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:

Monday, April 11, 2011


Detroit Wild City
Florent Tillon, France, 2010, 80 minutes

Screens Saturday, May 7 at DOXA: Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver

Detroit Wild City: Vimeo page

Detroit Wild City: Facebook

Thursday, April 7, 2011


From "Into the Mystic" by the music journalist Robert Palmer, originally published in the March 23, 1989 Rolling Stone and collected in Blues & Chaos, the Palmer omnibus (2009, Scribner):

From my hotel window, I hear the dogs—Tangier is known for having more, and louder, dogs than any other city—barking across the distances. The late Brion Gysin—painter, poet, visionary, patron of the Master Musicians who live in the mountain village of Jajouka, and influence on artists ranging from Burroughs to Paul Bowles, the Rolling Stones to David Bowie, Iggy Pop to Patti Smith—taught me to listen to the dogs when I lived here in the early seventies. He claimed he had cracked the dogs' code and used to provide a running translation: "Everything okay there? Enough food? People good?" And from miles away in the suburbs the responses would come back: "Good food here, but people beat us." "Out here we're hungry."

Now the enormous speakers of the Mosque Mohammed V crackles, and the honey-voiced muezzin's cantillation of verses from the Koran ricochets off the white walls of the city, quieting the dogs. The chanting forms a sonic grid that focuses, or perhaps completes, the City as Ideal Form: The community of the faithful is being irradiated by harmonics of degree and distance. Tangier's cunningly balanced architecture of surfaces, arches and crenelated towers servers as a kind of transformer for the spiritual electricity of the muezzin's call. In Morocco there are different kinds of electricity. This kind is called baraka, a kind of psychic current that certain holy places, sounds and people absorb and hold like storage batteries. The receptive can plug into these power sources—without getting fried, one hopes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Thank you A. L.!


Been thinking about Mount Tamalpais lately, as a consequence of reading a recently completed "determination of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places" for Druid Heights, the woodsy community-in-the-woods co-founded by radical lesbian poet Elsa Gidlow in 1953. (There's a good-sized feature on Druid Heights in Arthur No. 16, excerpted from Erik Davis's Visionary State guidebook with a new sidebar and other material.)

The teacher Alan Watts completed several books while he was living in Druid Heights on Mount Tamalpais, and, being in a contemplative mode more often now that I live in near-wilderness, I obtained Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown: A Mountain Journal (dedicated, by the way, to Watt's longtime friend/collaborator/rascal Henry "Sandy" Jacobs, who was extensively profiled in Arthur No. 26) which includes Watts's essay, 'On the Art of Contemplation.' I'll get to that some other time. What's caught my eye/mind so far, especially/also in light of all the recent hubbub over James Gleick's The Information, is this bit (pun intended) from another essay, 'The Zero-One Amazement,' dated September 1, 1971, written in the afterglow of studying G. Spencer Brown's Laws of Form:

So the first distinction is between none and one (or 0 and 1). This is the yin (negative) and yang (positive) polarity of the Book of Changes, which Leibniz read in a Latin translation, and which gave him the idea that all numbers could be represented by the figures 0 and 1, so that for the series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 we have 001, 010, 100, 101, 110, etc., which is now the arithmetic used by digital computers.

I suppose this I Ching-Leibniz-binary code connection is common knowledge, but I had no idea. Alan Watts!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Vanilla Fudge, 2011, Jimmy Fallon, doing one of their signature jams, a cover of the Supremes' 'You Keep Me Hanging On.' No Tim Bogert (2005 motorcycle accident apparently has him in retirement), but...WOW.


Sunday, April 3, 2011


Excerpt from Liars Biography 2009:

"The earliest seeds of this record grew out of a strong distaste for America's love affair with positive thinking," explains [Angus] Andrew. "The almost mandatory cultural attitude of being upbeat, cheerful and optimistic and how it's supposed to be the key to success and prosperity. How this can make people feel unworthy—full of self-blame for not having the right sunny outlook—and make it easy to develop a morbid preoccupation with eradicating 'negative' thoughts. Our experience of this was everywhere and compounded by living in the land of lost dreams—LA.

"Positivity can be a crippling habit. The people who are sick or jobless—they just aren't thinking positively.

"When we began writing, Obama was just elected and the country was perfecting its science of happiness. But at the same time the anger in LA was palpable with protests over the outcome of Prop 8 banning gay marriage in California. Simultaneously, the big economic downturn, based on some giant refusal to consider negative outcomes, was everywhere. It was an interesting moment that seemed to encapsulate how the great tide of positivity could leave many stranded in its wake."