WELCOME TO V. VALE's RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #50, July 2006. HERE'S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO... ALL READERS ARE INVITED TO SEND CONTRIBUTIONS AND FEEDBACK!
1. Sat, July 8, 2006, 6:30pm Cable Channel 29 San Francisco. CounterCulture Hour featuring the RE/Search celebration of PUNK '77 at Beyond Baroque. Featured are Jerry Casale of DEVO and Graeme Revell of SPK (this show is "rad"), hosted by V. Vale
2. COMING IN AUGUST: () Aug 11, full-fledged SRL Show in San Jose! ... () Tue Aug 29, 2006, 8pm: RE/Search presents the first ever JEAN JACQUES PERREY concert in America (in person, direct from France), at Recombinant Media Labs, S.F. () GERMS U.S. tour now!
3. An Appreciation of Ozric Tentacles (neo-psychedelic band) by Stephane von Stephane, ex-Search & Destroy staffer
4. What We've Attended: Thomas Koner at RLM, Ministry/Revolting Cocks at the Fillmore, Barbary Coasters at the Pacifica Sea Bowl
5. What We've Been Listening To, Reading, etc... N.B. Jihad Jerry's "Mine Is Not a Holy War," a new classic 12-song album scheduled for Sept 12 release date (it's from DEVO founder Jerry Casale)
7. Recommended Links
8. J.G. BALLARD "NEWS": Review of J.G. Ballard Conversations from The Wire, etc.
First, the commercial: Punk '77 is here (200 punk photos; new long interview with photographer James Stark); order from http://www.researchpubs.com. A reminder: we still have the **AUTOGRAPHED** J.G. Ballard Quotes book! (only 250 made). Order from http://www.researchpubs.com We highly recommend our J.G. Ballard Conversations - interviews by Mark Pauline, Graeme Revell, et al. RE/Search's rare autographed books include J.G. Ballard's Atrocity Exhibition, Daniel P. Mannix's Freaks and Memoirs of a Sword Swallower. You can still get the original Search & Destroy #1-11 tabloids (11x17", complete sets) only $60, archived since 1977!
1. Sat, July 8, 2006, 6:30pm Cable Channel 29, San Francisco only. CounterCulture Hour featuring the RE/Search celebration of PUNK '77 at Beyond Baroque. Featured are Jerry Casale of DEVO and Graeme Revell of SPK (warning: this show gets "political" and is quite spirited throughout), hosted by V. Vale. Anybody angry with the state of the U.S. and the world now will find truly soul-satisfying "content" in this program, and indeed, inspiration. It's well worth seeing, in our opinion! [Note: Counterculture Hour airs 2nd Saturday of each month at 6:30pm; set your DVD recorders / VCR's!.]
2. Coming IN AUGUST:
() Fri, Aug 11, 2006, 10pm, SRL (SURVIVAL RESEARCH LABORATORIES) presents its first full-bore, no-holds-barred, give 'em all you've got, Bay Area performance in over ten years! SRL shows are rare, and cannot be truly experienced by seeing a film or video... you need to see, hear, smell and feel the cataclysmic spectacle in person - "virtual" doesn't cut it. Tickets are on sale now, and it is highly recommended you purchase them in advance.
If you live in other areas, reserve your airplane tickets now! Who knows how long it will be before you have another opportunity to experience SRL? And since this is near the group's "home base," it will be a "fuller" presentation than you could see in, say, Tokyo or Barcelona, where everything to put on a show has to fit inside an ocean freight container...
To buy advance tickets, SEE BELOW. In our next newsletter, we hope to print directions to the show. If **YOU** live in San Jose and can provide housing and/or food preparation or Production Assistance (car required) help, please email us at RE/Search (info@researchpubs or call 415-362-1465) - it's an amazing amount of work to stage this show, and work begins on-site starting August 5, 2006. At least 30 people will need to be fed (no small task) and not all can sleep on the site. Please ONLY CALL if you are willing to work hard, not just "hang out"...
() "Here's the url for the Web-site where you can buy SRL tickets: http://www.artsopolis.com/zeroone/02.htm
This is the the webpage for the show: http://srl.org/shows/sanjose/
I'll be updating it constantly with pre-show/show/post show info. I don't know the exact address so no maps but I'm sure that can be figured out by clicking on one of those links and using Google maps or the equivalent alternatives for directions" - karen marcelo
() SRL had a July 4 crew party at the shop, and here are a few URLs showing photos, etc:
() Jake Eddie Pauline (almost 2 years old) getting his first lesson in SRL machine operation! He was totally controlling the inchworm hugger! http://youtube.com/watch?v=gBwUm3tktXI
() The v1: http://youtube.com/watch?v=f59s0x0UmQw()
() Scott Beale's got some neat pix up too: http://flickr.com/photos/laughingsquid/sets/72157594187804789/
() Violet Blue says: three videos I shot yesterday are now here on my video blog:
and more pics from my friend qDot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80226255@N00/sets/72157594187879787/
() from jake appelbaum: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ioerror/sets/72157594189230846/
() Tue Aug 29, 2006, 8pm: RE/Search presents the first ever JEAN JACQUES PERREY concert in America (in person, direct from France), at Recombinant Media Labs, S.F. Hardcore Jean Jacques Perrey fans are urged to fly in for this ultra-rare concert by the 75-year-old musique concrete genius, who has been absent from the stage for over three decades (contact us and we will reserve you tickets). He will be accompanied by Cool & Strange Music publisher Dana Countryman, and their new album, The Happy ElectroPop Music Machine, will be available for autographing at the show. If you don't know who Perrey is, we urge you to Google Jean Jacques Perrey and have your musical horizons considerably broadened. As interviewed in our Incredibly Strange Music Vol One book, Perrey proved it's possible to infuse music with humor, the Dada spirit, and long-lasting beauty, too. Call or email us for more information! Our August 2006 newsletter will have more detailed information.
Now, please note that Jean Jacques Perrey will also play Aug 31 at the Knitting Factory, Los Angeles. The following websites may be useful: <http://www.danacountryman.com/concert/concert2.html>http://www.danacountryman.com/concert/concert2.html
() A brief note: the "GERMS" (Pat Smear, Lorna Doom, Don Bolles) have reunited and are touring the U.S.A. now in July 2006 (minus Darby Crash, of course). Go to www.germsreturn.com for a concert schedule, etc.
3. An Appreciation of Ozric Tentacles (neo-psychedelic band) by Stephane von Stephane, ex-Search & Destroy staffer.
Why go see Ozric Tentacles?
"What's an Ozric Tentacle?" you may be asking. Good question, 'cuz they are hard to define, but mostly they are an amorphous conglomeration of musicians with the one constant being Ed Wynne. Ozric Tentacles started as a jammin' stoney touring outdoor festival band in the U.K. around 1985 and have been constantly changing band members and constantly touring ever since. With every new line-up and each new release the O.T.'s change a bit, but maintain the intriguing, luscious, complex and amazing sounds.
From reading the message boards it seems that a lot of hard-core long-time followers think that the O.T.s are not as good anymore. I think these people just simply resist change. No band who has been around for 20 years sounds the same. Not many have gotten consistently 'better'. Maybe U-2. But realistically, Ozric Tentacles have 'maintained'. I think that that is the best one can hope for with longevity, is to maintain. Hell, if it gets you CLOSE to the original buzz that's good enough! Nothing is truly NEW.
I arrived in Ozric-land by way of one of their off-shoot bands, Eat Static. (A more Techno- oriented sound.) I was in London the year after the 'Rave Summer of Love'- 1988, when the blossoming Rave Scene went almost mainstream. Techno music was everywhere, and I kind of got to liking it. I was there for several months in late '89, and the ghost of the summer of love had not yet been given up, but the authorities were trying their best to exorcise it.
I went 'round asking 'cool'-looking people what was happening and heard some great stories, including one from a cute boy at the back of a long line outside a shop. "Did tickets go on sale for David Bowie or something?" I asked. "Oh no, the new shoe colors are on the shelves today!" These particular suede booties that were all the rage had just come out in pastel colors! Perhaps only in London would kids queue up for pastel colored suede booties. He may have been a slave to fashion, but the cute boy had a good story about literally, an 'underground' rave, in a cave.
Seems that at midnight in the disco Heaven, a smallish door would open to Hell, the after-hours club, then people would pile out into the street and board a Magical Mystery Tour Bus on a journey to a rave in an undisclosed location. This one ended in a hidden WW II bunker in a cave somewhere. Totally cool! But like all unsanctioned fun, this type of thing had to be stopped. And always WILL have to be stopped apparently. [Reminds me of an old Avengers song, "We Are The One": "We are the leaders of tomorrow, we are the ones who have the fun..." etc. I liked that so much I made a button that said, HAVE THE FUN! Penelope thought I was silly to isolate just that. It didn't seem silly to me then and it seems even less silly to me today.]
So, why go see Ozric Tentacles? In the spirit of unsanctioned fun, to honor the days of raves in undisclosed locations, and to hear a band who has managed to MAINTAIN through it all and still play awesome music that gets you pretty damn close to the original buzz! They play Sat. July 15 at the Fillmore in S.F. (doors open at 8) O.T.'s at 9. GO have the fun! - Stephane von Stephane
4. What We've Attended: Thomas Koner at RML, Ministry/Revolting Cocks at the Fillmore, Barbary Coasters at the Pacifica Sea Bowl
() THOMAS KONER at Recombinant Media Labs (RML), S.F. Recombinant Media Labs (RML) is a project spearheaded by Naut Humon (of Rhythm and Noise) and some very competent associates, and one of the latest San Francisco Cultural Treasures. On a last-minute notice we attended a "film?" performance there by German-born Thomas Koner (now living in Belgrade) and we have this to say:
There's a theory that sometimes artists are shamans and prophets who even inadvertently may bring a kind of "medicine" to a sick society, besides occasionally predicting "the future." So what happens when humans live in a fast-paced, stressful, high-rent, information-overloaded society where the average New Yorker sees over 10,000 corporate messages a day? Amnesia, that's what. Also: Inability to analyze (analysis-paralysis?). Apathy, is another. Escapism, yet another. Confusion and loss of any core values? Si. What's needed? Perhaps a genuine foundation from which to exercise that all-too-rare function of the human brain: the ability to discriminate... between what is most amazing and rewarding and creativity-enhancing, and what is trivial, distracting, time-wasting and uselessly-puzzling or "mysterious." (There is a lot of totally useless and inconsequential "mystery" thrown at us by the corporate media environment we now inhabit, against our will and best interests. We did not vote to have all those billboards and corporate signs assaulting our senses...who says they're "legal"?)
We've said before that one must be very careful WHO one associates with. We say: Only associate with those rare people who encourage and aid you to be more creative and imaginative, and who (in a mutual-aid way) help you get projects done. Finished. Who bring you illumination and more inspiration ... who don't distract you from getting real work done... who don't bring you that which fritters away your time...
RML has a "video room" about 20 x 40 feet with video screens on all four walls, and a total of 10 video projectors. For this event, the audience sits or lies on the floor or leans against the four walls. A full-dimensional, omni-source sound system literally vibrates the floor you're sitting on, and for us earplugs were a necessity.
We weren't exactly sure what Thomas Koner was doing, so what follows is our subjective impressions. He seemed to be producing a very loud soundtrack "live" - by tweaking a laptop - based upon found sounds considerably slowed down. Imagine if you could record the sound of the blood coursing through your veins and arteries, occasionally accelerated by adrenalin, and amplify that 10,000 times... He may have been attempting to produce a sound that somehow is more "subjective" ...
Koner's soundtracks reminded us of several J.G. Ballard short stories. Here's a quote from J.G. Ballard Quotes: "Amplified 100,000 times, animal cell division sounds like a lot of girders and steel sheets being ripped apart--how did you put it?--a car smash in slow motion. On the other hand, plant cell division is an electronic poem, all soft chords and bubbling tones. Now there you have a perfect illustration of how microsonics can reveal the distinction between the animal and plant kingdoms." ["Track 12," 1967]
Or consider this quote: "Ultrasonic music, employing a vastly greater range of octaves, chords and chromatic scales than are audible by the human ear, provided a direct neural link between the sound stream and the auditory lobes, generating an apparently sourceless sensation of harmony, rhythm, cadence and melody uncontaminated by the noise and vibration of audible music." ["The Sound-Sweep," 1960]
Is Ballard ahead of his time, or what?
Koner's video aka film program for the evening consisted of three parts. For the first two parts, apparently he placed a video camera on a tripod and took various "stills" at different times. Very slowly, a still would morph into another one, and another one. Sometimes the camera hadn't moved, and other times a new location would slowly fade into view, overlapping the previous image.
Part One was filmed in Greenland, and we watched the snow change, modulated by a road here and there, or trees, or water ... Part Two was filmed in Finland, and we saw a high-rise apartment? building to the left, a mall to the right, at various times of day and night. Color neon signs here and there would emerge from the black-and-white urban-scape. No humans were moving.
Part Three was a black-and-white video shot from the very front of a certain elevated train which Koner said takes 13 minutes to complete a full cycle. We passed numerous high-rises, rail stations, and notably there were no people (that we spotted, at least) anywhere. It was a bit shocking when we learned this was filmed in downtown Detroit - that must be a weird Ballardian city-scape, filled with abandoned high-rises, apparently. No people, as though a neutron bomb had been detonated there.
The net effect of this "film" experience was: whether we wanted this to happen or not, these three visual experiences had seemingly been permanently burned into our memory banks. No more amnesia, no information overload. Finally, we could REMEMBER something almost perfectly ... even weeks later. Very few contemporary artists have made that kind of impact on our cerebral cortices. We felt like we had "lived" there... wherever "there" was...
We were reminded of filmic experiments dating from the Sixties when the French filmmaker Alain Resnais filmed Last Year at Marienbad, Michelangelo Antonioni made Red Desert and L'Avventura, and American experimental filmmakers (Robert Nelson, Michael Snow, Michael Rudnick, etc) played with slowing down and contracting time... Is this a valid category of "film history": films which slow down time?
Maybe performances like Thomas Koner's might constitute a kind of "therapy" for the cultural plague of our time, christened by the noxious neologism "A.D.D." - attention deficit disorder. No wonder nobody reads books, because everyone now seems addicted to jump-cut, quick-edited, short fragmented visual electronic media, or loud iPods ... It's a bit "funny" that in the futuristic sci-fi film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), the creepily hive-brained, robotic aliens were called "pod people." Is that prophetic, or what? Now, all those iPod wearers everywhere can be christened "pod people"... (and most of 'em probably have never heard of the film.)
We asked Thomas Koner to describe himself and he immediately said he was a "media artist." Now that's a way to open up your options as a creative person! It turned out that next month he will be a guest at a New Zealand Film Festival where, presumably, he will be "framed" as a "filmmaker." Obviously, he can also be "framed" as an "installation artist" or "visual performance artist" or "sound artist" or ... the list goes on and on. And why not?
Last night we had a long phone conversation with Naut Humon, one of the most interesting humans on the planet, and one of the few to have (for decades) quite rigorously pursued the Grail quest of experiencing the most avant-garde music being made anywhere (and by the way, he has also made his own manifold contributions to this "cause" as musician, composer, producer, curator, et al). We were discussing questions like "Where is the REAL 'Alternative'? Why is there so much Apathy now? Why is there no DISTINCTIVE 'New Thing'? Where are the next 'subversives'?--because only out of them will emerge a new sound or picture or ... Why does [almost] everybody seem to be mainly only into MONEY?"
In Naut's opinion, the last innovative "music movement" (at least in the pop culture context) was "DRUM-AND-BASS" aka JUNGLE, whose signature is humanly-impossible-to-perform-live drum beats and rhythms. Yes, with the aid of computers, you can hear a 360-beat-a-minute snare drum playing the foundational rhythm tracks. Other "innovative" trends? Plunderphonics, which we'd discussed in our Incredibly Strange Music books back in the early nineties.
Then there are Mash-ups, which combine any kind of music with any kind of music--put a guitar solo from a Blondie song into the middle of a Cars song. We agreed that it's truly very difficult to write a catchy pop song with "integrity" - i.e., whose lyrics aren't "too" embarrassing... We agreed that we've always liked a lot of pop music, especially girl pop music, like Julee Cruise's recordings or the Caravelles from 1966 ... We loved the amazing lip-synch performance of "Lucky Star" in David Lynch's sunlit-noir masterpiece, Mulholland Drive...
Naut told me that for the first time in history, a recording reached Number One in England which was downloadable only -- "Crazy" by DangerMouse, who did the infamous "Gray" recording which sampled the Beatles' White album, along with tracks from Jay-Z. (After "Crazy" became a hit, THEN and only then were CDs and vinyl released. Furthermore, within a couple weeks, there were more than twelve "instant covers" and remixes of this song available on the Internet, some by musicians such as U.K.'s the Kooks and pop star Nelly Furtado.
In general, "pop" (i.e., not classical or ethnic) music has become more divided up; the subdivisions now go on for days. And the "Generation Gap" isn't as extreme; it's "kinder and gentler" now! Also, there's the rise of the hybrid anything: hippie-punks, Techno-Hippie-Punks, Ethnic-Heavy-Metalers (like Egyptian or Middle-Eastern Heavy Metal, for example), Ragga (sic; Reggae speeded up), etc.
I learned that nowadays, 80-95% of music is still purchased at brick-and-mortar outlets--i.e., Virgin & Tower record stores, Costco, Starbucks, Borders, wherever. And, most people who actually BUY music aren't INTO music! They're not the aficionados, the connoisseurs. No, they buy music because their friends buy it, or their friends will think they're "cool" if they have it, or so they can party to it and have sing-a-longs at parties, or so they can give a "cool" gift to someone they want to impress.
And, there isn't a single person on the planet who knows ALL the music that's being made now. No one knows it all. Information Overload has come true. Most people know about a relatively tiny "niche" and that's it. A lot of "older" folk pretty much only listen to the music they liked when they were going to high school! (But I can remember once wanting to know about the ENTIRETY of all culture and history.)
Not discussed were the millions who now only download their music, and have 10,000 tracks on their iPods or laptops, plus movies and TV shows and videogames and documentaries and cartoons... Still, libraries have always made music, movies, and books available for free. Radio and TV have always been recordable, if you had the recording equipment. And the Grateful Dead have always encouraged their fans to make their own home recordings and trade them. So what's the problem? People will always want to own real "things" like recordings with beautiful packaging, or books you can hold in one hand in a bathtub, as opposed to a downloaded book printed out on 8-1/2"x11" bond paper and paper-punched into a heavy 3-ring binder...
() MINISTRY and REVOLTING COCKS at the FILLMORE. Earplugs are totally essential! At this volume, music becomes physical--you can actually feel the bass pummeling your torso and the high frequencies piercing your brain on their way to the Milky Way. We loved the anti-Bush, extremely "political" film collage projected behind Ministry, their animal-skeleton mike stands, the bullhorn used by Al Jourgensen, the inexplicably amusing guest artists, the dozen or so dazzling girls who invaded the stage, the vocalist who donned a giant pen-is costume ... the list could go on. We also loved Revolting Cocks' amazing drummer, who continually twirled his drum sticks and never missed a beat, and their statuesque blonde female bass player. And we were delighted to meet Luc Van Acker (Google him), an innovative musician and producer and all-around wild man also on the tour, as well as the genius comedic Joshua Bradford (www.simpleshelter.com) who could improve any room he inhabited. It truly is a pity that we could scarcely understand ONE WORD... we're certain we would have greatly enjoyed the reportedly acerbic lyrics, filled with black humor and a critique of everything wrong with the world... Jello Biafra was scheduled to perform with Ministry, but there was insufficient rehearsal time, so folks lucky enough to be in Chicago and other locations will get to see him share the stage with Al...
When the Ministry / Revolting Cocks tour comes to a town, they offer the vision of people who definitely look far too "extreme" to ever be hired for your normal "day job." For example, one of the Ministry guitarists had dread-like hair well below his waist. As such, they are an encouragement to not only look wild, think wild, but LIVE wild and "freer." At the same time, their show is so complex and multi-media and orchestrated (in a "good" way) that some kind of core of iron, some rigorous inner discipline, is obviously necessary to keep a 60-city-in-60-days tour on schedule, with each show consistently white-hot. We believe this must at least in part be attributed to Al Jourgensen's wife/manager Angie, who behind the scenes probably is playing a kind of chess with real life challenges in every town. So we highly recommend supporting this very provocative, independent, contra-the-status-quo tour. BTW, Al Jourgensen will be in our next book, PRANKS 2...
() Last Sunday afternoon we saw the Barbary Coasters at a FREE vintage-car-and-rock'n-roll show at Pacifica's Sea Bowl [parking lot], one of the only bowling alleys within driving distance. Disclosure: Guitarist/singer Johnny Bartlett was interviewed in Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. One (pink cover) for his encyclopedic knowledge of obscure garage, surf, and other musics. It had been a long time since I heard the song "Lies" (originally by the Knickerbockers, circa 1965) and it is still totally relevant--i.e., a classic! In fact, every song the band played seemed to be a classic; all the instruments and amps appeared "vintage," and the performances were as "perfect" as they could be, it seemed to us. Lead vocalist "Jessica" was totally captivating and perky; her husband Rick was an amazing guitar player, the drummer was minimalist and dead-on while flashing "winning" smiles, and we wish we could have heard the keyboardist more--when we could hear him, what he played seemed (there's that word again) "perfect."
It was also amazing to see so many impossibly-restored, absolutely beautifully-designed, colorful cars from the thirties to the present (the colors were different then, just like the colors in old Life magazines are different from contemporary magazines), a full spectrum of customized motorcycles, and even several vintage fat-tire bicycles, including one with a relatively-enormous rear wheel. There were a lot of ducktails, pompadours and girls looking straight out of the Fifties and Sixties, too. Needless to say, this was a genuine counterculture somehow beyond mere nostalgia, and all-in-all it was a great experience, almost slightly surreal, a true affirmation that SOME kind of cultural "rebellion" still exists on some kind of level, however "multi-theoretical." It's always great when a bunch of these people get together in one place--the energy is palpable, and best of all it was FREE! Afterwards, we went to Rockaway Beach while the two ten-year-olds in our custody played in the sand, lost in their ten-year-old world...
For those who care, the Barbary Coasters played the following songs: Haulin' Honda (instrumental); It Wonıt Last Too Long; Queen of the Beach; Little Flirt; Mowinı The Lawn; Honey For Sale; All Good Things...; Please Please Me (instrumental); Everybody Monkey; Run Run Run; Minor Chaos (Instrumental); Lies; I Fought The Law; Go Go Gorilla; Miserlou (instrumental).
BTW, Johnny says: "The Barbary Coasters are playing TONIGHT, Friday, July 7th at the Ivy Room (Albany, near the corner of San Pablo at Solano) with the Go, Going, Gone Girls and Awesome Color. If you haven't seen the G,G,G, Girls, you owe it to yourself to check out this show."
5. What We've Been Listening To, Reading, etc...
() Another plug for Jihad Jerry's "Mine Is Not a Holy War" - in our opinion, it's an instant classic. Note that this 12-track album (every song is memorable) has a Sept 12, 2006 release date! (from DEVO founder Jerry Casale and his "heavy" friends...) Google "Jihad Jerry" to discover a world of fun and un-pain.
The video for JIHAD JERRY'S "Army Girls" reveals new surprises on each subsequent viewing... (Army Girls download URL: http://media.revver.com/broadcast/18263/download ) We liked the whole album so much we took the trouble to transcribe all the lyrics. If this isn't a full-on recommendation... Furthermore, this is definitely in our Top 100 Records of All Time (including all the Classical, Jazz, Incredibly Strange, and Ethnic we've vetted). One person described it as a combination of "Iggy Pop-DEVO-the Yardbirds" for Right Now! Personally, we especially like the blues harmonica and the girl vocalists, not to mention the searing guitars, the propulsive drumming, the Hammond B-3 organ, the weird little DEVO-like touches you don't notice 'til the tenth listening. Plus, there is the satisfying power of the Fu-ck-PC, "lure of the forbidden" emanating from the lyrics. And the superbly logical, "perfect" arrangements, with pleasing musical "hooks" you can't extricate from your head...This whole album is an anthem for anyone who hates what George Bush, Inc. is doing to America and the world...
() Our friend Valerie gave us a gift of The Harder They Come soundtrack from that "classic" movie of ghetto life in Trenchtown, Jamaica. We were having trouble memorizing the bridge from "Many Rivers to Cross" by Jimmy Cliff (to play on the piano), and now we can just write down the notes and DO it...
() The FEEDERZ have a recent downloadable album, Taking The Night, available from www.feederz.com - please check it out! Frank Discussion, founder, will be interviewed for the next RE/Search book: PRANKS 2...
() Andre Breton is perhaps the overall premier philosopher of the 20th Century; his Surrealist Movement has produced more empowering, liberating ideas and amazing cultural output than... there is no competition! We've been re-reading What Is Surrealism?, a weighty tome (hard to find, like anything "good") and will just quote the below "gem":
"The repressive system monopolizes language, to return it to people only after it has been reduced to its utilitarian function or turned towards ends of mere distraction. Thus, people are deprived of the real power of their own thoughts; they are forced--and soon become resigned to it--to rely on 'cultural agents' who provide them with patterns of thinking which naturally conform to the good and efficient functioning of the system. In this way, people are made to turn away, with suspicion and contempt, from the INTERIOR DOMAIN most personal to them, in which their identity is anchored . . . With such a vacuous language, people cannot formulate the ardent images that make the satisfaction of their REAL desires absolutely imperative...
The role of Surrealism is to tear language away from the repressive system and to make it the instrument of desire. Thus, what is called Surrealist 'Art' has no other goal than to liberate words, or more generally the signs, from the codes of utility or entertainment, in order to restore them as bearers of revelation of subjective reality and of the essential inter-subjectivity of desire in the public mind." - Andre Breton, WHAT IS SURREALISM?, p. 74
() Artist Mari Naomi (Google her!) recently loaned us BANKSY: Wall and Piece [pun, get it?] and it is the "best" recently-published hardback book we have encountered by an author under forty. Or maybe he's under thirty, for all we know. It is pure inspiration-to-insurrection, pureed revolt, visual-and-verbal dynamite, concise and elegantly phrased anti-capitalist venom. There is a "purity" about this book that we find singular and singularly-amazing. Go to www.abebooks.com to find your copy!
Here are some quotations from BANKSY: Wall and Piece:
() "Graffiti is not the lowest form of art. Despite having to creep about at night and lie to your mum, it's actually the most honest art-form available. There is no elitism or hype; it exhibits on some of the best walls a town has to offer, and nobody is put off by the price of admission.
"A wall has always been the best place to publish your work.
"The people who run our cities don't understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit. But if you just value money, then your opinion is worthless.
"They say graffiti frightens people and is symbolic of the decline in society, but graffiti is only dangerous in the mind of three types of people: politicians, advertising executives and graffiti writers. The people who TRULY deface our neighborhoods are the companies that scrawl their giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface, but YOU'RE never allowed to answer back. Well, they started this fight and the wall is the weapon of choice to hit them back.
"Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better LOOKING place."
() "All artists are prepared to suffer for their work, but why are so few prepared to learn to draw?"
() "The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It's people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages... As a precaution to ever committing major acts of evil, it is our solemn duty never to do what we're told. This is the only way we can be sure."
() "Art is not like other culture because its success is not made by its audience. The public fill concert halls and cinemas every day; we read novels by the millions and buy records by the billions. We the people affect the making and the quality of most of our culture, but not our art.
"The Art we look at is made by only a select few. A small group create, promote, purchase, exhibit and decide the success of Art. Only a few hundred people in the world have any real say. When you go to an Art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires."
() BRANDALISM: People abuse you every day. They bu-tt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you're not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They're on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
"However, you are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with impunity.
"Screw that. Any advert in public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
"You owe the companies nothing. You especially don't owe them any courtesy. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission; don't even start asking for theirs."
() "We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime, we should all go shopping to console ourselves."
() "Crime against property is not real crime...People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access."
"Spray the paint sparingly onto the stencil from a distance of eight inches."
"[Dogmatic] knowledge is dead knowledge; and the worst bewilderment -- which is always only comparative -- is better than death." - Paul A. Bove, Intellectuals in Power
() "What is Power? Michel Foucault's definition seems a very simple one: power is a relation between forces... [power] essentially exists in relation with other forces... Power is not essentially repressive... We should not ask, "What is power and where does it come from?" but "How is it practiced?" - Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, p. 70
() "Is it not commonplace nowadays to say that the forces of man have already entered into a relation with the forces of information technology, and their third-generation machines which together create something other than man, indivisible 'man-machine' systems? Is this a union with silicon instead of carbon?" - Gilles Deleuze, Foucault, p. 89 [note: this was written in 1986!]
() "...life: the set of those functions which resist death." - Ibid., p. 93
() "What can I do? What do I know? What am I?" - op. cit., p. 115
() "Belief is the Enemy of Knowledge" ... "All Knowledge Is A Work-in-Progress"
() "In love, what is the greatest crime -- to be refused, or not have dared to ask?"
() "Men Don't Multi-Task."
() "The Media **IS** the Government now..."
() "Culture nowadays is created by appropriation and imitation..."
() "Weird ISN'T weird anymore." - Naut Humon
() "When you read [or for that matter, experience ANY media], the Spirit of Another enters your eyes..."
7. Recommended Links
() Ooh, have you seen this? What's your theory? (Look at those foreheads!) - sent by A.C. - thanks! http://swapatorium.blogspot.com/2006/06/faces.html
() freaks: http://www.thehumanmarvels.com/
() HIGH RISE: Hong Kong makes San Francisco look like the wide open spaces!
() Joyce Ballantyne, famous pinup artist, beloved by art-lovers the world over.
() our cultural heritage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSSBsoSTGdI
() drawbridge slowly sinking:
() disturb the comfortable:
() New Yorker:
() Ann Coulter and Rollins: <http://gorillamask.net/anncoulterhr.shtml>http://gorillamask.net/anncoulterhr.shtml
() Sinatra vs. Spector: a lovely tale of two "geniuses" who believed their own publicity.
from a site of "funny things for kids ... building future sadists 12 ways
() man sentenced for fa-rt harassment: two unlucky pranksters
() pranking the scamster: prankster convinces a Nigerian scammer to create some wood carvings for him
() the truth about the Velvet Underground: they were really studio musicians
() Ann Coulter: I never noticed this before (I try to avoid her), but she definitely has what Seinfeld calls "man hands": http://anncoultershands.com/
Truly one of the greatest animated cartoons of all time - very good points in the essay (especially the comparison to Ichabod Crane at the end). Offensive? Sure, but take a look at popular magazines of the day; it was a different time.
() retroevolution: Darwin had it backward
() Coyle and Sharpe: http://www.coyleandsharpe.com/
() Pranks: RoboDump: http://www.triggur.org/robodump/
() Oh, brother: http://www.bmezine.com/news/people/A10101/addsub/
() a gated community for one: <http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/>http://www.halliburtoncontracts.com/
nice prank site, leading to others
() early childhood trauma: (probably what drove him to write "fishheads, fishheads, lovely lovely fishheads")
Billy Mumy: 'Working on the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" shows was fine, with the exception of one person ... Alfred Hitchcock. He was cruel to me and I'll never forget one syllable of what he said to me while filming "Bang You're Dead," (which is quite a good show, and I'm glad I did it, and I'm proud to be a part of it). Anyway, as you know, I was in most of that episode, and you can only work a minor so many hours a day ... they were about to "lose" me for the day, and they wanted to get one more close-up shot before I went home. Well, I'd been working all day, and I was fidgeting around as they tried to light me. Hitchcock rises out of his chair and slowly lumbers towards me. He was sweating. In my memory, he was always sweating. Several chins waggling, he approaches me in his black suit and leans down to whisper into my ear so that no one else can hear him but me, and this is exactly what he said to me ... "If you don't stop moving about, I'm going to get a nail and nail your feet to your mark, and the blood will come pouring out like milk ... so stop moving!" Well, I was truly terrified. They got their close up, and I went home for the day, and as we were leaving I told my mom all about how he wanted to nail my feet to my mark, and she laughs and says, "Oh Honey, he's British. They have a different sense of humor." Well, all he ever had to do was tell me he was just kidding. That he wouldn't really have nailed my feet to my mark. But he didn't, and he didn't because he knew that he scared the sh-it out of me, and he loved knowing that. Let's not forget the fact that I was seven years old at the time.'
() fuggie: <http://gofugyourself.typepad.com/go_fug_yourself/2006/06/weve_written_be.html>http://gofugyourself.typepad.com/go_fug_yourself/2006/06/weve_written_be.html _be.html>http://gofugyourself.typepad.com/go_fug_yourself/2006/06/weve_written_be.html
() evil pranksters: vile pranksters
8. J.G. BALLARD "NEWS":
() Dear V. Vale: Thanks for your e-mail - and the book [RE/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard], which arrived this morning... You're right, I live very near to Ballard - and actually, I'm directing
a television documentary for transmission here in the UK to coincide with the publication of Kingdom Come in September... We'll be interviewing him in the next few weeks... Anyway, thanks very much for the book; it looks fascinating. Best wishes, Claire"
() NO-ONE DANCES IN BALLARD: An Interview with Mike Ryan
In 2005 V. Vale / RE/Search Publications launched the J.G. Ballard Conversations book with a party featuring 'Ballardian music' from DJ Mike Ryan. Mike (who's also the co-editor of RE/Search's J.G. Ballard Quotes volume) was channelling post punk and industrial music, dropping tunes by the likes of Brian Eno and David Byrne, Throbbing Gristle, Devo, Wire, Gang of Four and Cabaret Voltaire.
It was a timely selection... According to Simon Reynolds, Ballard fused "amoral and clinically described avant-po-rn with Marshall McLuhan-like insights into the mass media[probing] with forensic precision the grotesque (de)formations of desire stimulated by media overload and celebrity worship Tapping into this Ballardian visionCabaret Voltaire pioneered what would eventually become an industrial music hallmark, the use of vocal snippets stolen from movies and TV."
But what could we have expected if RE/Search had asked Ballard himself to DJ? JGB's Desert Island Disc selection for BBC Radio in 1992 provides some clues he lists 'The Teddy Bear's Picnic' as a fave rave, along with hit picks by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich. It's safe to say that the vibe would have been completely different if DJ Jim was behind the decks. So, how exactly did we arrive at Cabaret Voltaire from the Andrews Sisters?
Ballard may claim thereıs no music in his work, but there certainly is an attitude, a ... punk, posthuman, 'maverick' sensibility a cool, detached irony providing the backdrop for an ambiguous protagonist, a cipher who may or may not be seduced by the unleashing of technologyıs dark side.
Of course, technology the media landscape; the urban sprawl; the self-regulating, self-sufficient cityscape is the main character in much of Ballardıs work, so it's really not that hard to see the appeal of his world view to a bunch of callow non-musicians living in the shadow of the urban wasteland with just their synthesisers and reel-to-reel tape decks for company. I spoke to Mike Ryan about all this and more. -- Simon Sellars
The full interview is here:
() On J.G. BALLARD QUOTES book (by RE/Search) Assistant Editor Mike Ryan: "If anyone is still following the Ballardian music thread, you'll probably recall that I interviewed RE/Search's Mike Ryan about his DJ set at the RE/Search--JG Ballard launch party last year... Interview archived here: http://www.ballardian.com/ballardian-music-mike-ryan-interview
Now, on his always interesting blog, Premeditated, Mike has explained in further detail the thinking behind each selection. Mike's an insightful Ballard scholar and I agree 100% with him when he said that thinking through Ballardian connections in music serves as an excellent "entry point into thinking about Ballardıs writing." As Mike writes, "I wasnıt trying to create an ³atmosphere² but ³curating² music that I felt had a connection to Ballardıs themes."
I have excerpted the following comments from Mike's 'premeditated' post .... (read it all here:
http://www.premeditated.org/index.php/the-ballard-playlist) -- Simon Sellars
J.G. Ballard Quotes and J.G. Ballard Conversations (RE/Search's recent books) available from: http://www.researchpubs.com
() 2nd listing: Brand new J.G. Ballard interview in HARD Magazine, a beautiful new glossy-paged production from the U.K. Order from www.destroyhardmag.co, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or from Dan Mitchell 011-44-1-787-705-8989. Highly recommended as a "work of art" - this magazine.
() THE WIRE, June issue, printed a "review" of our J.G. Ballard Conversations book - Google "Wire Magazine" to order your copy, or go buy it at City Lights Bookstore. Chris Bohn wrote:
"Sex times Technology equals The Future," proposed J.G. Ballard in 1972. For those who can't wait: be forewarned: the future never comes. With its promise of arousal and endlessly deferred climax, the formula, as quoted in a fabulous if messily designed [?] new volume of interviews called JG Ballard Conversations (RE/Search Publications, $19.99)...
"A recurring theme, wistfully expressed, through these conversations spanning two decades with RE/Search publisher Vale, Survival Research Laboratories' Mark Pauline, SPK founder turned film composer Graeme Revell, and more, is the decline in literacy and ever-shortening attention spans in the Internet age of instant gratification.
"Ballard himself confesses to having little interest in music, yet for much of the 1970s and early 1980s, he was regularly featured in the UK music weekly NME, where the adjective 'Ballardian' was applied to the gear-crashing rhythm of David Bowie's "Station to Station," Martin Hannett's production of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, the machine grind of DAF, and so on. But the most significant explorations of the terrains mapped in Ballard's fiction (and retrospectively in the dialogues of J.G. Ballard Conversations) happened in Industrial Culture. Daniel Miller aka The Normal's "Warm Leatherette," Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle's grisly pathologies of the British suburban hinterland, SPK's information overloads, and the short-circuitng noise of Non's "Rise" stand as powerful testaments to the legacy of Ballard's impact. Not forgetting, of course, the writer's longstanding relationship with his most sympathetic publisher, Vale, at RE/Search, whose roots are in the West Coast punk-and-after journal Search & Destroy (issue #10 featured a J.G. Ballard interview)...
"Ballard's influence persists through Matmos's queasy 2001 album "A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure (Matador) and J.G. Thirlwell's score for Jonathan Weiss's 2001 experimental film version of The Atrocity Exhibition (Reel23 DVD)... (excerpt from article by Chris Bohn--thanks, Chris!)
Again, J.G. Ballard Conversations: order from http://www.researchpubs.com
9. Feedback from Readers:
() "Dear Vale, I must say I am delighted to see Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge mentioned in your newsletter. If you aren't already hooked on the best comic book series of the last decade (at least) - I highly recommend you go and buy (or order) Uncle Scrooge # 339 (March 2005) for the story The Crown of the Crusader Kings, and its sequel The Old Castle's Other Secret in issue #342 (June 2005). Scrooge encounters the Priory of Sion. Enjoy! Best, Bruce Fletcher, Director of Programming, San Francisco Independent Film Festival
() RE: "Devo, SPK and RE/Search Spark Heated Discussion" article: Time flies. I saw DEVO play at the Mabuhay back in '78 before they were a CORPORATE CONSIDERATION. They were the real deal. They kicked a-ss. What I can't believe is that something that good was actually accepted by the masses. When I see something like that happen, it actually gives me hope that the lemmings might think twice before following our Neanderthal leader off the cliff. That it's possible for small voices to reach big audiences and change the direction of the stampede. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to check out Jerry Casale's new record [Google Jihad Jerry]. - Scott / Units
() well hello there... i just had to write... always enjoy your newsletter and books... reading your Jerry Casale review made me think you might like our music...have a listen here: www.myspace.com/snogtheband - all the best from Australia... - dt
() Recommend you read this - another gripping, griping, worth-reading interview w/John Lydon -- and he's working with Penelope Spheeris on the movie based on No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs which is his autobiography told to the Zimmerman twins at Gavin, published back in '94. Some of what he says is right on or just hilarious. http://www.greencine.com/article?action=view&articleID=305 The credits are: John Lydon: "I'll tell you what I think" By David D'Arcy, July 4, 2006 - 4:16 PM PDT "'God Save the Queen' isn't just a bitter piece of whining." -- sent by Sandra
() Hi Vale - Thanks as always for the newsletter! Saw the quote from Mia Fineman:
Huge art projects by Jeff Koons, Mariko Mori, and others, involve dozens of "artisans," computer workers, etc. "As art with high production values has become increasingly common, the role of the artist has evolved into something closer to that of a film director who supervises a large crew of specialists to realize his or her vision. But there's a difference: in filmmaking, each individual...is acknowledged, if only for a few seconds when the final credits roll..."-- [Mia Fineman]
This reminded me of a talk I saw by Gregory Crewdson over at Reed College a month ago. He does large photos which are in fact digital weavings of multiple source photographs, and exactly as in the quote, he seems to act as a 'film director' going to amazing lengths to get the equivalent of a single film still, with his own sets & soundstage (or extensively lit and controlled outdoor scenes), hundreds of uncredited helpers, and it sounds like he doesn't even touch the camera anymore.
For an example: <http://web.reed.edu/gallery/>http://web.reed.edu/gallery/
Yo La Tengo used some of his photos for a CD a few years back. While some of it is intriguing, it does seem to me to be approaching some sort of megalomania to create such things. But he did seem sincere about pursuing his obsessional visions, so you decide... - Curt Gardner
() Greetings: I saw your James Stark PUNK '77 book, reminded me of many nights...wanted to comment on a couple of photos. The unidentified woman on p. 105 is Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go's, back when they were more punk than pop. Also, Jane Dornacker, in addition to being a comedienne, had a group, Leila & the Snakes, with Pearl of Pearl Harbor & the Explosions, and recorded a 45, "Pyramid Power" (which I have). I've got a xeroxed "book" that James Stark made & sold back then of his photos, which has some of the same ones in your book...I'm headed to check out your website. - Thanks, A.
() Vale: Hey, I've almost finished reading Maurice Nadeau's History of Surrealism--I found a copy at Strand. It's really a great Surrealism book. I still think the Ruth Brandon book [on Surrealism] is worth reading, even if just for fun (it is very anecdotal and gossipy but that's what makes it)... it seems like it was written from a later vantage where certain gaps are able to be filled to form a bigger, more personalized picture of the group and those related to them (for instance we learn very little about Apollinaire, Tzara, Duchamp or Picabia in Nadeau's book but their relevance is emphasized in Brandon's study). The fact that it's double the length of Nadeau's book is testament to that, although Nadeau's book is more intellectually sound, no doubt. Anyway, thanks again, Vale! - Leslie Hodgkins
() Subject: Getting your old DVD player to play region 2/3 imports. Hi: Here is a site that compiles "hacks" for DVD players so you can play European/Asian import DVD's (Facets, for instance, has been ordering lots lately). Fortunately, these hacks are not hardware configurations -- they involve the remote, and often involve a few push-button steps.
<http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks>http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhack -- you can check to see if your brand has a hack. The rationale behind this, according to a coworker's guess, is that many DVD players are made for ALL regions, but simply set for a particular region depending on which country gets a shipment. It's cheaper to reconfigure the software than the hardware. - Erik
() Recently we read this article, "Global Warming Threat Is Seen in Siberia": "Ancient woolly mammoth bones and grasslands... are starting to thaw and could potentially unleash billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming... The area involved is vast - 400,000 square miles... It's like taking food out of your freezer - leave it on your counter and it rots... It's like finding a new continent under the Earth ... bones of mammoth, bison, saber-toothed tigers... The authors said they hoped the findings would spur quicker reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from cars and other sources." To this article we received the following response:
"Obviously these scientists were paid to say this by "cut-and-run" liberals trying to divert our attention from our mission in Iraq. As an exercise in mind control, I have written a song entitled "The Time Is Now" that takes the point-of-view of these so-called scientists, only so I could see how many people are fooled into being scared by their 'findings.'"-- Jihad Jerry
() V. Vale has a couple of interview quotes in the following video shot at the Frankenstein Theory & Robotics Exhibition, at BOCA & RX Gallery thru July 15, curated by Kal Spelletich (BTW, GREAT SHOW!):
JULY 2006 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & contributors. Newsletter and website powered by http://www.laughingsquid.com