WELCOME TO V. VALE’s RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #47, April 2006. HERE’S THE NEWS FROM SAN FRANCISCO… ALL READERS ARE INVITED TO SEND CONTRIBUTIONS AND FEEDBACK!
1.Sat, April 8, 2006, 6:30pm Cable Channel 29 San Francisco. CounterCulture Hour featuring Bambi Lake, 1st generation 70s Punk Transgender Literary Entertainer
2.Sat-Sun, April 8-9: APE Show (Alternative Press Expo), S.F. – RE/Search will be there
3.Sat April 29, 7:30pm: RE/Search presents Punk ’77 Celebration at Beyond Baroque, Venice CA. Punk Films. Panel w/DEVO founder Gerald Casale and SPK founder Graeme Revell. Punk Photography Exhibition; photographer James Stark in person. Party afterward!
4.What We’ve Been Reading, Listening To, etc…
5.Web-site Recommendations from our pal PHIL GLATZ–thanks, Phil!
First, the commercial: Punk ’77 is here and we’ve extended the special offer through April 30: only $15 (plus shipping). Also, if you want to give a rare gift to someone special, we recommend our limited edition **AUTOGRAPHED** flexibind J.G. Ballard Quotes book! (only 250 made)…not in stores. Order from http://www.http://www.researchpubs.com Of course, you can also order the new **J.G. Ballard Conversations**, too–paperback only. Our other rare autographed RE/Search books include J.G. Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition, and Daniel P. Mannix’s Freaks. Classic Search & Destroy #1-11 tabloids sets only $40, saved since 1977!
Secondly, our classic William S. Burroughs T-shirt (“We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems” and pix by Ruby Ray) is now available in S-M-L-XL sizes — another great gift, a one-of-a-kind jewel… sorry, size S is already sold out. It’s not in stores; impossible to find elsewhere.
1.Sat, April 8, 2006, 6:30pm Cable Channel 29 San Francisco. CounterCulture Hour featuring Bambi Lake, 1st generation 70s Punk Transgender Literary Entertainer. [Note: Counterculture Hour airs 2nd Sat monthly at 6:30pm; set your DVD recorders / VCR’s!)
Singer-dancer-entertainer-writer-social critic-raconteur BAMBI LAKE was an original founder of the San Francisco 1977- Punk Rock Cultural Revolution. Bambi saw the first tours of the Damned and Blondie at the Mabuhay Gardens when there were less than 150 people in the audience. Members of the Sex Pistols were at her apartment when the news came on the television that Sid Vicious had murdered Nancy Spungeon. Bambi opened for Black Flag and The Stranglers on tour. And somehow, Bambi has survived, writing various books (sorry, we don’t own any, but google “Bambi Lake”) and preserving a wickedly selective memory about how Punk Rock originated, spread, and sustained its rebellious spirit. She has a new CD out; if you’re truly interested, write us for details and availability. Did we mention that Bambi is also trenchantly funny, and has a great weird laugh? We recommend you watch this definitely “different” version of Punk’s origins, on The CounterCulture Hour, hosted byV. Vale.
2.Sat-Sun, April 8-9. Sat 11-7 PM; Sun 11-6pm. The APE Show (Alternative Press Expo) at The Concourse, 620 7th St/Brannan. $7/day, $10 both days. New extended hours. RE/Search will be sharing a table with CHARLES GATEWOOD, photographer extraordinaire, and here is your chance to fill in gaps in your RE/Search collection at discounted prices, replace stolen copies, get the new Punk ’77 book for only $10 (!), and even get your new purchases autographed. You can also buy the William Burroughs T-shirt, finally back in print. Charles will be selling 5×7″ autographed color prints for only $15 or $20! There will also be talks, discussions, exhibits, and food; also, check out the cafe across the street. Speakers this year will include Black Olive (courtesy SLG Publishing), Justin Green, Keith Knight, Alex Robinson, Raina Telgemeier and C. Tyler. Other programming will feature panels on graphic novels, web comics, how to pitch your comic to publishers, and the traditional APE “queer cartoonists” panel. You can find rare and obscure books and graphic art not available in one place anywhere else on the planet.
3.Sat April 29, 7:30pm
Celebrating RE/Search’s new book: Punk ’77
Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 (tel 310-822-3006)
RE/SEARCH presents a 3-tier event in Los Angeles:
1)Panel plus Q&A: THE ’70S PUNK REVOLUTION, with GERALD CASALE (DEVO), GRAEME REVELL (SPK), hosted by V. VALE
2)RARE PUNK SHORT FILMS from the ’70s (most NOT available on video)
3)Vintage Punk Photography Exhibition from the ’70s, plus interview with Photographer James Stark in person. Party afterwards.
Beyond Baroque will feature a screening of rare, ’70s Punk films (mostly not on video) and a panel discussion of “The ’70s Punk Revolution” featuring DEVO founding theorist GERALD V. CASALE; GRAEME REVELL, founding mastermind behind ’70s punk/industrial pioneers SPK; and V. VALE, founder of Search & Destroy (1977-79) and RE/Search Publications (1980-present). A Q&A will follow.
Photographic prints from RE/Search’s new book, PUNK ’77, will be on exhibit/sale at The Project Room, and photographer James Stark will be present in person to autograph books. There will also be a small interview with Mr. Stark.
Hard-to-find RE/Search Publications will be available for sale, and can be autographed by Mr. Casale, Mr. Revell, and V. Vale. Also for sale will be original issues of Search & Destroy, the 1977-79 Punk Rock magazine which V. Vale edited and published from San Francisco, and other publications which feature Mr. Casale and Mr. Revell. Photographs and articles on Los Angeles ’70s Punk bands are included herein.
Anyone interested in Punk Rock, RE/Search Publications’ 30 year history, and cultural subversion in general, is urged to attend.
(Our thanks to Frederick Dewey, Richard Modiano, and Lola of Beyond Baroque for hosting this event)
More on Punk’77: “Punk’77 is a candid, shocking and mind-altering confessional that, while true to the Punk spirit, carves its own style of vandalism across the veneer of consumer culture. PUNK ’77 is told in a mosaic of anecdotes, rants, gossip, and self-aggrandizement by the prototypical punks, scenesters, musicians and artists who actually lived it. From filth and fury to gritty glam, the outrageous theatrics and devious antics are artfully captured in the nearly 200 photographs of both Punk luminaries and unusung heroes alike.”–Leslie Hodgkins. We are offering a special price before April 30: just $15. (List price will be $17.50) We’ve added a 24-page appendix of FORTY more photos, which includes a recent interview with photographer James Stark, for this very limited printing. RE/Search books are hard to find, and you would be advised to order your copy direct. Order from: http://www.http://www.researchpubs.com
4.What We’ve Been Reading, Listening To, etc…
() Mark Van Proyen and Lee Gilmore, eds: AFTER BURN (Reflections on Burning Man). 6×9″, 222, pages, photos & illustrations. University of New Mexico Press, 2005. A volume in the CounterCulture Series. Burning Man aficionados (“Burners”) will probably have to work hard to find this book – we suggest trying www.abebooks.com or amazon.com after checking out City Lights Books or Modern Times in San Francisco. Why? Because University Press books are usually under-promoted and short-discounted, estranged from the backroom-marketing-deep-discount deals offered by the huge corporate publishing conglomerates. But, a general rule of thumb is: the harder something is to find, the better it is! (and vice versa) .
From an “obsession-with-mind-control” viewpoint, our favorite essay was Katherine K. Chen’s “Incendiary Incentives: How the Burning Man Organization Motivates and Manages Volunteers.” It’s always distressing to learn how rebellious creative “rebels” can be as bamboozled as the mass of the allegedly-passive American consumers making up the populace. However, I doubt this was the intention of the essay writer, who indeed gave a quite positive “spin” on the “innovative” organizing techniques of the BM leadership. Call us cynical, but we consider ourselves the sons and daughters of William S. Burroughs, who can spot a con-man anywhere, anytime, anyplace. Or who at least tries to spot one…
Mind you, Burning Man is an amazing 35,000-member temporary-city experiment, as illuminated by Mark Van Proyen’s essay, “A Tale of Two Surrealities.” The chapter starts with a great quote from Marcel Raymond’s “From Baudelaire to Surrealism”: “The essence of the Surrealist message consists in this call for the absolute freedom of the mind, in the affirmation that life and poetry are “elsewhere,” and that they must be conquered dangerously, each separately, and each by means of the other, because ultimately they coincide and merge and negate this false world, bearing witness to the fact that the chips are not yet down, that everything can be saved.” Shortly thereafter another great quote: “Surrealism is based [on] the belief in a superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected associations; in the omnipotence of the dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms, and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life.” (Andre Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism)
Van Proyen’s essay ends with: “Everything suggests the belief that there is a certain point of the mind where life and death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future, the communicable and the incommunicable, the high and the low are no longer perceived as contradictions. It would be vain to look for any motive in surrealist activity other than the hope of determining that point.” (Andre Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism)
In between a number of dazzling quotes are descriptions of Burning Man “high points” and “stellar achievements.” Both the editors have attended Burning Man annually since 1996, and there may have been equally “great” “happenings” beforehand, but these spotlighted events are probably enough to make any reader aspire to pilgrimage to Black Rock next, or rather, this year…even better, help create something dazzling and memorable and then destroy it, potlatch-style. There are many musings on the idea of “utopia” scattered through this book, but we try to keep in mind J.G. Ballard’s warning that most utopias fail to adequately consider the built-in psychopathological tendency seemingly hard-wired into the human character/genotype. Which is why we love Groucho Marx’s “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member.”
This book has some of the “best” Burning Man photos ever seen by this reviewer. There is much “food for thought” in these essays, which together coalesce into a satisfyingly comprehensive consideration of the provocative social experiment known as Burning Man…an experiment which probably transcends the intentions and conceptualizing of its primary organizers. Humans, after all, are capable of exponentially greater achievements when working together complementarily.
() Recently received: Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds, a professional journalist who’s married to Joy Press, Village Voice writer for over 10 years. Our “favorite” chapter was “Freak Scene: Cabaret Noir and Theater of Cruelty in Postpunk San Francisco.” Sorry, but for most of us here, it was still punk, not postpunk. The trouble with this chapter is that it almost reads like totally self-serving press releases from the few people involved who were apparently interviewed for this book: representatives of the Residents, Tuxedo Moon, Factrix, etc. And it’s chronologically a hash–a mixed-up, somewhat nonsensical melange. If you weren’t there and living it, and you have to reconstruct an “era” from documents 20-30 years later, you simply just don’t truly KNOW. Especially if you rely on sources like books whose reliability is questionable, if not downright suspect.
For example, in San Francisco there was a clear continuity in venues during the punk years. First, the Mabuhay – damn near nothing else from 1976-1978. The Deaf Club didn’t begin until 1979, along with just a handful of shows at the Temple Beautiful. The Cafe Flor was a hangout but never had shows–it didn’t have a live music permit. Flor was never “a nerve center for all kinds of artists, musicians and performers” – but because of its location and low prices, you could go there and usually see somebody you knew who also went to “punk” shows; it was OKAY, but hardly a “nerve center.” Remember, in those days there were only truly “punk” shows one or two times a week, at best. The Residents and Chrome were almost invisible; they virtually never played “live” shows during the Punk years, and their “influence” was more academic/historical than sensorial–an influence that affected only the handful of the more “scholarly” amongst the so-called “punks.” Speaking of self-serving, it was amusing to read Bond Bergland’s quotation, “The really serious experimental people moved to New York” — that is, after all, what Mr. Bergland did himself! For the record, he also moved back here many years ago, and now operates a recording studio in Berkeley. So, if this chapter on the Bay Area is any example, we urge taking with a barrel of salt any of the other chapters. And we don’t think Marc Almond is an electronic genius, either…if anything, the word “pretentious” or “slumming it” comes to mind, what with his persona as a dabbler in the depths of pathos… Soft Cell is perhaps best liked by people who are a bit soft in the head, who are gushy and sentimental, wallowing in some demented nostalgia while endlessly applying eyeliner…
() Necrophilia Variations by Supervert; for a copy email: email@example.com This beautifully-designed black-minimalist paperback collection of chapters by Supervert 32C Inc. is by contemporary standards quite amusing, even funny, and has enough “weird” ideas to keep you awake even if you’ve taken a melatonin in search of a night’s slumber. Sometimes writers illuminate something YOU’VE almost thought of, but not quite put into words–they take it further, where you should have gone. For example, the writer’s insight into “male virginity” — “For a woman, virginity has a technical meaning: the integrity of the hymen…But what of a man? Physically there is no difference between a virgin and a playboy.” Right, that’s really trivial–especially in this day of post-9-11 angst. But still, it’s a little bit funny. There are quite a few “little bit funny” moments in this narrative, which continually seems to try to shock and startle (“I imagined my tongue as a knife thrust into her face, her mouth the resulting wound. Soon my hand was underneath her Comme des Garcons shirt, brutalizing her left nip-ple”) …but maybe there’s a lot of people out there like the narrator now, trying to live an “edgy, cynical life.” The book ends with: “So if you want a way out, I can offer you this: love no one. Otherwise, if you must insist on loving, you’re pretty much f–ed.” My main critique is: too much casual/conversational/almost cringe-worthy writing: “Why was I an idiot?” … “After three or four beers I was feeling pretty good…” “I’d have given my left nut for some aspirin–and my right nut for some coffee to wash it down.” Still, I read it! Why? Because there are quite a few “funny” very-contemporary characters throughout, and sometimes I read for “character,” not plot…
() We almost totally loved Sam Shepard’s new movie, “Don’t Come Knockin'” and think it is his greatest work to date. We recall that Sam used to hang out with Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe at CBGB’s in the early 70s before Punk Rock appeared. The scenes at the casino, and at the “boxing machine” are amazing, and the film makes us want to visit Butte, Montana. The director, Wim Wenders, is definitely one of the only living auteurs worth being a completist about, along with David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, Nelly Kaplan, Werner Herzog, Phil Kaufman, and even Francis Ford Coppola–may he come out of retirement… (We haven’t mentioned all the Asian directors who may be doing the best work at this moment.) Our thanks to the great photographer Ana Barrado, in town from Miami Beach, Florida, who dragged us to the film.
() We loved the two mystery novels by Naomi Hirahara, and will simply quote from Summer of the Big Bachi: “On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 A.M., an atomic bomb was dropped on the naval base of Hiroshima, Japan. Approximately 140,000 individuals were killed instantly or died within months. At least 210,000, however, survived. Of the survivors, more than 500 eventually returned to their birthplace–the United States.” That’s right, America bombed its own citizens there! These are some of the only mystery novels written by a Japanese-American.
() From Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, we learned that Edward Hopper lived for awhile in San Mateo! Apparently he did not like San Francisco and never stayed here.
() Gus Van Sant’s PINK we found in a thrift store last Sunday. It was written in 1997. For some reason, this is one of our favorite recent “discoveries” and is highly recommended for anyone with aspirations of becoming a “filmmaker.” It uses copious footnotes, several different typefaces, drawings in the margins, and all-and-all is somehow very compelling and we recommend it unhesitatingly.
() Adrian Pocobelli and Ryan Lockwood are endeavoring to make a documentary of J.G. Ballard, and they sent us a copy of a recently completed film, The Psychedelic Pioneers, as a demonstration of their filmmaking abilities. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to play on our admittedly-inexpensive DVD player. We hope to be able to view it soon! Adrian, for the record, wrote an exhaustingly insightful master’s thesis on J.G. Ballard, which he sent to us in a beautiful binder. We are still reading it; it is next to the bed, but every time we pick it up, we find a great quotation or sentence which sends the mind reeling…
() Lastly, we attended the St. Stupid’s Day Parade April 1 and have rarely had such great fun. Edd Holmes is to be commended for his tenacity and perseverance; this was the 28th such parade. Next year, DO NOT MISS this event! (assuming it will happen).
5.Web-site Recommendations from our pal PHIL GLATZ–thanks, Phil!
() Ah, a man of common sense – seems something we have a shortage of these days
from the article:
There is nothing scarier than the Cycle of Dumb. In it, we often find politicians from every side attempting to legislate taste and opinion under the guise of protection.
In the 80s, Tipper Gore led the charge against obscenity in music. Now Hillary Clinton is fighting to keep the video games she and her ilk think are harmful out of kids’ hands. Both are the wives of Democrats.
In order to throw a wrench into the machine, or at least, as Burroughs said, to educate the mark, I’m proud to present Frank Zappa’s Congressional testimony.
It’s easy to draw parallels between the legal threats music faced over twenty years ago and what lawmakers are trying to do to video games now. Though this testimony is long, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t read it in full.
() Ted Rall: http://www.rall.com/index.html
Great must-see-and-cringe cartoon: “hipsters” – it isn’t on his site yet (I get it from a cartoon feed), but you can contact him on his site – he’s a great editorialist.
() Great Movie Posters — no, not “Sound of Music”
more like this: (click link above picture for more in the series)
() California Correction Agency: not a state agency – billboard “improvers”!
() the stuff of pie nightmares: I’m sure there is a medical term for the condition these poor chaps suffer from.
() Amazing juggling: pretty fantastic — be sure to have your sound on
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4776181634656145640 – most juggling is done to a rigid beat, I’ve never seen anything as freeform as this
() The Goldwaters: <http://www.conelrad.com/media/atomicmusic/sh_boom.php?platter=25>http://www.conelrad.com/media/atomicmusic/sh_boom.php?platter
young Republicans in rutt
from a great site:
() From the mind of a savant: From an article at the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation site:
Gilles Tr�hin, an autistic gentleman who lives in Cagnes sure Mer, France, has designed an incredibly detailed city that exists only inside his head. He first conceived of the city, called Urville, in 1984, and began to construct a scale model out of LEGOs. In 1986, he says, he “realised that I could expand the city in my mind without necessarily building it in Lego bricks.” Tr�hin’s Web site is filled with drawings of the city, historical and cultural information, data about Urville’s economy, and some sociological insights on its population.
() You can’t be too careful: there is a recruiting drive…
() Good clean fun: http://thisorthat-video.blogspot.com – the burly-q
() El caganer: The Catalans have a very curious Christmas tradition called “el caganer”, which means “the crapper” in Catalan. Basically it’s a figure that’s present in every Christmas nativity scene in Catalunya. The figure is pulling down his pants and taking a s–t besides the baby Jesus. It’s supposed to remind people of the humanity of Christmas and the nativity and also represents the fertilizing of the earth. You can buy caganer figurines to put in your nativity scene during Christmas, and everybody has at least one. Popular ones include politicians, football stars, etc. see www.caganer.com. Somehow I don’t think this would go over well at all in other Catholic countries.
() Google in 20 years:
() The island of San Serriffe & other great April 1st: In 1977 the British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement in honor of the tenth anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian’s phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer’s terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that then gripped the British tabloids in the following decades.
() Nice hoax: <http://www.google.com/romance/press.html>http://www.google.com/romance/press.html
() I subscribe to the “Cool Tools” newsletter, that highlights interesting new products and resources. The folks who run it come from the Whole Earth Catalog and Wired. It’s always great stuff – if you haven’t seen it, check out their site:
I got this from them today (April 1st), and it really had me going until I discovered all the links are non-existent, and then I noticed the date. I haven’t gotten hoaxed like this in a while. It works because it takes the same tone as the real site. Interesting products just the same…
Jasmine the meat-eater’s reaction? “He must have a cold.”
() Sent by our pal Graham Rae: I have a few things on the new issue of Laura Hird’s site (up today) I thought you might be interested in. I will be reviewing your own WSB book for the next issue at the end of June; I will also be reviewing The Yage Letters Redux (got it yesterday and can’t wait to read it) and Retaking The Universe, so the June issue will be my WSBurroughs one. This issue, however, is more about punk stuff:
www.laurahird.com/newreview/mykelboardbookreviews.html (if that doesn’t work remove the word ‘reviews’ and make it mykelboardbooks.html instead – if you want to – or shit, go to Laura’s site and check it out!)
www.laurahird.com/filmreviews/vforvendetta.html (subtle anti-government rant)
Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope yer well, catcha shortly, don’t wanna be an un-American idiot (chuckle), – G.
() Check out this comment from today’s Guardian about the state of British politics if you’re interested, it’s interesting – and frightening:
Britain is sliding quicker and quicker into being a totalitarian state led by a lunatic messiah – ironic in view of how J.G. Ballard’s new novel [Kingdom Come] is about how consumerism could potentially turn to fascism and his comments about creeping ‘iron fist on velvet glove’ fascism…
Hope yer well, catcha later – G.
() Yet Again, we mention the blog from Mike Ryan, our assistant editor on the J.G. BALLARD QUOTES project: http://mikeryan.typepad.com/
APRIL 2006 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & contributors. Newsletter and website powered by http://www.laughingsquid.com
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