WELCOME TO V. VALE’s [Abbreviated] RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #78, December 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR
2. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent..
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
4. Stephane von Stephane- on the latest James Bond movie.
5. Recommended Links
7. Feedback from Readers
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR.
Your editor has been “hit” by a 3-week cold, so this newsletter will be succinct.
2. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent
() We at RE/SEARCH are grateful for the publicity / interview / article in the below recent print publications:
() SFBAY GUARDIAN “Lifetime Achievement Award” given to V. Vale in November. Interview/article by KIMBERLY CHUN. http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=7452&catid=85
() ANP Quarterly: Large photo spread/interview with V. Vale by AARON ROSE. http://www.rvcaanpq.com/?p=495
() BIG TAKEOVER Magazine: Part 2 of interview with V. Vale by JACK RABID. http://www.bigtakeover.com/issue
() Sausalito photographer Christopher Felver not only gave us a Timothy Leary photo for the cover of our new book, LEARY ON DRUGS, but also gave us a signed hardback of his 9×12″ Last Gasp-published monograph titled BEAT. We didn’t know that he has made documentary films on CECIL TAYLOR (one of our favorite jazz pianists, a kind of Surrealist, up there with Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Tadd Dameron), JOHN CAGE (met him once at La Mamelle), and LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI. Opening the book, you first see a marked-up facsimile of a letter from JACK KEROUAC — fascinating for all the “edits” hand-scrawled all over the page(s). Didn’t know that Kerouac signed his letters “JEAN-LOUIS” — well, that’s how this particular letter ends. Next is a hand-written facsimile page from the Pentel pen of LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI: “The Beats dropped into the still pond of mid-1950s poetry, and sent shock-waves in all directions, engulfing other poets and artists on the same wave-length all over the country and, eventually, all over the world. Today, the “Beat message” is still spreading its Word of dissident non-violent crazy wisdom and beatittude, in a world that needs it more than ever.” LeRoi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) describes Chris Felver as “a dangerous photographer … a skilled photo-terrorist…His mission is to register the inner sanctum of the clandestine, the rarely-visited domiciles of the sensationally glimpsed…we want to understand ourselves or other selves and looking at them helps us do that.” Order BEAT from lastgasp.com
() Hypnodrome/Thrill Peddlers is offering a “Shakespeare: Mad Love” course for 9-15year-olds beginning Sat Jan 10,2009, 1030am-330pm – every Sat for 6 weeks. Call 415-377-4202 or go to thrillpeddlers.com for more info. Hypnodrome had a great holiday BBQ Sun Dec 14, where Jello Biafra and Anne-Marie Anderson reminded me it was THEY who turned us on to the Hypnodrome, by putting us on the guest list when Biafra played a prison warden in a play way back in Fall 2007.
() SRL 30th ANNIVERSARY PARTY Fri Dec 12, 2008 b/w Mark Pauline 55th Birthday Party (well, Mark’s b’day is12/14/08). We gave Mark a copy of J.G. Ballard’s novel KINGDOM COME (available from abebooks.com) for his birthday.The big surprise of the evening was seeing TODD BLAIR walk up the stairs (no cane, no wheelchair) with companion ALEX. What a shock. He talked with and greeted virtually everybody present. KAREN MARCELO had talked with Todd earlier, and she brought Zante Indian pizza which he had requested — addictingly delicious. IAN projected dazzingly beautiful high-def footage from the SRL show in San Jose. Apparently most of the move from the San Bruno St HQs to the new shop in Petaluma has been accomplished. Too many people to talk to, including Eddie Codel (back from Arse Electronika in Vienna), Chuck Sperry and Ron Donovan from Firehouse posters, and David Pescovitz of boing-boing. It was raining and the Killers were playing across the street at the Warfield. A small barrel of TCHO dark chocolate provided by Amy Critchett fueled the evening’s conversations, along with Chai tea service provided by Kimric Smythe. An all-too-rare SRL party…
() from KAREN MARCELO RE SRL 30th: “excellent reunion! good to see everyone! here are some images from that night http://srl.org/shows/events/srl30mp55/ – also check the todd blog, there are new pix of todd from the party and from todd & alex! stay tuned for alex’s new blog post too and on the blog there’s some updated admin info on contact/support info: http://toddblair.wordpress.com/how-to-help/ – happy birthday mark! happy 30th SRL! -karen”
() JOHN LAW new book of “BRIDGE STORIES” published by Julia Solis’s (both featured in our PRANKS 2 book) press: http://www.furnacepress.com/publications/spacebetw.htm
() KEN HOLLINGS new book “WELCOME TO MARS” (“Fantasies of Science in the American Century 1947-1959”): http://www.strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/shop_WTM.html
3. OTHER FORTHCOMING EVENTS:
() SAT DEC 20, 7-10PM, “N-UDE AID, the GIGANTIC EROTIC ART MAKING AND GIVE AWAY EVENT is this Saturday, at the glamourous SOMARTS Gallery, 934 Brannan/9th St. 30 artists make erotic art inspired by 30 n-ude and fe-tish clad models of all kinds. You get a ticket at the door to exchange for a piece of art you can watch being made (you can perhaps even commission something from your favorite artist there) and then take it home with you. http://www.nudeaid.org All for a great cause; benefiting the fabulous Center for Sex and Culture,” from Carol Queen and Robert.
() Watch for “What Would Jesus Buy” on your local cable station. This hilarious anti-consumer feature film is from Reverend Bill & The Church of Stop Shopping. Rev. Billy says — “The Christmas Revolution is coming to cable! Families all over the world have watched WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY? on DVD and discovered how they can BUY LESS and GIVE MORE this Christmas, now you can also see it on over 100 “On-Demand” cable providers including: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, RCN, Insight, Mediacom, and Bresnan!
“Curl up by the fire and watch WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY?, the holiday classic in our times of financial Shopocalypse!”
4. Stephane von Stephane on the latest James Bond movie [warning: spoilers].
The New Bond: Change we can believe in.
In the two Daniel Craig Bond films ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’, a different style of Bond is born. Daniel Craig is a great new-millennium Bond.
This is a younger, tougher Bond at the beginning of his career as an secret agent. In this sequential duo of films he completes his 2 kills to get his double O license, goes rogue and blows up an embassy, is forced to get a tracking implant, falls in love, suspects his lover betrays him, finds that instead she has perhaps given her own life for his, with broken heart begins a mission of revenge against those responsible for her death, stops financiers of international terrorism and anti-environmentalism, kills out of blind rage, not duty, has his double O license revoked and ultimately decides against killing the object of his vengeance. The action takes place on many continents as per usual, and all the while he mans every known vehicle imaginable, motorcycle, car, bus, boat and airplane. Maybe in the next one he’ll hi-jack a train.
The screenwriters for ‘Royale’ and ‘Solace’ Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis were also the writers of the last two Pierce Brosnan films, which I remember thinking were cool because there were women on motorcycles and women kicking some a-ss. It seems that the general direction of those films was moving out of the original, more typical sexist Bond shenanigans and into a more realistic dynamic where the sexes are somewhat equal, or at least women are not solely objectified as in the earlier films, particularly the Roger Moore 70’s series.
The old standard love-’em-and-leave-’em, there’s always time to stop and screw a Honey Ryder, no matter what’s happening is gone, thankfully. In fact in ‘Royale’, Bond actually falls in love. She is a treasury agent, in charge of his finances while he’s gambling at a casino to try to win against an evil financier who owes a huge debt to some terrorists. As their cover they are a couple, and they size each other up immediately, hazarding guesses about one another’s backgrounds, neither one actually admitting anything, the metaphoric ‘bluff’ and ‘tell’ in a card game is played out between them. They initially p-iss each other off, but that thin line between love and hate gives over to the love side as they are thrust into intense life and death situations together. His martini is spiked with poison during the high stakes card game and he stumbles out to the car where there is naturally a defibrillator (okay, much of the typical completely improbable Bond stuff is still there!) He starts to flat-line and she arrives just in time to save his life. I imagine that if he hadn’t already fallen for her by then, when he comes to and sees her hovering over him; that probably clinches it. He is so into her that he wants to quit the secret service and travel the world with her. And that is their plan. But of course it can’t last (her name is Vesper after all, what does one expect?) She dashes off to the bank to get money for the trip and while she is gone his boss ‘M’ (the fabulous Judi Dench) calls and wonders why his winnings from the card game haven’t been transferred to the appropriate account. They find that someone who has the password is in Venice transferring the money to a different account. Could it be that Vesper is betraying him? It could be. She knows the password. He locates her walking off with a suitcase and follows her to a meeting with shady bad guys in an ancient building by the canals.
This is yet another wholly improbable scene where an the entire building by the canal in Venice crumbles and is immersed in water, crowds of people watch as this happens, boats are floating by, yet no one is around when he has dragged her from underwater to the vestiges of the rooftop to give her CPR. Even though he thinks she has betrayed him, he tries to save her from drowning. She locks herself into a wrought iron elevator cage as the building submerges. It’s as though she wants to die. Meantime, the suitcase of money has been skirted away by a baddie. ‘M’ offers the suggestion that Vesper must have made a deal with these baddies to save Bond’s life in exchange for the money, thus her timely arrival at the car/defibrillator scene just in time to save him. Knowing he would check her phone after her death, Vesper had sent him a message with the name and number of a Mr. White, the baddie, whom he tracks down at the very end of the film, shoots in the leg, tosses into the boot of the car and is on his way to bring in for questioning when the next film picks up with the car chase. The shady terrorist group is still after the suitcase of money.
And so ‘Quantum of Solace’ starts with the car chase and quickly gets into the interrogation of Mr. White in another ancient Italian building whist outside, a medieval style horse race is going on. Festivities abound outside as torture ensues inside. Later in the film there is a lovely juxtaposition of an ultra modernized Puccini opera in Vienna with stylized violence on stage and Bond committing real violence outside. This scene has the members of the terror organization finding earbud/receivers in their Swag bags before the opera starts, and conducting a ‘meeting’ that way in plain public view. Bond has found one of the Swag earbud/receivers and listens to the proceedings, commenting to the group that they should find a better place to meet. He then photographs them with his cell phone as they get up to flee the scene! The Opera set features a prominent giant eyeball, a comment on surveillance society?
The main baddie in ‘Quantum’ is Mr. Greene of Green Planet, posing as an environmentalist, but he is actually just the opposite. I won’t give away the details, as there is a bit of an unexpected twist. He’s organizing a coup in Bolivia so that a certain general can stay in power in exchange for a large piece of desert land. Mr. Greene’s girlfriend is only with him in order to get to that general because he had killed her family when she was little, raping her mother and sister beforehand to punish her father who was in charge of the junta. She’s out for vengeance, just as Bond is, and they meet as he kills and then poses as someone she assumes is on her side but whom Greene had hired to kill her. (Confusing enough yet?) Bond and she form a unit based on the fact that they are both tortured and damaged, broken to the extent that nothing matters but avenging the deaths of their loved-ones. In any prior Bond film they would have been bonking each other regardless of where their hearts were, but not this film. It is refreshing and modern that way.
This Bond is too tormented and heartbroken to be typical. He is on a mission, and doesn’t care whom he torches to get his revenge, prompting ‘M’ to ask him to please try to refrain from killing every lead in the case before they have a chance to interogate them. He’s sleep deprived and disheveled and though ‘M’ tells him in a motherly way that he looks awful, angst becomes him. He looks gorgeous, and is dressed impecibley in every scene, whether bloodied from a fight or in a tux stolen from the wardrobe department at that opera in Vienna. He looks like he’s right out of ‘La Dolce Vita’, especially when he’s zipping about on a co-opted motor scooter in tight white jeans and a black polo shirt. I highly approve of the new Bond.
He does sleep with one young cutie-pie British agent, Strawberry Fields. She’s been sent to bring him back to the home office once it has been deemed he is out of control, killing unnecessarily, and even accidently killing one of his own. He needs her on his side, so he charms her into bed. This is the only time in the film that the typical Bond theme music is heard. I missed not hearing the theme music throughout, but did not miss the typical Bond behavior.
Also atypical; the usual ‘bullet-hole’ pre-credit opening shot is at the end in ‘Quantum’. The opening credits in both films are beautifully trippy to the point of near psychedelia. The ‘Quantum’ theme by Jack White and Alicia Keyes is stellar.
Other notable cool stuff: ‘Royale’ has a scene in an exhibit hall where there is an ‘art’ installation of skeletons with their organs attached and exposed, sitting at tables playing cards. Is it part of “‘The Human Body’, the universe within”, the actual exhibit, or is it a facsimile? I can’t tell.
In ‘Royale’ near the beginning, there is a scene featuring Sebastien Foucan, the co-founder of Par Cour, which is a ‘free running’ activity started in the streets of France and has become a trend. It is simply running through the streets as fast as possible, jumping over and under and bouncing off of all obstacles, climbing walls, jumping from rooftop to rooftop to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible…just for fun. The philosophical point being to live as if one were in a constant state of emergency. Bond pretty much always is, so it is fitting. ‘Quantum’ also has this style of ‘free running’ in a chase scene near the beginning of the film on adobe tile roofs in Italy. The screenwriters had seen a documentary called ‘Jump London’ about this and decided to include it in the films.
And finally; Bond does not use the line “Bond, James Bond”, nor does he order a martini “Shaken, not stirred”. In fact when asked at one point if he prefers shaken or stirred he says; “Do I look like I give a damn?”. Also, there is a scene where someone asks him what he is drinking and he says; “I dunno, what am I drinking?”, the bartender lists the ingredients to the perfect martini in a way that deconstructs the entire Bond martini mythos. The New Bond— change we can believe in! ~ Stephane von Stephane
5. RECOMMENDED LINKS – thanks to our friends Phil G, Ferrara, James McN-, Derek B. & Others who send us links.
() http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10120215-76.html – “One bad electrical connection caused $21 million of damage. Still, this is a relatively benign failure scenario, compared to the ‘Lawnmower from Hell’ scenario that could simultaneously rip open the entire 26km beam line once there’s two full energy beams in storage orbits. At full energy, each proton beam will have the kinetic energy of an aircraft carrier at 15 knots. Greg L
() From Phil G: “r.mutt lives” – http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/15/the-world-of-art-museum-toilets-revealed
() From Graham Rae: “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hzQsvxtLTM&feature=related
() ANPQuarterly Vol 2 / No 2 – Brendan Fowler catches up on 30+ years of Mark Flood, while Aaron Rose gets as much V. Vale. Naomi Harris shows us a lot of America and the swingers she met in the process… http://www.rvcaanpq.com/?p=495
() www.iketaylor.com – Ike Taylor, photographer, visited us and not only bought several copies of ME AND BIG JOE by Michael Bloomfield (probably our favorite guitarist, R.I.P.) with Scott Summerville, but then returned and gave us some of the favorite music we’ve never heard (until now). THANKS, IKE!
() “Friendship takes you out of the spectacle.” – Guy de Bord
() “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope.” – Albert Einstein
() “If we spoke different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.” – Wittgenstein
() “He who goes unarmed in pardise had better be sure he knows where he is.” – James Thurber
() “Your argument is sound … nothing BUT sound!” – Ben Franklin
() Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.” – Sir Arthur Eddington
() “The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer; he sells the consumer to the product.” – William S. Burroughs
() “Technology enables us to control everything except technology.” – M. Bagdon
() “The brain is a caegory buster.” – Elizabeth Phelps
() “Life cycle: birth / school / work / death.”
() “You can’t fix ‘stupid’…”
() “Everyone has their reasons…”
() “Memory recall is contextual and bound up with emotions — thus, it is imperfect and fallible, as is the scientific understanding of how it all works.” (from MYTH OF ALZHEIMERS book)
() “It is better to know nothing than to know what ain’t so.” — Josh Billings, American humorist, 1818-85
7. FEEDBACK FROM READERS:
() from MAKO SANO: “new book: Paul Bowles on Music Includes the last interview with Paul Bowles” – try abebooks.com
() “[After reading the V. Vale interview, part 2, in the latest BIG TAKEOVER Magazine] – “Wonderful! Thanks again. I feel as though my learning process has been shut down for quite some time, and after reading your interview I am excited to be opening it back up. Thanks again, Fran C.”
() From Charles Oliphant: “The Worst Ten Songs I’ve Ever Heard are:
1) Come On Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners)
2) The Night Chicago Died (Paper Lace)
3) La Vida Loca (Ricky Martin)
4) The Night That The Lights Went Out In Georgia (Vicki Lawrence)
5) Dream On (Aerosmith) the ending squeals of that song are unforgiveable!
6) Undercover Angel (Alan O’Day) I actually heard that on the radio the other day. AAAAaaaaaarrrrghh!!!!
7) I am Woman (Helen Reddy)
8) Fernando’s Hideaway (By anyone)
9) All I Wanna Do Is Be With You (Hootie & The Blowfish)
10) Patience (Guns & Roses)
() From Kenny Goldsmith, founder of one of our favorite websites, ubu.com :
“Why does everything ‘edgy’ have to be ugly? It doesn’t help ANYTHING to have edgy content be ugly. And YOU (RE/Search) figured this out before anyone else did. I was really inspired by your work, starting in the early ’80s, when I did my WFMU radio show. Your design looked beautiful, elegant — you put risky material in a beautiful context. [On ubu.com] we emulated so much of what you did, striving to have as much open, uncluttered, unadvertised space as possible. Minimalism!” — from a phone conversation 8/5/08.
DEC 2008 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & contributors. Newsletter and website powered by http://www.laughingsquid.com.
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