I have written at least one post about Charles Burns before but maybe I failed to mention that to me he is amongst my 3 favorite graphic novel artist. I sincerly, deeply admire the quality, the releveance and the genius behind each of his books and other creations like the pocket sleeve of Iggy Pop album Brick by Brick, this guy always taps right up into my alley when he picks a subject on whatever topic it is; music, movies, writers, trends from a certain era.. I really appreciated his Black Hole, went back and read all his previous work and wouldn’t miss reading hisX’ed Out Trilogy and now this. It never fails to deceive me. Burns brings you in a world of his own. Icons from our childhood now coming back to haunt us in a twilight zone that might be awaiting some of us, Burns brings evil with candor from the least expected things but giving it a estheatic treatment that is suppose to be reassuring, very definite lines, 50’s like cartoons and a technique that is flawless and is not unique but if you take it as a whole, Charles BUrns has really managed to make is style recognizable instantly, unequaled, unparalleled. Hergé drawing and writing pop surrealists stories simpler but close to what Burroughs could have done when he was a kid.
R. Crumb once observed that “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 he weren’t quite… human!” And it’s true that Burns’ icy pen and ink drawings, which came to popular attention with the publication of the graphic novelBlack Hole, depict disturbing realms that similarly attract and repulse, while being both alien and yet familiar.
The good news for Burns fans is that two new titles, Vortex and Love Nest, will be published this month byCornelius. But if you’re in Paris there’s no need to wait since you can currently snag copies at Galerie Martel, while checking out original drawings from the titles, such as the ones below.
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).
It’s Voting Time in America Again, Let’s Ask Manson…
It is purely an American phenomenon, that almost every United States President, since 1969, starting with President Nixon has had either something infinitesimal or infinite to do with the convicted criminal Charles Manson in one way or the other.
The answer will never be as fascinating as the question itself as to try to find out why… Why, during every election year since 1969 does the public and press always have such a strong urge to know . . . What Would Charlie Do?
How is it that a convicted conspiracy to commit murder guy is the go-to-guy in America to ask who to vote for??
Could it be that he’s become an icon in popular culture and that what he thinks has an influence?Could it be that his thoughts an ideas actually make sense??
Charlie and the Presidents
Let’s start with President 37,Richard Nixon who deliberately declared Mansonguilty during the Tate/La Bianca murder trial and by doing so could/should have freed Charles Manson-not by an act of executive clemency, but by one of errant stupidity. He was refused a mistrial. Nixon later on became the most disgraced 66DRUG WAR99 President in all of U.S. History, shaming himself and the whole country by being implicated in theWatergate scandal.
Moving on to President 38, Gerald Ford who almost got shot by one of Manson’s favorite wives, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, dressed in a red robe, armed with a semi-automatic pistol loaded with four rounds. No cartridge in the chamber.
Trust me when I say that if Squeaky would REALLY have wanted to kill Ford, he’d be dead. Right then and there.
President number 39; This is what Jimmy Carter‘s brother Billy said about his stay with Charles Manson in the nut-house: “I really like him . . . Charlie Manson is my friend. A lot of Christian people write me and say I should have salvation and that Jesus will cleanse me of my sins. As far as I’m concerned the person who talks to me, that helps me get rid of my guilt, the only person that’s ever talked to me about that and given me any understanding is Charlie.”
There was also a little story between Charlie and Jimmy’s wayward nephew, Willie.
Next, President 40, Ronald Reagan and first son Ronald Reagan Jr. who, both have something infinite to do with Charles Manson as well. I think we see some patterns here? While Nixon, was the 1st dominant President of Television; Reagan was the 1st Hollywood Actor to become a United States President. And, it has been said that the so-called ‘Manson Family’ actually did have – Ronald Reagan Senior’s gun in possession – while those ‘in the know’, all know; that Junior, did one, if not the best, of all mass- money minded -medias- reporter’s interviews, ever with the Manson.
Manson’s Letter to President Ronald Reagan About the “War On Drugs” Bill
Ronald W. Reagan
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The government didn’t beat the moonshine still and whiskey has power just as coffee and tobacco do. Uncle Jess from Kentucky said, when I was a child, that the government would end up with whiskey in stores and would run the stills because people in government were the big crooks. I tell you what he said and I say this: You’re not going to beat drugs. I was in prison before people came to prison for drugs, I saw the government make the problem. From your foundation you can’t help the people who don’t want help. You’ve got to go with the will of the people or lose heart within your own government. Your going to rip it apart and waste a lot of money.
Your war should be against pollution and for putting trees back before you lose the air, water and wildlife. Take over the drugs and use their power to move people to work on CCC projects. put the trees back fast before the pollution destroys all life. I saw it dying in Death Valley. That’s why Krishna Venta blew himself up in 1949 at the Fountain of the World in Box Canyon, California, when the Feather River Project cut off his fountains of water off.
Plants and herbs that you call drugs have more power than you understand. All the distorted thoughts and rules make problems worse. Here is a story: Two men are in a cell. One said he wanted to die and was going to kill himself. The other said he wouldn’t let him. So the first guy killed the other one and then himself. If people want to eat shit you can’t stop them without going with them.
No one even knew what drugs were until Mr. Anslinger told everyone what not to take. Cops teaching kids what not to do only shows them what they can do if they want to go against someone. And you put a bunch of fools who only know what the books say… No new game, honor or purpose. Some of the meanest fighting men in history got high before they went into battle. Remember why the .45 caliber gun was put into service?
You can take a pile of rocks and use them to build a house, or you can take the same pile and start a war. Tell children not to throw rocks, make rules against picking up rocks, and then make them mad. Keep projecting what not to do and you can make the thought in their brains of what can and will be done.
Before the U.S. had a government, the monks sat on top of the grapes, the wine, Buddhists and other monks had the poppies and flowers of power under control. Control must be in order and order must be in truth. And when in truth you can face the problem as it is, not through distorted judgements. Roots and herbs are part of life, things not known but by a few. One day all you space cases will face the Earth dying under your feet. We saw the water out of balance with the land at the Fountain of the World, and the old man in Death Valley told me the same after I got out from 17 years of service to the truth in government hallways. I’m the last guy in line but I’ve got all the thoughts for the balance of order and peace with a one world government if we all are to survive.
I want a telephone and the charge to call anyone … or simply a courtroom with the rights I was denied 17 years ago.
Bugliosi believed President Bush should have been charged with the murders of more than 4,000 American soldiers who died in Iraq since Bush, according to Bugliosi, launched the Iraq invasion “under false pretenses.”
It was one of Bugliosi’s four books that were made into films. The 2012 documentary film The Prosecution of an American President was based on Bugliosi’s Bush book. In June 2015, Bugliosi died at the age of 80.
And, so, now, last but not least, the current African American President, number 44, Barack Hussein Obama, for all of the next few days of this year of our Lord 2016 November 5th until election November 8th (but not technically) wonders. “What Would Charlie Do?” This is where it all gets even trickier. Pay attention. There is really nothing easy to find that says Obama didn’t, doesn’t or, don’t, like Manson while there is plenty to find that says Manson don’t like Obama, or any of them for all of the above for that matter. Ignoring all of that, and considering this, there is still at this late date a document on the table of President Obama’s White Houses tables, asking for the release, pardon or retrial of Charles Manson.
It was filed by an International Attorney, Giovanni Di Stefano, who happened to have been clearly justified in representing Saddam Hussein yet, is now incarcerated basically by Tony Blair of Great Britain AND HAS BEEN. And appealing a conviction for basically not being a real attorney.
But now and then, things are always way more complicated than just the basics, now aren’t they?
So, what is this strange proclivity and magnetic like attraction of attentions that are religiously, habitually, perpetually, playing out before the worlds eyes, concerning half a century of United States Presidents with one single lowly convict? And, why does every single, Tom, Dick and Harry reporter and or underground citizen of the United States care what Charlie thinks? Well the answer is in the question itself.
Let me put forward a little theory here. The race to Presidency has now become a show. Not just a parody of a show, not even a parody of politics, a real partly scripted reality show in which whoever does something striking, shocking or provoking is good.
We are now experiencing with horror the prophecy made around 40 years ago by some guy who is now forgotten or remembered, not as an artist but as a publicist, yes I’m talking about Andy Warhol who said that ‘‘there is no bad publicity”. In terms of shocking, what has been attributed to Charlie is quite hard to beat so of course, any which way you can be related to good old Charlie is publicity and, remember, there is no such thing as bad publicity so…
As you saw, I never answered the question because it doesn’t matter in the end, as long as he mentions your name or that your name is associated to him, one way or another, it’s fine! It’s perfect!! We have become victims of our own repressed inhibitions our boredom and our vicarious depravity/anger as a society and as individuals.
The Jester is no longer a Fool and about to be King. I am just curious to see how far it will go. Seems to me that I will not have to wait very long…
AIR, TREES, WATER & ANIMALS ®
“A revolution against pollution is the only solution.” –See’Em?
Now there are some ideas that have been germinating in my mind for a while.. I can’t say how long because it’s not a very definite thought but rather an evolving one. I have hesitated to talk about it since I know for sure that a lot of people are going to go sort of like: ”OK… ( Nooooo!!! Would be more accurate) Another Goddamn Conspiracy Freak Advocate!” Now I feel this thing was there before I was born. For someone my age and look back at the history, culture, politics and music of the 60’s and the 70’s, most of that time very enthusiastic about what was being thought and done but always being intrigued, revolted and afraid of how something like the Summer of 67 ended up being such an absolute total bad trip. You are left there thinking:”Boy!!! That Vietnam War sure made it seems like it was a really good thing if it was worth the death of millions of US soldiers and all the sufferings that come with it when such a war take place not only on the killing fields overseas but also where it all comes back to in the end, the families, the people of both sides and when 4 soldiers died in OhioI think people realised that the impact back in the US (and around the world) was far more important than we could have ever imagined. In fact so many conspiracy theories have the Vietnam War at the epicenter that one could be tempted to think that all that the secret agencies have done behind close doors and in plain daylight, right before our very eyes, must have been in multiple various cases a blue print of many, many similar covert and false flag operations to come!! Well, it seems they have learned a lot more than we did. It is so obvious why people won’t admit to themselves it happened, it’s not because they’re stupid or bad, no, far from it, it’s because to most people it would be inconceivable that the people in power, the people who have a part of our fate in their hands, it’s inconceivable that they could do things like that, it’s also impossible to them that the people who would have noticed (let’s say the medias) wouldn’t have allowed it. I do respect that opinion. I don’t either diminish the noble act of being a soldier and fighting at the peril of your life for a cause that you believe in. I just believe that people are given orders from their superior and they execute it. In the army, in the office and as a citizen.
The CIA was founded in 1947 and has increasingly expanded its roles, including covert paramilitary operations. One of its largest divisions, the Information Operations Center (IOC), has shifted focus from counter-terrorism to offensive cyber-operations. While the CIA has had some recent accomplishments, such as locating Osama bin Laden and taking part in the successful Operation Neptune Spear, it has also been involved in controversial programs such as extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation techniques. When the CIA was created, its purpose was to create a clearinghouse for foreign policy intelligence and analysis. Today its primary purpose is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence, and to perform covert actions.
Now where would they start? Some stuff went further back..The complaints were coming from broken homes probably? But not so much from the veterans themselves as they were, themselves very divided on that part. The Hells Angels were started on March 17, 1948, by the Bishop family, American war immigrants in Fontana, California. The name “Hell’s Angels” was inspired by the typical naming of American squadrons, or other fighting groups, with a fierce, death-defying title in World Wars I and II so I would say they would have worked against anyone who or anything that is anti-war. Everyone agrees now that it was a huge monumental mistake to have hired the HA as security for the Free Festival of Altamont. But I’m ahead of myself there..
In the 60’s came a new breed of youngsters in large numbers, idealist, contesting the values their rigid parents were fighting the best they could, the flow of new ideas and the magnificence of the movement being such that it was like a beast that would kill you with LOVE. The Beatles part was ok I think… but then came the Rolling Stones! Then in New-York the scandal of Pop Art, TVs (transvestites!), Drugs!! First known casualty Brian Jones(3 July 1969) who mysteriously died a ”death by misadventure” in his pool. Then it was Jimi Hendrix turn (18th September 1970) who died of asphyxia, all dressed up in his bed with wine in his hair and all over his clothes. Then came Janis Joplin (October 5, 1970), Pulmonary edema and congestion, they say due to an injection of heroin overdose but the death certificate says that the eyes show a moderate sign of dilatation, which is very surprising if she indeed died of a heroin injection!! Last but not least, 2 YEARS TO THE DAY AFTER BRIAN JONES on July the 3rd 1971, Jim Morrisondied, according to the death certificate of a cardiac arrest. All 4 were died at age 27, within 2 years, all the artists that represented the remains of a movement born with The Beatles, wanting peace and love, the retreat of US and all troops in Vietnam, no more wars, honesty.. JFK wanted honesty! And Peace!! He was killed too!!
The Vietnam war started in what was called the INCIDENT and the main actor on the field was no other than the Jim Morrison’s father, George Stephen Morrison, United States Navy rear admiral (upper half) and naval aviator. Morrison was commander of the U.S. naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of August 1964, which sparked an escalation of American involvement in the Vietnam War. Now isn’t that something? Now you must be saying what about Manson!!! Well I think Manson was the Ace in the Hole! Imagine the secret agencies wanting more than anything that this war goes on and on, in fact when the 4 students were killed in a manifestation, Nixon had been elected by promising he would stop that war, instead he announced the Cambodian Campaign, taking the war on a whole new level and threatening territories that were never suppose to be a part of it.
Now this was only a little part of what went on during those years, because I have nit mention the Tate-LaBianca Murders by the Manson Family. What a perfect setting!! So they had it easy dealing with musicians, they all have vices that could kill them and no one would ask amy questions. Now they needed something even more frightening!! No doubt in my mind that countless affairs were carefully manipulated by secret agencies. Now after the music business comes the actors!! TheLookout Mountain Air Force Station was founded on the same year as the CIA and ended in 1969, after the Charles Manson trials. Interesting fact: Sharon Tate’s father joined the army in 1947. Paul Tate spent 23 years in U.S. Army intelligence and retired as a lieutenant colonel soon after his daughter’s death.
Imagine for a second that all the actors and all of Hollywood’s shot callers were under the influence of the Intelligence agencies of the USA government. Imagine that a lot of stuff is being written and/or pre written before it happens. And of course you can use aspects of an event or a company, or a person and make them appear as you like into the heads of people who watches TV. Imagine that Burroughs was right when he wrote in his novel ”The Ticket That Exploded” about ”language being a virus ”. He claimed that language is infectious and exerts limitations and controls over people’s minds by its very existence and utility. He believed that the ability to think and create was limited by the conventions of grammar and usage. For example, most people have not difficulty grasping the idea of a “kitchen sink,” but a “sinking kitchen” gives most of us pause. Most words and phrases in our native language are indelibly linked to the concept they represent. What comes to mind when I say: ”Black Cat!!” I’ll wager it wasn’t a white horse. I’ll further suggest that it wasn’t a dark-colored boat, a dominatrix’s whip, or an African-American jazz musician…. Yet all are possibilities. Burroughs thought that eventually, such associations could eventually lead to complete thought control, by limiting the mind’s ability to free associate. All possibilities would be accounted for by existing words in expected patterns. Burroughs made his living in the medium of words, but he reportedly believed that “‘Word and image locks’ and ‘association blocks’ lock the mind into conventional patterns of thinking, speaking, acting, and perceiving things.”‘ This led him to use a variety of techniques for breaking out of the virus’s control including cutting and folding word groupings to form such gems as “The great skies are open. Supreme bugle burning flesh children to mist.” He also included a decade long part of his life trying to put to practice some aspects of Scientology and the Dianetics with a few results of his own. Acquiring while doing so the convoited status of what they call:”Clear”.
There was a studio located in Laurel Canyon that closed in 1969, shortly after the Tate-LaBianca murders. Los Angeles, California is the epicenter of the movie-making industry, so it should come as no surprise that the US military had its own studio in LA. Known as Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, or Lookout Mountain Laboratory, what made this studio special is that the films produced there were all classified.Let’s say out of pure fabulation that they closed after this because they had managed to infiltrate the main private industry, slowly but surely. One movie and one book translate that idea very well: First the movie called ”Mulholland Drive” by none other than David Lynch and the book, Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis. The Church of Scientology has acquired the power to influence the courses of things. It has been scientifically verified by Burroughs and other well-esteemed members of the human race learned how to use multi -media images in a certain way, superimposing them, etc. to influence the course of events.
You don’t have to believe that though… Just look at the work of Andy Warhol. He multiplicated an image to diminish it’s impact. Some say he was influenced by Dali. All his life, Dali was obsessed with doubles, copies and replicas because he had an older brother who died before he was born and his grieving parents named him exactly the same name! Warhol took it to another level, duplicating the same image time and time again! Anyone knows that after you have heard about an event repeatedly the magnitude because almost insignificant, YOU GET USED TO IT!
There’s a program called ”Beyond Scared Straight”. The first time I saw it I was appalled by how young the kids were and how insignificant the nature of their crime was versus the treatment they were given. I told someone, without even thinking, ”they” are going to get more and more vicious and daring as time goes. I watched it again maybe 2 seasons later (because people love that shit!) and I saw an 11 year old girl, at her wits end, on the edge of a panic attack, breathing in a brown bag because she had skipped class and was STARTING to take after her 15 year old older brother who had skipped class and was smoking pot. WOW!! That’s it???? Two seasons earlier you had much heavier crimes and teens that were older… like 17 with a load of criminal charges that were about to get them to appear before an adult court, so I guess they told themselves they should get them before it happens but any fools know that teenage is a difficult time and no one should be judged according to that specific period of your life. And what about ”Campus PD”? The motives and the way they arrest these poor students!! My God!!! What does that tell you?? It tells me that there’s a war against the youth. A youth that in the 60’s tried to change things, tried to stop a war. They were stopped too. The hippie movement died with Charles Manson and later on with Jim Morrisonand all the martyrs of the defunct revolution. Anyway, the point is that after awhile you get accustomed to certain things if you see them again and again on TV. A few years ago violence in films and on video games was a big thing, nobody cares now. The sexuality, the language and the level of violence have gone up the roof!!! To Be Honest it’s not what scares me the most. What scares me the most is the level of influence the medias have and how it belongs to a very few privileged, greedy hands. A retired CIA agents was asked what would be his best advice if you wouldn’t want to be influenced by the secret agencies in a negative way and he said: ”Don’t watch TV, Never watch TV or movies unless you watch it in a critical manner.” Right away you get the image of these poor guys who think the TV is talking to them and telling them to do stuff… Well, maybe they aren’t so far off… It’s just not literal, it’s just is a little more subtle then how they put it, but not by that far. It’s very easy to influence the people. It’s so easy to demonize someone, you all know that right?? Just put his quotes in horror movies character or anything related to evil, quote him out of context, associate him (or her) to murders, rapes, blood or the occult before, during and after the facts and very soon you will have fabricated what represents the very essence of evil in the minds of the mass.
Now if I make some general observations about the medias in general, I can see that the more is more and more sexualized, violent, that the black guy or the old guy always dies first, that beauty and money are more important than anything, horror movies always end up bad, think of yourself first or you’re going to get fucked, you can’t trust anyone, you have to fit into the mold or you will be attacked AND youth is under attack.
Add to that the fact that movie and TV tend to look more and more like reality and you get a pretty weird picture…. If you would be holding a major part of the medias, wouldn’t you use them to your ends? I get this image popping in my brain, day after day, a granite monument erected in 1980 in Elbert County, Georgia, in the United States. The structure is sometimes referred to as an “American Stonehenge”. The monument is 19 feet 3 inches (5.87 m) tall, made from six granite slabs weighing 237,746 pounds (107,840 kg) in all. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.In a book written by the man who called himself R.C. Christian. I discovered that the monument he commissioned had been erected in recognition of Thomas Paine and the occult philosophy he espoused. Indeed, the Georgia Guidestones are used for occult ceremonies and mystic celebrations to this very day. What really bothers me is the first rule written on the Stone:
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
Now that is scary don’t you think?? The fact that most Americans have never heard of the Georgia Guidestones or their message to humanity reflects the degree of control that exists today over what the American people think. We ignore that message at our peril.
PS: It was proven that AIDS is a virus that wouldn’t have never survived in nature. It is proven to be man-made. I’m thinking about this movie in which our hero manages to create a movement in the masses but we’re not mad! We swallowed every little pill they made us take, little by little, leaving us with the illusion that we could still make it in our own way and that we are not hurting anyone!! Well, today was Jimi Hendrix death anniversary and I can honestly say that we are heading towards a very grisly, frightful, , loathsome and abhorrent future, a NEAR future. BTW Lennon got his day too remember? The Beatle who was the most active on the political scene. Making Bed ins for peace…. Could they really do that you think???
I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!
The Prisoner (known only as Number Six) is a former government agent who has abruptly resigned from his job and finds himself imprisoned in an idyllic yet bizarre seaside village isolated from the world by the sea and mountains where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. Number 6 desperately wants to find his way to freedom without revealing anything to anyone, being loyal to his employers but also true to himself and the sets of values he believes in. The Village seems to be inhabited by other prisoners as well as enemy agents and guardians but it is very difficult to know who is who, Most (but not all) guards wear the same style of resort clothing and numbered badges as the prisoners, and mingle seamlessly among the general population. Thus, it is nearly impossible for prisoners to determine which Villagers can be trusted and which ones cannot.
The only one that obviously seems to be in charge of the Village is Number 2. Number Six is monitored heavily by Number Two, the Village administrator acting as an agent for an unseen “Number One”. A variety of techniques are used by Number Two to try to extract information from Number Six, including hallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination. All of these are employed not only to find out why Number Six resigned as an agent, but also to extract other purportedly dangerous information he gained as a spy. The position of Number Two is filled in on a rotating basis: in some cases, this is part of a larger plan to confuse Number Six; at other times, it seems to be a result of failure in interrogating Number Six.
Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, the show’s combination of 1960s countercultural themes and surrealistic setting had a far-reaching effect on science fiction/fantasy programming, and on popular culture in general became the base for what is now known as one of the best cult series from the 60’s , it combined spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama.
The opening and closing sequences of The Prisoner have become iconic. Cited as “one of the great set-ups of genre drama”, the opening sequence establishes the Orwellian and postmodern themes of the series;its high production values have led the opening sequence to be described as more like film than television.
The bicycle that is always at the forefront of anything related to the Prisoner is without a doubt the symbol of LSD and all the fuss that was made round its discovery. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide was discovered April 19, 1943, asAlbert Hofmann, a chemist for Sandoz, in Basel, Switzerland, ingested a minute amount—just 250 micrograms–of a compound derived from the ergot fungus. He soon felt extremely disoriented as he rode his bicycle home, where he experienced all the heavenly and hellish effects of lysergic acid diethylamide. Pink Floyd even had a song immortalising this event simply called ”Bike”.
Many secret services around the world were very intrigued by various hallucinogenic drugs (especially but not exclusively, LSD) and a shitload of secretive research around mind control were set in motion by various governments after WWII. Without a doubt, the Village where most of the action takes place his he and specifically is a reflection of those mind control covert operations, at least it is one aspect of it. One in particular, Project MKUltra—sometimes referred to as the mind control program—was the codename given to an illegal program of experiments on human subjects, designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions. Their purpose was to study mind control, interrogation,behavior modification and related topics. It is therefore obvious that the serie was very much aware of all the implications of LSD (mainly but not exclusively) during this period and for sure the bicycle that is omnipresent throughout the serie reflects the importance it had back then.
Another part of the inspiration for the Village came from research into World War II, where some people had been incarcerated in a resort-like prison calledInverlair Lodge. Actually the Village is a brutal dictatorship, best described by Number Six himself as “This farce, this 20th century Bastille that pretends to be a pocket democracy.” It is ruled by a revolving series of Chief Administrators designated “Number Two”, some of whom return to the office after lengthy absences. They vary greatly in personality and in methodology: some of them are quite amiable, some are sadistic, and some are mere bureaucratic functionaries bordering on functional impotence. Sadly, I must admit that it seems to resemble more and more today’s or even tomorrow’s ”ideal” society, “Work units” or “credits” serve as currency in its shops, and are kept track of with a hole-punched credit card (no money), its unique, controlled newspaper, its taxi service (no individual cars allowed implicating that you cannot go anywhere outside the village on your own), It’s camera surveillance system (Big Brother), No alcohol or drugs, no gambling, no radio, rigged justice system… It is baffling to think how far the resemblance has gone with what is actually well on its way… Exactly who operates the Village is deliberately obscured. Ostensibly, the Village is run by a democratically elected council, with a popularly-elected executive officer known as “Number Two” presiding over it and the Village itself, although internal dialogue indicates that the entire process is rigged. Number Two appears to be directly answerable to unseen superiors, the shadowy “They” or “Number 1″ pulling all the strings from behind the scenes, with direct contact via a red hotline phone. Undoubtedly resembling today’s Illuminati, Bilderberg, Skulls & Bones, NSA, Isis and similar shadowy organisations whose influence is felt but whose motives and goals are far from being clear. Do I need to say more?? If you watch the serie you will, without a doubt take note yourself of these little ”insignificant” things that are indeed very troubling.
It was probably one of the most influential pieces of television of the 1960s not only in the UK and USA but also in France, Australia and many other countries. Even The Beatles were fans. Its cult status was confirmed with the establishment in the 1970s of the official Prisoner Appreciation Society, Six of One.
Apparently there is a chance that it will be brought up to life again by none other than the creator of (among many others) ”Blade Runner”, Ridley Scott! The movie director already had plenty of momentum heading into Golden Globes weekend with a Best Director nomination, and now he has even more. Scott is in early negotiations on a deal to come aboard and direct The Prisoner, the screen version of the 1968 Patrick McGoohan British TV series. This has been a plum project at Universal for some time with numerous A-list scribes including Christopher McQuarrie writing drafts. The most recent version was by The Departed scribe William Monahan. The film is being produced by Bluegrass Films Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark. Scott’s Scott Free team will likely become part of it as they get the script that makes the director happy. Numerous writers are circling to do that, and the elbowing by several top actors has also begun, now that word is getting around that Scott is coming aboard.
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 Holefrom 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 character’s 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.
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 Hivetrilogy 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.
The long, strange trip that began in X’ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, but not before Doug is forced to deal with the lie he’s been telling himself since the beginning. In this concluding volume, nightmarish dreams evolve into an even more dreadful reality…
The series centres around a troubled young man, Doug, in a non-linear narrative interspersed with dream-like sequences, varying levels of reality among a man who has overdosed, a weird world of worms where a reverse Tintin named Nitnit is finding his way, and angsty drama that will be familiar to readers of Black Hole.
I just finished reading Sugar Skull yesterday, well in fact I reread the whole thing starting with the first album and by God it definitely is a striking masterpiece. Charles Burns manages to make reality seem even worse than his nightmarish visions. It is a blend between Eraserhead and something by Daniel Clowes but I thought it was way better than anything he had done so far. Pushing his strange world into ours. It is very harsh. Very sarcastic. Almost traumatic. For sure I enjoyed every page of it. I must admit I had doubts that it would be good and that the wait wouldn’t be worth it but it was… but then again that’s just me…. Charles Burns always was and remains my favorite Graphic Novel author.
Burns has been producing this work at a slow rate of 64 pages every two years so it hasn’t exactly been a quick ride but who cares. This is one of my favorite comics of recent years—despite the low page count, every panel is filled with allusions, color-coded mystery and a complete world that it takes many readings to unpack. And of course, perfect cartooning.
Interesting in The Hiveand 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 suggests some monsters, though capable of fear and trauma, are just food for the larger, humanoid creatures.
In 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.
“Six years ago, when I started working on this project, I conceived the books as three separate books, even if they tell one complete story,” Charles Burns says about his just completed trilogy, which started with “X’ed Out,” in 2010, and was followed by “The Hive,” in 2012. The last installment, “Sugar Skull,” comes out September 16th. Burns, who turns fifty-nine this month, told us what inspired him:
The format of the three hardcovers is based on Tintin in its Franco-Belgian comics album format. I know it’s unusual for an American artist of my generation to be growing up with Tintin. These days, you can find it in all the bookstores, but, when I was growing up, there were just six books that came out and they just didn’t do very well.
Luckily, I had those books growing up. When I was five years old—I couldn’t even read yet—my Dad, who went to bookstores and libraries all the time, brought back one of those early Tintin books for me. It felt like the first book that was just my own. My sister read it, but it wasn’t for her—it was specifically for me. Also, it stood out from all of the other comics that I’d seen—the beautiful color printing—it was a world that you could really enter. It made a huge impression on me.
In those early American editions, there were six volumes, and then, at the very bottom of the last book, it said, “Look for additional titles coming soon.” And, of course, I looked for additional titles for years and years. Eventually, when they started being imported to the U.S., I found the British translations, but it took a long time. So as a kid looking at the books, I was filling in the holes, the missing pieces—kind of making up my own stories, I guess—looking at the back cover and seeing images that didn’t appear in the stories I knew. Now, the book I made—all three books—feels complete to me. I had a pretty firm idea of what the story was going to be when I started, but many things changed while I was working. In the end, all the pieces fit together the way I wanted, or as close as I could get. I feel like I’ve said everything I need to say.
See below for a few pages from “Sugar Skull”–though we strongly recommend that new readers start at the beginning.
“You have no idea…..”
If you do not know what a Sugar Skull is Click on image below:
The 2 previous albums of the trilogy:
”It’s not like here’s Anti TinTin”
As for other works: Burn’s Big Babyis interesting, because monstrous humans are difficult to depict in graphic novels. Burns’ protagonist, Big Baby, is both childlike and devious. 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.
Fears of the Dark, 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.
“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 atwww.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
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:
Born in 1959 in Zaragoza but living and working in Madrid, Dino Valls is one of the Spanish representatives of the vanguard of figurative art. His painting, elaborating and expanding the methods of past masters, centers on the human psyche by using figurative techniques only as a formal support in which to project a conceptual content laden with profound psychic weight, where the most obscure pulsations develop in a symbolic process of intellectualism.
After receiving his degree in medicine and surgery in 1982, he decided to devote himself exclusively to painting; the kind of painting which would be influenced by the humanistic perspective that brought about the study of man. This kind of attitude is reminiscent of the creative climate of the Renaissance. His passion for ancient painting moved him to study seriously the techniques of the great masters in the major European museums and in 1991, Valls studied the art of egg tempera and the technique of the Italian and Flemish masters of the 16th and 17th centuries. Egg tempera remains his favorite technique for painting.
Art is the only medium which allows man to unite his logical thought and his magical thought, redeeming him from the profound dichotomy which exists between both. Curiosity incites us to step out into the field of logic, raising our gaze beyond what may be recognized. This may be the point of inflection which leads us unreality in Dino Valls’ painting.
One of the privileges by those dedicated to art is that related to a special form of possession. Although a person’s desire to grasp another may never be completely fulfilled, being able to create an image the possession of which begins and ends strictly in the actual creation, is an eminently artistic prerogative, that in addition to being much more satisfactory, accompanies another aspect which is not of less importance: he concept of endopathy, according to which, in order to paint a figure, one has to become it. Just as all paintings are self-portraits, only mirrors hang on the walls, which means an extension of the relation between participation and effect upon each other by the work of art, the author and the spectator.
On the other hand, the relation between the person who looks and what is being contemplated causes archetypes to appear and ends up by establishing an active communication between the work and the receiver, as it is based on the power of projection which the unconscious causes to arise in the person looking.
The gaze discovers the painting and this reveals what we only know intuitively: the irrational. It is during our attempt to rationalize it that the conflicts arises, originating in our collective cultural unconsciousness, which scientific research continues to try to unmask.
Just as dreams disguise themselves as reality to make themselves recognizable for the consciousness, Dino Valls’ painting conceives his artistic ideas based on the artist’s interior unreality. Neither realism as naturalism, nor a fleeting personal view of the real world concern him. It is not the exterior and its objective reality that attract him, but rather the contrary. This is a search inside oneself, plunging into the warehouse of what underlies everyday experience. In his work, the painter reveals these profound conflicts, and the spectator recognized them as part of his internal struggle, as they belong to the same human essence
Alicia Guixa, Catalogue, “Dino Valls“, Madrid (December 1993)
Warhol directed over 400 screen tests, and they serve now and forever as a remarkable archive of the personalities of the New York art scene and the Factory. Artists, male and female prostitutes, art dealers, transexuals, collectors, critics, writers, musicians, lesbians, actors, poets, dandys, painters, sculptors, dancers, strippers, athletes, sinners and saints, servers and patrons are all very well represented, as are the celebrities of the ”Factory’s Studio System” themselves. Those series of portrait films were shot from 1964 to 1966 and each test was about four minutes long. Warhol would place his subject in front of a 16mm Bolex with instruction to face the camera until the film stopped. In many cases, Warhol would walk away from the subject as the film was shooting without any further instructions, giving them absolute freedom to be and to do whatever they wanted as long as they remained in the frame.
William Burroughs never sat for a screen test. Given the hype and excitement that surrounded Burroughs during his time in New York City in 1964/1965, this is somewhat surprising. At the time, Burroughs was an underground celebrity, a perfect subject for a screen test. Yet Burroughs and Warhol did not hit it off in the 1960s. Panna Grady, a rich heiress and a groupie of underground poets and writers, took Burroughs to meet Warhol for dinner. They went to a Chinese restaurant, where Burroughs was offended by the manners of those in Warhol’s entourage. Burroughs walked out.
The personalities of the two men were quite a bit different, as must have been obvious when they met. Warhol cultivated a camp and effeminate gay persona that was the polar opposite of Burroughs’ gun-toting machismo. Burroughs’ letters of the 1950s are filled with his dislike for swishes, so coming face-to-face with Warhol must have aroused some level of distaste. Creatively, however, the two had much in common. Before their ill-fated dinner, Warhol arrived at Burroughs’ loft with a bag of tape-recording equipment. Surely this piqued Burroughs’ interest because Burroughs asked Warhol to leave the recorders at the loft.
I am fascinated by Warhol during the Factory years, and it is an interesting “what if” to me to wonder what a collaboration between Burroughs and Warhol would have been like. How would Burroughs have reacted to a screen test? If anybody could have out-stared a Bolex, without a doubt, it would have been Burroughs. For my part, I catch myself fantasizing about it and think that the camera would have blinked, tore up, or broke down under the strain of Burroughs’ impassive, sullen gaze or that, on the contrary, Burroughs would not even register on the film…. After all, In Mexico City, Peru, Panama, and Tangier, Burroughs stalked back alleys anonymously, melting into the shadows without leaving a trace on his surroundings. The banker’s suit and the grey hat were the uniform of the 1950s Everyman. Or maybe a Nobody. Not for nothing did Burroughs’ ability to blend in and disappear earn him the name “El Hombre Invisible.”
Face to Face
Ironically, Burroughs’ non-descript clothes became iconic by the 1970s. Immediately recognizable, precisely because he was invisible. The banker’s clothes disguised a revolutionary: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When Burroughs returned to New York City from 1974 to 1981, Warhol was still holding court, although the Factory gave way to Studio 54. The screen tests were replaced by celebrity portraits painted for a sizable fee. Interestingly, it was at this period, when Burroughs truly broke into mainstream consciousness, that Warhol and Burroughs would connect. When Burroughs lived in New York City at the Bunker, he and Warhol met again for dinner, and the results were much more cordial than 1965. Victor Bockris who wrote A Report from the Bunker taped several of these meetings, made all the transcripts, added his personal notes and photos as well as others by Marcia Resnick, Bobby Grossman, Jenny Moradfar and David Schmidlapp in a very interesting book that was released first under the title ”The Warhol-Burroughs Tapes”, later changed to ”Conversations”. At first glance the conversations appear to be somehow superficial but nevertheless, because of its honesty, you still can very well get a good insight of each participant’s particular behavior ”au naturel”. ”Conversations”gives you the same feeling that one would get from looking at Warhol screen tests; It may seem superficial at first but you get to see the real person if you wait, watch closely and pay attention without waiting for ”something” to happen. For some reason this book was controversial and I will not go into the details of why because to me, no matter what people say, it still is a very important document that would not have seen the day if it wasn’t for Bockris relentless efforts to make it happen. Let me give you a delightful example here as Bull and Warhol have an open conversation, talking sex, sharing about their ”First Time”:
Burroughs: Cocteau had this party trick that he would pull. He would lie down, take off his clothes, and come spontaneously. Could do that even in his fifties. He’d lie down there and his cock would start throbbing and he’d go off. It was some film trick that he had.
Bockris: How’d he pull that off? Have you ever been able to come through total mental—
Burroughs: Oh, I have indeed. I’ve done it many times. It’s just a matter of getting the sexual image so vivid that you come.
Warhol: How old were you when you first had sex?
Burroughs: Sixteen. Just boarding school at Los Alamos Ranch School where they later made the atom bomb.
Warhol: With who?
Burroughs: With this boy in the next bunk.
Warhol: What did he do?
Burroughs: Mutual masturbation. But during the war this school, which was up on the mesa there thirty-seven miles north of Santa Fe, was taken over by the army. That’s where they made the atom bomb. Oppenheimer [the scientist who invented the bomb] had gone out there for his health and he was staying at a dude ranch near this place and said, “Well, this is the ideal place.” It seems so right and appropriate somehow that I should have gone to school there. Los Alamos Ranch School was one of those boarding schools where everyone rode a horse. Fucking horses, I hate ‘em. I had sinus trouble and I’d been going to New Mexico for my health during the summer vacations and then my family contacted the director, A. J. Connell, who was a Unitarian and believed very much in positive thinking, and I went there for two years. This took place on a sleeping porch, 1929.
Warhol: How great! Was the sex really like an explosion?
Burroughs: No no … I don’t remember it was so long ago.
Warhol: I think I was twenty-five when I first had sex, but the first time I knew about sex was under the stairs in Northside, Pittsburgh, and they made this funny kid suck this boy off. I never understood what it meant…
Burroughs: Made him do what?
Warhol: Suck this boy off, but I didn’t know what it meant, I was just sitting there watching when I was five years old. How did you get this kid to do it, or did he do it to you?
Burroughs: Oh I don’t know, sort of a lot of talking back and forth…
Here’s a remarkable clip of the pair chatting in the very room in which Arthur Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey! The footage is from an episode of the BBC documentary program Arena about the Hotel Chelsea and there are a couple of odd narrative elements to it, but the clip mercifully ends with Nico singing a haunting rendition of “Chelsea Girls”—in the Chelsea Hotel itself, one wonders if it was in Room 506…..
In 1974 William S. Burroughs and David Bowie got together for a little chat, documented by Rolling Stone. Here’s a particularly weird part where Burroughs and Bowie talk about the alien and reptilian nature of Andy Warhol:
Burroughs: Have you ever met Warhol?
Bowie: Yes, about two years ago I was invited up to The Factory. We got in the lift and went up and when it opened there was a brick wall in front of us. We rapped on the wall and they didn’t believe who we were. So we went back down and back up again till finally they opened the wall and everybody was peering around at each other. That was shortly after the gun incident. I met this man who was the living dead. Yellow in complexion, a wig on that was the wrong colour, little glasses. I extended my hand and the guy retired, so I thought, ‘The guy doesn’t like flesh, obviously he’s reptilian.’ He produced a camera and took a picture of me. And I tried to make small talk with him, and it wasn’t getting anywhere.
But then he saw my shoes. I was wearing a pair of gold-and-yellow shoes, and he says, ‘I adore those shoes, tell me where you got those shoes.’ He then started a whole rap about shoe design and that broke the ice. My yellow shoes broke the ice with Andy Warhol.
I adore what he was doing. I think his importance was very heavy, it’s becoming a big thing to like him now. But Warhol wanted to be clichi, he wanted to be available in Woolworth’s, and be talked about in that glib type of manner. I hear he wants to make real films now, which is very sad because the films he was making were the things that should be happening. I left knowing as little about him as a person as when I went in.
Burroughs: I don’t think that there is any person there. It’s a very alien thing, completely and totally unemotional. He’s really a science fiction character. He’s got a strange green colour.
Bowie: That’s what struck me. He’s the wrong colour, this man is the wrong colour to be a human being. Especially under the stark neon lighting in The Factory. Apparently it is a real experience to behold him in the daylight.
Burroughs: I’ve seen him in all light and still have no idea as to what is going on, except that it is something quite purposeful. It’s not energetic, but quite insidious, completely asexual. His films will be the late-night movies of the future.
Despite the coldness of their first meeting, Burroughs and Warhol briefly bonded in Burroughs’ loft over the tape recorder. This machine proved central to the creative work and philosophies of both artists in the 1960s. Burroughs: “I am a recording instrument.” Warhol: “I want to be a machine.” Burroughs utilized the tape recorder from the late 1950s on. In his essay ”The Invisible Generation”, Burroughs proclaims such technology as an agent for revolutionary change. Warhol relied on the tape recorder for most of his literary projects. A: A Novel is at its simplest a transcription of Warhol star Ondinetalking about the events of his day. Tape transcriptions made up the bulk of Popismand The Philosophy of Andy Warhol as well. Ideally, Warhol sought to just let the tape run and present verbatim transcriptions. There would be no stopping or re-starting of the tape, no edits, no cuts. On the other hand, Burroughs aggressively manipulated the tape. He inched it backwards and forwards, recording and re-recording. He cut and spliced the tape. The resulting transcripts were heavily revised and altered. These two creative icons are on the opposite ends of the spectrum concerning the process of editing. Yet the goal is the same: a dissolving of the control of the artist, a striving for the impersonal.
The major difference between the films of Warhol and Burroughs is, again, the cut. Burroughs’ films are full of aural and visual cuts, and Warhol uses the cut sparingly, if at all. Despite opposing editing techniques, the desire to displace the artist is the same. Of course, just the reverse occurs. Reading Burroughs cut-up texts, his personal obsessions and style shine through. The same occurs with his films. The selection of images and sounds betray his hand. He cannot help but impose his personal imprint. The same holds true for Warhol. Within the seemingly very strict parameters of the screen test, extremely individual, personal performances result. No screen test is exactly the same, even with the same subject filmed for several different tests. If you doubt this, view the several different tests taken of Baby Jane Holzer or Edie Sedgwick. Each test has its unique qualities. The personalities of the sitter show through as does that of Warhol.
UPPERS, DOWNERS & WITHDRAWALS SYMPTOMS
Watching the films of Burroughs and Warhol from a drug perspective, I feel that their styles could have been reversed. The drug of choice for Warhol and his art was amphetamine, while Burroughs preferred heroin. One would expect rapid cuts of image and sound from Warhol, and yet it was Burroughs’ cut-up films that reflect the speed freak’s sense and sensibility. Conversely, Warhol films like Sleep and Empire seem to capture the perspective of the junkie on the nod. Burroughs famously wrote in Naked Lunch that while on junk he could stare with interest at his shoe for hours. What would Burroughs have thought of a movie like Empire? Given his interest in editorial manipulation, Burroughs might have found it boring, preferring instead a movie like Chelsea Girls with its split-screen projection. Burroughs’ fascination with multiple perspectives hammers home the point that the world he described is largely seen through the lens of withdrawal. The kicking junkie is besieged by sensation. Spontaneous orgasms, crawling flesh, runaway thoughts. Burroughs’ art, cinematic and literary, captures and reproduces the experience of withdrawal more than the sensation of the fix. The hardcore addict fails to experience the euphoria of heroin in the same manner as a first-time user. Part of the kick is trying to recapture that initial rush. Burroughs’ strong sense of nostalgia stems in part from the longing of the addict for the first fix.
As Warhol was making screen tests in the 1960s, so in a way was Burroughs (along with Brion Gysin, Anthony Balch, and Ian Sommerville). Towers Open Fire (1963) opens with a long static shot of Burroughs which mirrors the portraits Warhol would begin creating a year later. In Guerrilla Conditions, later to become the basis for The Cut-Ups (1966), Burroughs introduced chance / found techniques similar to Warhol’s. Barry Miles writes, “The Cut Ups was literally that, with four reels of film being cut into twelve-inch lengths and assembled in rotation by a lab technician… No artistic judgment was made, and Balch was not even present.” The similarities to the restraints imposed on the screen tests are obvious.
I am more intrigued in considering a film like Bill and Tony(1972) as a Burroughsian screen test. The movie consists of the image of Burroughs mouthing Balch words, and Balch doing likewise to Burroughs’ words. Balch and Burroughs experimented with merging images to form a composite person. Burroughs was very interested in such superimpositions. Burroughs states, “Anthony Balch and I did an experiment with his face projected onto mine and mine onto his. Now if your face is projected onto somebody else’s in color, it looks like the other person. You can’t tell the difference; it’s a mask of light.” He states further, “Another experiment that Anthony and I did was to take the two faces and alternate them twenty-four frames per second, but it’s such a hassle to cut those and replace them, even to put one minute of alternation of twenty-four frames per second on a screen, but it is extraordinary.” Burroughs and Gysin also played with such techniques in The Third Mind experiments. The New Reformers photographs, produced in connection with the Colloque de Tanger in 1975, utilized such superimpositions. In 1971, Jan Herman visited Burroughs and Balch at St. Duke Street in London. At this time, the two men were making Bill and Tonyand performing the experiments Burroughs describes above. Herman took part in these experiments and recorded a session on videotape. The results are available exclusively on RealityStudio.
As the video shows, Burroughs introduces montage to the screen test. Montage, collage, assemblage, like the cut-up technique, all center on the cut. In the screen tests, Warhol avoided the edit, the physical cut. The duration of the movie was dictated by the length in feet of the packaged roll of film. No takes, no director yelling cut, no splicing of the film. On the other hand, Burroughs urged a generation to cut up everything. Film, text, audio tape all was fair game for the scissors. Warhol and Burroughs’ editing techniques differed but their goal of depersonalization (and eventual failure to achieve those goals) were the same.
Both Warhol and Burroughs were well exposed to the world of experimental film from Russian avant-garde film of the 1920s to Surrealist film of the 1930s to the New American Film of the post-WWII era. Warhol was a fixture at The Filmmakers’ Co-op and a friend of numerous underground filmmakers like Jonas Mekas, Jack Smith (before their falling out), Willard Maas, and Marie Menken. These filmmakers were subjects for screen tests. Through Gysin and Balch (who distributed European soft-core films), Burroughs would have been exposed to a number of experimental films. I suspect Burroughs and Warhol were well aware of each other’s films as well.Towers Open Fire was completed in 1963 before the underground film boom of the next year. Much of what became The Cut-Ups were filmed around that time. Sections ofThe Cut-Ups were filmed in the Chelsea Hotel in 1965, the year Warhol and Burroughs first met. Given his connection with Mekas and others, Warhol may have heard about Burroughs’ film experiments as early as 1963. Interestingly, despite Burroughs’ absence from Warhol’s films, particularly the Screen Tests, they are Burroughsian in spirit (alternatively Burroughs’ films are Warholian) as both men had similar obsessions and interests. Burroughs’ films of the mid-1960s have images of young men in bed, of static portraits, of artwork being created in Factory-type fashion.
One day a young man appeared at the Factory introducing himself as Julian Burroughs, the son of William Burroughs. The man was in fact Andrew Dungan. Here is the real actual story of what happened, as told by the man himself (see comment section for current post):
”I was drafted into the army in 1966 and deserted in June 1967. In October, after the March on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. I arrived in NYC. Walking down the street I met Warhol and Paul Morrissey by chance and they asked me to be in a movie that evening. They had asked me my name and I did give him my fugitive name which I had constructed from the knowledge that he did have a son, (who oddly enough I later met as he was a friend of my brother), and I felt it would get me off the hook if I was busted by the FBI agents presumably looking for me. Well, we made the movie that night and I sort of got along with Andy and Paul and the others and, being straight, was passed around among the females in the entourage. Heady experience, but the heavy paranoia of living in NYC made it difficult. Still, I hung out, dined on the Warhol tab at Max’s Kansas City, and came up with the concept for Lonesome Cowboys- based on Romeo and Juliet, hence Ramona and Julian in the film. The police did get word I was connected with Warhol and I got out of town to Paris in April 1968. Lived there for six years before getting an amnesty when Nixon got his pardon, saw Andy a few times, but returned to California, and have led my quiet life here in LA though I still am in contact with people like Viva. Saw William Burroughs once and told him my story and he enjoyed it. But it was really a chance encounter not a con or an attempt to get into the Warhol scene.”
The idea of a doppelganger of this type always appealed to Warhol (who probably got that from Dali who was obsessed by doubles and copies). He played such tricks himself. Before all that took place Warhol had already sent Allen Midgette (who sat for a screen test) on a speaking tour of the United States posing as Warhol himself in October 1967 before the time of the Julian Burroughs hoax. Most famously, Edie Sedgwick had dyed her hair silver and accompanied Warhol to parties and openings as a female version of Warhol. Quite possibly, the hoax perpetrated on the Factory inspired Warhol to try it himself, although forgery and impersonation were already staples of the Factory aesthetic. In any case, Warhol cast Dungan / Julian in Lonesome Cowboys and Nude Restaurant. So indirectly Burroughs was a Warhol superstar. Burroughs appeared on Saturday Night Live, was the Godfather of Punk, was profiled in People. Such flash and recognition captivated Warhol. The pinnacle of this type of attention would be the Nike adin 1994 that capitalized on Burroughs’ iconic status in the realm of, not Punk, but Cyber-Punk. Burroughs may never have set foot in the Factory but his presence was felt there and bled into Warhol’s films of the period. Similarly in the screen-test feel of Bill and Tony, Warhol proves to be a ghost in the machine in Burroughs’ films.
This article is largely inspired by Jed Birmingham and his ideas on the cinema of Burroughs and Warhol. The links have been updated and some have been added but you don’t have to check every single one of them although I really made a big effort to make this interesting to people who aren’t that much into this kind of stuff.
Comic Book Writer MK-Ultra Victim JFK Alleged Shooter
To say that the life of T. Casey Brennan is extraordinary would be a huge understatement. Since childhood he was dragged in a series of utterly mysterious, mind-boggling events culminating when Brennan got involuntary DIRECTLY implicated in JFK assassination, being one of the shooters. Brennan himself is a very well-known writer so I will use various sources and put them together so we can have the whole story. I was fascinated by everything I found and I saw it as imperious to share it with you.
Here is the best introductionI could find. You find the whole story on there too, not just the intro.
”My late mother was paperback author Alice Brennan, and she published numerous gothic novels, one of which, CASTLE MIRAGE, was recently reprinted in the U.K., in Leicester, by a company called Ulverscroft or F.A. Thorpe. My late father, who wrote under the name Bill Brennan, was not as widely published, but did appear in the classic 1940s Street & Smith pulp, LOVE STORY magazine. I had a blueprint for making contacts in the magazine industry, and the process for submitting a professional looking manuscript through them. I was born August 11, 1948, in St. Clair County, in Port Huron, Michigan. In addition to being authors, my late parents were both local school board officials; my dad, using his full name of William James Brennan, served on the St. Clair County Board of Education, and my late mother served as CEO of the Swamp School District, Kenockee Township School District No. 4…this, in the 50s and 60s. When I got in as a Warren comics scripter, I began with the standard E.C. comics motif, which the Warren magazines were intended to imitate, but I soon branched off into work that was more experimental.”
T Casey Brennan told everything that happened via a story called ”Conjurella”. I thought this memo by Brennan himself would make a perfect introduction:
Conjurella is true but I want people to think I’m lying.
Basically what happened is this: David Ferrie wanted children to experiment on; turn them into assassins, agents, and the like, same as what they were doing in Asia at the time. He said he didn’t want to pay them because “they’ll think they run it then”. He chose me and Linda (she was firing from another window in the Texas Book Depository Building). Linda’s step-father at that time was my uncle, the late John Goodrich, of Columbus, Ohio. Her mother was my Aunt Bonnie. They lived very poorly, and I remember that there was a lady who lived upstairs we called Mamaganda. As far as I know, Mamaganda was the first person murdered over David Ferrie’s plan to make Linda and me shoot John Kennedy.Another, amazingly, was George Lincoln Rockwell. Here’s why that happened: to explain this thing that they were doing, whatever it was, with laboratories, and rows and rows of children in front of computers with needles sticking in them, they said they were planning a SECRET INVASION OF CUBA. Now, THAT is what Lee thought was happening, and, whatever else you may have heard about him, that is what he was damned well for: invading Cuba. (The stuff they were doing with kids bothered him, however, and THAT was what he told Tippit before his death.) rightist like George Lincoln Rockwell and Major General Edwin Walker were supposed to have some kind of role drumming up support for Beachhead Cuba, among the people who David Ferrie was fooling. Walker wouldn’t help at all, so David Ferrie ordered Lee to shoot AT him (and missed) to scare him. Rockwell must have done something or other because later, when he went to see the Nation of Islam, he told Malcolm X that I had shot John Kennedy, and even called me by name. Coloring it to fit his own philosophy, he (Rockwell) told Malcolm that “Jew doctors” were creating a plague to kill all the blacks, and had already started infecting babies with it. The “Jew doctor” was Dr. J.H. Earnshaw (a Dutchman) and company; to Rockwell, damned near everybody in the world was a Jew. Anyway, Malcolm X thought it was just a screwball Nazi theory, but THAT’s what got Rockwell killed.
Now. If you want to hear the whole story through the man himself well you most definitely can. The story is utterly interesting and it’s along detailed accounts of TCB’s life as one of David Ferrie’s mice. Just click on the link:
Prior to JFK’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Brennan said he would go with his father who would get hypnosis from a Dr. Earnshaw. While they were there, the doctor would drug them with or without their consent, he said.
“I was a docile kid,” Brennan said. “I did what they told me to do.”
Brennan claims that Dr. Earnshaw and David Ferrie, who some conspiracy theorists believe was involved in the JFK assassination, came at him with a needle and injected something into his neck. He was then stuffed in a crate and flown to Dallas. Brennan said he woke up in a storage room. A hood was put over his head and he was forced to fire a shot at the president who was driving by on the street below. Brennan said he didn’t know if the shot connected, but he thinks it ricocheted off the pavement and hit a pedestrian. He was then pushed out-of-the-way and Ferrie continued to shoot. Brennan said they left the storage room and ran into Lee Harvey Oswald on the second floor, pushing a broom. Brennan was 15 years old at the time of the assassination, he said.
Brennan’s name is mentioned in the book Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi, which he carries around with him on he streets of Ann Arbor. Brennan said he would take a polygraph test and testify about his experience, but no one seems to care.
Father, son tortured, robbed
From the Times Herald, 12/4/75
By John F. Brown
An Avoca man and his son, who were beaten and robbed of more that $1,400 then bound and
gagged and set on fire, were left to die in a flame-filled bathroom of their old farmhouse about
William J. Brennan, 72, of 4238 Bricker Road, and his son, Terrance Casey Brennan, 27,
bound together with a pair of police handcuffs, electrical cord and tape, managed to free
themselves to telephone a Michigan Bell operator for help.
Sheriff Norman D. Meharg said Brennan and his son were admitted to Yale Hospital for
treatment of second- and third-degree burns of their hands and arms and head and facial injuries.
Young Brennan had been stabbed in the head several times by his attackers.
Both men were reported in fair condition today at the hospital.
Meharg said there have been no arrests made and so far there are no suspects. He has assigned
Detectives Robert V. Quain and Donald E. Tuthill to the case.
Meharg said the torture bandit were both white, armed with hand guns and had dark ski masks
over their faces when they forced their way into the Brennan home about 9 p.m.
"One of the thieves knocked on the door and when Mr. Brennan answered he told Brennan he
had ran out of gasoline, then pulled the ski hat over his face, pointed a gun at Brennan and
pushed his way into the house," Meharg said.
"The Bandits used a pair of handcuffs to lock the men together. They set paper on fire and held it
under the hands of the two men. Their hands were baked," Meharg said.
Deputy Sheriffs James VanConant and Orrin Burgett arrived at the scene less than six minutes
after the operator called the Sheriff's Department.
"You could smell burning flesh when you entered the house," VanConant said.
Brennan and his son told the officers their attackers pushed them into the bathroom of the
six-room farmhouse after they had taken the money.
They said sheets and bedding were put around them on the floor and the men poured them on the
floor and the men poured some type of flammable liquid over them.
One of the men tossed a lighted match into the sheets, closed the bathroom door and ran from the
Brennan said he and his son managed to get the rope and cord off their feet and stamped out the
fire with their feet and hands, which were free of the handcuffs. They forced open the door and
stumbled to the telephone.
"My dad thought it was a joke at first. He even tried to brush the gun aside from the man at the
door, but I told him not to," Casey said.
Every room in the house, except the kitchen, was ransacked as the robbers searched the house
Neighbors of the Brennan's heard nothing, deputies said.
However, VanConant and Burgett said there were footsteps leading from the Brennan home
through freshly fallen snow for about a block to an area where a car had been parked.
The Brennan's were described by their neighbors as quiet people who "bothered no one."
Neighbors said the Brennans had few visitors
Brennan's wife, Mrs. Alice Brennan, was killed in a car accident two years ago in Ohio.