|eNewsletter #13, January 2001|
WELCOME TO RE/SEARCH eNEWSLETTER #13! HERE’S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO…
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|HAPPY NEW YEAR!January 2001 is ALREADY HERE! A number of people I know seem to think this year will be better than 2000– all I can say is, I certainly hope so! As dot-coms die and TMT (technology, media, telecommunications) stocks fall off cliffs, Nasdaq has lost over $3.3 trillion dollars. Local writer Rebecca Solnit’s new muckraking book, Hollow City, tells us what we already knew in our hearts, but in much deeper, bleaker, substantiated detail. Every day, seven people (at the least!) get evicted in San Francisco. Obviously, artists have to band together and BUY HOUSING and/or move to the burbs, the boonies or some other town. This is the first time in history that artists have been forced to this level of “fiscal accountability” and it’s anathema for the future of all but the safest gallery, patron-supported “art.” As artists become businessheads, marketing whizzes and amateur realtors, will their art suffer?
Douglas Rushkoff had this to say about the coming year:
AGAIN, THE RETURN OF THE CLASSIC NIGHTCLUBBIN’ VIDEOS: New York, Punk and New Wave 1975-1980. 8PM Friday nights Jan 12 and 19, and Saturday Jan 20 at Yerba Buena Center, tickets (415)978-2787 or see www.yerbabuenaarts.org. We’ve heard from filmmakers Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong that they will be there in person. This time around, hopefully those who weren’t able to get in will succeed. Still, with only about 96 seats, it’s best to reserve tickets in advance.
JAN 19 at Great American Music Hall, S.F., 8 PM: avantgardistes I Am Spoonbender play a rare concert with new member Chad Amory replacing Brian Jackson. I AM SPOONBENDER will also do a special DJ set on an earlier date: JAN. 7th @ BOTTOM OF THE HILL, S.F. Go to www.iamspoonbender.com and click on “news” for complete information on this filmic band’s tour schedule, releases, et al.
A protest against the inauguration of George W. Bush is on Saturday, January 20, at 12 noon in front of City Hall.
OUR KIND OF FILMS: Support Local Filmmaking and see Live Nude Girls UNITE!, the funny, “sexy” documentary about strippers unionizing. Red Vic Movie House, 1727 Haight St/Cole, S.F., January 18th, 19th and 20th. www.livenudegirlsunite.com. A film by Julia Query and Vicky Funari.
Coming in February; plan ahead: Pantheacon (pagan weekend gathering) and APE are on the same weekend. Pantheacon is February 16-19 at the Cathedral Hill Hotel and the Alternate Press Expo is Feb. 17 and 18 in Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason. RE/Search will be sharing a table with Charles Gatewood; come and chat with us!
A NEW GALLERY IN THE MISSION, WITH A MISSION
This from John Sulak: “Pond,” a new Mission gallery opened up on New Year’s Eve at 214 Valencia Street. Its mission is to be “A space for art, ideas and activism.” The opening show featured photography by Jennifer Fiore and Permi Gill, sculpture by Terry Mason and video by Salman Li– cool. The best part of the gallery, for me at least, was the fanzine library in back, with a large selection of zines, mini-comics and comfortable chairs to sit in while you’re reading them, which many people did on opening night. I would encourage all zine publishers to send copies of their zines to Pond so that future visitors to the gallery can check them out. The hard-working “Head Honchos” at Pond are Marisa Jahn and Steve Shada, but they’re looking for community participation in upcoming shows, workshops and planned quarterly publication. They want to offer a place where people can “exhibit their work and develop and execute ideas in a non-competitive atmosphere,” and they expect to receive IRS non-profit status in mid-February. With the state of the arts in San Francisco being as crazy as it is right now, it’s encouraging to see that there are people here who are still willing to start a project like this. Pond/ 214 Valencia/ SF, CA 94103 / (415)437-9151/ Wed-Sun 1-7pm. www.mucketymuck.org / email:firstname.lastname@example.org
We received a range of “interesting” feedback last month– it appears people are actually reading this newsletter. I apologize herewith for my dot-com slams involving unnamed interns or employees. Also– from Al Hoff, a generously framed yet trenchant critique of the George W. Bush paragraph, under the subject of “Barking up the Wrong Bush:”
“The Bush who got mixed up in the S&L crisis was NEIL Bush, not George. Neil was (possibly still is) in Colorado. He kept a low profile during this campaign. He was NOT convicted of a felon or anything– he slid away on some bail-out, like most of those S&L guys. Very few were held accountable in any manner. Hence, if he was not convicted, he was also NOT pardoned by Ronald Reagan.”
Since Al was the ONLY person to write in a “GW” corrective, does this mean that everybody else just went along with the regrettable misinformation– which, by the way, was gleaned from another Internet source. Well, nobody claimed that The Net = Truth. We promise to try harder in the future.
Other feedback: an anonymous “punk” gentleman took exception to my rant on Amazon, accusing me of being anti-“technology-based commercialism”– his term, not mine. My reply: AMAZON.COM– not all bad. We continue to be sold by them because we’re not completely crazy; if you’re not listed on Amazon, you just don’t exist these days. Amazon is driving R.R. Bowker (Books-in-Print publisher) out of business– bookstores just turn to Amazon when they want to look up a book’s availability. At least Amazon doesn’t return books (a MAJOR PLUS) like Borders/Barnes & Noble (which Biafra renamed “Buns & Nubiles”). For the record, I resent Amazon’s business terms: 55% discount (meaning, we get paid $4.50 for a $10 retail book) and we pay freight– all this on orders as low as 3 copies (and a heavy RE/Search book can cost $1.50 per copy freight). Before Amazon, such wholesale terms were unprecedented– you’d have to order 500 copies to get a discount like this. To their credit, Amazon has REAL people working for them who seem to care and take a personal interest in setting things “right.” But their wide-spectrum 10-40% discount policy has definitely helped squeeze an already tenuous “independent publishing” scene … thanks to Amazon and the Chains (who pioneered the loss-leading discount trend), independent bookstores and publishers continue to disappear everywhere, with Aaben Books being the latest San Francisco casualty. Aaben had great taste in books, too– their window was always full of items I personally found interesting.
While I’m at it, you are reminded to patronize KAYO BOOKS, 814 Post Street / Leavenworth, San Francisco, CA 94109, (415) 749-0554, Wed.-Sun 11-6, www.kayobooks.com. Kayo Books is a labor of love operation, specializing in noir and the “dark side” of our cultural history. Within its portals, amazing serendipitous discoveries await the most curiosity-challenged reader. They and Fields (metaphysical bookstore) are two independent stores in that I could easily spend $200 within five minutes. Fields is at 1419 Polk Street in San Francisco (415)673-2027, open Tue-Sat 11-6. They are working on a website.
For people in small towns, books via the Internet is a dream come true. For people near independent and used bookstores, please patronize them or they will disappear. The salubrious effects of browsing in a used bookstore simply cannot be equaled by Internet browsing, especially if you’re in a store as good as Columbus Books in S.F. which doesn’t filter out “declasse” and “lowbrow” material like, say, Green Apple or Black Oak Books would. I’m talking about books like Headcrusher by Bruno Rossi, The Specialist series by John Cutter (pseudonym of John Shirley), or of the fare of lesser-known, out-of-print “black experience” writers from Holloway House. And, I particularly like the messy, timeworn, dingy atmosphere of old used bookstores…against the Starbucking and Disneylandification of all public space.
Candi Strecker, featured in our Zines! Vol. Two, was one of many who wrote that they’d like to see more book and magazine article recommendations. So here are a few:
The new EROTICA magazine from S.F.’s Thrasher Publications, featuring an article written by Sharon Leong on Asian art collector John Wickett. The Autobiography of John Cale (done with Victor Bockris). Again, Naomi Klein’s NO LOGO is required reading, along with a host of other books on how advertising works, such as David Ogilvy’s Confessions and Kalle Lasn’s Culture Jam. I solicit from you more information on how to implement a NO LOGO MOVEMENT here in the USA. And for masochistic moments I suggest reading anything by Haruki Murakami. (FYI– the first chapter of NO LOGO is available free on the Internet.)
Meri Brin sent in the debut issue of ONE magazine, produced by ex-Wired intelligentsia and featuring David Pescovitz’s article on “Body Tech” exploring the future of wearable computing. ONE is the Left Coast answer– hipper/leaner/deeper– to Wallpaper which has become so ad-bloated as to be almost indecipherable. I’m not exactly a “chi-chi designer-everything” fan, but it’s true that if you have some design sense, with very little money you can miraculously transform where you live. Think paint, lighting, and garage sale “scores.” Better yet, think Surrealist. Why aren’t there more Surrealist interiors in this city?
From New York, Chris Trela (featured in Pranks!) recommends the recent Nest for its numerous photos of John Waters’ house. Chris also loves the recent big book of vintage erotic photographs published by Taschen. And he forwarded “art new york 100,” a very New York-centric “Top 100 Books” listing– email us if you need the exact URL. His other plugs: the premiere issue of INSIDE magazine; the complete Bunuel retrospective in NYC, including his rare war film efforts — why doesn’t Berkeley’s PFA get it soon?; The Utopia exhibit at the NY Public Library. Have you noticed how “utopia” seems to have been replaced by “dystopia” these days?
From Paris, Gentry Lane writes: “The most fabulous counter-culture related reading of late has been from the 1700s. I just finished Daniel Defoe’s Journal of Life in the Year of the Plague which is just genius. And now I’m reading Moll Flanders. The Journal is intriguing because lately I’ve been finding myself interested in how people cope in the face of hopeless catastrophe. It’s sick, but there are a lot of parallels between the Black Death and reactions during this dot-com bust. And Moll Flanders has this great recurring theme about how ‘beauty, wit and comportment are only of use to whores, and that men really only desire a wife with a financial legacy. The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Billy Childish, U.K., recommends: Robert Walser’s Institute Benjamento; the (out-of-print) Munch and Photography; and Stephen Mitchell’s Tao Te Ching.
From Kal Spelletich of the Seemen (S.F. machine performance group): the biography of Duchamp by Calvin Tomkins: “This is the first time I’d ever read details about Duchamp’s personal life– like, he was heavily into sex. He purposely kept his overhead really low, so he could preserve his freedom to do only what HE wanted to do. He always had a great sense of humor, to the very end.”
QUILLS celebrating the Marquis de Sade features some of the wittiest dialogue to appear in a major film release– the lines come so fast and sharp, it’s easy to miss the double-entendres. Making the divine Marquis palatable to the overwashed masses seems a formidable task indeed, yet apparently Philip Kaufman’s film has had a measure of commercial success. It’s a bit like watching a play (reminiscent of Marat-Sade).
CROUCHING TIGER– Jen tried to see it twice and both times the theater was SOLD OUT, so be forewarned– We wanted to see Bjork in DANCER IN THE DARK– really like the DOGMA 95 innovators– but now have to wait for the video– too bad, as films are ALWAYS much better on the big silver screen.
KABL RADIO ALERT
Will the Thrill and Monica the Tiki Goddess forwarded us the following: “The classic KABL format– swing, standards, classics– IS BACK! We’re talking Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Frank, Dino, Sammy, Louis and Keely- the whole gang is BACK! The creepy 70s and 80s sappy crap that invaded our favorite radio station suddenly last summer is GONESVILLE! TUNE IN TO 960AM KABL RIGHT NOW AND SPREAD THE WORD! We don’t want to lose them again!” In a car, KABL provides a soothing antidote to S.F.’s cut-throat traffic.
A REQUEST FOR HELP
Please email us (sign your name, please, or at least a respectable pseudonym) with premier book-film-culture recommendations, news and other information you’d like to share with the RE/Search readership. We’ll do our best to pass it along. Coming soon– fun, relevant, eye-opening, truly satisfying website URLs which which have been excavated, stumbled across, or passed on.