John Holstrom and “resident punk” Legs McNeil of groundbreaking New York City rock and roll zine “Punk” interviewed in 1977 by Stephen Maclean for short-lived Australian music show Flashez.
Holstrom exemplifies New York attitude in his description of the London punk scene. As I remember it, and I remember it well, New York rockers were not nearly as obsessed with the fashion scene as were the British kids. You didn’t see $100 bondage pants with bum flaps in CBGB. It was mostly jeans, t-shirts and leather jackets. In downtown Manhattan you dressed for speed and protection, not style.
In the following video there are a few moments of silence during the photo collage sequences. This is intentional.
You wouldn’t mess with Klaus Kinski. He had a look that said it all - a cross between Iggy Pop and a drug-addled psycho. His mental health had been an issue. In the 1950s, Kinski spent three days in a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. In 1955, having failed to find any work as an actor, he attempted suicide - twice.
By the late 1950s, he had slowly established himself as an actor in Vienna, but the anger, the passions, that fueled his performances meant he was always labeled difficult. To overcome this, Kinski started performing one-man shows, reciting Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Francois Villon.
In the sixties he found some security as a bit player in Spaghetti Westerns such as For a Few Dollars More, but Kinski had an ambitious ego that inspired him to greater, more confrontational things.
In 1971, Kinski hired the Deutschlandhalle to perform his own 30-page interpretation of Jesus Christ. It was no ordinary show, and the audience was a mix of radical students, religious followers and those intrigued to see the “mad man Kinski”. Even then, before his work with Werner Herzog, the public thought of Kinski as either mad man or genius.
Moreover, there was some confusion amongst the audience, who seemed to think Kinski was an evangelist, rather than an actor interpreting a role. This led to constant heckling from the spectators - both the happy-clappy Christians, who thought he was blaspheming; and those on the Left, who though he was soft-soaping Christianity. Kinski was doing neither. His Christ was part Kinski, part Anarchist-Revolutionary, and he repsonded fulsomely to the abuse, as Twitch Film notes:
For example, after someone stated that shouting down people who disagreed with him was unlike Christ, Kinski responded with a different take on how Christ might respond: “No, he didn’t say ‘shut your mouths’, he took a whip and beat them. That’s what he did, you stupid sow!”
In another scene, he brow beats the audience by saying “can’t you see that when someone lectures thirty typewritten pages of text in this way, that you must shut your mouths? If you can’t see that, please let someone bang it into your brain with a hammer!” The evening’s festivities also turned physical as an audience member is shown getting bounced from the stage by a bodyguard. Someone responds that “Kinski just let his bodyguard push a peaceful guy, who only wanted to have a discussion, down the stairs! That is a fascist statement, Kinski is a fascist, a psychopath!”
Kinski continued undaunted:
“I’m not the official Church-Christ, who is accepted by policemen, bankers, judges, executioneers, officers, chruch-heads, politicians and other representatives of the powers that be. - I’m not your super-star!”
The evening was filmed by Peter Geyer, who later assembled the footage together into an incredible documentary film Jesus Christus Erlöser (Jesus Christ Saviour) in 2008. It is a film well worth seeing for Kinski’s powerful, passionate and unforgettable performance, which gives an unflinching insight into the man, the ego and the mad genius that was Klaus Kinski.
What a shitty few days for music. Disco pioneer Nile Rodgers, half of one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriting duos (Chic, along with Bernard Edwards) has announced via his blog that he is currently battling “aggressive” cancer.
Chic are to me what I guess the Beatles are to most other folk - a musical ground zero. Apart from writing the stone-cold classics “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love” “Everybody Dance” and “Good Times” (thus inadvertently kick starting rap music) the Chic Organization also wrote and produced some of their biggest hits for acts like Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Madonna and David Bowie. But they weren’t just gifted songwriters and arrangers - both Rodgers and Edwards are/were incredibly talented musicians that had a huge impact on guitar and bass playing styles of the coming decade.
I was going to do a post about last year’s 4 CD Chic Organization box set on here anyway, but it seems more urgent now as Nile could presumably do with all the money he can get for his treatment. If you have ANY interest in popular music of the last 50 years then you really should look into this, but if you have a particular interest in dance, soul or funk, this is damn indespensable. Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization: Savoir Faire Boxset Vol. 1 contains all the big hits for Chic and others, in full extended 12” format, plus rare material, some unreleased tracks, and a few remix/remasters by French disco guru Dimitri From Paris.
Norma Jean “Saturday” (Dimitri From Paris Remix)
Fonzi Thornton “I Work For A Living” (Nile Rodgers Long Version)
Carly Simon “Why?” (Extended 12” Version)
Chic are one of the very few acts with true cross generational appeal and that are guaranteed to start any party. Rodgers has recently been touring with a revamped line-up of the group, and although he is the only original member left, it’s still an incredible show. Their debut appearance in Ireland, at the Electric Picnic festival in 2009, was probably the best gig I have ever been to. People really didn’t know what to expect, but by the end of the set the tent was filled to capacity and the electrified crowd were literally roaring for more. Nile Rodgers has had a massive influence on modern music, yet he exudes a blissful aura of love and happiness, the true spirit of disco. He is also my namesake, and I wish him a power of health and a speedy recovery.
In 1993, Scottish artist Douglas Gordon exhibited his 24 Hour Psycho, a slowed-down screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film that lasted twenty-four hours. The project contained “many of the important themes in Gordon’s work: recognition and repetition, time and memory, complicity and duplicity, authorship and authenticity, darkness and light.”
In 2005, talented artist Chris Bors created his own version of the film and art work, but this time as 24 Second Psycho.
24 Second Psycho appropriates the entire Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho and condenses it into twenty-four seconds. Tweaking the concept of artist Douglas Gordons 24 Hour Psycho, where Hitchcocks masterpiece was slowed-down to a crawl, here the process is reversed to accommodate society’s increasingly short attention span. Seeing Hitchcocks most lasting contribution to cinema flash before your eyes in a matter of seconds represents our new information age where culture is packaged for easy consumption at a breakneck pace.
Bors work has been exhibited at PS1 MoMA, White Columns, Sixtyseven and Ten in One Gallery in New York, Casino Luxembourg in Luxembourg, and the Videoex Festival in Zurich, Switzerland.
Also over on You Tube, Joe Frese has created a variety of mini masterpieces, including his own Sixty Second Psycho.
Bonus clip Joe Frese’s ‘Sixty Second Psycho’, after the jump…
Well, we know that Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Glenn Beck and their irresponsible, hateful rhetoric had nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with the shooting in Tucson, because… well, they (and Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Michelle Malkin and the rest of the right-wing punditacracy clown parade) told us so. Right? Right??
But what of the people who were actually shot, but survived, or who were eyewitnesses to the tragedy? What do they think? Who do they blame for the sorry state of the toxic political climate that led a complete lunatic like Jared Loughner to seek to inflict his “Second Amendment remedies,” on them, as per the innocent, blameless Sharron Angle?
Well, can’t say it’s much of a shock to report that at least one of the shooting victims, Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran who had campaigned for Gabrielle Giffords in her reelection campaign last Fall, DOES blame Palin, Beck and Angle. Fuller, who was shot in the knee and wounded in the back, told Democracy Now that “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target. Their wish for second amendment activism has been fulfilled.” In remarks Fuller prepared in advance for the interview, he added “Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled—senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic-fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even nine-year-old girls.”
In my book, Mr. Fuller’s opinion holds more water than Palin’s, Beck’s, Angle’s, Limbaugh’s and the whole of the Fox News staff’s (especially Steeve Doocey, who is a blithering idiot) combined. He took a bullet, two, in fact, so he’s got a right to his opinion. He earned it with his own blood. Suck on that, Sarah Palin!
Why are so few people in the media talking about what happened when Glenn Beck decided to make the tiny Tides Foundation into a fearsome component of his “the progressive movement wants to destroy America with their evil Socialism” conspiracy theories last year? It HAS happened already that a mentally unbalanced person has decided to fight the vast-leftwing conspiracy that Beck and others subscribe to and propagate, with violence. Just seven months ago, a bank-robber out on parole, Byron Williams, en route to murder the staff at the Tides Foundation, opened fire on Oakland police with a 9mm handgun, a shotgun and a .308-caliber rifle with armor-piercing bullets. Williams told told authorities that he wanted to foment a revolution by “killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU.” His mother told the San Francisco Chronicle that her son had been watching Fox News and was angered by “the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.” Williams thought that the Tides Foundation was part of a conspiracy in which the BP oil spill was a deliberate act of sabotage masterminded by George Soros and progressives.
(Self-described “progressive hunter,” Williams told a reporter that Beck “blew [his] mind.” Who I am to disagree?)
Where will all of this end? Who knows, but what happens when the people who make a living riling up dumb-ass, poorly-educated white people to hate and fear people who are different than they are or who think differently than they do, face a blowback themselves? Sooner or later, a left-wing crazy probably is gonna come after one of them. It wouldn’t stretch the imagination of anyone to figure that somewhere out there in this vast nation of 300 million people, there is a foaming at the mouth far-left nutcase (or a “radical centrist” for that matter) who feels that what’s really destroying America is assholes like Beck, Palin and Sharron Angle and who thinks killing them is the answer to our nation’s problems.
I have a sickening, sinking feeling that this isn’t the end of this, for lack of a better term, “partisan violence,” but just the warm-up acts. There is something eerily Weimar Republic-esque about the sad state of present day America and it’s extremely disturbing to attempt to draw this type of behavior to its logical conclusions. Before anyone writes in to say that it’s only the right-wing who is using the violent talk, the “reload” nonsense and the brain-damaged conspiracy theories, I get that. I know that. What I’m trying to point out here is that I think the genie is all the way out of the bottle for this type of violence, for them, too.
Even if the right has always been the spiritual home to the racist and cryptofascist fringe, from the KKK to the John Birch Society to today’s Teabaggers, there are crazy people all across the political spectrum. The next time—and there is going to be a next time—it might be a former member of the American middle class who has lost his home or pension who comes gunning after a Republican. The next shooter might come from the ranks of the 99ers. The next cold blooded killer could be a radical environmentalist. The next political assassin might be someone whose child died because their insurance company didn’t pay for a new medical treatment or ...?
This toxic political climate in America today is a direct or indirect consequence of a small number of politicians and pundits on the far right calling those who they disagree with “evil.” Does anyone with half a brain, really dispute that? Then something awful happens, like what happened in Tucson. And then there is more blame. Then the momentum of the bad craziness builds in some lone-wolf lefty lunatic and this energy reemerges with someone on the right getting hurt. And then it will start again. Back and forth, back and forth.
When, not if, the next politician, government official or TV news pundit who is killed turns out to be someone on the conservative side, Palin, Beck, Angle, Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the idiots at Fox News will have no one to blame but themselves.
UPDATE: Mr. Fuller was arrested today for disorderly conduct after allegedly making a threat to Tucson Tea party spokesman Trent Humphries during a “town hall” TV show taping for ABC. According to sheriff’s deputies at the scene in Tucson, Fuller took a photo of Humphries and then said, “You’re dead.”
I didn’t think events would prove my point this quickly—and regret that they have—but there it is.
Last year, Dangerous MInd writer, Bradley Novicoff posted a link to this excellent BBC documentary on William S. Burroughs. At the time it wasn’t possible to embed Arena: Burroughs onto our site, but now it is.
Burroughs was originally made in 1983 by Howard Brookner and Alan Yentob, as part of the BBC’s art strand Arena, and repeated after Burrough’s death in 1997. It is an exceptional documentary, one that gives an intimate and revealing portrait of Burroughs, as he revisits his childhood home; discusses his up-bringing with his brother, Mortimer; his friendship with Jack Kerouac, Allen Gisnberg, and Brion Gysin; and has a reunion with artist Francis Bacon, who Burroughs knew in Tangier. Other contributors include Terry Southern, Patti Smith, and James Grauerholz.
Just before the recent trip to Australia on which she contracted swine flu, Broadcast singer Trish Keenan compiled some experimental music and psyche-pop for a friend, and called it the “Mind Bending Motorway Mix.” The mix (which has no track list), has been uploaded as a tribute to the late musician, with a view to being shared with as many people as possible. Joe Muggs at The Arts Desk writes:
“A friend in Birmingham who had become good friends with Keenan in recent years has passed me THIS LINK for a “mixtape” she gave him very recently. It’s the most wonderful collection of psychedelic rarities, film music and synthesiser experiments, and perfectly illustrates Keenan’s constant mission to turn people on to exquisite and unusual sounds - but also, as the tracks are not titled, shows the sense of mystery and incentive to investigate with which she imbued all her work.”