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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1A: EDITORIAL: Baltimore Zine Fest Review by V. Vale
4. OUR PAST LIFE: Books we’ve been given, etc.
5. Recommended Links – send us some!
7. Letters from Readers (send some!)
8. Sponsors (Check ’em out! – they make this newsletter possible!)
But more than all of this, an absolute dedication to freedom of speech and self-expression is crucial to me. People like Burroughs fought for those rights, and as writers and artists we should never forget that.
I could stand up in a room and talk to the power and influence of Burroughs’s techniques and ideas, and the ideas of Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville and so on. But people come to the work themselves. I’m not sure about the context of advising people, I mean I wouldn’t advise somebody on how to apply Burroughs to their artistic practice if they didn’t ask, but then if they did ask then they’d already know.
But generally, I would say to anyone: go read the books and the cut-up texts, go and try that process, go and f*ck around with writing and see what happens. Not just cut-ups but permutations, stream-of-consciousness, and so on. I would also say things such as: keep notes of ideas, dream diaries; doodle, take pictures, record sounds that you like. Never stop thinking about your creative practice, read widely, search for what you need, pursue your obsessions. The lesson, if there is one, is to doggedly pursue your creative practice and do not give up. For me personally, Burroughs, and also those around him were all great innovators, and that’s inspirational, but I think that it’s an inaugural moment not a finale or closure.
In terms of specific writing exercises, I recently wrote a series of texts every night as the last thing before I went to sleep, for ten nights – this is after a day of working or writing or whatever already, and it didn’t matter if I was sober or drunk, tired or still energised – the fundamental idea was utterly simple: they had to be obscene. It was an interesting experiment and experience. Just trying to get my thinking into a different space, you know!
Q: What period of his life do you think was most productive in regards to output or quality of his work, and did the demographics play a part in this? How did his work, in the different countries he lived in, vary?
A: I’m not sure you can measure productivity or quality, and I don’t really recognise these as actual criteria. For example, I love the volumes of Burroughs’s letters, and these were written simply as personal communication to his friends and they were published posthumously, so can they be included in his output? What about his photographs, which as far as I know were only recently exhibited—can we count those? His recordings are incredible, and to me a CD like his Real English Tea is essential, yet it wasn’t necessarily created as art to be released, nor was it released in his lifetime, so can we count that in his output?
And as to quality, I have revisited various artworks and get more from them the second time around… does that mean that the quality wasn’t there originally? Or does it mean that I found something else that spoke to me the second time? With many artists the way things are interpreted changes over time. The ability of many people to decode or read the work changes. Look at Van Gogh: here was a painter who was a total outsider and he had nothing, but he relentlessly pursued his aesthetic vision. Now he’s popularly recognized as supposedly one of the greatest painters of all time and you can buy copies of his works on postcards. The work didn’t change, the audience did.
Q: How did his work with “Orgone” [theory] aid him during his life, with illnesses or his addictions? What made him so fascinated with Wilhelm Reich? Do you believe or use “orgone” yourself?
A: I think William Burroughs had an incredible ability to search out neglected ideas, unusual science and so on. I write in the book of how he went searching for Yage. Nowadays it may be more common for people to travel, but the world is a different place today; now people travel with credit cards and the limitless ability to contact people via cybercafés. But to decide to go and search for a psychotropic plant way off the beaten track in 1953—that strikes me as an incredible thing to do.
As far as I can see, he was at various times as focused on scrying techniques as he was on target practice. So, I think orgone was part of this continuum of searching out ideas that were unique, that perhaps challenge prevailing orthodoxies and so on.
As to my own experiences with orgone, I have a friend who has been documenting experiments growing plants with orgonite, but I haven’t spent time sitting in boxes or whatever. I was recently at the Wellcome Trust, one of the best museums in London, and they had an exhibition on Sexology with an orgone box and people were able to sit in it, although the time people were spending in it and the number waiting prohibited my taking part.
Q: What facts about Burroughs have you discovered that many might not know about him during your research? About either him or any unpublished works?
A: I think I have certain specific obsessions, and they have developed over the years. My readings are probably informed by those obsessions and I think my writing would probably reflect that. As I said, I am not a biographer, so I don’t approach projects as a way to search for specific new biographical facts, but as a writer I like to share my ideas and my understandings and in this case my interests, readings, obsessions and ideas. This all said, I think few have made all the connections that I do or read in the way I do, so I think there’s new things in my work, new connections, new ways to consider things, but there’s not any new stories of his life or anything like that.
Q: Will you talk about how certain subcultures and their creative output like TOPY [Temple of Psychic Youth] was inspired by Burroughs?
A: In part coming of age listening to Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza and so on… basically industrial music and No Wave defined my tastes. So, I really entered Burroughs via post-punk… and to me his ideas of sound, cut-ups, infrasound, and so on, all informed the mise-en-scène of first wave industrial music. The fact that he really found an audience in post-punk and punk showed some aesthetic lineage.
In Against Control – when I look at the records released around Burroughs – I mention the releases by Giorno Poetry Systems, and I think you can really see some shared ideas about the nature of communication amongst the artists there. It’s telling to me that so many of the musicians and bands that are on those records emerged from punk and industrial music.
Q: How do you hope your book will inspire or affect its readers?
A: That is a really intriguing question, and I am really unsure how to answer it. I suppose that I would like people to read it and enjoy it, but also that they get something from it, whether an urge to listen to a Burroughs recording or the desire to explore some of the areas I touch upon more fully. I’m a writer, so I hope people may appreciate a turn of phrase or a line in the book, but I also deal primarily in nonfiction so I hope people will be stimulated by my interpretations of things and my own—for want of a better term—intellectual ideas.
But this book—indeed perhaps any published work—is also a group activity in some way, and I hope that people like the artwork and the whole look of the book. Physical books really matter to me, and this book is very physical, it’s not a damned e-book, you know? So, I find Dan Wininger’s beautiful cover to be absolutely stunning, and I am incredibly flattered that he let the publisher use the picture. So I hope people will read the book and then go and search out his artwork. Likewise I hope readers like the photographs in the book by Lee Ranaldo, Mark Bennett, Barry Hale and Herman Vanaerschot, all of whom provided images that really bring the book to life. There was a very limited edition version of the book too, and that featured a stunning and beautiful print by Belinda Sinclair, and again, I hope people get turned on to her work.
I like it when people come up to me and say they enjoyed something I wrote and how it nailed something for them, or affected them profoundly. Of course, maybe that is also insane and probably a little arrogant. Really, I’m just hoping somebody looks at it.—Jack Sargeant
From Publisher: http://eightmillimetres.bigcartel.com/product/against-control
From Last Gasp: http://www.lastgasp.com/publisher/Eight+Millimitres/
() We offer a 2nd printing of the 64-page MONTE CAZAZZA zine. Price just $12 (plus $5 shipping; just PayPal $17 to: email@example.com). Monte Cazazza is one of the big mysteries in the RE/Search canon, and we think it is a miracle he has survived to this day, integrity more-or-less intact! NOTE: Overseas orders $10 SHIPPING (total $22). CALIF residents add 8.75% tax ($2.19 tax, total $19.19).
Our intern asked us what we consider to be “must-read” books written by artists. Here’s our list so far. This is just a start. Have something to add? Write us! firstname.lastname@example.org
() #1 is Dialogues with Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne
() #1 is THE JOB (hey, WSB is an “artist”) by Daniel Odier
() I liked Man Ray’s autobiography (Self-Portrait)?
() I liked Andre Breton’s NADJA
() I liked Leonora Carrington’s “bio” but can’t find my copy for exact title!
() The Lives of Lee Miller
() My Last Sigh by Luis Bunuel
() Shock Value by John Waters
() The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
() Popism by Andy Warhol
() The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (maybe not an essential, but it’s …. !)
() someone loaned me the new Leonora Carrington hardback published by Irish Museum of Art – wow!
The Counter Culture Hour (aka RE/SEARCH TV) is also simulcast ON-LINE as well as on cable access San Francisco Channel 29 — 6pm Pacific Time, Sat July 11, 2015. – see this link at broadcast time: http://www.bavc.org/channel29 You need a fairly decent internet connection and computer to “get it.” USA west coast: 6:00 PM Sat July 11, 2015 USA; east coast: 9:00 PM Sat July 11, 2015. Tokyo: 10:00 AM Sunday, June 12, 2015 If you cannot get this online email us at email@example.com See RE/Search channel on youtube: “researchpubs”
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS (San Francisco unless Otherwise Noted)
4. OUR PAST LIFE: What We’ve Attended or WANTED to Attend/What We’ve Been Reading/Seeing/Listening to/What We’ve Been Sent/Given, or Seen
Other things, while I’m at it:
- Check out this video about a gay adventure I had in Uganda.
- We’re launching an online mischief school! Now taking applications (seriously).
- We’ve already launched this platform, that anyone can use to propose or hop on a creative project around an issue they care about.
- If you want to keep getting occasional updates on Yes Men matters, make sure to sign up here if you haven’t already. Onwards,
Andy Bichlbaum, aka Jacques Servin (or maybe the other way around)
“Now that the Patriot Act is discontinued, the CIA will only waterboard people who *really* deserve it.. Freedom, Achieved! -Marc P”
“PS: This 70-year-old dude loves your mag. I lived in San Francisco on Cole Street during the Old Fillmore days, learning how to drill, fill and bill (but never finished dental school, thank Goddess). It was a trip, with Ron Thelin’s Psychedelic Shop and all that–never got ripped off buying lids there in ’66 either, unlike in the Fairfax in LA !!! I live in Santa Monica now. Canter’s after hours is STILL the place to be.” —(anon.)
“The coolest part of reading it–just goes to show how cool SF “still is” to have Jello comment on such a milestone. So refreshing because it’s just when you thought your neighborhood got leveled and “google-fied” beyond repair. Someone is still letting the local punk publicly have his tirade? Awesome!!
“Interesting fact to Jello’s “”trillion dollar” light show” comment is that it is by the group known as “Obscura“… a friend of mine, Ben Stokes—usually the brainchild behind it all but really it takes a micro army of visual geniuses with a gazillion hours in front of a computer with very little sleep to make the most brilliant cutting edge visual shows you or anyone will ever see. (Ben is the guy who invented that stop motion spin around technique you see on The Howard Stern Show-however, not so $$ savvy as the guy who went out copied and patented his idea! But Ben is the true genius behind the invention so he keep forging on with new ideas) Anyway, they are a Visual Art Collective from Chicago and when Ben decided to move out to San Francisco—they all panicked and followed. It’s probably one of the last successful artistic group migrations to SF able to achieve this. They too agree it would be impossible to move to current day SF rent/buy insanity.
“To see the insane Video they put together for City Hall see the 2 parts here:
“Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lYvkWjZ1As
“Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAzx4dAji-U Hope you enjoy! All the best intentions, always, – Lisa H”
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1. BEYOND BAROQUE: Only bookstore in L.A. with a complete stock of RE/SEARCH BOOKS! Please patronize them… (Also, some titles at The Pop-Hop in L.A.)
V. Vale’s RE/Search Newsletter is cordially sponsored by “Beyond the Beyond.” http://archive.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond
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7. Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company – Penelope Rosemont, Chicago Surrealist Group founder. (x5/31/15)
8. realvalueproductions.com a San Francisco music production company creates innovative/original music for YOUR films/videos: CD’s, mp3 downloads, studio session work, soundtracks by ‘Sound Behavior Troupe’—experienced Bay Area musicians (x6/30/15)