|eNewsletter #19, July 2001|
|WELCOME TO RE/SEARCH eNEWSLETTER #19, JULY 2001! HERE’S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO…
ALL READERS ARE INVITED TO SEND CONTRIBUTIONS AND FEEDBACK!
1. INFORMATION WAR: CORPORATIONS vs. HUMANS
It has become increasingly apparent that we are in a real war: corporations vs. humans. Even though humans “front” for corporations, corporations are NOT human–their interests are completely inimical to ours. Again, what is a corporation? It is but a mere principle: “Do whatever it takes to make maximum profits as fast as possible.” This is the overarching dictatumgoverning everyone working for a corporation; any other “human” consideration is near the bottom of the priority checklist. In fact, it’s safe to say that any “human” consideration is only even acknowledged if it can somehow generate more profits for the corporation–i.e., put a human face on the corporate image. A corporation can also be described as an “E.T.” mask hiding the “alien” (from “ALIEN”) behind it. Corporations regularly use “real” humans in their ad campaigns to persuade people of their “compassion” and “neighborliness.”
But, you say, human beings work for corporations. Yes–those humans who haven’t yet figured out how to work for themselves, do something themselves, be independent entrepreneurs–which is a kind of ultimate goal. Yes, people who choose to follow orders and kiss a– do work for corporations, but those corporations have no regard for them, anymore than they would for a replaceable machine. Arguably, even the corporate CEOs are just replaceable human biocomputers…if they don’t generate enough shareholder profits, out they go! In fact, if corporations could export all their labor overseas where it is cheaper, they would…and in fact they ARE doing just that. What if there were no more jobs in America (except service industry jobs, of course)–do you think any corporations would “care”? Not as long as they’re surviving and “getting theirs.”
What most people don’t seem to notice is how corporatization and culture have become so insidiously intertwined. When big corporations provide food, it is full of additives, preservatives, insecticides, hormones, antibiotics–poisons, really–and expensively packaged so we spend many times the amount it would cost if we just bought those vegetables directly from a local farmer. Similarly, when corporations provide “cultural food” (books, magazines, movies, music, clothing, shoes, etc) it may charitably be regarded as poisoned by corporate marketing agendas, all striving to provide you with your own personal, niche, pre-packaged, fully accessorized “lifestyle.” The rare truth-telling book that sneaks out from a corporate publisher, such as Fast Food Nation, does not justify the tidal wave of corporate b—s— emanating from the official “information industry.” And who knows how much Fast Food Nation was censored before it reached publication?
We say that corporations and culture have no mutual aims whatsoever, do not belong together, and that all corporate media moguls are liars, whores, and should always be regarded as such. A friend has a little sticker that says “LIES” permanently affixed to his television set. Other folk have stuck “LIES” stickers on newspaper racks across San Francisco. This is definitely a step in the right direction…
Which reminds us… Starbucks is evil. [ironic laugh] What does “evil” mean? In English, “evil” literally is the opposite of “live.” l-i-v-e, e-v-i-l, get it? (we know–you got it immediately). Evil, therefore, is anything that is anti-life–not just human life, but animal and plant life as well. Starbucks is a corporation siphoning profits out of whatever cities and neighborhoods it enters, sucking those monies back to a corporate headquarters’ bank account, not that neighborhood. Starbucks has a very expensive branding campaign persuading gullibles that it is a neighborly, kind, folksy operation just trying to bring good coffee to your town. (It annihilates independent local eccentric coffee shops, doh.) Well, a San Francisco comic artist namedKieron Dwyer drew a gorgeous Starbucks-parody logo that says “Consumer Whore.” Guess what–without even sending a cease-and-desist letter, they launched their corporate attorney team against him with a mega-bucks lawsuit.
In Mike Ryan’s CIRCUMSPECT (which also contains an interview with V. Vale), Dwyer says, “Not long after [Starbucks opened an outlet in his neighborhood], I noticed a really dramatic increase of trash in my neighborhood. Most of it, or a good percentage of it, I found to be Starbucks cups and Starbucks bags. It’s pretty hard to mistake that stuff, because they emblazon their logo on everything they sell. I felt they were representative of some of the worst of consumerist disposable culture. Somewhere in there, the term ‘consumer whore’ struck me as apt…Underneath the Starbucks parody logo it says in big black letters, ‘BUY MORE NOW,’ which I felt really summed up the Starbucks mentality, and also the mentality of people who shop at Starbucks, Old Navy, Gap and all these other [corporate chains] that have spread like wildfire…
“I do have a problem with companies of the size and nature of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, McDonalds or any of these kind of multi-national megacorporations who basically depend on the wholesome images they portray in their advertising.” (Remember the news stories of rat parts, insect parts, and broken glass found in Coca-Cola over the years?)…They went directly to filing a very large lawsuit against me. And when you look at a corporation suing an individual, as far as I’m concerned that’s a very cynical act. A corporation in a legal sense has…more rights than an actual human individual.”
We must repeat: The 1886 supreme court decision granting corporations the same legal rights as human beings must be reversed, or our planet is doomed! [cynical, ironic, sad laugh] And perhaps, Starbucks deserves some good old-fashioned pranks! (see our PRANKS! book for inspiration)
This is not a paid ad:CIRCUMSPECT is one of the two best publications we received this month. It’s almost like an extension of a RE/Search–if that doesn’t sound too self-serving–with its Q&A interviews with Lydia Lunch, Douglas Rushkoff, Phoebe Gloeckner, yours truly, and others–every word is worth reading. It’s paper only, $5 from Mike Ryan, 2811 3rd Ave S. #223, Minneapolis MN 55404.
The second best publication we received in June was IMAGINE, a new anarchist zine that in a way is pure inspired source information. See #3 below.
2. MODERN PAGANS: Our next project A lot of people wonder why we’re doing a book project entitled Modern Pagans, especially when secularism is the dominant philosophical mode of the past 50 years. Like, religion–who cares?! Nevertheless, it is our considered opinion that most people in America were raised under the baleful influence of Christianity, and even though they’ve eschewed religion since their teens, we feel that in some way they may still be under its tenacious, dualistic, monotheistic, monocultural grip. (In a car accident, they will probably yell, “Oh, God!” and even start praying…Even Oscar Wilde repented on his deathbed.) In the words of a forgotten genius, “He who is not in the grip of a new theory is still in the grip of an older theory.” The “needs” that religion purports to address don’t go away just because you stop thinking about them…
So here are some quotations that may help explain…
“You cannot write a single line without a cosmology, a cosmogony…”–Diane Di Prima
“Christianity is Imperialism in Religion.”–James Breasted
“There has NEVER been a monotheist goddess religion; all monotheisms are based on gods only. Wherever you have a goddess you go into polytheism, which is immediately Pagan.”–Patricia Monaghan, Ph.D.
“Did you know that all goddesses are Pagan–it took me about 20 years of religious study to notice that!”–ibid.
“I became a Pagan out of grief…In the Seventies I became a feminist, so of course I was totally against patriarchal religions–even Buddhism–forget it, it’s a guy! But when I was 22, three people died on me within six months. And there was no religion to fall back on except feminism. Feminism wasn’t exactly my religion, but it was my organizing principle…
“I was returning from my grandmother’s funeral when I discovered Starhawk’s book The Spiral Dance and read it on the plane. I thought, ‘This is it–politics, Paganism, a sense of the earth as sacred, plus working collectively and in community with people…In Pagan or Wicca gatherings, the very idea that we work in a circle changes our psychology. There isn’t one person in a pulpit preaching to a passive crowd; we’re all interconnected and working…together.”–Oak, in an excerpt from our forthcoming Modern Pagans project.
“What Paganism Offers:
“For our Postmodern era, Paganism offers a non-hierarchical, non-dogmatic religious alternative which emphasizes joy instead of guilt, and active creativity instead of crippling dogma. Our unprecedented access to information and scientific knowledge have rendered most mainstream religion irrelevant, patriarchal and hopelessly outdated.
“Thanks to the Internet, Paganism is growing rapidly all over the world. Why? Because Paganism embraces diversity, the search for self-knowledge, independence, political and environmental justice, feminism and fun. This is earth-based spirituality, not a sky-god religion which causes people to hate their bodies and trash Mother Earth. The bottom line is: in the realm of the social, Pagans deal with the thorny issues of Sex, Hierarchy and Death better than anyone else!”
3. WHAT WE’RE READING, LISTENING TO, WATCHING… It’s a total myth and a lie that everything can be found on the Internet, so expunge it from your outlook. And in fact, at least half of the Internet is not connected to the other half, according to an April 2000 New York Times article.
Besides the aforementioned CIRCUMSPECT, we received an amazing anarchist publication titled IMAGINE: a journal of anarchism #2 & #3, each available for $4 postpaid from Imagine, POB 8145, Reno, NV 89507. I hesitate to fully reveal why I like and respect IMAGINE, but it is chockfull of the kind of news items you never get to see, because they’re undoubtedly censored from 99% of newspapers. It takes DAYS to read it, it’s all very darkly humorous but TRUE (reportedly), and contains some very funny letters-and-responses. Issue #3’s cover says “Inside: A former anarchist tells why he thinks it won’t work, studies on how authority makes good people do bad things, what causes violent behavior, why I’m not a Mormon, tales of government propaganda in the media, the ‘Dharma & Greg’ pro-police episode. Plus letters and reviews…Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hard-headed realization, based on 5,000 years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals and county commissioners.’–Edward Abbey”. ‘Nuff said. This is simply a great publication that makes you wish OTHER PEOPLE WHO WORK ‘STRAIGHT’ JOBS were doing things like this, and if they are, that we can all “get together” or form some kind of working alliance, like, NOW! This publication definitely proves that all the information you need is NOT on the Internet!
DARIO ARGENTO: We’re anxiously awaiting the DVD release of Dario Argento’s newest movie, either to be titled Sleepless or I Can’t Sleep (we think). It’s being subtitled for English-language release even as we speak. It has gotten some good reviews so we have high hopes for it being of the caliber of Argento’s best work in collaboration with his genius ex-wife, Daria Nicolodi. Again, for the record, Argento is probably my favorite living filmmaker today, along with David Cronenberg, John Waters and David Lynch. Argento’s Inferno is magisterial, Suspiria is unforgettable, Phenomena is sheer film magic, Opera is just gorgeous, and his other films like Bird with the Crystal Plumage and Tenebrae all have amazing moments and scenes. Even his so-called lesser films scar (and scare) you for life! Top priority viewing, in my opinion. And for lucky San Francisco residents, Naked Eye on Haight St (nr Fillmore) has every Argento film available; ask owner Steve Chack (whom I met, by the way, in the punk rock ’70s) for his recommendations. There is a Dario Argento fan website, http://www.darkdreams.com
Around October, J.G. Ballard reportedly is coming to the U.S.A. on a bookstore signing tour to promote the forthcoming U.S. edition of his most recent novel, Super-Cannes. See our RE/Search #8/9 J.G. Ballard special and our Atrocity Exhibition for proof that Ballard remains one of the most prophetically visionary of writers living today.
Notta Lotta Love Stories: genuine tales–or are they transcripts–by Amber Wakefield, of her romantic escapades–how uncontrived the telling, so different from, say, “New Yorker”-style romance fiction. $5 from Evil Twin Publications, POB 1373, Jacksonville OR 97530. Note: Amber’s sister Stacy, in NYC, helps RE/Search out with graphic design & other advice–thanks, Stacy!
AREA i, $5 from POB 644, Berkeley CA 94701-0644 (send cash?). Liked the photos, drawings and most of the text–sometimes found it a bit guilt-ridden; I mean, if you’re gonna “rip off The Man,” do it guiltlessly and joyfully! Complex, insightful and “sensitive,” nonetheless. Recommended.
LIFE SUCKS DIE back issues: more hip-hop graffiti culture from the Minneapolis “counterculture cauldron.” (Is this Minneapolis month?!) This is hardcore, x-rated, uncensored, “real” teenage and post-teenage angst-ridden critique of capitalist decadence/spectacular society–just throw their sex/violence images back at them! Back issues #2-5 from LSD, POB 14801, Minneapolis MN 55414. $5 each & quite well worth it–keep in touch with the ‘burbs!
KILLING MY LOBSTER Video #2: excruciatingly funny, deadly accurate portrayals of Modern Realism–life in the dot-conned, Starbucked, Niked, smart-drinked, Darwinian jock/business-kulture that has almost supplanted “real” culture. KML proves that San Francisco talent is bursting out all over! See KML in September live! The KML “product line” can be found at http://www.killingmylobster.com
PUNK IN THE SUBURBS Report: “Punk in the suburbs” Maus Olcottsent us this: “Hey Vale, I believe I just watched on the 11:00 news a segment on a TB ward escapee and they had a weird graphic showing tubers spewing from his lungs out of his mouth and how it will infect you — and how he is on the run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next — pipe bombs in Fremont and twelve cars blown up and only a $5,000.00 reward. TB ESCAPEE!!!!!!!!!!??????????????/It’s true! “—Susanne says: the heroin these days is smuggled in in cow manure…. “–having bombarded you with a lot of vitriol cynical, i mosey down memory lane of past speed-freak drunken self-indulgence grievance about D: the bay fog pussy-footing, sneaking up and cuddling, surrounding you, fog horns, distant Mount Tam sacred, do you know where the two Spanish cork trees are in Marx Meadows?�Heather growing on the headlands of highway 1, coastal north of Marin–remember? Was it Emma’s fish-and-chips in North Beach? Remember the PosterMat and Sally’s Leather shop (sold used leather coats) and MDR Minimun Daily Requirement and the Shlock shop where the little old man that ran it pulled out his penis as I was browsing and asked “Do you like it?” and the Mystic Eye; when the Gay Parade was about 300 of us in circa 1974 and the 300 was made up of 150 marchers and 150 watching and we took a school bus, the whole population of the parade in one school bus to Marx Meadows, where we slid down the hill on cardboard in the wet mud and did an invocation for the Goddess…
“Tomorrow at 8:30 am I chaperone a fifth-grade field trip to Alcatraz with my ward, a blooming wanna be “midriff”. … frogs croaking and crickets rubbing their legs, and flies and mosquitos, hawks, ducks coming to our pool to show off like John Travolta on the dance floor for the hen and I chase them every morning. So glad to wake up with the living. Thank you for listening to my rants–Maus” ������
QUOTATIONS “I say, Do what makes you happy and just be safe.”�Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, The Truth about Spring Turkey Hunting According to “Cuz”
“How to capture a moment of reality just as you release the shutter. By reality I mean provoking an emotional reaction in your subject, making him spark into life.”–Edward Steichen
“Beginning in the late nineteenth century…Dirt became a moral problem, aligned with the forces of evil. Hygiene was a constant battle; the body was a fort under siege by enemy germs. Through cleanliness and order, moreover, the middle class could distinguish itself from the working class…”–Patricia Johnston, Real Fantasies
“Thinking the world should entertain you leads to boredom and sloth. Thinking you should entertain the world leads to bright clothes, odd graffiti, and amazing grace in running for the bus.”–Anon, quoted in Betsey Culp’sSan Francisco Call, available free in S.F., or subscribe by calling 415-826-0414. (Yes, we are fans of Betsey and her brave, muck-racking, weekly, mini-newspaper)
In recent estimates, of all the so-called First World countries, America has the highest percentage of homeless and prisoners per capita: 3.5 million homeless in America; 1 out of every 100 Americans is in prison, mostly for a victimless crime involving drugs.
“A small hitch with America’s policy of imprisoning more people than any other country on the planet: most have to be released at some point… America now spends $40 billion a year, roughly $20,000 per prisoner, on keeping offenders behind bars… Thirty years ago, most Americans saw the purpose of prison as rehabilitation. Now they say it is punishment.”–The Economist, 5-5-01
“The public has no idea that the television industry is investing in a host of new technologies designed to transform television into a major data collection tool (that can) track your every viewing choice–from how often you use the remote, to which commercials you skip, to how long you linger over that ‘Baywatch’ episode…The problem is simply getting out of hand. Today it’s the PC, tomorrow it’s the TV, and next it’ll probably be the toaster reporting back about you.”–Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy
“Disturbance, derangement and disorder initiate storytelling.”–Richard Stern
“Companies have conspired for decades to hide information and to thwart government regulation with multimillion-dollar lobbying…Yet that old numbness takes over; the natural reaction is a “So what else is new?” shrug.”–from “Rendering a Guilty Verdict on Corporate America,” New York Times, n.d.
“Did Americans really want a president who would smile in the faces of poor children even as he was scheming to cut their benefits? Did they want a man who would fight like crazy for enormous tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting funds for programs to help abused and neglected kids?…Mr Bush is presiding over a rightwing juggernaut that has already reneged on his campaign pledge to regular carbon dioxide emissions (an important step in the fight against global warming); that has repealed a set of workplace safety rules that were designed to protect tens of millions of Americans but were opposed as too onerous by business groups; that has withdrawn new regulations requiring a substantial reduction in the permissible levels of arsenic…and ended the American Bar Association’s half-century-old advisory role in the selection of federal judges, thus making it easier to appoint judges with extreme right-wing sensibilities.”–NY Times, n.d.
“Studies show youths watch TV and e-mail at the same time.”–NY Times,3-26-01
“What’s carnage to some is carrion to others.”–Douglas Tweet, dot-com vulture
“Only your friends steal your books.”–Roger Zelazny
“In Finland you can already pay for a carwash using your mobile phone. In Hong Kong you can walk through ticket barriers and buy fast food with a flourish of your stored-value card. In Russia you can buy a scratch-card to put money into a PayCash account on the Internet, to gamble or just to spend…Mobile-phone users in Germany, Austria and Spain can, in theory, use Paybox to pay for a taxi ride…So what date does The Economist put on the death of physical cash? When the busker in Piccadilly takes donations on his mobile.”–The Economist, May 5, 2001
“Around 100 tribes have become extinct in Brazil alone in the past few decades. As the tribespeople disappear, so does their knowledge.”–The Economist, 5-5-01
“The vaunted abundance of ads is not a reliable measure of available jobs but serves employers as an insurance policy against the high turnover in the low-wage work force.”–NY Times, 5-13-01
“If you own it, you should be able to make a ‘personal’ copy of it…Take photo-copying machines. You can’t use them to run off hundreds of copies of a book that someone else wrote. That’s illegal. But owning the machine is perfectly OK… The movie studios are leading the charge to punish individuals for the mere possession of some technology. Usually you have to actually USE the technology illegally to draw the court’s ire… [Also, Napster-type data-sharing technology] has many legitimate uses. For one, it lets people copy and send old films that have passed into the public domain…[We wonder about cassette tape technology, used by millions to copy songs and programs off the radio, and the lowly VHS/Beta videotapes, used to copy movies and programs off the TV.]…Forty-six leading constitutional and copyright law professors…are urging Congress to’ return to the drawing table’ over the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”…Again, if you own it, you should be able to make a ‘personal’ copy of it.–S.J. Mercury News, 4-30-01
“It’s instructive to look at the origins of the “information wants to be free” concept. Stewart Brand was probably the first person to use the phrase. Here’s what he said to the first Hacker’s Conference in 1984: “On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand,information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”–source unknown, forwarded to us
4. JULY 2001 EVENTS
JULY 4: recommended free place to watch fireworks: Larkin/Chestnut overlook. Or Union/Taylor.
JULY 8, SUN 9-2 AM at BLIND TIGER, 787 Broadway/Powell, S.F., SYNTH is proud to present: S C A N N E R (UK) Beggar�s Banquet recording artist, aka Robin Rimbaud, is an internationally recognized installation artist and musician. From his installation in �Sonic Boom� at London�s Hayward Gallery, to recorded material for numerous international labels, to the cover of Wire magazine, Scanner is a world class artist not to be missed. DJ�s Anon (eyephunk, echolocation) and our friend Brian Jackson (form8/SYNTH). Tel 415-788-4020.
JULY 8, Sun 7:30PM, Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph Av, Oakland. 510-444-6174. Comet Magazine Presents a Summer Reading at the Stork Club with Charles Anders, Jan Richman, Jennifer Stone, and Audra Wolfmann. Recommended. directions: www.daniland.com/stork/map.html
JULY 12, Thursday Night on Fox TV (yes, it’s l.c.d. corporate media!), “Night Visions” premieres, with Henry Rollins (featured in our latest Real Conversations book) as host. We recommend that you see it and tape it, because it may not last too long, and may end being one of those heavily-traded-on-eBay cult collectors’ items. Maybe not. For the record, we recently saw Henry in what we regard as a seriously underrated movie, “Johnny Mnemonic,” also starring Keanu Reeves, who starred in its conceptual cousin, “The Matrix.” Both films have “problems”–more on this later–but nonetheless belong in some kind of canon of Must-See Futuristic Films of the Nineties, along with The Trigger Effect, Fearless (Jeff Bridges survives an airplane crash), Ed Wood (outsider mini-society), Edward Scissorhands, and a handful of others. We welcome your nominations for this category of films–email them to us, please. And support Rollins’ own site at http://www.two1361.com
July 12, Thur, 7 PM @ Books Inc, Market/Noe in S.F., V. Vale, Susie Bright, and others will read selections from J.T. LeRoy’s newest book, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All things. Free! This event organized by Silke Tudor, social gadfly extraordinaire.
July 15, Sun, Expo for the Artist 10am-4pm Sunday at Cellspace, 2050 Bryant St/19th St, SF, CA 94110. http://www.artsandmedia.net/sfexpo/ RE/Search Publications, plus about 50 other Bay Area Art Service Organizations, will have tables at the Expo for the Art. Please attend, and buy RE/Search books & T-shirts for yourself and your friends at substantial discounts! If you have any questions call 415-885-1194 (ext. 396) or email email@example.com.
July 18, Wed: The 5th Annual Webby Awards ceremony in San Francisco. Sold out, we think. Next newsletter we will give you a report.
Pond Gallery, through July. We highly recommend you see the exceptionally “wild” complete installation at POND Gallery, a site for art, activism and community, 214 Valencia, 437-9151. Free. “Nicole Repack (a.k.a. Jocelyn Superstar 2001 and Isis Rodriguez (a.k.a Little Miss Attitude, have produced a superfresh two-woman glam mixed media collaborative installation In their installation at Pond, Isis and Nicole explore themes such as femalecidal tendencies, popular urban culture, the women’s history of graffiti art, and the commodification of Hip Hop culture.” Selah.
JULY-AUG: YERBA BUENA Center for the Arts is showing some hard-to-see, rare, “edgy” videos about hip-hop or street culture. Their printed schedule was too hard to decode–call it art damage, or the all-too-pervasive triumph-of- form-over-content. Phone 415-978-2700 for information, or get their schedule and Decipher-It-Yourself!
TERRIBLE NEWS:San Francisco is about to lose a landmark: John Wickett’s Erotic Art Museum on Sutter Street will be forced to move by August 10–see feature in latest EROTICA magazine. Hmm, somebody tell Ken Garcia of the S.F. Chronicle; maybe he can save it–if he can help save the Doggy Diner head (besides John Law, of course), then…!
5. DIARY: What we (and others) did in June 2001
RE/Search June 8 party. For some reason, a number of our readers did not receive our June eNewsletter and subsequently missed our FREE June 8 party (for Real Conversations, our new book) at the San Francisco Art Institute. (Let us know if you did NOT receive it) Here’s a brief report. For the faithful, at 9:30 PM Jello Biafra finally delivered a free spoken word talk, updating some of the points made in Real Conversations about corporatization, protests in general, the necessity to Become The Media, and his current lawsuit–for more information on that go to http://www.alternativetentacles.com
Biafra was resplendent in a ’70s patchwork leather duster overcoat, Australian style, which he found for $20 at a thrift store about an hour from San Francisco–“There’s no such bargains to be found in San Francisco anymore,” he observed. Even though he was ill, he still waxed eloquent, and signed books, vinyl LPs (which Alternative Tentacles continues to make), and CDs as well.
Also seemingly enjoying himself was Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the godfather of the Beat Generation (he doesn’t call himself a “beatnik,” let it be known). He was chatting with people and signing books while sipping a Lagunitas Pale Ale donated by Lagunitas Brewing Co, who have been described as “the punk rockers of local microbreweries.” (They donated beer to benefit RE/Search’s event.) Yours truly took a photo of Lawrence posing with one of his broadsides from the Seventies titled “Fucloc,” which an enterprising fan brought him to autograph. We also got a photo of Biafra with Ferlinghetti. Biafra reminded us that around 1980 he and Ferlinghetti shared the same stage at the On Broadway in some kind of “theater” production.
June 13, Wed: Attended ZINE-LICIOUS–a celebration of Asian American independent publishing at Locus, 1640 Post in Japantown, curated by Annie Koh. A panel discussion with the producers of stirmag.com, RE/Search Publishing, Worsethanqueer.com, Option 8 and Oriental Whatever. A zine conference and panel featured V. Vale, plus other Asian zine publishers, sponsored by Kearny Street Workshop and friends. Fun! Robynn Takayama did a radical multi-media spoken word-music-slide-show “movie”–it made me go, “I’d like to do something like that!”
June 18 Attended an American Library Association (ALA) “alternative publishers” get-together at 1111 Gough St and realized anew how important the low-profile job of “librarian” is: it’s librarians who decide what books to order! If there hadn’t been a library in my small town, I wouldn’t be writing this newsletter today! That’s where I discovered Daniel P. Mannix, Aleister Crowley, Richard Halliburton, Dostoyevsky, Plato, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Goethe, and other writers who mutated my consciousness. Highly recommend “librarian” as a career position! Was especially glad to meet librarians from other cities who dared to find and order non-corporate books such as RE/Search produces. Had fun talking to Kevin Thatcher ofErotica, Juxtapoz and Thrasher magazine fame, and really enjoyed Diane Di Prima reading a poem–a highlight of the evening.
June 24 KUSF Record Swap. Is vinyl dead? Judging by the number of attendees, yes, although the Gay Parade was that day’s competition. We did see old friends: Mickey McGowan, Finnlandia & Johnny Bartlett (read their interviews in Incredibly Strange Music, Vol One), Steve from Subterranean Records, and Mike Lucas from the Phantom Surfers. But, the day was saved by Zmrzlina’s guitarist/singer and drummer, who shared my table and beguiled me with tales of their arrests (of course, they were innocent) and jail experiences. Was especially impressed by the harrowing tale told by the drummer, who was arrested at the time of the Rodney King riots–800 people were arrested in San Francisco, then released without charges the following Monday, after spending the weekend in Santa Rita jail. As you recall, there was a news blackout on this until the S.F. Bay Times reported it–whereupon then-Sheriff Richard Honguisto had his policemen confiscate all copies from Bay Times racks. The subsequent scandal led to his firing in disgrace. Well, he deserved it! And earlier, he had evicted all those old Filipino hotel-dwellers from the International Hotel–another infamous real estate payola scam in the history of San Francisco, soon to be topped by Willie Brown, no doubt. We recommend Zmrzlina as one of San Francisco’s “living treasures”–musical, that is. They also put on the Mission Creek Music Festival recently. Check out Website: http://www.zmrzlina.com
June 30 we were graced by a visit from the redoubtable bassist/singerPandora of the Minneapolis band All The Pretty Horses, and her cohorts Mike Ryan (a former RE/Search intern, now a radio host and the publisher of CIRCUMSPECT, and Toshei Y–, a photographer. We wished we had dined at the House of Nanking–always recommended, especially at off-hours when there’s no line–but ate at Curly’s, North Beach’s best diner for breakfast. Wish you had been there! The lively conversation ranged from the necessity for artist-owned apartment buildings (or artist-owned-and-shared warehouses) to the superiority of live music vs. “canned” (especially, because hearing a “mistake” makes for a unique listening experience–in fact, the opportunity to hear a mistake is almost the point of seeing a band live). Minneapolis, we hear, is a beautiful city where rents are still affordable for artists–and may well be a hotbed of radical living–which is nearly impossible in this rents-up-the-wazoo Bay Area. Website: http://www.prettyhorses.net
An [edited] letter from cartoon artist Chuck Sperry: “I’ve been in Europe this whole time since April, touring with Winston Smith and Jello Biafra in Switzerland & Italy. After that tour I split off with my collaborator Ron Donovan and fellow poster artist Chris Shaw to Serbia to do a show in Belgrade.
“The whole adventure–both Western and Eastern Europe–was a smash success and boy do I have some stories to tell! Really – I must say that I have received so many unusual (and some typical) reactions to my visit to Serbia (ranging from, “They have such a lot of bad karma to clear there it’s no wonder they have been bombed so many times…” – huh!?! – to this, “You are so in trouble for speaking out against NATO. You are definitely on the list!”).
“Howsomever that may be, we were the first American artists to visit the capitol of the Balkans for about twelve years. Slobodan Milosevic has been in power that long too – hmmm! I know of two exceptions – Susan Sontag (in Sarajevo producing plays during the siege) and Sabot (a punk band formerly from SF – who now reside in Czech). There have to be others, but we were treated as if there were not. We did two interviews (sometimes three) on Yugo TV and radio for one week. We were live on the “high-culture show” (read: the Charlie Rose style) on Yugo’s biggest network going out to 5 million viewers. And we were out-spoken – naturally. Two hours the next night on B92 radio with “call-ins.” And an hour long special on B92 TV. Check out www.freeb92.net … News from the Balkans from a Serbian perspective. It was awesome…
“Jello gave the Italians two-smoking-gun-barrels with four tasty spoken word acts in Milano, Torino, Bologna and Roma. I think he was getting through to people in a country that just had the most outlandish election of the new millennium – outside our own – and were just coming to terms with their new fascist-aligned President. President Berlusconi is one of the new breed – he’s an Italian Rupert Murdock owns several networks and even sent a book to each and every Italian with that person’s name and address in it. As if to say, “We know who you are and where you live.” Scary. Jello really looked to be having a good time on stage– and was in his natural element to be speaking out in this format.
“Well, the rest comes out in my book. All my best, Chuck Sperry, Firehouse Kustom Rockart Co.”
6. RECOMMENDED LINKS (thanks to Phil G, Vermilion Sands, Seth R, and Chris T.) Regarding the “happy face” of globalization, for full information and images please click below: http://www.e-flux.com/decode.php3?cid=613
In June 2001, blues great John Lee Hooker died: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,60-2001212343,00.html “It all comes down to the same thing: a man and a woman, a broken heart and a broken home!”
Apple takes on Satan: http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/top_news_item.cfm?NewsID=3028
GAP attempting to co-opt protest theme (sent by jpm):http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=47990&group=webcast
If you like making outrageous, surrealist constructions with bicycle parts, you’ll probably love one of San Francisco’s great creative, mechanically “edgy” junk-into-art ventures–we missed their big event in May, but there’s always next year!: http://www.cyclecide.com
great site: (below from Phil G.–thanks!) http://opioids.com/images/opiumden.html
tacky horror films: http://www.horrorflic.com/
“Everyone who works for McDonald’s is a brand manager.” On uniforms: http://www.madetomeasuremag.com/features/936389448.html
Guide to New York, pretty funny flash stuff: http://www.gorkhouse.com/newyork.html
great album cover art: http://www.showandtellmusic.com/
7. MORE REVIEWS of Real Conversations 1, our newest book
“This book is really, really good. I read every word!”–Bill Gardner, age 78
“I didn’t know that the book industry was in such bad shape. From now on I’ll order direct from you, and other independent publishers. F— those chain stores!”–James G., Atlanta, Georgia
“The interview with Biafra was awesome! He really knows his s—. I’m so glad he’s out there!”–Heather, mother of a five-year-old
“Biafra was my favorite interview, but Billy Childish had some great things to say about creativity and not having to be professional. I sent a copy to my brother and another friend back East.”–Jennifer, teacher
“I enjoyed all of the interviews, and thought Billy Childish’s ideas about creativity and how it is squelched were really intriguing.”–Maw Win
“Inspiration is what Real Conversations 1 is all about. According to Vale, a book isn’t even worth reading unless it inspires the reader to take action in some way, be it politically or creatively. To support this credo, lists and lists of recommended books, films, and Web sites come at the end of every interview, offering the reader easy access to information that more often than not ends up on the cutting room floor.”–Antonia Richmond. See full review at http://www.fabulamag.com/books/books2.html
“Real Conversations is more than just a manifesto of punk opinions and observations. The interviewees take on politics, the music and publishing industries, commercialism, media brainwashing and every other topic that Big Brother wants you to forget about…What makes this book such a good read is the length of the interviews. Such long-form interviews are rare today; this feels like the Charlie Rose of interview books…It’s all about content, and the content more than suffices. Real Conversations 1 is the ideal read for anyone looking to reminders why they should strive to do better than the mediocre, corporatized pop culture we drown in every day.”–The Rice Thresher, April 27, 2001
“As an avid, some would say obsessive, reader I have to take exception to your comments about books in the last newsletter. I agree that people are reading fewer books nowadays and that’s an understatement–most people don’t read books, period! But I don’t think a book has to inspire you to DO something or take some action. Shit, I’ve read many RE/Search books and they’ve just added to my breadth of knowledge and entertained me. When I read a book, the greatest satisfaction I get is when it imparts some insight about life, or helps me to understand my place in the universe, or even just makes me laugh. You know, every-day life and death stuff. The best books make you THINK.
“There’s a lot to be said for people thinking! If people were more introspective as a rule, the world would be a better place. I realize that there are not a whole lot of worthy books being written these days, but they ARE out there. Plus! Reading is fun! It doesn’t have to lead to something –it is an end in itself. I have a hard time calling ANY book worthless. Just my humble opinion–Sincerely, Jennifer (bookworm)” [THANKS, JENNIFER!]
To find out more about the book, and read excerpts: See more!
Henry Rollins, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jello Biafra & Billy Childish discuss:
– The Internet, dot-com backlash and SillyClone Valley
Real Conversations 1 will interest musicians, literati, and pop culture enthusiasts alike….Theory that isn’t stuffy.
Rollins: World-traveler, Cultural critic, Rock icon
5″ x 7″, 240 pages, 30 illustrations
8. About Us: What Is RE/Search?
NOTE: Interview with V. Vale, “Underground Anthropologist,” by ERIC ZASS in Clamor Magazine, April/May 2001 issue, available from Clamor, 419-353-7035, for $4. http://www.clamormagazine.org
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NEWSLETTER WRITTEN BYV. Vale