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William Burroughs: Scans of his porn mag articles
09.02.2016
09:50 am

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Heroes
Literature
Sex
Thinkers

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mayfair-academy.jpg
 
Humanity’s underrated. It’s one of my tenets. It’s easier to indulge the negative than give press to the creative, the good and the generous. The other day, my colleague Martin Schneider wrote a fine post on William S. Burroughs’ connection with Wilhelm Reich and his orgone box. By its source, Martin’s post reacquainted me with Burroughs writings for porn magazines in the 1960s and 1970s.

Years, ago I had a friend who owned two pristine copies of one these skin mags. He prized these editions not for any titillation but for Burroughs’ articles contained within. I recall one was on Scientology. The other I think was on space travel.

Martin’s link led to a cornucopia of Burroughsian materials. That one individual (Jed Birmingham) has spent so much time carefully sourcing and scanning Burroughs’s adult magazine work for others to read/access/download was another confirmation of humanity’s good points.

Before Graham Masterton was better known as an author of best-selling horror fiction, he was deputy editor of “gentleman’s entertainment magazine” Mayfair. Started in 1965, Mayfair was modeled on the hugely successful Playboy magazine. The canny Masterton wanted Mayfair to be a similar mix of quality writing, top notch interviews and classy erotica. One of the best things Masterton achieved with Mayfair was to commission William Burroughs to write for the magazine.

Masterton had corresponded with Burroughs from the time the Beat writer was living in Tangiers. When Burroughs relocated to London, Masterton visited him in his cramped attic apartment to enquire if he had anything suitable for the pages of Mayfair.

From this meeting in 1967, Burroughs contributed a regular column for Mayfair under the heading “The Burroughs Academy.” The gig allowed Burroughs to write about his personal preoccupations (Scientology, sexuality, mechanisms of media and political control) and test out various ideas (drugs/space travel) in the magazine’s pages between 1967 and 1969. It also supplied him with a steady income so he could write his novels.

Mayfair was primarily sold in the UK. It had a limited circulation which meant most of Burroughs’ fans missed out on his monthly bulletins. They were eventually gathered together in (an equally hard to obtain) edition Mayfair Academy Series More or Less.

But it’s thanks to Jed Birmingham over at the Reality Studios that we can read Burroughs’ articles (though by no means comprehensive) as they were originally published in magazines like Mayfair, Screw, Swank and Wildcat.

Below are scans from Wildcat that published an extract from Burroughs’ novel Junkie, plus an interview from Swank. There are also the first four Burroughs Academy articles and one short story from Mayfair. More can be viewed/downloaded here.
 
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More readable scans of Burroughs’ skin mag articles, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘My Life in Orgone Boxes’: William Burroughs on his sexual science experiments in OUI magazine, 1977
08.30.2016
09:08 am

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Books
Drugs
Literature
Sex

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Burroughs contemplating an orgone box
 
As a contributor to this blog, I spend a lot of my time poking around looking for suitable subjects that might please and edify the DM readership. When I come across an item uniting William S. Burroughs, Wilhelm Reich, Jack Kerouac, orgasms, heroin, Jean Cocteau, and even tangentially Kurt Cobain that has not been written about all too much, I can be sure I’m in the ballpark of a good DM post.

In 1977 OUI magazine published an item by William S. Burroughs with the title “My Life in Orgone Boxes,” in which he explained that he built his first orgone accumulator in 1949 on the farm of a friend named Kells Elvins in Texas. Among other things, in the article Burroughs addresses Jack Kerouac’s fictionalized version of Burroughs’ device as presented in On the Road but insisted that the account was “pure fiction.”

That Burroughs used an orgone accumulator is (a) pretty well known, and (b) not very surprising, given who Burroughs was. But let’s back up a moment here. What is an orgone accumulator, anyway? (It’s sometimes called an orgone machine or an orgone box.) Reich was in the first wave of post-Freudian thinkers, and he attributed his discovery of “orgone energy”—that is to say, energy with the capacity to charge organic material (cellulose), unlike electromagnetic energy—physical manifestations of sexual energy—as occurring in January 1939, after working off of Freud’s theory of the libido.
 

One of the first experimental orgone accumulators. Note the stack of Reich/orgone publications propping the door open. Much larger version here.
 
Reich was sure that he had discovered the secret to manipulating and enhancing sexual experience by removing/satisfying electric blockages within human beings. Quoting from his book The Function of the Orgasm: Sex-Economic Problems of Biological Energy (The Discovery of the Orgone, Vol. 1):
 

The orgasm formula which directs sex-economic research is as follows: MECHANICAL TENSION —> BIOELECTRIC CHARGE —> BIOELECTRIC DISCHARGE —> MECHANICAL RELAXATION. It proved to be the formula of living functioning as such. … Research in the field of sexuality and bions opened a new approach to the problem of cancer and a number of other disturbances of vegetative life.

 
Check that out: “the formula of living functioning as such,” wow. Reich’s idea was that orgone energy was virtually everywhere and pointed to both the aurora borealis and the blue tint seen in sexually excited frogs as evidence. As he put it in The Function of the Orgasm, “‘Biological energy’ is atmospheric (cosmic) orgone energy.” Then:
 

The color of orgone energy is blue or blue-gray. In our laboratory, atmospheric orgone is accumulated or concentrated by means of an apparatus specifically constructed for this purpose. We succeeded in making it visible by arranging certain materials in a specific way. The blocking of the orgone’s kinetic energy is expressed as an increase in temperature. Its concentration or density is indicated on the static electroscope by the differences in the speed of the discharge. The spontaneous discharge or electroscopes in non-ionized air, a phenomenon designated as “natural leak” by physicists, is the effect of atmospheric orgone and has nothing to do with dampness. The orgone contains three kinds of rays: blue-gray, foglike vapors; deep blue-violet expanding and contracting dots of light; and white-yellow, rapidly moving rays of dots and streaks. The blue color of the sky and the blue-gray of atmospheric haze on hot summer days are direct reflections of the atmospheric orgone. The blue-gray, cloudlike Northern lights, the so-called St. Elmo’s fire, and the bluish formations recently observed in the sky by astronomers during increased sun-spot activity are also manifestations of orgone energy.

 
It was later realized that Reich’s device for enhancing sexual stimulation with electricity was more or less a modified Faraday cage.

As Burrough writes in the OUI article, in addition to the one he and Elvins built, Burroughs also made a smaller version, a “potent sexual tool” constructed “from an Army-style gas can.” Burroughs used the smaller tool inside the larger box, “held the little one over my joint and came right off.” Then, in an aside, Burroughs explains that Jean Cocteau used to ejaculate without using his hands as a kind of party trick. Some trick!
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Classic Penguin sci-fi covers from the 1970s by David Pelham
08.19.2016
02:34 am

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Art
Books
Literature

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Night of Light by Philip José Farmer
 
David Pelham was art director for Penguin Books during the 1970s and was responsible for a great many arresting and distinctive covers for many of the sci-fi novels Penguin put out during that time, which is one of the great periods for sci-fi writing in general. Many of the images on this page come from a series that came out in 1972-73 that used (as Penguin often did and still does) visual cues to signal that books belong together. In this case the series had in common white text and a black background, bold use of primary colors and a strong horizon line that in some cases (Sirius, A Cure for Cancer) is cleverly adapted for a slightly different purpose.

Pelham did many Penguin covers for works by J.G. Ballard and was in close contact with the author in the process of creating them. Ballard actually named a character in “The Reptile Enclosure” after Pelham. After one meeting during which they had looked over Pelham’s mockups for a series of Ballard covers, Pelham scribbled some notes that were obviously based on Ballard’s comments, and they make for a resonant and Ballardian piece of poetry: “monumental / tombstones / airless thermonuclear landscape / horizons / a zone devoid of time.”

Pelham’s most famous cover was for Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, and fascinatingly enough, Pelham himself doesn’t think much of it:
 

When I was Art Director of Penguin Books I had to create this image in one night. We planned to bring out a film tie-in of Burgess’s wonderful book to coincide with the release of the movie, and we obviously urgently needed a strong cover image that related to the film. When Stanley Kubrick unaccountably refused to supply us with promotional press shots I immediately commissioned a well-known illustrator to help out. The result was not only unacceptable but it was also inexcusably late, so we were horribly out of time. Having already attended a press screening of Kubrick’s film I had a very clear image in my mind’s eye as to how the cover should look and so, collecting up a few supplies from the art department, I sped home to my Highgate flat to create the cover myself. I remember a motorcycle messenger arriving at 4.30am to deliver the ‘repro’—that is the typography—for the paste up. This of course was a long time before the age of computers, and everything was done with ink, glue and ‘repro’, which had to be painstakingly stuck in place on a base board. Another messenger arrived at 7am to whisk the artwork off to the printer. Consequently I had not had time to properly scrutinize the image, to make the small adjustments and refinements that I still believe it needed. So now, every time I see that image, all I see are the mistakes. But then, maybe it’s those unfinished rough edges that contribute to its appeal. Who knows?

 
In 1996 Eye Magazine wrote that Pelham’s covers “dignify the books with symbolic images that help to convey the conceptual sophistication of the writing inside.” For more of Pelham’s covers as well as many striking Penguin covers by other artists, check out the well-curated website Penguin Science Fiction.
 

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
 

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
 
Many more of Pelham’s spectacular sci-fi creations after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Altamont, The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day
08.15.2016
07:48 pm

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Literature
Music

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I could feel it before I got there. Several miles out and the dark vibes curled through the air like a toxic vapor. Serpentine streams of people twisted through the hills, uncertain of exactly where they were going. There were no maps. No trails. No signs. Nothing pointing toward our destination: Altamont.

Like some hippie version of The Walking Dead, we just followed whoever was in the lead. We assumed the people in front knew where the fuck they were going. It soon became clear we were on the right path when we started encountering people scattered throughout the hilly scrub lying on their backs, curled up in fetal positions or sitting upright with fear etched on their faces. We were on the periphery of a psychic warzone and these were the first casualties – people tripping on low-grade LSD, speed and alcohol. I parted from the zombie march and went to the nearest person struggling through a bad trip. She was a young girl and she was severely freaked-out. This encounter set the tone for most of my experience of the Altamont rock festival.

Like thousands of young people living in the Bay Area in 1969, I got the news of a free concert headlining The Rolling Stones via radio. Time and date were to be announced and we waited. This was going to be the West Coast’s Woodstock and people were psyched. When the word went out that the festival was taking place at a racetrack 50 miles east of San Francisco it seemed like an odd choice. But it didn’t deter the hundreds of thousands of people who ended up there on Saturday the sixth of December.
 

 
I hitchhiked from Berkeley to Altamont more out of a sense of obligation than excitement. The distance was a hassle and I wasn’t interested in most of the bands on the bill other than The Rolling Stones and The Jefferson Airplane. The Grateful Dead and CSNY were the other major acts and I wasn’t a fan of either. But as a card-carrying member of the hippie counter-culture this was a call I couldn’t ignore. California had always been the rock festival capital of the world and Altamont was going to shift the attention from Woodstock back to where it belonged. Little did anyone know that Altamont would draw the kind of attention that would later be described by some as the death of the Sixties.

Between the vast quantities of freely distributed toxic LSD, the huge mistake of hiring the Hell’s Angels to provide security and a stark and ugly location, Altamont did just about everything wrong. There was plenty of blame to go around, mostly on the part of The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. But none of us at the concert were aware at the time of the behind-the-scenes fuck-ups. We knew that The Dead had cancelled their gig as soon as they got to the site and we could see the sociopathic behavior of the Angels. Mostly, we could feel the energy. And it was dark. I’ve never taken the concept of black masses seriously. It always struck me as dress-up for losers. But if there is such a thing as a black mass, Altamont would be my reference point.

I saw very little of the actual performances by the bands. I witnessed The Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin being assaulted by the Angels while Grace Slick begged the bad guys to calm the fuck down. The bikers were upstaging the bands, pathetically and repeatedly trying to hog the spotlight. The Hells Angels thought they were the fucking show. I moved as far away as I could from the macho stench and spent most of my time talking people down from bad acid trips and escorting the completely helpless to the emergency medical tents. Between being Florence Nightinghale to weekend hippies, I would stand on a hill behind the Hell’s Angel’s modified school bus and watch musicians struggling to get through their sets alive. There was so much chaos near the stage that no one in their right mind (and I was in my right mind) would go near the mess. The stage itself was about about four feet tall and held together by twine. The bands were barely visible. The whole thing was rinky dink. I waited out the horror show for the Stones. Every cell of my body was telling me to get the fuck out and go back to Berkeley. But I’d come a long way and wanted to see the headliners.

The Stones finally went on after the sun had set. The temperature was dropping and people were burning whatever they could find to create some heat in the cold. Bonfires blazed as far as the eye could see. It was hellish.

When The Stones hit the stage they were bathed in red light and Jagger was draped in a scarlet and black cape. In the context of the bonfires, the Hells Angels’ mayhem, and the wailing of people on bad trips, Jagger’s infernal image spooked the living shit out of me. When the opening chords of their third song of the set signaled they were playing “Sympathy For The Devil,” I turned on my heels and headed toward the nearest highway.

I was not alone. People were leaving in droves. Many couldn’t find their automobiles in the dark. It was pandemonium. I got lucky when a van full of freaks slung open the door and yelled “get in!” The further we got from the site, the better we all started to feel. The drive back to the Bay Area took hours but there was a collective sense of relief in the van and we all started talking about what we had just experienced. We were all weary and heartbroken. Altamont was a disaster.
 

 
While reading Joel Selvin’s new book Altamont, The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day, I was so deeply disturbed by memories of that day that I had to repeatedly put it down and regain my emotional balance. There’s only been a few books that have this kind of effect on me. Most of them had to do with either the assassinations of the Kennedys and Malcolm X or 9/11.

Without repeating the usual grandiose statements holding Altamont responsible for being the death knell of the Sixties, Selvin has done the far more difficult job of investigating the massive fuck-ups that led to the worst rock festival in history without resorting to a bunch of apocalyptic mumbo jumbo. With the precision and liveliness of a hard-boiled crime writer, Selvin digs deep into the murder of 18-year-old Meredith Hunter who was killed at the festival by an Angel. It makes no apologies for the borderline criminal and reckless behavior of the people who organized the festival. Among those responsible were amateur promoters, the clueless Rolling Stones who were following directions from the hippie dippy Grateful Dead, the sleazeball owner of the racetrack and the utterly ineffectual local police. The fact it was so poorly organized makes it’s hard to know exactly who did what, when and where. Selvin sifts through the mess and gives it about as much shape as is humanly possible. People who were acting on behalf of The Stones had no authority to do so. Scammers and hustlers were intertwined with arrogant rock stars who had little knowledge of what was going on and wanted to keep it that way. The less the bands knew, the better. When it came to laying blame, The Dead and The Stones could claim ignorance. Or they just didn’t care. In an attempt to create the ultimate hippie love fest, the people behind Altamont created the world’s biggest bummer. The festival was free but it came at a cost. The last big concert of the Sixties was Vietnam without the big artillery and the Vietnamese. We only had ourselves to blame for this one. No Nixon. No Kissinger. Our good karma had run out. We were devouring ourselves whole.
 
Hells Angels go apeshit. The Stones lose control. Video after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Let Me Hang You’: William S. Burroughs reads the dirtiest parts of ‘Naked Lunch’
07.12.2016
04:40 pm

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Drugs
Literature
Music

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In the mid-90s, at the request of his longtime collaborator producer Hal Willner and his manager James Grauerholz, William S. Burroughs recorded selected readings from his notorious novel Naked Lunch—some of the raunchiest and dirtiest parts of what was (and still is) a notably raunchy and dirty book—that were to be set to musical accompaniment.

Wilner brought in guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Wayne Horvitz and violist Eyvind Kang, but the project was eventually scrapped

The project was revived when Wilner was introduced to prolific weirdo garage rocker King Khan through Lou Reed, and he realized that Khan was well suited to put music behind Burroughs’ dry narration. Khan brought on Australian psych rockers band Frowning Clouds and M Lamar (who happens to be the identical twin brother of Orange Is The New Black‘s Laverne Cox) to help.

The resulting album Let Me Hang You will be the first full-length release on Khan’s new record label Khannibalism with the Ernest Jenning Record Co. It comes out this Friday and you can preorder it now. Listen to the full album below. Extremely NSFW.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Gus Van Sant’s early William S. Burroughs adaptation, ‘The Discipline of DE’
07.11.2016
12:25 pm

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Literature
Movies

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In Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough 1989 portrait of junky culture, the appearances of William S. Burroughs as the older addict Tom inevitably lent a dose of reality to the proceedings. That movie, however, was not Van Sant’s first encounter (so to speak) with Burroughs. A decade earlier, Van Sant directed a short movie called “The Discipline of DE” that was an adaptation of a Burroughs story of the same name.

“DE” here stands for “Doing Easy” and is synonymous with zen practice applied to everyday existence. In the short film (9 mins.), Van Sant respectfully stays very close to the source material. The story, which is from Burroughs’ 1973 collection Exterminator!, actually is scarcely a story at all, it is more like a brief guide to zen practice. Burroughs introduces the reader to a figure that combines traditional values and the methodical military approach to life, 65-year-old Col. Sutton-Smith. After a reverie in his past the Colonel “is jolted back to THE NOW” as the predictable rhythms of some dreary short story suddenly snaps to the crisp how-to imperative statements of a self-help manual. 

Midway through, Burroughs/Van Sant switches to the figure of “an American student” to illustrate the benefits of learning to stop fighting the seeming hostile intent of objects in our daily lives: “You will discover clumsy things you’ve been doing for years until you think that is just the way things are”—eventually you will attain “the final discipline of doing nothing.” The movie has something of the deadpan style of Jim Jarmusch, whose breakthrough feature Stranger Than Paradise came several years after this.

Van Sant’s mentor Ken Shapiro, who later directed the Chevy Chase vehicle Modern Problems, serves as the movie’s narrator—since much of the movie is excerpts from Burroughs’ story, that’s rather an important role in this instance.

In 1991 Van Sant told the magazine LA Style:
 

I believe the properly manipulated image can provoke an audience to the Burroughsian limit of riot, rampant sex, instantaneous death, even spontaneous combustion. ... The raw materials of inspiration include elements as primal and potentially frightening as violence, sex, and death—which have haunted us since we were reptiles slithering on the ground. Only in our dreams can we make the journey back through labyrinthine, DNA-encoded history to our fiery, barbaric origins. But the primitive world of blood and flame is still with us.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘William Shatner Live’: William Shatner pretends to be a serious actor, 1977
07.07.2016
02:04 pm

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Literature
Television

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I was in a record store the other day when I noticed an LP I’d never seen before—a sealed copy of a 1977 album called William Shatner Live with a $25 asking price. We’ve all heard about Shatner’s sublime 1967 album The Transformed Man, of course, but this record was another animal altogether. For one thing, it’s “a talking album only,” to quote the disclaimer on Elvis Presley’s 1974 album Having Fun with Elvis on Stage.

One of the hilarious things about William Shatner Live is the back cover, which has some of the most over-the-top liner notes I’ve ever seen. Here it is:
 

 
The overwrought, hyperbolic text is credited to Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath:
 

It is the first time the man has come out, alone to confront his legend.

And the legend has come out to confront him.

The audience, six years old and yet unborn when the ENTERPRISE flew—the rerun generation.

They came, college students—and college professors. Pre-schoolers—and Ph.D’s. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers. Truck drivers, dockworkers, drill sergeants. Both sexes. All ages. Every shade of difference, every degree of diversity. Feeling no generation gap at all.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the legendary Kirk is finding a place in the history of heroes which is unique, one-of-a-kind, unprecedented.

And the rerun generation is growing up never having known a world in which there was not at least one example of a hero who was profoundly open, willing to be real to himself and others.

On stage now the man who broke that trail a decade ago has gone on, WHERE-NO-MAN… The dramatic performance speaks of the flying, and is the flying. Shakespeare, Cyrano de Bergerac, Galileo on the need for the freedom of man’s mind. Some of the rerun generation may not understand the words fully. It doesn’t matter. Their eyes never leave his face.

He shifts from the dramatic performance. He loves to let the audience reach out to him with questions, with a love which would register on the Richter scale. Now he is fast, funny, light, loving, with anecdotes from the STAR TREK years and now.

Shatner has said, “They’re not the screamers. They’re the people who say ‘thank you.’ They remember something I did many years ago. I’ve grown from a boy to a man on television in front of everybody. And now here they are, turning out in torrential rains to say ‘thank you.’ And I am—moved to tears, many times.”

The response was so tremendous that there will be other tours, other albums. The man will go out to greet the legend again—and undoubtedly astonish it yet again.

 
Recorded at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, William Shatner Live recalls a time when Shatner’s status as a universally beloved icon of movies and TV was considerably more in doubt than it is today. The original Star Trek series had been cancelled eight years earlier, in 1969, and the 1970s were proving to be a bit rocky for Shatner. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was still two years off, and T. J. Hooker was fully five years into the future. The Priceline ads were two decades away.

Three years earlier, Shatner had appeared in Roger Corman’s Big Bad Mama, and while we’d all think it cool to have a Corman movie on our résumés, appearing in one is probably not a sign that one’s career is heading in the right direction unless it’s your film debut. In 1976 Mark Goodman wanted Shatner to host Family Feud—true story—and Shatner’s most notable acting credit of 1977, the same year William Shatner Live was released, was the tarantula horror movie Kingdom of the Spiders.
 

 
Given these facts, William Shatner Live comes to seem like nothing so much as an extended audition reel to send to Hollywood casting agents, as the former and future Captain James T. Kirk shows off his acting skills, reading monologues by the likes of H.G. Wells and Edmond de Rostand, as well as a less expected author: noted Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht.

To hear Shatner essay the lofty and bracing registers of Brecht’s Life of Galileo is to ponder whether his signature declamatory style is a self-fashioned Verfremdungseffekt, or what we would call an alienation effect.

While the 17th-century scientist Galileo seems an odd choice for the originator of the space-traveling Kirk role, it makes a bit more sense when you realize that Galileo, as the astronomer par excellence, has reason to discuss the celestial bodies of outer space and the possibilities of the human mind. Indeed, it’s probably the most Roddenberry-ish thing Brecht ever wrote.

For those who want to read along, a similar (not identical) translation of the monologue can be found here.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins reads Dr. Seuss
06.17.2016
02:43 pm

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Books
Literature
Music

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Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has become the traditional graduation gift of our generation. It’s June, and people are graduating, so Funny or Die decided to enlist everyone’s favorite hardcore hunk, Henry Rollins, to sit a spell and read from the beloved volume.

Henry’s more of a literary figure than you might realize—he’s been publishing books for years on his 2.13.61 imprint—personally, I’d like to see a Dr. Seuss treatment of Pissing in the Gene Pool.......
 

Nice kid. Can we get an Einstürzende Neubauten homunculus on there?
 
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t just Rollins “reading” Seuss, it’s Rollins “reading and deconstructing” Seuss, which means that the video consists less of Theodore Geisel’s winsome versifying and much more of Rollins’ fervent crabbing about the silly-ass text.

And we’re all for that! Click and enjoy.
 
Henry Rollins Reads Dr. Seuss

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The entire print run of classic SF punk magazine ‘Damage’ is now online!
06.13.2016
09:25 am

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Art
Literature
Punk

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Ryan Richardson is one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera, as well as being the Internet saint who created free online archives of StarRock Scene, and Slash magazines. He also runs Fanzinefaves.com, a repository of various early punk zines as well as the exhaustive punk info blog Break My Face.

We’ve written about Richardson’s punk altruism before here at Dangerous Minds. The last time was when he uploaded the entire print run of the seminal transgressive LA artpunk publication, NO MAG, over at his site CirculationZero.com.

Richardson has done his Good Samaritan work once again, this time with the upload of the complete print run of the Bay Area’s Damage magazine which was published between July 1979 and June 1981. Damage concentrated its coverage on the San Francisco and LA punk scenes, but also covered underground music scenes worldwide. Richardson calls it “a definite contender in a state crowded with fanzine heavyweights.”

Thirteen issues were published including a freebie special edition released between the 9th and 10th issue for the Western Front festival which Damage co-sponsored.

The newsprint zine featured bold graphics, photography, and loads of writing and interviews of great historical importance to anyone following the early California punk scene. Your mileage may vary, but the San Francisco scene between 1978-1983 is perhaps my personal favorite all-time music scene, so these issues are absolute gold to me. For my money, nothing beats the aesthetic of arty punk fanzines prior to the age of desktop publishing, and Damage is as fine an example of the form as any you care to name.

Publisher Brad Lapin spoke of Damage’s importance as a historical record in a 2010 statement to the San Francisco Zine Fest:

While I trust that the magazine speaks for itself, both for good and ill, I suppose I could say by way of explanation that, beyond all the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, that is, beyond the pure visceral FUN of punk and life in the underground, there were also deeply serious issues of politics, of social justice and, above all, of aesthetics that connected and inspired the many people involved in the Damage project. Because these concerns were particularly articulated in the scene as it existed in San Francisco three decades ago, Damage’s importance today, like that of the other zines, is as a kind of constant witness to an unique time, place and circumstance; one that spoke and one hopes still speaks to the immanent primacy of youthful idealism and to the notion that there is a deep and abiding value in a radical, even desperate rejection of the commonplace, the accepted, the normal. Conformity and regimentation then, as now, are the foresworn enemies of the creative energy that is the essence and the wellspring of youth. That stance of absolute defiance to which the punk aesthetic aspires and which, in fact, is it’s raison d’etre is no less a viable ideal today than it was 30 years ago. If anything, it is more necessary and more important.


The download of the complete set is free, but Richardson asks that those taking advantage make a charitable donation to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, or Austin Pets Alive. Donations to these charities make the project worthwhile for Richardson, so it would be, you know, the cool thing to do to toss a few bucks that way, considering the amazing gift being provided here. Richardson has placed donation links on CirculationZero.com—go there now to download Damage, and while you’re waiting on that file transfer, scroll through this gallery of covers and pages from Damage‘s history:
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Zarathustra,’ the avant-folk soundtrack to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1970 Nietzsche adaptation
06.09.2016
09:03 pm

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Literature
Music
Occult

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In 1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky brought his adaptation of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra to the stage in Mexico City. A creation for its time and place, Jodorowsky’s Zarathustra was a play for four men (A, B, C, and Zarathustra) and two women (D and E), all (eventually) nude on a bare, white stage. The script indicated that the actors were to stand at the entrance of the theater and talk with the audience before the action began; Jodorowsky’s Zen master, the monk Ejo Takata, sat on stage meditating for the two-hour duration of the performance.

As the director recounts in The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the staging of the production—called Zaratustra in Spanish—reflected his ongoing Zen practice:

My ambitions were becoming centered on the theater. Nevertheless, Ejo Takata’s teachings—to be instead of to seem, to live simply, to practice the teaching instead of merely reciting it, and knowing that the words we use to describe the world are not the world—had profoundly changed my vision of what theater should be. In my upcoming production, a theatrical version of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, I had stripped the stage of its usual décor, including even curtains and ropes, and had the walls painted white. Defying censorship, the actors and actresses undressed completely on stage after reciting lines from the Gospel of Thomas: “The disciples asked him: ‘When will you be revealed, and when will we be able to see you?’ And Jesus said: ‘When you shed your clothing without shame, and when you take your jewels and cast them under your feet and trample them like little children, then will you be able to contemplate the Son of the Living One and have no more fear.’”

The production was a success, with full houses from Tuesday through Sunday. I then proposed to Ejo (without much hope) that he meditate before the public during the performance. To my astonishment, the master accepted. He arrived punctually, took his seat on the side of the stage, and meditated without moving for two hours. The contrast between the actors speaking their lines and the silent monk dressed in his ritual robes had a staggering effect. Zarathustra continued to run for a full year and a half.

 

Standing: Henry West, Brontis Jodorowsky, Héctor Bonilla, Micky Salas, Carlos Ancira, Isela Vega, Jorge Luke and Alvaro Carcaño. Sitting: Luis Urías, Valerie Jodorowsky (pregnant with Teo), Carlos (nicknamed “the hairy guy”), Alejandro Jodorowsky, Cristobal Jodorowsky and Susana Kamini.
 
So far as I know, you can’t watch a performance of Zarathustra on the web, but below, you can listen to the soundtrack LP recorded by the cast and the band Las Damas Chinas (Chinese Checkers), and if you open this link in another window, you can follow along in the script. Digital copies of the soundtrack are available from Paniques Records. It is, of course, entirely in Spanish, but that shouldn’t discourage anyone. These words from D’s song ring out in a universal tongue:

¡Mis piernas, mis dedos, mis pelos,
AAAmoor. . .!
Mi saliva, mi excremento, mi corazón. . .

(Translation: “My legs, my fingers, my hairs / Looove. . .! / My saliva, my shit, my heart   . . .”)

While we’re on the subject of Alejandro Jodorowsky, don’t forget to give your money to the Indiegogo campaign for his upcoming feature Poesía Sin Fin (Endless Poetry). If you choose the “poetic money” perk, he’ll pay you back in bills of his own magical currency. Jodorowsky’s life and work are always cause for celebration.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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