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John Cage chats with John Lennon & Yoko Ono (1972)
11.18.2010
01:30 pm

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This is nothing too profound, in fact it’s rather goofy and quite amusing to see how giddy the two Johns are around each other, but I’ve never seen this before and have no idea as to its provenance. Anybody?

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Bob Dylan “Let John and Yoko stay!”
11.18.2010
11:27 am

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Bob Dylan’s handwritten letter of support for John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their travails with the U.S. Immigration Dept.

JUSTICE for John & Yoko!

John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to this country’s so called ART INSTITUTION / They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only can help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this mild dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass-media. Hurray for John & Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country’s got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay!

Bob Dylan

Via Letters of Note

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Good Morning Mr. Orwell: 1984 live TV experiment with Cage,Ginsberg,Dali,Paik,etc
11.17.2010
02:59 pm

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On new years day 1984 25 million people (myself included) throughout the world tuned in to PBS to watch video art pioneer Nam June Paik’s pleasantly shambolic live experiment Good Morning, Mr. Orwell featuring the likes of John Cage, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Glass, Salvador Dali, Laurie Anderson and other usual suspects. All hosted by a bemused and mildy annoying George Plimpton. The full version of this was once up on the mighty Ubuweb but has mysteriously disappeared, so I bring you as many fragments of said program as I could find. Watching this in retrospect it comes off as perhaps the last 60’s style large scale “happening” featuring some of that era’s major hitters and is of course very quaint seeming “We’re linking New York to Paris on live TV !”, still very enjoyable to watch.
 
John Cage/Joseph Beuys

 
A ton more after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Face to Face with Allen Ginsberg
11.16.2010
10:23 am

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This is a fine interview with Allen Ginsberg taken from the BBC series Face to Face, in which Ginsberg opens up about his family, loves, identity, drugs and even sings.

The series, Face to Face originally started in 1959, and was hosted by John Freeman, whose skill and forthright questioning cut through the usual mindless chatter of such interview shows. Freeman, a former editor of the New Statesman was often considered brusque and rude, but his style of questioning fitted the form of the program, which was more akin to an interview between psychiatrist and patient. The original series included, now legendary, interviews with Martin Luther King, Tony Hancock, Professor Carl Jung, Evelyn Waugh and Gilbert Harding.

In 1989, the BBC revived the series, this time with the excellent Jeremy Isaacs as questioner, who interviewed Allen Ginsberg for this program, first broadcast on 9th January 1995.

Watching this now, makes me wonder what has happened to poetry? Where are our revolutionary poets? Where are our poets who speak out, demonstrate, make the front page, and tell it like it is? And why are our bookstores cluttered with the greeting card verse of 100 Great Love Poems, 101 Even Greater Love Poems, and Honest to God, These Are the Greatest Fucking Love Poems, You’ll Ever Fucking Read. O, for a Ginsebrg now.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday J. G. Ballard
11.15.2010
05:35 pm

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James Graham Ballard was born today in 1930. 

In a career that spanned 6 decades, the Visionary of Shepperton wrote some of the best and most important speculative fiction of the past century, from The Drought, The Drowned World through Crash, The Atrocity Exhibition, High Rise, and The Unlimited Dream Company to Empire of he Sun, Super Cannes and Kingdom Come.

His death last year robbed the literary world of one of its most thoughtful and original thinkers.

This in-depth interview with Ballard was filmed in 2006, as part of Melvyn Bragg’s The South Bank Show and covered the writers background, influences and unique, dystopian vision:

Ranging from his earliest experiences living in China as a child and subsequent imprisonment by the invading Japanese army, through his early and wholly abortive career in medicine - though he says that that experience was totally beneficial to his writing career and that everyone should spend at least some time studing anatomy. Then on through his long career as a full time writer. Starting in 1962 when he gave up his then job as an assistant editor right up to the present day.

Subjects covered are the influence of Surrealist painting in the imagery of his work. How the sudden death of his wife affected his life, work and family. And the impact of his most controversial novel, Crash, which inspired one publisher’s reader to write “This author is beyond psychiatric help. Do not publish” - which Ballard took as a huge compliment.

Other contributions in the show come from the likes of Will Self, Iain Sinclair and Martin Amis, all of whom are confirmed Ballard fans.

 

 
The full interview with J. G. Ballard after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Inside Quentin Crisp’s apartment
11.15.2010
05:26 pm

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Photo of Quentin Crisp by Martin Fishman

Wise. witty and wonderful, England’s “stately homo,” Quentin Crisp was a familiar—and always delightful—figure seen frequently around New York’s East Village during the latter part of the author’s life (1981-1999). Crisp famously made sure his phone number was listed and would accept nearly every dinner invitation that came his way, with the understanding that the tab would be picked up and Mr. Crisp would basically do an up-close version of his famous one-man show. On two occasions I dined with Mr. Crisp at the Odessa Diner on Avenue A and these are memories that I will always treasure.

For the majority of his life, Crisp lived in two small apartments. One, a bedsit in London where he lived for 41 years and steadfastly refused to clean, and one on Third St. in Manhattan that I doubt was ever cleaned, either. (In his autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant, Crisp quipped. “After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.” He says the line about 2 minutes in).
 

 
The London apartment can be seen in the above clip from Denis Mitchell’s fascinating 1970 Granada TV documentary, and visitors to the MIX Festival in NYC this past weekend could see a recreation of Crisp’s small New York flat, lovingly recreated by Philip Ward, curator of The Quentin Crisp Archives. More photos at Butt Magazine’s website.
 
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Via World of Wonder

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Fug on Film: Tuli Kupferberg is a beatnik God
11.10.2010
03:41 pm

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The recently deceased Tuli Kupferberg plays God in the wild 1972 underground film, Voulez-vous coucher avec God? made by Canadians Michael Hirsh and Jack Christie. A rare screening of Voulez-vous coucher avec God? will take place on November 14 at the Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave. in Manhattan during a special celebration of celluloid Tuli called “Fug on Film.” Presented by Arthur.

J. Hoberman writes in the Village Voice:

As strenuously druggy, anarchic, and blasphemous as it is, this 1972 feature might have been one of the many post–El Topo movies auditioned as a midnight attraction by the old Elgin Theater and might even have caught on. Instead, it’s having its belated local premiere this Sunday as part of Anthology’s tribute to Kupferberg, beat poet, Fugs founder, and Voice contributor (mainly in the form of letters to the editor).

Here, he plays Middle America’s worst nightmare: His God is an unkempt, hairy schmoozer, consorting with his female subjects in a vaguely Baghdadian crash pad identified as Hashish Seventh Heaven, while holding forth in a braying New York accent: “Give ‘em some of that blackface crap—we’ve got enough sexism,” he advises the filmmakers in between chants of “Oy, oy, let’s bomb Hanoi!” As cheerfully offensive as it is, the movie’s greatest outrage comes when God anoints a toothless derelict to run for U.S. president. (The same actor, identified only as “George,” doubles as the angel Gabriel—in which role he’s punished for dereliction of duty with a hot-oil enema.)

Slapdash, but not badly made, this exercise in Yippie vaudeville employs Claymation and television, as well as a bevy of naked houris, to hold one’s attention—although it does fall apart midway. End title delivered as a moon notwithstanding, the climactic gross-out is the mouse omelet prepared for George—a repast that only serves to burnish the genius of John Waters, whose Pink Flamingos (the movie in which Divine eats dog shit) was the Elgin’s midnight attraction for 48 weeks, from late winter 1973 to January 1974.

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Gram Parsons’ last recorded interview
11.06.2010
03:47 am

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As a young man I grew up in the South and I hated country music. That changed when I first started hearing songs from The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons solo work, all of which seemed to me to be quite different from the hillbilly shit I’d grown up around. The West Coast country vibe had a wide-openness about it that was more in tune with my Jack Kerouac inspired desire to hit the road…a road that was as much a metaphor for spiritual yearning as a slab of tar and concrete. Gram Parsons’ western music wasn’t solely about blue collar blues, booze and bad women. Parsons was a romantic in the traditional poetic sense, a seeker of beauty in the coarseness of everyday life. Yes, it was honky tonk music, but in Gram’s world the honky tonks weren’t violent dives of retribution, they were a kind of cowboy cafe society that weren’t far removed from the cafes of the French surrealists in Paris of the 1930’s, where absinthe was drunk instead of tequila.

This interview with Michael Bates in 1973 was Gram Parsons’ last recorded conversation. 6 months after the interview Parsons O.D’d on morphine and tequila in a motel on the edge of the Mojave desert.

Bate’s connection to Gram is almost accidental. In 1973—while he was the host of a CBC radio show in Ottawa, Ontario—Bate was on a road trip when he happened to spot Parsons’ beaten-up tour bus by the side of the Massachusetts Turnpike, 90 miles from Boston. He stopped and arranged an interview, which he says turned out to be the final recorded conversation with Parsons, who died that September from an overdose of morphine and tequila.

Gram candididly talks about Keith Richards and The Stones, bad dealings with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and how Waylon Jennings had to walk around the block to smoke a joint during a recording session with Chet Atkins. In the beginning of the interview Parsons makes mention of being stuck in England and left penniless by The Byrds. Gram was fired by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman when he refused to join them on a South Africa tour as he was was opposed to apartheid. Some of his friends at the time thought Gram actually quit The Byrds so he could hang out with The Stones in London.

It’s Gram’s birthday today (Nov. 5).
 

 
Via Exile On Moan Street

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Iggy Pop amuses a crowd of clueless rich people
11.05.2010
04:25 pm

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One of my favorite rock and roll websites Cherry Bombed uploaded this very strange Iggy photo. Where the hell did this take place? It looks like a Republican fundraiser. Nope. It’s the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony. Gawd, rock IS dead.

Actually, rock still lives, check out the Grinderman video on Cherry Bombed.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Zappa Plays Zappa/Mighty Boosh double bill during 3 day Frank Zappa celebration in London
11.05.2010
03:58 pm

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I once saw an interview with The Mighty Boosh, where Noel Fielding described their comedy as being for people who grew up listening to Frank Zappa. Falling as squarely into that quite particular demographic as I do, maybe this is why I resonate so much with their work. Certainly, for me, the inventively choreographed musical production numbers on their three TV series—think bohemian Busby Berkeley—were the highlights of each show. Kinda like The Monkees, in that way. The best Boosh episodes always have great musical payoffs.

When I caught the live Boosh experience at the Roxy last year, a primarily musical event, I must say, in true Paul Crik-parlance, they fucking killed it.

This weekend in London, Fielding and his comedic/musical partner in crime, Julian Barratt, will be co-headlining what looks to be an incredible musical event, celebrating the life and music of Frank Zappa, along with the Dweezil Zappa-led Zappa Plays Zappa band at a festival at the Roundhouse:

The three-day series of events begins tomorrow with a discussion between Frank’s wife Gail Zappa, his musical assistant Ali N Askin (who worked with him on his classical piece ‘The Yellow Shark’), computer synclavier programming expert Todd Yvega, and recording engineer Frank Fillipetti, the first engineer to work with The Zappa Family Trust on reissuing unreleased Zappa material. This precedes a performance of ‘The Yellow Shark’ by the London Contemporary Orchestra – the last album to be released before Zappa’s death in 1993, it features some typically Zappa-esque song titles; ‘G-Spot Tornado’, ‘Dog Breath Variations’, ‘Get Whitey’ and ‘Be-Bop Tango’. This will be followed by ‘Wild Imaginings – The Music That Influenced Zappa’ also performed by the LCO, giving an insight into Frank’s influences that ranged from Stravinsky to 1950s doo-wop, grungy rock ’n’ roll and jazz icon Eric Dolphy. 



Yet it will be the Zappa Plays Zappa band that should provide the highlight of the celebrations on a double bill with cult British comedy duo The Mighty Boosh on Saturday. The ZPZ band have performed in the UK before but this should be particularly special as the band will feature original Zappa sidemen including Mothers of Invention singer / guitarist Jeff Simmons, anarchic bassist Scott Thunes and woodwind / keyboards player Ian Underwood. They’ll play Frank’s best selling album Apostrophe in its entirety as well as other selections from FZ’s vast repertoire. With The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt providing their own take on Zappa’s music and a comedy sketch recreating actual dialogue from Zappa’s infamous Old Bailey obscenity trial, plus Frank himself making an appearance to ‘play’ live with son Dweezil, this will be an epic and aptly surreal tribute to this truly unique musical visionary.

Frank Zappa: 70th Birthday Celebration, Roundhouse, London NW1, November 5 to 7, 2010
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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