Jacques Derrida interviews Ornette Coleman
Jacques Derrida: What do you think of the relationship between the precise event that constitutes the concert and pre-written music or improvised music? Do you think that pre-written music prevents the event from taking place?
Ornette Coleman: No. I don’t know if it’s true for language, but in jazz you can take a very old piece and do another version of it. What’s exciting is the memory that you bring to the present. What you’re talking about, the form that metamorphoses into other forms, I think it’s something healthy, but very rare.
JD: Perhaps you will agree with me on the fact that the very concept of improvisation verges upon reading, since what we often understand by improvisation is the creation of something new, yet something which doesn’t exclude the pre-written framework that makes it possible.
OC: That’s true.
JD: I am not an “Ornette Coleman expert,” but if I translate what you are doing into a domain that I know better, that of written language, the unique event that is produced only one time is nevertheless repeated in its very structure. Thus there is a repetition, in the work, that is intrinsic to the initial creation—that which compromises or complicates the concept of improvisation. Repetition is already in improvisation: thus when people want to trap you between improvisation and the pre-written, they are wrong.
OC: Repetition is as natural as the fact that the earth rotates.
JD: Do you think that your music and the way people act can or must change things, for example, on the political level or in the sexual relation? Can or should your role as an artist and composer have an effect on the state of things?
OC: No, I don’t believe so, but I think that many people have already experienced that before me, and if I start complaining, they’ll say to me, “Why are you com- plaining? We haven’t changed for this person that we admire more than you, so why should we change for you?” So basically I really don’t think so. I was in the South when minorities were oppressed, and I identified with them through music. I was in Texas, I started to play the saxophone and make a living for my family by playing on the radio. One day, I walked into a place that was full of gambling and prostitution, people arguing, and I saw a woman get stabbed—then I thought that I had to get out of there. I told my mother that I didn’t want to play this music any- more because I thought that I was only adding to all that suffering. She replied, “What’s got hold of you, you want somebody to pay you for your soul?” I hadn’t thought of that, and when she told me that, it was like I had been re-baptized.
JD: Your mother was very clear-headed.
OC: Yes, she was an intelligent woman. Ever since that day I’ve tried to find a way to avoid feeling guilty for doing something that other people don’t do.
JD: Have you succeeded?
OC: I don’t know, but bebop had emerged and I saw it as a way out. It’s an instru- mental music that isn’t connected to a certain scene, that can exist in a more normal setting. Wherever I was playing the blues, there were plenty of people without jobs who did nothing but gamble their money. Then I took up bebop, which was happening above all in New York, and I told myself that I had to go there. I was just about 17 years old, I left home and headed for the South.
JD: Before Los Angeles?
OC: Yes. I had long hair like the Beatles, this was at the beginning of the Fifties. So I headed for the South, and just like the police, black people beat me up on top of everything, they didn’t like me, I had too bizarre a look for them. They punched me in the face and demolished my sax. That was hard. Plus, I was with a group that played what we called “minstrel pipe-music,” and I tried to do bebop, I was making progress and I got myself hired. I was in New Orleans, I was going to see a very reli- gious family and I started to play in a “sanctified” church—when I was little, I played in church all the time. Ever since my mother said those words to me, I was looking for a music that I could play without feeling guilty for doing something. To this day I haven’t yet found it.
Kansas Barbed Wire Museum
La Crosse, Kansas
‘Names like Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, or “Wild” Bill Hickock instantly conjure up images of a wild West. Alongside these men, there is another name, perhaps not as familiar, but important just the same. So important, in fact, that without him, the wild West may never have been tamed. He was a banker, a businessman, and a farmer. He even served as the Sheriff of his community. However, is it for one of his first inventions that he is most well remembered. His name was Joseph Glidden and his invention changed the lifestyle of midwestern settlers.
‘The Spilger Barbed Wire Collection: Now on permanent exhibit, this collection of 2140 unique samples of barbed wire is one of the largest of its kind in existence. Although only slightly over 500 wires were actually patented, this collection includes numerous similar, but unique variations of patented wires along with many home-made designs. Nearly all known types of barbed wire from the most common to the most unusual are displayed.
‘The Fence Mender: A life-size diorama depicts a cowboy repairing his broken fence line by light of the moon. Under the starry skies, viewers can almost hear the cattle lowing on the hillside behind the thin strands of wire that protect a freshly planted crop. Visitors will learn that farming and ranching work does not stop when the sun goes down.
‘The Goedert Gallery of Rare Wires: Now under construction, this gallery will feature a magnificent collection of rare and unusual wires not currently on display in this or other museums. It will include some of the most beautiful examples of actual fence wires ever made. The gallery’s innovative design will present the collection in a new and attractive way.’ — KBWM
‘One of the more mysterious figures in the New York underground that circled around figures like Smith and Warhol, Piero Heliczer was born in Italy to a Polish father and German mother, appeared in films as a budding child star, before emigrating to the US in the ‘40s. Heliczer established the Dead Language Press in 1957, from Paris, where he would publish writings by Smith, along with beat authors such as Gregory Corso. He returned to the US in the ‘60s, via London – along the way, he would work with British film maker Jeff Keen, and create a number of excellent, mysterious films, all while working on his poetry (in 2001, Granary published a collection of Heliczer’s writings, A Purchase In The White Botanica). Heliczer was among the first to film the Velvet Underground, for his 1965 short, Venus In Furs; around this time, he also made Dirt, a deceptively simple film about which Jonas Mekas noted, “Its beauty is very personal and lyrical. And every frame of it is cinema.” It is, indeed, a lovely, understated work, which steals something of the everyday poetry of life from the air of the times.’ — Boiler Room
Heliczer, along with The Velvet Underground, also appeared on CBS News, for a brief segment on underground films – you can view that segment below.
Arthur Paul Pedrick
by The Dreadful Flying Glove
“Arthur Paul Pedrick was a prolific British inventor who filed for 162 United Kingdom patents between 1962 and his death in 1976. His inventions were notable for their almost complete lack of practical applicability.”
Arthur Paul Pedrick retired as a patent examiner for the UK Patent Office in 1962, and began filing patent applications. There are quite a lot of them, and they include “SWINGING, OR SUSPENDED, MULTI-DECK CITIES” (GB1203166, August 1970), “IMPROVEMENTS IN THE FLIGHT DIRECTION AND LOCATION OF GOLF BALLS” (GB1121630, July 1968), the relatively prosaic “AUTOMATIC BOOT & SHOE CLEANING MACHINE” (GB992921, May 1965), and “SONAR PULSE EMITTING SUBMARINE CABLE FOR GUIDANCE OF SURFACE AND SUBMARINE VESSELS, AND THEIR DETECTION WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO AN INVESTIGATION OF THE LOCH NESS MONSTER” (GB1206580, September 1970).
The lasting impression is of Wallace & Gromit as drafted by Borges.
Arthur Pedrick, not insane, created with great care and deliberation patent applications for inventions he knew could not, would not work. His insightful manipulation of patent law, specifically in the composition of his applications, is the key reason so many of his applications were accepted.
Apparently, Pedrick’s applications are commonly studied as demonstrations of loopholes and important details in patent law. I don’t know the first thing about any of that, though.
From “CRUCIFORM, KITE AND PARACHUTE AIRCRAFT” (GB1204649, December 1969): “It is certainly true that all forms and types of heavier-than-air craft are likely, from time to time, to go out of control and hit the ground violently.”
Elsewhere in his work, Pedrick becomes thoughtfully concerned with the inadequacies of humankind, as well as an apparent personal difficulty with the consistency of his golfing.
From (GB1203166, February 1970): “This invention is concerned, in general, with the future well being of the species “homo sapiens”, and in particular, with the design or construction of cities or large “connurbations”.
“The species “homo sapients” is basically, but not always, gregarious and is often herded together at high surface density in what are called “cities”. To accommodate more people such cities have tended to expand laterally, as in the case of London, or vertically, as in the case of New York. In neither case is this very efficient since the spread of a city laterally, like London, absorbs land that otherwise is arable, or useful for agricultural purposes, whereas the building of very high structures as in Manhattan in New York requires a journey to ground level to pass from the top of one such structure, such as the Empire State Building, to the top of, for example, the Pan Am building.”
A.P. Pedrick lived, as each of his applications reminds us, at 77 Hillfield Road, Selsey, Sussex. In the fullness of time, this location assumed grander titles. The “Hillfield Road, One Man Think-Tank Radiation Research Laboratory”, for instance, is the title given in Pedrick’s justly celebrated patent for a “PHOTON PUSH-PULL RADIATION DETECTOR FOR USE IN CHROMATICALLY SELECTIVE CAT FLAP CONTROL AND 1,000 MEGATON, EARTH-ORBITAL, PEACE-KEEPING BOMB” (GB1426698, April 1974).
GB1426698 begins in reasonable enough form, with an overview of the Crooke’s radiometer and Einstein’s 1905 Nobel-winning paper on the photoelectric effect, before pressing on into uncharted waters by postulating a new theory of the composition of a photon. This is expounded in two sides of exceptionally sadistic waffling, eventually arriving at the assertion that a mechanical device can be built to detect the colour of something, which allows Pedrick to design an automated cat flap that admits his own cat, Ginger, who is elderly and ginger, without admitting his neighbour’s cat, who is black and much younger and often eats Ginger’s food.
However, all of this is more or less set aside by the end of page 3, as Pedrick devotes a further couple of pages to documenting a conversation with his cat.
Ginger is of the opinion that there is an even better application for the photosensitive control. By way of a lengthy argument about the folly of nuclear brinksmanship, Ginger points out the same principle can be used in the construction of an Earth-orbiting Doomsday Device that will respond to any visible detonation of “H bomb carrying rockets” to “fall upon that part of the Earth’s surface from which the nuclear attack had originated.”
Not a shaggy dog story, not a figure of ridicule. If Pedrick didn’t exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.
The philosophy of Bill Murray
from The A.V. Club Blog
The existential nihilism of Meatballs
‘The idea that life is meaningless—and that free will is thus an illusion, given the utter senselessness of making any choices at all—has plagued philosophers ever since man first set useless pen to pointless paper. In centuries past, some writers have taken this to the extreme, arguing for suicide as the only solution, but others take a more existentialist tack, arguing that embracing that fundamental meaninglessness is an act of liberation. Take Arthur Schopenhauer, who (despite the negative, dismissive connotations of his advocating “pessimism”) argued that looking at life optimistically required intellectual dishonesty, and coming to terms with meaninglessness was the first step toward pursuing the basic human compassion that is our only true purpose. Those ideas form the basis of one of Murray’s most stirring, endlessly-adaptable-to-our-times monologues, a postmodern philosophical treatise delivered to North Star campers fearing another Olympiad trouncing by the rich kids at the Mohawk.
The “amor fati” of Ghostbusters
‘A favorite expression of Nietzsche, “amor fati” refers to an attitude of acceptance toward one’s fate—that even suffering and loss should be embraced, as they are all part of one’s destiny. In Ghostbusters, Murray’s Peter Venkman goes with the flow of fate like no other: Faced with the sudden closure of his paranormal research department, he revels in it as an opportunity, memorably saying, “Call it fate, call it luck, call it karma. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that we were destined to get thrown out of this dump.” Venkman’s abiding faith in predestination allows him to confront even the ugliest of horrors—like the dead rising from their graves and smearing ectoplasm on everything in sight—with an unflappable cool that verges on stoicism, the most extreme version of amor fati. That’s why he can deal with everything from the constant threat of bankruptcy to rejection by Sigourney Weaver (and her later transformation into a demon dog) to an imminent apocalypse at the hands of a Sumerian god, armed with nothing beyond stoic self-confidence and a bottomless arsenal of sarcastic quips.
The Pagliacci-ism of Quick Change
‘Crying-on-the-inside types have long related to Pagliacci, the classic opera first performed in 1892 about a lonely, jealous clown who murders his wife. Everyone from Smokey Robinson to Tony Soprano have name-checked the quintessential sad funnyman, but nobody embodies the archetype as perfectly and completely as Murray, who cast himself as an actual clown for his (so far) only directorial effort, 1990’s Quick Change. Murray plays the appropriately named Grimm, a stone-faced goofball who masterminds a successful bank robbery in Manhattan only to foul up the protracted getaway. While Quick Change was co-directed by screenwriter Howard Franklin, the movie’s painfully wry worldview is pure Murray: Failure is inevitable, and seeing the humor in this doesn’t make it any less soul-crushing.
The Buddhism of Groundhog Day
‘Though everyone from secular self-help therapists to Catholics have claimed it as their own, Groundhog Day is especially beloved by the Buddhists, who view it as an illustration of the notion of “samsara”—the endless cycle of birth and rebirth that can only be escaped when one achieves total enlightenment. In the film, Murray’s sarcastic, self-serving weatherman is forced to repeat a single day out of his life until he comes to terms with the Four Noble Truths: 1) Life is suffering (but that doesn’t mean you have to add to it by being a jerk). 2) The origin of suffering is attachment to desire (so don’t spend your days robbing banks, stuffing your face with danishes, and trying to bamboozle your way into Andie MacDowell’s pants). 3) There is a way out (by dedicating your time to bettering yourself), and 4) it involves following the “eightfold path,” which means revoking self-indulgence and becoming a “bodhisattva”—someone who acquires skills and uses them in the selfless service of others (like changing an old lady’s tire, saving kids who fall out of trees, and performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim). As a result of Murray’s generous acts, he receives the love of the whole town—a oneness with the universe—and is allowed to evolve past the cycle of samsara to nirvana. In this case, “nirvana” means renting a house in rural Pennsylvania and waking up next to Andie MacDowell every day, but hey, whatever makes him happy.
The asceticism of Rushmore
‘As practiced by certain sects of Hinduism, Jainists, and even Christians who reject the ideas of “prosperity theology” (and actually, you know, listen to Jesus), asceticism involves a conscious abstaining from worldly pleasures in favor of focusing on one’s spiritual life. While he doesn’t end up wandering the desert in sackcloth eating only what may fall into his bowl, Murray does arrive at these basic tenets of asceticism in Rushmore. Murray’s Herman Blume is a self-made tycoon with his own multimillion-dollar business and the lifestyle to match, yet he’s crippled by ennui, and despairing over the alienation he feels toward his family. Pursuit of a truer definition of love eventually tears his world apart—and wrecks him both financially and physically—but by movie’s end, Blume has undergone a total spiritual reawakening, and seems to have found happiness at last in his total unburdening.’ — Steven Hyden, Sean O’Neal, David Wolinsky
Home Movies from Hell: The Films of Luther Price
‘Luther Price is an anomaly on many levels. He’s gay but unwelcome by the gay community, which reviled him for the alleged homophobic excesses of Sodom. He invents alter-egos including the short-lived “Fag” and the more enduring “Tom Rhoads.” He’s worked as a waiter, played in bands (and started a country band), and “committed suicide” in one of his performance pieces via a candy overdose. Much of his personal history is mysterious, in spite of his frequent use of himself and his family and their history via photos and home movies in his films. He was nearly killed (and was heavily scarred) in a shooting accident in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s. He works in a disreputable format, appears in various guises in his own work from stylized, frozen-faced drag queen to naked performance artist to clown. And he occupies the same contested cultural space as artists like Karen Finley in being so controversial that his work has occasioned the immediate firing of programmers who have dared to show it. Increasingly revered as a filmmaker, he’s also made a strong impact in his sculpture, photography, and performance art.
‘Price’s film work has an oppressive intensity, envisioning an alienated world of often mindlessly repeated rituals and poses that entrap and suffocate his subjects. He sets up a constant dialogue between his compromised victim-subjects (often himself or his own family) and the equally compromised film stock itself. Images of ruptured flesh and ghostly birthday parties are further ruptured and drained of life by Price’s torturous manipulations of the film, which can include chemical processing, filters, optical printing, re-photography, and even holes punched in the frame. What emerges is Price’s great subject — the breaches, breakdowns, and collapse of body, family, and society, and by extension all of life, in the face of unstoppable philosophical forces. What makes it work is the nonstop flow of extraordinary, unforgettable imagery.’ — Gary Morris, Bright Lights Film Journal
Warm Broth (1988)
Meat (excerpt, 1991)
Kittens Grow Up (excerpt, 2007)
Sad Day Glad Day (excerpts, 2014)
Bruce Hainley interviews Wayne Koestenbaum
from Bidoun Magazine
Bruce Hainley: I’d like to begin this sitting on a bench at the intersection of poetry and politics. The title of your most recent book, Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, recalls an early essay of yours, which when first published was, I seem to remember, called ‘The Aryan Boy Who Pissed on My Father’s Head.’ I’m interested in the way your writing continuously pulls toward porn while retaining all its stern, Sontagian glamour and purpose. Where do you situate the porn-poem, or poem-porn, given the precedents of Shelley’s ‘Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’?
Wayne Koestenbaum: I’m ready to talk politics and poetry and everything else under the sun. I got splinters on my butt-cheeks from sitting so long on this bench. And then the splinters got infected. I was worried I’d have to amputate flesh gobbets. But then the Valium kicked in, with its little-studied antibiotic properties. So I’m raring to go, ass in gear. The porn-poem: to write a poem is pornographic, in the senses of wasteful, useless, awful, ignored, debased, hurdy-gurdy, repetitive, regressive, navel-gazing, ass-licking, time-killing, boring, ludicrous, transcendent, dilated. I’ve been reading mischevious L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E practitioner Charles Bernstein lately (he’s against National Poetry Month, thinks it’s bad for poetry). Also Slovenian writer Tomaz Salamun, also Austrian pathbreaker Ingeborg Bachmann. I’m feeling entranced, once again, by the possibilities of language that ignores the supervisor. It’s my regular May/June fever, the high of rediscovering poetry’s rankness, naughtiness. And, for me, these days, naughtiness exists in being minimal. Some of the most exciting pieces at the MoMA, New York, on a recent visit were by Walter De Maria and Ellsworth Kelly, nice old-fashioned staunch minimalists. Looking at them, I think I “got”-perhaps for the first time-what a thoroughly anal pleasure, like gin, minimalism can be, so spiked with content in its refusals and excisions, its “Why bother?” So “up there,” as Andy would say. Like a good old-fashioned hit of poppers. Like Warhol’s goodbye to art. Like rambunctious poet Ed Smith. Or Sturtevant. The porn-poem is there, where Smith meets Sturtevant. Poetry is politics on poppers?
BH: I was intrigued to hear your new aim is to be charmless. I found that breathtaking, a reveille. Art depends on finding new ways to be artless. To ignore the supervisor: does this equal embracing the charmless? Does the charmless have exemplars but no supervisors? Is it akin to Barthes’s “neutral,” the elusive, beige topic of one of his last seminars? I’m in a summer funk, the psychic equivalent of “June gloom,” I guess, not utterly unpleasant — the jacarandas bloom — but not simple, not simply.
WK: Ah, summer funk. I’m feeling it, too — though the peonies, globular and rain-damp and pendulous (actually, fallen) in the backyard (“the” backyard), push me a few inches closer to ebullience. Today I’ve been reading Ingeborg Bachmann very slowly and in German (with utter reliance on the en face English). Her version of our “l’heure bleue” is “die blaue Stunde”: is your funk blue (blau, bleu), or is it colorless, greige? Funk, in its blankness, its charmlessness (isn’t funk a state of being temporarily unable to be charmed by the world?), belongs to the fiefdom of text, or at least of a charmless, neutral, artless writing. Yes, Bruce, let’s set sail, the two of us, in our drunken boat, for charmlessness, for what Bachmann calls “toter Hafen” (“dead harbor”). Her early work was intensely lauded — she won gobs of prizes for her first two books of poetry. But then, at least officially, she stopped writing poetry, turned exclusively to prose. That swerve, that turn away, has something to do with a refusal to continue being charming, or else an acknowledgment that she was never very charming to begin with! I’m trying to think productively, and ecstatically, about being in a funk, since we both seem to be in one, and since so many of our shared reading pleasures (from Maurice Blanchot to Elizabeth Bishop, from James Schuyler to Jean-Jacques Schuhl) deal with turgid moods. I think, therefore I can’t move. I think, therefore I can’t write. I can’t write, therefore I write.
BH: Injection! — as Liz demands in Boom!, Josephy Losey’s Sardinian masterpiece. I wonder if a little bit of scorpion venom might recalibrate our moods? I see from an article in the paper that Rufus Wainwright will be, um, redoing Judy’s famous (infamous?) Carnegie Hall performance this week. According to the article’s writer and its subject, he’s too young to have a camp relation to Judy’s song. I’m interested in camp’s toxicity — its shame leaves residues no soap or ceremony can lustrate. I admire Rufus Wainwright, I admire his earnest trebling, but I would never confuse it with trial, the life, her own, that Judy sang. But why wouldn’t Rufus redo Liza with A “Z,” something in sync with his age and something that would, or someone who would, however rightly or wrongly, possibly, potentially, put him in touch with failure’s freefalls and the risk of camp’s radioactivity? I couldn’t believe that Wainwright invoked 9/11 to explain how he first came to listen to and appreciate the tonic garland of Judy’s Carnegie intervention. I don’t care if it’s true — as you state: “in this artifice that I call law” — but I do care that he doesn’t have the chic to say that he was raised on Judy and/or that he was just coming up for air from a three-day crystal-meth sex bender (who’s to say getting wasted-booze, orgies, pills — wouldn’t be a valiant way to pay homage to Judy?) and when he raised his head from the toilet the sound of Judy singing to Harold Arlen played in the background of the dive he woke up in.
WK: Confession: I’ve never heard Rufus W sing. Which means, I haven’t cared to cross the street. From afar, I groove on his “son” vibe — son to greater, other stars, a Liza frequency. Too young to have a camp relationship to Judy? That’s like saying, too young to understand how to look properly at a Cézanne. It’s called, do your homework. It’s called, Connoisseurship 101: how to recognize the watermark on the backside of a Dürer. Every time I listen again to Judy at Carnegie Hall, I take more and more seriously her vocal power as, what she calls it in one of her interstitial monologues, “work.” “When I work,” she says, “I get very warm.” She pronounces “warm” like the first syllable of “wombat.”
‘What moves the individual creative force? What propels a person to give a concrete form to the inner life. Words used to describe the motives of visionary artists – driven, moved, propelled – can be applied to the wind in our hair — an innocent delight in a breeze, or our awe at the natural power of a tornado. In both cases, we can make the connection between motion and the life force itself. . This desire to feel and master the wind and the compelling force to express and communicate our experience to others is not a coincidental relationship. A part of being human is wishing to be more. Our aspiration to break the bounds of the earth is akin to our desire to create “something from nothing.” I hope that you too are propelled into the visionary world and use the experience for your own creative energies, and most of all, enjoy the ride!’ — Susanne Theis
‘During the course of banging out club data, issue ‘pon issue, I have had the opportunity to come in contact with some pretty interesting characters. Among my favorites is Coconut Teaszer booker Len Fagan. Oftentimes, when I call him to get news about the Teaszer, or he calls me with something he’s genuinely excited about (y’see, Len is one of the few bookers to go out of his way to make my job a little easier), we end up shootin’ the proverbial shit about this and that. Local bands, the club scene, music in general—all come into our conversation. After rapping with him for a few months, I discovered that Len is no Johnny-come-lately to the L.A. club scene; in fact, his experiences on the ever-changing circuit date back to the sixties, when Fagan was a rabid rock fan and an inspiring drummer who logged time in several locally prominent bands. I found his memory for details, names, and incidents to be impeccable, and in most cases better than my recollection of last week. Len also remembers the geographical layout of the late sixties/early seventies club scene, so I asked him what he thought of hopping in a vehicle “cruisin’ Sunset” with yours truly, my trusty Panasonic interview recorder, and the Club Data staff driver, letting his recollections roll onto tape as we drove by the old haunts. He loved the idea, and we finally got around to taking the ride on July 16th. The following are some of the highlights of our trip, and though a lot of Len’s recollections lie on the cutting floor due to space limitations, this should nonetheless give you some idea of the excitement of those times.
‘This right here (the Aquarius Theater) was originally the Hullabaloo Club. The hip thing about it was, you could be 15-and-a-half and get in. They’d have everything from lame bands like the Lollipop Shop right up through the Doors. I remember Love used to play here, then they’d play another concert in the Valley the same night. After the Hullabaloo, it changed to the Aquarius Theater. New owners took it over and it became a much hipper place; their posters were round instead of square. When it was the Hullabaloo, on weekends after hours from 1:00 am until sunrise, they’d have new bands get up. You wouldn’t get paid, but they’d have a marathon of bands get up, and it was a big deal to get on that show. The Allman Brothers played there when they were the Hourglass. (We pull up in front of the current Gaslight.) This, for me, is where it all started. The first place I ever came to myself—and I was living in the Valley at the time—was right here to see Love. It was the summer of ’65. I couldn’t even get in the club—I used to sit here (on the sidewalk) and listen. Love would play the whole night, and it was completely packed. A few years later, the Iron Butterfly moved in and slept in this room (pointing upstairs over the entrance). They moved up here from San Diego, auditioned, and the club loved ’em and let ’em live in the room upstairs. They played here for months and would pack this place. It was called Bido Lido’s back then. I saw the Seeds here, when the first album came out, before “Pushin’ Too Hard” was a hit. The Doors played here, so did Spirit. ……I could go on and on. Look how tiny it is! A band’s gig here would usually be for a week straight, and if you were incredible, they’d hold you over.
‘I was in a group called the Rainmakers; we had a week-long gig here, and after the second or third night, our guitar player got sick and couldn’t do it. I had met Vincent Furnier outside the club here, and he was a real nice guy. At the last minute, I called up Vince, and his band the Nazz filled in for us. (Furnier and the Nazz would both later change their names to Alice Cooper.) The big break for them was, they met the booker of the Cheetah Club down in Venice, who fell in love with them, and that’s where they took up residency, and then they met (manager) Shep Gordon. Bido Lido’s went out of business around the end of ’67, early ’68.
‘The club we’re coming to now was called the Brave New World. Bido Lido’s and Brave New World were the smaller East Hollywood clubs where the bands would kinda start out. We would usually park at one of the clubs, and on any given night, walk between one and the next. The Brave New World was owned by a guy named Alan as I remember. Alan was also in the ……I don’t know how to say it…..the “X-rated girl” industry. He had something to do with naked women—-remember, I’m young at the time! The club was a members only club, so to speak—that’s how they got around some kind of licensing trip. If they knew you weren’t a cop, they’d let you in. This is where Love first played—probably late ’64—right up there at 1644 and 1642 Cherokee. The Stones were in town recording at RCA, and they went here to check out a group called the Bees—that was a big night. The Mothers played here before they were called the Mothers of Invention; if I remember, they spelled the name “Muthers.” Instead of a marquee, they had a flag on a flagpole with the band’s name.
‘We’re now in front of the Lingerie, which I first remember being the Red Velvet. They had a lot of black and soul groups. The Knickerbockers were the band that came out of here. This was a place that had your short-haired people, your lamer crowd.
‘Down there, at Santa Monica and Highland, was a club that not many people are goin’ to remember; it was in a big old warehouse. It was a gay club, mainly for lesbians, and a lot of the bigger bands would take gigs here, right next to the Bekins warehouse. The gig would start around 11 or 12 at night, and we’d take those gigs, ’cause they paid well. The Knack (a sixties teenybop band signed to a singles deal with—surprise—Capitol) and the Sons of Adam, who were a monster band, used to play there. Don’t even remember the name of the place.
‘They finally shut them down and they moved into the Valley on Ventura Boulevard. I remember our bass player coming back into the club freaked out because he took what he thought was a girl out to his car and found out it was a guy—we were kids at the time.
‘Here, at 7563 Sunset, was Ooh Poo Pah Do’s, which had live music; that was in ’72. And then Rodney (Bingenheimer) took it over and made it a disco, with English beer and English records. That was ’73 or ’74, and it was big for a couple of years.
‘Here, between Stanley and Curson, was a big club called The Experience. They had food here and ice-cream. This club was famous as a jam hangout—musicians who were in town playing bigger concerts elsewhere would come here after their shows or on the nights they were off to jam. I’ve been hoping to make the Teaszer conducive to impromptu jams, but it seems musicians today just aren’t into jamming. A shame. Hendrix jammed here all the time. There were always famous celebrities in the audience. There was a big picture of Hendrix (on the exterior front wall of the club), and his mouth was the front door—you’d walk in through his mouth!
‘The big summer for The Experience was ’69; it was probably here for a year-and-a-half, two years, maybe. I remember jamming here with some of the Quicksilver Messenger Service. The Blues Magoos played here on their way down; Alice Cooper played here on their way up—got booed off the stage.
‘(Sitting in the parking lot of the Teaszer at Crescent Heights.) The hippies hangout was right around here—it started from here down to Gazzarri’s. Pandora’s Box was right where that middle island was (in the middle of the intersection of Crescent Heights and Sunset). That wasn’t a real prestigious place to play. It was right on the beginning of the Strip, it was a purple building, and it was right there in the middle—a pretty weird location. You could be underage and still get in there. To be honest with you, I didn’t hang out there at all—I may have been in that club once. There was something about it that, in my mind, wasn’t hip.
‘We’re at the Comedy Store now, which was first called Ciro’s. The Byrds used to play here—this is where they really took off. Bob Dylan came in here after hearing about the Byrds playing his material electrically and gave his endorsement to them, which was a big boost to them making it. Before that, Ciro’s was a big hangout for Bogie and all that in the Forties. They later changed the name from Ciro’s to It’s Boss. Ciro’s was over 21; at It’s Boss, you could be fifteen-and-a-half. Ciro’s was definitely a big, big prestige club. It was open at least to ’73 ’74, but it was mainly a force in the late Sixties. (As a cop pulls up to give out parking tickets, we quietly pull away.)
‘Speaking of cops, back in ’64, ’65, ’66, when we used to drive down the street or the Strip, I used to smoke non-filter cigarettes. You had to be careful to have the brand on your mouthside; the cops were so lame that if they caught you with a cigarette with no filter and no name on it, they assumes you were smoking pot. This was when acid was still legal, by the way.
‘Right over here, at 8516, there was a tiny club called the Sea Witch. The capacity in that club was maybe 60 people. The thing about the Sea Witch that was neat was it was designed all out of raw wood and was supposed to look like a ship. That was another place on the Strip to play—always crowded. That was about ’64 to ’67. There’s the Playboy Building. On the far end of the Playboy Building there used to be a marquee, and that was a club called the Trip. I remember driving by and seeing on the marquee—I’ll never forget this—“Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable with the Velvet Underground and Nico”—on the goddamn marquee. Now what the fuck is that, right? I had no idea.
‘The white banana album had just come out, and the Velvet Underground moved into town, played there for at least a week or so, and rented a big castle up here in the hills, and they were very, very strange people. What was I, 18 at the time? To me it was scary. The Lovin’ Spoonful played at the Trip when they were at their biggest. The Byrds used to play at the Trip. That was ’65 through ’67, I think, when the Trip was at its biggest. Over 21 club. The Central used to be Filthy McNasty’s, where it was kind of a lame trip. It was here as far back as I can remember.
‘We are now at Clark and Sunset, the world-famous friggin’ Whisky A-Go-Go. This is it. When I first came here, the building was red, and there were little awnings up there all over the windows, and it looked like a French discotheque. Mario used to stand there, forever—always a fixture. The first time I was in the Whisky, I was hanging out right here; it was raining. It was either Moby Grape or Janis Joplin—somebody like that was playing inside—and I didn’t have the money, and I was huddled here listening. And Mario was over there and he yelled at me, “What’s the matter, don’t you have any money?” I go no. He goes “Get inside.” That was Mario for ya. Great guy. People say Bill Gazzari was the godfather of rock, but I think Mario was the godfather. He watched us all grow up here. I remember nights I’d come here, he’d grab me and say, “You look like shit. What are you on? You haven’t eaten in a week!” Drag me over to the bar and say, “Give him a hamburger —and you sit down and eat it!” The best. Nobody does that—who does that anymore?
‘Where Duke’s is now was a little club called the London Fog. The Doors played here; wasn’t open very long. It quickly became an upscale bar called Sneaky Pete’s.
‘Here (at 8923 Sunset) was the Galaxy. They had a flat marquee and an upstairs infamous for sexual promiscuity. A lot of good bands played here. Here, in between Clark and Hilldale, people were openly selling grass and acid. Love, on the Forever Changes album, have a song called, “Between Clark and Hilldale.” This one block was the throbbing heart of it all. When I first started coming into town, there was a Gazzarri’s here, and another one down on La Cienega that wasn’t quite as hip. This place always had the Gazzarri’s girls, the dancing trip.
‘The Roxy they opened around ’72, ’73, and the Rainbow opened around that same time. The Rainbow was supposed to be a place for the business people in the industry to come and take meetings. Because the musicians knew the industry people were going to be here, the musicians would hang out, and because the musicians were here, the groupies would come, and because the groupies were here, the wanna-be musicians would come. It just became a scene and it’s never stopped…..As we left the Strip, Len talked about the Fifth Estate and the Stratford on Sunset, as well as the Beach House and the Cheetah, both out on the Venice Pier. We drove past the Troubadour, an old venue called the Factory, and finally the Starwood, which was PJ’s in the Sixties and is now yet another mini-mall. “Everything that you see bands do now, has been done before,” Len told me. “Back then, someone would come along with something original. But it really was a different scene back then. You could always find a jam session at a club or some band’s communal house—24 hours a day.”‘ — S.L. Duff
Avital Ronell interviews Werner Herzog
‘Very interesting conversation between Werner Herzog and Avital Ronell. Herzog speaks German, Ronell speaks Philosophy, the discussion is in English and is then translated in French by two interpreters who are absolutely amazing because I can’t think of more difficult speakers to interpret… (coming from someone who had to interpret Mike Tyson and surrealist silent movies).
‘Une conversation passionnante entre Werner Herzog et Avital Ronell. Herzog parle allemand, Ronell parle philosophie, la discussion est en anglais et elle est traduite par deux interprêtes qui font un travail extraordinaire parce que je ne peux pas imaginer deux personnes plus obscures à traduire… (ceci venant de quelqu’un qui a du interprêter Mike Tyson et des films muets surréalistes).
‘Avital Ronell: “That’s what I wanted to evoke perhaps also in the Kantian sense of purposiveness which doesn’t have a purpose necessarily and is also part of your grammar.”
‘Translator: C’est cela vraiment que je voulais évoquer dans le sens Kantien d’une finalité sans fin, ce concept qui fait aussi partie de votre grammaire.”
‘OUCH! la finalité sans fin ??? Never mind, Werner is actually very interesting toward the end of the discussion when he takes strange questions from an even stranger audience. I find this video fascinating !
‘AIE AIE AIE ! la finalité sans fin !!! Pas grave, Werner est très intéressant et vers la fin de l’entretien il répond aux questions étranges des encore plus étranges participants. Cette vidéo a quelque chose de …fascinant !’ — Double Trouble
Rise and Fall of Michael Jackson – Numerology Reading
‘Michael Jackson was born as Michael Joseph Jackson on August 29th 1958, which makes him 2 born with lifepath as 6 in numerology. This is a very indication of fertile and creative mind, with both number 2 and 6 strongly signifies abundance of creativity in arts and entertainment. But number 29 as we have already discussed is a very emotional and unstable number which needs a strong name for that person to remain in a normal state. Its very evident that Michael Jackson had a series of health problems throughout his life, he undergone multiple cosmetic surgery and severely jeopardized his health, later he had skin related diseases which forced him to wear a mask on his nose. …
‘Michael Jackson comes to number 44 in numerology destiny, which comes 8 as a whole, this number 44 signifies heights of fame, success in initial stage of life but it throws one into valley of darkness in later part of life. Also i have explained you in many posts that with number 8,17,26,35,44,53 as a name one can never lead a happy and peaceful life, and their life will be full of controversies and scandals. Their marital life will be a great tragedy for name number as 8 in numerology. This is evident as even though Michael Jackson is the king of Pop, his personal life was a mess. He undergone divorce, painful accusations on molestation, and serious damage of reputation in his career. These things took over the peace within him, and the status of king of pop only made him uncomfortable and weak as a person. These are the traits of number 8 when used as a name, as it will give the glory and takes away the happiness. …
‘As far as the sexual allegations are concerned, Michael Jackson should have had a sexual weakness, its no wonder that his lifepath as 6 is the number which creates tremendous sexual urge for a person compared to person with other lifepath numbers. And its also prone to make a person explore things in these areas which makes Michael Jackson very likely to be involved in those scandalous cases. The online numerology analysis we have seen are pretty much suggestive. …
‘The death of Michael Jackson occurred on June 25th 2009, which comes 6 as lifepath in numerology. His lifepath is also number 6. And there is a strange thing that has to be noted here, as the death is not natural, or it cannot be natural. A person’s death on his same lifepath has something to do with sudden death or unnatural death. There are chances it may be suicide or poisoning as both elements are possible due to the influence of number 8 in his name and his birth date as 29, which sometimes can be suicidal.’ — astronlogia.com
p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi. As you probably know, there’s a longstanding rumor backed up by some debatable anecdotes and blurry photos that Axel was a street hustler in his pre-GnR days. Listening to the Buttholes is always a good thing. I think I’ll try that today. Okay, cool, I’ll definitely hunt down that film, even today if I can locate it anywhere. I’m okay, but I’m in a ‘really fed up with the quarantine’ moment. That’s not helped by the fact, as you may have read, the restrictions here have only gotten tighter. Now you can’t even go for a walk during the daylight hours, and Macron is supposedly going on TV to extend the quarantine again and possibly add even more restrictions like compulsory mask-wearing. So yesterday and so far this morning I’m feeling really burnt out on all of this. And yesterday suffered as a result. I didn’t do much. Bought some food, wrote some emails, exchanged some texts. But I’m determined to adjust and find fun of some sort today. We’ll see. How did you solve your restricted Thursday? Oh, if you didn’t see his comment, Ben/_Black_Acrylic thanked you for your Netflix tip as he and even his family really enjoyed it. Muzzled love, Dennis. ** David Ehrenstein, The WeHo dumpster guy was in the post: Billy London. I’ve had a number of friends who had porn careers. Most of them moved on to other things, or, rather, dropped the porn thing from their curriculum since about 3% of porn stars earn enough money doing it to only do that for a living, and they are fine. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. Yes, John Prine and Hal Wilner, very sad, both key people. ‘Wild Goose Lake’ is another one I’ve never heard of before. Must not have crossed the French border. ** _Black_Acrylic, Dominick saved the day! Great news about your excellent feedback. Take it to heart, man. ** Kyler, Hi. I sort of thought of that post as an anti-getting off thing, or I guess complicatedly getting off maybe, okay. Yes, congrats on the TV interview thing! I haven’t watched it yet but I will today. J.M. … unmentionable … oh, that J.M. I’m very accustomed to the fact that I am a very rare duck in my dislike of her things, so no big. Everyone, the mighty Kyler was interviewed on TV about his work (written and psychic). You can watch that so very simply by using this word as a magic little door. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G-man. Will definitely not even entertain the thought of reading that novel in question, thank you very much for saving me. ** Steve Erickson, I’ve heard that. I will investigate his early things then and will try not to let ‘Blade Runner 2’s’ miserableness influence me. Ha. Yes, McKamey’s downsized current variant is quite something or not something. It shows his dedication to the form. I admire that. Yesterday sucked for me too. It just all became too much, but it’s high time to find the evasive silver lining again. I think after making Zac’s and my films, and especially ‘LCTG’ with its degree of hardcore sex, which was very difficult to film/get to happen even in that laconic manifestation, I am pretty fully over my longtime dream to make the ‘Citizen Kane’ of gay porn films, yeah. Never say never, of course. I think I would still be into writing a porn film but only for a director who could actually make it and whom I trusted/ respected. But not a ton of chance of that happening. ** Okay. Here’s another restoration of another of my old compendium posts of things that interested me but not enough to warrant a whole post basically. Please fish around and find some stuff or two or more of interest. See you tomorrow.