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V. Vale’s RE/Search Newsletter #152, June-July 2016

WELCOME TO V. VALE’s RE/SEARCH NEWSLETTER #152, JUNE-JULY 2016 Add Us to Your Address Book! You are Receiving this Email because You or Someone You know Signed Up. Scroll to the Bottom of this Email to UNSUBSCRIBE. Are you receiving this newsletter (annoyingly) TWICE? PLEASE tell us which address to delete.

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Physical address since 1979: RE/SEARCH | 20 Romolo #B | San Francisco CA 94133-4041 | 415.362.1465 | |

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SPECIAL REQUEST: At your local library, please ask the librarian to order all of the RE/SEARCH books!


1A: Guest film reviews: “Eat That Question” and “Neon Demon”
1B. Zora Burden interviews Ann Magnuson Part 2 (of 3)
1C. New Industrial Culture zine + poster available!
2. The Counter Culture Hour: every Saturday 4:30pm Pacific Time
2b: RE/Search Conversations Podcast Series: New Podcast!
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS: Send Us Suggestions!…
4. OUR PAST LIFE: Books/CDs 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!)
————–please add to your WHITE LIST in your email preferences, or to your ADDRESS BOOK. If you change your email, send it plus your “old” email address to delete. Lastly, forward our newsletter to your friends! If you are on AOL, please make sure you can receive our newsletter—we get the most returns from addresses at AOL, Hotmail, Comcast and Yahoo! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1A. Film Review by Sandra Derian of The Neon Demon, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (2016)

The Neon Demon follows a sweet, stunning “it” girl on the Runway To Hell. Jesse is a teenager, just barely sixteen, with unusually perfect skin of a snowy-pale hue. Jesse has “it.” The perfect beauty.

The Neon Demon is a non-commercial indie film that takes us through a slow-paced, voyeuristic story set in L.A., with stark, shallow characters who play a part in the insanity known as the fashion industry. Each narcissist is eager to devour the new competition; the new photographer and designer’s muse. Refn shows us how the fashion industry exploits a model to the fullest, cutting down an innocent beauty through a depiction of inhumane hunger and lust for the flesh. The Neon Demon exists in a world in which everyone is insensitive towards each other for their own gain.

Refn’s heavy amount of foreshadowing in the opening scenes of The Neon Demon is nuanced by strobe lighting and mirror pools of oozing blood. Jesse (Elle Fanning) stays in a rundown motel with unexplained crime-scene tape. Oddly, as shown in the film’s trailer, her room gets an unexpected visit from a mountain lion with its prey. Perhaps it’s a little too “on the nose,” but not terribly obvious to teenage filmgoers.

If you were a fan of Drive (2011), adjust your expectations for a more art-influenced film by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. Drive was heavily compared to works by numerous authors, including J.G. Ballard. While The Neon Demon could be inspired by the teenager-fantasy-driven horror films, there are other influences at play, such as Refn’s love for Los Angeles, unexpected bursts of gratuitous violence, and his futuristic imagination. Some of the writing is reminiscent of Ballard’s perversity and psychopathology depicted in, e.g., The Atrocity Exhibition and Super-Cannes.

Characters declare, “Beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” “Plastics is just good grooming.” “People believe what they are told.” “I can make money off pretty.” J.G. Ballard once told someone in a letter, “The greatest special effect is a woman walking into a room and taking her clothes off.” Refn’s restraint to not do the obvious, is actually rare. There’s plenty of tension as Jesse realizes she has to remove her clothes for a photographer she just met. In The Neon Demon, model Sarah (Abbey Lee) asks Jesse, “What’s it feel like—you walk into a room, it’s like in the middle of winter, and you’re the sun?” Jesse replies, “It’s everything.”

Banal moments include the mentioning of names of lipsticks that are food and sex phrases, while other models question Jesse about her sex life. A more entertaining fly-on-the-wall scene occurs when the casting agent coldly dismisses an aspiring model in the waiting room before they’ve even started an interview.

Fanning may be breathtaking to watch, however. The film’s scintillating psychotic character to admire is Ruby (Jena Malone), the make-up artist. Ruby gloms onto the famous, but to what end? Not surprisingly, she is just as equally comfortable putting make-up on corpses as she is with working on actual living models—who ironically are dead inside. Ruby wants you to believe she’ll be there for you, but her game is selfish. In the fashion industry, unless you play the game, you are going to succumb to its horrors. When the characters arrive at the drained swimming pool of an empty mansion—well, as Ballard said, “…the drained pool and abandoned hotel stand for psychological zero.”

Not to be forgotten are some of the behind-the-scenes independent film artists who are responsible for the film’s production design (Elliott Hostetter) and cinematography (Natasha Braier). The overall strength of The Neon Demon is its minimalism, with lustrous textures that bring out the dark, bloody, and gritty subtext. It is important that you don’t seek meaning or a purpose in the film, but let it be experienced as an art piece provoking a discussion on narcissism, in commercial media or so-called “reality” culture.—written by Sandra Derian

1A. Film Review: Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words directed by Thorsten Schutte (2016)
Review by Marian Wallace

There is never a dull moment watching Frank Zappa, from age approximately 14 to just before his all-too-early death at 52.

“Eat That Question” shows that Frank Zappa was not only a self-taught musical prodigy—while also fun, topical, and “real”—but he was a straight and obsessive genius with Integrity. It is a wonderful thing to see him interact with the senate hearings committee on censorship (which was spearheaded by Tipper Gore) inviting the straight-laced, woman-senator-questioner (forgot her name) to “come by the house” if she wanted to see what kinds of toys his children played with. Besides her being foiled by Zappa’s unorthodox answers and trying in vain to remain “in character” as the “pro-censorship” hearings unfolded, she was obviously charmed by Zappa, and stated that she “might just do that” [i.e., go check out his children’s toys].

Early in the film, Zappa explains to one interviewer, in a non-hyperbolic way, why he is against the status-quo music business. It is then illustrated by many and miscellanous Zappa footage/interviews/performances how: over the years he goes on to make his own success, remaining true to his vision. Later he needs to explain to an interviewer that he just wanted to spend some of the money he had earned, to hire a British orchestra and a California conductor to actually play some of the music he had written in notation over the years, but had never heard. He did not do this expecting to make money, but rather to spend money. Although he would make the results available to purchase in case anyone wanted it.

This is a fantastic collection of Zappa interviews and performances from over the years: tapings from USA and all over Europe, painstakingly collected by Schutte in his travels to various TV stations world-wide. The earliest appearance was a teenaged Zappa on the Steve Allen Show, orchestrating a noise piece utilizing the Steve Allen Show Band, electronic-taped random input, and Frank and Steve playing bicycle wheels. (The band was directed to play whatever and whenever they wanted, but to avoid actual musical tones.)

This is a MUST SEE for all music fans; anti-censorship believers; jazz, rock, free-form & noise musicians; and anyone who wants to spend an enjoyable and enlightening 90 minutes being totally entertained. It had the full support of the whole Zappa clan, who are lovingly and colorfully mentioned but do not appear in the film.—by M. Wallace

Embarcadero Cinema, San Francisco
Shattuck Cinema, Berkeley
Camera Cinema, San Jose
July 8 Century 16 Landmark Aquarius Twin in Palo alto
AND Century 16 in Pleasant Hill

1B. Zora Burden interviews Ann Magnuson, Part 2 (of 3 parts; see May Newsletter for Part 1):

ZB: Which of the characters you’ve performed as (inspired by archetypes) were your favorite?

AM: Probably the best character I ever played was Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker—I was sixteen! … for the Kanawha Players, a local community theater in my hometown. Decades later, in my fifties, I played the title character of “Liz” in Amy and David Sedaris’s play The Book of Liz. I was in the L.A. premiere of the play several years ago. Both are about the quintessential hero’s journey. Helen Keller finds her way out of the darkness with the help of a teacher who literally helps her find her “voice”… a way to communicate and express what has up to that point been denied her.

I also liked playing Miriam, a home-shopping-club hostess who has a breakdown/ breakthrough in an independent movie called Woman’s Picture, made by Memphis-based filmmaker Brian Pera. Miriam is being phased out of her job due to ageism. Her mother is dying. She finally comes to terms with the fact that her relationship sucks; it all comes crashing down… which allows her to throw off her false self and be open to a new path towards what Jung would call “individuation.” It’s not unlike Dante’s journey through the underworld. In fact, I did a show in 1981 at The Kitchen called After Dante that was this exact thing—although I knew nothing of Carl Jung at the time. But all of us have these archetypes in us, and all of us must take that hero’s journey in our own unique ways.

ZB: That is an important reason why I work with the Tarot. The major arcana illustrate the Tree of Life, the Fool’s Journey, and the passage through the Dark Night of the Soul. I see artists as beacons—the stars who lead us through this journey and out of the darkness. They illuminate the world with revelations, the way you work with satire as a form of illumination—

AM: I am so into the Tree of Life—the Scandinavian version. Every now and then I google images for Yggdrasil—damn, those images are so cool! “The Well of Urd,” baby! Yes, I agree: artists are usually the ones whose journeys are in blazing technicolor—which help those who see in black-and-white… or in only black or white! Artists have the high-powered flashlights—often embedded in their heads! The more anguished the artist, the brighter the light… although the batteries may die out sooner. But I think everyone takes the journey in their own way… artists are simply more colorful. And they are, more often than not, the stand-ins, the sacrificial lambs, the piñatas which have to be smashed so the populace can get the candy!

ZB: This responsibility on the artist to illuminate society is a heavy one, so many self-medicate to cope… and this can lead to their demise. Artists and musicians are hyper-sensitive—more aware than the average person; they feel more… a good artist has to learn how to be a good escape artist, too—

AM: Indeed! Even though his reasons were probably health-related, I found Bowie’s reclusiveness very inspiring. That he managed to carve out a sober private life for himself—after the madness of the seventies and eighties—and he could continue to create, but in a very private way…a very wise move. I guess he went from Cosmic Man archetype to Wise Old Man archetype? Our culture, and certainly the youth-obsessed social media/blog/internet culture, does not value Wise Old anything. But I sure do!

So Bowie’s latter years end up inspiring me just as much, if not more, than the early ones… actually, much more. I liked that last song “Lazarus” (and the video for it) more than almost anything he’d ever done—certainly within the last few decades. It wasn’t mired in obfuscation; I felt the masks had all been dropped and he was letting us in deeper than he ever had before. Or could.

ZB: The Hermit as the Wise Old Man archetype is incredibly important during our journey—the Fool’s Journey—

AM: Ah yes—the Hermit… I’m totally digging my inner Hermit! And the Fool’s Journey: boy, does that ever sum up my life! [laughs] But every Fool is a Hero and every Hero a Fool, right?

However, it’s the Magician I’m most keenly interested in manifesting more of… and the Goddess! The Magician-Goddess… and certainly Magician-Goddesses like Patti Smith, Diamanda Galas and Isadora Duncan (and Bowie too, at his most androgynous) who have lit the pathway. Both are roles I hope to do justice to—

ZB: That is why the Alchemical Wedding (in Spiritual Alchemy) is so fascinating to me—this melding of the masculine and feminine within us—to create wholeness… what Jung called the “individuation” process that results in integration, the perfect Third Being/Mind—

AM: Well, Bowie certainly did that: melded the feminine and masculine. Patti Smith does that, too. Actually, many unsung artists do. Antony, now Anohni. It was fascinating how the dolls in AMDPT took on different archetypes (which I guess were just aspects of my personality) quite by accident, although Jung said that nothing is accidental. By simply naming them and giving them particular voices, they suddenly become the Waif/Orphan, the Mother, the Lover, the Sage, the Magician, the Warrior. I think anyone whose personal history involves any kind of trauma will bring out the Warrior, favoring an aggressiveness usually associated with masculinity. I’m seeing Diana with her bow and arrow, Athena with her spear and shield, the Valkyries…

ZB: Which characters you performed as were based on the Warrior archetype? Female Warrior archetypes are greatly missing in society—

AM: Well, I’ve played more “bitch boss lady” characters on TV and movies than I would care to name. Women of authority are too often portrayed in the mainstream entertainment world as Medusas… or Ice Queens. I’ve riffed on that subject in many of my performances, and in an essay or two.

That’s why I loved playing “Liz” in the Sedaris’s play: she was more of the Innocent archetype who escapes her oppressive community. She is an Amish-type woman the Sedarises hilariously called the Squeamish, entering the outside world where she learns how to be autonomous… to break free of her old roles, and individuate as a whole person. She, like Helen Keller, learns a new language that lets her express her true inner self… the classic Jungian Hero’s Journey as told through the brilliant Sedaris Mind!

I used Giulietta Masina’s character from La Strada as the guiding spirit of the character. I loved that role; it’s a great, fully-realized older woman’s part… right up there with Mother Courage [Brecht]. The character I played in Woman’s Picture is definitely a Warrior Woman archetype. I saw even the most “bitchy boss” roles I was asked to play as the Warrior archetype. I created elaborate backstories for every one of them; they all had a lot to overcome. Of course, the end result or final cut may not have shown all or even any of those subtle shadings, but at least I had a foundation of something that resembled integrity to stand on when I had to report to set. Woman’s Picture was definitely one of the good projects. Brian Pera is a very smart guy. He was doing a contemporary riff on women’s pictures from the 1940s and ’50s, with some of Fassbinder thrown in. Douglas Sirk, of course, was the king—

ZB: Fellini was a master at depicting archetypes—

AM: Yes, he was!

Alfred Jarry was an early hero of mine; I discovered him in college, as so many young thespians do. I love his quote, “Clichés are the armature of the Absolute.” I had that quote on the program for the After Dante show at The Kitchen which I did in 1981, along with an etching of a set from an old medieval morality play.

Giulietta Masina is my spirit animal! Nights of Cabiria saved my life; I saw it during a very low period. I have never sobbed so hard than I did when watching the end of that film for the first time. If she could smile and laugh through her tears while joining that parade of revelers at the end, then so could I! Again: the Hero’s Journey. Every story is about it!
PART THREE will appear in the August Newsletter…
Here’s the link for her whole website-
Here’s the link for the pre-sales of her CD coming out mid May
Here’s the link for her Puppet Theater trailer
Again, PART THREE will appear in the August Newsletter…

1C. New Industrial Culture zine + poster

() Artists of the Industrial Scene – NEW! Zine in French and English! Interviews with Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle/ Psychic TV), Mark Pauline (Survival Research Laboratories), Johanna Went, Jim Thirlwell (foetus), Ryoichi Kurokawa, Ilpo Väisänen and Mika Vainio (Pan Sonic), Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle), Graeme Revell (SPK), Naut Humon (Rhythm & Noise), Gerald V. Casale (DEVO).
() Poster from Paris show! 2 versions! With Monte Cazazza image! Check it out!
AND a 2-sided deluxe version!

2. Counter Culture Hour – every Saturday 4:30pm Pacific Time Watch for it this month as Channel 29 re-airs our shows frequently.

The Counter Culture Hour (aka RE/SEARCH TV) is also simulcast ON-LINE as well as on cable access San Francisco Channel 29 — 4:30pm Pacific Time, now EVERY Saturday! – see this link at broadcast time: You need a fairly decent internet connection and computer to “get it.” USA west coast: 4:30 PM Sat west coast; east coast: 7:30 PM Sat; Tokyo: 8:30 AM Sun, If you cannot get this online email us at See RE/Search channel on youtube: “researchpubs”

2b. RE/Search Conversations: podcast series

Most of us are too busy to sit down and watch a “TV show,” so now you can listen to some of the conversations that happen around the table at the RE/Search office. For Daniel Miller Part 1 go to:
For Jarett Kobek’s podcast-visit as well as at the Apple podcast ‘store’ (they’re free and available to all who can find them). Here’s the link to the offerings to date (Penny Rimbaud, Rudy Rucker, Lyle Tuttle, and now Parts 1 AND 2 of Daniel Miller!
Please send us feedback if you listen to these podcasts so we’ll know someone out there is listening!!

3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS (San Francisco unless Otherwise Noted)

() $ – our favorite local Grand Guignol Theatre Company at the Hypnodrome – support live local theatre!

() Support the Roxie Theater: great programming EVERY NIGHT (our opinion). Also support the Castro Theater! A beautiful Film Palace!

() S.F. EVENTS to Check Out Regularly: Long Now Foundation. Goethe Institute. The List (Punk Rock). Dorkbot. Bottom of the Hill. INdependent. Thee Parkside. The Chapel. Brick & Mortar. ATA Gallery (last “underground” film place?). The Lab under Dena Beard. Southern Exposure Gallery under Patricia Maloney. Mule Gallery.

() FREE [BERKELEY] Wed July 6, 7pm at Pegasus Bookstore, 2349 Shattuck/Durant St. Winston Smith & V. Vale talk. 510-649-1320.

() $ Space Cowboys’ 20th Anniversary show, Friday July 8, Public Works, 161 Erie St, SF

() $ July 1-31, Hong Kong Action films at Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson St, SF – part of SF INDIEFEST

() FREE? Wed Nov 3-Sat Nov 12, 2016 Dada World Fair 2016 at City Lights Bookstore (Plan ahead to come to San Francisco!)

() NY MOMA – very extensive Bruce Conner retrospective! Don’t miss if you’re in NYC!! Also in NYC Nov 20-March 19, 2017: the Francis Picabia Retrospective.

() $ Sat 7/30 film: “Wim Wenders: Portraits Along the Road” BAMPFA, Berkeley. Check BAMPFA website – other Wenders films are playing RIGHT NOW!

() Wed Jul 13, 7pm DorkbotSF @ Monument, 140 9th St – RE/Search will have a table; come hang out with us!

() $ Thur Jul 14, 8pm, at the Cat Club, 1190 Folsom/8th-7th Sts, SF – RE/Search will have a book table; come hang out with us! Meet David J, DJ (Bauhaus founder; writer of the classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”).

() FREE Fri-Sat-Sun Jul 22-24, all day – The first San Francisco Art Book Fair – RE/Search will have a table – come meet us! at Minnesota Street Projects, 1275 Minnesota St/24th St near 3rd Street.

() $ July 23-31 Japan Film Festival at New People Cinema, Post St, Japantown, SF

() NOTE: RE/Search would like to thank Cherri Lakey & Brian for providing a last-minute table at the Friday, June 3, 2016 SubZero Festival—great fun!

() NOTE: RE/Search was in Europe and missed Mark Pauline’s talk at Minnesota St. Projects in May… However, in Berlin we met up with Kal Spelletich and Andrew Chudy from Neubauten at our Artists of the Industrial Scene 80-minute Film Show at Otomoto, a great place…

4. OUR PAST LIFE: What We’ve Received, Liked, Experienced:

() “Supra Markt – How to Frack the Fatal Forces of the Capitalocene” from Irene Publishing, Sweden

() “Embedded Art – Art in the Name of Security” from Argobooks

() “EU Women” from Veronique Bourgoin’s Workshop Alelier Reflexe in Paris – beautiful photos

() “Pure Fyction” and “Dysfyction” from Mark von Schlegell’s class at the Städelschule, Frankfurt

() “Starlite Compleat” by Mark von Schlegell – science-fiction

() “Willie ou pas Willie” by Veronique Bourgoin – art and text

() Our first book with text in Russian; beautiful haunting photos and art by Juli Susin; spiral binding lays flat, 8.5×11.5″

() “High Rise” book by J.G. Ballard – special movie edition! (given to us by Bea Ballard, signed by her!)

5. LINKS (Send Us Some!)

() from M.H. (don’t forget RE/Search’s “Leary On Drugs”)

() “Art of the Prank” featuring Joey Skaggs! (featured in Pranks! and Pranks 2)


() “Day late. Dime short. Years ahead of my time.” (poem found on the pen)

() “Favorite time of day: Twilight. Favorite time of year: any warm night. Favorite person: one who loves you.”

() “Aim for no separation between art and life. Or science and life, for that matter.”


() “Hi RE/Search, Amazingly huge Bruce Conner show opened today at MOMA—fantastic! Too bad it didn’t happen in his lifetime!!!”—Carrell

() “Vale, I liked your tribute to Charles Gatewood. Seems a bit different with him not here…”—John Held Jr.

() “Isn’t it time to reissue MODERN PRIMITIVES?”—Greg Stafford. [Greg, it’s available in an improved printing on glossy paper for superior photo reproduction, from me!—Vale,]

() “You should do a walking podcast with commentary on Europe as you walk around! Could be interesting”—Robert Patterson, Voyager store

() “Hi V. Vale, Just wanted to thank you for putting together such an excellent newsletter. They’re consistantly high quality but this latest one was especially compelling with the Charles Gatewood editorial, Ann Magnuson interview, letters, and updates on stuff you’ve been up to. I don’t usually read newsletters end to end but yours is an exception. Hope you have a great time in Europe!”—Reid M.

8. **SPONSORS** (Without them you would NOT be receiving this newsletter – Please go to their websites!) Here, a personal thanks to Dave S and to Paul L. And this newsletter would not exist without Andrew B. and Emily.
If you would like to subscribe, we ask for a 6-month minimum of $72. (But, we will take sponsorships @$12/month!)

1. BEYOND BAROQUE: Only bookstore in L.A. with a complete stock of RE/SEARCH BOOKS! Please patronize them… (Also, some RE/Search titles at The Pop-Hop in L.A.; thanks, Rhea Tepp!)
2. Kevin O’Malley+Christie Dames, the High-Heeled Anarchist: TechTalk/Studio: + Commonwealth Club, San Francisco. (x4/31/16)
3. $0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
V. Vale’s RE/Search Newsletter is cordially sponsored by “Beyond the Beyond.” @bruces
Information Wants To Be Free WE MEAN IT MAN!
4. Beverly Potter sent us her newest ultra-fun memoir, Animal House On Acid which includes tales of Punk Rock in Berkeley, specifically the Barrington Hall co-op. Order from: (x7/31/16)
5. Reid Mukai (Cascadia Vape) wants you to know e-cigs and vaping aren’t just about nicotine. He carries vape pens for dry herb/oil concentrates and e-liquids containing CBD and Kava. To learn more, visit (x05/31/16)
6. Flesh and Excess by Jack Sargeant (new book) (x05/31/16)
7. 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 (x1/31/17)
8. Writer Fiona Helmsley at (x11/30/16)
9. Try visiting VOYAGER, 365 Valencia/15th St. Not only did they give RE/Search a pop-up store, they are VERY interesting! Like, almost everything we want, under one roof
10. Paul L. many many thanks!! Also, thanks to Dave S.

JUNE-JULY 2016 RE/Search eNewsletter #152 written by V. Vale & other contributors. RE/Search website poweredby Add us (“”) to Your Address Book
Physical Address since May 1979: RE/SEARCH | 20 Romolo #B | San Francisco CA 94133-4041 | 415.362.1465 | | facebook: “RE/Search Fan Page” twitter: @valeRESearch Instagram: Vale_Research

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