Project Censored 2004 Top Ten Underreported Stories Winter Potlatch in the Park Gifts are Fashionable Again Lumpen Comics! A New Section! Yeah! Look who’s hanging out at Dick Cheney’s Hunting Lodge. It shouldn’t be a surprise.
lumpen goes back to school
How did the vampires win and what do we do now? Is America really this messed up? This issue is a contribution to sorting it out and suggesting ways to hit them back. We bite into some satirical theories and offer some serious advice to build up what we have left down. New features like comics, movie buddy, and fantastic hidden action will entertain you through the next four hours if not the next four years. We are now officially bimonthly, nationally distributed and hope to kick your ass.
Rebuilding Reality is on our side Too Little
We need our own media
Car Park Theory Parking lots + Christians
Top Ten stories
27 30 31 38 48
Project Censored 2005 Trip Balls Charlie Cray Interview Let’s end corporate rule
Look in the Mirror We can defeat them
Extreme Makeover Theory Bush: Recreated man
Vote Fraud Who knows?
DJ Spooky Interview
Ed Marszewski Editor/Publisher
Aaron Pedersen Art Director
Bush War Diary
Burke Binbeutal Associate Editor
Four more years
Logan Bay Comics Editor
Wild Blue Yonder
Rotten Milk Contributing Editor
18 34 40 46
Our lonely friend
Eleanor Balson Music Editor Matt Malooly Associate Editor
By Sir Lord Admiral Pip
Ringo Man Behind the Curtain Rebecca Harris The New Guy
Ken Zawicki The Advertising Guy
Fashion: Winter Potlatch
Aya • Bob Actor • Jeffrey Brown • Charlier Cray Douggpound • Zbignew Eel • Mike Finch • Hanna Lee • Sir Lord Admiral Pip • Brian Meir • Eleanor Balson • Paul Hornschmeir • Meredeth Kolodner Geoff Manaugh • Steven Marshall • Anders • Ethos • Nilsen • Project Censored • Robert Parry Rita Raley • Josh Stern • MC Think • Jane Verwys
Seasonal gift giving
Movie Licker Our new movie guy
Flyer from History Bike Power
Mila Gomez • Ideotech • Joe and Gina Penelope’s • Vanessa and Lindsey
No more pot for us
Short Contributions Located throughout
reviews + resources 51
Media Reviews New DVD section
Advertising Inquiries Edmar firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Pecoraro email@example.com
Contact 960 W 31st St • Chicago, IL • 60608 • U$ of A ph: 773.837.0145 • e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.lumpen.com hosted by onshore.net
Design Team c2ak is Chris Rylander, Aaron Pedersen, Adam Frint, and Keith Eilers. With special guest Greg Calvert, Michael Freimuth (Cover Art Direction) and Joe Wigdahl (Cover Photography • joewigdahl.com) WEB • c2ak.com
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Scared to death as they are of May Day and its now secret very-American Heartland origins 120 years ago (“erm, hello, we’d like something called ‘the weekend’...” –BANG!), the U.S. elite decided that if the psychic balm of a holiday dedicated solely to working schleps was absolutely necessary, it would have to be placed at a diametrically opposite calendrical point. Sever that politically-charged emotional anchor of massacre-commemoration, and create an empty vacation day that suggests nothing more than being able to get wasted on a Sunday night. Apart from, as usual, throwing us out of synch with the rest of the world, it also had the nice subconscious touch of setting the U.S. workers’ holiday not in spring, a season of hope for the future, but at the cusp of autumn, when everyone knows things are only going to get worse from here on out. Because I’m not using “elites” here in the Republicans’ new, corrupted sense of “anyone who uses fancy word papers to attack Fox News,” but rather in the original, effective sense of “career politicians, bank executives, stockbrokers, advertising directors, mass media moguls, and those silver spoon Ivy League bamillionaires on the shareholding boards of several multinational corporations, who play golf with your senator and have an amazing healthcare plan.” Just remember, “first class” air travel exists for somebody, and it’s not Ralph Nader. Or you. So here my disorganized ass is on Labor Day weekend working to put together the content of a new issue (already!), missing all the parties (Get Up! Get Out! – thanks Myles, and Happy 21st Amanda!), and harassing contributors for pieces as tardy as my own. This being the start of fall, it occurred to us to play on the way this issue’s number suggests an introductory college course code. Ed’s old campus zine is now internationally fabulous, with 15 years, 100 issues, and nine global festivals under its belt; maybe it’s time to take stock, reevaluate the scene, and lecture ourselves and our readers on what Lumpen’s all about. If you’ve any questions, complaints, compliments or corrections, stop by office hours Monday and Thursday nights at Kaplan’s Liquors in Bridgeport.
Matt ( Pisces )
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Paper Rad Interview by Elisa Harkins
Paper Rad does everything. It would be easier for me to name something they don’t do, because they have their hands on everything. They make comics, video art, cardboard castles, net art, MIDI files, hacked Nintendo cartridges, wallpaper, paintings, books, installations, and perform epic musicals. The members of the collective, Jessica Ciocci, Jacob Ciocci, and Ben Jones have been creating comics, zines, t-shirts, cds and dvds for the past 6 years. They recently had a book published by Picture Box titled Paper Rad, BJ and Da Dogs. For the first time Paper Rad comics and art were easy to get your hands on. Anyone could go to Amazon. com or walk into Border’s to purchase this widely distributed book. Creating comics is what Paper Rad has done forever. They didn’t know that the response to this book would be different to any of their zines they had published themselves. The last thing anyone expected as a response to their book was for someone to create a fake Paper Rad Myspace web page that sold a sequel to their book (Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs 2 (GRAIL QUEST!)). Seemingly unfazed by the imposters, I asked Jacob Ciocci about their Myspace identity theft, health food, and sweat lodges.
So you live in different cities? I live in Pittsburgh. Jessica and Ben live in Easthampton. We all used to live together in Boston, then scattered post-9-11. How do you guys get together and collaborate? Lots of phone calls and emails and sharing computer files, but also we visit each other in physical manifestation. Some of our projects are obviously collaborative (like the “Taking Out the Trash” dvd, where we each did a segment then edited it all together, cut it up, remixed parts) but other projects are less obviously collaborative—just stealing ideas from each other or being inspired by each other’s stuff. And then there are the projects that just happen because of conversations or jokes, or just jamming with each other at dinner or a rest stop. What’s the deal with what happened to you guys on Myspace? The inevitable happened. Myspace, message boards, blogs, they all breed this sort of behavior. It’s inherent in the medium--anonymity, creation of fake identities. Some people or person or something is selling a fake Paper Rad book off their Myspace page, and in stores too. A weird alternate universe bizarre thang. That’s pretty much all that happened so far. I saw the book in NYC and was weirdy weirded. I’m trying to avoid the p-noid. Did you ever find out who it was? Nope. Why do you think someone wanted to impersonate you? Confused, inspired, who knows?
Is there any sort of legal action being taken against them? Not by us. What’s up with your super healthy lifestyle? And I heard something about sweat lodges? We’re not that healthy. Lots of meals on tour occur at rest stops and fast food. We all eat a lot of chips. I sleep way too much and keeping busy makes me a little crazy. Currently none of us have health care and my neck really hurts. I mean we just try and survive the best way we can, picking and choosing at any given moment what is best for survival. Sometimes that is healthy, sometimes that is pure junk. When you are a traveling scavenger raccoon you try and find the trashcans that are the most dependable and safe. When feeling sick just type in whole foods into map quest and get a 4-dollar health juice brainwash. Black whole foods. Some friends of ours had a sweat lodge at their wedding. I couldn’t take the heat. Did you see on CNN that 76% of America is angry? It seems that you guys are in the other 24%. I think hard mental work and reflection make us not angry. Being “not angry” requires daily mindfulness in today’s active lifestyle. I try and run around the cemetery behind my house. This helps I believe, as does having a creative outlet. I do however have dreams where I am yelling and lashing out in an immature kindergarten kind of way at people I am really close with.
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The Top 13 of
ANYTH I N G
REALLY, WHATEVER YOU WANT*
% 3) Goran Bregovic 4) Besh a Drom 5) Gogol Bordello/ DJ Hutz 6) Kultur Shock 7) Balkan Beat Box 8) Zdob zi Zdub 9)Taraf de Haiduks 10) DJ joro boro 11)Kanizsa Csillagai 12) Dj Shantel 13) Dela Dap!
By Edmar 1. Mute (UK) 2. Cabinet 3. Harper’s 4. Dot Dot Dot 5. AREA 6. Journal of Aesthetics and Protest 7. terry plumming 8. Adbusters 9. Colors 10. Studio Voice 11. Parachute 12. Log 13. Stay Free!
Where Community of the Future eats
Top 13 Euphemisms for Shitting By Burke B., special thanks to Gregg C. 1. Exiling the political undesirables 2. Dropping off a special package at the Oval Office 3. Studying abroad in England 4. Acquitting the defendant on all charges 5. Garnering Oscar buzz 6. Laying down a track for my new solo album 7. It’s got kind of an acid rock feel 8. But with bursts of smooth jazz 9. Applying for an honorable discharge 10. Setting free the bears 11. Showing Lincoln who the real Great Emancipator is 12. Parachuting the infantry 13. Filing some litigation
Sofiya’s must have balkan/Gypsy bands/Dj’s - in no order By Anonymous 1) Malhala rai banda 2)Bareh Droma
By Anonymous 1. Ramova Grill (Bridgeport) 2. Sweet Maple (taylor/loomis) 3. Gio’s (Bridgeport) 4. Ed’s Potsticker House (Bridgeport) 5. Cobblestones (Bridgeport) 6. Best Kosher (Bridgeport) 7. El Milagro (Pilsen) 8. Bankok Thai 55 (Bridgeport) 9. Skylark (Pilsen) 10. Evergreen (chinatown) 11. Kevin’s Hamburger Heaven (Bridgeport) 12.Lindie’s Chili (McKinley Park) 13. Manny’s (South Loop)
Top 13 books to help you understand why we spend our lives on this magazine By Anonymous 1) Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century - Greil Marcus 2) Wrong Numbers - Franklin Rosemont 3) The Banquet Years: The Origins of the AvantGarde in France 1885 to World War I: Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, Guillaume
Appollinaire - Roger Shattuck 4) The Right to Be Lazy - Paul Lafargue 5) Burn Collector - Al Burian 6) the Doris compilation 7) A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings: On the Sovereignty of Life as Surpassing the Rights of Man - Raoul Vaneigem 8) Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos - edited by Juana Ponce de Leon 9) Blue of Noon - Georges Bataille 10) When Harlem Was in Vogue - David Levering Lewis 11) Sister of the Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha - Ben Reitman 12) My Life - Isadora Duncan 13) The Gay Science - F. W. Nietzsche
Top 13 non-French movies you should see now, besides Caddyshack By Anonymous 1) Putney Swope - Robert Downey, Sr. 2) autopsy - Stan Brakhage 3) Terminal U.S.A. - John Moritsugu 4) The Cockettes 5) Daisies 6) Tuvalu 7) Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail 8) Stalker 9) Five Easy Pieces 10) Mabarosi 11) All Tomorrow’s Parties 12) Performance 13) The IPCRESS File
*Please submit for next issue!
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Edmar’s bathroom rack
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When Lars was 18 he decided to dodge the German draft. One afternoon he met a Brazilian prostitute in a bar with her new fat and drunk 70-year-old husband. She offered to sell him her return ticket for something like $100 and he flew to Rio de Janeiro with no money and no way to return to Germany for 7 years without going to jail. He spend some time pushing a legless, coke addicted dwarf around on a skateboard begging money from tourists for 30% of the cut. He mustered the money together to get a cheap bus ticket to Brasilia, where, after a short stint living in a public men’s room at the Federal University, he met an unattractive and older woman from a big political family in the Northeast. They got married and he received something like 10,000 hectares of land as a wedding present. They moved up to São Luis and, at her prodding, he became a photographer. She helped him get work and he took the ball and ran with it. Now, 20 years later, he is one of the best nature photographers in Brazil - something he never lets anyone forget. A typical conversation with Lars always involves huge amounts of cachaca consumption, an occasional joint, and starts off like this: “You know you are a sick bastard. We’re not that young anymore. We’ve probably only got another 5 years to live. Or maybe less. God. I’m so broke. I can’t even make my fucking car payments anymore. It’s hard trying to make money when you work for a bunch of sick animals.” Then you jump into one of his cars, his 65 galaxy, VW Bug or his new Fiat, and he races around São Luis island - he is a great motorist, even when drunk - cranking his favorite music: Ronnie James Dio. He may stop point out a transvestite whore and say something like, “you know I vatch them fucking on the street from my window. They do it in public. What a bunch of sick animals.” Then you might say something like “why don’t you get a pet monkey and train it to fuck you in the ass?” “That would be vunderful,” he will answer “the problem eez that the cocks on the Brazilian monkeys are just too small.” This leads into him confessing some minor gay thing he’s done in the last week like kissing a parking lot attendant on the mouth. Then he gets uncomfortable kicks you out of his car without saying goodbye.
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Lars is the type of guy who loves to flirt with his friends’ wives and girlfriends. Although he is completely disgusted with the human race as only a nature photographer could be, he always pretends to be really interested in what women say, then makes fun of them latter, usually comparing their physiognomy to different kinds of Brazilian wild animals like Tapirs or Sea Turtles. I haven’t seen him in a year, since his invitation to canoe down Brazil’s 3rd largest river for Brazilian Geographic fell through (he did it, he just cut me out of the project after I drunkenly called him a prostitute). Out of the blue he calls me up and tells me he’s moved to São Paulo. “I’m staying with a lesbian friend of mine,” he says, “she’s rich.” We agree to meet in front of the municipal theater and the drinks start to flow. “I love it so much here,” he tells me, “everything is so vonderful. The weather... I love the cold. São Luis is so fucking hot. And here you can actually have a real conversation with people and the women all have big tits. I love that.” As we move onto our 7th caiperinha he confessing his real reason for moving to São Paulo. “You remember my vonderful girlfriend Paula, right? Mein Gott I love her.” I think about the 50 year-old, pasty white woman he has been having an affair with. “Anyway, you know that even though she’s separated, technically she’s still married to that state senator. He’s found out about us and is threatening to kill me. Zey are so fucking macho in the Northeast. He’s had my phone bugged. Everywhere I go I’m followed around. So I have to lay low for a while. I’m going to find work here in São Paulo. I know a lot of people here. Veja Magazine just nominated me for photojournalist of the year.” We swing by my apartment. He spends 10 minutes kissing up to my girlfriend, inviting her out drinking with us, not taking no for an answer. At the bar, we run into a guy from New Jersey who looks like Meatloaf. We drink more. Lars is clearly bored by my girlfriend. He asks me if I am still faithful to her. When I say yes he makes an exclamation of disgust. We stand up to go to another bar and he runs away without saying anything, under the viaduct and towards the Transvestite red light district two blocks over - the last time I ever see him.
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Roosevelt Prof Canned By Joel Michael Cusumano Even enlightened cats like you probably don’t realize how brazenly the battle to mum intellectual freedoms has crept into the university classroom; yes, into the very incubus of subversive pinko radicalism, as so many conservative loudmouths lately term it. Douglas Giles, a professor of philosophy, ethics and religion since 1998, certainly didn’t expect his World Religions course to become a front on the turf war of ideas when he was hired by Roosevelt University History Department Chair Susan Weininger in December 2003. Weininger, an art history professor who has never taught religion or philosophy, was inflamed when she learned last year that Giles had been allowing students to openly debate the Palestinian issue in his class; in other words, that he had been doing exactly what any good teacher should do. Their first conversation since his hiring occurred during a series of phone calls made to Giles’ house in which Weininger dictated that the following outrageous changes be made to the class: • Students should not be allowed to ask whatever questions they want in class. • Nothing should be mentioned in class, textbooks, or examinations that could possibly open up Judaism to criticism, especially any mention of Zionism. • Nothing related to Palestinians or Islamic beliefs about Jerusalem should be mentioned. * Discussion of Zionism or the Palestinian issue was disrespectful to any Jews in the class. After Giles’ civilly voiced his objections (“I replied that those restrictions would lead to a biased class.”), Weininger allegedly made a series of disparaging remarks against Palestinians, culminating in the statement: “I hear you even allowed a Muslim to speak in class … you shouldn’t! What disturbs me is that you act like the Palestinians have a side in this. They don’t have a side! They are animals! They strap bombs to their bodies and blow up women and children! They are not civilized!” Giles, understandably disturbed and now faced with the irreconcilable situation of whether to violate his personal and professional values (as Giles puts it succinctly, “I welcome questions and allow students to share their opinions and experiences as discussion is absolutely crucial to quality education.”) or risk losing his job, eventually chose the latter when a young Pakistani student asked a question about Palestinian rights. A complaint was made and Weininger fired Giles.
Since then, a flurry of outrage over the university’s actions has ensued. Giles’ union, the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, filed a grievance and continues to fight the decision. Giles’ students have created an ever-growing Yahoo group “to connect activists who want to help us force Roosevelt University to end censorship, reinstate Professor Giles, and raise awareness of threats to academic freedom.” Overseas, where the United States’ self-image as a fountain of freedom and democracy is often met with dubious skepticism, Giles appears a champion against the ever-apparent hypocrisies in the U.S. He was invited to give a presentation at the Conference on Contingent Academic Labor in Vancouver, Canada, on August 13 on growing threats to academic freedom. In a column published on the same day in the UK newspaper The Guardian (fittingly titled “The Land of the Free – but Free Speech is a Rare Commodity”), Henry Porter discusses Giles’ firing against the backdrop of the rising push by conservatives (such as David Horovitz of frontpagemag. com) to “take politics (for which read liberal influence and plurality) out of the curriculum.” The university, for its part, has not denied any of Weininger’s comments and has done its best to skirt the issue with delaying tactics, and Roosevelt’s Associate Provost, Louise Love, laughably qualified Weininger’s ignorant remarks about Palestinians as coming from a woman who was “defending her position passionately.” Giles seems to be taking all of this in stride, fighting his position with the help of his union and other supporters while remaining humble about his position. “It may be sexy to get on a bus and go to D.C. and march against war,” he told Porter, “(but) it is much less sexy to fight in your own university for the right of free speech. But that is where it begins. That is because they are taking away what you can talk about.”
More Information Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/foracademicfreedom Petition to reinstate Giles www.petitiononline.com/fre2spk2/petition.html Porter article http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1843718,00.html
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Get your Lumpen education!
VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2006
Class is in session.
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reprinted from Burning Man Journal, summer 2006
Why Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Here By Tom Price
Last year at Burning Man, immediately following news of Hurricane Katrina, our community began to spontaneously organize a response. A relief fund was collected at the event, initially totaling more than $35,000, but during the ensuing weeks this soon swelled into many thousands more. One of the largest and longest lasting of these efforts eventually became what is known as Burners Without Borders, providing disaster relief with a decidely playa flair â&#x20AC;&#x201C; learn about their work at www.burnerswithoutborders.org. Below is a dispatch from the field written earlier this year by Tom Price, a part-time Burning Man project staff member.
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My leather gloves sag with sopped up diesel, sweat, and the black water that oozes off rotting garbage. Under the cypress trees in the swamp out back, an oily sheen coats the water, smothering the snapping turtles, but having no impact on the clouds of gnats and mosquitoes. Every night, after a day of working in a morass of twisted and broken homes, there’s a dull ache in my throat from breathing mold spores and the smoke boiling off the fire from across the street, where an old man burns the insulation off downed copper wires. We have no electricity or plumbing, no running water, and it’s a 15mile drive to buy anything. Someone asked me the other day why I’m here. The answer’s simple: there’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. For the better part of the last five months, I’ve been living in “Camp Katrina,” helping clean up after the hurricane. I’m a journalist, and I’ve witnessed suffering before: Pacific Islanders losing their homes to climate change’s rising tides; Kalahari Bushmen dragged off their homelands to rot In resettlement camps to make way for diamond mining; land mine victims hobbling on crutches through Angkor Wat. But this is different. This is supposed to be archetypal small town America; the sort of place where on Sundays Mom wrings her hands dry on her apron after baking a pie while Dad watches NASCAR with the kids, where in the evening families sit out on their porches as the fog slips through the Spanish moss bearding the oak trees. This was that place, but not anymore. Virtually every home, business, place of worship, and public facility that lies within one mile of the Gulf of Mexico between New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Alabama state line is either damaged, destroyed, or simply gone. Think about it for a minute. Some stories you report, some you live – for me, this became one of the latter. Five months on, the residents are still sitting on their porches – if they still possess one. Only now they’re waiting for help, for a shelter besides a tent or a flimsy trailer, for someone with machinery to help them remove the wreckage of what was and create a space for something new to take its place. And for many, the help they’re getting isn’t from the government they’ve paid and fought and bled for; it’s from a bunch of Burners, artists widely derided for the self-absorbed pointlessness of their behavior. The dissonance is amusing sometimes, but beside the point. Why am I here? The better question is: where else should I be? It seemed unreal on the playa, another one of those random rumors that swirl through Black Rock City. “I’m serious,” my late-arriving girlfriend insisted, “New Orleans is gone, a hurricane blew it out to sea.” Conversations bloomed everywhere – what would we do if something like that happened to us? At Burning Man there is a lot of talk about intentional communities, the sort of self-made social infrastructures Ethan Watters wrote about in his book “Urban Tribes” as being the defining social characteristic of the future. Just in time, it seems; all around us the social structures we were raised to depend on – stable jobs, guaranteed pensions, Social Security – are collapsing. And as the winds and water of Katrina have shown, the once reliable federal government should now be counted in that unreliable number. But real life is a hell of a lot harder than just building a theme camp. Could the people that Rolling Stone recently derided for having, as their only shared value, “a collective dedication to self indulgence” actually do something for someone else? Had we learned something in the desert that would be valuable in the real world? As the news of the hurricane seeped into Black Rock City, the natural, organic, spontaneous response was a resounding yes. In the middle of the final weekend that people had planned and worked for all year, people came by the dozens and then the hundreds and then the thousands. They dropped what they were doing to find out how they could really help. They opened their freshly drained wallets with a generosity that made me weep. And since then, many have streamed into the Gulf Coast to help out, doing so with an élan that leaves locals wondering, just who the hell are these people? As Burners began arriving in Mississippi, any debate over whether Burning Man is more than just a big party in the desert ended – for good. This is about as real as life gets, and in places like this, people like us are exactly what’s needed. Down the road from me there’s a 65ish toothless man named Morgan Collins who’s had to stare at the rotting morass of what used to be his mobile home for five months, because no one from the government
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“Partying in the desert, it seems, was in some weird way like boot camp for a disaster.” More than just surviving in this harsh environment, we’re thriving, first making order, then creating art out of all the chaos and debris surrounding us. This morning I found that a campmate of mine, faced with looking out at oil-drenched swamp littered with debris, took a photo and created a laminated interpretative guide, pointing out the sites of the “Post-Katrina Pearlington Nature Preserve,” pointing out things like the Red Breasted Rubber Dingy, perched in a tree. Every Saturday, we take bits of debris, then nail, staple, and screw them together into artworks. In the evenings, we invite the locals over for drinks to watch us burn them. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” a woman named Debbie told me last weekend, gesturing around at our comfortable camp while watching an elaborate sculpture of broken chairs, table legs, and twigs go up in flames, a glowing metaphor of the environment all around us, “but I love it.” Why am I here? Because this is one of those rare, pure moments when what you do immediately matters. There’s no space here for the cynical ennui that often takes the place of intellectual discourse, no room for sitting on your hands because it might not be cool to show the naiveté of thinking you might actually make a diffence. It turns out that under all the art and glitter and spangles in the desert, under that frivolous veneer of indulgence and self expression and that idealistic belief that there just might be another, better way our society could operate, there beats a thumping heart of practical expertise in creating community and culture. To bring it closer to home, when the next earthquake comes I’ll bet your double Vente frappucino that all over the Bay, Burners will be among the first busting out mini-generators and camp stoves, whipping up fruit pancakes to give away before the dust has even settled. What’s the connection between the desert and here? Why are so many people exchanging one harsh environment for another? Because the hurricane zone turns out is like the Black Rock Desert – vast, unsettled, frightening, but filled with an awesome beauty and a sense of infinite possibility – a place in which you can discover what you’re made of. In the desert we start with nothing, and build a beautiful city. Back in the default world, the people and institutions that we used to rely on can’t be counted on anymore. Maybe, it’s time to decide what we’re going to replace them with. So, why am I here? I guess it’s because this is a place where the values I have and share can actually be put to work. Remember that cheesy old story, about the young guy criticizing an old man for flinging back starfish that had been washed up by a storm? “It won’t make any difference,” he said. “There are too many of them.” To which the old man replied, “It matters to this one,” tossing another back, for a second chance at a life disrupted. That’s what living in the Katrina Zone is like – starfish as far as the eye can see, some right at your feet. Do what you want with yours – I’m flinging mine. Tom Price is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, and National Geographic Adventure, among others. Before the storm he lived in Salt Lake City and San Francisco. His current home, a 1978 Fleetwood Pace Arrow motor home, appeared in the August issue of “RV Living” magazine. He is currently exploring other parking options.
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, , Pearlington Late February
or anyone else would help him get rid of it. And today in about five hours a friend and I broke it up and bulldozed it out of the way. Meanwhile, at the other end of town, a half dozen other “Burners Without Borders” humped salvageable wood out of broken homes, so they could rebuild a new one a few doors down for a 71-year-old retiree who was left with only the Harley on which he’d outrun the storm. It turns out that what we’d learned in the desert has very practical implications. Sure, there’re the topical things – Burners tend to be, in general, pretty creative, self-reliant types, who can handle being in a chaotic, unstable environment. So when they started hitting the Gulf Coast they were pre-wired to know what to do: Build Shelter. Make Food. Keep Cold Things Cold and Dry Things Dry. They also understood the bedrock value of water, diesel, and serviceable tools. But more than that, all the talk about radical self-reliance, cooperative effort, practicing a gift economy, thinking and acting from a place of civic responsibility – all that hot air crap turns out to be exactly what’s needed when things fall apart. Partying in the desert, it seems, was in some weird way like boot camp for a disaster.
New Wave During the Nazi occupation of France in WWII domestic films were heavily censored and films from the US completely unavailable; later, as peace and the Marshall Plan came, France was flooded with a 6-year backlog of Hollywood movies. For the young French generation which had suffered the war & occupation as childhood denied, this was an eye-opening shock. For those a half-generation or more older, for whom the same period had meant secrecy, betrayal, violence, deprivation, hope, despair, and many dead friends, this is where the battle against forgetting began. In the former group we have young critics-turned-filmmakers associated with the magazine Cinema Notebooks – Godard, Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, and others. In the latter, we have directors like Marguerite Duras, Alain Resnais, Robert Bresson, and Chris Marker [see book review in Lumpen #97]. Their common ground was the bohemian quarter of Paris, their common passion the art of filmmaking. The enemy was traditional French cinema, with its staid, talkative adaptations of respected upper-class novels and suppression of stylistic initiative on the part of the director. The enemy was also Cold War militarism, Capitalist consumerism, and the obsolete gender roles or marital expections of middle class morality. Though they championed spontaneity and the ar-
tistic primacy of a film’s director, it’s obvious the New Wave also fully understood the importance of strength in community – they were perpetually assisting one another on film projects, writing scripts or editing for friends, recommending actors, or falsely lending a newly famous name to help secure financing. Together they created a movement which changed movies forever, and still inspires filmmakers today. Hanging around film nerds you might hear the phrase ‘French New Wave’ batted around a lot, and what follows is by no means a “We went to the movies often. The screen would light up, and we’d feel a thrill. But Madeleine and I were usually disappointed. The images were dated and jumpy. Marilyn Monroe had aged badly. We felt sad. It wasn’t the movie of our dreams. It wasn’t that total film we each carried inside ourselves. That film we would have liked to make, or, more secretly, no doubt, the film we wanted to live.” Narration to Godard’s Masculine/Feminine definitive compilation but rather a highly subjective shortlist of favorites, avoiding a few of the most obvious choices like Breathless, or Weekend, which you’ll probably see at some point anyway. Available at better independent video shops near you…
The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959) Truffaut, born in 1932, went from being a juvenile delinquent, school dropout, AWOL draftee, and feared/hated film critic to winning the Best Director award at Cannes for this, his first full-length movie (see his 1957 short Les Mistons [‘the brats’] for an example of earlier work, usually paired on video with Godard’s short about street flirting, All The Boys Are Called Patrick). ‘The 400 Blows’ is the literal translation of a French phrase – using blow as in a punch, not as in breath or blowjob – for the trials one must overcome in leaving childhood (something like ‘school of hard knocks’). And this is a rather autobiographical tale of a Parisan boy beset by troubles at home and school, occasionally ditching class with his one friend to sneak into movies or smoke cigars. The classroom scenes are unusually realistic, with Guy Decombe – a character actor who usually played police detectives – turning in a great performance as an exasperated schoolteacher lamenting “the future of France.” Be sure to get the full-length version, or you’ll miss the beautiful original opening – shots of the Eiffel tower taken from a moving taxi – as well as a later scene resolving the mystery of the missing Michelin Guide. Truffaut cast 15-year old Jean-Pierre Léaud in the lead role after the youth ditched school in response to a casting call, and continued developing the alter-ego character of this film in a series of movies filmed at different ages in Léaud’s life. Léaud became an important actor apart from Truffaut’s work, more recently playing the director in Olivier Assayas’ excellent 1996 film Irma Vep.
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) Resnais’ first fea ture; written by his friend Marg a French novelis uerite Duras, t, playwright, and filmmaker raised in colon born in 1914 an ial Indochina. d At 18 she arriv study mathem ed in Paris to atics, law, and political scien gious Sorbonne ce at the presti; as war took ov er the world sh munist active e became a comin the undergro und Resistanc pation of Fran e to the Nazi oc ce, daily runnin cug the risk of to Set in the boom rture & execut ing Japan of th ion. e late ‘50s, a ma actress has a on rried French e-night stand with a married tect. She’s in tow Japanese arch n working on an ianti-nuke activ has a past as a ist film and country girl wh o fel l in love with a German soldier teenaged in her occupied WWII town – he and she banish was killed ed by a shamed family. Meanwh tect returned ba ile the archirely alive from mandatory mi find his entire litary service to family and cit y vaporized by nuclear bomb. the Americans An excellent, ha ’ unting meditat loss, and the ro ion on memory, utine sacrifice of in div iduals at the alt State. The incr ar of edible opening sequence of en fiable lovers slo twined, uniden wly covered by tibl ow n fallout dust is century’s nigh the 20th tmare of a Pomp ei where man own volcano fro has wrested hi m the gods. s
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Of all Truffaut’s films, this was at one time Godard’s favorite. Starring French pop star Charles Aznavour in the lead and based on an American pulp fiction novel by David Goodis. Two gangsters, Momo & Ernest, drive around arguing with each other, kidnap someone whom they then include in their discussions, and even have their windshield obscured by a surprise fluid. Hmm…
My Life to Live (Jean-Luc Goda rd,
The Man Who Lov ed Wom (François en Truffaut, 1977) Though he had a certain ro amorous mantic re tale Jule putation s & Jim amy is im and film in 1961, ed the p possible Truffaut oly, but any also once successf thing else ul engin said “Mo is ee w nogr o rs w ho doesn e.” Charl leagues, es Denn eating a ’t associ er is a ll his mea ate much his newsp ls at rest with his aper. He’ aurants, cols a lso a 40-y comforta complex , ‘never se bly alon ear old b e with achelor en in the addictio with a C company n to wom asanova o f m en en is after 6p shot open immedia m.’ Denn tely revea ing scen er’s e of pair led via a passing after pa clever cr by to pay ir oppedof anony last resp mous fem ects at a ale legs n open g rave – his .
Screw love, happ iness, & dance numbers! Let’s young woman’s see Anna Karin spiral into stree a in a tale of a twalking prostit with Karina’s ba ution! Powerfu ck to the camera l opening shot as another custo talks to her in fro mer at a cheap nt of a wall-len café counter gth mi rror in which we she stares ahea see her face. No d, repeating he rself with vary tice how character is an ing inflection, to his idle actress, pr confusion – her ac tic ing de livery in the mi check out Léa Po rror. If you like ol’s 1999 Empo this, rte-Moi [Set Me from the ’62 film Free], which sa . Deals with a 19 mples directly 60 s Qu ebecois girl wh obsessed with ose emo-Dad is the poetry of Ra so iner Maria Rilke family into dire that his neglige poverty. She se nce drags the es th is Go dard film at the heavy influence theater & we fol it has at the th reshold of her ad low the ult life.
from Rio That Man ) e Broca, 1964 (Philippe d
d style James Bon is spoof of th in e his girlg se in to az kend leave ondo is am ee m to w el B on l e au te af s & taken Jean-P ch army dr c smuggler Ex-boxer ing a Fren ped by reli rn to ay tu ap pl re dn s, & ki er r ll he been jetset thri to rescue – but she’s er, planning hile it was e museum on a jetlin Brasília w ay friend at th in aw ot s sh ow es out of st en do sc e on ca m as ch was rved Brazil! Bel al capital ll. Includes on ca ti ll na ro t 50 r rren te 19 s. me fo g in the la on – the cu Paris in ti constructi h beginnin y tc av ra sc he r st erni still unde t from Mod rest & buil the rainfo
Z (Costa- Gav
A thinly fic tionalized portrayal throw of de of the CIA mocratic go -supported vernment military ov singer Yve in 1960s G ers Montand reece. Star (born in It s legendar soundtrack al y as Ivo Li y to Rushmor vi, heard on e, and one popular op the of Marilyn position po M on litician as roe’s lovers Montand w sassinated ) as a as a public by rightwin supporter his life, as g thugs. of the Eur was his ac op ea n tr left throug ess wife Si the philos hout mone Sign opher Mic oret (a clos hel Foucau e friend of tre, and a lt, a former former clas st ud en sm t of Jean-Pau ate of Chr cal thriller is Marker) l Sar, unique in . Z is a mas its succes lywood st terful poli sful combi orytelling tination of su an d a Europea spenseful Gavras was n ideologi Holborn Konst ca l sensibilit antinos Gav WWII Res y. Costaras in Gre istance fig ece, son of hter & diss both univer a atheist id en t, and ther sity studie efore blac s and jobs thies. Con klisted from on suspicio sequently n of Comm sent to Fran remained un ist sympa ce for film sc as a worki hool, where ng refugee. lives.” Osc he In Greek, th ar for Bes e sound ‘z t Foreign La ’ means “h nguage Film e .
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A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard, 1961)
Bicycle-racer Jean-Claude Brialy & stripper Anna Karina live together young, happy, & poor; one day she spontaneously decides she wants to have a baby. Now. Brialy disagrees, saying it’s not the right time in their life. So Karina immediately goes off hoping to secure another source of seed – their mutual friend, Jean-Paul Belmondo. Nice Godardian bit where the initial couple, in bed, refuses to talk to one another yet continues to argue by holding up words found on book covers. Fun tribute to classic Hollywood musicals, in color, and a great date movie. Godard’s serenade to Karina, whom he had just married (they divorced in 1964).
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) rite Duras, a ten by his friend Margue Resnais’ first feature; writ 1914 and in born er mak ht, and film French novelist, playwrig ved in Paris to study arri she 18 At a. chin raised in colonial Indo us Sortical science at the prestigio mathematics, law, and poli a communist me beca she ld wor the bonne; as war took over occupation of d Resistance to the Nazi active in the undergroun execution. Set in the & ure tort of risk the France, daily running ess has a ‘50s, a married French actr booming Japan of the late ’s in town She t. ried Japanese architec one-night stand with a mar a country as t pas a has and activist film working on an anti-nuke occuher in ier a teenaged German sold girl who fell in love with med sha a by d ishe ban she killed and pied WWII town – he was e from manitect returned barely aliv family. Meanwhile the arch city vaporand ily fam re enti find his datory military service to excellent, haunting An b. bom lear nuc ns’ ized by the America of individ, and the routine sacrifice meditation on memory, loss ning sequence of ope le edib incr The e. uals at the altar of Stat blown fallout lovers slowly covered by entwined, unidentifiable re man has whe s nightmare of a Pompei dust is the 20th century’ s. god from the wrested his own volcano
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Shoot the Piano Player (François Truffaut, 1960)
Band of Outsid ers (Bande à part; Jean-Luc Goda rd, 1964
Day for Night faut, 1973) ine; François Truf (La Nuit américa
ut shooting a term for short-c mvie Hollywood mo Be gel over the ca th rk er da ng a Named aft by simply putti y d da lle e ca th is g e rin This techniqu “night scene” du vious shadows. uffaut’s resulting in ob vie serves as Tr mo era lens, often is th d an sets, ch en ing Fr en on op t” The “American Nigh of filmmaking. Irma on, and memoir e on Lik . ati on dit cti me du to, y intro tribute rfect expositor pe ly e ing ibl pp inc ro the inv scene is a jaw-d of cinema and e collective art m. th Fil t ge ou ua ab ng vie La gn Vep, a mo r for Best Forei the scenes. Osca drama behind
Vagabond (Sans Toit ni Loi; Agnès Vard a,
With the lovely Anna Karina. An other French Ne tribute to Amer w Wave heist ican Film Noir, with unique Go like freeze-fra dardian touche ming a sponta s ne ous juke box da omniscient vo nce party so an ice-over can in ter ru pt to explain what’s character’s mi nd. Note the na on each me of Quentin duction compan Tarantino’s pr y is “A Band Ap oart.”
Later film s either continui directly ng or inspired by the N ew Wa
Varda was born in Brussel s in 1928 to Greek-French parents and studied museum in Paris, becoming interest curation ed in photography along the way. Working as a still pho pher for the National Pop tograular Theater she was introdu ced to performance, and with formal film training wrote out any & directed her first feature, La Pointe courte, at the age was edited by her friend Res of 26. It nais and in retrospect cons idered the very first New Wav – five years before the rest e Film . About a dozen Varda film s later comes ‘Vagabond’ – original rhyming French title note the is Without Roof or Law – a portrayal of 80s youth surp ingly observant for having risbeen written, directed, & edit ed by a woman then in her 50s. Retraces, in faux-doc midumentary style, the progress ively tragic last months of traveler girl living off the a punk map.
Bad B lood (Mauv ais Sa ng; Le os C
ver , 1991) The Lo Annaud s e u q ac (Jean-J arax,
1986) Leos Carax is not name his re s – Al al nam ex Os 24 sti car D e, but ll pho upon an an tos fla t. One excep agram shing secon tiona of his in seq d of s lly ra two fi wher uence re wh ound e not rst e film c b n e f a o o ne ca single re you onsis those n r eyes ts of one o say th occas f thos , and sions fictio it’s e fram ey’ve seen . Oh, n heis an en and C es wa t flick tire fi arax s w adapt a was 2 lm sted. ed for T 5 whe the ag n he m his is one of e of A a d e this p IDS. ulp
e ve). Th as (abo ite Dur r in e y u il g r fam Ma lonial phy of ia) has nch co biogra ambod oor Fre n auto C p a & y n , r o s e o v middle a a L f , o in Based m r r a te g hte in ar Vietn man en e daug s -w s g e e a r n e in e (p h rent s ” te ese bu flicts in ochina in n d h o n c C “I e y h th ts 1930’s a wealt chmen fies all al atta th, ir with t ampli of you motion contex an affa e y l e it ia s th n io g r olo u in c c d i) e lu h (b r c T u – in ul age. on amo e lustf nship, ima m relatio ir rsus th h e s a v o h a e ir c g e u H v ffa s e ith a rld a lo uch lik come w the wo atch. me – m m ti m which o e to fr m s e ge sa at the ss refu ex scen I don’t while timele with s ended; ng the tating, m s ti a h m v g o e c li d e r y ll ly high a h n ig o oh . Emoti k is als creates ing. 84 boo out cry h ras’ 19 it u D w e te nc o No it d ve rea think I’
Can Take The Train Those Who Love Me ) (Patrice Chéreau, 1998
in near his natal home l breaths to be buried ulting demanding in his fina res is, the Par t in s tha die int ist pla art al ill-considered com A charismatic bisexu nds, ’s title brushes off an ment of bereaved frie in delivering the film sented with an assort pre are the countryside, and we So ny. e ma of Jean-Baps enc ter eni rac onv cha inc and uld rs wo s unknown chapte funeral arrangement ders as the mutually great cinematography lovers of various gen passenger train. The an family, students, and ope Eur a of s at Limoges (one confine ed mp cra the l-li in nt bow ke cemetery tiste’s life story collide lking through the gia wa n ma a of & PJ Harvey. t ack sho Att ssive king panoramic rack also includes Ma includes a breath-ta is full of love.” Soundt “all gs sin rk Bjö as t) of the world’s larges
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Zines 101 By Al Burian
Once again, some tragically idealistic publication has asked me to write an article on zines, zinedom, and the benefits of the zine scene to humanity at large. Poor, tragically idealistic publication! When will y’all learn? To ask l’il Bur his opinions on zines is akin to asking Genghis Khan to supply an article on international diplomacy. Sure, he’s got credentials, but, again and again, the hip young publishers are disappointed, and may even have their feelings hurt, when Khan replies with his standard “bow to my rule and I will not crush your puny village and destroy you like the ants that you are” form letter. A few years ago I was asked to write an introduction for “The Zine Yearbook,” an annual collection of highlights from the self-publishing scene. I responded to the request in fullon Mongol mode, turning in an angry diatribe about how making zines was a waste of time, but also how the truly unethical activity was compiling a “best of” selection and publishing it in a square-bound, ISBN-numbered edition, thus re-inserting hierarchy and outside editorial influence onto what should ideally be a democratic, sub-culturally selfsupporting medium. When the foam cleared from my lips and sanity returned, I realized I had offended the editors of the Zine Yearbook, who promptly kicked me out of the vaunted “introducer” position. While I wouldn’t say that this proves me wrong (offending people is actually often an indication of being on to something), in the sobering glare of hindsight I can concede, at least, that I failed to provide them what they were looking for. Genghis Khan is a whole different story. That guy knew how to run an empire. Rather than impose an ideology or cultural precept upon his audience, he just let them figure it out for themselves. For example, the Mongol empire is notable in the history of Imperial conquest for allowing its subjects complete freedom of religion. The Mongols who conquered China became Buddhist Mongols, and the Mongols who conquered Europe became Christian Mongols. Who cares what your hobbies are? Genghis didn’t give a fuck, as long as you paid your taxes.
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Finding the inspiration to make your zine Sure, you could go down to Quimby’s right now and pick up the new Cometbus. Or you could try Loitering is Good, or how about Doris? But honestly, the chances of being intimidated by the quality of these publications is probably greater than the chance of being inspired. Why set yourself such a high hurdle? Instead, why not delve into one of the countless horribly produced, barely coherent items overflowing from the shelves? There is no easier medium to find positive reinforcement for your own abilities than the world of zines. It is almost literally impossible that you’d make the worst one ever. And if you managed it, that in itself would be an awesome accomplishment! Perusing the fruits of zinedom should give you the confidence to realize that you, too, can participate in this sub-culture. The next question, I suppose, is WHY would you want to? Is the knowledge that you are going to out-write and out-clip (art) some fourteen year old vegan from Albuquerque enough of an incentive? Perhaps not. One of the primary motivations for producing zines which I’ve noted, over the years, seems to be the crime element. The zine entered its renaissance with the invention of the xerox machine, and corollary to the xeroxed zine you’ll often find the local person working at the copy store, heisting hundreds or even thousands of double-sided copies from their corporate masters. Blam! Or, if you can’t befriend a disgruntled employee, you can take matters into your own hands, utilizing the many guerrilla tactics developed over the years—the old paper clip in the card device worked for many years at Kinko’s, and when the machines worked on those blue block-shaped counters, a common tactic was to make your first thousand or so copies on one blue block, throw it in the trash, make three more copies, and pay for those. These days, people have gotten even lazier and just go to Office Depot, where they mercilessly exploit the honor system. In some sense, the several landfills-worth of pulp
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So why should I care if you get into making zines or not? Would Genghis Khan care? Probably not. However, the “bow to my rule” form letters he sent out to his enemies—I’m not making that up. He really did do it. And, in that sense, Genghis Khan might be considered the first zinester. So, in deference to him, I will try again.
paper produced in the last twenty years by zine-makers intent on getting their world-view out there is as impressive for the physical scale of the theft as it is for the artistic content or the ideas contained therein. Stealing from the big chain copy stores is a fun and edifying activity, but, as the xerox machine recedes from the forefront of technological history, we come to the question of blogs. Zine vs. Blog Zines are better than blogs in the same sense that I am better than Santa Claus. The benefits of Santa Claus are that he is an omnipotent, all-seeing being who monitors the children of earth for bad behavior and then brings unto them lumps of coal and/or plastic trinkets, depending on their goodness. The drawback of Santa is that he is a fictional character who only exists because of humanity’s willingness to accept mass delusion and the worship of false gods. It’s a popular way to spend your
The best we can do, in this debased age, is to seek out our fellow subculturals and stick together as we brace for the coming apocalypse. time, everyone’s doing it, etc. but come on people, it’s not real! Grow the fuck up! My drawbacks are numerous, but the benefit is that I am an actual, physical object, existing out here in, you know, reality. You can take me to a party and show me to your friends. I encourage getting out of the house, as opposed to sitting around in your underpants hoping that a jolly fat guy in a red suit will climb down the chimney and solve all your problems. A subtle difference, but I believe it to be an important one.
Getting your zine out there So you’ve decided to put on pants. Good work! Now get out there and make your zine. Wait, those are sweat pants. OK, have a cup of coffee. Then put on some real pants and let’s get moving. Choose your method of printing. Photo-copy is good in that you can do limited runs, and it is fairly inexpensive even when you do pay for it. For the more ambitious, printing is actually not that infeasible. I use Hignell Printing, 1-800-3045553, a very friendly and reasonably priced Canadian company whose main drawback is that their products look almost a little too nice. For more of a punk aesthetic, or just an even cheaper deal, consider newsprint. Try e-mailing ed@lumpen. com and asking him what printer he uses. I’ll bet he’s sitting around right now with nothing to do and would love to answer all of your questions. Once you’ve managed to get your stack of items on hand, the big question becomes: how the hell do I get rid of all this?
One of the benefits of working with Hignell is that they’ll ship your stuff to you in an eighteen-wheeler semi truck. A real trucker will be driving it and everything. It is an awesome feeling to have one of those things back up to your house, while the neighbors look on enviously, imagining you’ve won a years’ supply of frozen peas or something. But, when the eighteen-wheeler recedes into the distance, the reality of what you’ve undertaken may come as a shock, crashing down on you like an icy wave of… well, again, I guess frozen peas is probably the most apt metaphor here. How to move those units? The true beauty of the zine scene is in its decentralized distribution network. There are a million ways to get your work out there, and you should use all of them. Go to shows. Put them in record and book stores. Pass them out at parties. Start a band and do all of these things all over the country. Contact the many, many DIY distros all over the world. Send review copies to other magazines. Little by little, you’ll chip away at the seemingly bottomless pile. In the process, you’ll see interesting things. You’ll meet weird people. You’ll be exposed to new ideas. Halfway through the bottomless pile, you’ll break down in tears and resolve never, ever to do something like this again. Then, a few days after you’ve gotten rid of your last copy, as you are breathing a sigh of relief and preparing to get on with your life, you’ll get some mail from someone who liked what you did. In a frenzy, you’ll begin planning out your next issue. Conclusion “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far,” wrote H.P. Lovecraft in the Call of Cthulhu, and, though he was referring to tentacled, mind-sucking monsters from another dimension, I believe the quote applies just as accurately to our modern age. Let’s face it, the twenty-first century totally sucks. Now that you can google anything and some form of supporting documentation will appear, opinion has ceased to be extrapolated from facts. Instead, people form an opinion first and then seek out the information which supports it. George Bush may still think those weapons of mass destruction are buried out there in the desert somewhere. As our worldviews begin to base themselves less and less around a consensus reality and become instead a landscape of fragmented, contradictory information cults, the idea of “reality” itself crumbles into an amorphous subjectivity. Anything goes. Conflict resolution, or even basic conversation, become impossible, as we enter a new technological dark age of superstition and fear. We should have stuck with the fanzines! But it is too late, the die has been cast, and the ice dragon has stolen all your hit points. The best we can do, in this debased age, is to seek out our fellow subculturals and stick together as we brace for the coming apocalypse. Making zines is great, it’s fun, it’s socially constructive and personally edifying. Just remember that the only thing which will actually piss off the empire is not paying your taxes.
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Know Your City
Turner’s Expanded Chicagoland Street Guide ($6.95) check 24-hour cabbie diners or call 1-800-326-5399
BALDWIN Ave. ………….. (S) 1900E – 7400S to 7458S Decoding, this means Baldwin is oriented on a north-south axis, and a one-way street with traffic headed southbound. 1900 East is its location on The Grid – State Street is 0 E/W, and so Baldwin runs parallel to it, 2 & 3/8 miles east (a change of 100 in the address number = one block = one-eighth
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of a mile… although the southside can be off a bit, N-S). And it shows here that Baldwin is only a block long from start to finish. So you’re gonna be south of the University of Chicago, near the lake, and 7452 is on the west – or righthand - side of the street (even address numbers indicate the west or north side of a street, odd the opposite). To give another example, * St. LOUIS Ave. ………..(N&S) 3500W – 6256N to 11658S Means a westside street, laying north-south between Kedzie (3200 W) & Pulaski (4000 W), with traffic running in both directions. Starts up on the far northside near Devon (6400 N) & ends on the very far southside at 117th. The asterisk means it’s a “noncontinous street,” so you can’t drive the length of it without taking many detours. The people to whom this would be useful should immediately realize the book’s value from the above; everyone else stopped reading a while back. I should point out to the former group that all diagonal roads – Milwaukee, Elston, and their lesser-known cousins - are indicated by a “/” prefix with address locations of crucial grid street intersections listed below, which really helps pinpoint the shortest route between two points. The other 130 pages of the guide are taken up with small maps and similar street info for nearby suburbs, entrance/ exit locations for all area expressways, plus other potentially useful bits like the addresses & phone numbers of every single hospital in Chicago, or police station locations & phones for all 25 precincts (including CPD nicknames for each) – pretty handy if you ever need to bail out a friend. In short, this book has made work steal less time from my life & is one thing always in my bike bag when hunting down the house show on that mystery flyer.
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When I was a boy my ex-land surveyor dad frequently lectured my brothers & I on the mathematical clarity of Chicago’s street layout. “It’s a grid!” he’d say, “State & Madison is the centerpoint, and every 8 blocks is a mile. Understand this and you’ll never get lost!” It took many years though before I was willing to put any effort into comprehending this Cartesian control fantasy made manifest, and that was mostly out of fiscal necessity (“Where is this temp job?!”). Maybe you don’t know what I’m talking about. But anyone in this city who works as a messenger, mover, delivery cholo, film PA, Temp or even Party Steve wannabee could save themselves major hassle with this handy pocket-sized paperback. It’s been in continuous print since 1957, updated yearlyish. The first 50 pages are the goldmine: every street name in the entire city listed in alphabetical order with its orientation, duration, and location on the address grid. For example, let’s say you’ve just woken up post-party train and are nearly late to pull a rent-making moving job; all you have to go on is a crumpled note with a name, a phone number, & “7452 Baldwin.” You already have to call to say you’ll be late, so you don’t want to ask for directions on top of that and come off as just a complete ass, blowing your chances at a tip before you’ve even lifted a box. But where the fuck is Baldwin?! You could stare at street names on a map for an hour… or grab Turner’s & flip to page 7:
Know Your City
Chicago Confidential by Jack Lait & Lee Mortimer. Dell/Crown Publishers, 1950 Check area used bookshops or search online
“For in gambling hall and bordello, it is the same supremely sinful delight: to challenge fate in pleasure. Let unsuspecting idealists imagine that sensual pleasure, of whatever stripe, could ever determine the theological concept of sin.” Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project I stumbled across this flimsy paperback four years ago at a Belgian record shop specializing in second-hand vinyl and old American detective novels.* Written by a pair of veteran journalists, it’s nonfiction aimed at a pulp fiction crowd. Lait lived in Chicago from age 12 to 37 and trained in journalism at local dailies; Mortimer was born here and later moved east as the Broadway columnist for the N.Y. Daily News, where Lait had been made editor. Both wrote about Chicago extensively and frequently took the train back on assignment. This book should be fascinating for any resident, and even more for those who grew up in the area as it fills all the gaps in your family stories. Dice games at the neighborhood tavern, mixed-race jazz clubs in Bronzeville, what BGirl meant before hiphop, and the casual racism and invisible neighborhood walls of Chicago before it lost a million residents to the reign of Daley the First. In other words, all the bits of everyday city life that you’re not supposed to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner. Keep in mind, however, that your guides here are a pair of hard-drinking straight White macho journalists, as racist as any privileged of their era. Think Hemingway, but more seedy“Chicago is a man’s town… The excess of female population is estimated at 100,000, with much in the nubile brackets. Daily
the six railroad terminals disgorge more young things into the Loop, all as green as the alfalfa fields they left behind.” [p.129] The book is initially divided into chapters on city regions, including quick breakdowns on ethnic neighborhoods. The latter is notable as evidence of how the definition of White can shift quickly in a few generations by the way the authors treat Czechs, Italians, Poles, “Liths”, et al. as though they are almost alien species, tossing off the most arbitrary characterizations: “Bohemian [Czech] girls are fairly well-built, and, it is said, not puritantical.” [on Pilsen, p. 82]; “Many stickup men [muggers] are Polish.” ; “Numerically, Swedes and other Scandinavians make up one of the largest segments of Chicago’s population… Their girls are entrancing… [However] They are remarkably minor in crime, vice, and gambling, and not important in politics” . Then, of course, the usual old Anglo attitude toward Italians“The poorest Italians live around 23rd and Wentworth, near Chinatown, in a section of evil-smelling huts with living conditions as bad as the worst in Bronzeville. The indigent, ignorant Italians who live here are gripped by the Black Hand [Sicilian Mafia], forced to pay tribute from the pennies of their penury. From this neighborhood comes an outpouring
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of criminals, gunmen, and juvenile delinquents. Boss of the local Sicilian Union is Bruno Roti, who runs a tavern which is patronized frequently by underworld figures.” [86-87] Followed by, somewhat expectedly, savagely racist descriptions of Mexican & Filipino communities, both of whom the authors notably criticize for being too fond of “reefer”, zoot suits, and blonde women. Keeping this attitude of Lait & Mortimer in mind, it struck me as rather amazing that their section on the northside’s since-disappeared “Little Tokyo”, one of the longest in the ethnic section, opens with an incendiary 2-page rant against the U.S. concentration camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII. “A disgraceful chapter in our national diary,” only 5 years prior to their book’s publication. They particularly single out General DeWitt, who ordered the
she has finished a call, and if she is out she may be assigned to another impatient patron before she gets home again. The telephone system is much like that of services that handle doctors’ calls when they are out of their offices. In December, 1949, Dorothy’s switchboard number was Atlantic 5-0442… [her] payoff goes directly to [Jack “Greasy Thumb”] Guzik. [head pimp of the Chicago Syndicate]… On the near North Side is another callboard, covering that area, operated by Ollie Arnstein. Some of the coin that passes through there keeps on going to a police officer in the East Chicago Avenue Station and eventually flows out to designated officials. Ollie, a bleached blonde of indeterminate age, and her husband, Pete, also sell flesh in person at the Devonshire cocktail lounge, 19 East Ohio Street.” 
policy, condemning the “Nazi-like doctrine of inherited racial enmity stated by the commanding general.” This doesn’t stop them, of course, from claiming “Many Japanese girls are cute, though not built to American standards”  after helpfully pointing out that “The overlord of all Oriental gambling in Chicago outside of Chinatown is a Korean, Jason Lee. He pays tribute, of course, to the Big Mob. He runs a casino at 1358 North Clark near Division, open to all” . The chapter closes with addresses of four Buddhist temples in Chicago, should you be “curious to see a Buddhist service,” as “JapaneseAmericans are pretty much like other Americans.” After the Patriotic fury of Pearl Harbor & four years of racist propaganda in the bloody war against Japan, making such a statement must’ve taken some bravery; the U.S. Government didn’t even officially apologize for the Camps until the 1980s. Part two continues with sections on gambling, junkies (or “smeckers” in contemporary local slang), mafia cartels, strippers (“peelers”), hookers, and various shady female occupations (e.g., “26 Girls”) which the sexual revolution put out of business. This is particularly incredible both for the authors’ intimate knowledge of black market operations & their willingness to divulge names and numbers (in the introduction, Lait & Mortimer indicate their present well-employed distance from Chicago gives them no qualms about burning bridges). For example, meet “Stingy” Dorothy Reisner, Queen of the Madams… [whose] executive headquarters are at 4417 South Ellis Avenue. She has 2500 girls on her lists… crossfiled for age, complexion, size, weight, and range of accomplishments… Every girl must phone in every hour or after
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In an earlier background history section on the infamous Levee district, they even breakdown specific weekly/monthly bribe amounts required by the Chicago police to continue running certain particularly lucrative or simply illegal endeavors. The book closes with assorted tips for uninitiated travelers, and an appendix listing, among other things, the names of headwaiters at all the swankiest restaurants in town (a.k.a. who to bribe for the best table to impress your date), addresses of 26 illegal strip clubs, and a helpful compilation of Illinois Sex Laws, circa 1949 (“Sodomy: One to ten years… Abortion: One to ten years... Pimping: Up to one year and $1,000 fine.”). In short, this book is rare in its honesty, painting an incredibly vivid portrait of Chicago life in the ‘30s and ‘40s, when any woman in a tavern was suspect, a traveling businessman in the wrong bar would get roofied & robbed (Mickey Finn was a Chicago bartender notorious for this), and there existed a racial/ethnic hierarchy violently mapped to the ground even moreso than today. Obviously this would be indispensible for anyone working on period films or plays, and great fun for anyone about to visit their Garfield Parkborn grandma for a chat at the nursing home. Though it lacks anything even approaching the kind of source citations a historian would require, it should still be read by those types as Lee & Mortimer drop enough leads and names to keep a researcher busy in the Chicago History Museum archives and Cook County Court records for a lifetime. *Arlequin Records, 7 rue de Chêne, Brussels – in the old city center. Highly recommended.
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In short, this book is rare in its honesty, painting an incredibly vivid portrait of Chicago life in the ‘30s and ‘40s, when any woman in a tavern was suspect, a traveling businessman in the wrong bar would get roofied & robbed (Mickey Finn was a Chicago bartender notorious for this), and there existed a racial/ethnic hierarchy violently mapped to the ground even moreso than today.
The Music of Your Life Interview with Ibrahim Al-Qaifa by Claude Burgers
Claude Burgers: Okay, we’re going to talk about the Hezbollah stuff but first I want to kind of ease into it with some shawarma dialogue. Ibrahim: Yes, I was expecting this. CB: I know you and I have talked a lot before about this kind of stuff, but things have gotten. . . things have changed a lot in the last few years, uh. . . most notably with the whole Sultan’s Market phenomenon. I: (laughs) Yes, it has been quite surprising. CB: So what’s your take on this Wicker Park shawarma? I: Well, how can I put this?. . . these fellows are doing a good job. I’m very happy for them and I wish them much success. But let me say that in the Middle East, what these fellows are doing would not really be considered shawarma. CB: Is that— I: They are making fast food, a food of some quality but still very Western, a very industrial age approach. They keep the prices down and it keeps the room crowded. They make people happy in some way. However, what kind of happiness is this? Perhaps a shallow one. I leave it for you to decide. CB: Well, I have my own opinion but I’ll keep it to myself. Since this– I: Please, I want to know what you think! CB: Well, I’m intimidated. I: Please. Who are you talking to?? CB: Well, I feel that higher consciousness can be achieved and potentially sustained through these kinds of shallow activities. Like, consumptive behavior. Consuming. (Pause) However I don’t know yet what kind of mindfulness you might be talking about. So
I don’t know if I’m contradicting you or—does that make sense? I: (chuckles) Dear boy, let’s say it remains to be seen. I don’t feel contradicted! CB: (Pause) Yes you do! (Laughter) Okay, seriously now, what about our other friends in Wicker Park, or Bucktown, eh. . . Babylon? I: (sighing) Eh, yes, I suppose in the neighborhood, eh. . . this is something which more approaches a pure or traditional idea of shawarma. In preparation, if not in presentation. CB: You are referring to the tahini dippin’ sauce? I: Yes, (laughs). Although these kinds of things, even in small plastic containers, are really not so unheard of in parts of Israel and Lebanon. CB: This place also encourages BYOB. I: Yes, as if it’s not enough to sit in this small room listening to their loud conversations or on their cell phones, we now have another incentive to become more insensitive. CB: (laughs) Okay, one other thing I forgot to mention, this Steve Dolinsky guy, who plays “The Hungry Hound” on ABC-TV in Chicago. Have you seen this program? I: I’m afraid I have not. CB: Well, me neither, but I have noticed these little 8x10 framed publicity photos he has in restaurants around town. The one up at Sultan’s is signed and says, I believe, “Best damn falafel in town!”* Now the one up at Babylon, which is right by the front door, says simply, “Love that Shawarma!” I: (Laughs) CB: So, I’m not sure what the point is, but I think there must be one. I: Possibly to illustrate it any further would contribute to its destruction.
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CB: Okay, good. So, can I ask you about this place in Hyde Park, the Nile Restaurant? I: Not quite so far as Beirut, but maybe to some of you North Side fellows even farther. This is a place on 53rd Street? Or is it– CB: It’s on 55th, I believe. There— I: Oh yes, I know the one. This is a very good place. CB: It’s right in there with all those Thai restaurants. I: Yes, the Nile. . . something about this place, from my perspective, is very. . . pure. Very deliberate and very powerful. CB: Tell me about it. (At this point, part of the interview is lost, possibly due to a recording level error. The dialogue is recorded but too low and difficult to make out clearly.)
CB: Well, I thought so. Here, can I read you a page? I: Please do so. CB: This is August 17, the handwritten part. “To glorify God by holy conduct: I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul; and having your conversation honest among the cholos.” Then, the printed part, which is in verse:
Help thy servant to maintain A profession free from strain That my sole reproach may be Following Christ, and fearing thee. Walk in the light—and thine shall be
CB: . . . a small hardback book version of Abraham Lincoln’s devotional. It was full of scriptures and prayers and bible passages and stuff, one for every day of the year. Plus some of the pages had somebody’s handwritten notes all over the margins, which were very wide. I: This sounds like an event with significant potential.
A path, though stormy, bright For God in Love shall dwell with thee— And God Himself is Light!
Art Fag In Art School
Alright. So in grade school you liked and drew comics. Your high school art teacher was encouraging, seeing you had formidable art skills and chops. So you enroll at one of Chicago’s finest art schools, highly esteemed and at forty-thousand a year recognized as a leader in art education. So there you go. You receive a fantastic fine arts education, history, tech, skills and drawing classes. Cool chicks and dudes to party with. This is a school for people who want to reach the pinnacle of The Art World. For aspiring art students with weak stomachs or bad nerves, please read no further. The reality is 95% of you fledging art students will give up your art aspirations and be up and working the drab corporate world. [Possibly in advertising. -Matt] But some of you art students are staunch idealistic individuals who together with the folly of youth and strong artistic vision deem it possible to beat the odds. You will pursue this course no matter what. Your head’s in the clouds; an artist - it’s so romantic and bohemian. Create your incredible art by day; at night have wine and conversation with your enlightened intellec-
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tual cafe society. I know you young bucks and cool art chicks are filled with piss and vinegar and ready to take on the world with more ferocity than George Bush who is trying to destroy it. Art is a process of discovering you and the world around you. It takes a lifetime for an artist to hit his [sic] artistic stride. It’s a struggle every day for a true artist to survive. His art comes first - that means shithole studios, part-time jobs, unpaid bills, and no medical insurance. You sacrifice to pursue your artistic dreams, when you do become famous and get your just rewards and recognition, your bodily functions start failing and your family can’t wait to collect their inheritance and sell your ugly art at auction so they can all buy lakefront condos in the south Loop. So all I’m asking is be forewarned, take a few business classes - as horrific as it seems - in case you have to bail and things don’t work out. You’ll thank Professor Art Fag for the honesty art school obscures. So pack up your art supplies and good luck.
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This is Professor Art Fag’s reality grounded dissertation entitled, “What Art School Will Not Tell You”
review by Bob “Guns” Colacello & Anarchist Matt
“It’s not allowed, the cult of the individual.” “I am not a number, I am a free man!”
The Prisoner makes The Man from U.N.C.L.E. look like little kid stuff. This is the real spy shit (the only thing that comes close is Get Smart). We’re talking Coldwar here, folks: there are car chases, gadgets, paranoia, mass-scale manipulation of individuals and governments (them and us), directives passed. But we’re also talking meta-Coldwar; this TV thriller was prescient.
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Down from a rotating cast of control freak biddy bossy fucks each known, in succession, only as Number Two (who is Number One?), we are besieged by fraud, deceit, and confusion. Well, actually, confusion is what holds the whole hog together. That is, mystery. If viewed as an example of a piece of media produced by BBC, surely we’ll never see another Patrick McGoohan (Number Six) producer/director/writer/actor/Pisces dynamo on the tele ever again, everything’s too segmented and shit. Maybe too much dilly dally? Imagine waking up in a room that looks just like your room... but something’s off. Because this is only the initial sadistic ruse of horribly elaborate co-ed island prison, known simply as ‘The Village’ and populated entirely by ex?-spies from around the globe. A microcosm under total surveillance designed like Disney got the contract for one of those secret CIA jails, only you can never tell under what flag it’s run. And there’s no booze. So what do you do? Give in & adapt to the Club Med lifestyle, racking up those Work Units & whittling a chess set for the craft
mine The Village’s location on planet Earth (which side of the Iron Curtain?) via amateur astronomy. Number Six even in his roofiedtea-induced dreams is still in control, even if his dreams begin to appear like acid trips at the Royal Shakespeare Conservatory. The premise is that Number Six was a hot shit secret agent - top of his class, the boy scout who built his own Lotus roadster, the usual deal. Then one day he resigned, only to wake up the next morning... well, you know. Number Two is always “inviting” Number Six over for tea, trying to open him up to answering that key question, Why did you resign? It doesn’t get all Abu-Ghraib though, because unlike those moronic thugs, here they know that if you beat someone to get them to talk, eventually they’ll tell you whatever it is they think you want to hear... which doesn’t necessarily correspond to the facts, and can lead to some dangerous dead-ends. Plus there are always those who will never, ever break, and naturally with Number Six it’s obvious they’ve got another Alekos Panagoulis* on their hands. So in-
#6 Has it ever occurred to you that you’re just as much a prisoner as I am? #2
<laughs> My dear chap, of course, I know too much. We’re both Lifers. I am definitely an optimist. That’s why it doesn’t matter who #1 is. It doesn’t matter which side runs The Village.
#6 It’s run by one side or the other. #2
Oh certainly. But both sides are becoming identical. What in fact is being created is an international community. A perfect blueprint for world order. When the sides facing each other suddenly realise they’re looking into a mirror they will see that this is the pattern for the future.
#6 The whole Earth, as The Village?
stead the administration relies on psychological tricks and emotional strain, assuming it to not only be more effective in obtaining what they’re after, but also - one suspects more “sporting,” in an OxBridge kinda way. But Number Six still doesn’t play that, because he’s a badass mod motherfucker, conniving in all the best possible ways, and trusting absolutely no one, not even the ostensibly sympathetic honeytraps repeatedly laid in his lonely path. Number Six’s tactics are all over the map and it’s just thrilling, really. The final episode confused so many viewers - remember, this was back when there were only like 3 TV channels in all of Britain, making it feasible that on any given evening half the adult population might be watching one show - that the BBC was beseiged with angry phone calls and a few bewildered fans soon began knocking on the door of McGoohan himself demanding... Information. This is the number one spyshow - be seeing it. fair? Or plot escape every single day? Number Six is alone in persistently opting for the latter. We don’t want to spoil anything, but, let’s just say if any of his attempts were successful the series would’ve been even shorter than 17 episodes. Watch how Number Six turns himself from an anvil into a hammer by using reverse psychology, alone. Watch Number Six move pawn to queen’s four, talk others into building transistor radios out of salvage parts, turn abstract sculpture into seafaring vessel, and try to deter-
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More Information Episode DVDs available for rent at finer independent video shops near you, or buy the box set online. * See the biography “A Man” by Oriana Fallaci
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#2 That is my hope. What’s yours?
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by Utah Phillips, 1989.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight. Snow blows through the olive groves, sifting against the tree roots. Snow drifts over the mounds with the small headboards (when there was time for headboards)... It is two years now since the Lincoln battalion held for four and a half months along the heights of the Jarama, and the first American dead have been part of the earth of Spain for a long time now... But... the Spanish people will rise again as they have always risen before against tyranny. The dead do not need to rise. They are part of the earth now and the earth can never be conquered. For the earth endureth forever. It will outlive all systems of tyranny. Those who have entered it honorably, and no men ever entered earth more honorably than those who died in Spain, have already achieved immortality.â&#x20AC;? Ernest Hemingway,1939
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Ed Balchowsky himself.
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I was in Chicago, several years ago. I was invited to play at a nightclub. At a nightclub? Can you imagine that? Can you see me in a nightclub? It was the old Quiet Knight* up on Belmont Street, across from Cliff Raven’s Tattoo Parlor. Well, I went up there at three o’clock in the afternoon to The Quiet Knight cause I was scared. Fought my way past the guard dogs, got up there. The janitor had taken the garbage out - he was in the big hall by himself, just sitting in the, just under the, just a nightlight up on the stage, an older man - he was sitting there playing The Moonlight Sonata, beautifully, quietly. I stood in the shadows; he didn’t know I was there. Great shock of white hair standing back on his head, deeply in-
Lincoln Brigade***, and went to Spain to fight against Franco and the fascists. Crossing the Ebro river he got his arm blown off. Well they put him in the field hospital on morphine, which turned him into a junkie for the next thirty years of his life. He haunted the alleys of Chicago a mad poet, derelict, drug addict, alcoholic. He began to put himself back together. Got the job at the Quiet Knight so he could practice the piano; Richard Harding was good about that. And not just to learn songs of the Civil War, but he learned Haydn’s and Lizst’s lefthand variations, he could play a Bach sonata with one hand, and beautifully. His daughter Reina just sent me recordings, tapes that he made for her I’d
death song. He was amused. Well it was just a while ago that Ed Balchowsky at the age of seventyfour was found on the subway tracks in Chicago. They just had a museum show of his art and poetry and music, and recollections from old comrades all over the country, and there I sang his death song.
About the Author Utah Phillips, born in 1935, went AWOL while stationed in post-war Korea, afterwards traveling much of the US as a trainhopping hobo, picking up folk songs. For several years he hosted a weekly radio show, Loafer’s Glory, on KVMRNevada City. Informally telling stories and presenting old folk songs from his 78 collection, he was syndicated across the country via a loose national network of independent community radio stations. Recordings are available via www.utahphillips.org
* An old folk, jazz, & rock venue near Belmont & Sheffield. Named after a silent suit of armor which stood in an enormous picture frame behind the performers on stage. Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, the Talking Heads, & Bob Marley all played it in the 70s; the Rolling Stones joined their idol Muddy Waters there for a highly publicized jam session in 1978.
cised lines on his face. Looked closely and saw he was just playing with the one hand - the other was a stump off to about here. Well he began to pound the piano with the one good hand and in a rumbling baritone voice, started to sing Freiheit - “Freedom.” The song of the Thalmann Brigade** during the Spanish Civil War. The war that if we’d gotten involved in it there might not have been a second World War. He sang Los Cuatro Generales, The Jarama Valley, White Cliffs of Gandeza. Powerful music of the Spanish Civil War. Well that was Eddie Balchowsky. Eddie Balchowsky had been a concert pianist, brilliant pianist, as a young man, but he went, joined the Abraham
never heard; he could play, oh, a whole classical repertoire on the piano, with one hand. Chopin, that was his favorite. Well, he taught me powerful things about endurance, about holding on. I left Chicago; week later I got a call - said Eddie Balchowsky had died. So I sat down and made him up a death song. Week later I got a call from Eddie. First thing I asked him was, “Hey Ed, where’re you callin’ from?” Well, he said he was calling from Chicago! I said, “Hell, dead, or in Chicago, it’s all the same to me, fella.” And a week after that I was at the Quiet Knight sitting on a barstool with Eddie Balchowsky himself sitting across from me: had us a chance to sing him his
** Volunteer military unit of anti-Nazi Germans who traveled to Spain to fight against the fascists during the Civil War (1936-39). Named for the then-imprisoned Ernest Thalmann, born 1886, a dock worker who founded the Communist Party of Germany and was elected to the Reichstag in 1920. In 1932 multi-party elections Thalmann received 13.2% of the German vote, and Hitler 30.1% - Thalmann was then arrested by the Gestapo in March of 1933, tortured, & held in the Buchenwald concentration camp. He managed to survive until August of 1944, when he was executed as German defeat loomed near.
***Yankee equivalent of the Thalmann brigade, consisting of about 3,000 volunteers from the U.S.A.; Balchowsky was 21 or 22 when he joined. Notably, this was the first ever unit of American soldiers to have an African-American officer, Oliver Law, leading white enlisted men. See www.alba-valb.org and photo collection The Aura of the Cause by Cary Nelson. On the Spanish Civil War in general, see the excellent memoir Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell.
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By Olivia Guigue
Jose Bove One morning in August 1999, in a small town on the Larzac Plateau in the southern center of France, Jose Bove, with a hundred farmers, began dismantling a McDonald’s restaurant still under construction. The local police and the media, notified by the militants, were there to state the facts and immortalize the leader, handcuffed, arrested for invasion of privacy. The demonstrators contested the decision of the World Trade Organization to validate punitive new American taxes on certain imports from Europe— namely the famous Roquefort, or ‘bleu’, cheese. The U.S. government had levied these new taxes in specific response to the refusal of the European Union to import hormone-treated beef from the United States. Since that arrest, which received a lot of coverage, Jose Bove became the whiskered icon of the anti-globalization farmers’ struggle, and against
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“la malbouffe,” or junk food, symbolized precisely by the mega-firm McDonald’s. Bove was incarcerated for several months and fined—a portion of which was paid by American farmers in solidarity against corporate agriculture. But under that handsome moustache, Jose Bove is actually a ’68-studentradical disguised as a farmer. A look at his education and militant career will help to explain where this man comes from and what his demands are. Jose Bove’s parents, dazzling researchers, were invited to the University of California at Berkeley. Born in 1953, Jose Bove was only 3 years old when he left for the United States. He was a fluent English speaker when he returned—which proved very useful, later, in his role of international representative. He registered in bilingual Catholic high school, yet simultaneously attended the Community of Lanza del Vasto, a European disciple of Ghandi who advocated a philosophy of nonviolent direct action. Apparently he resisted religious education, since he was expelled in 1968 at age 15, for defending drug use in a class essay. At the beginning of the ’70s, Jose Bove lived in Paris. As an active pacifist he campaigned against the war in Vietnam. At 17, he organized a screening of Peter Watkins’ film The War Game. In 1973, because of his refusal to answer a French military draft summons, a warrant was issued for Bove’s arrest. He goes underground, finding shelter at a farm in the Pyrenees near Spain. That same year he participated in a national meeting against the enlargement of a military base in Larzac. Jose Bove was among the few campaigners there who intervene to save François Mitterrand, a politician who had recently lost his bid for president, from attack by a violent group of Maoists in the crowd. Upon his election as President in 1981, Mitterand announces the cancellation of the military camp extension project, turning the projected base property over to area farmers. It was a victory for the Larzac, a famous stronghold of the extreme Left. As Jose Bove himself said, it was an “activist accident” that transformed him into a farmer. Concerned by the increasingly difficult plight of farmers, he participated in 1987 in the creation of the Confederation Paysanne—Farmers’ Confederation—of which he was then made one of five National Secretaries. This new syndicate sought to change agriculture in opposition to the modern agro-food industry, in the name of respecting consumers, farmers, and the environment. In 1995, Bove was the only Frenchman to participate in a Greenpeace operation against the resumption of French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific Ocean ordered by President Chirac. In 1999, Bove participated in the demonstrations against the WTO summit in Seattle. In January 2001, on the margin of the World Social Forum in Brazil, he mounted an antiGMO action against a subsidiary of Monsanto, accused of illegally produc-
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ing transgenetic soy crops. He had already been sentenced to eight months’ probation for the destruction of transgenetic crops in France in 1998. He pursued this struggle, rallying in 2003 with the “volunteer reapers.” This movement aimed to destroy transgenetic crops in their fields in order to fight the spread of GMOs. The thousands of militants who adhered to the movement followed principles of nonviolence and civil disobedience, refusing to submit to laws that they found unjust. Their objective was to create public debate. Each action brought together a great number of militants, unmasked, in their own names, and with the full knowledge of the law. With such a large number, the legal consequences were (in theory) diminished, and the police could not have managed to rough up all the protestors. It’s also notable that Jose Bove is one of the founding members of ATTAC, an association that shares the same politics as the Confederation Paysanne with respect to GMOs. Asserting his activist views, Jose Bove declared “I am an anarcho-syndicalist. My influences are the founding of the First International in the last century and the Spanish CNT in 1936.” Bove is a public personality who inspires debate and splits opinion. It seems that his actions have majority support in France, but they retain a marginal character. The suc-
cess of his methods has made media coverage on agricultural issues hard to obtain. Interestingly, Bove leads actions in a spirit of active nonviolence, but these interventions are sometimes agitated. He employs the effects of media repercussions. Hence the symbolism of the act is more important than the act itself. His frank words and the political engagement of his acts, which have brought him all the way to prison, have equally contributed to his popularity and his abusive media treatment. He’s an object of criticism from his opponents as well as from more purist anarcho-syndicalists. After years as a militant, Bove has entered the political arena. He has refined his position, declaring that “if being an anarchist means only referencing the thought of the nineteenth century, as the Marxists have done, then it’s no good. Today, to act is to reflect on the state, on its technique, on the way in which this system becomes more and more totalitarian, on the way that the economy follows only its own rules.” In June of 2006, in an interview with Liberation, Jose Bove joined the 2007 presidential race, estimating his politics to lie at the left wing of the left wing. But by September he seemed to already have abandoned this idea, apparently intimidated by the burden of the office of president of France.
ATTAC, Association for Transaction Taxes
agricultural politics both in Europe and in the world, in particular the Euro-
Created June 3, 1998, ATTAC is “an international movement to democratically monitor financial markets and their institutions.” Present in 55 countries, its initial objective was to introduce a tax on international capitalist groups with the goal of decreasing speculation. Although critical of the processes of a world economy dominated by neoliberalism, ATTAC is not systematically opposed to globalization in general. It encourages economic policies
pean Union’s Agricultural Community. The CPE participated in the creation of Via Campesina, and has sponsored bans of bovine growth hormones and antibiotics in beet farming. They have also helped rural communities resist GMOs. www.cpefarmers.org
economic policies are possible.
La Confederation Paysanne (The Farmers’ Confederation)
The Farmers’ Confederation is a rural syndicate born in 1987. The syndicate
that respect social and environmental issues, and insists that anti-liberal
reexamines the model for agricultural development of the last forty years,
which has brought about a decrease in food prices, surpluses, health crises,
The International Slow Food Movement was founded in Paris in 1989. Slow
disparities between French, European and world regions and the depopula-
Food traces its roots to a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in the
tion of rural areas. It defends farming communities as an alternative to in-
Piazza di Spagna in Rome. National chapters were established in France,
dustrial agriculture. Important to the anti-globalization movement, the Farm-
the U.S., Germany, Switzerland and Japan. Slow Food is locally active in 50
ers’ Confederation is a member of the CPE and the Via Campesina. Jose
countries in the form of conferences that represent areas with a cultural and
Bove helped the confederation to gain notoriety outside French borders.
culinary history. As the name indicates, Slow Food is opposed to fast food culture and its detrimental effects such as the standardization of flavor.
GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms
See Lumpen 99’s cover story “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To
Be Mutants: BioEthics and the Pandora’s Box of Genetic Engineering” by Charles Shaw.
La Via Campesina Since 1993, Via Campesina is an international, autonomous, pluralist move-
The First International
ment that is independent of any political, economic or religious organiza-
The First International is the International Workers Association, founded
tion. Delegates representing farm workers converge every three years at
September 28, 1864 in London. In its Karl Marx-penned mission statement
international conferences for general decision-making. The movement is
of 1864, the FI asserts that “the emancipation of the workers must be the
coordinated by rural agricultural workers, women, indigenous communities
project of the workers themselves.” They declare to act “for the definitive
in Asia, North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Its headquarters
emancipation of the working class, that is, for the definitive abolition of the
has been in Indonesia since 2004.
wage system.” The First International is divided into Marxists and anarchists.
La Coordination Paysanne Europeenne (European Farm Coordination)
La Confederation Nacional del Trabajo (The National Workers’ Confederation) The National Workers’ Confederation is an anarcho-syndicalist organization
Created in 1986 the CPE represents 18 rural and farming organizations of
founded in 1910 in Barcelona. It became the main Spanish workers’ syndi-
11 European countries. These organizations propose a profound reform of
cate, and remains the principal anarchist organization of the country.
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illustration from Hans Bellmer for Madame Edouarda
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VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2006
by Olivia Guigue
“A conscience without scandal is an alienated conscience.” It was one of those evenings where only reading pacifies the spirit and brings sleep. I chose, almost at random, from my father’s library, this book with a title that caught my attention: Story of the Eye. The chapters progressed from light and merry erotic writing into the fulfillment of irrational desires. I finished the book confused, my sleep disturbed. Later, I understood that beyond the lightness of this delirious erotica lay something more enlightened and profound. I was 20 and I was discovering Georges Bataille. Ignored or forgotten by many, Georges Bataille at first appears merely erotic. But this label does not do justice to the novelist, essayist and philosopher born in 1897, whose tentacular body of work developed until his death in 1960. Eroticism is an important subject in Bataille, but he is not limited to pleasures of the flesh. Bataille experiments with excess through the debauchery and obscenity of a famished sexuality. He aims for the exceeding of understanding, the reaching of the impossible in a test of the world and of the body, whose energy seeks to liberate itself in fiction. This first encounter with Bataille interested me in his life. It was disconcerting to learn of his religious past. When he was 17, he spontaneously decided to convert to Catholicism—his parents were atheists. He seriously thought about becoming a priest, but his readings began to change his convictions. At 21, he discovered The Mystic Latin, a compilation of Middle Age religious texts edited by Remy de Gourmont. These texts present human sexuality as dirty and putrescent, seeking to disgust the reader. But this forbidden flesh fascinated Bataille. He never stopped seeking access to vulgarity, by more tangible means than faith or scholarship: debauchery, lived and recounted. His faith fading, Bataille discovered Nietzsche, the philosopher who announced the death of God. The author’s fascination for the philosopher led him to write the 1945 essay On Nietzsche. From his experiments and reflections came writings where eroticism meets death, in a relationship both incompatible and complementary. The at-times narrow border between the two makes existence anguished and violent. Thought is suspended, and the author points out that “malaise is often the secret of the greatest pleasures.” Into this duality is juxtaposed the opposing side of eroticism: religion. Bataille diverts the mystical experience away from religion to give him a doorway into the phenomenological and philosophical. That’s what we see in several of his books. In the famous Story of the Eye, written in 1928, in Guilty, published with The Alleluia, written in 1944, an account of a mystical experience, culled from journals written between 1939 and the summer of 1943, as well as in The Abbott C., written in 1950, the story of an intense and terrifying relationship between twin brothers. One is a modern libertine, dedicated to vice and depravity, the other is a devout priest. When a sexually wild woman intrudes upon their suffocating
relationship, anguish, delirium and death ensue. In addition to these books, it is important to mention The Solar Anus, written in 1927, It’s the first surviving and published text by Bataille— he had burned everything from before. The short text resembles a manifesto that summarizes a great deal of the thought of Bataille: “…If the origin of things is not like the ground of the planet that seems to be the base, but like the circular movement that the planet
of Nietzsche, opposed to state socialism. Bataille wrote a 1949 theoretical essay on economics entitled The Cursed Share in which he discusses the concept of potlatch. This book remains one of his most important works. Always surprising, Bataille wrote an essay on aesthetics entitled Lascaux, or The Birth of Art, in 1955. The same year, he wrote a text on Edouard Manet, whom he considered the first modern painter. The Tears of Eros, written in 1961, is the last book that he
“…If the origin of things is not like the ground of the planet that seems to be the base, but like the circular movement that the planet describes around a mobile center, then a car a clock, or a sewing machine could equally be accepted as the generative principle. The two primary motions are rotation and sexual movement, whose combination is expressed by the locomotive’s wheels and pistons. These two motions are reciprocally transformed, the one into the other. Thus one notes that the earth, by turning, makes animals and men have coitus, and (because the result is as much the cause as that which provokes it) that animals and men make the earth turn by having coitus.” describes around a mobile center, then a car a clock, or a sewing machine could equally be accepted as the generative principle. The two primary motions are rotation and sexual movement, whose combination is expressed by the locomotive’s wheels and pistons. These two motions are reciprocally transformed, the one into the other. Thus one notes that the earth, by turning, makes animals and men have coitus, and (because the result is as much the cause as that which provokes it) that animals and men make the earth turn by having coitus.” In his intellectual maturity Bataille wrote Eroticism: Death and Sensuality in 1957. This remarkable book soberly and wisely analyzes eroticism and its relationship to transgression, death, and the sacred. It is the philosophical expression of what was already in process in the early writings created in impetuousness. But the thought of Bataille is polymorphous and cannot be limited to these subjects. It passes from fiction to theoretical subjects to areas as diverse as philosophy, politics, economics, religious history, mysticism, anthropology, literature and aesthetics. Bataille considered totalitarian regimes and fascism, which inspired him to the free form novel Blue of Noon in 1936, which would not be published until 1945. A man has a sulfurous entanglement with Dorothea, a depraved young woman, and together they pass from drunkenness to lucidity, while Bataille observes with nihilism the Europe of the ’30s and the onset of war. In 1939 Bataille created the politically conscious revue Acephale (The Headless), and a secret society of the same name, under the sign
finished. It catalogues representations of the erotic, from Lascaux to Francis Bacon. Bataille was equally despised and adored, referenced by his peer philosophers and burned by fellow writers. He was in conflict for several years with Andre Breton and Jean-Paul Sartre, who went as far as to say “Bataille is not a thinker, or even a writer. He’s a lunatic.” They reconciled several years later. But to think of Bataille as a surrealist is a heresy; to him that movement was not revolutionary. This difference of principles originates from a discussion of Marquis de Sade, whom Bataille considered the revolutionary writer par excellence. During his life, the subversive books and the impenetrable thought of Georges Bataille made him a hard-to-classify writer. As Marguerite Duras remarked, “The critic is intimidated by the very name of Bataille. The years pass; people continue to live under the illusion that they may one day speak of Bataille…they will die without daring, in their extreme uneasiness, to insult this wild bull.”
Appreciation for Georges Bataille has developed post mortem. Today the greatest writers and philosophers praise him. Michel Foucault paid him this homage in 1969: “Bataille is one of the most important writers of this century. He broke with traditional narrative to tell us what had never been told before.”
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ALFRED Imagine that every time Curly slapped Moe he was lashing out at the bourgeois ideal. That slap was Alfred Jarry.
monotone voice pronouncing all syllables as short, always in the 3rd person, “we are so ha-ppy that you have gi-ven us the plea-sure of your com-pa-ny.” Pere Ubu sucked I won’t men tion that piece of shittt at all try the Supermale which is the world’s first cy-borg novel or Dr. Faust-roll which is about
Ether is a fantastic drug it gives a kind of slow motion nitrous oxide effect the idea is to take a prolonged sniff and hold your breath until everything around you starts going “wah wah wah wah wah”. While a nitrous high lasts a minute an ether snort will give you about 10 plus a cumulative dumb effect which can last all day if you keep snorting it, as people do during carnival in Brazil. Alfred Jarry was an expert marksman and would snort ether and ride around on his bicycle shooting off rich people’s top hats. It was 1905 or so and people wore top hats and bicycles didn’t have brakes. I guess the real problems with ether starts when you stop sniffing it and start drinking it that’s what happened to Jarry people blame the ether on his early death but it was TB that killed him. Of course the easiest way to get that is to not eat properly, which is something that happens with alcoholic ether drinkers like Alfred Jarry, living in his tiny apartment that a snooty French slumlord designed by dividing a filthy room in two vertically, so that it looked like the 8 1/2 floor in Being John Malkovich and all his visitors had to crouch down with only the tiny Jarry standing upright, speaking in his
‘Pataphysics, proving 10 years before Einstein that the universe was irrational, the bicycle cyborg in Supermale was constructed according to principals of ‘pataphysics maybe the “wall” effect involves a plug of ionized air which is held in place by the opposite charge on the anus
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sail-ing a round Pa-ris on top of a giant sieve with a ba-boon named Bosse-de-Nage who only says one word, “hah” at all the right times during the narrative. Jarry invented the most modern of the exact sciences, ‘Pataphysics, proving 10 years before Einstein that the universe was irrational, the bicycle cyborg in Supermale was constructed according to principals of ‘pataphysics maybe the “wall” effect involves a plug of ionized air which is held in place by the opposite charge on the anus if so, your repulsion phenomenon would not occur if the “tent” of skin was replaced with highly charged metal plates, since the source of oppositely-polarized electric wind would then be missing are you still reading this well shit on you then you tool blechh!
VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2006
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Movie Licker by Mike Finch
So I was asked to come up with 13 films that in one way or another influenced me. Or helped me. I find this to be impossible! Seriously. There’s just no way. This list could easily be in the 100s. So what I’ve done is make a list of movies that hit me at the right moments and stayed with me. How’s that? In no particular order: Out of Sight (1998) If I think about it, Steven Soderbergh hasn’t made a “bad” movie. He’s careful. But at the same time he’s always taking risks and experimenting. Amazing. Anyways, I love this movie because its a fun, sophisticated, action-packed, big budget movie without Hollywood ‘tude. Not to mention the best adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s work to date. The characters jump off the screen!
Hana-Bi (1997) Takeshi “Beat” Kitano is a glorious smart-ass that loves to push people’s buttons and have fun. But he also has a serious penchant for tempestuous melancholy. Hana-Bi (Fireworks) showed me that cutting your movie out of sequence is the shit, but also that sensitive thugs could be badass as well. (You’ll note Soderbergh does the same). Takeshi is my hero. Plain and simple.
Chungking Express (1994) I am big fan of directors that take on tough subjects. Kar Wai Wong really made me happy when I saw this for the first time. I was so happy that someone took the time to deliver well-crafted, love-burdened characters. He didn’t just come out and say, “love is hell”; he methodically showed that the pain of love is real and that, even though it’s pain, it’s the best pain ever.
Jacques Audiard provides a brilliant story of revenge with Emmanuelle Devos providing us with one of the best disgruntled employees I’ve seen. And I just love it when actors transform themselves into some offbeat psycho character like Vincent Cassel does here. I will say it again and again, the French have filmmaking nailed.
Red Beard This epic tale of a hard working doctor teaching a young intern the horrors of life is really beautiful. And I chose this Kurosawa movie over the many others I love because I have a penchant for movies about the working-class struggling with bureaucratic horseshit. Doctors just want to save lives. Is that so much to ask? Plus, this movie is actually pretty funny! 36 lumpen
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VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2006
Read My Lips (2001)
After Life (1998) Maybe you can tell by now I’m fascinated by the things that occupy our time the most: office/work life, bureaucracy and love. And After Life covers it all. More or less it’s a sort of ‘what if’ of the after life being run like an office¬—even there, the employees are disgruntled and daydream out the windows, longing for companionship and fun.
Pure Formality, A (1994) I’m not the biggest fan of Cinema Paradiso. I just think it’s cheesy. But Giuseppe Tornatore makes up for it here as he conquers the delicate subject of self-loathing. But there are some secrets to this movie I can’t give away. So I’ll just say this: putting Gerard Depardieu and Roman Polanski opposite each other in a “crime thriller” about the pontifications of life and death, for me, is radical.
For Your Height Only (1979) This is a “James Bond” kung fu movie set in the Philippines starring a homunculus man that can kick all sort of ass. This movie represents everything that is important to me: bare bones, no frills, I do it cuz I luv it, crazy, back alley, zero time zero money filmmaking. Honest art. If Criterion knew the value of hard-ass art making, this movie would be in their top ten…
Happiness Todd Solondz is, for me, is the master of awkward. And if you know my movies, I sure do love me some awkwardness. Aside from everything he’s done, the movie I think I like most is Happiness. I mean shit, that whole section where the dude from the “Ukraine” sings that song for the helpless hippy Woman, then robs her shitty stereo after sweet-lovemaking. All of course, in her parents’ house!
Sexy Beast Sexy Beast is shot well, funny, cut perfectly and builds to a wonderful boil of tense and dirty comedy. Guy Ritchie, as much as I love him, could learn a thing or two here. This movie comes to us from Jonathan Glazer, of the Rabbit In Your Headlights and Radiohead videos. Plus, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane. Two actors that do no wrong in front of a camera.
Star Wars 4-6 How cool was it that a total freak made three totally freaky movies that surprisingly made major box office money and started a whole new wave of freakiness? Plus, George Lucas also pioneered, with Francis Ford Coppola, the digital revolution that is helping me cut my first feature as we speak! So there. George Lucas is cool. Forever.
Being John Malkovich Thank goodness for Spike Jonze. Very few are trying to make something unique for the minds of the future. How many dorks make it into Hollywood, as a major player, wear hushpuppies, is the Powell Peralta of our times? Hun? Who? And then! …makes entertaining shit all the damn time! Hey Spike, don’t stop.
I Heart Huckabees I just have to mention this film. I mean, HOW THE HELL did David O. Russell get this movie through the channels? A comedy about existential detectives helping a man with his battle of ‘metaphysical self’ while showing that we have no control over anything and that nothing ever lasts. This movie is brilliant on subject matter and pure ‘existence’ alone! You rock, rock!
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Looking for Artland
Roadtrips 101 By R. Kerkman
If you want to get a different perspective on artland, there is nothing like putting your art in a van and taking it for a really long drive—if nothing else but to see if it travels well. Oh, you can submit your art with the “pay-to-play” submission fees required by those more conservative curatorial venues, waiting patiently for some smiley-face jury award or a yousuck-cause-we-don’t-know-you absence of rejection; however, the marvelously fun world of DIY roadtrip art, particularly in the sphere of art films, is a growing movement that promises the artist-participants quirky adventures, expanded audiences of new fans and friend-networks, plus the acquisition of unexpected wisdoms.
Roadtrips give the artist an opportunity to take control of their own distribution and meet people face-to-face that have exhibition spaces.
My first experience with roadtrip art films was while traveling down Alvarado Street in the Echo Park neighborhood of LA with my friend Dan Krogh, one time cameraman and editor for the B-movie goremaster Herschell Gordon Lewis. Seeing a sign that read Echo Park Film Center, I forced Dan to pull up and park. Dan was a great lover of Super-8 film, and was amazed at this Echo Park revival of the format. Inside the Echo Park Film Center, everyone—adults and children— were having big fun with little hand drawn an Coincidently, a few months later, I attended a screening in Chicago at a magical starlit room called The Ice Factory, and there were the same Echo Park Film Center people traveling under the name the Polyester Prince Rambling Road Show, hosted by a group called The Ice Capades, which also occasionally travels. These Polyester Princes were playing bingo and music, and showing their films—not all of which were my cup of tea—but there are always gems to be found in these art film roadshows that make attendance all worthwhile, like one delightful Echo Park short about a teeny character that lives inside a little snow dome. I spoke with The Ice Capades’ co-founder, Sara Jean, about her recent tours in the last three years with film art. This past summer’s tour was of the southern states, and The Ice Capades put on 14 shows in 14 cities in 18 days. They started at the Detroit Film Center, with quite a number of stops in-between including Swampland’s Mini Cini in Shreveport, the Sentient Bean in Savannah, and ended up at The Warehouse in D.C. Although this schedule may seem to be a little over packed, Sara
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emphasized that one of the main lessons that they learned from the previous year’s month-long tour of the west, with The Ice Capades’ other co-founder Colin Palombi’s band Velvetron, was not to take too many days off when on the road. Originally inspired by the Black Maria touring festival, Gadabout Traveling Film Festival and a host of others whose links can be found on www.theicecapades.com, Sara Jean also advised me that artists should book their tours months in advance, get organized by creating tour booklets and exciting press kits that put the word out to the local media— without assuming the microcinemas or other venues will adequately promote your shows. Some venues, as one record store that they stopped at in Alabama, may be new to showing films or art and may really have no idea how to promote your art. Roadtrips give the artist an opportunity to take control of their own distribution and meet people face-to-face that have exhibition spaces. Some of Sara Jean’s most memorable shows that The Ice Capades have put on in the last three years were at Savannah’s Sentient Bean, where more than 60 people showed up due to a great write up in the local press, last year’s show in St. Louis at Frederick’s Music Lounge, where their line up of films were looped on TVs around the bar throughout the night with a music show later in the night, and The Spiderhouse Patio Bar and Cafe in Austin—a great space setup for simultaneously having bands and films. Sara Jean is also a member of The Ice Capades’ related group The Jean Jeanies with filmmaker and visual artist Camela Jean Christopher. The Jean Jeanies have collaborated on film production, exhibition, and traveling art shows. While touring sticky-hot southern states this past august, they also perfected the fine art of living out of a van on tour without looking at showtime like they were living out of a van. Roadtrips are sometimes sweaty, laborious, and expensive. They spent $1000 in gas, which it took them a year of putting on shows in Chicago to raise, while making only $10 to $150 per show on the road. Sara Jean suggests checking out bio-diesel for the future. These and other insights gained bring a new feel to fun-filled, collaborative terrains and the roads to making fresh art.
More Information For more information and future shows check out http://www.theicecapades.com.
VOLUME 15 ISSUE 1 SEPTEMBER 2006
Note: Ursula Kopf and Artfag are apparently (and separately) missing in action.
On Hashish By Walter Benjamin (edited by Howard Eiland, with an introduction by Marcus Boon) Belknap Press, 2006 - $15
This guy’s throwing political theory around like it’s lunchmeat! Bob “Guns” Colacello, on The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin
If Freud were to do a psychoanalysis of creation, the fjords would come off badly. Benjamin, stoned in Berlin, April 12, 1931 (p.71)
Benjamin’s key concept of “aura,” which he defined as the historical presence or authenticity of the object outside the reproducible signs of its existence, was developed after he began his experiments with hashish. Marcus Boon, p.11 (see Benjamin’s 1936 essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction)
The first experience the child has of the world is not that adults are stronger but rather that he cannot make magic. Benjamin, on 20mg of injected pharmaceutical-grade mescaline, May 22, 1934 (p.87)
“To win the energies of intoxication for revolution — this is the project on which Surrealism focuses in all its books and enterprises. This it may call its most characteristic task.” Walter Benjamin, 1929 A moralizing attitude, which gets in the way of essential insights into the nature of [opiates], has also drawn attention away from a decisive side of intoxication. In question is the economic side. For it is not going too far to say that a principal motive for taking the drug is, in very many cases, to augment the drug-taker’s resources in the struggle for existence. And this goal is by no means a fictive one; on the contrary, in very many cases it is actually reached. Benjamin, notes on smoking opium in Ibiza, June 1933 (p.83–4)
The secret of hair: on the boundary between plant and animal. Benjamin, notes during that same mescaline episode (p.96)
Critical theory cannot fail to recognize how deeply certain powers of Rausch [rush, intoxication, trance] are bound to reason and to its struggle for liberation. What I mean is, all the insights that man has ever obtained surreptitiously through the use of narcotics can also be obtained through the human: some through the individual — through the man or through the woman; others through groups; and some, which we dare not even dream of yet, perhaps only through the community of the living. Aren’t these insights, by virtue
of the human solidarity from which they arise, truly political in the end? At any rate, they have lent power to those freedom fighters who were as unconquerable as “inner peace,” but at the same time as ready to rise as fire. I don’t believe that critical theory will view these powers as ‘neutral.’ It’s true that at present they appear comformable to fascism. But this is a deceptive appearance, and stems only from the fact that fascism has perverted and degraded the productive forces of nature – both those familiar to us and those more remote from us.“ Benjamin, letter to his friend Max Horkheimer, Feb. 7, 1938 (p.145)
Student and hunter. The text is a forest in which the reader is hunter. Rustling in the underbrush — the idea, skittish prey, the citation – another piece “in the bag.” (Not every reader encounters the idea.) Benjamin, The Arcades Project [m2a,1]
If I were to speak, everything would probably be clearer, since so much is awakened by self-love. Benjamin, undated entry in his drug notebook (p.98)
And while my lips stayed firmly sealed, refusing drink and speech in equal measure, from within me a smile rose up to them — a supercilious, African, Sardanapoline smile, the smile of a man about to see through the world and its destinies and for whom nothing remains a mystery anymore, either in objects or in names. Benjamin, Myslovice-Braunschweig-Marseilles: The Story of a Hashish Trance, published Nov. 1930 (p.115)
Sar·da·na·pa·lian, adj. Excessively luxurious or sensual. [1865– 70; Sardanapal(us) a legendary Assyrian king proverbial for his decadence] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (p.1703)
And when I recall this state, I would like to believe that hashish persuades Nature to permit us — for less egoistic purposes — that squandering of our own existence that we know in love. For if, when we love, our existence runs through Nature’s fingers like golden coins that she cannot hold and lets fall so that they can thus purchase new birth, she now throws us, without hoping or expecting anything, in ample handfuls towards existence. Benjamin, Hashish in Marseilles, published Dec. 1932 (p.126)
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Bad At Sports Top Ten to Twelve most Disheartening Continuing Trends in Contemporary Art.
#10 Buddhist Rhetoric used to support thin and failing Sculptural Installations. Now. Dude, I know. It’s like, heavy. I’ll take it all in, Man! This is heavy. It’s... like... space and I’m... like... seriously contemplating some shit here. We got a few words for you, it is high time to get gangster, gangster and start “jocking the bitches and slapping some hoes”, Hippy. #9 Doing it with Volume. Just because you have a lot of something does not make it good or interesting. A field of little shits is still a field of shit. And just because you can make it big doesn’t mean you should. It doesn’t make it more meaningful, it just makes it bigger. Much like a drunk asshole, it does not get more profound with scale, it gets more obnoxious. #8 Fabric. Yeah cut me another yard. When I was a child I would watch my mother mend things and manufacture clothing with the greatest ease. It was amazing, she just made things appear, like Copperfield. (except they didn’t disappear first) She was a God to me, helping me cover my shame and nakedness with the push of a pedal and stroke of a needle. But I am sick to death of your knitting and needle work. Quilt me something useful, sew me a jacket or make us some curtains. Just because you’re referring to traditional, domestic manufacturing doesn’t make it a mental “fire starter”. This ain’t your Momma’s seventies. And for the love of God, don’t even pick up that stuffing - I have enough plush toys.
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#7- Large Format Photographs of HO Scale Models and toys. YOU’RE GROWN! It might be time to act like it. Yes, yes we are entirely sympathetic to how developmentally, playing God and emulating all the sickest shit you’ve been exposed to is hugely important to your socialization. But look, Shithead, we know you wouldn’t be making shit like this if you weren’t maladjusted and anti-social in the first place, so knock it the fuck off. #6 Line, Form, and Basic Geometry: Come on, for how many years must we trot out this same old tired shit. Isn’t it time that we create a new visual language? IT IS A NEW MILLENNIUM!!! Let Bad at Sport be the first to demand a new painting, a painting freed from the ties of your tired decaying tropes, like the circle. Get rid of it! Your so beyond it.
#5 Photography becomes Shit Drawing and then “POW” Photography becomes the new Shitty Drawing Fashion does not beget meaning or quality. In fact, it would seem to negate them. But your failure will be our success. Long live the new day of the architectural and informational renderings. Our technical taxonomies will destroy and eliminate your pathetically human shitty drawings and boring documentation of your feeble idiosyncratic life and its trite flights of fancy. #4 Taxonomy... Really. I feel angry that we even need to address this. Just collecting a bunch of things together, doesn’t justify it as art. We want more from you then collection and documentation. Otherwise, I’m going to start thinking that the Public Library and the Field Museum are the best and most vital art pieces ever, and that the city expresses inspired vision in genius in to aesthetic assemblage of heterogeneity inside a homogenous form. Is there not a more generous act that the re-
presentation of previously presented material? What does that tell me other then you are really obsessive, and “Oh my God aren’t all great artists obsessed”. Nope, you suck.
#3 Transparent ObjectsThis is a delicate subject for us, but if we must... Art should never be justified or be explained by the same lines which sell spot removers and hack Magicians. Nor should it have some ridiculous explanation like, “It is about perception and how our ability to perceive is always a personal journey based on light and our bodies input sensors for light.” It is an emphasizing of our experience of the world. For example you and I both experience this room differently, we come at it from different angles and notice different subtleties. This makes this room both your room and my room but not both of our rooms while it still is both of our rooms. And this transparent cast of “Barney the Dinosaur’s” costume, highlights both the personal nature of perception and of the developmental experience, which is also highly individuated and personalized. Enough! This is not your case study and it is not your opportunity to lecture from your boring theoretical pulpit. #2 Art and Tech We have often heard people say things like... “That would be a little more interesting if that moved.” or “It would be neat if that responded to its environment.” But we are here to tell you that you are wrong. Dead wrong. Question: If I take a turd and put it on wheels and then make it responsive to is environment what have I got? Shit that can follow me around and stalk me like prey. We wonder if anyone’s shoes would really feel this is an improvement? It’s the “Terminator Turd,” but it is still a turd. #1 Painting Really, enough already. We aren’t kidding.
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#11 Text. Installed, cut from Vinyl, painted on things, printed on things, whatever. OK look. We all own books. We are all aware that images are signs and that letters and words are also signs. We know text gets more directly at the nature of pictures as visual signs. We know that we are already bored and totally sick of your crap, turn this phrase, Wordsmithe.
All My Friends Bands #2 Carpet of Sexy
9 Band Profile
Review by Zack Pink Shoes
Live in Belleville, IL at The Ground Floor: 8/24/06 We were at the Bolozone in St. Louis and Rand had been drinking since he woke up. The plan for the day was to go to the City Museum for some psychedelic mayhem with Rotten Milk and Bolo cholos Ralph and Hassan; this apparently is a rite of passage here. The day was more or less an attempt to lift our spirits after a string of fairly depressing shows and the departure of my band’s guitarist the night before. The City Museum is where I discovered every place of entertainment in the world needs a giant ball pit for me to crawl around in, an enchanted cave, giant metallic spires, underground passageways, large aquariums, and indoor slides that make going down stairs obsolete. By the time we got back to Bolo it was about 5:30 and Rand was attempting to light off fireworks in the van to the dismay and entertainment of everyone else. We still had about 5 hours until the show and most of us were already wasted. Rand had already made some enemies with his shortshorts in some other states, the most entertaining being in Birmingham, Alabama where almost immediately after walking into a McDonalds some little shit asked, “Why are your shorts shorter than my girlfriend’s?” In Bololand Rand’s scantily clad body was nearly decent compared to the majority of the houses lack of a need for clothing, so when he starting running around with his near empty bottle of tequila and his Summer of Bad Ideas short-shorts screaming obscenities and passers by, it managed to go unnoticed. Our show was in Belleville, somewhere East of East St. Louis and we had heard inspiring stories of drugs and strippers and endless free booze (a myth in every town except for Boone, NC.) The Ground Floor isn’t quite what any of us were expecting. A coffee shop-cum-bar that screams out faux hipsters and iBooks, and even has the horrifyingly pretentious coffee house poetry plastered on the walls. The people there are nice though, and we spent the next few hours talking to locals and trying to stay awake long after the drugs have worn off and the alcohol has kicked in. Max
managed to pass out behind a giant curtain near the stage and Jesse convinced Rand that they should go explore and have Rand puke in front of some things, like a bank. I pass the time with Nick, Sam, and Bolo’s until Rand and Jesse come back freaked out after being patted down by the popo. Apparently you can’t go near the fountain in Belleville despite, as Rand let it be known, the very inviting plank that leads you right into it. By this show I had seen Carpet Of Sexy about 20 times, through varying degrees of quality and quantity (3 song sets? Fucking brilliant idea.) The sound guy sucked, that is nothing new. I have realized that sound guys at rock clubs are very sad and angry people that have no concept of how to actually make a band sound good. You should avoid these people at all costs and just scream really loud over your band, or fuck that, don’t sing at all people will make fun of you. Anyway, they played and it wasn’t loud enough and Rand was exhausted, drunk, and pretty pissed off, which is all the makings for a really great Carpet of Sexy show. Nick has taken to incorporating his stand up comedy routine in the midst of a show but his, uh, “jokes” weren’t really making it here. After taking some jabs at the Midwest someone in the back yelled they were gonna kick his ass. What is with the Midwest being defensive? In the South they cheered when we mentioned how they were just a bunch of fucking drunks. They get through the first song, or most of it before Rand turns it off and they go through my favorite “Errands in Africa.” They do their thing and roll around fighting one another, eventually the song ends and Rand runs to the stage and they start to play it again before wussing out and cutting it after about 30 seconds. They played about 2 more songs, and then Rand went in back and passed out while Nick talked to the crowd. That’s pretty much Carpet of Sexy.
More Information WEB SITEs • Carpet of Sexy – www.myspace.com/carpetofsexy
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10 Years Pedaling by Wesley Stokes
Florida has become known as being the unlikely home to a slew of punk bands that have brought back a sense of solidarity to punk rock. Throughout the late nineties and into this century it would seem that most bands that had politically charged punk songs were the ones that you were unable to understand unless you read the lyrics in the sleeve (at least the bands that you could take seriously anyway...). This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb is celebrating ten years of making crowds erupt into good time-fist in the air sing-alongs and as I discovered during this interview, show no signs of slowing down. Talking to them was one of the most inspiring conversations I’ve had in a long time and hopefully can serve to do the same for you...
L: In the ten years or so that you’ve been around, you’ve written some really positive songs that encompass the romantic side of a DIY consumption-conscious kind of lifestyle. You’re a band that seems to hold true to these kind of ethics... RHYMODEE: Our songs are terrible! They’re about awful things! TERRY: Well we write songs that are about terrible things because we’ve lived to see things like war for decades and it just continues to happen. Maybe it seems positive because of the way the music sounds. L: Well I mean to say that your music makes terrible things sound like there’s a more optimistic way to look at these terrible things and that it may make it more palatable for someone to look into what you’re talking about. 42 lumpen
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TERRY: Well the songs are about our lives. You can only hope to write about what you know and we write about things that apply to our lives. L: Have you been approached by any bigger labels? [all laughing] TED: No! [laughing] RHYMODEE: You know it’s funny because people always say, “Oh I think it’s so cool that you guys stayed independent.” But we’ve never been approached by any major labels. TED: We’re also still at this kind of weird point in between being bigger and still being a smaller band. We like playing in basements and parties but we can’t do it now. TERRY: Yeah it’s not like Atlantic is knocking on our door. If they did I’m sure we would just laugh about it but I don’t think that our music is really marketable. You can’t dance to it... well, you can but not for what bigger labels want.
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L: Since Ted moved to San Francisco, has it cut into your touring time? TED: Well, not really. We still tour about two to three months out of the year. We just played the Plan-It X fest and we’ll be playing more soon.
L: I was hinting more at majors in terms of something like Fat Wreck-hords which picked up Against Me! RHYMODEE: No, we haven’t ever gotten offers from any of those guys. But speaking for myself, I’m perfectly happy with where we are. When we first started, no one liked our music. No one in our town liked it, no one we played at shows for liked it. It was just this jangly sounding country music that was weird to people. Now when we play somewhere and people know the words to our songs and get excited to see us play, I feel that I couldn’t hope for anything more. To me, when you’re a kid, you look at that as the greatest thing ever and I don’t care about being anything more. I work in a coffee shop and that’s fine. As long as I’m having a good time doing this, I’m fine with it. TERRY: It’s really awesome to think about that. Like tonight when we were playing Mouseteeth, I just thought about when we wrote that song. We used to live in this punk house and I think we were in Rhymodee’s room. I was just messing around trying to learn how to play this song and we ended up writing it and now here we are in front of all these people, and they’re all singing it! It’s the greatest feeling in the world and I couldn’t hope for more! L: There are some bands that use the idea of anarchy as a distinct part of their identity. One of the things that strikes me as very intelligent aesthetic of TBIAPB is the more playful allusions to the idea of anarchy lyrically and in how you operate as a band without dropping the “A-word.” Is it a deliberate decision to stay away from it? RHYMODEE: Well, again, I’m speaking for myself here when I say that I personally identify myself as an anarchist but I think that it isn’t necessary to use these labels in our music. A lot of bands use the idea of revolution in their songs and it’s just such a cliche’ thing. I don’t write songs about throwing bricks through corporate windows because that’s not what I’m doing. If I do that, I’ll probably write a song about it. TERRY: I hear these songs that are sort of anarchy singalongs and I think it’s pretty funny really. I just think that anything that can get people together around a fire and throw their fist in the air is great, so who gives a fuck? L: In March, a college kid in Columbus, Ohio had his bike torn apart by a bomb squad because of a TBIAPB sticker on it while it was locked up at school. Eventually no charges were ever filed and I think the school even bought him a new bike. Did you guys hear from this kid or anyone else when this happened? RHYMODEE: What are you talking about?!? [laughs]
TERRY: I talked to Patrick over the phone a couple of times and from what I can gather about a person from 700 miles away, I think he’s a very bright person. He’s a straight A student and does a lot of community service. During that whole incident, he was never scared about being in trouble because he knew that the police were in the wrong. He was scared about having to go to court because he didn’t have the money to pay the lawyer’s fees. I think that the cop’s ultimately realized they fucked with the wrong person because he was such a good student and had a good record of community service so they backed off. Bush himself had to pardon him! TED: I’d also like to mention that you’d think that the first thing the cops would do, is to look this up on the internet and see if there is a thing called This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. In this age of information, they didn’t even try to search it out before blowing his bike up. I mean, to be fair if I was a security officer and didn’t know better, I might get a little freaked out to I guess but it should be the responsibility of the police to think about these things. TERRY: And you know... Patrick was actually excited after it was over because even though he didn’t get any kind of reimbursement for all the trouble, he was getting so many bids from artists to buy the pieces of his bike that had been blown up. He eventually sold it to an artist in Texas that wants to make it a permanant installation. That’s way better than just having it lay around the garage. It’s sad though you know because it was a nice bike. It was a Cannondale that he’d ridden across the country twice! But the bike he got from the school was nice... TED: A 2006 Cannondale! TERRY: Yeah... but you know sometimes you have a bike that you’ve just been through a lot with and it’s not so easy to part with it. L: Homeland security has compromised a lot of freedoms that people have given over relatively easy. Security culture is akin to the ‘red scare’ era. A lot of musicians and artists have been directly affected because of album covers[The Coup] or just being on tour and having black vans in rural areas like Godspeed You! Black Emperor in Texas. Have you experienced similar problems directly because of your name while on tour or otherwise? TERRY: Well yes... TED: Just that once!
TERRY: Actually it was in Athens but it was a Columbus bomb squad. First, I’d like to say that the school bought him a new bike...
TERRY: No, it’s been a few times. Because we’ve had to fly to get to some shows, we’ve made the “random search lottery” a few times. [making quoting motions with her fingers] “Random search!”
RHYMODEE: The cops didn’t do anything other than drop the charges.
RHYMODEE: I think we’ve all had our separate experiences since we sometimes have to fly individually. I’m paranoid as
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it is, so I’m pretty scared of being pulled over but we’ve luckily had few problems.
TERRY: So, yes these songs are about a struggle for racial equality but they are about a struggle for freedom.
TERRY: Once we were going through the airport and all three of us were randomly searched together.
L: On ‘Three Way Tie For A Fifth’, you wrote a song about Jack Johnson. Have you seen the Ken Burn’s documentary? RHYMODEE: I own it. I kept up with it ever since they announced it was in production. A lot of people don’t know this I guess but that song has been around longer than the documentary.
TERRY: Yeah, on one occasion there were four of us and when they were printing up the first tickets they made them stop to mark the next ones so that we were the lucky winners of the “random lottery search.” But since then, I think the security issues have become more lax. I think the FBI knows by now that we’re just some idiots from Florida and not a threat. I mean if we were really going to blow something up, why would we label it?!? L: You have several songs about the civil rights movement in one way or another. Do you think that this struggle for freedoms is important to point out not only because people need to acknowledge the past for the future’s sake, but beyond the race issues there, people need to understand that it’s a fight for freedoms? RHYMODEE: Well I’m really into history and I think that it’s one of the most interesting parts of American history, but I write these songs because people need to know about these things. TERRY: A lot of people talk a lot about how things are different now and that people should just move on. But coming from the south, I can say that it’s not so different. My partner is from Berkley and he came to Pensacola having never been to the south before and he said that it’s much easier for people to talk about racism and how people should move on in places like that but you can’t just dismiss it in the south. Not when race issues are so in your face all the time. People say, “Oh it’s the 21st century, move on with your lives!” But it’s still very relevant. TED: Like what’s going on down in New Orleans is really fucked up. People just kind of looked past these issues but the destruction of New Orleans just brought these same people back to the surface again. Like I can go to a place like New Orleans and someone can come up to me and call me a cracker and I can’t say they’re that wrong for feeling that way. I mean, I understand why they would feel like that after everything they’ve had to deal with but I’m not the problem. The problem is bigger but I understand their frustration. TERRY: Yeah after everything happened there, they used as an excuse to bulldoze over the 9th ward and now they’re going to build all these expensive buildings. And of course, who lives in the 9th ward? Black people, black, poor people who can just be overlooked by the rich people rebuilding there. TED: They’re just turning it into some Disneyland sort of resort. RHYMODEE: New Orleans is a really messed up situation but it shows that these issues are still relevant.
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L: I know! I actually learned about Jack Johnson because of that song so I was excited to see the documentary. I thought it was really touching. RHYMODEE: We’ve been meaning to send Ken Burn’s a copy of that song since they started working on it. I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world to hear our song in it but I haven’t sent him one yet. L: In different areas of the country, the contemporary music scenes exemplify characteristics of what it’s rooted in regionally. Chicago has a lot of bands that hint at avant-garde jazz roots, New York’s music is reflective of the art scene and provides room for experimentation, and California is very pop oriented. The south is very strongly rooted in a blues and country backing in music that kind of carries the ‘fire and brimstone’ energy that the region is formed around. Your music is a stronger hybrid of folk and punk than a lot of your peers. Do you think that it’s a product of coming from Pensacola? TED: Well I don’t know that it’s so much derived from where we’re from... TERRY: We write these songs because it’s just what we feel and you can’t really do anything more than that. RHYMODEE: Well no, he means more musically speaking than lyrically. TERRY: Oh, well yeah I guess. When we started playing together we were going for sort of a more country sound but it ended up being more tongue in cheek. I think it’s more folk than country maybe but I’m not sure if it’s because we’re from the south. We played music that we didn’t even really know how to define. When people would ask us what kind of music we played, we would just say that it was sort of a weird country kind of sound... TED: Folk-punk! Look what a monster that expression turned into! L: Florida’s become infamous in the past several years for punk band breeding grounds. There’s Hot Water Music, The Grabass Charlestons, and Against Me! to name a few. Do you think this trend’s going to continue and make Florida a place more associated with punk music? TERRY: Well I can tell you this; No Idea! is not going to give up and they’re just going to keep on putting things out.
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TED: We had a roadie with us that one time.
Small Change #5 Microlabels 101
9 Label Profile
Review by Rotten Milk
These days it seems like everyone has a label. Limited runs of 40 are all the rage. Ebay is a daytraders’ market for weird hipsters and loners that clamor for a the latest Hair Police side project. The rapid development of technology has ensured that everyone’s voice can be heard. But a seemingly endless onslaught of media means it’s entirely possible that no one is listening. This is both the charm and the frustration of hyper-active DIY culture. Noise music is, in no way, synonymous with any particular geographical region, but to map out the genealogy of the contemporary DIY-style labels, there are some places that seem logical starting points. The Ann Arbor/Detroit MI scene of the early 90s, for example, gave birth to Wolf Eyes, Andrew WK and Nautical Almanac. Thorough documentation of this movement was spearheaded by John Olsen’s American Tapes, which has been releasing a cassette a week for many years and his bandmate Aaron Dilloway’s Hanson Records label, which has released some of the genre’s definitive works and also serves as a major distribution point for small labels. With a focus on dark electronic noise, a fixation with old synthesizers and scratchy tape loops, the Ann Arbor noise scene sculpted a sound all its own. Releases on American Tapes range from runs of 8 to runs of 800. Many early and limited releases fetch a lot of cash on Ebay. Word on the street is that some of the dudes that made this music don’t even have complete collections. In the mid-90s Andrew WK moved to California to pursue his rockstar fortune and Nautical Almanac’s Twig Harper and Carly Ptak moved to Chicago to pursue something less tangible. They ran a store called the Mystery Spot for a few years and recorded fucked-up sounds. Twig was also in a band called Metalux with MV Carbon and Jenny Graf. Twig and Carly moved to Baltimore and Metalux released several more albums without him independently or on small labels before gaining the attention of Load and 5RC. Twig and Carly meanwhile, were building a home for themselves in Maryland. They purchased a large three-story building in the Baltimore ghetto, named it Tarantula Hill and spent the next many years building a palace, hosting touring bands and travelling themselves. Recently, they lost their home to a fire. What they did not lose was their label, Heresee. In addition to releasing their own work as solo artists and as a band, Twig and Carly have documented many of noise music’s well known acts, like Jessica Rylan, Madison dance-noise duo Neon Hunk, fellow Baltimore weirdos the Lexie Mountain Girls and Ohio upstarts Leslie Keffer and Tusco Terror. Found sound releases like “Sounds of the Maryland State Fair” or the Answer Tapes, a collection of found answering machine messages add spice and variety to the collection. Two recent collections of seven inch re-releases represent the life work of Little Howlin Wolf, an oddity of a Chicago street bluesman, while another called “Brave New World” consists of new recordings of this outsider artist, including a 20 minute Art Ensemble style jam with some noiseniks. Recent experiments with a lathe-cutter have resulted in one-of-a-kind remixes of old vinyl records and synthesizer maker Peter B. sells the schematics to build his instruments as a Heresee release as well. Perhaps Heresee’s most notorious release is a found video edited by Ptak called “Memorial Day 2000”, depicting a bunch of Michiganders setting things on fire, puking, burying cars in mud and emptying the toilets of their RVs. It is technically unavaible since receiving a cease and desist letter signed by one of the redneck drunkards it documents. On the Heresee website, in the discography, the letter is reprinted as the description of the release.
Ron Lessard’s RRR Records is the noise label that set the standard for all the others. He is responsible for hundreds of releases in twenty years, all of which have been mastered by Lessard himself on his home stereo unit. An aside to his CD-Rs (which come in distinctive cardboard packaging, each sealed with a sticker adorned by the album art) and records (my favorite is the 500 Locked Grooves album, a DJ’s dream and an invaluable improviser’s tool consisting of 500 loops), the Recycled tape series allows artists to tape their work over thrift store cassettes and write the packaging in marker by hand. Lessard runs a store by the same name as his label in Lowell Massachusetts and travels as Emil Beauleau, the World’s Greatest Living Noise Musician, selling CD-Rs and records and wow-ing audience with a performance that is one part Andy Kaufmann, one part Mr. Rogers and one part ear splitting debacle. A quick glimpse at RRR or Hanson’s website, or at other distros like Fusitron Sound or Forced Exposure, goes to show that there are indeed as many small labels as their are stars in the sky. So how do you, the potential consumer, know where to begin? Those lucky enough to live in a city that is a stop on the circuit have plenty of opportunities to hear all kinds of fascinating weirdos play in an assortment of basements, living rooms and dive bars. Many of these weirdos love to trade, so if you have your own small label you are in a good position to receive lots of strange looking (and even stranger sounding) media. All of these weirdos need gas money, so even if you’re not the trading type, you can still beef up your library. Some forward-thinking record stores like Encore (in Ann Arbor MI), the True Vine (in Baltimore), APop (currently relocating to Columbia MO), Armaggeddon (in Providence) have entire sections devoted to this kind of stuff. But for the homebound, the shy and those who live far far away, there are a few resources worth noting. The internet has truly opened the door for small labels to make a big difference and there is no end to the weird media available at a click of the mouse. Magazines like Bananafish and websites like Blastitude or Animal Psi keep tabs on the under-the-underground scenes. And then there’s the I Heart Noise message board and Brutal Sound FX mailing list. These internet playgrounds for travelling noise scenesters are sometimes intimidating and seem exclusive, but they’re still useful as sources of information, gossip, bickering and press releases. This column hardly scratches the surface of the origins of the current underground noise phenomenon. But then it doesn’t really try to either. Largely this is a list of jumping off points where you can begin exploring a world of exciting sounds and bizzare media.
More Information American Tapes: www.americantapes.com Animal Psi: www.animalpsi.com Blastitude: www.blastitude.com Brutal Sound FX: launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/brutalsfx Forced Exposure: www.forcedexposure.com Fusitron Sound: www.fusetronsound.com Hanson Records: www.hansonrecords.net Heresee Records: www.heresee.com I Heart Noise: p206.ezboard.com/biheartnoise RRR Records: www.rrrecords.com
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689:/ Music Reviews The Beachles
Title: Sgt. Petsound’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band // Label: self-released You know how there are these records you never need to hear again, not because you dislike them but because you like them too much and as such know every last twist and turn, every nuance and melodic change better than you know yourself? The Beachle’s “Sgt. Petsound’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” gets a lot of mileage out of denying you that chord progression you knew was coming. But this magnum opus by Chicago ex-pat Clayton Counts stretches the idea beyond its most obvious – and often most satisfying – executions. Count’s mashup of Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds, arguably the two most defining albums of sixties poprock psychedelia, tries on a lot of mash-up and remix tricks for size. There’s glitched out numbers, 8-bit breakbeat breakdowns, slowed-down and sped-up vocals, the occasional total noise meltdown and a way tripped out amalgam called “God Only Knows What I’d Be Within You.” Known around town for macing bouncers and a piercing and crazy glare, Counts has some issues with mash-ups. Remember mash-ups? Counts first two internet-only releases entitled “Mambo Chutney Mashdwon” include some of the hottest remixes to be born from the whole phenomenon, yet the liner-notes to his online offerings are often fueled with cynical rage and littered with bitter asides to the online mash-up and remix communities. At times, Counts’ work is a little selfindulgent, but I’ll take personality with flaws over something perfect, yet stiff and robotic any day. This one’s a real fuck you to mash-up cholos treading water and a real step in the right direction. Just because something’s a novelty doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome too. Review by Rotten Milk // Download: www.claytoncounts.com
Dude, Magnus Would Hate You Vs. Gungan2Gungan Title: Countrymyxz // Label: Cat Jams
Bob Dynamite vs. Tape Store Title: Polyvinyl Chloride // Label: Cat Jams
Is there some way to say something about “the lighter side of noise music” without sounding like an absolute choad? I’m not trying to be pretentious, or the opposite of pretentious. I’m just tired of albums with titles like “16 Knives in the Gut” or “Tormented Whoreslicers of Gethsemane”. Just cause I like my jams on the strange side doesn’t mean I wanna be bound, ballgagged, and whipped by a chick wrapped in leather. And I certainly ain’t no overgrown high school mall-goth. This is what gets me off about Channing Kennedy’s Cat Jams label. Fucking totally weird music with a sense of humor that’s afraid of the dark.
Gungan2Gungan’s split cassette release with Dude, Magnus Would Hate You, “Countrymyxz,” riffs on Alan Jackson’s “Way Down Yonder on the Chatahoochie” and other popular country “classics” in the best and worst ways. [A quick aside: In central Tennessee we met a cool kid who gave us mushrooms, built an enormous and totally unsafe fire with us in the forest and took us swimming in a river the next day. As we splashed and frolicked, he pointed out a mansion across the water and told us Alan Jackson lived there. “He comes into my work all the time and he never tips,” he said. “Fucking asshole.”] Big bursts of noise and goofy syncopated loops vie for space with nuggets of downhome southern goodness. When Kirksville MO native and BMX enthusiast Morgan J. Peckosh heard this, it made him happy because growing up, he says, everyone had this Alan Jackson kinda shit shoved down their throat and now these guys are sending that popular culture a big middle finger back. This is a hot shit tape and you should buy it. It should also be noted that the cassette comes wrapped in packing tape and you must destroy the packaging to enjoy the contents. Does anyone remember Image Zero? Review by Rotten Milk
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Bob Dynamite is a fourteen year old kid with a casio and a radio. Tape Store is a sixteen year old kid with a bunch of Shareware programs and a sampler. They live in central Missouri. Together they have made one of my favorite albums of the year. The first 49 tracks are original compositions by Bob Dynamite, the next 49 are by Tape Store. The last track is a remix by some hot-shit indie-dance-rock band. I can’t remember their name, but it’s not Mahjongg nor is it the Need New Cholos. Familiar beats, song fragments and weird melodies that stop just as they’re about to get good; it reminds me a lot of some Der Plan side projects or other weird German shit like Silhouettes 61 that nobody mentioned on this page has probably ever heard of. Man, that made me sound like a choad too.
Title: 420 Roach Shabba // Label: no sides The car keeps stopping and starting. Warbling synths do the up and down, slide rock and lean. Sometimes tripping though 1980s German drugs, Soft Serve trips on some familiar song structures, but mutherfucking ADD makes for short breaks, mood swings and quick changes in between bouts with bad ideas. She keeps screaming nonsense at the passers-by, but her holler is more confident then I remember. Beats dipped in reverb get a new lease on life fueled by new vices and new advice. Four albums have allowed Soft Serve to claim the guzzle drugs and sparkle sideways style as one uniquely her own. Now she can go fast and slow at the same time. Now she can get heavy. Sometimes it takes a lot out of you to get heavy. Sometimes it is necessary nevertheless. Once at a show, I saw her eat two live goldfish. The next day, she confided in me that she could feel their souls inside her feeding her power and energy. Then she ate another one. What if that voice mail is the last time you ever hear his voice? The escalator goes up and down simultaneously. Review by Rotten Milk
Title: Le Miroir Unilateral occurrence, tenderness of the breasts and characteristic genital involvement, cervical, femoral, and generalized mycobacteria toxoplasmosis. The sound of true love: an incubate malignancy. Gold leaf sperm. Do you want people to unconsciously pet you? A gritty feeling - pink eye perfume. Neon boa constrictors in chaps jack your body and you gag on rubbers. Talk me down. Glamour Slammer - a penis made of spam. Look, it’s really good. It’s way better than the original. And they are giving it away. And they’re never gonna stop, not like you. Review by Eleanor Balson
Warhammer 48k Title: “UBER OM”
I have a boner for Warhammer 48k, a sludgy rock 5 piece from Columbia, MO. The record sleeve/liner notes on my copy of Warhammer 48k’s new LP doesn’t seem to contain any information regarding the name of the album, or any of its tracks (even the band’s name on the front of the record is difficult to read -especially when you are really high.) However, on the website “audiolunchbox.com” I was able to find out all of that important information. All the tracks on this record blend together. According to this website there are 6 of them and there names are stuff like “Citizen Pain” and “Haunted Abortion.” What a bunch of weirdos. This record is awesome. Sometimes they sound a little bit like Sleep. They seem less heavy on the record than they do live. Before I had this record I used to listen to a live recording of Warhammer 48k playing at Hey Cadets. This record is better than that recording. The best song on that live recording is the last song on this album. It’s called Failed Suicide Attempt #1. The name doesn’t really fit, because this song makes me want to live triumphantly more than it makes me want to swallow a bleach cocktail. Maybe that’s why it’s a failed attempt. Review by Jon Rybicki
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