|eNewsletter #21, March 2002|
|WELCOME TO RE/SEARCH eNEWSLETTER #21, MARCH 2002! HERE’S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO…
ALL READERS ARE INVITED TO SEND CONTRIBUTIONS AND FEEDBACK!
1. About Us: What Is RE/Search?
RE/Search is a publishing project, begun in 1977 and inspired by the punk rock cultural revolution, that seeks to demystify the “control process” that thwarts our creativity, joy, pleasure and exercise of freedom. We seek to reclaim and reconstruct our lost insurgent history. RE/Search is engaged in a long-term cultural remapping which aims to honor overlooked innovation, innovators, and provide a forum for theory, dialogue and creativity which will shape our future. We also aim to bring you the “best” out of the information overload currently engulfing us. Please feel free to contribute to this project–and let us know how you wish to be credited.
2.THE PERMANENT WAR ECONOMY: Who Gains?
First of all, let us remind readers: “Dissent is NOT Un-American.” City Lights Bookstore has some beautiful banners across their landmark building proclaiming this.
It has become increasingly apparent that we are in a PERMANENT WAR, in which an entire country of 280 million “citizens” serves the special interests of King George II and his profiteering, global- corporate cronies and media spinmeisters, aka the military-industrial complex.
What’s the REAL goal, the real agenda? It’s always about PROFIT–everything’s is always about “profit” (and always has been). In this case, the War is fundamentally about **OIL,** of course. The Bush Dynasty aim to seize total control of our earth’s last remaining fossil fuel deposits (we have about a 50-year-supply left, right?) so that no “Arabs” end up retaining any real control.
There are scattered outbursts of dissent here and there, although dissenting journalists uniformly report hundreds of negative and hate emails and letters. These probably emanate from a few right wing CIA-funded disinformation think-tanks and cult-like groups of professional rightwing letter-writers. The millions who “see through” the news stories mostly don’t write, and have not found a way to communicate with each other, and unify.
MICHAEL PARENTI & NOAM CHOMSKYare two rare, knowledgeable, history-based voices of dissent today. City Lights Books has recently published Parenti’s concise “The Terrorism Trap” which we highly recommend–it’s short, clear, and deals more with CAUSES and the question WHO GAINS by this war? As the back cover proclaims, “The Terrorism Trap is a powerfully argued analysis of the deeper causes and meaning of September 11. Why did the attacks happen? Who is to be blamed? Who is taking advantage of the crisis? Who is hurt by all the ensuing events? Why do they hate us…This acute dissection of the political, economic, and religious forces behind the attacks provides historical perspective and insight into **how to prevent future terrorism and save democracy.**” Only $8.95 from http://www.citylights.com
Chomsky’s recent best-seller is 9-11; it’s also recommended.
City Lights has also published “September 11 and the U.S. War,” edited by Roger Burbach and Ben Clarke. According to the back cover, “Editors Roger Burbach and Ben Clarke combed through hundreds of articles and essays to select this powerful collection, which will provide the reader with an intellectual basis for a vigorous, passionate and creative resistance to the policies and practices being undertaken in the name of the “war on terrorism.” Only $11.95 from http://www.citylights.com
On the question of “PROGRESSIVE” media: we try to read Harper’s, the New Yorker, the Nation, the Progressive, and foreign media, for smidgeons of “real” reporting and investigative journalism attempting to convey information outside of the Pravda-like press releases disguised as “news stories” in the likes of the New York Times and most mainstream daily newspapers. (Needless to say, TV, dispensing the opiate of the masses, remains a self-contained nightmare universe of oversimplistic, misleading soundbites.) www.indymedia.org is great, but it has almost too much information for us to decipher. A recent Progressive magazine contained interviews with Jello Biafra and Michael Franti–they’re always inspiring. As Franti put it [paraphrased], We’re supposed to believe that the solution to terrorism is to “Bomb for Peace”?!
War is touted as the panacea that will save the rapidly-declining US economy. Recent headlines proclaimed, “The Recession is Over”–what a joke! The “recession” will never be over until manufacturing is restored to America, and with global corporations running the world that will never happen. The only workers benefiting from war are those producing war technology: bombs, ammunition, rockets, surveillance equipment, etc. The rest of us better get jobs in the service industry–sorry, they’re all taken! A phone service technician confided recently that he thought Bush wanted a war to reduce our overpopulation–guess Bush really is a Darwinian, not a christian as he claims to be. Or worse, he really is a christian hoping for “jesus to come and the world to end, so he can go straight to heaven.” If this world is not your home, then why not thoroughly trash it before you go to heaven?!
There have actually been outcroppings of protest, even in corporate daily newspapers. Protest itself remains under-documented and un-collated; there have been “mass protests in Seattle, Quebec City, Washington, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Prague, Sidney, Genoa, Perugia, and other places too numerous to mention. Against all odds, all **monopoly propaganda**, all deception and intimidation, against the most hopeless situations, we continue to struggle…Those who believe in democracy must not be taken in by the **reactionism that cloaks itself in patriotic hype**…In any case, fighting against the current is always preferable to being swept away by it.” (Michael Parenti, “The Terrorism Trap“).
One of the only hopeful signs recently was the landslide re-election of Barbara A. Lee, the African-American S.F. Bay Area representative who was the **only person** to vote against the war, post 9-11 House of Representatives. Remember all the hate mail she got?
TACITUS: How to survive under a tyranny–which it looks like we’re headed for…a state where no one is free to speak their mind or critique the ruling powers-that be. We highly recommend the Penguin edition of Tacitus’ The Agricola and Germania [2 essays in one volume]. Germania has some very candid descriptions of German “Pagan” tribes, while The Agricola describes Tacitus’ uncle, a military genius who managed to survive–i.e., not become purged or assassinated–under the rule of Domitian, a corrupt Roman emperor who–like GW today–with unprecedented speed drained the wealth of the country…sound familiar?
The correct term for today is The Age of Amnesia…
3. WHAT WE’RE READING, LISTENING TO, WATCHING…
Again, it’s a total myth and a lie that everything is available on the Internet. Half of the Internet isn’t even connected to the other half.
William Burroughs – Through His words the Prophet Yet Lives! He is more relevant than ever! Thanks to our friend, writer Jon Longhi [published by Manic D Press], we’ve been re-reading “Painting and Guns,” a tiny Hanuman Press chapbook which has some great thoughts regarding “creativity as religion”–i.e., being creative provides many of the solaces and justifications for living which religion purports to give. We’ve also been re-reading Eric Mottram’s The Algebra of Need–valuable in that it isolates (and contexts, and analyzes) many key quotations from Burroughs, again revealing him as light-years ahead of his time.
William S. Burroughs: The Collected Interviews, a massive volume from Semiotext(e), is now available. This is like the Burroughs Bible, alongside The Job, The Burroughs File, Cities of the Red Night, and our own “RE/Search #4/5: Burroughs, Gysin, Throbbing Gristle” available from our website.
J.G. BALLARD books remaindered. Remaindering, for those not in the book trade, is a practice whereby books judged by their publishers as selling “too slowly” are sold to a “remainder” house for 2-10% of their retail price. Needless to say, the author receives no royalty from remaindered books–if you buy a remaindered book and admire the author, why not send the author a dollar token payment?! Recently, at Dog-Eared Books in San Francisco, we saw three books by J.G. Ballard on sale for $2.98 each, including a favorite, the prophetically-titled War Fever (great compilation of miscellaneous essays). As you already know, we think any Ballard book is worth reading. He IS a poet, you know.
In this day of too many (“mediocre,” and carelessly edited) books (Books in Print is 3 times larger than it was 30 years ago), it’s no wonder that Remainder Houses, who buy low and sell high, are doing better than most publishers. The only “alternative” publisher sailing high and dry seems to be McSweeneys. We particularly admired their David Byrne “The New Sins” pocket bible; it seemed to obliquely parallel our Modern Paganscritique of monotheist doctrine, but with a very droll sense of humor.
DONNA LEON. For further proof that corruption in high places exists in every sector of society, we recommend reading the hard-to-find mystery novels of Donna Leon. An American who moved to Venice after living all over the world, Ms. Leon found a job teaching writing/literature to students at the U.S. Army Base outside Venizia, and in 1991 published Death at La Fenice, the first of eleven (to date) novels featuring the “happily” married detective, Guido Brunetti, his wife and teen-age son and daughter (who “age” throughout the series, so try to read them in order). This persona is far preferable to the lone-wolf-predatory psychopathic male persona of most detective novels.) Full of sardonic wit and shrewd cultural-insider insights (notable blasts at the art and opera worlds, for example), Ms. Leon has written some of the most enjoyable books we’ve ever encountered. Prior to reading her, I never realized how much crooked or “black” money could be made in everything connected with real estate, for example…Venice is not unlike San Francisco, in that there is only a limited amount of land available.
We recommend buying her books from S.F. Mystery Bookstore in San Francisco (24th St, above Castro)–they are big supporters of Donna Leon–or finding them used on www.abebooks.com (“advanced search” allows you to arrange the 300+ Leon books listed by “lowest price”). Bay Area dwellers will definitely find it easier and faster to visit S.F. Mystery Books, however. We can’t emphasize enough the necessity to support “independent” bookstores and publishers.
ARTHUR UPFIELD. As pure post-9-11 escapism we read all 29 “Bony” novels written by Arthur Upfield, who died in 1964. Set in Australia, the “Bony” mysteries are notable in that the detective-star is a half-white, half-Aborigine, who besides holding an advanced university degree is also an initiated “magician” in his tribe. Bony’s “Modern Primitive” body bears extensive scarifications or cicatrices which reveal his stature in the tribe. The Australian terrain and wildlife is amazingly described, and Bony’s persona is one of infinite wisdom and humor–he’s a very charming fellow, is also happily married to another half-caste woman, and they have three sons. Bony is definitely a Pagan! We also recommend S.F. Mystery Books–right now they have quite an Upfield offering; it comes in waves–or suggest making a search for “Australia Used Bookstores” on www.google.com or www.surfwax.com if you wish to purchase Upfield books at reasonable prices. Some favorites include Death of a Lake, The Bone Is Pointed (aboriginal magic here), and The Will of the Tribe–survivalism at its essence.
JAMES McCLURE. I confess to not having read much about South Africa, but McClure’s mystery The Steam Pig (again, recommended by Gary McDonald at S.F. Mystery Books) starring a white detective and African assistant wise to the ways of the nearby Bantu tribe, reveals probably more about racism over there, than a shelf full of anti-racist academic texts. (And it’s certainly more fun to read.) The title turns out to have a very chilling meaning. Not-so-subtle sardonicism here.
JOHN EBERT: Twilight of the Clockwork God (interviews with Stanislav Grof, Terence McKenna, Brian Swimme, etc) and his essay “Visions of a Biomechanical Apocalypse.” which tied together Thomas Pynchon’s V, Marshall McLuhan, Spengler’s Decline of the West, H.R. Giger, Alien, Mad Max, etc! This is our kind of culture…filled with dark, black humor.
Other books we’ve been reviewing: Thoreau, Richard Brautigan (!), Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word (a classic); also, the Patti Smith article in a recent New Yorker, and Steven Blush’s new Hardcore history.
MUSIC: We’ve played for the past week the new CD, “Tree House,” by Mary Lawler (she was in the ’70s S.F. punk all-girl band The Urge). It’s titled “Tree House,” and good luck finding it at Amoeba or Aquarius Records or wherever truly “independent” recordings can still be found. In our humble opinion, Mary has inherited the mantle of the Shaggs–not necessarily intentionally–and the songs are seemingly impossible to get out of one’s head. They sound simple, but they’re not! Hector Penalosa of the Zeros (now living back in the San Diego area) did the musical production, and it’s minimalistic and unpretentious. Ask Aquarius to stock it, if they don’t already. Recommended.
A second CD we’ve played several times is home-made, sent to us by a RE/Search reader named Ariel Sheenof Orlando, Florida. His band, or whatever the sound sources are, reflect the best of the “industrial” music heritage which didn’t necessarily reject melody/harmony, often just mixing in subliminals, extra-musical sound sources, etc. Ariel’s CD is very listenable, yet somewhat (but not too much) “challenging” as well. Hmmm. This recording isn’t commercially available; curious readers can write us and we will attempt to pass the message on to Ariel himself.
In a way, the post-punk flood of do-it-yourself recordings–thousands upon thousands of CDs being put out, way too much for one person to keep track of–has at least made this possible: now you can listen to music made ONLY by people you personally know, or at least have MET, at real live shows. I once made a vow to only listen to music “live,” and still hold that as some kind of “ideal,” but now I try to mainly listen to music which has been personally sent to me, or at least recorded by someone I’ve actually met once in the flesh….And, I was sorry to have missed Le Tigre’s live set at the Bottom of the Hill a month or so ago.
Just received–IOWASKA – CD by Sam Skraeling (featured in Modern Pagans) and her band. A strong punk psychedelic, moving album, with militant lyrics. Sam is a genuine character, an ex-punk rocker of substance, someone who seemingly has already lived a very full life. This CD, on the Alternative Tentacles label, can be autographed by Sam herself at the May 1 “Modern Pagans” May Day Musicfest at The Lab, San Francisco. Or order it from http://www.alternativetentacles.com
Uli at Alternative Tentacles gave us a very funny book, which we recommend to you–it’s something of a modern (and funny–perfect for bathroom reading) lexicon: Straight from the Fridge, Dad–A Dictionary of Hipster Slang, by Max Decharne, a vintage punk (if that’s a correct description) living in Berlin. Max will be in the Bay Area around May 1; look for him. His band The Flaming Stars has released a nice CD, Ginmill Perfume: the story so far 1995-2000, with a lovely “retro” painting/cover featuring a woman with a bottle of gin, of course. It’s available from http://www.alternativetentacles.com and you can have Max autograph it at a live show when the time comes. (We hope to meet him ourselves.) Alternative Tentacles’ website will have updated information on his appearances; maybe he’ll show up at our May 1 event at The Lab.QUOTATIONS (& “Stories”–more “humorous” than usual)
“I wonder if ANYONE reads poetry anymore. If they do, they should send us letters telling us so! I edited our City Lights Journal, and absolutely nobody wrote in; not a word of feedback did I get. We need feedback to help keep us going!”-Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in a recent conversation.
“Over the past few years, more money has been spent on breast implants and Viagra than is spent on Alzheimer’s Disease research. It is believed that by the year 2030 there will be a large number of people wandering around with huge breasts and erections who can’t remember what to do with them.”–source unknown, found on the Net.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At least 15,000 cancer deaths in the United States were probably caused by radioactive fallout from Cold War nuclear weapons tests worldwide, according to portions of a government study made public Thursday by USA Today. The Health and Human Services Department study, which has not been published yet, also suggested 20,000 nonfatal cancers among U.S. residents born after 1951 could be linked to fallout from aboveground weapons tests, the paper said.
PRAGUE: Europe’s first ‘Sex Machines Museum’ opens in Prague. Exhibits include S&M bondage racks, electric nipple clips and Victorian anti-masturbation devices…Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid and Amsterdam all have “museums of the erotic” [too]. It has exhibits such as The Throne, a replica of a reclining rocker that once toured brothels in 19th-century France, and was used for “group games”. http://www.praguepost.com/20220news6.html
New York musician Stu Scharf: Joe Venuti, the great jazz violinist, was renowned for his wild sense of humor. One day he hired every bass player in the musicians union’s book for New Year’s Eve, to be picked up at the corner of Broadway and 52nd Street for a gig. He rented a hotel room across the street and watched gleefully from the window as bass players and their basses showed up in shoals on the corner, standing around staring daggers at each other… Joe had a running feud with Roy Rogers. Once they were both appearing at a theater, and just before Roy called Trigger out onstage, Joe diddled the horse’s genitals with his bow, and Trigger came out onstage with the biggest hard-on in the history of show business. Rogers, a very straitlaced christian, was embarrassed and infuriated beyond any description…–contributed by our friend Phil G.
4. UPCOMING EVENTS
TONIGHT!! March 14, Thursday, one of our favorite S.F. bands, Zmrzlina (love that drummer, Heather; love that guitarist Jeff; love that violinist, et al), plays at 9 PM at The Bottom of the Hill, with Bardo Pond and 90 Day Men
March 15, Friday 7-9PM. A “Modern Pagans” Book Celebration at Bernal Books, 401 Cortland Ave (off Mission St), (415) 550-0293. FREE! Beat poet/legend Diane di Prima reads first, so get there on time! Also featuring Carol Queen (a local favorite); Darryl Cherney (Earth First activist/musician), Thorn Coyle (activist/singer-songwriter), Sharon Knight of the pagan band Pandemonaeaon… All these artists are profiled in “Modern Pagans.”
NOW THRU MARCH 16. JOHN WATERS’ photographs at Rena Bransten Gallery, 77 Geary St, SF,415-982-3292. FREE! Show ends March 16, so hurry! Yet another affirmation of John Waters’ versatile, black-humor-filled creativity. You don’t need a huge budget and cast of characters to create photographs with an original point of view. And neither do you need expensive equipment and years of technical expertise. This show is another proof that “anyone can make art.” A side note: our friend Phil G. reports, “I have a book he did a few year of similar stuff – he edited famous movies like Psycho down to 4 or 5 frames, very funny.”
NOW Through April 28, 2002. DADA/SURREALIST ART exhibit at the Legion of Honor Museum, 34th/Clement, San Francisco. (Free every Tuesday) An absolutely fantastic show–be sure to allow time to sit through the 3 separate (and different) film shows scattered throughout. It’s amazing to see Duchamp’s works in person–you see them and think, “I could do that.” In person, however, they’re much more “beautiful” than any reproduction in a book allows–in terms of such formal considerations such as shades of color, texture, etc. There are also a number of lesser-known artists represented, some of whom produced some mighty erotic collages, with nudity, etc. There are also some publications and flyers, very rare, which foreshadow (and possibly inspired) punk rock flyers and zines. Very satisfying!
NOW: ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL in San Francisco, see it NOW! Check local papers or weeklies.
Sun. March 17, 7-10PM, Paul Mavrides at Spanganga, 3376 19th St/Mission, SF. $5. Illustrated talk–since Paul is one of our favorite “graphic artists,” we expect to be entertained!
Sat. MARCH 30, Anarchist Book Fair, 10-6 Kezar Pavilion, Stanyan & Waller Sts, S.F. Free. RE/Searchwill be sharing a table with Charles Gatewood, and yes, most of our books will be available at heavily discounted prices for you bargain-hunters. You can also get your books autographed, if that matters. Please attend and while away a few pleasant moments chatting with us. The best “demographic” imaginable shows up; people travel from all over the country. You will find rare books and ephemera, often at bargain prices; plus, delicious vegetarian food and a feast for the eyes: sympatico souls.
MAY 1–ANOTHER PARTY! RE/Search’s “MODERN PAGANS MAYDAY MUSICFEST” Wed. May 1, 7-11 PM, The Lab, 16th at Capp St, San Francisco. This celebration of fertility and creativity will feature a Maypole ritual (courtesy of Sam and Tara Webster), plus musical entertainment/provocation from Sam Skraeling (of the U.K. punk/psychedelia band IOWASKA), Thorn Coyle (2 CDs currently available from www.serpentinemusic.com), and Sharon Knight backed by members of Pandemonaeon, San Francisco’s own Pagan Music band (CD available from www.pandemonaeon.com). Other surprise and possibly exhilarating activities promised. We’d really like to stage a “Rites of Dionysus,” but we’ll just see what happens…
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!
MARCH 21, 8 PM, Cellspace, 2050 Bryant/18th-19th St, S.F. McSweeneys & City Lights present Neal Pollack, Beth Lisick, Jon Longhi, Heklina, Lars Mars, Youth Speaks folk. $5. This promises to be a don’t-miss reading-party-gathering.
April 12-13, CASTRO Theater: Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, A super-rare, 2-projector, 16mm screening of perhaps Warhol’s “best” film, all 210 minutes–3-1/2 hours! Friday 8 PM only, Sat 2PM, 8 PM. Nico, Mary Woronov, Marie Menken, Pope Ondine and others improvise acidic, speed-fueled imaginative rants in a “legendary” documentary/art film. This was when Warhol was in his prime…can’t emphasize enough how “essential” this film is! Also don’t miss the May 11-30 documentary of San Francisco’s own The Cockettes–more evidence of underdocumented S.F. artistic genius!
APRIL 15, City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus, S.F. Dave Eggers will read, ’nuff said. This will be a madhouse, so get there 2 hours early.
GREAT NEWS: a San Francisco landmark restored: John Wickett’s Erotic Art Museum has found a new home South of Market. If you’re interested in attending a party there, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAD NEWS: San Francisco’s Musee Mecanique is [reportedly] scheduled to vanish soon! Readers are urged to visit, photograph and video the Musee Mecanique before it disappears. This naive art masterpiece museum features some of my favorite “outsider art” ever created–a lot of it by prisoners — the huge carnival mostly made of toothpicks, the public execution, the machines which dispense “naughty” photos, the 3-D stereopticon machines showing the San Francisco earthquake; the various machines which spew out often disturbingly accurate predictions as well as advice, plus one of the last photo booths left in San Francisco. And outside is the fantastic Camera Obscura, one of the few surviving in the world, which must be experienced to be appreciated! A low-tech marvel; a miraculous transposition of light and image! Not to mention the seal rocks, the nearby ruins of San Francisco’s huge indoor swimming pool at the beach (the Sutro Baths), etc. It’s also possible to dine inexpensively at the Cliff House (order a salad) and if you’re lucky, enjoy an incredible sunset view at a window table.
5. DIARY: What we (and others) did recently–very abbreviated:
February 22-24, E.C.A.S.U. – East Coast Asian Students Union annual conference, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. V. Vale appeared as a panelist on the topic of “Zines: Representation, media, and the Asian Pacific American Cultural Experience.” Over 50 events and panels–we attended a very “entertaining” one on “fetishization of Asian women.” Over 800 attendees. Incredible Asian-history-laden speech by Helen Zia–did you know that the Bing cherry, my favorite fruit, was invented by a Chinese gardener? Ronald Takaki gave an extended talk in which he revealed that both Stanford University and the University of California were made possible by the railroad-track-laying achievements of some half a million imported Chinese laborers and dynamite experts. Bay Area zinester Karen Eng [Peko Peko] made the trip possible; also in attendance were L.A. denizen Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot magazine, and poet Annie Koh of the S.F. Kearny Street Workshop, http://ww.kearnystreet.org
We saw a RECOMMENDED FILM: “Italian for Beginners”–it features some very straightforward, yet “funny” dealings with death, sex in public places, etc. Anyone who’s ever worked as a waiter will love the scenes of a waiter repeatedly insulting diners. This is another semi-situationist, mini-masterpiece from Dogma 95, the radical Danish film “collective” whose tenets (recapped here for those under the thrall of the reigning Age of Amnesia) include: no expensive music, no expensive movie sets, no guns and no gratuitous glorification of violence.
TED JOANS poetry reading. Who is Ted Joans? He’s probably the world’s only living African-American who is both a Beat poet and a Surrealist poet (as well as a trumpet player, bon vivant, vegetarian, wine connoisseur, underground historian and all-around artist-in-his-life). Accompanied by companion/painter Laura Corsiglia, Ted gave a reading in honor of Andre Breton’s birthday, Feb 18, at City Lights Books, attended by about 30 souls, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Nancy Peters, Greek Surrealist poet Nanos Valoritis, his wife the incredible artist Marie Wilson, Jack Foley (radio interviewer of the Beats), Gerard Nicosia (Kerouac biographer), and a few others. Check out Teducation, available at City Lights Books — http://www.citylights.com
EXPLORATORIUM – 2nd Wed of Every Month Series, 7PM, S.F. Each one has been different, involves a one-night-only installation and performances, and we highly recommend this as both a venue and social gathering. Cutting-edge video artists, musicians, architects show up! We ran into “Electronic Arts” artist/producer Naut Humon from his own Asphodel label last time; he’s appeared at the Venice Biennale and other cities over the past few years. Incidentally, this series ends after the 2nd week of April–April 10 event, and will be resumed in the Fall of 2002.
Mentioned in Passing: the great filmmaker Ray Dennis Steckler, who inspired our Incredibly Strange Films book, made several appearances in the East Bay, thanks to Will the Thrill. We also saw a fantastic dance-and-interview appearance of Frankie Manning, who’s about 84 years old and can still cut the rug and keep up with a young female companion–well, as Frankie put it, “Anyone who’s less than 83 years old is ‘young’ to me!” He showed some fantastic videos of himself dancing back in the 1930s!… Alas, we missed a secret SRL show last December, in Berkeley.
6. RECOMMENDED LINKS (thanks to Phil G, Bruce J., Vermilion Sands, Seth R, Mike Ryan, and Chris T.)
the dark side of cartoon theme parks: http://harrymcc.home.mindspring.com/theme.htm
In our time there are many artists who do something because it is new; they see their value and their justification in this newness. They are deceiving themselves; novelty is seldom the essential. This has to do with one thing only; making a subject better from its intrinsic nature. -Henri de Toulouse-Lautrechttp://www.tlc-systems.com/tao.htm
nice illustration by Paul Mavrides and Jay Kinney:http://www.infinitematrix.net/stories/excerpts/down_and_out1.html
interesting article about the restoration process. The theme song is great. sent by Bruce J.http://yiddishradioproject.org/exhibits/history/
Museum of Hoaxes: In 1938, Orson Welles broadcast “The War of the Worlds,” an event that sent the U.S. into a state of panic. Although it’s arguably the most famous hoax in history, other lesser-known ruses have been perpetrated against the public. This site catalogs many of those frauds and pranks, such as the witch trial and unwed mother hoaxes pulled by Benjamin Franklin. You can learn about millennia-old hoaxes, like Pope Joan, more recent ones, like the 2001 Sony Pictures’ fake movie reviewer, or view the Hoax Picture Gallery that offers images of the WTC “tourist guy” and the Jackalope. Take the Gullibility Test to see if you’re likely to be fooled by the next Internet hoax. http://www.museumofhoaxes.com
buying your way into the bestseller charts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51970-2002Mar6.html
“As you ramble on thru Life, Brother, Whatever be your Goal, Keep your Eye upon the Doughnut, And not upon the Hole.”: http://www.msnbc.com/news/720118.asp?cp1=1
“We want endless choices, in dozens of categories, and it wouldn’t hurt if you let us buy drinks with our phones. In short, we are all becoming Japanese teenagers.”:http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/10/magazine/10COKE.html
Merchants of Cool–don’t buy into it! http://www.furious.com/perfect/merchantsofcool.html
Budget babes for busted bachelors–a slightly sick post-dot-com story. Cruising for an escort but can’t afford $300 an hour? Try http://www.FrugalJohn.com!
The article title “NPR : Artie Shaw, The Reluctant ‘King of Swing'” can be found athttp://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/2002/mar/shaw/index.html
About “Gadsby”, a 1939 novel written without the letter ‘e’ – you can link to the book and read it yourself. (the author died on the day of its publication): http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/eprime.htm
like an outhouse going a hundred miles an hour:http://www.cherrybleeds.com/words/guskind/06mar2002.html
middle easterner bashing. an old bit of ethnic humor – the original http://www.mudcat.org/!!-supersearch99.cfm?MaxHits=1&Command=search&NumLines=4&file=fall99&request=%5BABDUL+ABULBUL+AMIR%5Dand the “revised” version: http://www.applink.net/wolfpack/past/a/abdul_emir.html
Race War by George Monbiot: http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm
Find the Boeing: http://www.asile.org/citoyens/numero13/pentagone/erreurs_en.htm
Sex work compared with book publishing?! http://www.section12.com/users/debrahyde/Qquan.htm
Remember the Fugs? http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0208/christgau.php
Excellent interview with Jello Biafra, also found in the print version of The Progressive magazine.http://www.indymedia.org:8081/front.php3?article_id=139258
comic ha ha’s: http://www.mnftiu.cc/mnftiu.cc/war8.html
historical medical ads–lots of good quackery here: http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/mma/
Tom Tomorrow has a weblog–an online diary – funny stuff. Also links to latest comics, etc:http://www.thismodernworld.com/
Nice panorama photos of San Francisco’s North Beach:http://www.inetours.com/Pages/SFNbrhds/North_Beach.html
perpetual motion & other good ideas that don’t work: http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/museum/unwork.htm
A famous New York prank: ever hear about the man who had hundreds of people willing to help him saw Manhattan in half and move it around because it was getting heavy at one end and they feared it would sink? do a search on “lozier” – great hoax. http://www.historybuff.com/library/refmanhattan.html
The “Nigerian bank scam”, with notes on how local prankster R. U. Serious had fun with it:http://www.sfbg.com/36/20/x_techsploitation.html
Essays on other topics Galeano, Solomon, Blakeney, Monbiot, Cockburn, and others, plus many pieces on unfolding events in the Mideast, and of course in the “War on Terrorism,” more aptly called massacres and manipulations in the name of fighting terrorism. Try these, for example:http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/galeano_awards.cfmhttp://www.zmag.org/content/Activism/BleakneyBono.cfmhttp://www.zmag.org/content/ForeignPolicy/MonbiotBlackHawk.cfmhttp://www.zmag.org/content/VisionStrategy/open_letter_.cfm
So much for the First Amendment–when in doubt, pay for books with cash:http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2002/02/13/bookstores/index.html?x
A strange and wonderful website… read some of the “How much is inside?” articles for an afternoon full of fun: http://www.cockeyed.com/
Research materials–lots of books and reference materials, including the CIA Factboot (everything about other countries): http://www.bartleby.com/bartleby.html
No comment: http://www.frocks.nu/apronstrings.htm
Subject: is evolution over for us? Maybe DEVO was right!:http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,644002,00.html
The saga of Bernard Shifman, the worlds worst (and stupidest) spammer:http://petemoss.com/spamflames/ShifmanIsAMoronSpammer.html
Evil; Pippi is thy name: http://members.aol.com/rtvdave/pippi.html
BANNED POPEYE SHOW (racist WWII anti-Japanese cartoon) Countless propaganda films were made during World War II, but perhaps the most memorable were the ones created by animation studios featuring well-known characters in heroic roles. In these films, wholly American characters would battle an overseas antagonist whose unique features would often be exaggerated for both humorous and patriotic effect. The idea of doing something of this nature today, outside of a satirical context, would be considered racist, and it is racist, but these cartoons were made during a time of war, when rallying the American spirit took precedence over cultural sensitivity. In this 1943 Popeye caper, Popeye the Sailorman battles a crew of Japanese soldiers in the Pacific. The pacing and humor is not unlike any other Popeye cartoon, and Popeye does fire off some hilarious one-liners, but the Japanese characters are essentially portrayed as awkward, confused, and subhuman. A cartoon of this nature may seem insulting and pointless by today’s standards, but I featured it as a lover of animation history, and as a reminder of not only where we were, but hopefully how far we’ve come.http://www.ifilm.com/ifilm/product/film_info/0,3699,2416886,00.html News they don’t want you to know, and judging from the contact page, it appears some Marx brothers may be involved:http://subintsoc.net/index_4.htm 7. MORE REVIEWS of Modern Pagans and Real Conversations 1, our newest books (needless to say, please order ’em and support our independent publishing)
MODERN PAGANS: Our newest book! (ISBN 1-889307-10-6). Some responses:
Here are some more quotations that may help explain why RE/Search did a book on “paganism”…
“This is not your suburban, SUV-drivin’ brand of Wicca, but rather a glimpse of outlaw Paganism, where embracing the spirituality of nature and the Goddess means choosing alternative styles of living, relating, working, and dressing. From tattoos to environmental activism to group marriage, the many possibilities in the Pagan community are celebrated by the people interviewed in this entertaining anthology.”–Carl McColman, Aquarius Weekly
“Since this is an American research project, most of the people interviewed are Americans. In fact the **only** Europeans I recognized were Pete Jennings (Asatru and former Pagan Foundation President), Frederic Lamond (Gardnerian and author) and Emma Restall Orr (Bobcat, of the British Druid Order). However, this does not make it a less interesting book. On the contrary–it was great reading about the different people and their views…In many respects “Modern Pagans” is very similar [to Margot Adler’s 1979 classic “Drawing Down the Moon”]. It reflects the huge diversity within the pagan community and just goes to prove how far we have come since the late ’70s. It also includes a pagan glossary, a children’s book list, recommended book list including science fiction, web-sites, film list, etc. This book also begs the question “When is there going to be a European version?” A great book to dip into and to have on your salon table to shock the neighbors! Great stuff!”–Morgana, Wiccan Rede [U.K.], Winter 2001
“Leave it to V. Vale and the good folks at RE/Search Publications to give us another thought-provoking, educational and highly entertaining tome that makes for fascinating bathroom reading. ‘Modern Pagans’…focuses on providing both novice and expert with a wide variety of Pagan knowledge, encompassing religions from Wicca to Santeria…[It] doesn’t lost the uninitiated reader, thanks in part to the interviewers’ every-man, conversational style.
“There are some interesting interviews such as one with Thorn, a Pagan priestess, who detailed her multi-pathed religious journey. Thorn spoke at great length about how the Pagan aesthetic of self- and group-acceptance was appealing to her as a punk, a belly dancer and a stock market analyst (“As an anarchist, I wanted to see for myself what it was like on the inside of an engine of capitalism.)
“In another interesting interview, author Patricia Monaghan talked about participating in the first relighting in more than 1,500 years of the Beltane Fires, an ancient Celtic tradition.
“Dr. Carol Queen, a writer and ‘sexologist,’ detailed her lifelong struggle to define her own sexual diversity as well as working as a ‘sacred prostitute.’ ‘The priestesses of the temple were erotically available to worshippers who would come to experience the Goddess by consorting with them,’ Queen said. ‘There is a subculture of contemporary prostitutes, men as well as women, who have chosen to revive that understanding of the prostitution work they do.’
“Like other RE/Search publications, Modern Pagans is chock-full of pictures, outside reading sources and Web site addresses. But what makes this book such a great read is its thoughtful examination of religion…no one had condemnations to offer or judgments to make–refreshing, because they most likely wouldn’t get the same consideration from a similar Christian-themed work. All in all, another tasty, easy-to-digest offering from RE/Search.”–Melissa Folwer-Presock, Impact Weekly
“The focus of the book for me was on the growth of a non-paternalistic spirituality. For this reason alone the book was a welcome read. I enjoyed it tremendously and shipped off copies to Midwestern Pagan groups.”–Valerie Kunz
“The reason this book is so valuable is because it talks about experiences. Contemporary Paganism is an **experiential** religion…There is great emphasis placed on sexuality in this book, and to some, that may look as if Pagans are obsessed with sex, but let’s face it: there are people who are Pagan because it gives them the opportunity to express themselves in a highly sexual manner…I recommend it highly!–Stormy from Del City, OK
“I’m what you call a peripheral Pagan…My favorite interview was with Joi Wolfwomyn, a Pagan/Mother/Radical Faerie. Drawing on the isolation and ‘otherness’ she felt as a bi-racial adopted child in a conservative Christian family, and the time spent in a mental institution as an adolescent, she tells how she transcended her painful past and has been performing death rituals for loved ones and strangers for over a decade. Her forthright insights on life, death, and dying, culled from years of firsthand experience, are refreshing and inspirational–especially in a culture predominantly focused on avoiding death. With an extensive glossary and an exhaustive recommended reading/resource list… Modern Pagans is a priceless addition to any well-read theologian’s collection, and a fascinating, approachable introduction to Paganism for the novice. I was never bored; every page provided new information, every interview a fresh perspective. I hope Modern Pagans find a home in every bookcase.”–Kathleen LeClair, Reclaiming Quarterly
“The companion volume to 1989’s seminal Modern Primitives, which examined cultural precedents for tattooing, piercing, and scarification, Modern Pagans is an important sourcebook that goes a long way toward counteracting many decades of anti-Pagan propaganda, not to mention the persecution of those who don’t subscribe to a monotheistic perspective…One of the most interesting sections takes a look at the Ravenhearts, six pagans who live together on a small ranch as a polyamorous extended family.
“Christianity is not derided here; rather, the book focuses on those who found their spiritual path elsewhere…Most of those interviewed describe the way in which ritual is an integral part of their daily lives. The message is that community is extremely important, and that by extension, we must learn to take better care of one another and of the planet that we inhabit…An excellent primer…”–Christopher Luna, Rain Taxi
“Find out what happens when people chuck boring old monotheism and get down with the Goddess.”–Annalee Newitz, SF Bay Guardian
“The ins and outs of Paganism, from rituals to child-rearing–212 pages of eye-opening, sometimes mouth-dropping interviews and paragraphs…Wickedly good stuff.”–Mark Edward Marston, Stillwater Gazette
“RE/Search has reliably published excellent interview books on a number of sub- and anti-cultural groups, so it is not surprising that their latest, Modern Pagans, is as well-executed as it is…RE/Search truly distinguish themselves by exploring the thinking of contemporary leaders with much greater depth than has been shown before. This book provides a brilliant snapshot of the people whose influence will shape the direction of the Neo-Pagan movement in the future, and brings into focus the challenges and level of discussion within it today…Definitely another success for RE/Search.”–Jason Kelly
“Modern Pagans, written with local author John Sulak, is an exhaustive survey of this back-to-the-earth religion, which draws inspiration from classical mythology, feminism, Celtic witchcraft, humanistic psychology, and pop culture. It’s a crucial addition to the canon of subcult literature. If you’re interested in alternative lifestyles–and San Francisco once prided itself on being a haven for them–it demands to be read.”–San Francisco Magazine, March 2002 issue
REAL CONVERSATIONS 1 (almost sold out of its 1st printing of 5,000 copies):
“In Real Conversations 1, I really enjoyed Henry Rollins talking about the state of the publishing industry, and reading in this country.”–Joseph, a Black Flag fan and a reader
“I think the best interview was with Lawrence Ferlinghetti–I wanted a lot more!”–Australian reader
To find out more about Real Conversations 1, and read excerpts: See more! Click here!http://www.http://www.researchpubs.com/rc1/rc1prmain.shtml 5″ x 7″, 240 pages, 30 illustrations
NOTE: article on V. Vale by Marc Weingarten in San Francisco Magazine, March 2002 issue, available from San Francisco magazine, 415-353-7035, for $5 postpaid. http://www.sanfran .com
Ides of March, 2002 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale
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