WELCOME TO V. VALE’s RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #88, December 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR, V. VALE
2. Watch our Counter Culture Hour NEW TIME 6 PM Pacific Time, Saturday December 12, 2009 also simulcast ON LINE EVERYWHERE
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS – RE/Search in Los Angeles Dec 4th! plus more
4. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing – J.G. Ballard Memorial in London
5. Stephane von Stephane column
6. Recommended Links – send some!
8. Readers’ request for mementos to commemorate the late Eva Pierrakos
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR, V. VALE: In the midst of preparing to give a presentation on William S. Burroughs TOMORROW NIGHT (Friday Dec. 4 at Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd, Venice CA, 7:30pm), I received an email having to do with photographs of William and guns (tangentially). Now, I am quite sure I am the FIRST to “out” Burroughs by printing photos of him with then-state-of-the-art civilian firearms which were procured from otherwise left-leaning Bay Area artists — why “Leftists” are so afraid of firearms has always seemed slightly daft. You can bet that Rightwingers (don’t these Left/Right terms now seem faintly quaint and pathetic?) are proud to proclaim that “I’ll give up my gun when they pry my cold, cold fingers off it.” Now there used to be a saying, “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal” which begs being updated, 21st-century style, to: “God (just noticed, “God” is one letter away from being “Gold”) made woman and man (yes, and LBGT et als) but Samuel Colt made them equal.” And it still seems strange how the most extreme violence in movies is okay, but put in the littlest bit of love or sex and — boom, you get an “R” rating.
Why do we still value William Burroughs (and his younger British “literary soul brother” J.G. Ballard) after their bodies have left the planet? There are many, many reasons having to do with valuing “truth” and “honesty” and hating authoritarianism and hypocrisy. Hating bullies and racial/sexual bigots. Loving justice, social justice, and learning for its own sake. Loving poetry, which someone said “must be made by all.” Loving creativity, UNCENSO-RED, and valuing Dreams, Surrealism-in-Life, Chance, Luck, the Unconscious or Subconscious, and Originality. Recognizing that one can tap the potential for a trance state breakthrough which always existed in our backbrain. Recognizing that our greatest creativity sometimes happens when we are just “channeling” and being intuitive — not exercising rigid, logical, methodological processes.
There is an intimate connection between Burroughs’ writing and his speech — both he and J.G. Ballard had an inimitable verbal style — and both could talk as well as they could write. Someone said that Ballard had (to paraphrase) an amazing, astounding simile- and metaphor-generating machine in his brain that worked continually and seemingly effortlessly. Someone else said that “All reading is a preparation for writing.” But how many of us can express ourselves uninhibitedly in our own unique vocabulary and style? The most amazing “style” would be if every sentence we said could be recognized as ours — just as almost every sentence J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs wrote can be recognized as “Ballardian” or “Burroughsian.” Well, let us all strive toward that!
Mainly, the complete works of Burroughs and Ballard — (fiction, poetry, short stories, interviews, articles, radio interviews, et al) need to be studied for their overarching critique of what Burroughs called The Control Process — that which controls us even unbeknownst to ourselves. Just WHY do we want a certain article of clothing or iPhone or car or piece of furniture or vacation destination? Often, we do not know why. Just guessing that many people go throughout their entire lives not knowing WHY they like what they think they like, not knowing WHY they made a certain choice, not knowing WHY they’re content with extinguishing the curiosity(ies) they were born with. Many are content with watching OTHER PEOPLE LIVE — in movies, on television, et al — and rarely questioning why THEY aren’t on a quest, whatever the goal. Yes, what happened to the notion of an entire generation being SEEKERS, as in the now-maligned Sixties? The Sixties wasn’t just about drugs; it was also about investigating the “Wisdom of the East” — Zen, the I Ching, the Tarot, the writings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Crowley and numerous lesser-knowns who went to Tibet and the Amazon and other “exotic” locales in search of revelation, transcendence, and greater knowledge as to the mystery of existence, of all life on earth (and the universe, for that matter).
But we are truly in the age of De-Evolution, and we can only hope that a few — just a few — SEEKERS still exist who are not easily satisfied, and who are relentless in their quest for rare truths, insights and Surrealist marvels. Diligence, perseverance, and taking pains are necessary to lead a life where freedom and consciousness are the highest goals. Skeptical empiricism, teamed with an outlook informed by Surrealism and Situationism, can function to harness the infinite depths of the Imagination we are all born with, to create a future beyond the tawdry limitations “framed” by the capitalist Control Process. And Seekers could do well to absorb themselves in the complete works of Burroughs and Ballard, whose Black Humor visions and writings seem to be more extreme and deadly-truthful than the output of 99% of most living so-called “writers” on this planet. A real writer tries to tell the truth, the whole truth, all the truth. How many writers do that today? Not many. And, it is not enough just to produce “shock” — there has to be a larger overriding moral and ethical vision somehow embodying universal social justice. We are looking for writers who will write a different, “better” future…
Ingmar Bergman once said, “To shoot a film is to organize an entire universe.” Well, that’s what Burroughs and Ballard both did — they not only organized but created (through writing) new universes — with just a pen and paper. It’s the imagination which creates The Future, and our world needs all the imaginativeness we can muster, to survive what may well be very perilous times just around the corner… — V. Vale
2. Counter Culture Hour – NEW TIME – NOW ON AT 6:00 PM PACIFIC TIME
More from Hector Penalosa — and another ZEROS show!
The Counter Culture Hour is also ON-LINE as well as on cable access San Francisco Channel 29 — 6:00pm Pacific Time, Sat December 12, 2009 ALSO on-line (simulcast) – at this link:
USA west coast: 6:00 PM Saturday, December 12th
USA east coast: 9:00 PM Saturday, December 12th
London: 2:00 AM Sunday, December 13th
Tokyo: 10:00 AM Sunday, December 13th
You get the picture…
Would you like to have a Counter Culture Hour showing in your town? Please write and ask us how you can do this.
Hector Penalosa, was a founding member of the ZEROS (70s Punk band featured in our SEARCH & DESTROY magazine). Sometimes called the Mexican Ramones, they have a beat you can dance to – great songs. Hector talks about making art and more.
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
() RE/SEARCH’s founder V. VALE WILL BE IN LOS ANGELES TOMORROW, FRIDAY, DEC 4, 7:30pm – come visit and talk with us! BEYOND BAROQUE, 681 VENICE BLVD, VENICE CA (LOS ANGELES). This event is part of the 50th ANNIVERSARY OF NAKED LUNCH CELEBRATION at Beyond Baroque, hosted by Richard Modiano. Topic: The Influence and Impact of WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS, with V. VALE, a film by MARC OLMSTED, trailers, and Q&A with Vale, Olmsted, and FRED DEWEY. V. VALE of Re/Search has interviewed Burroughs on and off over a period of more than 20 years. Poet and filmmaker MARC OLMSTED will be present for the screening of his rarely seen short film “Burroughs on Bowery.” The evening will conclude with a Q&A session with Vale, Olmsted, and writer and BB Director FRED DEWEY. Last-minute Special Added Attraction! – GERALD V. CASALE, a founding theoretician of DEVO, will tell about his encounters with William S. Burroughs, and answer questions live! (DEVO has just finished a continental USA tour, and have new vinyl LP re-releases, etc, available! New DEVO LP of all-new material is forthcoming, soon…)
() SAT Dec 5 – 12 noon until?
Marathon reading of WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS’ NAKED LUNCH
Scheduled readers and slots for those who show up. Hosted by RICHARD MODIANO.
() FRI-SAT Dec 4-5: Curious Exhibits: A series of moving vignettes. Including: “Kodori (little bird)” with original music by Peter Whitehead. Created specifically for dancer Cari Bellinghausen. Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa Street at Florida, 8pm
Tickets: call 415-713-0148 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/86879
() FREE, SATURDAY, Dec 5, Post Brothers Present: EXERCISES IN SEEING, a one night only exhibition held entirely in the dark
Free and open to the public. Queen’s Nails Projects, 3191 Mission St, San Francisco, California.
() SUNDAY, DEC 6, Get cheap, remade, or totally free clothing today at two events. First, there’s Indie Mart Vintage Party, with 12 vendors selling rebuilt vintage items (clothing, accessories) at 1453 Valencia Street. Then, there’s a co-ed clothing swap in the Dogpatch area, where you can bring clean & unwanted clothing to swap for other peoples’ threads (there’s also a craft sale & local artists selling handmade goods). Cowley Studios, 2325 3rd street (at 20th), Studio 224.
() FREE, DEC 8, Radar Reading hosted by Michelle Tea, featuring Zoey Kroll, Eric Drooker, Daphnie Gottlieb, Kat Marie Yoas. San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch – Latino/Hispanic Room, 100 Larkin St. (at Grove).
() FREE (but RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org). FRIDAY, DEC 11, 7:30 pm, SF Mime Troupe 50th Anniversary Performance. “Tonight see a special performance of the classic theater piece, “Ghosts.” Revived for this evening only, “Ghosts,” is a satire created for the opening of the Moscone Center featuring the original cast. Enjoy live music, cocktails and more.” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street.
() THUR, DEC 10, Thursday Night Soul Party with The Hi-Nobles, Barbary Coasters, The Mindless Things at Annie’s Social Club. Support Annie’s Social Club while you can — it closes its doors by 2010 and we’ll miss it.
() FREE. SUNDAY, DEC 13, 1-4 PM. Does the Secret Mind Whisper? – A Celebration of Bob Kaufman. “For the second year in a row Justin Desmangles hosts a celebration of the life, mission and legacy of poet Bob Kaufman (1928-1986), whose spirit and poetry continue to breathe life into San Francisco’s and the global poetry scene. Gone, but not forgotten, Bob Kaufman is not only a leading figure in the literary and cultural revolution known today as the Beat Generation, he is also a pioneering poet of the Black Conciousness Movement, and one of the most celebrated African-American poets of his generation throughout the French speaking world.” Main Lubrary, Koren Auditorium (Lower Level),
() FREE, SUNDAY, DEC 13, 7:00 P.M. – Ed Hardy at Beat Museum, book signing. The book, “Beyond Skin,” a beautiful 240 page book of tattoo designs, will be signed. As the Beat Museum wrote us,”It turns out Ed Hardy, a protege of Sailor Jerry Collins, is a huge Beat fan! In fact he told me how he first read “Howl” and “On The Road” and “Bomb” back in the fifties when he was like 14 years old.” Beat Museum, Broadway/Romolo alley, San Francisco (just east of Columbus).
() SATURDAY, DEC 19, 2 pm. The Compots Cup 2009. “Join the best fighting robots in the country doing what they do best – thrashing, crashing, smashing and obliterating each other inside our specially built bulletproof robot arena. Yeah, this is what they used to have on TV, but it’s way better live – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the NOISE. Mm, noise.” http://combots.net/
() WEEKENDS at the HYPNODROME, SAN FRANCISCO: “AND by popular demand: Pearls Over Shanghai with original Cockettes members will continue through New Year’s Day 2010 – Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a must-see, a piece of San Francisco history brought into the present in lurid color. Great music written and performed by Richard “Scrumbly” Koldewyn. http://thrillpeddlers.com/
4. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent
() J.G. BALLARD’s last book, MIRACLES OF LIFE. We re-read it to prepare for attending the private J.G. BALLARD MEMORIAL Nov 15, 2009 at the top of the Tate Modern. See Rick McGrath’s website to find photos, texts, etc.
Find MIRACLES OF LIFE and other J.G. Ballard books at your local bookstore – (over 20 novels from 1961-2008, many short stories, interviews, critical writing) ask your favorite bookstore to order! Look for them used! (Also on Rick McGrath’s site: a detailed and illustrated Ballard bibliography http://www.ballardian.com/jg-ballard-bibliography)
5. Stephane von Stephane
Book: AMERICAN ON PURPOSE, ‘the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot’ by Craig Ferguson (about Craig Ferguson) An egotistical bast@rd if there ever was one, he’d say. Also frequently refers to himself as a douche-bag with a creepy laugh. I love this guy! I really only know him from his talk show, The Late Late Show, on CBS following David Letterman.
But it seems many people know him from his role on the Drew Carrey Show as Drew’s pissy English boss. He is actually very Scottish and hilarious. Recently he’s become a U.S. citizen and he does think America is the best country in the world. Part of that comes from his parents, and everyone else from that generation loving the G.I.s in WWII. He has the opinion that if one works hard one can live the dream in the U.S.A. Also, he says for the Scottish Work = Love. He admits that he now realizes a little bit of luck helps too. I would say it’s all about who you know and being in the right place at the right time, which could fall into the category of luck I guess. As we all know, ‘luck favors the prepared’. Though he was seemingly too drunk most of the time to be truly prepared for much of anything but a sloppy one-night stand. He does have a natural charm and charisma, which often trump preparedness.
Anyway, I think the reason I love him so much is that he is the first person on the network t.v. machine who represents m-m-m-my generation. Actually, he’s younger than me but he left high school early, left home and went to live in Glasgow to be in a punk band. This was when Glasgow was a happenin’ spot, with the Hellfire Club raging, and there was a real punk scene there. And drug scene, like there was in all punk scenes the world over. Naturally he gets heavily into drugs, but mostly drinking, gets married, moves to N.Y. for a while in the early 80’s, gets into acting, gets divorced, moves to London, falls in love, nearly stops drinking, but then keeps drinking, nearly commits suicide, goes into rehab, goes to Hollywood,
writes scripts, acts in sitcoms, gets married again, directs and stars in a film he writes, has a kid, gets divorced again, falls in love again, gets married again and now is the hottest man on late night t.v.
That’s the short version. In his autobiography he goes into detail of course and in a witty, touching and compelling way reveals himself, reviles himself and re-invents himself. Sounds to me very much like an American of my generation. He has an obvious disdain for show business, though he clearly loves the sound of his own voice and admittedly loves the money. His monologue is loosely based on a few topical talking points, but he lets his wacked-out mind go to places only a former stoner can come up with and just riffs about whatever, yet it all ties together. That’s his brilliance.
I recommend staying up late, late some time and catching his show. When he had ‘The Damned’ on his show he looked so damned happy. One of the first punk singles he bought was ‘New Rose’ by The Damned (me too!) And when the Sex Pistols were on the show he was totally jazzed, even though they looked and sounded a bit worse for the wear-and-tear. When he does interviews with actors/actresses he tries to engage them in actual conversations, rather than stick to the script about whatever new film they are there to plug. Some of them can do this, others are noticeably perturbed. But at least he’s doing it HIS WAY!
I have always relished life’s ironic twists, and managed to find the humor in my own ironic twisted circumstances and Ferguson’s book is filled with his own. My favorite is when he’s in a posh hotel in London having flown in on the Concorde for the premiere of his film and glances out the window at a train station below where he see a photo booth which he had once spent a drunken night sleeping in as he had no place else to go. I love that kind of thing. So, I recommend this book. Craig is on the cover (egotistical bast-rd) wearing a leather jacket and boots with a red, white and blue kilt. Classic. Very punk rock. Very m-m-m-my generation!~Stephane Von Stephane
6. RECOMMENDED LINKS (send some!)
() this might be the best web site i’ve seen in awhile -KM
7. QUOTES –
() “If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will.” -unknown
8. Project by Eddie Ritter and Andrew Ness to commemorate the late Eva Pierrakos. They write:
We are collecting mementoes of the life of Eva Pierrakos, including her photographic work, graphic work, videos, writing and correspondence as well as corresponding work in which Eva served as the subject and use of which is not restricted by intellectual property rights considerations. Please contact Eddie Ritter at email@example.com or Andrew Ness at Andrew.Oliver.Ness@gmail.com should you wish to submit materials for compilation into a memorial presentation album, for discussion of format of submission.
DECEMBER 2009 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & other contributors. Newsletter and website powered by http://www.laughingsquid.com.
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