Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PALAHNIUK ON VESELKA'S "ZAZEN": "the smartest, wry-est voice I’ve read in a decade"

Author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) on ZAZEN by Vanessa Veselka, originally serialized on the Arthur Magazine website in 2009, and now available in paperback from Red Lemonade:

"I can’t remember how this new novel came into my hands, but I’ve been reading and re-reading it all autumn. The narrator’s voice is the smartest, wry-est voice I’ve read in a decade. For young readers frustrated by the state of the world, this book will be a bitter political comedy. It will save the lives of college students who graduate with huge debts and no career prospects. Brilliant and haunting."

Source: Northwest Book Lovers - Dec 12, 2011

Red Lemonade: website

Friday, December 23, 2011


This essay was posted Dec. 16, 2011 at Interactivist. I've reposted it here with the many typos corrected. Readers may be familiar with Peter Lamborn Wilson's work under the pseudonym 'Hakim Bey,' which he used for a period in the '80s and '90s. Essays by Wilson appeared in Arthur Magazine Nos. 16, 29 and 31.

"Occupy Wall Street, Act Two"
Peter Lamborn Wilson

"Money Has An Enemy." — Charles Stein

Some radical historians claim the entire Historical Movement of the Social went wrong in 1870 when the Paris Commune failed to expropriate (or at least destroy) The Bank. Could this really be so?

Since 1971 Bank Power — "Money Interests" as the old-time Populists and Grangers used to say — i.e., the power to create money as debt — has single-handedly destroyed all chances to remake any world closer to our heart's desire. Some anarchist theorists hold that there can be no real revolution except the revolt against money itself — because money itself WANTS capitalism (i.e. money) to rule. Money itself will always find a way to subvert democracy (or for that matter any government power that opposes Money's interests) and to establish the rule of Capital — i.e. of money itself.

"Alternative currencies" will not cure the situation (as Marx rightly sneered) because real [bad] money will always drive the "good" money out of circulation. Alt. money only "wins" in the scenario where it replaces money entirely. But in that case it will have simply become money itself (which is protean and can take many forms).

American progressive Populism — like the agrarian Grange or industrial Knights of Labor — knew certain esoteric secrets we should study. They believed the real producers ("labor") could organize alternative institutions (within the legal system) that could erode the rule of Money and perhaps eventually replace it: producers & consumers co-operatives and labor unions. Money would still be used at first — but not banks — so toxic debt could be avoided. True producers would mutually finance each other (say at 1% interest to cover administrative costs). With "Mutual Banks of the People" plus co-ops they would protect their economic position and advance it thru labor agitation including strikes, boycotts, etc.

"Mutuality" works as a non-State non-central-bureaucratic form of socialism, thus providing no unjust power positions for its administrators. It starts, like Occupy Wall Street, as a consensus-ruled direct democracy (the exact opposite of the Neo-Con free-market "democracy" of predatory Capital). Revokable delegates are sent to larger regional or other administrative Councils.

Thus success of such a system means NEVER participating in representation or "republican" forms of legislative politics ("keep politics off the farm" — Grange Songbook). The American Populist movement made the fatal error in 1896 of joining the Democratic Party — and instead of being crucified on a cross of gold, American radicalism was crucified on a cross of silver. [I'm not going to explain this joke; look in the Encyclopedia under "William Jennings Bryan."]

The only true method of organizing the alternative world of Mutuality is thru voluntary non-state free institutions such as co-ops, mutual banking & insurance, alternative schools, various types of communalism and communitas, sustainable economic ventures (i.e. non-capitalist businesses) like independent farms and craft ateliers willing to federate with the commons outside of the sphere of bank/police/corporation power.

Of course if it ever reached a certain point of success this Mutualism would be directly challenged by Money Interest Power. Lawyers & police will swarm, then military force will be used. The question then will become a different question — War against Money. Could such a struggle be waged as "non-violent war?" In theory, maybe — in reality, who knows?

Actually the whole OWS movement and its future becoming might well be seen as "military" in a Sun Tzu way, i.e. as tactical and strategic —"politics by other means" (to reverse Clausewitz). Interestingly, however, the originary move in such a strategy would now appear to be a tactical retreat — just like in certain kinds of Judo or Aikido — a retreat from the world entirely ruled by money to a world of voluntary cooperation ("the gift") outside the power of BANKS.

This retreat would happen gradually — and since in truth there is no "Outside" to retreat to, the tactic must remain mixed and impure. We can make a new Outside out of our own failure. But as we begin to (re)create an Outside to Money, I believe the rewards will be rich and immediate. Sharing things is inefficient and bad for Capitalism — but (or rather — so) it's got a pleasure nexus in it, an intimacy and human fellowship that millions of Americans now lack and miss. Even the family is threatened by our present "economy of Greed" — as for the Social in general, I believe it may already be dead and beyond revival. However, I intend to go on acting and writing as if I believe it can be SAVED — why? — because pessimism is so boring.

In fact boredom is already a sign that the enemy is very near — it's the sine qua non of consumer trance and obedient wage slavery. Cheat boredom (as the Sits used to say) and already you're winning something back.

Adventures in Mutualism will have to start small — but even a few neighbors can organize a car-pool — or share other "necessary" technologies like electric power, garden tools, telephones, etc.

The next stage of sharing might include cooperatives — a neighborhood CSA or food bank or home-school group. Then the next stage could be institutional and move toward genuine Mutual insurance and banking (Fraternal/Sororal organizations used to supply many of these functions — including the Grange and the Knights of Labor.)

The next stage would be federative, nets of groups and regions as envisioned by Kropotkin and Landauer as well as Proudhon — and by the free Russian Soviets before the Bolshevik coup in Oct. '17.

The key here would be to "organize the kernel of the new world inside the shell of the old" as the IWW Preamble suggests. In other words NOT to wait till "conditions are ripe" in Marxist terms but to begin here & now — not just with demonstrations and media games and info info info, but also with real-life economic and cultural organizing. Why? — because who wants to have to wait to enjoy some fruits of Revolution if it were possible to experience at least a few of them NOW — or after a few years of intense agitation and attention.

Such organizing certainly doesn't "take the place" of resistance (including even riot and crime, much less squatting or debt refusal). It already IS a form of resistance — but also a pleasure in itself — a prime reason for human sociality — a structure for creativity and imagination — for poesis or aesthetic making, whether it be tools or human relations or music or gardening or shelter or just normal everyday conviviality — that lost ideal.

In any face-to-face confrontation with Wall Street "we" must always lose — because WALL STREET IS EVERYWHERE. The up-side of this is that therefore we must occupy "Everywhere." We must inhabit our own space-of-daily-life — the real physical space/time we live in. If necessary we will squat it. And from the space of tactical retreat (not abject dispersal and defeat, but the orderly retreat toward logistic reinforcement — to quote Guy Debord quoting Napoleon!), from the liberated zones whether temporary or not, we will plan our next moves in this end-game between Money and Life itself.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Excerpted from a Free City News sheet (San Francisco, prob. 1968, author unknown), courtesy


A bunch of us went out back today and tore down the fence surrounding the yard. The neighbors, attracted by the sound of our laughter and shouting, gathered around to watch us in amazement. Some of them seemed to become infected with our delight and began to finger the claw hammers and crowbars which were scattered about. Suddenly one man leaped at his fence screaming "Cancer wood" and that set it off.

Before you knew it, all the fences in the block were down and all our neighbors were racing up and down the park they had built congratulating each other for their boldness and imagination. We built a big fire to roast the turkey legs which Jon had brought over that morning. By mid-afternoon, people were fucking in the rose bushes, children were marauding in the turnip patch, and visionary conversations were going on in every corner of the garden. It was a hell of a day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The late Emmett Grogan's account of exactly what went down on the afternoon of September 22, 1967 is available in his book Ringolevio. His fellow Digger Claude Hayward recently posted the pertinent excerpts (and links) over at Daily Kos.

Just for kicks, here's the New York Times' account...

Monday, December 12, 2011


I live on unfenced land on a dirt road in Joshua Tree, not far from the national park. Our house is next to a large swath of unblemished-by-humans BLM land. We live amongst wild beings, in natural quiet. We're very lucky. It's nice for us here, and we're doing our best to steward the land we own.

But. Down by the four-lane highway just a few miles from the park's border, an Indian tribe wants to build a massive, off-reservation casino. A predatory out-of-state corporation wants to build a pseudo-general store on open land to make easy money off our fixed-income and low-income neighbors. The economic crash has sent the unemployment and food-stamp numbers here through the roof. Weird water policies have meant that we have to look beyond our own local aquifer for water. Energy companies want to build fields of solar panels and windmills to supply power to the cities that will not supply power for themselves. Off-road vehicles are driven illegally on county roads and in BLM land regularly, crushing animals and plants, disturbing the landscape and breaking the hard-won silence.

In other words, almost everybody here is hurting. Almost everything here is in danger. Needs defending.

I thought of my friend Dave Reeves. Dave wrote many great columns and articles for Arthur Magazine (which I edited) and provided much raw fuel and blazing inspiration for that project. But his real claim to fame and fortune is that he was the originator of the Defend Brooklyn T-shirt in 1996. The "Defend [where you live]" concept is a brilliant one, in and of itself — read Dave's essay series if you want the background philosophy, history and some great riffs on how culture works. But the "Defend" concept is also brilliant because it can be applied anywhere, which is one of the reasons why it's been ripped off so many times.

I went to Dave to see if there was a way that we could use his Defend idea here in Joshua Tree. We figured out a deal. And now, my partner Stephanie Smith and I have started a Defend Joshua Tree blog, which is being updated regularly with news and views on what's going down here and what we can do about it.

Meanwhile, artist Arik Roper, who did so much gorgeous work in the pages of Arthur Magazine through the years, as well as on posters, T-shirts and album covers, has made two designs for a Defend Joshua Tree T-shirt. Here's one, starring a pack of local coyotes, protecting their young:

We want to start manufacturing these T-shirts as soon as possible. Last week, we started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1500 in 21 days. A pledge of $25 gets you a shirt; $50, two shirts; $75, three; and $100, five.

If you want to support the project but don't want a shirt, that's fine: we'll use your pledge money to give a shirt to a deserving neighbor.

With fifteen hundred dollars' worth of T-shirt orders, we can put in place a sustainable Defend Joshua Tree wholesale/retail microbusiness that won't be dependent on pre-orders, pledges and so on.

If "Defend..." works here, in a town of less than 8,000... Well, we think the implications beyond this one campaign are obvious.

Please participate. The campaign ends Dec. 27, 2011.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


A broadside by the San Francisco Diggers, 1966...

More: The Digger Archives


Ian MacKaye (Fugazi, Dischord Records, pictured above in photo by Amy Farina) had this to say on Pitchfork this week:

"I'm all for file sharing. That's great—as long as people are prepared for the significant consequences. One is that music will become completely couched in advertising. That's already happened. And another is that people should be prepared to have fun with the past because the only music that can possibly be free is the music that's from the past. It costs money to make music. And if people are prepared to only have the past to listen to, then let it be free. But if they want new music then they are going to have to figure out a way to be patrons of the arts. And they will."

I agree with everything Ian says here, except his rather optimistic conclusion that the arts will somehow be saved by a newly enlightened and dynamized public. I don't see that happening anytime soon, and I wonder why Ian thinks it will.

While we're waiting on that, I recommend checking out Robert B. Levine's FREE RIDE: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back, based on strength of the recent review by Jeffrey Rosen in the New York Times and Levine's own excellent Twitter feed.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Hipped to this years ago by (I think?) Neil Haggerty, Dave Tompkins and David Hollander, finally getting to it at what seems to be an especially appropriate/resonant time both socially and personally. Maybe I'll write more about it later, but probably not. Just wanted to give a nudge here to curious others...

John Brunner: The Sheep Look Up, 1972



Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Thinking about Occupy...

"Loving what pleases me, I have to build a space in life as little exposed as possible to pollution by business, or I will not find the strength to bring the old world down, and the fungus among us will rot my dreams." —Raoul Vaneigem, The Book of Pleasures, 1979

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


You get the regulators you pay for. Or, what happens when SEC and DOJ can't afford to bring cases against Big Banks...

From New York Times, Nov 8, 2011:

Promises Made, and Remade, by Firms in S.E.C. Fraud Cases

WASHINGTON — When Citigroup agreed last month to pay $285 million to settle civil charges that it had defrauded customers during the housing bubble, the Securities and Exchange Commission wrested a typical pledge from the company: Citigroup would never violate one of the main antifraud provisions of the nation’s securities laws.

To an outsider, the vow may seem unusual. Citigroup, after all, was merely promising not to do something that the law already forbids. But that is the way the commission usually does business. It also was not the first time the firm was making that promise.

Citigroup’s main brokerage subsidiary, its predecessors or its parent company agreed not to violate the very same antifraud statute in July 2010. And in May 2006. Also as far as back as March 2005 and April 2000.

Citigroup has a lot of company in this regard on Wall Street. According to a New York Times analysis, nearly all of the biggest financial companies — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America among them — have settled fraud cases by promising that they would never again violate an antifraud law, only to have the S.E.C. conclude they did it again a few years later.

A Times analysis of enforcement actions during the past 15 years found at least 51 cases in which the S.E.C. concluded that Wall Street firms had broken anti-fraud laws they had agreed never to breach. The 51 cases spanned 19 different firms.

On Wednesday, Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, an S.E.C. critic, is scheduled to review the Citigroup settlement. Judge Rakoff has asked the agency what it does to ensure companies do not repeat the same offense, and whether it has ever brought contempt charges for chronic violators. The S.E.C. said in a court filing Monday that it had not brought any contempt charges against large financial firms in the last 10 years.


Not only does the S.E.C. fail to catch many instances of wrongdoing, which may be unavoidable, given its resources, but when it is on the case, financial firms often pay a relatively small price.


S.E.C. officials say they allow these kinds of settlements because it is far less costly than taking deep-pocketed Wall Street firms to court and risking losing the case. By law, the commission can bring only civil cases. It has to turn to the Justice Department for criminal prosecutions.


But prior violations are plentiful. For example, Bank of America’s securities unit has agreed four times since 2005 not to violate a major antifraud statute, and another four times not to violate a separate law. Merrill Lynch, which Bank of America acquired in 2008, has separately agreed not to violate the same two statutes seven times since 1999.

Of the 19 companies that the Times found by the S.E.C. to be repeat offenders over the last 15 years, 16 declined to comment. They read like a Wall Street who’s who: American International Group, Ameriprise, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Columbia Management, Deutsche Asset Management, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Putnam Investments, Raymond James, RBC Dain Rauscher, UBS and Wells Fargo/Wachovia.


Nearly every settlement allows a company to “neither admit nor deny” the accusations — even when the company has admitted to the same charges in a related case brought by the Justice Department — so that they are less vulnerable to investor lawsuits.

In 2005, Bank of America was one of several companies singled out for allowing professional traders to buy or sell a mutual fund at the previous day’s closing price, when it was clear the next day that the overall market or particular stocks were going to move either up or down sharply, guaranteeing a big short-term gain or avoiding a significant loss.

In its settlement, Bank of America neither admitted nor denied the conduct, but agreed to pay a $125 million fine and to put $250 million into a fund to repay investors. The company also agreed never to violate the major antifraud statutes.

Two years later, in 2007, Bank of America was accused by the S.E.C. of fraud by using its supposedly independent research analysts to bolster its investment banking activities from 1999 to 2001. In the settlement, Bank of America without admitting or denying its guilt, paid a $16 million fine and promised, once again, not to violate the law.

But two years later, in 2009, the S.E.C. again accused Bank of America of defrauding investors, saying that in 2007-8, the bank sold $4.5 billion of highly risky auction-rate securities by promising buyers that they were as safe as money market funds. They weren’t, and this time Bank of America agreed to be “permanently enjoined” from violating the same section of the law it had previously agreed not to break.

In fact, the company had already violated that promise, according to the S.E.C when it was accused last year of rigging bids in the municipal securities market from 1998 through 2002. To settle the charges, Bank of America paid no penalty, but refunded investors $25 million in profits plus $11 million in interest. And, the bank promised again never to violate the same law.

The S.E.C. led the bank settle without admitting or denying the charges, even though Bank of America had simultaneously settled a case with the Justice Department’s antitrust division admitting the same conduct.



On November 23rd, the Congressional Deficit Reduction Super-Committee will meet to decide on whether or not to keep Obama's extension to the Bush tax-cuts - which only benefit the richest 1% of Americans in any kind of significant way. Luckily, a group of OWS'ers are embarking on a two-week march from Liberty Plaza to the Whitehouse to let the committee know what the 99% think about these cuts. Join the march to make sure these tax cuts for the richest 1% of Americans are allowed to die!

More information:

The 20 mile a day/2 week march from Liberty Square to DC is set to leave this Wednesday, November 9 at noon. On Wednesday we'll be leaving Liberty Square and marching to the New York Waterway/Hudson River Ferry and onward to Elizabeth, NJ. This is our first stop. Everyone is welcome to join this two week march. If you'd like to participate, but can't commit for two weeks you're welcome to join us for the day or help send us off!

The march is being organized by a few of us here at OWS. We will be in DC by Nov 23 for the Congressional Super Committee meeting. This committee has the power to keep the Bush tax cuts (that only benefit the top 1%) or let them expire. We want to be there to fight for the 99%! We will also be connecting with Occupy Philly and Occupy Baltimore along the route, and, of course, Occupy DC!
A major draw for this march is to encourage more people in rural communities to get involved as well as bring spreading the word along the highway. We are hoping people will join the march along the way; whether for an hour, a day, or the full two weeks, we feel its imperative for OWS to be involved in the historical significance of long distance marches to support, promote, and encourage economic and social equality. We will be walking from 9am to to 5pm (banker hours) and will hold nightly GA's and/or discussions at 7pm in each town where we camp. We will be spending two days off at Occupy Philly and Occupy Baltimore. We are hoping a few people from these occupations will join us in the march to the White House and Occupy DC!

Our route is as follows:

11/9/11: Liberty Square to Elizabeth, NJ
11/10/11: Elizabeth, NJ to New Brunswick, NJ
11/11/11: New Brunswick, NJ to Trenton, NJ
11/12/11: Trenton, NJ to Andalusia, PA
11/13/11: Andalusia, PA to Occupy Philly
11/15/11: Occupy Philly to Wilmington, DE
11/16/11: Wilmington, DE to Newark, DE
11/17/11: Newark, DE to Rising Sun, MD
11/18/11: Rising Sun, MD to Bel Air, MD
11/19/11: Bel Air, MD to Occupy Baltimore
11/21/11: Occupy Baltimore to Laurel, MD
11/22/11: Laurel, MD to Occupy DC
11/23/11: Occupy DC to The White House for Super Committee meeting

For more specific directions and further information please visit: or email

Monday, October 31, 2011


"I'm a militant pacifist: I will kill for peace." Thrilling six-minute trailer for new JULIAN COPE/Black Sheep doc film "Revolution Blues," trailing the bold anarchist direct action collective on their 2008 Joe Strummer Memorial Busking Tour...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


"Pete Seeger, with canes, joined the Occupy Wall Street protests on Friday night. The 92-year-old marched from 95th Street to Columbus Circle." Marcus Yam for The New York Times.

NYTimes news article: "Pete Seeger Leads Protesters, on Foot and in Song" by Colin Moynihan

Here's two videos shot and captioned by Michael Moore...

"If Pete Seeger can walk 36 blocks at midnight with Occupy Wall Street, then so can you.

"92-year-old folk legend Pete Seeger (seen waving cane at 50-second mark) marches 36 blocks with Occupy Wall Street from a performance at Symphony Space on Broadway and 95th Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan down to Broadway and 59th Street for a sing-a-long at Columbus Circle.

"This footage was shot shortly after midnight as the protesters neared Columbus Circle...."

"Pete Seeger, Tao Rodríguez-Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Guy Davis, Tom Paxton, Tom Chapin and David Amram joined Occupy Wall Street on a march from Broadway and 95th Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, down to Columbus Circle at Broadway and 59th Street. When we got there, this is what happened..."

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Bulletin from Matt Valentine (MV)...

howdy folks,
shipping now is the extremely limited 8 disc "april flower" tour set issued in an edition of 99 copies. this collection is handmade with love featuring great sound, a 16 page book & beyond...please check the blog for more info. price is $66 plus postage while supplies last. "i will fight no more forever"...
please get in touch if interested, we know who you are...
wholesale pricing is available upon request.
peace ∞,

Monday, October 10, 2011


(Note: Because Occupy Wall Street does not have permit for electric amplification, occupants use a technique called "public mic" in which those closest to the speaker repeat their words in unison so that others further from the speaker can hear what is being said.)

Solid report on Zizek's address: New York Observer

Transcript of Klein's address: The Nation

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011


Wed Oct 5 2011 on the NYC subway — "Kno Oone" photographed by Gabe Soria...

Read online: Occupied Wall Street Journal No. 1

Fund future issues, including ones in Spanish: Kickstarter

Friday, September 30, 2011

"THIS IS THE US FALL": TEXT OF Dr. Cornel West's address at Occupy Wall Street, Sept 27, 2011

transcript by me from video — please help with corrections

Dr. Cornel West's address to the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly, Sept 27, 2011 circa 7:05pm EDT

There is a sweet spirit in this place.

I hope you can feel the love and inspiration — those [inaud] of everyday people who take a stand with great courage and compassion because we oppose the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country and other places around the world.

I am so blessed to be here! It got me spiritually breakdancing on the way here! Because when you bring folks together, of all colors, all cultures, all genders, all sexual orientations, the elite will tremble in their boots. [cheers]

And we will send a message that this is the US Fall, responding to the Arab Spring, and it is going to hit Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix Arizona, H-Town [A-town?] itself, moving on to Detroit, hitting Appalachia, and hit the reservations with our red brothers and sisters.

Martin Luther King, Jr. will smile from the grave and say we moving step by step to what he called a revolution. Don't be afraid to say "revolution"!

We want a transfer of power from the oligarchs to ordinary citizens, with the poor children of all colors, and the orphans and the widows, and the elderly, and the working folk.

Cuz we connect the prison industrial complex with the military industrial complex with the Wall Street oligarchy complex and the corporate media multiplex.

I want to thank you. It's a blessing to be a small part of this magnificent gathering. This is the general assembly consecrated by your witness and your body and your mind!


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Super-gorgeous video via NASA:

"Video of the Aurora Australis taken by the crew of Expedition 29 on board the International Space Station. This sequence of shots was taken September 17, 2011 from 17:22:27 to 17:45:12 GMT, on an ascending pass from south of Madagascar to just north of Australia over the Indian Ocean."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I've found myself reading quite a bit of Alasdair Gray lately (A History Maker, first; then, Lanark), apropos of nothing in particular. Here is a recent film in which the great man tries to explain his mural-making and prose-writing processes, often in asides, interruptions and character voices. Long may this "fat asthmatic Glaswegian" hem, haw, waver and start over...

Alasdair Gray: official website, wikipedia entry

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Footage of Alexander Trocchi's timeless apartment via 'Cain's Film' (1969) ....

Thursday, September 15, 2011


A cartoonist for our times

Here's a panel from "Gordon Smalls Endures the Wasteland," a brutal reality strip by Gabby Schulz that is running at Jordan Crane's wonderful "What Things Do" site. Click on the panel below to have a look at the serial.

Gabby has also been posting another harrowing strip, "Sick," on a weekly basis lately. Click on the panel below to have a look at this brilliant work-in-progress...

Monday, September 12, 2011


With artwork/design by THE MASKED PORNOGRAPHER

From the San Francisco Oracle No. 6 (February, 1967)




Sunday, September 11, 2011

"And I can't pretend to know/what's going on"

Julian Cope performs a new song—subject: his four-month-long Salvia exploration—with the usual great Cope introductory remarks. Can't wait to hear the studio version!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This film by Marco Brambilla, and another, newer one called "Evolution," are on view IN 3-D at WALL SIZE (8 FEET BY 16 FEET) at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in Bergamot Station thru this Friday, August 20.

I have never had my mind blown so instantaneously and completely as when I entered the room in SMMOA with my friend Kristine McKenna where these two films were simultaneously screening IN 3-D at WALL SIZE (8 FEET BY 16 FEET). These are more than films: they're giant, beautiful, moving Joseph Cornell/Pieter Bruegel/Hieronymus Bosch collage scrolls made out of dreamstuff, Hollywood films and the deepest, most involved LSD visions you've ever had. Layers upon layers, depths upon depths. Utterly transcendent. It is nothing less than the birth/realization of a new artform.

Seriously, this is one of those very rare times when it's fair to say you really haven't ever seen anything like this before. It must be seen in person.

(I do not care if you've seen dude's video for Kanye, or if you saw "Civilization" on a monitor in an elevator in the Standard in New York, or on a big screen on a beach. This is superior. And anyway, you haven't seen "Evolution," yet.)

Don't think. Go.

ADDENDUM: Here's a still from "Evolution"...

Friday, August 12, 2011


forest bottom
thick with hemlock and pine pieces
from last fall’s roof-breaking wind
black rocks floating in brown needles
green clean-edged leaves stab through
I want to be less than I am
porous woods light
play over me, warm then cold
hidden birds call tease directions
fly through me
shushing breeze humped field descending in yellow-dotted waves
to the night-filled lake
slide over me deep underground

—Peter Berg, in one of his Eco Ecuador Dispatches, from Nov. 2, 2002

* * *

Peter Berg — San Francisco Mime Troupe playwright and pivotal member of the San Francisco Diggers (nicknamed 'the Hun'), early bioregionalism theorist and Planet Drum Foundation founder, husband and father, visionary radical thinker and beautiful concept/word poet and author — died two weeks ago at age 73. Those who knew him or his work recognized that he had the qualities of a genius. The rest of us will eventually understand what Berg — a true anarchist — was up to.

Here is a brief obituary and appreciation: Peter Berg Oct. 1, 1937 — July 28, 2011

Planet Drum has established a blog to remember Peter and his work at The biographical entry is essential reading.

Envisioning Sustainability, a collection of many of Berg's most important texts, with prefaces by Peter, was published in 2009 and is available from the usual (surviving) book sources, including Amazon.

Here is a wonderful video of Peter in 2009 (source: Shaping San Francisco project), discussing the Diggers' infamous "1% Free" slogan and poster...

Peter Berg: 100 percent free.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark performs a brand new song/lullaby/mantra, accompanied by mystery pianist.

Lavender Diamond plays tomorrow (Friday, July 29) at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica (info here). I'll be there. Don't be late.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Photo by Lance Bangs

Last night, following No Age's set at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, infamous site of LAPD hooliganism (start here to learn more: LA Times), this happened: an unannounced bonus set (6 songs, 10 minutes), NO AGE plus original BLACK FLAG members bassist Chuck Dukowski and vocalist Keith Morris, playing classic BLACK FLAG songs... NO FLAG!

NO FLAG setlist: "Wasted," "Revenge," "Fix Me," "I've Had It," "No Values," "Nervous Breakdown"

"You security people, could you just please stand where you're at and not move?" - Keith Morris turns the tables on the LAPD. Unbelievable, intense, historic.

Major kudos to FYF Fest promoter Sean Carlson (and the City of LA) for making this righteous & beautiful event possible.

(above image via J. Wyatt!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Four hours of unfenced cosmic/local radio the way it oughta be. If you missed it, some folks at Cope's Head Heritage site are passing it around. Look here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

PREPARE FOR BEAUTY: Lavender Diamond returns

It's been a while. Lavender Diamond's original lineup (Becky Stark, Steve Gregoropoulos, Jeff Rosenberg and Ron Reje Jr) have been working together again recently, and the new songs, debuted live in recent months, are catchy and astonishing — Becky is now using her opera register in truly goosebump-granting/breathtaking ways, and the band's arrangements are thoughtful, their playing sympathetic. At the last show I saw, people began applauding midway through a particularly stunning new song (see video extract here, on Facebook). When was the last time you saw that happen?

Lavender Diamond are playing an all-ages show in one of L.A.'s finest music venues, McCabe's Guitar Shop, in two weeks, on Friday, July 29. Prepare for beauty.

More info/tickets order: McCabe's website

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

AGAINST MEATBALLISM: Pages from the FBI's Yippie archives...

Government Attic (slogan: "Rummaging in the Government's attic") has posted a 6,723-page PDF (298mb) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's files on the Yippies from 1967-77. I'll be posting pages now and then.

Thanks to agent Evan W for hipping me to this wonderful resource.

Remember: "A yippie is what happens to a hippie when a cop hits him on the head."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I will be deejaying suitably woozy/gorgeous music for the Bloody Mary crowd at Pappy & Harriet's Palace in Pioneertown, California this Saturday, June 16 from 1-3pm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Entirety of the final one-hour episode of new three-part bbc tv series by the brilliant ADAM CURTIS (The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self, The Trap)...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Entirety of the second one-hour episode of new three-part bbc tv series by the brilliant ADAM CURTIS (The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self, The Trap)...

Monday, May 30, 2011


Entirety of first one-hour episode of new three-part bbc tv series by the brilliant ADAM CURTIS (Power of Nightmares, Century of the Self, The Trap)...


Been listening to this Groundhogs LP lately. Click on the cover for a review from Head Heritage.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I first heard of Ruth Stout when reading Daniel Chamberlin's piece for Arthur Magazine on Tim Dundon, the Alta Dena, California "king of compost"/"guru of doo-doo"/"sodfather," back in 2007:
Ruth Stout [was] a rebellious woman raised as a Quaker in Girard, Kansas, [who] published her first book in 1955. How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back outlined her philosophy of permanent mulch, summed up with the maxim “no dig, no work.” [S]he recognized nature as a gardener that didn’t need to be improved upon, and was reputed to tend to her bountiful, chaotic roadside gardens in the nude.

After Dundon moved back to his parents’ place in 1973, he continued to garden, but it was Stout’s writing that gave him the inspiration to start his now legendary compost heap and the jungle that has sprouted from it. “I read her book about mulching,” he says, “and how it had turned her place into a virtual paradise. She had all this stuff growing, really wild, just by spreading hay and organic material on the ground..."
In the interim since we published Dan's article (with photography by Eden Batki) in Arthur No. 27 (Dec 2007), a vintage documentary on Ruth Stout, filmed in 1976 when she was 92, has appeared online. In it, she shows her way of doing things, relates her history and confirms that she did indeed regularly slow traffic by gardening in the nude. What a woman!

Here's "Ruth Stout's Garden," directed by Arthur Mokin...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL, but I've only seen original reporting on it so far in the Washington Post...

Last week the Smithsonian announced that it had acquired the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership for its collection. It's not the original Mothership, which debuted in 1976 and disappeared in 1982, but it's from the same fleet — it was used on P-Funk tours in the mid-'90s. And George says it's cool. "[The second ship] went out on the road for a long time," he told the Post. "Nobody knew the difference!”

Read the whole Washington Post piece by Chris Richards here:

Here's some vintage Parliament-Funkdadelic mothership footage, apparently from a Halloween show in Houston in 1976. Glen Goins calls down the sweet chariot.

And from Houston, 1978: P-Funk, accompanied by openers Cameo and the BarKays, see George off...

Absolute height of western civilization, right? Whatever the Smithsonian paid to get the mothership in their house couldn't possibly have been enough.

Now for a Congressional Medal of Honor...


BONUS VIDEO!: Funkadelic 1971 studio footage...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Just got hip yesterday to this series of conversations starting June 5. I'll write more about what I think Terence McKenna's legacy is later, but for now I'll just say that I hope this online course will quickly and definitively dismiss Terence's Timewave Zero/2012/Novelty Theory hypothesis as nonsense (fascinating nonsense, for sure, but of little consequence nonetheless) and begin to reframe his legacy around his many other remarkable accomplishments and insights. I can think of no better person better qualified to start that process than Terence's brother, Dennis, who will be hosting this series.

Here's a link and some of the details about what you get for $110 ($90 if you sign up before May 20)...

By participating in this online course, you will receive:

* Four 90-minute live video seminars with Dennis McKenna and his featured guests Erik Davis, Ralph Abraham, Ralph Metzner, Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna, Mark Pesce and Daniel Pinchbeck
* 30 minutes of question and answer time in each seminar
* Breakout sessions for student discussion following each seminar
* Participation in a private online community with other students
* Unlimited online access to videos of all seminars
* PDF articles about course topics from Dennis and each of the guests

Click on the adthing above or on this text for more details about the program and how to sign up. Please note that I make a small commission from each sale through this site.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


All four original members, playing together live for the first time in a few years, with a clutch of new songs in hand.

Lavender Diamond
plus special guests
plus DJ Chris Ziegler (LA Record)
At Center for the Arts Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
Friday May 20

$12 / $10 adv / 8pm / All ages
Buy Tickets Online

Tickets are $10 adv & $12 day and are also available at Origami Vinyl in Echo Park.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Here's a short film that filmmaker Peter Whitehead made for the Rolling Stones for their song "We Love You." It was the first song the Stones released after Keith and Mick got out of jail on drugs charges and then had sentences dropped on appeal. Paul McCartney and John Lennon sing on it, "directed" by Allen Ginsberg. That's Nicky Hopkins on piano, and the Stones' Brian Jones on mellotron. The film features a re-enactment of the trial of Oscar Wilde, with Marianne Faithfull in the role (according to wikipedia) of Lord Alfred Douglas.

The circumstances around "We Love You"'s recording and release — and the obvious implications of both — always intrigued me. In a moment of optimism in May 2005, I wrote this short piece, published in the LAWeekly...

Instant Rock for the People
With “Blue Orchid,”the White Stripes bring the rock the old-fashioned way: really fast

A new White Stripes song came on the radio last week. The song itself — a 157-second slice of raw, immediate AC/DC-Queen falsetto disco rawk called “Blue Orchid” — is kinda new, kinda old, kinda weird and pretty great, like White Stripes singles always are. But what may be even more significant than the song itself is the fact that we’re hearing “Blue Orchid” right now, less than a month after it was recorded.

This isn’t the way it usually works. But then, the White Stripes don’t work like other star bands. Their music gets by, as the Zen saying goes, by doing just enough, but never too much: a few instruments, recorded on a few tracks in a few hours for a few dollars. This approach works for them artistically, and in the context of an industry that normally spends millions recording and promoting its stars, it also makes Jack and Meg genuine radicals. Now the band have extended those same values to their method of distributing their music — a process you could call “instant music.”

According to band associate Ben Blackwell, the song was written and recorded on March 10 in Detroit (the vocals finished a few days later), mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis on or around March 21, mastered in New York on March 28, and immediately delivered to the Stripes’ label. On April 18, “Blue Orchid” was released on iTunes as a 99-cent download. Within minutes, a song with no video, no movie tie-in, no advertising campaign, no TV appearance, no fashion spread, no ring tones, no hype and, most importantly, no payola men or market research, was gaining radio airplay nationwide.

This is exceedingly rare in the major-label rock world, where records get released when labels want to release them, rather than when they are completed. In the past year, Queens of the Stone Age and Sleater-Kinney also have recorded music very quickly and very in-the-raw, but the time lag between creation and distribution was much more than six weeks. And while there are instant records in hip-hop and reggae, they are seldom commercially released, and are heard only by specific audiences in specific markets at specific times. Country music seems more open to instant music: Note all the post-9/11 and pro-war songs that were recorded and quickly aired.

If instant music became more widespread — if more musicians exploited digital technology to decrease the time between music’s creation and distribution — it could signal a positive shift in the pop-culture loop: Musicians could make direct commentary on what’s going on day-to-day in the world, as griots, troubadours and bards did for most of human history pre-phonograph. Instant music also means less hype — and a far less mediated interaction between musician and audience.

Music is powerful. What would happen if the messages in it were radical and immediate, instead of conformist and packaged by the concerns of nameless number-heads and spin hucksters? What if we heard a song in the now,rather than 10 months removed from the setting that shaped it and gave it heat? Of course, some songs are timeless from the moment they’re finished. But some gain significance/richness/power from the audience’s proximity to the creative moment. Just the opportunity to make and distribute music in this way can push musicians to do interesting stuff they might not otherwise do.

The instant-music-for-the-people thing used to happen all the time in rock, especially in its classic, high-moment artistic-and-cultural-impact phase in the mid- to late ’60s, before it got corporately routinized into the Banality With Significant Exceptions situation that we have today. For example: On June 27, 1967, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were handcuffed and thrown in jail on serious drug charges. Theverynextday, The Who went into the studio and, in a show of solidarity, recorded pointed cover versions of “(This Could Be) The Last Time” and “Under My Thumb.” On June 30, The Who released the songs to radio and stores with the statement: “The Who consider Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been treated as scapegoats for the drug problem and as a protest against the savage sentences imposed upon them at Chichester yesterday, The Who are issuing today the first of a series of Jagger/Richards songs to keep their work before the public until they are again free to record themselves.”

What happened next: Public outrage grew, the Stones’ sentences were lifted on July 31 by an appeals court, and less than three weeks later, the band released the psychedelic victory song “We Love You,” recorded while the pair were appealing their convictions, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney on backing vocals. Jagger said the song was a “thank-you to fans and supporters for their help during the trial and appeal period.” “We Love You” opens with ominous sounds: a prison warden’s footsteps, the clanking of chains and the distinctive slam-shut of a prison-cell door. It was the sound not just of the loss of personal liberty, but the shutting down of immediacy and freedom, the restraints against movement by chains. Rock & roll represents nothing if not the absolute destruction of chains: the sweet-heat moment of dance action; the moving, trembling, deafening vibration of molecules; the mind-body-spirit reaction to being in the presence of culturally-personally-spiritually-aesthetically resonant sounds and songs. The door to that space has been closed for too long in rock. Perhaps, with “Blue Orchid,” that door is opening again.

Ah well...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

NOW IS THE TIME (updated May 30, 2011)

Here is an excerpt/teaser from the best music documentary I've ever seen, MC5 A True Testimonial, completed in 2002 by filmmakers David Thomas and Laurel Legler:

In 2004, on what I had been assured was the eve of the film's release, we published an interview with the filmmakers in Arthur, the free national magazine that I was editing (and co-owning). That article, “HIGH FIVE: Detroit’s visionary MC5 receive a film tribute that aims to rewrite rock history” by Steffie Nelson, is available to read here at the Arthur Archive.

I got so cranked by this film, and by Steffie's great interview, that we built out a whole section of that issue of Arthur around the band.

In addition to the aforementioned interview with the filmmakers, rockwriters James Parker, The Seth Man and Ian F. Svenonius contributed brilliant pieces that added up to "TEN OUT OF 5: A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist" (read it here at the Arthur Archive). There were some other sidebar pieces, and a ton of great vintage photography courtesy Leni Sinclair, and new artwork by Plastic Crimewave. We even got MC5 singer Rob Tyner's impressive 'fro on the cover, along with a giant centerfold spread that featured a photo of a nearly life-size Tyner handing a joint to the reader. Bill Nelson's page design was sensational. (If you want a copy of the magazine, you can order a copy here.)

We were all working for free, or going into debt, or in one case, getting something somewhere south of minimum wage...none of which was unusual when it comes to the MC5. This is the kind of band—and this was the kind of film, and 2004 was the kind of time in American history—that stirs up such devotion.

We got carried away for a reason. You'd be able to see why, except...

MC5 A True Testimonial never got a legitimate release, due to some tedious legal loose ends that have taken years to work out.

But now, apparently, the filmmakers are within $27,000 of being able to get this film out there for all to see. A friend of the MC5 has been conducting a Kickstarter campaign to get the money. It has four days to go:

UPDATE 5.30.11: New campaign ending July 4, 2011 to raise $25k via kickstarter-like IndieGoGo to acquire the synchronization license to use the MC5 music in the film. This is the final hurdle that needs to be cleared before this film can be released.

Do what you need to do to look yourself in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

Need more? Here's some (apparent) surveillance footage shot by a US government agency of the MC5 performing in the park at the 1968 Democractic National Convention in Chicago, right before the cop riot started. There's no sound, but...


Doug Paisley gives a performance of "End of the Day," from his latest album, Constant Companion, available at record stores, on amazon and itunes...

And another song, from a performance in Brixton...

Doug is currently on his first solo tour in Europe. Two more shows:

Thursday, May 5 - Brest, France - Le Vauban

Saturday, May 7 - Paris, France - La Fleche d'Or

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Not quite Trip Glasses ($39.95 from the maker's website), but pretty good, eh?


I'm curious how (whether?) this works for other folks. If you feel like commenting (anonymity is fine), it'd be useful if you'd state whether you have any previous experience with meditation and/or LSD, psilocybin or any other heavy-duty hallucinogen....

Monday, May 2, 2011


Over the last few days, I've been reading and digging Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist by Phil Baker, a biography about the elusive artist/magus just published by Mark Pilkington's increasingly formidable Strange Attractor Press out of London. It's a remarkable book—one which I plan on commenting on at length, soonish—but I wanted to share the following tasty bit right away. From page 92:

Spare devised another graphic system he called the Sacred (or Atavistic) Alphabet, or the Alphabet of Desire, where each character supposedly corresponded to a "sex principle."

The idea of a primordially-rooted language, where signs would correspond more fully to the nature of things, is perennial: Giordano Bruno writes in De Magia of a "language of the gods," last glimpsed by mankind in the form of Egyptian hieroglphyics (still undeciphered in Bruno's day) and Ezra Pound put his faith in the pictorial basis of Chinese ideograms. In the 1960s Ted Hughes and Peter Brook attempted to develop a language called Orghast, effectively a magical language where words would have "a more inevitable relationship to reality."

Ted Hughes did what? A minimum of investigation brings us to this book...

I just ordered my copy.

More soon...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ira Cohen's life remembered in the new york times

New York Times - May 2, 2011
Ira Cohen, an Artist and a Touchstone, Dies at 76

Ira Cohen made phantasmagorical films that became cult classics. He developed a way of taking photographs in mesmerizing, twisting colors, including a famous one of Jimi Hendrix. He published works by authors like William Burroughs and the poet Gregory Corso. He wrote thousands of poems himself. He wrote “The Hashish Cookbook” under the name Panama Rose. He called himself “the conscience of Planet Earth.”

But his most amazing work of art was inarguably Mr. Cohen himself. NY Arts magazine in 2008 called his life “a sort of white magic produced by an alchemist who turned his back on the establishment in order to find God, art and poetry.”

He died of renal failure in Manhattan on April 25 at the age of 76, his family said.

Mr. Cohen made his Lower East Side loft an artists’ salon, then left to spend many years on pilgrimages to Marrakesh, Katmandu and the banks of the Ganges. He hung with Beats but rejected being called one. He was an entrepreneur of the arts who didn’t care about money.

Clayton Patterson, a photographer and historian of the Downtown scene, suggested that if Mr. Cohen couldn’t be easily summed up, that was pretty much the whole idea: “On the one hand he was part of everything, but on the other he was an outsider to everything,” Mr. Patterson said in an interview.

In certain artistic and literary circles, Mr. Cohen was a touchstone. “Ira was a major figure in the international underground and avant-garde,” Michael Rothenberg, the editor of Big Bridge magazine, an Internet publication, said in an interview. “In order to understand American art and poetry post-World War II, you have to understand Ira Cohen.”

Mr. Cohen was born in the Bronx on Feb. 3, 1935. Both his parents were deaf, as were most of their friends, and he learned early to communicate with signs. “I grew up constantly surrounded by these wonderful, loving people with strange voices like doves cooing in the eaves of a country house,” he said.

He graduated from the Horace Mann School at 16 and attended Cornell, where he took a class taught by Vladimir Nabokov. He smoked marijuana and imagined how wonderful certain great writers might have been had they had the opportunity. He dropped out of Cornell, then enrolled at the School of General Studies of Columbia University but did not graduate.

He married Arlene Bond, a Barnard student, in 1957, and they had two children. By the early 1960s they were divorced, and he had taken the same Yugoslavian freighter to Morocco that Jack Kerouac had jumped a year earlier. In Tangiers, he lived and worked with Mr. Burroughs and Paul Bowles, the composer and author. He started a literary magazine called Gnaoua, ostensibly dedicated to exorcism. A copy can be seen on the mantelpiece on the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 album “Bringing It All Back Home.”

In the late 1960s, he returned to his loft and perfected his technique of photographing reflections on the surface of a polyester film with the trade name Mylar. Jimi Hendrix, of whom Mr. Cohen made a famous picture, likened the effect to “looking through butterfly wings.”

In 1968, Mr. Cohen made a 20-minute film using the Mylar technique, The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, which has steadily risen in popularity. The original drummer of the Velvet Underground, Angus MacLise, improvised the score, a smorgasbord of Tibetan, Moroccan and Druidic trance music. A Village Voice reviewer said one left the film “perched full-lotus on a cloud of incense, chatting with a white rabbit and smoking a banana.”

Also in 1968, Mr. Cohen’s name popped up in newspaper articles when he was arrested and fined $10 for obstructing a police officer trying to shut down a performance of the avant-garde Living Theater company for obscenity. Mr. Cohen’s production company, Universal Mutant, soon produced a movie of the questioned play, "Paradise Now.”

In the 1970s Mr. Cohen went to Katmandu, Nepal, where he started a hand-operated press to publish manuscripts, some on black rice paper with red ink flecked with gold powder. Mr. Corso had left a poem in Katmandu, and Mr. Cohen published it.

He returned to New York in 1981 and moved in with his mother in an Upper West Side apartment. In 1982 he married Carolina Gosselin; they divorced seven years later. After his mother died in 1993, he remained in the apartment until his own death.

Mr. Cohen wrote countless poems; had photographic exhibitions around the world; did poetry readings; helped edit small literary magazines; released a movie about a Hindu religious festival; and became the president of a nonprofit corporation dedicated to preserving “the hidden meaning of the hidden meaning.”

He is survived by a son and daughter from his first marriage, David Schleifer and Rafiqa el Shenawi; a daughter from his second, Lakshmi Cohen; a son from his relationship with Jhil McEntyre, Raphael Cohen; a sister, Janice Honig; and several grandchildren.

A self-described multimedia shaman, Mr. Cohen compared writing to “pushing a peanut with my nose.” But a postscript to one of his poems marveled at the beauty that could inexplicably blossom: “Sometimes when I pick up my pen,” he wrote, “it leaks gold all over the tablecloth.”

Thursday, April 28, 2011


From Hot Docs:
Directors: Laure Flammarion, Arnaud Uyttenhove
57 minutes | France Belgium | Language: English Rating: PG

Large-format photographer Alec Soth travels across America to document people who have retreated from society and the places they hide. Some subjects live in abandoned mountain cabins, others in caves and others still in the desolation of the desert. One picture leads to the next, as Soth immortalizes hermits, monks, conspiracy theorists, gay spiritualists and survivalists. He’s on the hunt for his fantasy hideout, a dream refuge. Taking pictures is his way of searching, dreaming and hiding, and he continues to take them in the hopes of capturing that great one that glimmers. Somewhere to Disappear is a road movie reflecting the decline of the American Empire. We see it in the artist’s dreams of disappearing and running away, in his subjects living out those fantasies, and in our own understanding of why these modern hermits wish to escape.


Minneapolis: 2 May, 7pm at the St. Paul Film Festival
Toronto: 5 May at 7pm and 7 May at 1:15pm at the HotDocs Festival
New York: 9 May, 8pm at The New School

More: official film site

Courtesy Andrew M.!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


From the Berkeley Barb, Nov. 18, 1966, p.6. 'George Metesky' was a pen name that Emmett Grogan and/or Billy Murcott used in the Diggers days:

The Ideology of Failure

From the time we begin to call our childhood our past we seek to regain its simplicity. Its tense of presence. We tumble into drugs and cleave reality into so many levels of game. We turn our backs on the mess and walk into the woods, but only for a time. A game is a game is a game is a game and we return to the silent—crowded—uptight sidewalks with our pockets full of absurdity and compromise between cowardice and illusion.

Wearing hipsterism on our sleeves, we make music with mercenary groups who bleed money from any fools on the street, or we carve leather into sandals for twenty dollars a pair, or shape forms into art while a psychiatrist whispers formulae for a healthy life-lihood into our ear. And we smile all the time and stack a stereo with names we meet at parties and scoff at all the Sanpaku people cluttering up outside. We explode the myth of seriousness and wrap our bodies in a vinyl shield to coat our minds with microcosmic awareness of our own safety. We sophisticate our tastes in order to tap dance by hassles and shove the poignancy of 'bring downs' into impersonal shadows. We focus everything towards the transcendence of daily consciousness: macrobiotic diets, hallucinogens, eastern and western aesthetics, philosophies, etc.

Our salaried hipness blankets us in the warmth of security until we masturbate ourselves into an erection of astral rapaciousness and grab whatever pleasures we might in the name of Love, always quick to contrast ourselves with middle-class man.

If there is a contrast, it is slight. Hip and middle-class (as well as communist, fascist, socialist, and monarchist) values, goals, reactions and attitudes offer different styles, but amount to the same end: personal, national, or racial success. "Rien ne reussi comme le suces."

The Hipster, however, invites the indignation of his allies with a mockery of 'straightness' and his alienation from the social norms of morality and dress. He is the perfection of success—liberated from the inhibitive life of bourgeoise conformity and established in a packed class of happiness which combines the highest material pleasure with a total lack of commitment to middle-class humanism.

He is hated, feared, and envied. He is a man who can sing about the evils of the world, the beauty of touch, the delicacy of flowers, and scream systemicide while margining profits into war economies and maintaining his comfort on a consumer level of luxury. (Oh, excuse me. I see. He's educating the mass and his pay is only incidental—compared to the millions of converts he has inspired with his orchestrated love. Ho, hum . . .)

Well, when some of us get to that bracket, either through fame or fortune, we look at ourselves and remember the "Funk" that pushed us into the Lime, and we react. We may open peace centers with our money and contribute to the cause of freedom, or we may plow ourselves into the corner of "who cares" and paddy-cake fortunes, or we may drop out all over again and go back to the woods, and stare at the preposterousness of doing our thing within the frame of a reality that can incorporate and market anyone, anything, anytime. And then we may begin to understand that if some attempt is not made to manage the world with love, it will run mad and overwhelm everything, including the woods.

And so, we stay dropped-out. We won't, simply won't play the game any longer. We return to the prosperous consumer society and refuse to consume. And refuse to consume. And we do our thing for nothing. In truth, we live our protest. Everything we do is free because we are failures. We've got nothing to lose, so we've got nothing to lose.

We're not foiled anymore by the romantic trappings of the marketeers of expanded consciousness. Love isn't a dance concert with a light show at $3 a head. It isn't an Artist Liberation Front "Free" Fair with concessions for food and pseudo psychedelia. It is the SF Mime Troupe performing Free Shows in the parks while it is being crushed by a furious $15,000 debt. It is Arthur Lisch standing under a blue flag in Hunters Point scraping rust off the tin-can memorial to Matthew Johnson from two to five everyday. It is free food in the Panhandle where anyone can do anything with the food they bring to each other. It is Love. And when love does its thing it does it for love and separates itself from the false-witness of the Copsuckers and the Gladly Dead.

To Show Love is to fail. To love to fail is the Ideology of Failure. Show Love. Do your thing. Do it for FREE. Do it for Love. We can't fail. And Mr. Jones will never know what's happening here, do you Mr. Jones.

[Signed ---george metesky.]

Monday, April 25, 2011


Doug Paisley, a brilliant musician I've done some business work for over the past year and a half, is playing a series of solo acoustic shows in England and Europe starting tomorrow. fwiw, I recommend seeing him, unreservedly. He has a tremendous repertoire, and great improvisational skills — no two shows are alike. Go with someone you love. Or hope to love.

These are the dates:

Tuesday, April 26 - London, UK - The Slaughtered Lamb SOLD OUT

Wednesday, April 27 - Leeds, UK - Santiago

Thursday, April 28 - London, UK - Windmill

April 30, May 1 - Kilkenny, Ireland - Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival

Monday, May 2 - Belfast, Ireland - Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Wednesday, May 4 - Berlin, Germany - Crystal Club

Thursday, May 5 - Brest, France - Le Vauban

Saturday, May 7 - Paris, France - La Fleche d'Or


Sunday, April 24, 2011


Via Maggs Bros. Ltd, artwork for an OZ cover by the great Jim Leon...

John Coulthart: The Art of Jim Leon, 1938-2002


From Arthur No. 30's Letters to the Editor, a note from N. Shineywater of Brightblack Morning Light (pictured above in an undoctored photo by Trinie Dalton)...

Dear Summertime Friends,
Go and buy an inexpensive float. It can be for swimming pool use, or something more sturdy for waves. Take it to some water that you feel comfortable with. Not water where something must be proven or overcome, just a simple body of water. Even the LA River. Now climb on and float. Float as safely as possible, allowing your spine to relax into the float. You may want to tie a rope to a nearby pole & hold it while you are in the river. Social or alone, this activity brings about a change. Let the percentage of water within you exchange with water from a plastic float.
Nabob Shineywater

N. Shineywater has posted a remastered, extremely reverbed version of BBML's "Friend of Time on Soundcloud. I tried to embed it here but no dice. So, go here to hear it:

This is what N. Shineywater is up to now, from what I can tell: TENT

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


“Angus was a dream percussionist. A dream person.” -- Lou Reed

The Art and Life of Angus MacLise (1938 – 1979)
May 10 - May 29, 2011
curated by Johan Kugelberg and Will Swofford Cameron

Opening Party, May 10th,
6pm to 9pm at 521 W23rd Street

Art Exhibition
521 W 23rd Street, New York

Sound Installation
265 Canal Street, Suite 601, New York

Film Series at the Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue, New York, May 12th at 8 PM.

"This is the first overview of the lifework of a major American 20th century artistic polyglot..."

Continue reading: