solanas corrected misinterpretations from previous issue’s interview. Included are: 1) Olympia Press’s editions of the Manifesto were inaccurate, “words and even extended parts of sentences left out, rendering the passages they should have been incoherent;” and 2) The Voice refused to publish the address of the Contact Man, which she considered one of the important reasons for the interview. She called Smith journalistically immoral and said ” I go by an absolute moral standard.” . . . Smith: ” Valerie do you want to get into a discussion now about shooting people?” Solanas: “I consider that a moral act. And I consider it immoral that I missed. I should have done target practice.” Also in 1977 she mailed a rambling letter to a Play boy editor on the theory that he was a contact man for The Mob. Then there is no record of Solanas until November 1987 when Ultra Violet tracked her down in Northern California. When Ultra Violet, Ultra telephoned her for an interview, according to her somewhat unreliable report, Solanas was then known as Onz Loh. Solanas stated that the August 1968 version of the manifesto had many errors, unlike her own printed version of October 1967, and that the book had not sold well. She also said that, until told by Violet, she was unaware of Andy Warhol’s death.
April 26, 1988: broke and alone, Valerie Solanas died of emphysema and pneumonia in a welfare hotel in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. When she died at the age of 52, she had a drug problem and continued to turn tricks to support her habit. Prostitutes who knew her from that time said that she looked elegant and slender, and she always wore a silver lame’ dress when she worked the street.
She was buried in Virginia, near the home of her mother.
Solanas’s role as a cult figure was solidified with the publication of the SCUM Manifesto and her shooting of Andy Warhol. Harding explained that, by declaring herself independent from Andy Warhol, after her arrest she “aligned herself with the historical avant-garde’s rejection of the traditional structures of bourgeois theater”, and Harding explained that her anti-patriarchal “militant hostility … pushed the avant-garde in radically new directions.” Harding believed that Solanas’ assassination attempt on Warhol was its own theatrical performance. At the shooting, she left on a table at the Factory a paper bag in which she carried a gun, her address book, and a sanitary napkin. Harding stated that leaving behind the sanitary napkin was part of the performance, and called “attention to basic feminine experiences that were publically [sic] taboo and tacitly elided within avant-garde circles.”
Feminist philosopher Avital Ronell compared Solanas to an array of people: Lorena Bobbitt, a “girl Nietzsche”, Medusa, the Unabomber, and Medea. Ronell believed that Solanas was threatened by the hyper-feminine women of the Factory that Warhol liked and felt lonely because of the rejection she felt due to her own butch androgyny. She believed that Solanas was ahead of her time, living in a period before feminist and lesbian revolutionaries such as the Guerilla Girls and the Lesbian Avengers.Solanas has also been credited as instigating radical feminism, according to Harding and Victor Bockris feminist revolutionaries supported her, and Catherine Lord wrote that “the feminist movement would not have happened without Valerie Solanas.”Lord believed that the reissuing of the SCUM Manifesto and the disowning of Solanas by “women’s liberation politicos” triggered a wave of radical feminist publications. As women’s liberation activists denied hating men, Vivian Gornick said that a year later the same women would change their stories, developing the first wave of radical feminism. At the same time, perceptions of Warhol were transformed from largely nonpolitical into political martyrdom because the motive for the shooting was political, according to Harding and Bockris.
However, writer Breanne Fahs describes Solanas as a contradiction which “alienates her from the feminist movement.” Fahs argues that Solanas never wanted to be “in movement” but she nevertheless fractured the feminist movement by provoking N.O.W. members to disagree about her case. Many contradictions are seen in her lifestyle (a lesbian who sexually serviced men, claim of being asexual, confusion), a rejection of queer culture, and a non-interest in working with others despite a co-dependency on others. Fahs also brings into question the contradictory stories of Solanas’ life. Solanas’ life is described as one of a victim, a rebel, a desperate loner, yet Solanas’ cousin says she worked as a waitress in her late 20s and 30s, not primarily as a prostitute, and friend Geoffrey LaGear said she had a “groovy childhood.” Solanas also kept in touch with her father throughout her life, which makes one question and complicate the notion that Solanas hated her father and acted out this hatred in the shooting/manifesto. Fahs believes that Solanas embraced these contradictions as a key part of her identity.
Whatever people say, she probably wouldn’t even be remembered today if she wouldn’t have shot Andy Warhol. Of course this is my perswonnal opinion but I stand by it. I think it is very lame to use someone to make a name for yourself. She was obviously totally disoriented, schizophrenic and narcissic. She makes me think in a way of Charles Manson, ruining the Summer of Love or maybe more Mark David Chapman, breaking down a movement that was obviously depending a lot on Warhol’s influence helping and stimulating whoever he thought had a talent on an artistic level. Warhol never forced anyone under a contract, never used brutality or blackmail to to do so. I’m even sorry now that I know the whole story I gave her some importance. She deserves none. Plus she is such a loser cuz she missed almost at point blank distance!!!! And I’m glad she did… Warhol went on with his life and is still remembered and revered today as one of the most modern artist, that’s no secret of course…
NIGHTCRAWLER Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom in New Crime Thriller!
Jake Gyllenhaal channels his inner creep in the new crime thriller Nightcrawler. The film follows go-getter Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for a job. After witnessing a car crash on the highway, Bloom discovers the high stakes, lucrative world of crime journalism and along with it an opportunity to become something more. The film hits theaters nationwide October 31.
“NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling — where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.”
John Bergin‘s award-winning animated film, From Inside, returns with a special edition soundtrack composed by Electronic and Industrial music pioneers Gary Numan and Ade Fenton.
The Bottom Line: A haunting, provocative, and amazing, if unrelentingly bleak, animated movie about one woman’s surreal trek across a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland.
When you look at the credits for John Bergin’s From Inside, their brevity might surprise you. Aside from Bergin (as writer, producer, director, and animator), and Corryn Cummins (the actress who does the film’s voiceover), there aren’t many other people mentioned. That’s because From Inside is a 70-minute long movie comprised entirely of simple CGI and still-life illustrations with a bare minimum of animation. It looks like the kind of film that only required a handful of people to put together. And while this might sound like a knock against the film’s production values, it’s not. Because From Inside manages to tell an engrossing, surreal, and provocative tale of post-apocalypse survival through these simple, powerful images and Ms. Cummins’ intimate, haunting voiceovers.
From Inside is, in its simplest terms, a story about a dreamlike train ride across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It follows the experiences and observations of one of the train’s passengers, a young woman named Cee. Like her fellow passengers (none of whom speak or have names), she is emotionally adrift; she doesn’t even remember how she got on the train, or where it’s going. She doesn’t even remember how the wasteland outside her window came to be.
And what a wasteland. From the film’s opening sepia-like CG shots, we realize this is a world that’s been flattened and wiped out by something. The single row of train tracks, and the train itself chugging across them, are the only signs of life or movement across a barren space that seems infinite. It’s a powerful image of complete desolation that’s made all the more potent by Cee’s melancholic observations. “When the end of the world has come,” she laments, “it’s too late to wonder why.”
It’s a dreary, depressing world that strays into the macabre, the dreamlike, and the fantastic. In one scene, for example, Cee goes into the train’s boiler room and finds it piled with human bodies. She sees the inhuman engineers impale a still-living infant with a pitchfork, and throw its squirming body into the fires. It’s only a dream, she realizes. But soon after that, it starts to rain blood—literally. And that’s not a dream. Nor is it a dream as the train wades past oceans of blood swimming with debris and rotting, grotesque bodies.
Cee’s journey across this bloody landscape is complicated by one piece of harsh reality: she’s pregnant. “An obscenity in this world,” she admits of her pregnancy. And like Kee from Children of Men, Cee’s pregnancy elevates her to a level of importance. She’s given her own cabin and bathroom on the train, and when there’s work that needs to be done (including a surreal buffalo hunt and slaughter that lasts for weeks), she’s given the easiest tasks. But Cee isn’t the happy, proud, expectant mother. Casual thoughts of suicide filter through her narrative, as she imagines how easy it would be to fall off the top of a refinery or walk into a bonfire.
The dreamlike, surreal journey across the barren landscape becomes symbolic of Cee’s own journey of motherly self-discovery. Cognizant that she’s bringing a life into the hell around her, she struggles to accept this reality. And as the world turns grimmer and more surreal around her—especially after a months-long entrapment in a cave—Cee is haunted by nightmarish images of butchered babies, grotesque nurses and doctors, mangled bodies piled in the rear cars of the train, and images of herself as a maggot-filled rag doll. The still images and animation used for Cee’s descent into delirium are chilling, to say the absolute least. They are images ripped from multiple nightmares, and stitched together by her anxiety and the unrelenting darkness of the world around her.
The eventual birth of Cee’s baby gives her clarity of mind, and the answers to her many questions. When she hears her child’s first cries, Cee finally remembers everything, including the world cataclysm that led to this, her infinite train ride across a dead world. The birth of Cee’s baby also gives birth to hope. But then, what is hope in a world that’s barren and flooded in blood? And how long can it possibly last? It’s a gut-wrenching ending that leaves some things to the interpretation, and others to grim, unforgiving fact.
From Inside is slow-paced and dreary, carried through by Cee’s somber, distant voiceover, and a soundtrack that’s as barren as the sepia illustrations piecing the story together. It’s a quiet, introspective examination of motherhood within the context of post-apocalyptic survival, and the pacing and tone echoes Cee’s own lost hopelessness. Which is to say, if you’re looking for thrills and chills, this isn’t the movie for you.
But thrills and chills isn’t what From Inside goes for. It’s an ambiance, character-driven piece all the way, presenting a nightmarish, barren landscape through the narrow perspective of its listless heroine. And it does so magnificently. Just in terms of the mood and tone, From Inside’s post-apocalyptic depiction should please any PA fan. Because it doesn’t just show us the dead, devastated landscapes us PA fans are fascinated by; the film impregnates these landscapes with a genuine sense of nightmarish horror. The film’s grisly images of death, infanticide, and mass slaughter paint a world that’s well beyond ‘hell on earth,’ haunting us with the possibility that Cee’s world really is one that’s trapped between life and death, dream and nightmare.
But it’s more than just the visual exploration of the dead world that makes From Inside so effective. It’s the emotional exploration as well. Cee isn’t your classic PA heroine scrounging for supplies as she’s riding across the barren dunes in a tricked-out motorcycle. She’s a storyteller. She’s a normal woman, a lonely woman, a poet at heart who just happens to be trapped in a world where normalcy and poetry have no place. But that doesn’t stop her from trying to understand this new world through poetical introspections and memories. She is anchored to her past life and her loss—including the father of her child—and so can’t help but to examine the loss around her through her own pain. In many ways, Cee is the most complex PA heroine I’ve seen, because she is both victim and observant participant, helpless bystander and reluctant historian.
As good as From Inside is, I can only imagine what it’d be like as a feature film. I think that, if John Bergin were to shoot this as a live-action film, while preserving the tone, pace, visual style, and nuance of this still-image masterpiece, From Inside would become one of the great PA films of all time, and one to be emulated by fans for years to come. As it stands, though, From Inside succeeds where I Am Legend, The Happening, and The Day After Tomorrow have failed; it tells a compelling, engaging story without a bloated special effects budget dictating its pace. And as such, From Inside is a must-see for any fan of the PA genre.
Sex, death and schlock: Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s “Amer” (the French word for bitter) is a surreal cinematic tone poem that pays slavering homage to Italian giallo horror films of the 1970s. Its three parts, which dissolve into one another, observe a female protagonist, Ana, played by three actresses — in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. The movie has almost no dialogue, and its cheesy soundtrack (some of it borrowed from vintage giallo films) is punctuated with aural shocks and effects, including heavy-breathing gasps.
The movie is a protracted erotic tease that evokes primal connections between sex and violence, masculine and feminine. Using extreme close-ups of female skin subjected to a pitiless male gaze and repeatedly threatened by sharp objects, it is titillating in the manner of a high-gloss S-and-M European fashion spread.
A child in the first part, Ana (Cassandra Forêt) sneaks into a forbidden room of her family’s mansion overlooking the sea to inspect the corpse of an old man, possibly her grandfather. After extracting a pocket watch from his brittle fingers, she imagines that he awakens and gives her the evil eye. Roaming the house, she glimpses her parents’ passionate lovemaking.
Suddenly she is an adolescent (Charlotte Eugène-Guibbaud) with pouting lips, viewed as prey by the boys and men in the village, where she shops with her mother. As the camera scours her sensual face, its sullen expression betraying a budding awareness of her newfound sexual power, the threat of rape hangs in the air. All eyes are on her as she parades along the street in the looming shadows of her ogling admirers. The camera lingers on her swollen lips and on the hem of her dress ruffled by the breeze.
The threat escalates when the grown-up Ana (Marie Bos), returning to the mansion, is menaced by the taxi driver taking her home. Upon her arrival, she confronts a masked, phantomlike slasher. As the camera reveals images of luminous skin slashed by a straight razor, the outcome of the final struggle remains teasingly ambiguous.
“Amer” is a virtual dictionary of fetishes: leather gloves, motorcycles and compulsive voyeurism (images of an eye peering through a keyhole). If it is too visually elegant to be scary, some arresting images include Ana’s running a comb over her tongue, and an ant’s crawling out her navel. The movie regularly changes color, from red to green to blue.
“Amer” is a voluptuous wallow in recycled psychosexual kitsch. You will hate loving it.
Written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani; director of photography, Manu Dacosse; edited by Bernard Beets; released by Olive Films. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Cassandra Forêt (Ana as a little girl), Charlotte Eugène-Guibbaud (Ana as a teenager), Marie Bos (Ana as an adult), Bianca Maria D’Amato (the mother), Harry Cleven (the taxi driver), Jean-Michel Vovk (the father), Delphine Brual (Graziella) and Bernard Marbaix (the dead grandfather).
Limited Edition Art for 13 Classic Horror Movies
Halloween is drawing closer, and with it comes a slaughter of costumes, parties, and themed merchandise. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment collaborated with cult decor company Skuzzles to create limited edition artwork for 13 cult classics. Like the movie posters of yesterday, these images are bold, vibrant, and sometimes just a little over-the-top.
Joshua Budich’s take on The Return of the Living Dead is soaked in reds, and largely dominated by the grotesque Tarman who looms like an oozing nightmare moon over the movie’s punkish cast. The Last House on the Left is far subtler, comprised of soothing greens and a quiet tranquility that seem absolutely dissonant when paired with the horrific violence of the actual movie. “I found the scene where Mari walks into the water to be quite haunting and probably the most pivotal moment,” says artist Dan Mumford in a statement. “So, I worked from that and created quite a haunting still moment based around the lake she walks into.” The collection also includes a minimalist design for The Silence of the Lambs, and an eerie exploration of how the aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers might interact with the human physiology.
The walls of our cinemas are now papered with action-packed movie posters, the kind consisting of salaciously posed women and men in dramatic poses. However, companies like Skuzzle and Mondo help to remind us that once upon a time, these simple promotional items were genuine works of art. The re-released movies carrying these striking faceplates can be found at major retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
- Carrie, 1976 by Ghoulish Gary Pulin
- Child’s Play – Chucky’s 20th Birthday Edition – 25th Anniversary Special Edition, 1976 by Jason Edmiston
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1978 by Todd Slater
- Jeepers Creepers – Collector’s Edition, 2001 by Francesco Francavilla
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space, 1988 by Jason Edmiston
- The Last House on the Left, 1978 by Dan Mumford
- Misery – Collector’s Edition, 1990 by Paul Shipper
- Species, 1995 by Justin Osborne
- Teen Wolf, 1985 by Ghoulish Gary Pulin
- The Amityville Horror, 1979 by Ghoulish Gary Pulin
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, 1986 by Grzegorz Domaradzki
The 222s, with Chris Barry on the mic
They were Montreal’s very first glam-punk band in the late ’70s. They incited a concert riot at McGill University that ran red flags up on punk rock right around the city; they made many memorable bottle-dodging tours of central Canada’s less-appreciative rock’n’roll environs with the legendary Teenage Head; and immediately prior to their dissolution, they were forced to record what would be their swan song under threats of death by elements of Montreal’s criminal underworld.
They were The 222s. And they’re back.
Formed in 1978 and fronted by the affable and loquacious, and then-16-year-old, Chris Barry – who today is an all-around top-shelf gentleman, peerless rock’n’roll raconteur and, as the mood strikes, utterly loveable troublemaker – The 222s were (and are) rounded out by guitarist Pierre Major, bassist Joe Cerratto and drummist Louie “Louie” Rondeau.
The 222s, and those of their ilk elsewhere (as there were certainly none like The 222s in Montreal at that time), took their cues from early punk and glam rock bands like the New York Dolls, The Damned, The Dead Boys and Generation X, flaunting a certain kind of in-your-face sexual ambiguity that belied the edgy tenor and toughness of their music. Which, of course, earned them a reputation early on; which, in turn, meant everything was going according to plan, save for one critical thing: There was virtually no scene in which to be seen.
“There was nothing going on in Montreal at the time,’ recollects Barry. “And I meannothing. It was all cover bands and the remnants of April Wine. There wasn’t even anywhere to play. If you were playing original music – and the only people playing original music at that time were a handful of punk bands, and not even a full handful at first – just getting anything done was really hard. And us, of course, we didn’t have any money. I mean, we were three high school dropouts on welfare.”
Which, in retrospect, made them uniquely suited to the task they’d set out for themselves: blow off everything else and write some songs, be as obnoxious as possible in the process, and get famous doing it. However, despite a respectable amount of hometown disrespectability, and a considerable amount of playing and touring at a tender age that shouldn’t have seen them much past the parking lots of some of the venues they were habituating, The 222s were never able to put out a full album proper.
“Listen, just putting out singles was hard,” says Barry. “There were a few other bands [like us] in town at the time, but we were the only ones who could even get it together enough to put out a single – it was hard back then.”
The 222s lay (so far uncontested) claim to the title of having put out the very first punk rock single, and by extension you could say indie single, in Montreal, 1978′s hilariously titled I Love Suzan/First Studio Bomb.
“For what it’s worth, it’s a dubious accomplishment, but yeah, nobody had done it.” And with that milestone there now comes a certain measure of collectability, one might imagine? “Oh sure, I’ve seen it selling for as much as $150.”
After I Love Suzan/First Studio Bomb, it was to be another three years before The 222s would put out the follow-up, “and even then it was only because of the fuckin’ Mafia,” says Barry.
“These gangsters in Laval decided that they were going to make us into a fuck-up, Québécois, teeny-bopper act, and they would use their criminal influence to get us on the radio – this was the age of payola, remember – and we would be something that they could make money off of.
“So when we got to their house to record, of course it was a disaster, and we were fighting them on every single thing because by this time they’d decided they were record producers. And so we did this song, La Poupée qui fait non, a Les Sultans song, a kind of garagey, bilingual kind of thing. I mean, hey, we wanted a hit too. Anyway, it started getting ridiculous and after a couple of days of fighting they took us upstairs to the kitchen – because we were recording in the head crook’s basement – and they put a gun on the table and said, ‘There’s not going to be any more fighting.’
“And there wasn’t.”
The mob mix of the song – much to the band’s shame and chagrin – went on to become a minor regional hit, helping hasten the demise of the group. “That pretty much spelled the end of the band – that was the catalyst. I was embarrassed, very embarrassed.”
La Poupée qui fait non is noticeably absent from the only album that The 222s ever put out, 2006′s late-to-the-dance Montreal Punk – ’78-’81, a 14-track compendium of singles, demos and live tracks that, taken as a retrospective whole, is actually very good and, especially as Barry’s lyrics are concerned, highly entertaining (more on that a bit later).
As you’re probably gathering, The 222s weren’t your regular issue, off-the-rack outfit. And in those days, in every town across the country that had a nascent punk scene, if you were talking the talk and walking the walk, you were invariably and inevitably fighting the fights as well.
“That first generation [of punk] in the late ’70s was for sure. I carried a chain with me, and I used it. Walking down the street with Pierre the guitarist was fraught with peril, because he just wanted to look as offensive as he possibly could to everybody. He’d be wearing his multicoloured tights and his sailor cap and shit,” Barry laughs. “And it was just asking for trouble.”
“I can remember one time walking along Ste-Catherine Street one Sunday night, minding my own business, and two kids about my age came walking up towards me. They pushed me and were all like, ‘Hey faggot!’ And I had this chain in my pocket and I was all excited and I turned around towards them and next thing I know I whacked this chain into the guy’s neck, and he fell, and the other guy ran away and I ran away in the other direction thinking, ‘Whoa… I just killed somebody!’
“I read the Gazette the next day to see if there’d been a murder on Ste-Catherine Street. We had to deal with that stuff all the time!”
The 222s did, let’s say, take one of the more effeminate routes through the largely macho domain of punk rock…
“Mm-hmm – we were schooled in The Dolls! We were all into the New York Dolls. When The Clash and the Sex Pistols became kind of a movement or whatever, it was sort of like, this is great, this is something that speaks to [The 222s] a little bit. But nobody else was doing the glam thing here, for sure. And we were chastised for it fuckin’ relentlessly too.
“It was also because we could actually play,” which ran somewhat counter to the reigning punk rock philosophy of the time, “and we figured we’d try to write real songs. Lyrically they’re a little special…” (The chorus for Female provides a choice case in point: “You look like a female/ But you fuck like a man.”) “…but y’know. And we were serious! We wanted to have a professional act – we wanted to hit the big time!
“But here there was nothing going on. Other cities, like Toronto, had a real scene, but here it was just us, Chromosomes, The Normals, Electric Vomit… for years. We were thwarted [in our ambitions] because we could always draw well, and we drew well in Toronto and in New York, and we thought, ‘What more do [the music industry powers that be] want from us?’ Well, they wanted a lot more – they wanted us to sound like Harlequin.”
And here we are now, 32 years on. And The 222s still don’t sound anything like Harlequin, something that Barry – who went on to lead the very popular 39 Steps (who were featured playing at legendary New York punk club CBGBs in the Woody Allen filmHannah and Her Sisters), Pillbox (who toured with The Ramones), Acrylic and most recently The Throbbing Purple – is keen to put on display when the band plays with fellow reunited Montreal punk rock legends, and personal faves, the Asexuals this weekend as part of Pop Montreal.
“I think it’s going to be good! We’re certainly looking forward to it, and I’m confident it’ll sell out and all that stuff, and there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm,” says Barry, who seems not to be wanting in the enthusiasm dept. either.
“It’s all the original band, and we’re only doing songs from The 222s, none of the later stuff from 39 Steps or Pillbox or what have you, just stuff that we can remember or that we found on tape, and it’s good. Seriously, like I say, we’re doing this with our hearts. If it was going to suck, or be one of those get-together-for-the-festival type things, we wouldn’t have done it. And if anyone wants, we’ll keep on doing it; if there’s an audience, well, nothing would make us happier.”
In the here and now, Barry’s an established alt-weekly columnist and music journalist, and it occurs, with the aid of my remaining rudimentary math skills, that Barry could have grown into the 16-year-old that he was when he joined The 222s a full two times over in the years since the band first began. Not to be a dick – okay yeah, I’m being a dick – but that’s some serious mileage on them there tires…
“I tell you, it’s weird as fuck, man,” laughs Barry. “For one, to be playing with those same guys. I mean it’s hokey, but I really do love those fuckers, and we went through so much together, not just with The 222s but later with 39 Steps. We gave our youth to rock’n’roll, and rock’n’roll didn’t give us much back. So it’s weird to be [playing with them again], but it also feels pretty natural.
“[Former Asexuals and Doughboys guitarist/singer John] Kastner was the catalyst for this and was always saying we should do this gig with the two bands in Montreal. And apart from the fact I didn’t think we’d all want to get together and do it in the first place, I just didn’t want to do it if it was going to suck. I didn’t want to hurt our modest legacy, such as it is. Because it can be really pathetic – you get these middle-aged fuckin’ losers going on and, well, you know… ‘Hi, this song’s called Jailbait, and I wrote it when I was 16,’ when I was jailbait myself. So singing it now is a little, um, special,” he says, then bursts out laughing. “I enjoy singing it now more than ever!”
So can we expect to see Barry in some kind of glittery unitard-type get-up replete with Christmas-tree-stud chokers and velvet stilettos?
“Uhhhh, well, I’ve got my costume together,” he says, equivocating somewhat. “My rock’n’roll costume hasn’t really varied that much over the years. I never went straight, Jamie, I never went straight. I still live by those principles that I had when I was like, y’know, 17. That’s how much I’ve matured and grown as an individual.”
In preparation for their Pop Montreal appearance, The 222s recently did a couple of warm-up shows in Toronto. “And they were fuckin’ amazing,” Barry says so himself. “We did The Horseshoe and The Bovine, and both venues were full and people knew the stuff, whether it’s from YouTube or wherever, and it was really cool. Just the fact that it’s been such a long time… It was almost like vindication!”
And it only took 30 years.
“I’ll take it.”
President Jimmy Carter and the “Killer Rabbit”
By Jim O’Grady
Of all the crises that President Carter faced in 1979 — gas shortages, hostage-taking, runaway inflation — his bizarre encounter with a crazed swimming rabbit on a Georgia lake was as damaging as any to his image. The incident crystallized an emerging sense that Carter was a man in over his head.
The view was disputable. Carter had gotten off to a strong start as president, especially with his Nobel Prize-winning achievement of forging the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt. But by the time the “killer rabbit” story broke on a sluggish news day in August 1979, many of Carter’s efforts to project himself as a forceful leader had fizzled or backfired.
Chief among those was his “Crisis of Confidence” speech, given on prime time TV in July. The public initially liked Carter’s call to action — “With God’s help and for the sake of our nation, it is time for us to join hands in America” — and gave him an 11 percent bump in the polls. But that was before Ronald Reagan and other rivals relabeled it the “malaise speech” and used it to portray Carter as a pessimist and a wimp.
(Jimmy Carter, leader of the free world, fends off attack by “killer rabbit.” / Jimmy Carter Library and Museum)
Then came the backwoods mammal that approached Carter as he fished on a pond, hissing as it bore down on his boat. Carter, who’d grown up in the country, calmly used his paddle to splash water at the critter and scare it away. But a photo of the encounter that the White House unwisely released to the press made the president look somewhat comical and small. How was a guy who let a rabbit get the drop on him supposed to guard the U.S. from attack by the Soviet Union?
Pop culture erupted with mocking commentaries, cartoons and novelty songs. The best of that bunch was a song by Tom Paxton called, “I Don’t Want A Bunny Wunny.”
Click on the play button below to hear about the Reagan campaign’s vow to learn from the “bonzai bunny” about not losing control of the presidential narrative over trivial issues. That led to the creation of the image-management machine that endures in The White House to this day. The story includes interviews with Brooks Jackson, the AP reporter who broke the story, and presidential historian Kevin Mattson.
Jody Powell, Carter’s press secretary, described the affair in his 1986 book The Other Side of the Story:
April 20th, 1979
On a fishing trip in Plains, Georgia, President Carter had an encounter with a “swamp rabbit”. This seemingly trivial event was seized upon by the press and became a sort of Rorschach test of the Carter presidency: reporters and commentators saw in this story whatever they wanted to see in Carter’s administration. Jody Powell, Carter’s press secretary, described the affair in his 1986 book The Other Side of the Story:
It began late one afternoon in the spring of 1979. The President was sitting with a few of us on the Truman Balcony. He had recently returned from a visit to Plains, and we were talking about homefolks and how the quail were nesting and similar matters of international import.Suddenly, for no apparent reason — he was drinking lemonade, as I recall — the President volunteered the information that while fishing in a pond on his farm he had sighted a large animal swimming toward him. Upon closer inspection, the animal turned out to be a rabbit. Not one of your cutesy, Easter Bunny-type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up.
The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk. The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits. He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind. What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat.
The President then evidently shooed the critter away from his boat with a paddle. The scene was captured on film by a White House photographer.
The incident might have died of natural causes but for the fact that Powell himself later passed the story along to the press:
Several months later I was chatting with Brooks Jackson, one of the White House correspondents for the Associated Press, over a cup of tea, as I remember. For reasons that I still do not fully understand, I told him about the President and the rabbit. I was the one who leaked the killer rabbit story.Although an experienced reporter, Brooks also failed to appreciate the significance of what he had heard. He did not rush to file an “urgent” story. In fact, he continued the conversation for some period of time and several more cups of tea. Not until the next day did he get around to sending this gripping account out over the wires to a waiting public. And even then it was a pleasant, lighthearted piece. Although he may not admit it now, I had the definite impression at the time that Brooks thought it was nothing more than a mildly amusing incident, too.
We were soon corrected. The Washington Post, exercising the news judgement that we in the White House had come to appreciate so keenly, headed the piece President Attacked by Rabbit and ran it on the front page. The more cautious New York Times boxed it on page A-12. That night, all three networks found time to report the amazing incident. But that was just the beginning.
It was a nightmare. The story ran for more than a week. The President was repeatedly asked to explain his behavior at town hall meetings, press conferences, and meetings with editors.
There was talk of a suit under the Freedom of Information Act to force release of the picture showing the President, paddle and rabbit in close proximity.
Shortly after the Reagan administration took office, they stumbled upon a copy of the picture — apparently while searching for a foreign policy — and reopened the old wounds by releasing it to the press.
Well – this is where I enter the story. I was 25 at the time the story broke, and I remember the furor over the incident. However, I can’t recall ever having seen the aforementioned picture. Web searches turned up plenty of references to the story, but no images; the story unfortunately broke before Al Gore invented the Internet.
I contacted the friendly folks at the Jimmy Carter Library about the picture, not really expecting much help:
Greetings, Jimmy Carter Library folks. Is the infamous picture of President Carter being attacked by a rabbit while fishing available from the Library? I suspect this is a common question, and I also suspect that the standard answer is “No, and we wouldn’t tell you if it were anyway.” :-) Still – I figured it was worth a try.
To my amazement, I received this response:
Thank you for your photo inquiry of November 7, 2003. The ‘killer rabbit’ photo is available at the Library. An 8×10 color print costs $25.50: a b&w print costs $20.50. We require prepayment and will accept a credit card or a check made out to the National Archives Trust Fund.Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.
After a few more exchanges, I wound up ordering a 300dpi TIFF on CD of this image:
|President Carter and the swamp rabbit
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Carter Library
I’m grateful to the folks at the Carter Library for their cheerful cooperation. They have advised me that the picture is in the public domain, but they would like any usage to note that the picture is courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library.
Personnally I think Jimmy Carter was one of my favorite US president and I really think there was a conspiracy here to make him look stupid. The reason I think this is why in the hell would a photograph would be there at this precise moment when this happened??? As for why they did this is prety clear to me. The Us like wars because they are the number one manufacturer and dealers in weapons of all sorts. We all know that but there is a war that has a huge budget too and is at the base of a whole economy in itself and it’s the war against drugs. Jimmy Carter wanted to stop this non-sense that is still going on nowadays. Carter had handled very important crisis and did very well on all accounts but some people make a lot of money with drugs and they are not those black thugs… I really think we would be very suprised to see who really is at the top of this market…. We even have evidence!! The involvement of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in cocaine trafficking in Central America during the Reagan Administration as part of the Contra war in Nicaragua has been the subject of several official and journalistic investigations since the mid-1980s. In 1986, the Reagan Administration acknowledged that funds from cocaine smuggling helped fund the Contra rebels, but stated that it was not authorized by the US government or resistance leaders. The Kerry Committee found that Contra drug links included payments to known drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department to carry out humanitarian assistance to the Contras. A CIA internal investigation found that agents had worked with drug traffickers to support the Contra program, but found no evidence of any conspiracy by CIA or its employees to bring drugs into the United States. So… It is pretty clear to me that if Jimmy Carter was showing any signs of ”softening” the drug policies, he was touching a very sensitive spot here…. But that’s only my opinion…. I would really really like to have some feedback on this one..Now I know some people are going to say I’m stupid and paranoid or whatever, it’s ok as long as you are being respectfull and can back up your opinion with some facts… I think if Jimmy Carter wouldn’t have met this damn rabbit, maybe, just maybe, some things would be very different now….