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Blaster Al Ackerman's Huff Hacks
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 8, 2014
"I forget who wrote this book, or what itssssssssssssssss review of
Blaster Al Ackerman's Huff Hacks
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 8, 2014
"I forget who wrote this book, or what itsssssssssssssssssssssssssssss title is, or what it's about.. or who I am or why I read it.. but I'm convinced, CONVINCED I TELL YOU, that there's something about it that you must know..
"YOU! No, no! It's impossible! You're dead! But, but, I tell you it's not TRUE, I didn't do it.. argurgleEEeeeee.."
So begins John M. Bennett's account of a recent trip to Gary, Indiana that he took as a boy of only 77 in 1942 while war production was in full swing. The rest is self-explanatory:
.domination world eventual for plans and hospitalizations many his about things wonderful me told and politics development center/highway shopping local on in me filled has ,Chairperson Committee neighborhood as capacity his in ,John .Bennett M. John with conversations grand having and sitting of pleasure extreme the have had I years the Over
(from the highly honored CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, a poem sequence comparable to the story of John Wesley when he was wandering loose that time down around Juarez and couldn't stop twitching)
(from JMB's extended gland of ecstacy CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(Once again, ladies and gentlemen, from JMB's mighty CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and, one would guess, many of Rudolf Steiner's books--including several hundred vols of those fog pressed in you until you just had to "dance the logorrhea glottis" "way down there" "in the hazur of fat," I betcha)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and this, I believe, is pure CANTAR DEL HUFF with maybe a little Haddock on the side, and that's the best reason to have an experience with an outsider who suspects nothing)
(from JMB's familiar CANTAR DEL HUFF. Too familiar by now perhaps, some will say? Look at it this way. How many dots and dashes, what strange relation to a bee, how much mucus in yr beard lavished upon it, count yr nose your legs & groin ah butt the fundus interest and before you know it "all is torn off" all is string you defy the deaf with . . . wacka wacka)
(This of course is from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, it is also from JMB's rOlling COMBers. What JMB wrote while drunk is there for all to see, and then making for the bride's place and an all-night party. The snow tastes more like weasle pee because of the undergrowth. Here we are jumping labmice retaining fluid like the disaster story of mice and floods)
(from JMB's vivid notions proper to a buried head otherwise known as Cantar Del Huff intended for a mental home go on drinking as the webbed-darkness of a sewing basket helps you imagine what loins of trichinosis are made upon)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF--more the spirit than the words in this case you might think but then again I still think about your shirt after lunch, yr fondled grey blusters and tell m other ham "Rock Wigwam")
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and in this case several new ones of 8/23 such as "Rugged" etc. Now we must go on. Look at the tree, watch the tree. We will know the real truth--but later, much later--when we wake at the end of the world. Laughs, drinks water . . .
[Reviewer's interjection: To some of you.. well, admittedly, not very many, maybe not even anybody but me & I'm not really a part of "you" - am I part of "you" when I look at me in the mirror? In wch case, is the "me" that's part of "you" the reflection or the guy looking? Anyway, like he was saying, "To some of you" the above interjection before this interjection might remind you of this:
"You realize you're in the downstairs hall of a college building; it's some kind of dormitory building, you've never been there before, you're wearing a gunny pink robe, like a cheesy old dressing gown. With yellow crusty stuff spilled down the front. (Laughs. Drinks water.)"]
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and let me again assure you that you are in no danger of any indignity from those hysterical ones who go around unaccompanied by a stocky angry man whose neural flow is full of uneven spurts, indicating emotional disturbances, but oddly enough whose deja-vu keeps him accompanied by those hysterical ones who go around accompanied by him at all hours)
(from the immortal CANTAR DEL HUFF, and that's not all! Poems from 8/30 also make their bow this time. It seemed to me that this time I stepped in, stood by the door, closed the door, avoiding the puddles of snow which he who possessed the reckless sanka-butt had tracked in from some world I couldn't imagine. Perhaps Earth)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF which that from underneath comes very near even when death by tractor-seeds leapt out into the air as though to convey the virus of undula / / ah ah / /)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, an authority that genuinely speaks from its heart, letting us know that the roof yr burning mall burns like doubled snake-faces thrashing like a biological context of insects healthy despite certain accusations of lacerations. Another minor influence is a speaker-of-filth with curly hair)
(Kenneth Fearing meets JMB and they disport themselves by the light of those great ones from 7/12, 7/19, and the ever-popular CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's habitual best-seller CANTAR DEL HUFF and also some of the new ones of 7/19, here it is. That is what we've been leading up to. I said we cannot trifle with this reality, now that Heidegger demands a new beginning to our thinking but a beginning can never be the thing that preserves its full momentum. I said oooohh-ooooohh the rain is falling)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF; "not since yr meat trained to glow like spiritualism and mesmerism has the clangy wish for yr head bouncing in a shopping cart emerged beside yr cage, kinda rusty and enchanted," says a big fan of this hack)
(from 6/21 and of course Bennett's amazing CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, a poem so memorable that its territory resembles that "where the dying spend their time before death." Those who return alive from such a place, bring to a point of view equal in its rapture and chilling exposure to the slum world of the big frogs and the tiny frogs)
(from JMB's famous CANTAR DEL HUFF which, beyond the tents where friends pissing meet and blame each other, as cannot fail to leave a lasting stain. But what is sadder? Burning mouth inside a clam sombrito wired? or Mr. Pecho getting smutty with "my" brim" and I jumped in (out into my "muffin fiesta")
(from Bennett letter about romane of neighborhood violence, poems of 5/3/06 and 6/7/06 and the epic CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF. I know it now. But I didn't know it before Mollie called me. I was in my way to see Ricori. Troubled I hung up and went back to my chair. Had she not asked me about Ricori? What did he have to do with any of this . . . and would the questions stop there?)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and how I was struck by the fact that JMB was able to concentrate for such long periods. Under his circumstances I wd certainly have found it harder to suppress my nervousness. But I came to believe that this was because he felt that his job of driving the headache beef round and round a temple with a faucet buried in the center explained why, at present, he enjoyed such a top reputation among the avant garde for his curious blend of sadism, science fiction and world-weary pessimism)
(from JMB's oft-requested CANTAR DEL HUFF and "Psyciatry or no, there's much you have to learn about new clothes, clothese designed to show what they were supposed to hide-- Meanwhile, get this through your head. You're on the long passage!")
(from JMB's poem of sharer of his roving life waiting latent in all men or anyway in all those named CANTAR DEL HUFF who thought rushing contact high in space together, a living, fierce, gyrating sock drawer possess the same as some drunk half-staggering comrade named Baron)
(from--what else?--JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF and rOlling COMBers)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF plus a few newer ones such as "Done beetle" and "User" etc. Out of some dim inner room came the people who had said all along it's so hard to keep in touch with old high school friends. But tonight I'm not home to any outlaws)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF or any agony of bruised vocables, and I mean that, dear polyphead, those curiously bruised vocables, nor yet another writing "scarred-with")
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF plus some newer gems from 9/24 or if it sometimes is how like appearance of tender exiquity I sad what thing of abased calling reality never has to worry about the too-same look of Uncle Flood and vice versa)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF--and shaving off the shirt-clay, you know that the question's gonna arise: Can your rectum tolerate crude rotation, it might be as a water-wheel at a distance from your all too prompt anticipation as from a salami occasional reincarnation of the Hairless Thing can be found, only now they call it the cave behind yr eyes)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF by JMB, the poet himself, who says with his wife out of town "ideas beyond themselves and them standard functions as well as objects that both refer to abstract ideas that situate those objects as if it illuminated the contrast between abstract atemporality and the identical present not to mention all that bang thump bang thump bang thump bang thump bang thump bang bang bang bang BANG bang sure do torque my jaws")
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF or where you hail from do they say she is the heavenly mother the stars are fish swimming in the heavenly ocean a touch of giganticism to give her arms with 400 breasts but sometimes in the afternoon)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF about which little is known unless you count anything you might grab out of any sun which would be more difficult than grabbing the planet itself. Why not do it directly by just taking the planet, stopping it in its orbit and hurling it into the sun itself. The forces present in the sun would be more difficult to handle, if you see what I mean, jelly bean)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, oft celebrated in song and story. Tonight what about that disintegrating ray which affects only inorganic matter? I examined it before breakfast and I could reduce it to the size of a spark plug and retain the same power. All we have to do is verify that it could be buried in the sand about three or four miles south of here. What you stroked beside the gleaming thigh full of boxes deafness next the hornets' meathead where I sucked my hat a boon filled and empty of my skull and boiling urine washed the gun projection off, as yr itchy tooth of hair says. next I cleaned the meathead off yr neck and proudly subscribed to a magazine, Giantess, that was exactly what I have been fantasizing about. Unfortunately, it's no longer in print)
(from JMB's delightful CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF which many have called "the either animal" and to walk and dress and wake and take and leave and laugh at or not, reminds us that there's two farts and how long can not choosing between such an opposite pair while you go whining either back, to the first or forward and that to the frozen well only musing how long yet it is not to an idiot it falls to talk wisely, is it? Oh I'm all confused)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF, and did you notice that opening from "L ucked" and "C lunch" and others by JMB, 9/13/06. During this period, an occassional reincarnation of the Hairless Thing can be found. Only now, the accent is on an excerpt from some spiritual thing, sacred because thick yr phone "clamping" / tick yr fool conch pry it off you cluck, see the pool blaze with farm animals, liberated and fuzzy-like, yowling in yr lap a place they recognize through the rude noise of "rough trade")
(FROM JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF or is it that these of 10/11/06 are more to blame? or has something else more like panic got hold of you--you'll agree this wd be a perfect moment for a real case of agoraphobia (fear of large spaces)--and just in case that is what you're feeling, I think it only healthy to tell you that a concealed computer has been welded beneath the floor and shortly after I had that insight I abruptly experienced a sensation in my eyes that I have never had before! It was a high-speed eye-movement that made people disinclined to be near or converse with me. I myself feel it as an exceedingly fast flickering motion. It occurs to me that with this condition I'm also in danger of running awkwardly and tripping over things, and so I figure I better just hunker down here and wait for you to bring me all my meals. Since in all essentials I'm telling the truth, I fear no repercussions, though I do believe that there's a latticework made of billions of glowing balls and that this is called "Balls-on-Parade." When you consider that anyone with this sort of overpowering insight has at least twice the average brain capacity, you can see that I represent the beginning of a breakthrough into something new and greater than sematico "slayer" descended from your nose)
(from CANTAR DEL HUFF)
(from JMB's CANTAR DEL HUFF "running" through the crowded room nine ways to mull over fallen men from the middle period of development of the western United States; the "murk-thought" you carried regarding these fallen sleek duffs was not unlike the danger your country is in that it doesn't even know about; shall we call it a steady clunk wrapped behind a pocket fire and pills dancing on the kitchen floor - lotta weeds here . . . lotta weed-heads, too, for that matter, thank the Lord)
NOTE: FILL IN THE BLANKS are drawn at random by Blaster Al Ackerman using the poet John M. Bennett's classic work CANTAR DEL HUFF while Bennett was in town reading at another venue and tempting young people to observe how flat balloons stuff his shoes.
.backwards out laid trail lamer swaying the avoid to order in years pen last these up scarfed it whatever or simmer my led "doubt in labio coo coo" whose lavage blind in for excell to tried scarfing as such practices what knowing your us with sharing for you thank so ,ass my olive evening's with the acrid kinda save raisins my explain to order in anchovy particular this about writing am I .anchovies stapled with wrote It .particular in remember I form One .floor the on forms for good were work of kind any for search always not do who people ordinary when farming started father my--way Either ...more
Notes are private!
Sep 08, 2014
Sep 09, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
Apr 01, 2014
Trevor Blake's Confessions of a Failed Egoist
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - July 27-30, 2014
"Review is too long. You entered 145254 charac review of
Trevor Blake's Confessions of a Failed Egoist
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - July 27-30, 2014
"Review is too long. You entered 145254 characters, and the max is 20000" - read the full review here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/...
At what point were the bks of philosophers of yore considered IMPORTANT? Was it always in their lifetime? Or did the bks have to grow on what little portion of the population that they eventually reached? Were they mainly considered IMPORTANT by their friends & colleagues & publishers during their lifetimes? What I'm getting at is that I consider this bk to be important NOW, while its author is still alive. It's not that I think the author is a great intellectual, necessarily, it's that I think he's maintained his integrity as a Free Thinker w/o sliding into the unrigorous muck of subcultural conformity.
Before I go any further, I shd get out of the way that there's an entire chapter of this bk about me - &, yes, I'm happy about this. Nonetheless, unbelievable as it may seem to those of you who have less integrity than I do, who're shallower than I am (sez me), if I disagreed w/ the bk, if I found major fault w/ it, yes, I'd criticize it at the risk of losing one of the few supporters I 'have' in the world. Of course, I put "have" in 'single quotation marks' b/c I no more 'have' Trevor than he 'has' me. He's a Free Thinker & so am I - our friendship for each other ranks less than the value of 'having our own minds'. & for those of you who scoff at 'Free Thinker'?: Fine, make an argument.. but don't just scoff - opinions w/o buttressing, w/o logical or experiential argumentation supporting them, amt to nothing but yr own hot air. Trevor supports his arguments AND manages to be pretty fucking funny at the same time.
Trevor fits neatly into a legacy of thinkers of the last 40 yrs who've tried to take a look at their environment, narrow & close, far & wide, social & antisocial, & tried to think of it w/o cluttering pre-fab stereotypes that get in the way of clear perception. I think he's succeeded far more than most. Hence my saying this bk's IMPORTANT.
My also saying that the author's not necessarily a "great intellectual" is rooted in the idea that the type of analysis required for the above process isn't necessarily an intellectual one as much as it is one of introspective honesty. To be a "Failed Egoist" is both a 'paradox' of sorts & a way of avoiding the oversimplification of dogma that unintrospective egoism becomes in its more dreary & tiresome megalomaniacal form. A 'true' thinker, even an egoist, questions even themselves - Blake is excellent at this & I respect him for it.
Starting in 1978 I began to seek out interesting people in the world to correspond w/. By perhaps a decade later I was corresponding w/ about 1,400 people. Most of them weren't exactly as interesting for me as I wd've liked but the few that were were amazing & the rest were at least usually seekers.. Seekers after a deeper, more international, community than what was offered to them locally. Seekers after a stimulus from a broader gene pool than what was available locally. Seekers after free thinkers too rare in immediate environments, people that had to be found thru more intensive searching.
For better or worse, I probably most strongly identify w/ what might be called the Lunatic Fringe - something hinted at by the term Post-Left Anarchism. By "Lunatic Fringe" I mean people whose opinions are considered unacceptably extreme by even the people in the cultural/political milieu most likely to accept them. If I understand correctly, "Post-Left Anarchism" is meant to be a form of anarchism whose practitioners no longer associate w/ being the 'extreme' left - instead, something different, something separate. In other words, Free Thinkers, people beholden to no particular norms of no particular sub-culture. By "extreme" I don't necessarily mean 'terrorists', I don't mean people for whom maximum violence is the great transformer - I prefer Hakim Bey's "Poetic Terrorism": fight mind control w/ mind DEcontrol - not fire w/ fire.
I hope that my own most intensive engagement w/ the world-at-large hasn't ended as I've become more & more unacceptable to the young just by virtue of being older than them. As such, my time of maximal identification w/ broad issues & my attempts to clarify my position in relation to them may stretch from the late 1960s to the present. That sd, it wd be dishonest of me to pretend that I have the same level of international (or, as I prefer, "patanational") social immersion now as I did in the 1980s. SO, people I met in the 1980s tend to be the 'founding fathers' or 'founding motherfuckers' or founding 'fatherfuckers' of movements that're still IMPORTANT to me now. Of course, someone's bound to take exception to the male-centric "founding fathers" - perhaps I'll address that later.
Enter Trevor Blake. We started corresponding in 1985 or 1986. That was a little late in contrast to people who also continue to be important to me from that era: "Blaster" Al Ackerman & Ivan Stang, eg - Trevor was a bit younger, he seemed a little less 'formed'. Nonetheless, he was publishing a magazine called "Surreal Estates" & publishers usually have something to say & I'm usually willing to pay attn. Surreal Estates #6 had an interview w/ me in it. It came out in 1986 when I was still having trouble finding a tattooist. Things were different in those days, very few people had tattoos: it wasn't a nauseating trend like it is now. The 1st 2 tattooists I asked to tattoo the 3D brain tattoo on my head refused.
Surreal Estates, IMO, was a bit slovenly & underimaginative from a graphic design perspective but the questions he asked me were good & I was glad to have the opportunity to get my theories & opinions out there. It was the 1st interview w/ me not formatted to fit the superficial requirements of a 'news'paper (Pam Purdy, to her credit, had interviewed me in my Tim Ore identity for the BalTimOre City Paper in the spring of 1982) & to also be published independent of such mainstreams (2 other interviews had been conducted but neither were published).
Trevor Blake is open-minded, someone who's consistently sought out the unusual & carefully decided whether it was for him or not - Confessions of a Failed Egoist impresses me as his most articulate expression of this process that I've encountered to date.
Confessions of a Failed Egoist might be sd to be the latest bk in a lineage that includes, for me, in approximate chronological order:
Re/Search #6/7: Industrial Culture Handbook (1983) - edited by Vale
The Book of the SubGenius (1983) - most credit due to the Sacred Scribe Ivan Stang
The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (1984) - edited by Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein
Chaos - the broadsheets of ontological anarchism (1985) - Hakim Bey
The Abolition of Work and other essays (1986) - Bob Black
Confessions of an American Ling Master (1986) - Al Ackerman
Re/Search #11: Pranks! (1987) - edited by Andrea Juno & V. Vale
Apocalypse Culture (1987) - edited by Adam Parfrey
High Weirdness by Mail (1988) - compiled by Rev, Ivan Stang
The Assault on Culture - Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War (1988) - Stewart Home
Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989) - compiled by Bob Black & Adam Parfrey
T.A.Z. - The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (1985/1991) - Hakim Bey
The Blaster Al Ackerman Omnibus (1994) - Al Ackerman
footnotes (2006) - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
Anti-Media - Ephemera on Speculative Arts (2013) - Florian Cramer
These bks are both the creed of a new blatant pervert & a history of its lineage. These perverts have the audacity to not even kiss the asses goodbye of the parents that, like Chronos, wd eat them, wd smother them - but not as a natural aspect of the passing of time: instead these parents try to eat their children in the hope that they can then shit them out again as clay to be molded into Golems to fight their wars for them, to have no minds of their own. In defiance, this perverted new breed rips its way out of the parental throat leaving their wd-be controller & exploiter speechless. Or maybe these blatant perverts are just crowbarring the Doors of Perception open in a hurry to get to the Emergency Exit.
What's 'wrong' w/ this picture? Well.. maybe nothing. On the other hand, w/ the exception of Andrea Juno as the co-editor of Re/Search, there're no women represented in the authors & editors - there are women represented w/in the bks themselves. I cd've padded the above list by adding women to make myself seem more politically correct but that wd've been cheating. I cd've included the Andrea Juno edited Re/Search: Angry Women (1999) wch I recall as being excellent - but my copy of it was stolen or loaned out & never returned or given away before I got enuf of a chance to read it. Furthermore, while I had some slight correspondence w/ Vale I don't recall having any w/ Juno. This is a personal list, a list mainly centering around people I was (or still am) in contact w/ & around movements I've been mainly directly involved in. If I'd had as long an association w/ my friend Hyla Willis as I have w/ other people listed above, subRosa's Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices wd probably also be on the list.
Other issues of Re/Search are excluded from the list, eg, #10: Incredibly Strange Films (1986) & Modern Primitives (1989). The former b/c I don't perceive the films as being particularly "incredibly strange", I saw Re/Search as reviving a market niche; the latter b/c I've never particularly thought that tattoos & piercings et al were interesting as "modern primitivism" - again, I saw this as market-niche-speak. Now Re/Search has been as commercially successful & as widely disseminated as it has precisely b/c of the publisher's trend-savviness. Unfortunately, that's the same thing that made me lose interest in it. Prior to Modern Primitives only some "incredibly strange" people had tattoos & piercings, after Modern Primitives every moron wanted to be in on the fashion. I still like tattoos but the ones that truly interest me have to stand out in a sea of conformity.
Otherwise excluded, perhaps 'wrongfully so', is Semiotext[e] USA (1987). This was a disappointment to me b/c by the time it came out it already seemed 'out-dated' b/c I'd seen so much of its contents elsewhere already by then. It was really only a few yrs 'behind-the-times' but I was a harsh critic in those days. Also excluded, again perhaps 'wrongfully so', is Yael Dragwyla's The Book of the Outlaw (1986). This is the smallest of the publications listed & the most derivative one insofar as it's a take-off of Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law (1904). Neither of these characteristics are adequate justifications for rejection - it's more that The Book of the Outlaw doesn't strike me as being as sweepingly visionary as the other bks do.
Possible future inclusions might be 2 bks by another friend of mine, Anna McCarthy: Ambient Television (2001) & The Citizen Machine - Governing by Television in 1950s America (2010) but those are both bks on my excessively long must-read list that I haven't gotten to yet. However, these latter 2 bks by Anna may be rejected b/c they're probably more academic media analysis published in the academic environment than they are howls from the Lunatic Fringe - wch then brings up the somewhat uneasy inclusion of The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book & Anti-Media - Ephemera on Speculative Arts.
The most important birthplace of these blatant perverts is from outside academia, from outside the art world, from outside the approved gathering places for difficult thinkers. Aliens are in yr midst! We're outside the pre-fab contexts for challenging thinking b/c those contexts are too safe to be truly challenging.
For that matter, the 'uneasiness' of my list shd be qualified by my mentioning that I'd forgotten about Chaos until I just now went looking in my library & I've never even read T.A.Z. in its bk form - I'd just read small photocopies that Bey had sent me in the mail that led up to it.
In other words, don't take the above list as some sort of definitive 'these-are-the-important-revolutionaries-heretics-visionaries-of-my-lifetime' list: it's more 'these-are-the-important-revolutionaries-heretics-visionaries-of-my-personal-social-circle-(&-slightly-beyond)-that-I-feel-philosophically-closest-to' or some such - even that's misleading insofar as I've had close to no contact w/ the Industrial scene (although I cd be considered an 'elder' of sorts of the related noise music scene) & have very little contact w/ Adam Parfrey. Most or all of the people are so-called 'white' (Lardy how sick of that description I am!) & North American or European. Even more importantly, in terms of correspondence networks, is that we all speak English - hence communication was easier between us than my networking w/ people in Japan, eg.
On the verso of Confessions of a Failed Egoist's title p it's written: "The author thanks tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE for technical assistance on "Co-Remoting with the Thunderous."" (p 2) That means that Trevor was considerate enuf to send me an advance copy of the article by email wch I then replied to. In an email that I sent to him on March 28, 2013 I wrote:
"Ok, I've revised/corrected the article you sent me & I'm both including it in the message body here & attaching it. I tried to not interfere too much w/ the tone of yr text but there were a few things I changed significantly: 1st, I'm not now nor have I
ever been a thief. I am, actually, an exceptionally honest person & any problems I have are more likely to be associated w/ that. 2nd, the bkstore I cofounded
has been a stunning success. 3rd, I actually work for a living & always have. Currently I do tech work for multiple museums & other exhibit-related institutions
such as universities. Also, while I certainly travel, I own my house in Pittsburgh & have lived here for the last 17+ yrs. As such, much of what you've written is entertaining but somewhat 'romantic' & inaccurate. 4th, I don't consider myself to be in the least bit cruel - in fact, having been VERY cruelly treated by many, MANY people my whole life I find cruelty to be despicable. Most likely, anyone who says that I'm cruel, indifferent, or a thief doesn't know me & is just a malicious gossip wanting to exploit me for their own dubious purposes - definitely NOT someone to be trusted.
"As for the description of the way I live? Well, it's true, I don't know ANYONE who lives like I do - but these days the differences revolve more around my utter dedication to intellectual pursuits & research while most people around me cd care less about much of ANYTHING (w/ a few highly remarkable exceptions, of course)."
I appreciate Trevor's giving me the opportunity to critique his article before its publication in this bk b/c it gave me the chance to counteract some of the unfortunate flak that a person like myself, a minor controversial celebrity, has to deal w/ from time to time. After all, while Trevor & I are certainly friends, we've only met in person once, in 1989 (as I remember it) - as such, some of his impressions of me are bound to be gleaned from suspect 3rd party sources.
Confessions of a Failed Egoist, like many bks I like very much, struck me as so quotable that I cd (im)practically repeat the whole bk here - merrily, merrily commenting on it all the way. Just the chapter titles, as given in the Table of Contents, give a pretty good idea:
Confessions of a Failed Egoist
Co-Remoting with the Thunderous
Infinite Material Universe
It's a Sin
Multiple Name Identities
My Crowded Fist Theater Shouting Fire...
Shot from the Egoist Canon
So You Want to Meet an Alien?
Trajectory Through Anarchism
Triumph of the Wilt
Why Should I Speak of Them?
Wm. Trevor Blake
Yes You Can Say No!
Most, or all, the work I like has a sense of play, a sense of fair-play, a cents of fare-pay, a sense of humor - Trevor's exceptional.. but not an exception to what I like. Consider the opening 2 paragraphs:
"I am an egoist, a circular thinker of the most self-contained philosophy. Keep reading, though, and you'll see I'm not a very good Unique One. I see rusty rivets and loose lashings in the HMS Egoism. Egoism is the contrarian's philosophy, and so of course I begin this book with a broadside against it.
"Egoism is the claim that the individual is the measure of all things. In ethics, in epistemology, in aesthetics, in society, the Individual is the best and only arbitrator. Egoism claims social convention, laws, other people, religion, language, time and all other forces outside of the Individual are an impediment to the liberty and existence of the Individual. Such impediments may be tolerated but they have no special standing to the Individual, who may elect to ignore or subvert or destroy them as He can. In egoism the State has no monopoly to take tax or to wage war." - p 5
An egoist is a person who thinks of themself 1st & foremost - most people do this but in a way that's severely moderated by fear of negative consequences from the larger social whole. Only the brave (or devious) dare to challenge external society's 'right' to try to reel in the Individual's pursuit of their desires & self-definition. Self-definition is crucial to me & to most people I can relate to. The beauty here, for me, in Trevor's beginning is: "Egoism is the contrarian's philosophy, and so of course I begin this book with a broadside against it" - no cow (or water buffalo) is sacred - not even the one you ride in on, cowboy. ...more
Notes are private!
Jul 24, 2014
Jul 30, 2014
Aug 01, 2013
[This review is NOT elegant]
OPEN SPACE 15/16
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, Practicing Promotextal - January 19-27, 2014
Once upon a time the [This review is NOT elegant]
OPEN SPACE 15/16
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, Practicing Promotextal - January 19-27, 2014
Once upon a time there was a reviewer who had too much to say. His reviews were inelegant (ie: LONG). This one's no exception, you shd really read the whole thing, really:
In Elaine Barkin's OPEN SPACE 15/16 article "Telling it SLANT or In Search of the Early Years or 'A Sitting on a Gate'", a remembering of her involvement w/ the magazine Perspectives of New Music (reprinted from the same as it appeared in Volume 20, Nos. 1 & 2 (2012)), she describes PNM in a way that cd just as easily be a description of OPEN SPACE:
"In 1980, the Big Fat White issue included complex theoretical-philosophical discourse by Robert Morris, John Clough, David Lewin, and John Rahn, sitting in the same pew with Arthur Margolin's evocative "Mozart's D major String Quartet / k 593 / mm. 53-56" (four measures to die for: ERB), preceded by Wallace Berry's "Symmetrical Interval Sets and Derivative Pitch Materials in Bartók's String Quartet No. 3", my own "A Dedication / Five ADmusementS, & A Digression", all coming after a 250 page riot of texts celebrating Kenneth Gaburo" - pp 350-351
"Ben's stunning "TALK. If I am a Musical Thinker." melding with Naomi's arresting Rohrschachian ink-blobs, its layout created with the assistance of Bruce Huber, beckoning reader-viewer-listener. But many had been crying "foul", hiss-filled air reeked again; several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's just poetry"—as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance; did "IT" belong in The Academy, in Music-Talk? Did they—or whoever they were speaking for—think that they "owned" Perspectives?" - p 351
"For many of us, Perspectives had become a utopian vision, communitas. Why not dream of better ways of doing things?; being inclusive, responsible but not narrowly responsive to any one way" - p 351
"It was more like a Crazy Quilt, each unique patch from a different expressive-investigative corner of the emerging, diversely un-unified multicultural music-analytic-theoreticspeculative-soundscape." - p 351
Now I, alas, don't have any issues of Perspectives of New Music in my otherwise very substantial personal archive/library - probably b/c it was mainly aimed at academia where high prices cd be pd for its sustenance & where the majority, if not the entirety, of its readership & contributors lived anyway. The same observation cd be aimed at OPEN SPACE as well: after all, single issues are priced at $45, double issues (like the one being reviewed here) at $80, & even the student rates price per issue is $38! The "utopian vision, [the] communitas" definitely doesn't include people outside that financially luxurious environ as far as purchase access goes.
Nonetheless, many OPEN SPACE recordings, tapes & CDs, had cheaply wended their way into my collection before I ever made contact w/ OPEN SPACE's editors & I've since found these folks to be generous & exceptionally open-minded. If they weren't, I wd've never been included in 2 issues so far - occupying, as I do, a place in what many wd consider to be a 'lunatic fringe'.
In many ways that are important to me, I IDENTIFY w/ Barkin's statement: consider this seemingly trivial instance: she places commas after quotation marks - something that some people to this day find almost insufferably heretical even tho I, personally, do the same thing & find it quite logical. & there are many things in Barkin's descriptions above that resonate w/ my own experiences in different environments. Take, eg, "several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's just poetry"—as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance": in the mid 1990s I was a participant in a list-serv for improvisors called PhiBa, for Philadelphia-Baltimore, where I had similar experiences to those that Barkin had w/ the Yale students.
In one thread I participated by cutting & pasting other people's comments & reorganizing them into a more experimental text wch I then posted as a continuation of the thread. My logic was that I was playing w/ the list-serv as a way to improvise, using, of course, the musician's common imitation & recontextualization technique, thinking that I was moving the discourse onto a level on a par w/ everyone's purported interest. There was an uproar, a strong voicing of disapproval to the effect that 'I didn't join this list-serv for poetry!!' I didn't get the impression that anyone even noticed that I was quoting from previous postings. Ironically, 2 of the people who protested the most were 2 Pittsburgh-based musicians that I'd encouraged to join the list.
Since I'd been a prime mover in the improvisation community in BalTimOre before moving to Pittsburgh where I once again became involved w/ improvising, it seemed fit to me that the participation of PGH peops justified renaming the list-serv PhiBaPit or some such. I even went so far as to propose that the Washington DC participants be acknowledged in the name as well. My proposal was met w/ stony silence. This was clearly a snobbish closed circle.
I repeatedly submitted info about an upcoming event I was organizing to the PhiBa improvising calendar: the Anonymous Family Reunion to take place at Ringing Rocks State Park & at the Sonambient Theater where Harry Bertoia's sound sculptures are housed. Both locations are in eastern Pennsylvania w/in fairly easy driving distance of Philly & B-More. These locales were chosen for their extraordinary potential as places for site-specific improvising. But, apparently since they weren't 'conventional' improvising events at a club or gallery, my promotion was ignored by the administrator of PhiBa & not posted in the calendar. When I finally complained about this, the moderator acted frostily as if I were just being an asshole. When the Anonymous Family Reunion finally happened in the late summer of 1997, only one participant came from PhiBa. He & I are still friends 16+ yrs later. It probably wasn't much after this that I dropped off the list-serv. W/ the exception of the very few friends & collaborators that I met thru it, it was mostly a waste of time.
OPEN SPACE 15/16 begins w/ a memorial from Benjamin Boretz, the founder of PNM & coeditor (& presumed cofounder) of OPEN SPACE , for composer/teacher Harold Shapero (1920-2013). As Barkin writes about the 1st issue of PNM from the Fall of 1962 it had a "memoriam to Irving Fine who died way too young and also with whom Ben and I had studied at Brandeis" (p 346) &, Lo & Behold!, here's another tribute to a Brandeis music prof that Boretz studied w/ who managed to hang in there until 51 yrs later after the 1st issue of PNM! Long live longevity!
Boretz describes Shapero as a "local young-turk jazzpianist all-music wunderkind, [who] was not yet 35, inconceivably young for an actual official professor." (p 1) To quote Wikipedia: "The Young Turks [..] was a Turkish nationalist reform party in the early 20th century, favoring reformation of the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman Empire." "The term "Young Turks" has since come to signify any groups or individuals inside an organization who aggressively pursue liberal or progressive policies, or advocate for reform." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Turks )
I 1st recall encountering the term as, perhaps, the tile of a publication from the late 1970s or early 1980s by artist Stephen Seemayer about artists that he appreciated in LA & its rough urbanity, including himself. More recently, however, in a 2005 record called Totalitarian Sodomy by punk band "World Burns to Death" I encountered a song called "All the Young Turks" about wch they write "This song is inspired by a poem called "The Bride", written by poet Siamanto (real name Atom Yarjanian) who was born in 1878 and died in 1915, one of the first of the 1.5-million people murdered by the Young Turks movement during the Armenian genocide." That puts quite a different spin on things, eh?!
Back to Boretz: "Harold himself wrote about "the musical mind" as a manifestation of subconscious processes". (p 1) while this article is brief, it's still highly welcome to me b/c I only have 2 records w/ Shapero's music on it & don't really know his work at all. One of these is on the Columbia Masterworks series - one of the highest recommendations - & is a playing of his "String Quartet No. 1" (I'm listening to it now). The other is on The Louisville Orchestra's First Edition Records & is his "Credo for Orchestra" (I'll listen to it next). Boretz praises Shapero's "Symphony for Classical Orchestra". Perhaps I'll get to hear that someday.
Perhaps the person whose articles herein excited me the most is James Hullick, or ")-(Ull!c]<" as he (almost) writes it here. In his "Never Mind the Bollocks" he says: "Meditating on sonic art as an act of social conscience can lead to philosophy; and specifically the interabilities agenda. "Interabilities" is a term that denotes the interaction of people of all abilities. As an agenda for sonic practice, it describes people of varying abilities working together toward some sonic outcome. In and of itself, the term "interabilities" does not have anything to do with the quality of a sonic outcome. People of all abilities could be working together to make absolute rubbish and the term "interabilities" would be met. But the ethics behind interabilities activities elevates the activities beyond this broader blanket term. In the case of sound, for example, if people of all abilities work together to produce a truly dreadful concert, then the positive ethic and social benefit of the interabilities agenda can be lost. The audience may have suffered. It lies at the heart of the interabilities agenda that interabilities activities will eventually strive to inspire participants and audiences alike to our greatest vision of humanity — where all people stand equal in society, and where all abilities are considered of equal worth to the wider human mission." (p 6)
Now, I very much like this statement & laud the term "interabilities" wch I've never encountered before & wch )-(Ull!c]< may very well have coined. HOWEVER, I question some of its implications: )-(Ull!c]< being the guider of these interabled activities is in some sense the composer. He's also, presumably, being pd to be an interabilities facilitator. In his ideal interabilities scenario do ALL PARTICIPANTS have equal access to being the guide/facilitator & to equal pay? Also, are ALL PARTICIPANTS going to be in agreement on what a "truly dreadful concert" is & will someone's opinion be more privileged in relation to this? ()-(Ull!c]<'5, eg?) & will they all be in agreement that "if people of all abilities work together to produce a truly dreadful concert, then the positive ethic and social benefit of the interabilities agenda can be lost"? & that "The audience may have suffered"? &/or even that this 'suffering' is a bad thing? I've been told by 'friends' of mine who know close to nothing about what I do that my 'obvious' intention is 'just to irritate people' - this b/c I produce dense & challenging work that people find difficult to process - hence, it 'must' be 'sadistic'. NOT.
Cf this excerpt from my own article in this issue, "30 4 5 + 97.9": "my 1st reel-to-reel recorded audio piece from 1976: dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada A part of the significance of this latter was that it is a piece designed to be easily performable by almost anyone & that what wd distinguish one performance from another cd just as validly be the performers' incompetence or other foibles as well as their skills & strengths. This was an important 1st step for me in stepping outside of the disciplines of classical music into what I usually now refer to as "Low Classical Usic"." (pp 200-201)
The idea being here is that this, too, is an example of an interabilities situation but there is no such thing as a "truly dreadful concert" & whether "The audience [considers itself to] have suffered" or not is irrelevant - unless actual nonconsensual physical pain (psychological pain can be a bit harder to assess) is being induced. &, of course, I am the d composer here &, despite the extreme d liberate simplicity of the score/title, my function as such places me in a unique unequal position in relation to the performers.
)-(Ull!c]< does address possibilities that other more people living in a more insulated world wdn't even think of in their delusional utopian imaginings. That's one of the things that leads to my respecting his article(s) so much. "So while I think an interabilities agenda should be open to the experience of darkness that many people feel, I also think that we can find ways of embracing both the darkness and the light, that don't end in murder." (p 10) "The project responded to the story of Milarepa, a Buddhist saint from the 11th century (c. 1052-1135) who had started life out as a mass-murderer." (p 10) I'm reminded of an interview w/ John Waters from several decades ago. He'd made Pink Flamingos in wch his drag queen star, Divine (named after a Jean Genet character), actually ate dog shit. Waters remarked about changing the direction of his filmmaking b/c 'To be more shocking I would've had to kill somebody and I wasn't going to do that.'
In a promotional email sent out announcing this issue, the OPEN SPACE editors proclaimed:
"As a longtime supporter, you already know something of our guiding aspiration to extend the boundaries and horizons of the community of creative thinkers and artmakers. After fifteen years of publication, we believe our new issue has broken through to a significantly new level toward that goal; we have produced a 364-page panoramic, kaleidoscopic book which is composed in a meaningful way to lead you through a huge diversity of subjects treated with consummate seriousness, personal investment, and creative originality.
"The current issue of The Open Space Magazine includes an introduction to magical practice"
& it's this latter sentence (chopped off in my excerpting of it here) that leads to my next comments. Robert Podgurski provides a "Graphic: First Enochian Call to Spirit" that I find interesting to look at in a similar way to the way I enjoy Visual Poetry or a score. Peteris Cedrins also contributes things occult-relevant. I particularly like his imagistic writing:
"'Twas the night before feminism, & all through the hows ... ... ... the stirrings of rats, & at night there are bats in your hair. The colibri of hope are finally kaput, to be eaten like ortolan. Laima's lord tells of the south wind, wch years ago brought blistering heat to the village. Between two to four hundred prostitutes were deported to northern Kazakhstan as anti-Societ elements. Kiss the doorknob, kids would say, & you'll see Riga. It was an iron doorknob, of course, In the dead of winter. Lick it. Eat the bunting." - p 33
Other Podgurski sigils & a poem close the issue. The PNM logo in White's article quoted above looks very much like a sigil too. I'm reminded of my own fanciful theory that sigils are actually circuit diagrams for controlling energy flow (both metaphorically & directly). Maybe someday I'll actually build circuits somehow based on them & see what happens when electricity is introduced.
As w/ White's recalling that "several Yale graduate music theory students hassled me in 1981 with: "it's just poetry"—as if "poetry" was a dirty word, as if expressive verbal language was an irrelevance" & can easily imagine that happening here in reference to "an introduction to magical practice". But, to me, it's the mindset that I'm interested in. One ex-girlfriend who was a poet was interested in experimental writing but her tastes in relation to music were pop all the way. I've never understood that. Why differentiate so between disciplines? It's the experimentation that does it for me. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 17, 2014
Jan 27, 2014
Jan 01, 1971
A DI(diot's)Y's Guide to Iannis Xenakis' Formalized Music
dedicated to the memory of my friend James "Sarmad" Brody,
whose writings on Xenakis reached A DI(diot's)Y's Guide to Iannis Xenakis' Formalized Music
dedicated to the memory of my friend James "Sarmad" Brody,
whose writings on Xenakis reached me by age 20,
to my friend Brainpang who gave me MANY Xenakis recordings
& to my friend Unfinished Symphonies who gave me this bk
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 7 - 10, 2013
I broke this review into 6 chapters & added it to the "My Writing" section of my profile. The full review can be accessed here:
The following is a just a small portion of the complete review. As usual, I recommend reading the full thing. BUT WHO WILL?!
REVIEW: March 7, 2013 (16th day of juice fast):
From Xenakis' "Preface to the Second Edition":
"The formalization that I attempted in trying to reconstruct part of the musical edifice ex nihilio [reviewer's note: Latin for "out of nothing"] has not used, for want of time or capacity, the most advanced aspects of philosophical and scientific thought. But the escalade is started and others will certainly enlarge and extend the new thesis. This book is addressed to a hybrid public, but interdisciplinary hybridization frequently produces superb specimens." - p vii
Really?! This bk may not use "the most advanced aspects of philosophical and scientific thought" but it goes much further than ANYTHING that his hypothetical "hybrid public" (w/ myself as an exemplary instance here) is ever likely to aspire to. IMO, Xenakis has upped the ante for human intelligence so high that humanity shd be proud that he even existed. If 10 stars were an available rating, I'd give this an 11.
From Xenakis' "Preface to Musiques Formelles":
"For this purpose the qualification "beautiful" or "ugly" makes no sense for sound, not for the music that derives from it; the quantity of intelligence carried by the sounds must be the true criterion of the validity of a particular music." - p ix
From Chapter 1: "Free Stochastic Music":
"Art, and above all, music has a fundamental function, which is to catalyze the sublimation that it can bring about through all means of expression. It must aim through fixations which are landmarks to draw towards a total exaltation in which the individual mingles, losing his consciousness in a truth immediate, rare, enormous, and perfect. If a work of art succeeds in this undertaking even for a single moment, it attains its goal. This tremendous truth is not made of objects, emotions, or sensations; it is beyond these, as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is beyond music. This is why art can lead to realms that religion still occupies for some people." - p 1
I don't agree w/ this, I don't think art/music has a "fundamental function", etc, etc.. & I don't think that "Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is beyond music." But this gives you an idea of what Xenakis strives for & I think he more than succeeds in providing the (v)audience for his music w/ a profoundly moving experience. If this bk had gone downhill in intensity from here I might've been disappointed. But, no, it only escalates.. & escalates..
Xenakis even provides us w/ "an analysis of a fragment of Sonata, Op. 57 (Appassionata), by Beethoven". (p 164)
As I write this, I'm going to listen to most or all of the Xenakis recordings I have. During the last few paragraphs I've already listened to "Diamorphoses" (1956-57), "Concret P-H" (1958), & "Analogiques A + B" (1958). Now I'm listening to "Orient-Occident" (1959-60). Coming up is "Orient-Occident III" (1959-60) followed by "Bohor I" (1962). All electro-acoustic music.
In the case of those many of us for whom the Philips Pavilion that Xenakis designed (who's an architect on top of his other talents) at the 1958 World's Fair is a landmark event in the history of the world, the drawings on pp 7-8 are worth the price of admission alone (In my case the "cost of admission" was free insofar as my friend Unfinished Symphonies gave me this bk after he got it at a library sale). Take the 1st paragraph of this caption for illustration B: "A ruled surface consisting of two conoids, a and d, is laid through the curve bounding the right half of the "stomach." The straight directrix of d passes through the first peak, and the outermost generatrix at this side forms a triangular exit with the generatrix of e. The straight directrix of a passes through a second peak and is joined by an arc to the directrix of d." (p 7)
For those readers not familiar w/ the famous Philips Pavilion, I quote from James Brody's liner notes to Xenakis' Electro-Acoustic Music record:
[Xenakis'] "Concret P-H along with Edgar Varèse's Poème électronique, one of the works composed for the Philips Pavilion of the 1958 Brussels World's Fair; the work's aim was psychologically to prepare the public for the spectacle designed by Le Corbusier in the interior of the Pavilion and accompanied by Varese's music. Four hundred loudspeakers, lining the interior of the shell, were required to fill up the space with the sonic scintillations of Concret P-H and to effect a common emanation from architecture and music, conceived as an entity: the roughness of the concrete and its coefficient of internal friction was echoed in the timbre of the scintillations. The architecture of the pavillion, conceived and executed for Le Corbusier by Xenakis, was based entirely on non-developable ruled surfaces, or "hyperbolic paraboloids" (paraboloïdes ou hyperboliques - P.H.)" [reviewer's note: I suspect that the "ou" in the preceding shd be "du" or "de" but I'm quoting verbatim.]
& Xenakis has this to say in Formalized Music: "If glissandi are long and sufficiently interlaced, we obtain sonic spaces of continuous evolution. It is possible to produce ruled surfaces by drawing the glissandi as straight lines. I performed this experiment with Metastasis (this work had its premier in 1955 at Donaueschingen). Several years later, when the architect Le Corbusier, whose collaborator I was, asked me to suggest a design for the architecture of the Philips Pavilion in Brussels, my inspiration was pin-pointed by the experiment w/ Metastasis. Thus I believe that on this occasion music and architecture found an intimate connection. Figs. I-1-5 indicate the causal chain of ideas which led me to formulate the architecture of the Philips Pavilion from the score of Metastasis" (p 10)
Next up in the accompanying music to writing this review is "Kraanerg" (1969), "S.709" (1992), "Concret P-H" (1958), & "Diamorphoses" (1956-57) (can't get enuf of those latter 2 babies!).
It never even occurred to me, until reading this bk, that I've never seen or heard the great conductor & Serialist composer, Pierre Boulez, conducting Xenakis' music. That seems odd given that they're both major figures in 20th century avant-garde music & both France-based. This will explain: "As a result of the impasse in serial music, as well as other causes, I originated in 1954 a music constructed from the principle of indeterminism; two years later I named it "Stochastic Music." The laws of the calculus of probabilities entered composition through musical necessity." (p 8) In other words, Xenakis is critical of musical theories he doesn't personally espouse (surprise, surprise! NOT). The music I love is all produced by strong personalities, driven by their own personal philosophy. Xenakis is a critic of much of it, taking particular aim at Serialism, improvisation, aleatoric music, & graphic notation:
"Before generalizing further on the essence of musical composition, we must speak of the principle of improvisation which causes a furore among the neo-serialists, and which gives them the right, or so they think, to speak of chance, of the aleatory, which they thus introduce into music. They write scores in which certain combinations of sounds may be freely chosen by the interpreter. Two logical infirmities are apparent which deny them the right to speak of chance on the one hand and "composition" on the other (composition in the broad sense, that is):
"1. The interpreter is a highly conditioned being, so that it is not possible to accept the thesis of unconditioned choice, of an interpreter acting like a roulette game. The martingale betting at Monte Carlo and the procession of suicides should convince anyone of this. We shall return to this.
"2. The composer commits an act of resignation when he admits several possible and equivalent circuits. In the name of a "scheme" the problem of choice is betrayed, and it is the interpreter who is promoted to the rank of composer by the composer himself. There is thus a substitution of authors.
"The extremist extension of this attitude is one which uses graphical signs on a piece of paper which the interpreter reads while improvising the whole. The two infirmities mentioned above are terribly aggravated here. I would like to pose a question: If this sheet of paper is put before an interpreter who is an incomparable expert on Chopin, will the result not be modulated in the style and writing of Chopin in the same way that a performer who is immersed in this style might improvise a Chopin-like cadenza to another composer's concerto? From the point of view of the composer there is no interest.
"On the contrary, two conclusions may be drawn: first, that serial composition has become so banal that it can be improvised like Chopin's, which confirms the general impression; and second, that the composer resigns his function altogether, that he has nothing to say, and that his function can be taken over by paintings or by cuneiform glyphs." - p 38
Xenakis has quite the chip on his shoulder!! & I, more or less, completely disagree w/ what he has to say here. Putting aside the concept of "chance", wch brings up a boatload of philosophical baggage regarding 'free-will' vs 'fate', aleatoric music, interpreted here as meaning music based on a game structure, has the composer providing the game & the interpreters providing the game playing. These are 2 different things & many composers & players prefer this approach b/c they find through-notation (such as what Xenakis uses) to be too stultifying - leaving the interpreter too little rm for the manifestation of their personality as anything other than in a subservient position vis-à-vis the composer.
As for the idea of "an interpreter who is an incomparable expert on Chopin" improvising "a Chopin-like cadenza to another composer's concerto"? Why not? I like the idea of having a Chopin expert perform a graphic score & a Xenakis expert performing the same graphic score independently of hearing the Chopin expert's realization. Imagine playing the 2 interpretations back-to-back &/or simultaneously: what wd the differences be? What wd the similarities be? I'm reminded of when Neely Bruce performed what he announced as a Chopin piece at a friend's wedding party in 2006 or thereabouts. He played the piano, it didn't exactly sound like Chopin to me but I don't know Chopin's music very well at all & I enjoyed it nonetheless, the attendees applauded & Neely announced that Chopin never really wrote anything like that - Neely improvised it. Was this less of a musical experience b/c of that?
As for serial composition becoming banal? Perhaps. These days when I read the liner notes to a 1970s academic classical record & read about the composer's choice of tone rows & what-not I usually expect not much imagination b/c by then serialism had become de rigueur for unoriginal academic composers to be taken seriously as 'modern'. But that doesn't rule out the greatness of such proto-Serialists such as Schönberg & Messiaen or hard-core serialists like Boulez or composers who experimented w/ Serialism in one or more pieces like Hiller.
A major factor in Xenakis' criticism of other composers' approaches to games is that his approach specifically references Game Theory in its mathematical purity:
"Before passing to the problem of the mechanization of stochastic music by the use of computers, we shall take a stroll in a more enjoyable realm, that of games, their theory, and application in musical composition." - p 110
"Let us imagine a competitive situation between two orchestras, each having one conductor. Each of the conductors directs sonic operations against the operations of the other. Each operation represents a move or a tactic and the encounter between two moves has a numerical and/or a qualitative value which benefits one and harms the other. This value is written in a grid or matrix at the intersection of the row corresponding to move i of conductor A and the column corresponding to move j of conductor B. This is the partial score ij, representing the payment one conductor gives the other. This game, a duel, is defined as a two-person zero-sum game." - p112
A "zero-sum game" being one in wch the winnings match the losses in quantity. I stress the word "competitive" regarding the above - but not all games are competitive. Some are explorations of possibilities playfully approached in wch there aren't necessarily any losses & in wch the gains might just be whatever the player gets out of the experience. This is much more my approach. Xenakis's music is highly influenced by the intense experiences he had as a Communist student resistance fighter during WWII against the Nazi occupation of Greece. During this time, his face was hit by a tank shell, blowing out one eye & much of his cheek. Now, cf Mauricio Kagel's telling of the composition of his game piece "Match für 3 Spieler" (1964) as told in Kagel's (translated) liner notes for a realization of it on the avant garde label:
"When I woke up on the morning of the 1st August 1964 I suddenly became aware of the fact that I had dreamed the complete course of a piece of music, and to an incredibly detailed degree. I was still able to remember all the particulars, above all - naturally - the fact that the two cellists were placed near the front of the platform on either side, with the percussion player between them as "umpire". The details of performance, with the types of sound, methods of articulation and gesticulation, and above all the markedly "sporting" character of the piece, remained in my mind with the utmost clarity. At that time I was working on a composition for entirely different forces and with a totally different disposition of the material; I could see no relationship, as regards either content or form, between the sound world of the two concepts. I did not want to give up work on the piece on which I was already engaged in order to bring a dream to realization. Nine nights later, however, the dream performance was repeated, with the same clarity of detail as before. I was perturbed, this time I made notes, and tried to define the elusive time element of the imaginary music in terms of concrete tempi. On the following morning I realized that the dream had been repeated yet again. This time I laid everything aside, in the belief that fate had knocked three times, and that it was high time to do what was required of me. - I wrote this Match in sound within seven days. The dream has never again been repeated, which is a pity, because I should like to compare it to the finished score." ...more
Notes are private!
Mar 07, 2013
Mar 10, 2013
Jan 01, 2010
Peter Lamborn Wilson's ABECEDARIUM
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 22, 2013
This is brilliant. I always hesitate to give any bk a 5 review of
Peter Lamborn Wilson's ABECEDARIUM
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 22, 2013
This is brilliant. I always hesitate to give any bk a 5 star rating & I don't really like the rating system anyway but, nonetheless, 5 stars it is. This is scholarly, imaginative, stimulating, rebellious, funny, entertaining. It also reminds me that its publisher, Xexoxial Editions, is another one of my favorite publishers up there w/ Station Hill Press, Something Else Press, Encyclopedia Destructica, Atlas Press, Dalkey Archive, Grove Press, etc..
I'm most reminded of William S. Burroughs' The Book of Breeething ( http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18... ), another bk I gave 5 stars to. In the early days of my GoodReads reviews, my reviews were short, just capsules, if even that much. In the one about the Burroughs bk I wrote: "It all ties together: visionary, magikal (&, yes, my spelling is deliberate). It's as if Burroughs achieved a highly disciplined penetrating vision & locked it in place."
In the section on the letter "M" he even references Burroughs:
"Wm Burroughs once demanded of the State that it return all the colors it stole to animate its symbolic imaginaire: give back the green from the dollar bill to trees & grass, etc. The alphabet has also "stolen" symbols in order to perpetuate itself as the framework of a certain social relation. M has stolen the moisture out of the baby's mouth. It should give back its waves to the sea & its breasts to the Goddess." (p 42)
By comparing Wilson to Burroughs I don't mean to belittle him as derivative - far from it. ABECEDARIUM is as rich in difference as it is in similarity. Wilson shares w/ Burroughs an anti-authoritarianism & a visionary speculative scholarliness uncowed by fear of looking foolish, secure in the audacity of his personality.
Peter gave me this bk when I visited him in December, 2010. It was a marvelous, albeit brief, visit. He ushered me straight into the entryway bedroom of his home & immediately spread out large ceremonial collages & explained their relations to recent rituals he'd been conducting. Rituals of sacrificing jewelry to rivers & such-like. It was SO Peter! So unique, so original.. &, yet, so tied into so many occult currents. & ABECEDARIUM is fertile w/ the same spirit:
is for barn or byre or building or house -- perhaps cattle share it with humans like in old Ireland. Maybe the ox isn't so much coming forth as going in -- down into Egypt. Sounds have been enclosed in rigid sounds -- A is A, B is B. Beneath them the archaeographologue uncovers walls of old houses broken pottery bones. What did they bury with the dead & why? Surely the dead have provided these ruins with an immense gravity or suffocating heaviness -- almost suction. These mummies are dehydrated & they long for the blood of living words or even inarticulate sounds.
"Without letters there could be no machines; what letters do for sound the machine does for force. A machine is the sign of its own operation. Nothing ever melts into something else." (p 14)
"Each of the letters kills the thing it has replaced." (p 17)
"Cabalistic or hermeto-critical praxis precludes any pure negative approach to alphabetic symbolism -- even tho this ABC stresses spectral rather than formal aspects of alphabetism. No idyllic return to pre-literacy. There's nothing particularly "oral" about radio & TV since they could never have been invented without the machine of letters in the first place." (p 19)
The current coursing thru this is questioning, questioning not only the language being used to write the bk but also the concept of 'progress' that such language represents to some. &, yet, while almost everything is questioned, there's a deliberate ambiguity, a reveling in 'poetic' tangents:
"Palm of the Hand. Two fingers poked in the eye of three stooges. Take give bless, the Three Graces or anti-stooges. Spectre & Form.
"K the letter of Earth, X for Air, Z for Fire, Q for Water. Unspell these letters if you can. Disney characters have three fingers perhaps a hint of their demonic origin.
"Lines on the palm of the hand as a possible source of letters: reading the palm, crossing it with silver. Dreams are the thing but not the thing: images words memories but not the thing. A doubling has occurred -- a doppelgänger in the invisible world of words -- and eventually this displacement goes so far that writing must be invented to contain restrain fixate & even kill the dream images like so many maggots. Contraction of awareness as defense against too much sensation. Gods no longer speak to us, the selfish bastards." (p 34)
In drawings announcing each letter's section, the letter is shown & a history of its development from a hieroglyph to its current form is hypothesized. In almost every case, the hieroglyph is turned on its side. Wilson speculates that this is to hide the original magik.
"What does it mean to say that the Prophet was unlettered? literally illiterate? So that Gabriel using yet another variant of the old Ehypto-Sinaitic abecedarium had to fill him up with letters like an empty sack? there in the cave of the daemon of dreams? Or -- as certain sufis allege -- because he'd gotten rid of the letters in some way, transcended or absorbed them, erased them or washed them out in a howl of light? The Hurufiyya the original Lettrists created calligrammes of Mohammed & Ali in which their faces & bodies are made of letters. I have a behind-glass painting from Cirebon in Java in which the body of the shadow-puppet clown Semar (albino hunchback hermaphrodite dwarf) is composed of the Arabic letters ALLAH -- green and gold." (p 37)
All in all, GREAT! & where shd I file it in my library? Under poetry? Under literary studies? (I don't think I have such a section) Under occult? Perhaps all great works don't easily fit into any pre-existing categories. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 22, 2013
Feb 22, 2013
Casey Droege's SIX x ATE
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 6, 2013
I generally like people who make shit happen, esp when the shit th review of
Casey Droege's SIX x ATE
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 6, 2013
I generally like people who make shit happen, esp when the shit they make happen builds community, is fun, is intellectually stimulating, & nourishing. & Casey Droege, the curator of the series that this bk is the catalog from & the person who edited the catalog itself, exemplifies this type of person. Bravo! Even better yet, I love it when I'm included in the creative end of such things & when there's a PRODUCT from it that I can contribute to. These days, w/ paperbacks being cheaper-than-ever (?) in full color, having this be a color bk is even more thrilling.
SIX x ATE is a performance series / dinner party in wch gourmet catering is coupled w/ short presentations by 6 creative types at each event. The catalog presents the residue from the 1st 3 of these events. We're promised that there will be more. I hope so. Casey introduces the catalog thusly:
"SIX x ATE is a free dinner and lecture series promoting local artists, a stronger arts network and a more interdisciplinary conversation in Pittsburgh. For each event, six artists are asked to present or perform work based on a theme while one cuisinier creates a meal based on the same theme. The dinner guests are a mixture of professionals who are connected to the arts and the theme of the night. The artists present for 5 minutes throughout the night, allowing for dinner time to be spent socializing, sharing resources and brainstorming collaborations."
The SIX x ATE I participated in was on Monday night, June 18, 2012. Someday (maybe by mid 2013), readers will be able to read my description of my part here: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOut... . In the meantime, there's this relevant movie: http://youtu.be/6EicbqmLvbk . Also participating that night, as performers, were David Bernabo, Casey, T. Foley, Nina Sarnelle, & Becky Slemmons. The food was provided by Leslie Fleisher with sous chef Danita Greaser.
The 2nd SIX x ATE had food from Casey's mom, Linda Wallen, "with extra treats by Ali Momeni". The artists were Lizzy De Vita, Corey Escoto, Yona Harvey, Ben Hernstrom, Sara McCool, & Ryan Woodring. The 3rd featured cuisine & "special drinks provided by" Sara Humphrey and the Bar Marco team w/ the artists being Kim Beck, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Jasdeep Khaira, Steve Gurysh, Alexi Morrisey, & Natalie Settles.
The chefs are represented by a 2pp spread, the left-most part of wch is the menu. Each of the other participants also gets 2pp. Interspersed throughout are full page comments from various attendees, all flatteringly positive. Ok, this is a catalog, not a critical work. The lush color is a joy. Alas, my name is written: "tENTATIVELY, a Convenience". After what is now 38 yrs of using the name & 34 yrs of spelling it in tOGGLE-cASE, it's still common for it to be miswritten. Oh, well.. That's a minor complaint. Casey did a wonderful job & I'm very thankful to her for creating the series, including me in it, & publishing this marvelous catalog! ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 05, 2013
Feb 06, 2013
Dec 01, 2005
The OPEN SPACE magazine issue 7
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 16 - December 1, 2012
[As is so often the case, my review is 'too l review of
The OPEN SPACE magazine issue 7
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 16 - December 1, 2012
[As is so often the case, my review is 'too long' to appear here so it appears in full under 'my writing': http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/3... ]
Whew! Another great OPEN SPACE publication. It probably deserves 5 stars as much as the last OPEN SPACE I reviewed (12/13), if not more so, but I've decided to give it a 4 star rating b/c it doesn't have any hand touches in it. That might seem too picky but in most of my publications I do some special design thing - like having a page that's folded over to increase the narrative-reveal process &/or having things glued to the cover, etc. SO, I've set my standards even higher than usual here.
W/ that slight criticism out of the way, I have to say that OPEN SPACE lives up to its implied promise - the SPACE is OPEN to a substantial variety of scholarly material & both the quality of the scholarliness & the diversity of subjects pleases me enormously.
The opening section is entitled JKR / pass 1 &, apparently, this section was compiled to honor J. K. Randall's 75th birthday (wch occurred the yr before publication). Given this theme, I decided to revisit the Randall recordings in my personal archive. Most of these are part of a series of tapes called "Inter/Play". In my previous OPEN SPACE review I wrote: "I listened to all the "Inter/Play" tapes at least twice. I don't recall liking any of them. At all."
In order to reappraise these I decided to organize all the Randall pieces in chronological order into a retrospective of tapes. The result was 19 tapes: the 1st being 120 minutes, the rest being 90 minutes, w/ the last being a 90 but only having 60:28's worth of material on it. A total of ca. 28 hrs 30 minutes. In the process, I listened w/ headphones on to all of the relevant Inter/Play sessions in chronological order (& rerecorded them in that order)- not in the order that they were released in. The full list of pieces is as follows:
01. "Quartets in Pairs" - 1964 - 1:21 - from nonesuch "Computer Music" LP
02. "Mudgett: Monologues of a Mass Murderer" - 1965 - 10:02
- from nonesuch "Computer Music" LP
03. "Quartersines" - 1969 - 1:49 - from nonesuch "Computer Music" LP
04. "FOUR.." - 5.5.80 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 18"
- Randall, Marjorie Tichenor
05. "..BREATHE" - 8.15.80 - c. 42:00 - from "Inter/Play 5"
- Randall, Marjorie Tichenor
06. "..KIDDIERAMA" - 8.26.80 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 9"
- Randall, Linda Smukler
07. "..WIRE" - 9.1.80 - c. 43:00 - from "Inter/Play 13"
-Benjamin Boretz, Jeff Presslaff, Randall
08. "MORRIS CLYFFORD.." - 1.13.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 12"
- Arthur Margolin, Randall
09. "REVEREWARE.." - 1.17.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 16"
- Keith Johnston, Randall
10. "GODS.." - 4.25.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 11"
- Randall, Wally Shoup
11. "..PAINT" - 5.1.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 16"
- Randall, Wally Shoup (painting)
12. "FOME FAY FUBFEFFILE" - 8.22.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 14"
- David Hicks, Randall. Daniel Warner
13. "SOFT PALATE.." - 8.27.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 7"
- David Hicks, James Kelly, Randall
14. "ORANGE DOTS, PASTED.." - 9.5.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 3"
- David Hicks, James Kelly, Randall
15. "..JIM SQUARED" - 10.10.81 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 15"
- James Kelly, Randall
16. ..INCORPORATE NO LANGUAGE" - 2.22.82 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 28"
- Benjamin Boretz, Randall
17. "IN WHICH.." - 3.8.82 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 28"
18. "SEATTLE.." - 3.27.82 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 2"
- Benjamin Boretz, Randall
19. "SHEEPSHEARING IN KINGSTON NEW JERSEY ALSO GEESE AND DUCKS" - 4.25.82 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 18"
20. "GUEST.." - 9.22.82 - c. 31:00 - from "Inter/Play 14"
- Randall, Mathew Rosenblum, Daniel Warner
21. "SOUPS ARE.." - 1.24.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 3"
- Ross Rabin, Randall
22. "WOLFYODEL.." - 2.24.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 10"
- Keith Johnston, Randall, Daniel Warner
23. "GASTROPHONE.." - 3.5.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 1"
- Ross Rabin, Randall, Daniel Warner
24. "..OF OLD" - 3.21.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 17"
- Randall, Marjorie Tichenor, Danile Warner
25. "BO BLP; BWLP.." - 4.3.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 5"
- Benjamin Boretz, Ross Rabin, Randall, Marjorie Tichenor
26. "..WHATZISFISH" - 5.12.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 7"
- Randall, Mathew Rosenblum, Marjorie Tichenor, Daniel Warner
27. "RED CARPET.." - 5.30.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 13"
- Randall, Rachel Rue
28. "..PIANO PLAYER" - 6.4.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 11"
- Randall, Mathew Rosenblum, Marjorie Tichenor, Daniel Warner
29. "FLY/YOOHOO.." - 6.18.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 15"
- Randall, Mathew Rosenblum, Marjorie Tichenor, Daniel Warner
30. "..JUNE SUNDAY" - 6.19.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 1"
- Richard Cann, Randall, David Tenney, Matthew Young
31. "..SUPPLEMENT" - 7.13.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 10"
- Elaine Barkin, Randall, Mathew Rosenblum, Marjorie Tichenor, Daniel Warner
32. "..PFRITZ" - 8.30.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 2"
- Randall, Kevin Shopland, Marjorie Tichenor
33. "NIGHT GAME.." - 10.10.83 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 20"
- Dana Batali, Adrian Carr, Mark Dickinson, David Laur, Mark Nelson, Randall, P. U. Security
34. "..NO DOUG" - 6.26.84 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 12"
- Brad Garton, Mark Nelson, Randall
35. "MORE INDIAN GRASS.." - 7.17.84 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 9"
- Brad Garton, Doug Henderson, Mark Nelson, Randall
36. "STILL MORE INDIAN GRASS: DOG.." - 7.17.84 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 17"
- Brad Garton, Doug Henderson, Mark Nelson, Randall
37. "..MED IN ORD" - 8.20.85 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 22"
38. "..EETHOVEN" - 11.27.85 - c. 45:00 - from "Inter/Play 19"
- Tom Hadju, Andrew Milburn, Randall
39. "..101" - 4.3.86 - c. 43:00 - from "Inter/Play 20"
- Martin Butler, Randall
40. "..JKR AT WM & M" - 4.8.86 - c. 29:00 - from "Inter/Play 21"
- Tom Hadju, David Madole, Andrew Milburn, Randall, Nancy Riecken
41. "GAP6" - 1999? - 31:28 - from 'OPEN SPACE 13" CD
- Martin Goldray: piano
Now that's probably already more info than most, if not all, readers of this review will be interested in. No matter, my purpose here is to write something SUBSTANTIAL - not to pander to short attn spans.
There's very little info on the "Inter/Play" tapes. It's my tenuous deduction they started being released in 1983. They may've stopped in 1987. There were at least 36. When they were originally released the sessions were presented in no apparent order - maybe just putting 2 together that seemed like an interesting match. EG: #1 has "..JUNE SUNDAY" from 6.19.83 & "GASTROPHONE.." from 3.5.83. I quoted myself earlier as saying that "I don't recall liking any of them" but listening to them in chronological order made them more interesting for me b/c I got a sense of development.
"..BREATHE" (8.15.80) has someone (Randall, I deduce) playing what seems to be a one-stringed instrument - my deduction being that it's a gopichand: an Indian instrument w/ a very flexible neck to enable substantial note bending. "..KIDDIERAMA" (8.26.80) has the same instrument. (I wdn't've recognized the instrument if Michael Pestel & I hadn't also used it on our "Pond(er)" piece (2004)) "..BREATHE" additionally has flute & "..KIDDIERAMA" has percussion. Both are extremely sparse. About the closest thing I can compare them to is John Cage's series of "Ryoanji" pieces (1983-85). I much prefer the Cage but these presumed improvs of Randall's & collaborators are remarkable b/c of their extreme restraint.
Since there's so little info on the K7 packaging, I'll speculate to fill in the gaps: Randall, teaching at Princeton, invites students & friends for what're mostly extracurricular improvisation sessions - maybe in a music rm at the school, maybe at Randall's home, sometimes elsewhere. Perhaps in most instances Randall suggests something. Sometimes, Benjamin Boretz fills in for &/or joins Randall. Maybe for "..KIDDIERAMA" Randall suggested that they play very minimally w/o any melodic development or obvious groove. Maybe he did this to discourage a student's trying to overextend underdeveloped playing ability. Maybe he did it to impose a challenging restriction. Maybe both, maybe neither.
To continue the speculation, the players come & go, maybe playing a few sessions in a row & then going away for vacations or moving away or whatever. In the meantime, Randall comes up w/ ideas to keep things interesting. Often the playing is somewhat amateurish, it's possible not everyone's a musician. "..PAINT" (5.1.81) is livened up by having Wally Shoup paint instead of playing an instrument; "SHEEPSHEARING IN KINGSTON NEW JERSEY ALSO GEESE AND DUCKS" (4.25.82) is just that: an environmental field trip recording; Inter/Play 14 starts the B side w/ an electronic piece by Daniel Warner; "GASTROPHONE.." (3.5.83) has more accomplished percussion than usual: the playing seems to be getting better in general; "RED CARPET.." (5.30.83) has what sounds to me like a rebec; "..JUNE SUNDAY" (6.19.83) appears to've been recorded outside; "..PFRITZ" (8.30.83) has alotof talking - including mention of the Communist Manifesto (anyone reading this ever listened to Erwin Schulhof's orchestration of it?); "NIGHT GAME.." (10.10.83) was recorded outside on the Princeton campus, probably at nite, & the Princeton University Campus Security were called to investigate - a discussion w/ them can be heard; "..MED IN ORD" (8.20.85) is Randall playing a digital synthesizer solo; "..EETHOVEN" (11.27.85) has what seems to be a prerecorded lecture playing; "..101" (4.3.86) is for 2 pianos ."
"..JKR AT WM & M" (4.8.86), the last of the sessions that I have a recording of w/ Randall on it, is a recording of Randall lecturing at William & Mary College. In this latter, Randall is explaining what seems to be a class improv project where they went to a small economically depressed town & improvised in various locations. The lecture incorporates A/V aids & the players apparently improvise music along w/ the lecture. The development, therefore, expands both the place & the praxis of the playing. I like that. I've done alotof similar things & did them around the same time. As such, my appreciation for these sessions is increased from my initial hearing(s).
I've already commented on Randall's earlier computer music in my review of OPEN SPACE 12/13 by saying "Randall's "Mudgett: Monologues by a Mass Murderer" (1965) [has a subject that] gets out of the purely formalist ghetto that characterizes most computer music [&] is a precursor to the work of Throbbing Gristle & of Industrial Music in general." That leaves "GAP6". This Randall composition for piano is played by Martin Goldray on the OPEN SPACE 13 CD release (not to be confused w/ the magazine issue 12/13). The OPEN SPACE that I'm hypothetically reviewing here has a somewhat exhaustive analysis of a Randall piano piece called "GAP6 I" wch I assume to be the same piece.
The article is by Robert Morris & is entitled "A collection of thoughts on Jim Randall, his piano piece GAP6 I, and some notions of "gap."" The 1st heading is "Jimnopedea (sans satire)", a pun on Satie's famous "Gymnopedies". Morris' musings on GAP6 I are sooooo substantial I'm deeply impressed. Nonetheless, having just relistened to GAP6, I'm still largely unimpressed by it. It 'does' little or nothing for me. While I found it somewhat more interesting in this listening, its sparseness doesn't move me the way late Liszt does, or Satie's 'Rosicrucian' period, or the work of Morton Feldman. Nor does its apparent formal specificity thrill me in the way that, say, Lejaren Hiller's "Twelve-Tone Variations for Piano" & "Sonata No. 3 for Violin & Piano" do.
In general this is much the same reaction that I have to most or all of the music somehow connected to Columbia-Princeton. Even when I might formally or historically appreciate it, say, in the work of Milton Babbitt, I still find it somewhat 'soul-less' - a very odd word choice for me given that I'm not sure I believe in a 'soul'! So what do I mean?!
Perhaps 'sterile' wd be a better word. It somehow strikes me as too pure - but that's not really fair to Randall. 'Inevitably', I think of my own piano music & compare it: if I had composed GAP6 I'd probably like it - but, of course, that's a stupid statement since I didn't compose GAP6. In the selection of my piano works that I've ordered under the name "Piano Illiterature" (that can be found here: http://archive.org/search.php?query=c... ), there's certainly work that's even more formally rigorous than what I've heard by Randall - take "Interpretive Duncing" (Volume 2) or "Po, Li, Ou" & "A Catamaran Animist Vigor" (Volume 5), eg. But these are so over-the-top that they're desperate attempts to use humor to drive a wedge into stultification. Even tho I've come to appreciate Randall's music much more, I still find it a bit too 'Ivory Tower', a bit too comfy in the academic ghetto of privilege.
I'm reminded of the post-'WWII' situation of the French Musique Concrete embracing of all sounds & the German 'purism' of Serialist Electronic Music in wch no non-electronically generated sounds are used. I've always preferred Musique Concrete - or, as I prefer, Concrete Mixing. Columbia-Princeton has always been too purist for me. But, then again, the "Inter/Play" sessions 'prove' me wrong (somewhat). At any rate, my vocabulary is highly suspect here - I prefer accuracy & I still feel like I'm not quite saying what I want to.
I often find myself w/ a 'bad attitude' toward academia. People attend university to buy their way into a better position in the class system as much if not more than they do to learn & professors aren't always as knowledgeable as their position implies. Making matters worse, while many professors are 'liberal' & often critical of the injustices of their society I often consider them to be part of the very segment of society that these injustices protects. As such, while it's well & good that Randall organized an Inter/Play session outside on the PU campus, it's also not something that he'll suffer any negative consequences from. There's no real risk. Not so w/ actions that I've personally taken. The 'sterility' & 'purism' that I'm referencing is like food that's had its nutrition sanitized out of.
I'm reminded of Noam Chomsky telling a story about a friend of his being stopped by the police when he was entering Chomsky's neighborhood to visit him. Chomsky is at least aware of the manifestations of his privilege. I'm also reminded of the term "dirty concrete' to reference a type of poetics that d. a. levy's associated w/. Even tho in poetics I don't always find 'dirty concrete' clear-headed enuf to be satisfying, I still prefer a little 'dirt' to a sterilization of the body politic.
All these quasi-political musings might seem too far afield & very well may be. Mary Lee A. Roberts' article entitled "Joseph Creek" is a good example of what complicates any simple notion of the politics here. She writes:
"This paper is a travelogue of the chase, otherwise known as the Nez Perce National Historical Trail; an account of a tour Ben Boretz & I made in 2003 in the country traveled over by the Nez Perce in 1877 and the personal impressions I have of the area. There are many more methodical studies of the politics involved in the Nez Perce story, there are also better descriptions of the country, but this is how I see this land, this is where I am going to live, this will be my home for now, and this is the trail I followed in summer 2003 that made me want to live in the Nez Perce country and learn their language." - p 85
"A good place to start a tour of this country in in Moscow Idaho then head south." - p 85
"Moscow Idaho"! The place where the crude but lively improvising group CHODA was head-quartered! CHODA being a perfect example of 'dirty concrete' in music.
Roberts' & Boretz's journey appeals to me. I was pleased to learn that "the Lewis-Clark State College in Lewistown where the Nez Perce language is taught" is "A very special campus. At Lewis-Clark State College students can study and receive a minor in the Nez-Perce language, a three-year program" & that "here is where by boat you can enter into the beginnings of the deepest river gorge in the United States: Hell's Canyon, a chasm like no other, cut by the Snake River." to wch is footnoted: "From the top of the Seven Devils Mountains in Idaho as measured down to the bottom of the Hell's Canyon is a drop of 8, 043 feet, deeper than the Grand Canyon." - p 87
In general, this was an excellent & highly informative article - at least for a person like myself who hasn't read any of the works that Roberts references. Among these, she recommends:
"Landeen, Dan and Allan Pinkham. Salmon and his People: Fish and Fishing in Nez Perce Culture. Lewiston, ID: Confluence Press, 1999.
"This is an essential and definitive study of the Nez Perce's biological and cultural relationship to their waterways. Salmon and his People begins with a chrology of the damming of the local rivers (by 1975 eighteen dams were in place along the Columbia and Snake Rivers). "[In] 1991 sockeye salmon and spring, summer, and fall chinook salmon from the Snake River, the Columbia's largest tributary, are listed under the Endangered Species Act." (Page xvii)" - p 103
Why are they endangered? B/c they're anadromous fish, fish that swim upriver from the sea to breed. If there's a dam there, they can't swim upriver! Had you ever thought of that?! I hadn't! Nor did I know the word "anadrom(o)us" before. This is education.
"Petersen, Keith C. River of Life, Channel of Death: Fish and Dams on the Lower Snake
"The anadromous fish population story and the history of the Nez Perce cannot be separated. The damming of the Northwest rivers has all but destroyed amny species. For example: the Snake River species of the Sockeye Salmon is endangered and probably extinct, and other salmon species runs are greatly reduced. the story of the disappearance of Nez Perce land is only part of the tragedy; the disappearance of a prime source of food and native culture as pertaining to waterways is the other half of the story." - p 105
[see this continued here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/3... ] ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 15, 2012
Dec 01, 2012
Sep 02, 2012
Sep 02, 2012
Mark O'Connor & Amy Catanzano's
A Few Words & Concepts tENT (amazingly) Did Not Know
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 21, 20 review of
Mark O'Connor & Amy Catanzano's
A Few Words & Concepts tENT (amazingly) Did Not Know
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - September 21, 2012
Ok, I have some great friends. For my 59th birthday, my neighbor & friend extraordinaire Mark O'Connor put together this chapbk of words & suchlike that I had been known to not know. Mark had to consult secretly w/ my other lovely friends Amy Catanzano, Hyla Willis, Unfinished Symphonies, & Ben Opie to get contributions.
The result is somewhat slim. After I ruthlessly refute it, it will be even slimmer. There've been times when I've called myself a "human encyclopedia". This may seem egomaniacal. It is. Nonetheless, I pride myself on having a phenomenal amt of info stored in my brain - esp, of course, but not entirely, about the subjects I love: music, literature, movies. Then again, there's an infinite amt I 'don't know' - wch puts the finite amt I 'do know' in its proper paltry perspective. Making matters worse, I'm getting older & deteriorating. By the time I get any credit for my remarkable memory it'll be long gone.
I awoke in the middle of the nite & started making a mental list of SF movies I've seen - suddenly exasperated by being unable to immediately remember the name of the director of "Dune" even tho I cd remember the names of many of his other movies & of his tv show (wch I never watched). W/in 5 or 10 minutes I remembered David Lynch. That was too slow - but better than nothing.
ANYWAY, that my friends put together this funny & touching bk is proof-positive of how lucky I am to know them. & the picture that Mark used of me on the back cover is proof-positive that I'm not trying to protect or project a professional image.
In Mark's brief (& small font-sized) preface, he writes:
"At 7:50PM on Tuesday nights tENT and I wander down to the swanky environs of The Rock Room in Polish Hill for $2.00 hamburgers and cheap beer. Invariably our talk turns to books, movies, or art. Over time I realized it is almost impossible to stump tENT, to mention an author, director, or artist with whom he is unfamiliar. It's like drinking with Teddy McArdle from Nine Stories or Charles Van Doren, but without the cheating."
Ok, I knew that Nine Stories is the name of a J. D. Salinger bk but I don't recall reading that one - if I did it wd've been over 40 yrs ago. At any rate, I had to look the character up online to learn that he's a 10 yr old genius. & I vaguely remember that Charles Van Doren was the infamous cheater on a tv quiz show - something like "The Million Dollar Question". SO, I looked this up online (don't you just love these directional metaphors?) & found that the actual show in question was called "Twenty One" & Van Doren began his appearances in January, 1957. I wd've been 3 at the time.
As for the 'words & concepts I didn't know'? The 1st is "caltrop" & that was Mark's contribution &, he's right, I didn't know the name - I knew the object, I've seen them in action, but not the name. The 2nd, "The Cramps": this was Hyla's &, strictly speaking, it shdn't be in the list - at a "mm" (musicians' meeting) at my house Hyla sd something about The Cramps & asked me if I knew their music. I replied to the effect that I wasn't really familiar w/ them. However, that didn't mean that I didn't know them at all! I'd heard of them, I've seen their records, & I've probably even heard their music - it had just never made much of an impression on me.
"Enjambment": this was from Amy: "A run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next." Amy was right about this one. I know very little poetics terminology, Amy's the more knowledgeable one there. "Hey Punk": from Unfinished Symphonies. I didn't 'know' that this Zappa song was a parody of "Hey Joe". Actually, I'd probably just forgotten. This gets a 50%.
"The Magnetic Fields": this one's just plain wrong (maybe mainly b/c of an editorial mistake): At a "mm" US was going to play some music by this pop group & I thought he was referring to the "Earth's Magnetic Field" piece by Charles Dodge. This bk has it that "When [US] brought in some of the epic 69 Love Songs, tENT assumed it was going to be the 1981 avant-garde album Magnetic Fields by French composer Jean composer Jean Michel Jarre." Nope, I barely know Jarre's work & wdn't call it "avant-garde". In fact, it's always struck me as that pathetic variety of electronic schmaltz that Tangerine Dream also represents to me.
"Mohel": another of Mark's. "A person who performs ritual Jewish circumcisions". Yep, I probably didn't know this - or, at least, I didn't remember it. "Parboil": Amy's: "To partially cook food by boiling it briefly". Ok, that's another 50%er. Amy & I were probably in the kitchen & she probably mentioned parboiling & I probably expressed uncertainty. It's something I wd've figured out deductively w/in seconds. "Po Music": Ben's: "I explained that Joe McPhee, an improvising musician called what he did "Po Music," which is shortened for "process of provocation."" That's a good un.
The bk concludes w/ a pretty-fucking-funny poem by Amy in wch the preceding words are the central vocabulary. Good on ya meatey! To conclude, out of the 8 words/concepts/bands/whatevers presented, only 4 get my full endorsement as qualifying. Not bad, but no cigar.
THANK YOU ALL!!!!! ...more
Notes are private!
Sep 03, 2012
Sep 21, 2012
Jan 01, 2010
Jan 01, 2010
Franz Kamin's Scribble Death
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 25, 2012
Franz Kamin was a friend of mine. I performed in some of his pie review of
Franz Kamin's Scribble Death
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 25, 2012
Franz Kamin was a friend of mine. I performed in some of his pieces. At my suggestion he joined GoodReads, so he's an author here, but he never posted anything. He died in a car crash along w/ his old friend & mine, James "Sarmad" Brody", in 2010. I spent 7 mnths from October, 2010 to May, 2011 making a documentary about him called "DEPOT (wherein resides the UNDEAD of Franz Kamin". I've screened this in Minneapolis, NYC, & Milwaukee as of March 2012. I have a briefcase filled w/ things relevant to him.
As I approach closure in my memorialization of him, I've been planning to finally file away this briefcase. In order to do that I felt like I 'needed' to either read for the 1st time or reread his main bk, Scribble Death & write a review about it here. Reading it was somewhat strange. I've probably had it for decades - maybe since it came out - & parts of it were very familiar for various reasons.. BUT, as far as I can tell, I'D NEVER READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY BEFORE. & that's what was strange: How cd I've been friends w/ Franz for so long & had this bk for so long & NEVER READ IT ALL?!! After all, I read ALOT & reading this bk didn't take long - it's only 171pp.
I know there was a time when some reason or another was floating around in my head for not reading this: Now, tho, it's hard for me to imagine sd reason being a very good one. &, yet, I know that friends of mine have bks of mine that they've never read - that they've had them for decades. I know they're afraid of them, afraid of the intensity. When choosing between escapist entertainment & a bk by me, there's no contest. But I usually adamantly avoid being in such a light-reader context. In fact, I've read many, MANY bks far more challenging & disturbing than Franz's. After all, I've read de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom, eg. Franz doesn't come anywhere close. So I didn't avoid reading this b/c of its content exactly, I avoided reading it b/c it was Franz's & I LIKED FRANZ VERY MUCH. Strange.
Scribble Death wd've been mostly written in the early-to-mid 1980s & was published in 1986. Franz was a hardcore alcoholic during much of time & wd've gone to the Twin Cities shortly after Scribble Death came out to dry out. As far as I 'know', he stayed sober for the remaining 24 yrs of his life after that. As such, Scribble death is sortof his peak alcoholic work - &, yes, I like it very much for that. We're not talking Bukowksi here, thank the holy ceiling lite - there's very little here, formally, that reeks of alcohol. But there're plenty of autobiographical & otherwise references to alcoholism.
In the SUBWAY 2 section (pp37-38) Franz wrote:
"When I first came to the City (about 12 years ago), I didn't know as much as I do now about drug and alcohol induced hallucinations. Often I would find myself down in the subway holes staring at the same set of tracks crossing itself at right angles and wondering which way to step to get on teh train. Or find myself in some weird unknown place like Tottenville, explaining to the booth attendant that I wanted to go home but couldn't quite remember the name of the stop (Crainal or Camel or something). Or riding on the YY line, not being able to remember why. Or not finding myself at all..."
Basically, I think this is a truly great work &, yet.. at the same time, I'm not sure that I think it's as great as, say, his earlier Ann Margret Loves You and Other Psychotopological Diversions (see my review here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25... ) even tho it's longer, & perhaps, more coherently structured as a bk.
I'm very glad I read this after I made the documentary. It all resonated w/ me so much more than it wd have 25 yrs ago. EG: I learned while making "DEPOT" that the tombstone on the cover of Ann Margret.. is a child's grave in the cemetery across from Station Hill Press (the publisher of this bk) where Franz often went for walks. One documentary interviewee, poet Mitch Highfill, relates that the child, Jacob Lane, was stillborn & that Franz was obsessed w/ this grave. Another interviewee, (John Beaulieu - check out the interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xhKN3... ) talked about how he & Franz wd record walking thru the graveyard in order to use the Raudivé technique for playing back the tapes to 'hear the voices of the dead' (see Peter Bander's bk Voice From The Tapes - Recordings From the Other World) - something that other friends of mine & I experimented w/ around the same time.
Mitch also mentioned that he performed as part of Franz's piece entitled "The ERADICATION OF NEW YORK SUBWAY GRAFFITI by JACOB LANE" during the last of the Sound Poetry festivals there. So, then, I found references to this embedded in Scribble Death.
The bk is divided into "Scribble Death" sections numbered w/ Roman numerals. On p29, at the end of "Scribble Death I", there's this note:
"PLEASE STOP at this point before entering into the concluding sector. make a Gap of at least four minutes. I would prefer that you would spend this four minute Gap not doing anything and not thinking anything. of course, you are free to do what you like; but, my preference is that you do and think nothing for four minutes. You could get around to the concluding page tomorrow night, for example. However, I am going to wait for four minutes..."
I waited for a little over 4 minutes. As for not thinking? I'm not sure I ever do that. The end of "Scribble Death II" is far more developed. Such instructions to the reader remind me of Jackson Mac Low's published by Dick Higgins' Printed Editions. This bk even has a section entitled "Reading & Performing Asymmetries". Jackson & Franz were friends.
The "READER'S PREFACE to the FIRST and SECOND CLOSURE" of "Scribble death II" states: "Ideally, have someone else read them to you or make a cassette of your own voice reading, and follow the instructions as given [..] The 2 'Closures' themselves (not including their prefatory introductions) are to be read in a slow, semi-expressionless, hypnotic voice with ample pauses between each word-group or phrase."
I recorded my slow reading of the 4 sparse pages of these FIRST and SECOND CLOSUREs, taking over 13 minutes, & played it back listening to it, as Franz proposed, w/ my eyes closed - trying to play along w/ the obvious auto-hypnotic suggestiveness of the process. "[V]isualiz[ing] the entire sequence" (of being a butterfly) was one of the more interesting experiences of the bk for me. As w/ so many things w/ Franz, this interest in hypnosis reminded me of my own interest along these lines 15 yrs or so before this bk was written.
Making it even better, there's a later sequence in Scribble Death where the butterfly reappears from a different perspective. Thanks to this quasi-auto-hypnosis, I had the interesting experience of being able to almost feel my identification w/ the butterfly in this section.
On p78, Franz references the suicides surrounding the playing of the song Gloomy Sunday. This, too, was something I learned about while interviewing people for "DEPOT". Having the stories reappear in this quasi-fictionalized/quasi-alcohol-hallucination/quasi-oneiric text gave it a particularly mythic power.
"Scribble Death III" constitutes the most substantial part of the bk & is subtitled My Autobiography in the Form of a Little Anthology of Linked Deaths". This is like the Brothers Grimm updated to the 20th century. Formally, the entire bk interpenetrates itself w/ various ways of tale-telling. Here, the segues are particularly pleasing for me.
Scribble Death is permeated w/ guilt & horror over Franz's having been employed "slopping rats" for an NYU lab. His job involved both feeding & killing the unfortunate test animals. PP92-93 provide a particularly horrific description of torturing a fiddler crab. "The scientist knew that the real purpose of this and most other 'laboratory controlled' torturings was to get enough information of any kind to publish a paper. The papers were absolutely essential to the survival of the scientists. No scientist could survive as a scientist, unless he could publish papers. Publish or perish."
Each Scribble Death section begins w/ a title page w/ a picture, taken, I believe, by poet Charles Stein, of Franz seen from behind walking down a country road & getting further & further away from the fotographer. I've always found these fotos to be particularly poignant. In a very understated way, they represent Franz slipping away from the reader thru his alcoholic despair. I can relate. How sensitive humans manage to survive the emotional complexities of life is often beyond me.
Even tho this bk cd've been much, much better, there's a weird clarity to it that I find profound. I've rarely read a bk that I identify w/ so strongly. Do other readers of it feel the same way? I doubt it. Reading this almost makes me feel like I was Franz's twin brother. Franz's actual brother, not a twin, committed suicide. To roughly paraphrase what my girlfriend Amy Catanzano has sd to me: 'Only you could've made a documentary about Franz because both of you were/are so deeply multidisciplinary." & it's even more than that: Franz & I were/are like a socio-emotional Brothers Grim even tho Franz came from a wealthy family & basically didn't have to work for a living for most of his life & I come from a lower middle class family & have had to work to support myself for most or all of my adult life.
When a 'name' is given to a process for purpose of reference and simplification (that is, so that the entire process does not have to be described), that is called NOMINALISM. Unfortunately, when the intuitive knowledge of what such a process is, is replaced by a name, the process often comes to be thought of as a thing, and thus it loses the very essence of its processuality; as in the case of 'Energy' - there is no such thing as 'Energy.' There is no such thing as 'Life.' There is no such thing as 'Love.' There has never been, nor is there now, nor will there ever be such a thing as the 'National Debt' (merely an invention of the little war-like countries called 'Governments' to rob the larger more peaceful countries called their 'Constituents." [sic - I believe this closed quotation mark is a typo in the bk]) There is no such thing as 'Music'. Music is whatever any 2 people agree to its being (too bad for Academies, the Critics, the Theoreticians, and the Avant Garde.) But, is there such a thing as DEATH? (This may be a case of INVERSE NOMINALISM; that is, what has been commonly thought of as a process, may actually turn out to be a 'thing.')"
Keep in mind the 'name': tentatively, a convenience. ...more
Notes are private!
Mar 24, 2012
Mar 26, 2012
Oct 01, 2011
oVo 20 JUVEN(a/i)LIA
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 6, 2012
[My complete review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2... review of
oVo 20 JUVEN(a/i)LIA
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 6, 2012
[My complete review is here: http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/2... ]
I started mail networking in the fall of 1978 when I was 25. This was a very exciting time. The sheer quantity of outreach, the senses of purpose, the lifestyle experiments, these were phenomenal. I wasn't much interested in the "Mail Art", wch was often just a matter of sending out thoughtless objects for maximal presence in catalogs, as I was in finding other like-minded individuals - esp tricksters. Some of us used many different names & even different addresses & other strategies in order to keep our identities shape-shifting.
All this fervent networking was beginning to bubble out of the underground into larger circulation & higher visibility. The Book of the SubGenius (1983) was, perhaps, the 1st of these to be of personal importance to me b/c of my inclusion in it. Remarkably, Rev. Ivan Stang made sure that even the most minor contributors, such as myself, got a royalty check. Such was his astounding integrity & the feeling of community & collaboration. "Re/Search" magazine put out its 1st "special book issue" in 1982 focussed on William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, & Throbbing Gristle - followed in 1983 by their "Industrial Culture Handbook". Despite, or b/c of, the controversial content of such publications, they were widely distributed & eagerly sought after by many people of similar mindset &, as such, had some commercial success.
But, of course, not every underground publisher had the desire or the wherewithal to put out a bk & get it distributed. Many of us held onto the notion that interpersonal networking was the most important & continued to mainly put out small publications that were mostly intended to be traded w/ other such publishers. The PERSONAL vs the COMMERCIAL. To a few of us, w/ little or no commercial aspirations, what was most important was finding & communicating w/ the secluded obscure people who seemed to be trying to free themselves from an oppressive society thru following their imagination w/o becoming herders of (sub-)pop-culture sheep. People who took their egalitarianism seriously.
Now we have oVo 20 JUVEN(a/i)LIA: a bk that wd fit in nicely from an information standpoint w/ the bks from the 1980s w/ at least a few people that wdn't've previously made the earlier editorial cuts but who were, nonetheless, highly active.
One of Blake's strengths is his sincere & long-term communication w/ a variety of very vigorous people - many of whom were important to my own correspondence too. In general, this bk is a vital addition to further bringing to light underground culture - mostly in the us@.
Trevor's "Public Domain" & "Disclaimer" present an editorial anti-copyright position: "Dedicators recognize that, once placed in the public domain, the Work may be freely reproduced, distributed, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, and in any way, including by methods that have not yet been invented or conceived." & such an approach is very much in keeping w/ the more radical proponents of freedom of information. The idea is pretty much that the creators of the works propose to pirate whatever's out there for their own purposes & feel like it's only fair to reciprocate in kind. Personally, I prefer non-commercial use w/ attribution. If someone's going to make money off me, I prefer that they share it w/ me. Respectful friendship rather than exploitation.
Take Hakim Bey's statement: "We might now contemplate aesthetic actions which possess some of the resonance of terrorism (or "cruelty," as Artaud put it) aimed at the destruction of abstractions rather than people, at liberation rather than power, pleasure rather than profit, joy rather than fear. "Poetic Terrorism." Our chosen images have the potency of darkness - but all images are masks, & behind these masks lie energies we can turn toward light & pleasure." Well put!
It was interesting for me to see things by Gerry Reith & Thom Metzger in here that I may not've been previously familiar w/. However, part of what Reith wrote & what Blake writes later is something that I very much don't identify w/. Reith 1st: "As anarchists: leafleting, speaking, proselytizing, agitating anarchists, we are continually trying to smooth over the inherent contradictions of trying to motivate people to act while disavowing any responsibility for their choice of action(s)." Blake quoting George Walford: "'The overwhelming majority of those who have encountered anarchism have shown very clearly that they do not want to do what anarchists want them to do. They prefer to do what they are doing now. We have no reason to expect the others, when they meet anarchism, to respond differently. Can your anarchism accept this? Or do you feel bound to impose (however gently and rationally) your ideas of what it is good for them to do?'"
Now, I'm an anarchist & the reason why I consider myself to be an anarchist is very simple: I don't accept rule from others & don't want to impose rule on others either. Etymologically, it seems simple: "an" = without, "archy" means rule by. This is generally taken to mean 'rule by someone other than yrself' since it's somewhat taken for granted that as an anarchist you think for yrself & take responsibility for yrself. Perhaps something like "esy-o-idios-archy" might be better or just plain "idioarchy" meaning "rule of yrself by yrself". It seems that potentially etymologically applicable words like autarchy & monarchy are already laden w/ more dictatorial meanings. Anyway, my point here is that one of the things that I like about anarchy is that anyone self-declaring as an anarchist is hypothetically not going to proselytize b/c that wd mean trying to lead someone else & wd, therefore, be antithetical to "w/o rule". Personally, I detest proselytizing & have no desire to "impose (however gently and rationally) [my] ideas". So, WHAT THE FUCK?! I don't even ask my friends whether they're anarchists much of the time. If they try to proselytize to me chances are they won't stay friends w/ me for long. I'd just find them too annoying. As such, I find this emphasis on proselytizing above to be very suspect.
Mike Gunderloy's "The Meta-Network, or, A Battle with Footnotes" was one of the highlights of this "OVO" for me. Gunderloy's Factsheet Five was the best meta-networking tool I've ever encountered & Gunderloy's ability to write capsule reviews of hundreds or thousands of publications every mnth always struck me as qualifying him to be called "a human encyclopedia" - a compliment I rarely give out. His humorous approach in making this text have the footnotes quickly overwhelm the main text makes it even more enjoyable to me & smacks of parody of academia.
Anonymous' "23 Sperm Stories 23" starts off like a dry scientific explanation of sperm & related reproductive elements. However, many people have emphasized the #23 as some sort of significantly recurring # - often w/ occult meaning. As such, the title's a bit of a giveaway that something other than the dry beginning, wch might just be cut'n'paste from undisclosed sources, might appear - as indeed it does:
"A majority of the world's economy, technological progress, art and culture are centered on extracting sperm from one or more human and putting it inside of or in proximity to one or more humans or images. The second most active engine of the world's economy, technological effort, art and culture is the prevention of these activities. The entire history of humanity can be explained as the dynamics of these two forces."
I found Feral Faun's "Thoughts on Experimentation" to be somewhat representative of a general thrust of OVO: "I consider the past ten years of my life to be a constant process of experimentation". This leads me to PM's "Liberating Wednesday": "So far people have tried to liberate countries, but the results aren't very convincing. So why not try to liberate a day of the week?" Great idea! This, in turn, reminds me of Ernest Mann's "I am wasting less of my time (LIFE) watching, listening to and reading THOUGHT LEADERS, ie, TV, movies, radio, music, newspapers, magazines, and novels." Wch takes me to Karen Eliot's (misspelled throughout OVO as "Elliot") "Operation Negation": "From 1990 until an undetermined point thereafter there will be an employment of the negation of all forms of work (and play)." In other words, all of these people are trying to look at their life & to experiment w/ it in a liberating way.
Ernest Mann, whose "Little Free Press" publications I once rc'vd frequently, was definitely dedicated to freeing himself: "I spent 22 years of my TIME (life) working as a Wage Slave. [..] I don't want to do that anymore."
Trevor's reviews are particularly useful for pointing people in the direction of obscure publications. The 1st of these here is about Mark Mothersbaugh's 1975 bk entitled My Struggle published in 1978 in an edition of 100. While Blake mentions that "These small thick books have red covers to make them look the same as Chairman Mao's Book of Quotations", he fails to mention that "My Struggle" is the English translation of Hitler's famous autobiography "Mein Kampf". Also reviewed is a documentary called The Skin Horse "by and about disabled people and their sex lives." Trevor notes that "Channel 4 (formerly Central Television) commissioned the 1982 film but does not sell it. No one sells it, not legally." &, again, we have a central concern here for probably many of the OVO contributors: seek out & study obscure & obscured info.
After Trevor's reviews come his interviews. I have a particular affection for interviews - esp w/ people that mainstream media might find unworthy. As I write in my essay entitled "On the Importance of Personal Archives" (not in OVO): "I'd rather live life fully with friends than vicariously thru the icons. Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous? How about Lifestyles of the Eccentric & Imaginative? Of the Intelligent & Visionary? Of the Friendly & Accessible? These may include the rich & famous but certainly aren't excluded to them."
Perhaps most germane to the theme of underground publishing is Trevor's interview w/ V. Vale, the co-editor of Re/Search. Vale's philosophizing provides another good summary of a thread running thru the intentions & experiences of many underground publishers: "A lot of people just become criminals or whatever, or drug addicts, or they just can't cope for a lot of good reasons. Society gives us plenty of reasons but it also provides the narcotics in the form of television and actual narcotics so that we can "adapt," shall we say. And so yes, it's definitely a struggle against mind control, against conditioning, against banal information. We were born with the birthright of curiosity and there's nothing more natural than to be curious, but of course this faculty is extinguished early in life. It seems like society does everything it can to either extinguish this faculty or to channel it along channels of consumption rather than something creative on your own, something creative and original and obsessive and unique on your own." BRAVO!!
Alas, at some point I have to critique the treatment that my own article, "Lidznap" rc'vd. Perhaps I shd preface this by explaining that from 1969 on I've used meticulously calculated d liberate d viations from conventional writing for encryption purposes, for abbreviation, for ambiguity, & for many other reasons. These d viations are always intended to expand the meaning of my text in a way that conventional writing wdn't - & are rarely mistakes. The mistakes come along when editors & their machines 'correct' my writing - esp my puns, wch are often numerous & highly charged. Hence if I call myself a "psychopathfinder", eg, some spell check program might 'correct' that as a 'nonexistent' word. Of course, neologisms have to begin somewhere & I'm an active force in birthing them. Explanations of my systems wd require too much space here. The reader is directed to the "Dos & Dont's of Dating" & "l;a;n;g;u;a;g;e" chapters of my bk entitled footnotes ( see reviews of that here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23... ).
The original article wd've been sent to Trevor around 1987. It's about an event & a project from 1979. The project involved a phone # that cd be called for somewhat unpredictable results. This phone # spelled TESTES-3. A reporter named Franz Lidz, whose early life has been represented in the Dianne Keaton movie Unstrung Heroes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unstrung... ), expressed an interest in writing an article about TESTES-3, wch was operated anonymously. He wrote one article before he found out who we were & one after we led him on a wild ride. "Lidznap" is about that wild ride. My original begins w/ the title, followed by this subtitle: "Two Ironic Endings" followed by the section headed "Preface". That's followed by a photocopy of Lidz's 1st article entitled: "For a Good Time Call TESTES-3 - Underground Telephone Network". That's followed by page 1 of the 2nd part of my text entitled "Lidznap" wch is followed by 2 relevant photos & the end of my article. Finishing the whole thing is a copy of Lidz's 2nd article, entitled: "VD-RADIO Goes On The Air".
When this was 1st published in OVO #12, it was called "Lidznap: Two Ironic Endings" & Lidz's 2 articles were removed. Only a cropped version of one of the 2 original photos was left in. Trevor retyped my original, rather than photocopying it & cutting it into a form that wd fit his layout. In this original process, this sentence:
"Given that we considered anonymity to be essential to our functioning as mysterious catalysts & given that we wanted to put emphasis on TESTES-3 as a communally produced participatory phenomenon we reacted cautiously to his request in a way that we thought to be consistent with our principles."
"Given that we considered anonymity to be essential to our functioning communally produced participatory phenomenon we reacted cautiously to his request in a way that we thought to be consistent with our principles."
Over a quarter of the sentence is missing: "as mysterious catalysts & given that we wanted to put emphasis on TESTES-3 as a". Why? B/c in the original that's an entire line & when Trevor was transcribing his eyes jumped from the preceding line to the following one & missed it altogether! That one mistake alone is enuf to make me cringe but there are many, MANY more. I won't further analyze them in this abridged review. I suggest seeing the full review at the URL provided above.
Ah, much of what I feel I shd write next is even more difficult. I like Trevor & think that this issue, & others before it, have a significant enuf place in the history of the us@ underground to be worth reading. Still, there're parts I find myself substantially critical of that I'll address here. Trevor Blake's "Trajectory Through Anarchism", in particular. In this, Trevor traces his development as an anarchist & a post-anarchist starting w/ age 16 & ending w/: "Whatever I am, I an [sic] definitely not an anarchist."
As I mentioned earlier in this review, I find the idea of proselytizing for anarchy to be self-contradictory. Of course, people are self-contradictory all the time. But there's so much written here about anarchy that I find inaccurate that I want to counterbalance it. This, even tho I've often sd things to the effect of "Sometimes I'm an anarchist. If other people say I'm not an anarchist &/or if the common notion of anarchy were to become too oppressive, no biggie, then I'm not an anarchist. 1st & foremost, I'm me." In other words, let's not get too attached to labels or let them get too attached to us. To my mind, one of the worst things that can happen to anarchism is for it to become a popular movement that people 'join' - not b/c it's what they feel inside, but b/c they're conformists & being an anarchist is part & parcel of whatever subculture they're part of.
From pp98-100, there's Blake's article entitled "Multiple Name Identities". This is a subject dear to me & one that I have alotof direct experience w/. I've always found the term "Multiple Names" to be misleading. I prefer "Collective Identities". Both refer to the deliberate use of one name by multiple people, often for a common purpose. Blake's article tells of such names previously unknown to me & claims a few things that I think are inaccurate.
Blake mentions Nicholas Bourbaki, Kenneth Robeson, Stefan Brockhoff, David Agnew, & Van den Budenmayer - none of whom have I ever heard of. THANK YOU TREVOR! To these I might add Ern Malley, an Australian hoax poet identity created by 2 poets who hated modernist poetry in order to parody such poetry & prank a particular editor. Trevor also mentions the children's bk entitled The Little Engine Who Could & that: "The story is attributed to Watty Piper, which was the house name of publisher Platt & Munk. Many men and women wrote under the name Watty Piper." To wch I add that this is somewhat common in kid's bks insofar as publishers create series that they perpetuate far beyond the lifespans of individual authors. Hence we have Hardy Boys stories written by "Franklin W. Dixon" & Tom Swift stories written by "Victor Appleton", etc..
Blake: "Since 1968, films which the director wishes to distance themselves from are attributed to Alan Smithee." Many, if not all of these are porn & it's not just the directors who use the name. People largely use it so they don't ruin their otherwise more aboveboard professional careers. I made my own movie "Teenagers from Inner Space" under the name Alan Smithee in order to deliberately associate myself w/ the other Smithees.
The collective identities that Blake writes about that I know the most about are those of Monty Cantsin, Karen Eliot, & Luther Blissett. I've been all 3 of them at some time or another. Blake spells "Monty" "Monte" at times & "Eliot" "Elliot" at all times so I call attn to those errors. He also presents David Zacks' version of the origin of Monty Cantsin wch is probably mostly accurate but one shd keep in mind that Zack was a diabetic who was often too much of a space cadet to be always keenly aware of what was going on around him. "Blaster" Al Ackerman's somewhat different history for such things is helpful for getting a more general feel.
All in all, typos or no, this is an excellent bk. Blake's strong point is his personality as a seeker & oVo is his Lost & Found. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 05, 2012
Feb 08, 2012
Nov 01, 2011
The Sky's the Limit: An Homage to Larry Walters
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 19, 2011
At one point I proposed the founding of a review of
The Sky's the Limit: An Homage to Larry Walters
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - November 19, 2011
At one point I proposed the founding of a writer's association in my neighborhood called "P.H.E.W.": Polish Hill Elucubrating Writers. The idea was that we wd publish a compilation of our work. This idea never went anywhere & several of the people that I proposed it to moved away. THEN, my glorious neighbor Dr. Mark O'Connor proposed a similar project when he was sitting in our local coffee shop one day & he "realized there were enough writers and artists within earshot to create an interesting artist book." Voila! The Sky's the Limit: An Homage to Larry Walters was conceived.
I don't remember how the subject of Larry Walters' weather-balloon-&-lawnchair flight became the subject but it was no surprise that we all embraced it w/ enthusiasm! Unintentionally reckless (&, fortunately, wreckless) as Larry Walters' flight was, it's still a symbol of DIY flight that I've always had the greatest admiration for & I think all the contributors felt similarly.
There're 7 of these contributors: 5 writers & 2 artists. Isaac Bower provides a color collage as if from Walters' aloft perspective w/ components more symbolic & formal than realistic (despite the realism of the rendering) - done meticulously, as is Isaac's general way.
Karen Lillis provides "Guy Walks into a Bar circa April 1997, Hollywood" - something that reads like autobiography w/o necessarily being so. Whether it's based on actual experience of Karen or someone she knows isn't, however, probably as important as the way the background details become the foreground substance. (For a recent review of one of Karen's bks that I wrote see here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30...)
Amy Catanzano's poem "Inspiration I" (named after Walters' vessel) is hand-written at the tops of interleaved pages of glassine - a translucent paper. The title appears before O'Connor's piece & the 6 pages of 2-lines-per-page are interspersed between O'Connor's pages & my own. The placement of her text is such that it appears superimposed over the blank areas at the top of Mark's & my pages. The 1st of these:
"rose. flight is a shorthand portal:
airship to airship, theory"
Mark O'Connor's "Everything is A-okay: the Morphology of an American Hero" is probably the most scholarly investigation into Walters - even though, as w/ the other writing, it's framed by personal recollection. O'Connor debunks, eg, the aesthetic, but misleading, choices of Walters' story as presented by the tv show Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed.
My own "Long Live Larry Lawnchair!" is written under the name of "Shayn Fargesn" - a Yiddish reference that will no doubt contribute even further to the substantial confusion & obscurity surrounding my vastly complicated output. The name is deliberately inappropriate given that my text is memorable. Such obscurantistic humor aside, I compare Walters' feat to various other roughly contemporaneous oddities - in particular the weather balloon assisted (successfully tethered) launching of Doug Retzler's 1st-born whilst he was, indeed, very freshly newborn.
Hyla Willis' collage conjoins the great Huey Newton seated, armed, in a wicker chair w/ athlete Tommie Smith's (&, by association, John Carlos's) gutsy 1968 Olympics Black Power salute as an evocation of Walters as an icon of the quest for freedom of humans in general - both politically & personally.
Finally, Tom[my Mac] (who definitely isn't a writer, by the by - but who can still write quite nicely) provides "that willing suspension" - another autobiographical story that the reader is likely to devour in titillated fervor waiting for the Walters tie-in that 'justifies' its inclusion here.. I leave you suspended..
O'Connor's particular joy in making this bk was in his using old weather balloons as the wrapper for the hard-cover. The feel is somewhat skin-like. The title's been neatly silkscreened on this. All in all, a lovingly done publication that's a fitting tribute to a symbol of the free spirit to everyone who's appreciative of such things. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 18, 2011
Nov 19, 2011
Given that this is my bk, this is more of a promotional statement than a review.
The 1st paragraph reads:
"When I was a child, I was a very good mathe Given that this is my bk, this is more of a promotional statement than a review.
The 1st paragraph reads:
"When I was a child, I was a very good mathematician. I was also good at drawing. I remember thinking, when I was 9 yrs old, something to the effect that a mathematician's life was probably too socially isolated & not much fun & I decided that, therefore, it might be better for me to be an artist."
40 yrs passed & while I still played w/ the math that most interested me, such as set theory & imaginary numbers, my math skills largely waned. Then, in 2003, at age 49, I decided to read Simon Singh's bk "Fermat's Enigma" as an experiment in determining what was left of my ability to understand math. That lead to reading more math bks aimed at lay readers.
5 yrs later I thought I might as well try to WRITE a math bk - as an experiment to see if I cd actually do it. I envisioned it as around 160pp. 6 wks later, it was done - 408pp! I was very, very pleased. In some sense, this bk became my most articulated philosophical statement.
The next step was to send out the ms to 2 friends, poet/scholar Bruce Stater & musician/conceptualist 'Charles Boyd' (aka John Berndt), for them to add MARGINALIA to it. It was a part of my design plan to have the marginalia be referred to in the original text & for the 'marginalia' to be printed in the original bk - thusly possibly making this one of the 1st & only bks to be so designed.
The basic idea of the bk is that certain concepts create PARADIGM SHIFTS - thusly getting away from (somewhat) the notion that only technology (such as the printing press & the telescope) produce paradigm shifts. Various turning point mathematical concepts are then explored as examples of this.
The cover of the bk shows a knuckle tattoo that I have that consists of the following variation on a famous equation of Leonard Euler's (expressed here in so-called 'natural language'):
e to the power of pi times i + one to the power of infinity is approximately equal to zero.
"e" & "pi" are both transcendental numbers that serve as constants.
"i" is the symbol for "imaginary numbers" generally represented as the square root of negative one.
The whole shebang is meant to be representative of multiple paradigm shift concepts culminating in an indeterminate form. A "knuckle sandwich" is a punch. I like to think of this knuckle tattoo as a symbol for the punches to worldviews that concepts like "infinity" have brought w/ them.
Notes are private!
Mar 14, 2011
Aug 01, 1980
Aug 28, 1980
Alas, Franz, I'm not about to give this bk the review it deserves b/c I'm too busy being in the midst of making my documentary about you (& a zill Alas, Franz, I'm not about to give this bk the review it deserves b/c I'm too busy being in the midst of making my documentary about you (& a zillion other things) to have the time. W/ that disclaimer as a preface, here goes:
In my review of Kamin's "Distance Function" (see http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17...), I wrote: "Dream descriptions flow in & out of personal memoir flow in & out of mathematics flow in & out of definitions of neologisms flow in & out of sexual reference.. Is this non-Hausdorff Space? I think so." In "Ann Margret [..]", this is further complicated by the addition of lists, made-up 'child-like' play language, & even somewhat conventional poetic form. These latter don't actually flow together in a "non-Hausdorf" way b/c these varieties ARE separable.
In the preceding paragraph, I call attn to a relevant tangent: the spelling of "non-HAUSDORFF" in Franz's writing. This might seem trivial to some, but what I hope to demonstrate is that attn to detail, esp in the work of someone as meticulous as Kamin, is indeed deeply important for understanding - b/c the microcosm is, of course, the key to the macrocosm.
Again, in my review of "Distance Function" I wrote:
"If, in topology (a major influence on Kamin's work in general), Hausdorff Space is space w/ separable points, then non-Hausdorff Space is, as Kamin puts it elsewhere (in "A RITUAL EMBEDDING OF THE SPIDER'S RISK into non-HAUSDORF M-SPACE", eg) is "non-separable . . . that is, one cannot necessarily differentiate one locale from another." By the by, "Hausdorff" w/ 2 "f"s seems to be the 'correct' spelling but Franz spells it w/ one "f"."
Note that I put "correct" in single quotes: 'correct' in the above. This is in order to call attn to the viability of 'correctness' in this context. In other words, one person's 'correct' may be another person's 'incorrect'. This is particularly so in the case of writers like Kamin who use words in very, very particular ways. When I sent out my review for friends of Franz's to read, one of them seemed to take offense at my 'correcting' Franz's spelling of "Hausdor(f)" - pointing out, understandably, that Franz always did such things intentionally.
This type of detail is of central importance to my own writing. My 1st bk, "t he bk / t he referent 4 wch consists of / t he non-materialized transparent punch-outs from a letter/whatever stencil" (see: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25...)
is similarly exacting in its particular d liberate idiosyncracies. & this bk was written mainly from 1975 to 1976 & published in 1977 - both before "Distance Function" came out & 3 yrs before "Ann Margret [..]" came out. As such, I think I can accurately claim that my own writing along these lines predates Kamin's - despite my being 12 yrs younger than him. For more info on my own usually overlooked & misunderstood deep structure, I recommend reading the "Dos & Don'ts of Dating" section of my "footnotes" bk (see: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23...).
BACK TO KAMIN & THE SPELLING OF HAUSDORF(F). In the 1974 hand-out of "A RITUAL EMBEDDING of the SPIDER'S RISK into non-HAUSDORF M SPACE" that I found at the 11th Annual Avant-Garde Festival in New York on November 15, 1974, Franz spelled HAUSDORF w/ one "f" at the end - this, despite the conventional spelling being w/ 2 "f"s. In "Distance Function" it's the same again. HOWEVER, in "Ann Margret [..]", where both "A Ritual [..]" & "Distance [..]" reappear, there's a significant difference. Observant readers will notice that in "Ann Margret [..]" TWO versions of "A Ritual [..]" appear - the 2nd version being the "[Kelly Expansion]" - presumably a reference to poet & Kamin friend Robert Kelly.
In "Ann Margret Loves You"'s CONTENTS for both of these variations, "HAUSDORFF" is spelled w/ 2 "FF"s. However, in the 1st iteration of the text on pp 18 & 19 of the bk, in both the title & w/in the body of the text, "HAUSDORF" is spelled w/ only one "F" - but in the 2nd iteration (on pp 48-50) the title has only one "F" (in what I deduce to be Franz-intentional systematic opposition to the CONTENTS listing) but in the body of the text "HAUSDORFF" is spelled w/ TWO "FF"s. These variations, I maintain, are, indeed, NOT A MISTAKE - but what do they mean? Quite possibly, I suggest, not much of anything in the sense that they may not represent a deep symbolic system. Here are my suggestions:
1. Franz, being an extreme alcoholic (& pothead) at most or all of the time of the writing of all of these texts, made a mistake in the spelling of Hausdorff's name - partially as a result of the alcoholism & partially just b/c he was human & didn't always remember everything - despite his, no doubt, extraordinary memory in general.
2. Franz deliberately Americanized Hausdorff by removing the, in English, phonetically 'unnecessary' 'extra' "f". My case to support this possibility is rooted in Franz's pronunciation of his own name: FrANNz. This pronunciation is the Americanized pronunciation that's unlike the more European FrAHHnz. Franz's pronunication is still resisted to this day by most of his friends - who prefer to use the FrAHHnz pronunication. I further suggest that most intellectuals carefully pronounce words & names rooted in languages other than their own w/ at least an attempt at a simulation of the originating language's pronunciation as a way of both showing a scholarly knowledge of such pronunciation AND as a way, esp in the case of 'Americans', of showing that they don't necessarily side w/ the arrogance of what is often 'American' cultural imperialism. In other words, ignorant 'Americans' often Americanize all pronunciation as if to say "Tha way we 'mericans speak is the way all the rest of you dumb fuckers shd speak - what the fuck's da matter wid you?!" I suggest that FrANNz d liberately Americanized both Hausdorff & FraAHHnz as a rebellion against the hypothetical worldview of his German expatriate parents.
Keep in mind, that I AM ONLY SPECULATING HERE & HAVE NO PRETENSE THAT I 'KNOW' WHAT frANNz WAS THINKING AT THE TIME. However, I do think that my hypothesis is a solid one & is a potential microcosm indicator of Franz's stubbornly free-thinking macrocosmic behavior(s).
On the cover of "Ann Margret Loves You" there's a foto-collage made by Chuck Stein in collaboration w/ Kamin. It shows the translucent white back silhouette of a naked woman, perhaps implied by the title to be Ann Margret (who Franz was obsessed w/ at the time) but actually that of his lover Kathy Bourbonais - to whom the last section of the bk, "RUGUGMOOL", is dedicated. A hand draws on her lower back & ass what, in a discussion vaudeo-recorded for the documentary I'm making, Chuck Stein referred to as a "sigil" (wch is reproduced on the lower left of the 2pp title page(s)) but wch looks more to me like a game play - somewhat like a football game plan except that its significance may be vaguely mathematical (or, in a non-HAUSDORFF way, a combination of a profile drawing of a man's head w/ the preceding 2 possibilities). In the lower right, there's a picture of an old gravestone for "Jacob Lane". Jacob Lane was a child (possibly stillborn?) who was buried in the Barrytown graveyard near the Station Hill HQ where Franz spent much of his time when this bk was being written. Franz was, perhaps, 'obsessed' w/ this child/grave & did a sound poetry piece at the 12th International Sound Poetry Festival in NYC on Wednesday, April 16th, 1980 called "The Eradication of New York Subway Graffiti by Jacob Lane" at Washington Square Church. This, according to Sarmad Brody's generally excellent (albeit incomplete) online list of Kamin's work was only performed one other time & I don't know if there's an extant recording. Perhaps people intimately connected w/ the festival such as Mitch Highfill wd know. In the cover, the background that can be seen thru the nude woman's body is of woods - perhaps the same woods as those in the environment that the graveyard is in. These images seem to combine similar elements key to Kamin's psyche as those of the texts of the bk.
INSIDE, the CONTENTS lists:
THE LONG WINDOWS
NON-TEK ESSAY ON GORPPLING
BLACK NEW YORK
A RITUAL EMBEDDING of the SPIDER'S RISK into non-HAUSDORFF M-SPACE
THE SPAGHETTI PHALLAXY
5 BREATHING MOMENTS for EVE ROSENTHAL on her BIRTHDAY
A RITUAL EMBEDDING of the SPIDER'S RISK into non-HAUSDORFF M-SPACE [Kelly Expansion]
Statements on Doing Nothing
The Ann Margret Rap
Jelly Beans & the Peanut Butter Skreeb
RUGUGMOOL/LOVE OF MOON
In 'THE LONG WINDOWS" Kamin provides this list:
I am also haunted by:
.) Spinning disks as they turn and swirl
.) Small sad dogs
.) Slowly rolling eggs in quantities of nine or more
.) Smashed up automobiles abandoned by the roadside
.) Dried up bottles of ink
.) Urinals lost in the woods near old children's camps
.) Old women who fall down and break their teeth
.) Torn up kites stuck in treess
.) Old file cases tossed in the gutter
.) The names of old girl friends
.) Mathematical transport networks
.) Wispy strands of red hair floating on stagnant ponds
.) The odor of gingerbread and wet mattresses
.) The sound of tin cans being moved by the wind in the streets
.) The edges of gravel roads
.) The eyes of tiny animals as they are dying
.) Morphogenic models of mass catastrophes
.) Bent bicycle wheels
.) The letter O
In "Black New York (Programming story for Behavioral Drift II)", Kamin writes, in his oneiric description: "...many stops later when we again interrupt the silence of our talking, a small girl comes to the side of the boat and asks if I will spend the night with her (her hair is shiny black - her hair is shiny black - her eyes glow) and I silently explain to her of her homotopy to Marie" [bold mine]. This phrase, "Homotopy to Marie" is later used as the title of a musique concrete LP (&, later, K7 & CD) by Nurse with Wound. What does this mean? According to the Wikipedia entry re "Homotopy": "In topology, two continuous functions from one topological space to another are called homotopic (Greek ὁμός (homós) = same, similar, and τόπος (tópos) = place) if one can be "continuously deformed" into the other, such a deformation being called a homotopy between the two functions." Some might suggest that words more familiar to the lay-reader such as "similarity to" cd be substituted in Kamin's text to produce "her similarity to Marie" w/ 'no harm done'. While I acknowledge that Kamin's frequent use of Topological vocabulary doesn't always serve apparent non-obfuscatory purposes, I think that the use of the Topology term here has a psychological function insofar as it implies that in oneiric situations if one person is similar to another, it's b/c they're both originating from the same topological space in the mind - ie: the girl is a distortion of Marie - there are TWO (or more) Maries. Desire populates the mind in 'strange' ways.
Thanks to an interview w/ Kamin's St Paul based friend electro-acoustic composer Matthew Smith, I'm able to recognize places where Franz lived in his descriptions. His childhood home, eg, is probably referenced on p32 in "COBORDON": "in the glooming of a forest reside the cottages - my father is in the main building - from one of the out-buildings, I can see the dimly lighted windows vaguely illuminating the dark logs of the outer walls ...I can see the moon floating above the valley, dim shadows of trees; I can hear the night and the sound of dogs barking across the valley in their madness, their aloneness, their need for permeability, their need to become fluid (thus exuding the stream of their yelping) ...I am making the piano sing to all this a structure of configurations which does not interfere with my hearing of the light coming from the windows of my own cabin". Note that Kamin writes "I can hear the night" & "my hearing of the light" - I contend that these are self-consciously synaesthetic usages informed by his own "Concert of Doors" from (what was probably February 23rd) 1973 AND presaging his corporation created w/ his old friend & collaborator John Beaulieu (they met in 1971) called "Synaesthetics Inc" (papers filed on October 7, 1981).
On page 37 of the same chapter he continues the same dream-like description of his childhood home:
"On the next day, Lisa and my father and I are all seated on the lower terrace (connected to the back of the main building and also overhanging the hundred foot cliff): sunlight is brilliant (my father is in his underwear, Lisa's blouse if very low cut - her skirt short and white) I am explaining something ... my father goes off to the west to cook us some steaks on one of the outdoor grills - Lisa wanders away to stair down into the valley - I want to go for a last time out on the lake in my boat - watching the huge pines swaying (I can only see the tops) growing from the level below the cliffs - a dog barks and deepens my trance (I remember Marie & Jeanne being here) - there is a smell of cooking meat - "epivaculoid" he said, "no" she said-"
Note that in this only slightly oneiric description there's introduced a 'disruptive' element at the end of the paragraph. As the reader is led to expect an invitation of meat from the father to Lisa, the father 'offers' instead "epivaculoid" - thusly merging apparent memoir w/ tinges of dreams w/ the 'mathematics' of both the title ("COBORDON") & an apparent neologism of Kamin's that's also the name of a 1975 composition of his. "EPIVACULOID: the skin around a shape which eventually contains no space..." is the definition provided in the chapter's initial glossary.
Thanks to John Beaulieu, I also recognize a description of the loft on Leonard St where he & Franz lived together in NYC in the "2 Bicycles" section of the "PRETextS" section.
Interestingly, the form of "5 Breathing Moments for Eve Rosenthal on her Birthday" is the most conventional insofar as it's poetry & NOT prose. I write "Interestingly" b/c poetry is far more often formally experimental than prose is - so in Franz's case this is somewhat reversed (at least here).
"Ann Margret Loves You & other psychotopological diversions" is Kamin's 1st bk that's not a chapbk & is partially a collection of previously published writings & texts used in recordings: "Black New York" appeared as the narration on the excellent LP that Station Hill published around the same time, "Distance Function" had been published by Station Hill in December of 1977 as a chapbk, "Jelly Beans & the Peanut Butter Skreeb" had been published in a somewhat more complex form in the magazine "sixpack" in 1975, other texts had appeared in LOS, TEXT, & WCH WAY; & "RUGUGMOOL" had also appeared in performed/recorded form on the afore-mentioned wonderful LP as well as in a beautifully printed scribbly fold-out version that Station Hill had published in 1979.
"RUGUGMOOL/LOVE OF MOON" is a personal favorite - both as a composition & as a text. In the 1979 printed version, only the made-up language version of the text appears - & this in extremely small print that I can only read w/ the aid of a magnifying lens. It may literally be something like 4 or 5 point type. What dominates in that version are the scribbly illustrations. In the "Ann Margret [..]" version the drawings are gone & the made-up text appears on the left pages while the English translation appears on the right side.
"Furds dak Bearg Haags dak Moo
nokaTor BuggerfriedSep fr den Bangx"
is translated as:
"First that Bear has that Moon
not as all Butterfly-set for the Dance"
Unfortunately, as usual, subtleties of spacing are unreproduceable w/in the confines of the GoodReads technical limits.
In the colophon at the end, it's noted that
"This First Edition consists of
1300 copies of which 37 are
specially bound, numbered & signed."
I speculate that the choice of 37 special copies reflects the author's probable age during most of the writing of this. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 15, 2011
Feb 16, 2011
The author of this bk died in a car crash on April 11, 2010. He was a friend of mine. As of the time of writing this review, I'm making a documentary The author of this bk died in a car crash on April 11, 2010. He was a friend of mine. As of the time of writing this review, I'm making a documentary about him provisionally called "DEPOT (wherein resides the UNDEAD of Franz Kamin)". While making "DEPOT", I interviewed George Quasha who, along w/ Susan Quasha, is the publisher of Station Hill Books - the people who put this chapbk out. George explained to me that when he met Franz, thru Jackson Mac Low in 1973 in NYC, he & Franz wd sit around talking & Franz wd say incredible things that George encouraged him to write down. Franz grumbled that 'nobody wd publish it' & George told him that if Franz were to write it, George wd publish it. After this encouragement, Franz wrote something about the 'synaesthetic' "Concert of Doors" piece that he created in Indiana in early 1973 & George had it published by Sumac Press in their "Active Anthology" released in April, 1974. This, according to George, was the 1st thing Franz had published. By 1975, Pierre Joris & William Prescott had published something by Kamin in their "sixpack" magazine & by 1977, "Distance Function" was released as what may've been Kamin's 1st chapbk. Both of these were later incorporated into Station Hill's 1980 Kamin bk "Ann Margret Loves You & other psychotopological diversions".
I'm so impressed by the idiosyncrasies of this bk that I've decided to make a new 'shelf' for it: "in-its-own-category". That's one of the highest compliments I can give anything. &, yet, I still only 'rated' it 4 stars. This is b/c, even though Franz was around 36 when it was published, it's still a somewhat immature work. The later "Ann Margret Loves You" that it becomes incorporated into is much more developed. Nonetheless, this work has an astonishing conceptual slipperiness to it - truly original. I've elsewhere criticized some fiction writing in academic journals, eg, as reeking of personality-bleached taught 'correctness'. There's none of that here. Franz perversely blends materials & approaches w/ a total disregard for conventional genres. Dream descriptions flow in & out of personal memoir flow in & out of mathematics flow in & out of definitions of neologisms flow in & out of sexual reference.. Is this non-Hausdorff Space? I think so. If, in topology (a major influence on Kamin's work in general), Hausdorff Space is space w/ separable points, then non-Hausdorff Space is, as Kamin puts it elsewhere (in "A RITUAL EMBEDDING OF THE SPIDER'S RISK into non-HAUSDORF M-SPACE", eg) is "non-separable . . . that is, one cannot necessarily differentiate one locale from another." By the by, "Hausdorff" w/ 2 "f"s seems to be the 'correct' spelling but Franz spells it w/ one "f".
Reinforcing this non-Hausdorff Space is Charles Stein's cover foto. In it, the edge of a lake or pond is shown - next to wch is a puddle. Overhanging the water are branches, reflected in the water are branches. In the space of the foto, the perspective seems to've been manipulated so that the overhanging branches, while distinguishable from their reflections by their sharper focus, are somehow cropped so that they only begin at the edge of the body of water - just as the reflections do. Even the puddle & the larger body of water seem to be on unnaturally different planes - w/ the larger body almost vertical in relation to the puddle. While these objects are somewhat differentiable they're also fluid - not just b/c there's water involved but also b/c natural relations are subtly disrupted, in ambiguity.
Perhaps it's worth mentioning that this is probably the 2nd or 3rd time I've read this & when I reread it for the sake of this review I basically didn't remember ANY of it. This isn't to say that it's necessarily 'unmemorable' - more that it's what my friend Fabio Roberti might call "opaque". On the title page there's a text that says: "...that it is the physical distance between things that brings them together, but it is the 'distance function' that keeps them apart...". I doubt that that's taken straight from topology - more likely it's Franz's perversion of topology (but I cd be wrong). In the chapter entitled "Discovery Among the Cups and Saucers" Kamin writes: "The Distance Function (as peculiarly defined here) is an object which relates other objects by way of the distance between them [..]" &, later, in "Her Father's 2 Birthday Parties and the 2 Trains": "A strange feeling crept over me: I realized that we wanted to have it be like this...to taste the poignantly sweet sorrow of distance [..]". Whatever the case, one spin that I can put on this is that the Distance Function of "Distance Function" is that it creates a "poignantly sweet sorrow of distance" between the writer & the reader that maintains & nurtures both their specialnesses.
& if "Distance Function" is 'about' anything more than anything else, I'd say it's 'about' relationships - particularly his relationship w/ "Lisa" - a lover that I don't recall coming across other mentions of. In the afore-mentioned "Discovery [..]" chapter he writes: "What I have discovered is that when things are placed in their 'proper relation' to each other, a virtually discernable 'plasma' forms in the interstices" - & then in "Stagger Strands": "I have noticed, especially recently, that during short periods when I am more or less free of the bondage of normal 'gummy' relationships (all relations except that of the greater self) that I tend to trip and stumble a lot [..]". ...more
Notes are private!
2 or 3
Feb 12, 2011
Feb 13, 2011
Ok, I'm 'reviewing' my own bk here. This was t he 1st bk I wrote & published. T he title of t he bk isn't written anywhere on it - so in order for Ok, I'm 'reviewing' my own bk here. This was t he 1st bk I wrote & published. T he title of t he bk isn't written anywhere on it - so in order for one to know its title one has to find it out somewhere other than thru t he bk itself. I imagined t he bk shrink-wrapped - w/ t he shrink-wrapping holding in punch-outs from any kind of stencil - of letters or otherwise. However, t he shrink-wrapping & t he stencil punch-outs are "non-existent". They're 'only' in my imagination & one learns about them again, from some source other than t he book itself. Therefore, t he bk's referent is both immaterial & external to it. I wrote this between ages 20 & 23 - roughly from 1974 & 1977. When it came time to get it ready for offset printing, I rented an IBM Selectric typewriter (t he kind that took exchangeable type balls so that one cd change fonts & have italics) for a mnth & typed it straight thru w/ the rule for myself that if I made any mistakes I had to start over again from t he beginning. T he bk is EXTREMELY specific about placement of text on page, etc. Therefore, typing it w/o mistakes was quite a feat. As it was, I made 2 mistakes that I didn't catch until after it was printed. Those are hand-corrected. For some further explanation, see t he sections regarding it in my bk "footnotes" (published by Che Elias' SIX GALLERY PRESS) on pp 011-053. This is a bk of "concrete essays" - by wch I mean that there's often didactic content but it's framed w/in 'concrete poetry' techniques in t he sense that form is designed to match content. For those interested, I still have over 100 copies left. It wd be close to impossible to find a copy otherwise. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 11, 2008
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