Two cool clips from Dutch television’s Top Pop of a lip-syncing Iggy Pop in 1978 and a low-key interview. Although it is just pantomime, it’s pretty badass pantomime. For whatever reason he’s doing the seldom heard “I Got A Right” from the James Williamson-era, plus “Some Weird Sin” from Lust for Life.
After the jump: A 1978 TV performance of “Some Weird Sin.”
As someone who has seen a hell of a lot of documentaries on Frank Zappa, I’d have to say that this 1971 Dutch TV doc is probably the very best. Featuring Frank composing, puttering around the house with Gail and babies Moon and Dweezil, plus interviews with various members of the GTOs. We also see Frank and Gail go out for burritos in Los Angeles, Miss Lucy tells an anecdote about pissing on Jeff Beck’s chest and Zappa airs his views on “the revolution” (“It’s a matter of infiltration.”) and why he doesn’t want to be the President, but has thought about it. There is a less savory section where Zappa discusses giving VD to his wife in a very matter of fact way….
With some shit-hot concert footage from the Flo & Eddie incarnation of the Mothers, shot at the Fillmore West, Nov 6 1970. This VPRO documentary was directed by Roelof Kiers.
Yesterday, when I posted that great Jonathan Winters interview, I found another episode from the archives of the Day for Night public television series that made me want to jump for joy: A 30-minute interview with the great American humorist S.J. Perelman from 1974. I’ve already watched it twice.
Although he is by now, some thirty-odd years after his death, almost completely forgotten, S.J. Perelman was once considered a very big deal man of letters, up there with greats like George S. Kaufman, James Thurber and E.B. White. Today he is best remembered for something that pained him to be associated with during his lifetime: his screenwriting for the Marx Brothers. (Perelman co-wrote two of their greatest comedies, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, but famously said of his tenure with the Marx Brothers: “I did two films with them, which in its way is perhaps my greatest distinction in life, because anybody who ever worked on any picture for the Marx Brothers said he would rather be chained to a galley oar and lashed at ten-minute intervals until the blood spurted from his frame than ever work for those sons of bitches again.”)
An admirer of both Ring Lardner and James Joyce, Perelman’s deliriously complicated prose—written mostly for The New Yorker from 1934 until the end of his life—was densely constructed with puns, literary and historical allusions, ridiculous names, foreign phrases and double and triple entendres. For an American, Perelman was a particularly well-traveled and erudite man. He went to the Far East several times in his life and many of his most famous essays are travelogues. Perelman usually wrote in the first person, portraying himself as a snobby ur-sophisticate beset by his own (unobserved) comic ineptitude. He was a master of the English language with a massive vocabulary that would send readers to their dictionaries several times per page. All of the various idiosyncrasies and uniquely Perelman-esque tropes and over-excessive wordsmithery combined to form a literary style no less distinctive than Shakespeare’s.
It’s next to impossible to accurately describe the S. J. Perelman gestalt, so here are a few choice quotes and passages:
“And you were cruel,” I said.
“I’m sorry,” added Quigley.
“Why did you add Quigley?” I begged him. He apologized and subtracted Quigley, then divided Hogan. We hastily dipped the slices of Hogan into Karo, poured sugar over them, and ate them with relish.
—- From “The Love Decoy”
“Have a bit of the wing, darling?” queried Diana solicitously, indicating the roast Long Island airplane with applesauce. I tried to turn our conversation from the personal note, but Diana would have none of it. Soon we were exchanging gay banter over the mellow Vouvray, laughing as we dipped fastidious fingers into the Crisco parfait for which Diana was famous. Our meal finished, we sauntered into the play-room and Diana turned on the radio. With a savage snarl the radio turned on her and we slid over the waxed floor in the intricate maze of the jackdaw strut.
—- From “Strictly from Hunger”
Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring.
Woody Allen absolutely revered Perelman and Allen’s early New Yorker pieces often read like he was trying to ape the humorist’s distinctive prose style. Through the rediscovery of the Marx Brothers that occurred in the late1960s on college campuses and Allen’s constant championing of Perelman’s work, his star rose again towards the end of his life. When I was a kid, his books were readily stocked in every library and bookstore. His name and fame were widely known. Today there is but a single book of his in print, the anthology The Most of S.J. Perelman (with an introduction by Steve Martin) although all of his books can be easily found used online.
This interview with S.J. Perelman is a gem. It’s always fascinating to hear a writer’s voice you admire for the first time and I must admit that Perelman’s heavy New York accent is not what I expected (I suppose I always heard his voice as having a British accent in my mind’s ear.)
Below the famous passport scene from Monkey Business:
Polaroid portraits of Truman Capote and William s. Burrooughs shot by Andy Warhol
There is a fascinating, well-researched article by Thom Robinson over at the might Reality Studio blog devoted to all things William S. Burroughs. Robinson is a British PhD candidate who has extensively researched Burroughs.
After setting up the backstory with anecdotes involving the mutual distaste that Burroughs (who apparently disliked effeminate homosexuals) felt for Capote (who might have snubbed Burroughs with Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles in Tangier), Robinson relates the tale of a “curse” Burroughs placed on Capote’s literary talents in the form of an extraordinarily spiteful two-page “Open Letter to Truman Capote,” a copy of which now resides in the Burroughs Archive of the New York Public Library’s Berg Collection:
Burroughs’ “letter” begins with an explanation to Capote that his “is not a fan letter in the usual sense.” Acting as spokesman for a “department” with apparent responsibility for determining writers’ fates, Burroughs announces that he has followed Capote’s “literary development from its inception” and, in the line of duty, has conducted exhaustive inquiries comparable to those undertaken by Capote in his research for In Cold Blood. An engagingly surreal touch finds Burroughs reporting that these inquiries have included interviewing all of Capote’s fictional characters “beginning with Miriam” (the title character of Capote’s breakthrough story of 1945). Referring to “the recent exchange of genialities” between Capote and Kenneth Tynan, Burroughs concludes that Tynan “was much too lenient.” Going one step further than Tynan and accusing Capote of acting as an apologist for hard-line methods of police interrogation (and thus supporting those “who are turning America into a police state”), Burroughs next turns to the question of Capote’s writing abilities. Avowing that Capote’s early short stories were “in some respects promising,” Burroughs suggests Capote could have made positive use of his talents, presumably by applying them to the expansion of human consciousness (“You were granted an area for psychic development”). Instead, Burroughs finds that Capote has sold out a talent “that is not yours to sell.” In retribution for having misused “the talent that was granted you by this department”, Burroughs starkly warns “That talent is now officially withdrawn,” signing off with the sinister admonition, “You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished.”
It should be noted that, at the time of writing, Burroughs was a credulous believer in the efficacy of curses (famously believing he had successfully used tape recorders to close down a London restaurant where he had received bad service). Regardless of how seriously Burroughs intended his prediction for Capote’s future, his words proved eerily prescient. After the publication of In Cold Blood, Capote announced work on an epic novel entitled Answered Prayers, intended as a Proustian summation of the high society world to which he had enjoyed privileged access over the previous decades. The slim existing contents were eventually published posthumously while one of the few extracts which saw publication within Capote’s lifetime notoriously employed Capote’s habit of indiscretion to disastrous effect. When “La Côte Basque, 1965″ was published by Esquire in 1975, Capote’s betrayal of the confidences of friends (who recognized the identities lurking beneath the veneer of fictionalized characters) resulted in swift exile from the celebrity world which Capote had courted for much of his career.
Given Burroughs’ curse on Capote, it is interesting to note that, in the years before his death, Capote’s dismissive views on Burroughs’ work became even more damning: “Norman Mailer thinks William Burroughs is a genius, which I think is ludicrous beyond words. I don’t think William Burroughs has an ounce of talent.” By the time these remarks were recorded by Lawrence Grobel in Conversations with Capote, successful canvassing by Mailer among others had resulted in Burroughs’ admission to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1983. After a long decline, wrought by the inability to break a harrowing cycle of alcohol and barbiturate abuse, Capote died the following year at the age of 59.
In Cold Blood: William Burroughs’ Curse on Truman Capote (Reality Studio)
As frequent readers of this blog know, I consider Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to be a great American and a personal hero. He’s one of the only honest politicians in Washington and a blunt-talking national treasure:
On June 18, 2011 artists Ligorano/Reese presented a temporary monument in the garden of Jim Kempner Fine Art in NYC called “Morning In America.” The installation was witnessed by hundreds and lasted a total of 8 hours throughout the hot day.
...A THOUSAND CUTS is a timelapse video of the event. The soundtrack was inspired by an excerpt from Senator Bernie Sanders 8-hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor against the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the effects on the middle class. It is orchestrated to music by composer/violinist Michael Galasso.
Take a look at the amazing stained glass portraiture by Neal Fox. Fox’s work reminds me of the work of many different artists, including Gilbert & George, Roy Lichtenstein, even Joe Coleman (composition, not details, obviously!). I’ll bet this exhibition is impressive “in the flesh.”
Daniel Blau Ltd. is pleased to present Neal Fox’s latest project Beware of the God. Fox’s drawings depict a phantasmagoric journey through the detritus and mythology of pop culture. From a life-long obsession with the tales of his dead grandfather, a World War II bomber pilot, writer and hell raiser, his large-scale drawings have developed into increasingly layered celebrations of the debauched and iconoclastic characters whose ideas have helped shape our collective consciousness.
Fox’s latest project takes many of the recurring subjects of his drawings and portrays them through the medium of the stained glass window. As traditional church windows show the iconography of saints, through representations of events in their lives, instruments of martyrdom and iconic motifs, Fox plays with the symbolism of each character’s cult of personality; Albert Hoffman takes a psychedelic bicycle ride above the LSD molecule, J G Ballard dissects the world, surrounded by 20th Century imagery and the eroticism of the car crash, and Johnny Cash holds his inner demon in chains after a religious experience in Nickerjack cave. One quality in particular binds these characters and the others together; a refusal to conform and conviction in their own ideology.
Working with traditional methods at the renowned Franz Mayer of Munich manufacturer, Fox is producing a set of twelve 2.5 metre high stained-glass windows; exhibited in a single room – an alternative church of alternative saints.
Neal Fox’s “Beware of the God” at Daniel Blau Ltd., 51 Hoxton Square, London until August 10th.
Little-known clip of David Bowie nominally performing “Sense of Doubt” from Heroes on Italian television. The YouTube uploader says this was filmed at Hansa Studio in Berlin, but several people objected, saying that it’s not Hansa. I vote that it’s not. Having seen the interior of the legendary studio in countless documentaries, it doesn’t look like Hansa to me, either.
Here’s a bunch of clips of amazing people doing exceptional things in front of other very lucky people which I curated for our pals at Network Awesome, many of which have turned up in previous blog posts here on Dangerous Minds. Probably the first of many to come ! Special thanks to Shannon Fields, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Dave Madden and Eddie Ruscha.
Hamlet Gonashvili - Gogov Shavtvalav
Cutty Ranks - Sleng Teng Riddim
George Harrison - Wah-Wah
Rimpa Siva - Tabla Solo Calcutta 1997 Part 6
John Cage - Excerpt from “Good Morning Mr. Orwell”