V. Vale’s RE/Search newsletter August oh-nine
WELCOME TO V. VALE’s RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #84, August 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR
2. Counter Culture Hour featuring Dirk Dirksen, the “Pope of Punk” — now on-line!
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS – Specious Species III release party, this Wednesday and more!
4. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent..
5. SALON DU TROLL IN THE VORTEX ROOM – review by Steven Gray
6. Stephane von Stephane review of film “MOON” (beware of spoilers)
7. Matt Gonzalez’s new blog-site “as it ought to be…” http://asitoughttobe.wordpress.com/
8. Recommended Links- from Phil Glatz, Johnny Strike and others – thanks!
9. QUOTES – Famous Last Words
10. Feedback from Readers
1. MESSAGE FROM YOUR EDITOR:
“Utopia is a country upon which we are always arriving” — who said that quote? — and last night’s show with the MUTANTS (S.F. 70s Punk Band) and a No Name Punk Supergroup (Michael Belfer, Sleepers guitarist; Craig Gray, Negative Trend guitarist; Meri St. Mary (Housecoat Project singer/songwriter), Elliott Shannonhouse (Danelectro short-scale bass) and drummer Tony Sales Jr (son of Hunt Sales, one of the Sales Brothers who backed Iggy Pop, and son of Soupy Sales, childhood icon for many) underscored the difficulties of living in a capitalist for-profit society.
The small bar room and low ceiling of “The Boat Club” which hosted this FREE event greatly enhanced the sounds of the electronically-amplified instruments, creating microtones, phantom cyclic melodies and harmonies, and other sonic waveforms which added up to a rich, almost orchestral palette of sounds enveloping our bodies, those complex processors of sensations and experiences which are organized by our brains. In many social events, fewer people seem preferable to more people, just as quality can seem preferable to quantity — yet we live in an age governed by the Reign of Quantity, as Rene Guenon put it. And we live in an age where the twin “evils” of “The Profit Motive” and “Celebrity” rule most of our social interactions. Not to sound too obvious, but in a society where everything is done for the profit motive, human beings become treated as “things” (Cf. “the trophy wife”) and people’s actions become driven by the motive to make others “Look At Me.”
It’s always pleasurable to hear a band that is just starting out — in its beginning stages of synergetic music creation — and the No Name Punk Supergroup was amazingly “good,” especially considering how few rehearsals (one?) had taken place. For the first time, guitarist Michael Belfer sang duets with Meri St. Mary (remember Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton; Otis Redding and Carla Thomas?). Well, we would like to hear more of this dynamic — an instant classic Country and Western song was our favorite vocal song of the evening. Now lately it has become rare to hear “jam sessions” and we were treated to several which were actually “good” — an obviously improvised, successfully-building-upon-anticipation jam session can practically take an audience into a collective trance state. The rhythm section of Elliott Shannonhouse on super-complicated bass lines, working in synch with the crisp, minimalist yet urgently driving drumming by Tony Sales Jr, provided a foundation for the guitarists to coax beautiful soundscapes out of their guitars.
The Mutants set (sans girl-singers) was perhaps the best purely **musical** performance we have ever heard of their classic songs. Search youtube to see if Tom Curtis posted any video footage! (Mutants at the boat club)…
2. Counter Culture Hour – One more in our re-run series: V. Vale talks with Dirk Dirksen about his career before and during the Fab Mab days in the 1970s in San Francisco. Dirk has recently passed but, through the tireless efforts of his friends spearheaded by Kathy Peck, has had the alley next to the Mabuhay Gardens named after him: Dirk Dirksen Alley (formerly Rowland Alley), complete with dedication plaque.
Kathy Peck writes:
Well, It was closing in on a 3 year endeavor but, worth it.
Now Dirk is a living part of North Beach, San Francisco, Punk Rock History and a California legend with his own street and plaque ensconced in pavement at 443 Broadway and Dirk Dirksen Place. So many of you to thank…Thank you so very much friends, Dirk’s family, punk rockers and the SF City officials for your contribution and support in making this a reality.
Special Thanks to Tom Ammiano and colleagues for helping us pass the legislation for the street renaming in Dirk’s honor and Joel Selvin for his punkish verse dedication that Dirk would have loved.
The Counter Culture Hour is NOW simulcast ON-LINE as well as on cable access San Francisco Channel 29 — 6:30pm Pacific Time, Sat August 9, 2009 on-line (www.accessf.org then go to link for “Access 1 Live Stream” in left colulmn– give it a minute to load or try this link:
USA west coast: 6:30 PM Saturday, August 8th
USA east coast: 9:30 PM Saturday, August 8th
London: 2:30 AM Sunday, August 9th
Tokyo: 10:30 AM Sunday, August 9th
You get the picture…
Would you like to have a Counter Culture Hour showing in your town? Please write and ask us how you can do this.
. 3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS
() Sat Sept 12, 2009, 2-5pm opening for Charles Gatewood Photo Show at TAT Gallery, 49 Geary #211, S.F. 94108.
Charles Gatewood: Celebrity! Rarely seen photographs from the 1960s and 1970s of Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Carlos Santana, Abbie Hoffman, Boz Scaggs, Al Green, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and others. Presented in conjunction with the release of Charles Gatewood’s new limited edition, signed artist’s book on Bob Dylan, A Complete Unknown that will be available for purchase at the Gallery. Meet and talk with the artist!
() Sun Aug 16 CRIME (in one of their rare reunion concerts) plays! A special performance by legendary San Francisco Punk Pioneers CRIME.
Lou Lou & the Guitarfish
$7 All Ages
Sunday, August 16 8pm
Sub-Mission, 2183 Mission, between 17th & 18th
“San Francisco’s Doomed Fest” August 12-16 benefitting the San Francisco All Ages Show Space Project and MaximumRocknRoll. more shows, more bands, more venues at
myspace.com/sanfranciscosdoomed – presented by Thrillhouse Records & MRR
() The Specious Species III release party – 7 PM this coming Wednesday at Dalva (3121 16th Street next to the Roxie Cinema). Featuring Alvin Orloff, Jon Longhi and John Shirley. DJ’s Toph One and Balderdash spin sounds. Free.
Come on down! — Joe (editor)
() Benefit / Fundraiser Show for the San Francisco Tenant’s Union
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8TH This Saturday! (i.e. today) Presented by Alcoholocaust
NOTE THAT THIS IS AN AFTERNOON SHOW – DOORS OPEN AT 3 PM, show at 4 PM, over by 8 PM
-THE BAR FEEDERS
-THE F*^KING BUCKAROOS
$8.00 – $20.00 Sliding Scale Benefit Show / 21+
() Thursday, August 20th, The Eagle Tavern on 12th St. at Harrison, San Francisco
Negative Trend with Oxbow. We’re looking into having a RE/Search table at this event.
() Sunday, August 16th, LOS ANGELES at the Grammy Museum. DEVO’s Gerald V. Casale will introduce a screening of Bruce Conner’s “Mongoloid” featuring the DEVO song by the same title.
() If you happen to be in the Grass Valley area, Mary St. Meri reports that Jello Biafra’s new band will be playing the Center For the Arts (main theater) there a week from Sunday. Tickets $18. That would be August 15th in Nevada City. Mary lives in that area, and has a radio show as well as playing live in town at least occasionally. If you live there, check out Meri’s solo act at The Basement there this Sunday.
() Everyone who is interested must already know that Burning Man is coming up this month! If you want a taste of what it will be like, or want to wax nostalgic on past years, buy the RE/Search book, Burning Man Live. Get it for a friend you’re hoping to convince to go! Get it for someone who is too far away to go! Buy it this month and get a free packet of Playa Sand along with your book. Support RE/Search!
Write “eNews Sand offer” in the “how you heard of us” entry line
() RU Sirius on VH-1 about Timothy Leary. RU writes us:
I’m on VH1 Timothy Leary show Thursday August 13. It’s part of a weeklong special feature called Lords of the Revolution, and Leary is sandwiched between The Black Panthers (on August 12) and Andy Warhol (on August 14), which sounds a bit like the story of his life!
The show was put together by Martin Torgoff, who put together the “Drug Years” series for VH1 and wrote the book, “Can’t Find My Way Home.” He does good work, so it should be good. Paul Krassner is also on the show.
Info is here: http://www.vh1.com/shows/lords_of_the_revolution/series.jhtml
btw, dont ask me what time it’s playing. You will have to interpret VH1ese yourself or find it however you find your local tv listings, but I think it repeats a few times… probably forever if I know VH1
Read Timothy Leary’s writing in our new publication, Leary On Drugs, with introduction by RU Sirius – find it here:
() September 15th opening for Ruby Ray photo exhibit at the San Francisco Main Library. Details to follow.
4. What We’ve Attended/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent
() Bunuel, Bunuel, and Bunuel – and each one more than one time! More on Luis Bunuel and his fantastic anti-clerical, erotic films next month.
() Dogma 95 “The Celebration” – definitely worth seeing. Dealing with some difficult issues in a “fun” way (?)
() “Pearls Over Shanghai” has been the most successful Hypnodrome/Thrillpeddlers production to date. It is perhaps the best show we have ever seen! We highly recommend you support local San Francisco theater and go experience this fantastically costumed epic musical. Chock full of classic sing-along “future anthems.”
Tickets go fast in this small theater, which has extended the run of “Pearls” up to their yearly Shocktoberfest in the Halloween season. Shows Thursday through Sundays. Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.
5. SALON DU TROLL IN THE VORTEX ROOM – review by Steven Gray
Thursday night in the Vortex Room (July 30): none of my friends showed up, but so what, the point of a salon is that you talk to anyone and everyone. I met a woman who knew the girlfriend of the late Sky Saxon (singer for the Seeds), this being an event in honor of him. I’ve been here before (a vortex made of déjà vu) and have known Dog for years (the mastermind behind Salon du Troll), and as Dog is my witness I enjoy his sense of dead-end kitsch and weird expressionism in a time-warp He is the kind of guy who has a pile of magazines and they’re all vintage, like a beatnik anthropologist who studies magazine ads from the 1950’s because the 50’s were another country with bizarre artifacts and mating rites.
So I’m having a glass of wine and staring at a shag rug on the wall. It had the face of Charlie Manson on it, just the thing for the bathroom floor. There were some strange paintings I hadn’t seen before, but I forget where they came from. Then a few musicians took the stage, with a large screen behind them adding a visual dimension to their sound-effects. Michael Belfer (of the Sleepers, Tuxedomoon, etc.) and Craig Gray (Negative Trend, The Toiling Midgets, etc.) did a slow instrumental. The Toiling Midgets recently opened for Flipper and Savage Republic at Café du Nord. Craig had an ‘80’s remake of a 1962 Les Paul I used to play one (borrowed) and understand why he says he’ll never get rid of it. We were talking after the show, this being a club where time warps are part of the atmosphere if not the décor. I remember seeing Negative Trend in the late 1970’s, and went to a party at an apartment south of Market where one or two of the band members lived. There were bond@ge magazines on the coffee table and a punk girl who had gotten herself handcuffed so she could approach a couple of cops and get herself violated in the back seat of a patrol car.
Meri St. Mary (of the Housecoat Project) joined them for a few numbers, singing like a woman who knows a lot of musicians. The Housecoat Project played for the first time in 20 years at the Eagle recently, and she asked me to open for them with a couple of poems. The band was already set up and for the second poem they kicked in behind me, making for a nice momentum. She has a radio show at www.kvmr.org every other Wednesday from midnight to 4 a.m. where she flaunts her historical knowledge of punk The other night she began the show with cuts from Negative Trend (“Meat House”) and the Sleepers.
There followed an intermission which was nearly an hour long. People were drinking and talking, or smoking outside on the sidewalk, so maybe they didn’t notice. I don’t think it was because they wanted to sell more drinks – Dog was recharging the batteries for the video. Finally it started, a documentary of his visit to the home of Mark McCloud, who has lived in the Mission for many years. Sky Saxon would stay with him from time to time and he had every album Sky ever made. He was explaining each one, with the camera zooming in for a close-up on the album. The camera work was kind of nervous, in a shaky hand, with the focus going in and out. It was cinema verite on the verge of vertigo Speaking of disorientation, McCloud has the world’s largest collection of blotter acid on the walls of his home. He has been busted for it by the feds, but he is still with us.
Forgot to mention, Dog recited a short poem which redefines the meaning of strange: “The chocolate river falls from the edge of my mind. A fly trap’s shadow covers the castle. The flower-car works, instead of a hearse.”
6. Stephane von Stephane “MOON” review (spoiler alert)
Film directed by and original story by Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son. Starring Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey as Gertie the robot on spacestation moon.
In the not too distant future earthlings are mining the moon for helium as a power source because we’ve used up all other energy resources. On the moon base there is apparently only one guy and a robot maintaining all equipment. When we first see Sam, he has long hair and a beard and is perhaps near the end of his 3 year contract with Sarang, the corporation who runs the mining project. He’s going stir crazy and talking to himself, anxious to get back to his wife, and now 3 year old child. He’s going crazy enough to possibly be hallucinating. We can’t tell, he can’t tell and the robot isn’t offering many clues. He really only has the robot to talk to and who wouldn’t go crazy with just the voice of Kevin Spacey for communication? K.S. is pretty perfect as the ‘Hal’-like machine who runs the machine.
There isn’t much story here, but a mood-piece questioning the very nature of what it is to be human, what it is to spend one’s life working for a mega-corporation who have no concerns about it’s workers beyond their usefulness as cogs in the machine, and what it is to die. (You can draw your own comparison to corporate slavery and death here.) The sets are mostly stark white and look like every other filmic space ship/station we’ve seen. Lovely touches to make the ‘clean’ environment looked lived-in, such as the coffee cup sitting on one corner of Gertie’s main ‘body’, and the yellow post-it note on Gertie’s backside with the inevitable ‘kick me’ written on it in sharpie. Sam’s bedroom has photos and posters everywhere. He’s personalized his living space, just like regular old earth corporate employees personalize their ‘cubey’s. We see him exercise, eat Gertie’s bland plastic-pac cooking, view t.v. messages from home, etc. the usual space movie fare. Then, it gets interesting; he hallucinates a strange woman sitting in his living space whom Gertie insists isn’t there. Later, he goes out in a mini-rover to check on a giant lunar module which has crashed into an outpost tower. He sees this strange woman again beckoning before he crashes the rover and seemingly dies. Is she the angel of death (or a viral implant meant to signal the end of Sam’s career)? Is Sam even really dead? We next see Sam in the sick bay with Gertie watching over him. He awakens and we don’t know how long he’s been out and the damn robot won’t say exactly either. He is understandably confused. To make matters worse, there’s a new him or hallucination of himself, lurking around.
I love films that blend reality with fantasy or hallucination and metaphor, like Fight Club, Vanilla Sky, Memento, The Game, half of everything Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick ever did, the list goes on and Moon can be added. The original Sam who has begun physically deteriorating begins interacting with the new Sam who is in prime health. At some point original Sam begins to figure out that he’s possibly a clone and becomes obsessed with finding the secret ‘cloning room’. But the new Sam insists that HE is the real Sam and original Sam is the clone. We get a light moment when the two act like children “YOU’RE the Clone!”, “NO! YOU’RE the Clone!” We’ve learned that Sam has anger issues and the two Sam’s beat the cr*p out of each other. Another light moment, and maybe the best scene in the film is when one Sam wants to play music really loud and dance, and the other Sam turns it off, then it’s back on, and back off, made all the more hilarious as the song is ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves, an inane 80’s catchy pop tune. I don’t want to give away the entire film. There is more mystery surrounding a jammed communication tower, and why the Sam’s don’t have contact with earth except minimal messages from the wife. Sam has sent hundreds of messages ‘home’ which haven’t been answered. He again leaves the station against Gertie’s strong advice otherwise, to investigate the communication towers and begins to accept the fact that he may indeed be a clone in a ‘controlled’ environment.
This film has a few flaws and Sam is not the only one confused, the audience is too, but overall it is worth the price of admission. ~ Stephane von Stephane
7. Matt Gonzalez has a new blog!
Matt wowed the country several years ago when he gave Gavin Newsom a run for his money in the San Francisco mayoral race. On a grassroots campaign budget, he got enough votes to cause a run off election — which was also close enough to cause heavy sweating by the well-funded Newsom’s campaign. Matt is solidly of the people and for the people.
Check out the blog! Contribute! http://asitoughttobe.wordpress.com/
I’m hopeful that you’ll write something for “as it ought to be”…….
8. RECOMMENDED LINKS
This is quite funny what this guy did after his guitar neck was broken by UAL. The video has quite good production value for being done for £90.
9. QUOTES – Famous Last Words
HA, HA! I’M OUTTA’ HERE: Famous people have a knack for being witty when they’re about to die. In his upcoming book, “Morbid Curiosity,” out in October from Perigee, Alan Petrucelli recounts some of their famous last words. Liberace: “It’s beautiful in heaven, Mother. Yes, of course I’ll play the piano for you.” Elvis Presley: “I’m going into the bathroom to read.” James Brown: “I’m going away tonight.” Eugene O’Neill: “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and G*ddam# it! Died in a hotel room.” Tallulah Bankhead: “Codeine, bourbon.” P.T. Barnum: “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?” Oscar Wilde: “Either that wallpaper goes or I do.” Dylan Thomas: “I’ve had eight straight whiskeys, I think that’s the record.” Joan Crawford: “Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me!” Gary Gilmore: “Let’s do it!”
forwarded to us …
“Every dream forgotten is a (potentially precious) experience wasted.” – V.V.
10. FEEDBACK FROM READERS: in answer to “how did you know or find out about RE/Search?”
… through Facebook. I bought two of your books in college in 1995. I’m so glad to see you’re still around!
… saw Breaking Bad – started seach om meth – came into a string of interesting stuff about the dreammachine and are planning building one!
AUGUST 2009 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & other contributors. Newsletter and website powered by http://www.laughingsquid.com.
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