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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
2b: RE/Search Conversations Podcast Series on researchpubs.com or iTunes
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS: V. Vale 60-Photo Show at SF Arts Commission Gallery May 3-August 1, 2017.
4A. OUR PAST LIFE: Books/CDs/DVDs we’ve been given, Experiences, etc.
5. Recommended Links – send us some!
7. Letters from Readers (send some!) from Bana
8. Sponsors (Check ’em out! – they make this newsletter possible!)
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1. Three or four opportunities to meet RE/Search’s V. Vale in person this month!
$ Sat July 15 is a special day: the premiere of an exciting SRL documentary film takes place Sat, July 15 4pm at the Roxie Theater AND Mark Pauline himself (SRL founder) and Steve Bage (film director) will appear in person to answer questions! Anyone who ever worked on an SRL show or ATTENDED a live SRL show – try to show up! The film captures the excitement that only SRL can generate. Recommended to buy tickets in advance, and you can also watch the trailer for the film:
Artists of the Industrial Scene – Printed in Germany (purple risograph version). We stil have the older color French version! So, we have a Zine in French; 2nd newer zine in German!! 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). $20 plus $5 ship ($10 overseas). If you want the FRENCH version, we still have copies (same price); please specify WHICH LANGUAGE YOU WANT!!!
ZORA BURDEN: What music, literature or art influenced you in your formative years? Will you describe your early bands that led to the formation of the Haters, and what was your intent?
GX: In the late 1970s everyone called Punk “noise”… but it never really seemed all that noisy to me. Why sing about it when you could actually go out and live it? I needed to make a clean break from Punk, and start with a blank slate.
At first, in 1979, the kind of “noise” I was looking for wouldn’t be audible through the ears, but through a “social distortion.” [?!?] My first performances were pretty simple small-scale single actions, but because of people’s reactions to them, over the years the performances became more and more over-the-top.
By the mid-80’s, we were using agitators in the audience to lead everyone to “run ruin.” It didn’t take long before we didn’t need the agitators. By 1990, all we had to do was just show up onstage, and the audience would go nuts!
These really were my celebrations of entropy. Now, I should point out here, that these big total smash-’em-up shows got boring fast. For me, personally. The other performers enjoyed them; audiences loved them; I still get asked to do them. But I just needed to keep moving forward. I’m not trying to make a “statement” with my art; I’m trying to make a journey.
ZB: After people became more familiar with your shows, how difficult was it to find venues to perform? What were some of the unusual places you’ve performed in?
GX: Oh my, yes; in the early years I’d have to leave town a number of times. By the late ’80s I had to leave Denver as I got banned from every venue and campus in Colorado. During the early ’90s, I had to leave San Francisco a few times too—actually, by the late ’90s I stopped doing the big smash-em-up shows because while I had been banned from every alternative space in town…
ZB: You had an issue with venues, and a reputation, yet you played a large number of shows in your lifetime. How were you able to perform so much?
GX: Because what I did was totally honest. I was always honest and everyone knew it. My support base, my fan base, had a much stronger influence than that of the club-owners or other such people.
ZB: Describe some of the most “memorable” shows you had with the Haters. How important was audience participation to your performances?
GX: At the Kennel Club we suspended an ion-gun to charge the entire audience to 5000 volts. The hundred and sixty audience members chased one another giving each other shocks. People were getting up on tables and chairs, reaching towards the high-voltage grid, hoping to get more of a charge to give even bigger shocks to their friends. This ion-gun was designed and built for The Haters by Greg Leyh, the mild-mannered champion of electric-tainment [and a longtime SRL crew member].
I opened up for Con-Dom in Bordeaux, France in ’92. During the performance, this tiny girl kept jumping up on stage and punching me as hard as she could. She kept this up for the whole performance. Luckily for me she didn’t have a lot of upper body strength. Still, by the end of it all, I was really sore.
I got used to being kicked offstage by promoters who didn’t understand what they were getting themselves into by booking me in the first place. The fastest I ever got kicked off the stage was in Boston in ’96. The club staff became so panic-stricken by my set-up that I got kicked out of the club before I even got to do a soundcheck! This, despite a long line of people outside waiting to get in.ZB: What some of the items you’ve used in your performances? When did you start creating your own instruments/tools for shows?GX: Nothing was ever spontaneous. Every show was the outcome of hours (if not days or weeks) of planning.
It all started with rubbing amplified calculators against sandpaper. Some years later, I used amplified electric drills to turn wood into sawdust. Than, by ’91 it was the “clicki-clic”; a hand-held hole-punch mounted with a contact-mic. It made such an oddly happy noise.
One of my dearest SRL colleagues, Brian Normanly, suggested using amplified power grinders to wear stuff down. He said if I was really into entropy, I should just go with the basics. Well, I couldn’t argue with logic like that!
This action would be a recurring motif for me for years. As I moved away from destroying debris en masse to specifically eroding one particular object over a span of time, I experimented with my own type of narrative arc… In a performance piece titled “Mind The Gap” I would use an amplified staple-gun to shatter a stack of LPs. A taller stack was used every time I did the piece.
Then there was “Drunk On Decay” in which a suspended, amplified funnel was allowed to drag and erode on a spinning sandpaper turntable. Every time the piece was performed, the funnel was hanging from something larger or heavier than the time before. Over time the dangling went from being mounted from a shovel to people to motorcycles. The last time my funnel collided with sandpaper, it was from under an elevated truck on top of a repair-shop hoist. I still plan to hang my funnel from under a raised house at some future point!
The most eventful phase in my use of sound in performance came when, instead of amplifying common tools, I started having my own costume devices built that were made solely for the purpose of making noise. By the late 1990’s I became obsessed with the idea of a contrast between what the sound was, and how the sound was made. Juxtaposition as narrative.
At the first annual San Francisco Bay Area Harsh Noise Festival in 2004, I had taken an old record player and replaced the cartridge and arm with an amplified toy shovel. Instead of playing records, the shovel would drag against the bare turntable. That night Emil Beaulieau named it “The Spinner Spade.” Plumes of smoke were expelled from the speakers as my Spinner Spade discharged a deafening, full-spectrum noise…
Since then I’ve made a number of different Spinner Spades in all shapes and sizes. Each Spinner was just that much noisier than the one before.
Perhaps the only project of mine that is really, entirely sound-based is a piece I first performed in 2003. I had asked myself: if sound could have a psychic weight, what would it be? I did some research, but I decided the answer probably had little to do with measurement.
In this piece, entitled “Audiothecary,” amplified balance scales are used as a performance-based utility for finding the weight of sound. The scales’ beam with both of its two pans at either end are all wired to function as one large microphone. Any slight touch, even breathing on them, would produce a very substantial noise.
After 2010, I was doing a performance piece entitled “Loud Luggage / Booming Baggage.” Mainly, we operated amplified suitcases, shaking and banging them about till the luggage eventually broke.
More recently I perform with my Pump-Powered Permawave, which is a pump-activated synthesizer built to resemble a vintage suitcase. I pump away and it makes this deep low-end pulse.
At this point, now in 2017, I do a piece I call the “Totimorphous Ubiety Guide” (or TUG). I built this hand-held analog device out of old camera parts. It requires two people to operate. While I handle the controls, my wife Jessica King pulls and pushes on the machine’s rigid side-spring. Each tug affects the sound produced, with the end result being a slow pulse.
You can get a pretty good idea of what a lot of these shows are like by seeing the video excerpts I’ve posted on my YouTube channel, In particular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKK2K-zMFbI
[Part Two will appear in the next RE/Search newsletter]
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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.
Please send us feedback if you listen to these podcasts so we’ll know someone out there is listening!!
And for the Thorsten Schutte podcast [director of Frank Zappa documentary “Eat That Question” go to: http://www.researchpubs.com/2016/07/research-conversations-8-thorsten-schutte/
3. FORTHCOMING EVENTS (San Francisco unless Otherwise Noted)
() S.F. EVENTS to Check Out Regularly: Long Now Foundation. Hypnodrome/Thrill Peddlars now R.I.P. (they need a new space; can you help?!?). Goethe Institute. The List (Punk Rock). Dorkbot. Bottom of the Hill. INdependent. Thee Parkside. The Chapel. Brick & Mortar. ATA Gallery (last “underground” film place?). Mule Gallery. The Lab under Dena Beard. Southern Exposure Gallery under Patricia Maloney. Mule Gallery.
5. LINKS (Send Us Some!)
7. LETTERS FROM READERS:
Just saying hello. Been busy living in Portland. I’m not much of a traveler these days, but I may visit San Francisco for the first time in 10 years.
Anyhoo, I just stumbled across a very old web page while researching Mole Magazine from 1983. I didn’t know that you were still publishing. I rarely feel the desire to be wealthy, but perusing your catalog has produced lustful consumer feelings. I wish I could buy everything that you have listed.
Just yesterday I was researching Patti Smith’s Hanuman book, Wool Gatherings. I came across an old book auction page that documented an old sale of a collection of the first 50 Hanuman books. It sold for $600. I would (if I could) drop that in a second for that collection. Years back, I was at a reading where Bob Flanagan read from Fuck Journals. I didn’t buy his book that evening. I never had a second chance to buy it.
What I really wanted to express is how much I miss Ballard. Losing him and Burroughs were both very sad for me. I never knew how close the you were to Ballard. Years back I attended a reading in New York. He spoke very highly of you. I am so impressed by how many wonderful things you have put together for Ballard. I have met very few people who loved Ballard as much as me.
I’m still completely obsessed with magazines. I am mostly interested in 19th Century United States publications. I do collect some contemporary magazines. Excluding film-oriented magazines, the only other contemporary titles that I seriously collect is Coast Magazine from the 1970s and Cavalier from the 1960s. It seems like nearly everyone wrote for Cavalier in the late 1960s. I also recently discovered that Kerouac and Paul Bowles were published in Holiday Magazine.”—Seth from Factsheet Five
I told you about the Joseph Von Sternberg movie, Anatahan, at the Berkeley Book Festival last Saturday. I really enjoyed talking to you and reading and enjoying my copy of Incredibly Strange Films. Like all your publications, it’s fascinating. About getting a copy of the movie:
Here is the URL for the catalog page at Movies Unlimited. It’s $22.49 for the DVD and a couple of dollars more for Blueray.
You might be able to borrow in from a local library, Stanford, UC Berkeley and San Francisco Public all have copies. They even have it in VHS UCLA has a copy of the film itself
This Worldcat page
http://tinyurl.com/y855wr7b lists library holdings for the entire world.
I read the book, Anatahan, by Michiro Maruyama who was one of the Japanese soldiers/survivors. It was pretty interesting. There was also a novel, Cage on the Sea (1998) written by Kaoru Ohno based on the same events.
There was a second movie based on the Anatahan events made in Japan in 2010 called Tokyo-jima. Here is the sparse IMDB entry for that
Wikipedia entry for Anatahan.
A couple of other Internet entries:
http://tinyurl.com/yblcfl87 Again, I enjoyed meeting you and our conversation.
Sincerely, John Ca–“
() from Ed H: “This long-anticipated book (A Life in Art: The Dream Colony, intro by Ed Ruscha) details the amazing life of Walter Hopps (1932-2005). An unorthodox visionary genius, Walter shaped late 20th century art with unique energy, humor, and brilliance. The text is in his own words and includes a detailed chronology by his widow, Caroline Huber.
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3. “Hicks Metal Design & Production: Supporting creativity in the Bay Area since 1994” (x4-30-18)
JUNE-JULY 2017 RE/Search eNewsletter #161 written by V. Vale & other contributors. RE/Search website poweredbyhttp://www.laughingsquid.com. Add us (“firstname.lastname@example.org“) to Your Address Book++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Physical Address since May 1979: RE/SEARCH | 20 Romolo #B | San Francisco CA 94133-4041 | 415.362.1465 http://www.researchpubs.com | http://www.myspace.com/researchpubs | email@example.com facebook: “RE/Search Fan Page” twitter: @valeRESearch Instagram: Vale_Research