Friday, September 19, 2014

Spotlight on ... Jean Echenoz Piano (2004)





'Since the publication of his first novel, Le Méridien de Greenwich (The Greenwich Meridian, 1979), Jean Echenoz’s reputation as a writer has described an ascendant trajectory, much like that of the space shuttle he puts on stage in Nous trois (We Three, 1992). With eleven books at the Editions de Minuit, he can now lay claim to a body of work that is as distinguished and as varied as that of any living novelist in France. It should be recalled that Minuit offered a home to the New Novel in the 1950s, launching figures such as Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, Michel Butor, Marguerite Duras, Robert Pinget, and Claude Simon into the literary ether.

'Though their theories and practices of the novel are more diverse than those of their precursors, it now seems clear that the new Minuit writers, most of whom inaugurated their careers in the 1980s (I’m thinking of people like Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Marie Redonnet, Eric Chevillard, Christian Oster, Marie NDiaye, and Christian Gailly, to name just a few), have done just as much as the New Novelists in terms of rethinking the fundamental terms of the novel as a cultural form and suggesting intriguing new paths for that form. Without a doubt moreover, Jean Echenoz has played a crucial, indeed determinative role in that dynamic.

'Piano is a French novel, a very French novel. The author won the Prix Goncourt for an earlier book and this one carries hints of Voltaire and Sartre. The publishers suggest that Piano can be read as a metaphor of life and death, heaven and hell; Dante is invoked. Daunting stuff, you might think. A thin book, it comes wrapped in heavyweight literary packaging — in France Jean Echenoz is rated alongside Beckett and Nabokov. But what lies inside this intellectual bombe surprise is a sharp, airy sorbet that slips down with great ease: an existential thriller of the sort that might once have been turned into a movie by Jean Cocteau. It’s a deadpan, elegant and wittily observed tragicomedy: posh French fun.

'In Piano, the musician protagonist Max spends the first section in a state of advanced alcoholism, to conquer stage fright, and the last two as dead, from which state he returns as "Paul" to the "urban zone" of life. A dead hero is entirely appropriate to classical subjects with Greek references. One could almost say that Max the pianist makes the transition from pathos to bathos when recycled as Paul. Others will no doubt invoke Virgil as Dante's guide through the Inferno, or even Sartre's "Hell is other people" from Huis Clos - to which, apart from the claustrophobia of the concert halls where Max performs, Piano happily bears no resemblance.

'It is perhaps a reflection of a modern inability to deal squarely with death that an afterlife so eludes our conception. Echenoz has, therefore, opted for the tradition of a public life on earth, where much is achieved despite the waste of personal experience. Max's Purgatory is something to be escaped at the earliest opportunity, even when founded on sensual fulfilment rather than denial; and Hell is the ultimate inescapable place, where disappointment is all.

'Echenoz uses dollops of interior monologue, which magnify Max's neuroses. In several instances, he becomes an intruding author, injecting playful asides, which are interesting but risky, as they are not at all germane to the plot. Even so, this device contributes garnish to an enjoyable read that stands out for its good writing and inventiveness.

'Echenoz has produced a superb and stunning body of fiction. His sense of pace is flawless. His characters wander into situations of dazzling incongruity as if the incongruous itself were the first principle of the human condition -- and upon finishing Piano, his readers, both amused and bemused, may be persuaded that such is indeed the case.' -- collaged



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Gallery









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Further

'Reading Jean Echenoz'
Hallucinating Rhythm: The Parisian Dreamscape of Jean Echenoz
'The Uses of Brevity:
Valuing the “No More to Be Said” in Jean Echenoz'

'Piano' @ The Complete Review
Jean Echenoz @ goodreads
'At last - a French novel that's just the ticket'
'Anthem for Doomed Youth:” Jean Echenoz’s 1914'
'How do you read a novel in another language?'
'The “Lightweight” Gallows Humor of Jean Echenoz
'A Window Onto Comic Tedium'
'Je ne vois pas bien ma place dans les académies'
Jean Echenoz @ France Culture
'Les facéties de Jean Echenoz'
Video: 'Jean Echenoz : écrire, un état prenant'
'Jean Echenoz, auteur postmoderne?'
'Jean Echenoz: "Je ne crois pas du tout à l'inspiration, plutôt à l'obstination"'



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Extras


Jean Echenoz, entretien, Interlignes, Dominique Antoine


Lydia Davis and Jean Echenoz read at the 92nd Street Y


Harry Mathews Le son de Jean Echenoz


Jean Echenoz vous présente son ouvrage "14"



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Interview




Et la discrétion dont vous vous entouriez ? Vous êtes-vous senti agressé ?

Jean Echenoz: Pas agressé, mais simplement fatigué, éprouvé par la médiatisation que ce prix engendre. Je suis resté allongé deux jours entiers après pour me reposer ! Et la " fausse " biographie que j'ai fait paraître pour les communiqués de presse n'était pas destinée à dérouter les journalistes et encore moins à se moquer de qui que ce soit, même si cette histoire me suit encore quinze ans après ! On m'avait demandé d'écrire une notice autobiographique. Un piège narcissique dans lequel je ne souhaitais pas tomber : j'ai écrit quatre lignes, ne souhaitant pas exposer certaines choses de ma vie ni commenter mon travail, puis je me suis aperçu que cela n'avait aucun intérêt. Et comme je suis un écrivain de fiction, je me suis servi d'elle et d'une sorte de pudeur pour écrire quelque chose de totalement différent.

Le goût de l'écriture ?

JE: Il m'est venu très jeune, vers dix douze ans. Je ne savais pas du tout la forme qu'il prendrait, presse ou autre ; mais la littérature étant ce qui m'a toujours passionné, c'est naturellement vers elle que je suis allé... Je composais souvent des petits textes, des commencements de fiction, des poèmes comme tout le monde (que j'ai heureusement perdus ! Rires…) et j'avais ébauché un roman épistolaire. Cet apprentissage tendait in fine vers le roman, et mes perspectives et ambitions ont rencontré le besoin urgent de la concrétisation. J'ai alors appris que l'on devait retravailler les premiers jets, revenir sur ce qui vient sous la plume pour lui donner une profondeur et un relief véritable.

Des événements, rencontres ou influences déterminantes ?

JE: Je relis certains écrivains de manière fréquente, tels que Flaubert, Nabokov, Queneau, qui sont pour moi des fenêtres importantes. La rencontre déterminante : mon éditeur. Je souhaitais publier chez Minuit depuis le début.

Vous vous êtes donc immédiatement tourné vers Jérôme Lindon ?

JE: Justement non ! Minuit me semblait tellement sérieuse, rigoureuse… Je n'osais pas leur envoyer mon travail, que j'estimais presque " indigne " d'elle, je pensais que les éditeurs ne l'accepteraient jamais. Je l'ai donc envoyé à toutes les autres maisons d'édition, et ma collection de lettres de refus était telle que j'ai pensé qu'il fallait que j'aie également celle de Minuit. La seule qui n'est pas venue…

Ecrivez-vous pour vous ou pour les autres ?

JE: J'écris pour moi en tant que lecteur. J'écris ce que je souhaiterais lire, espérant que mes vœux en rejoignent d'autres similaires. Je pense que l'écrivain n'a pas de mission précise ou de message particulier à transmettre ; il doit simplement un certain respect à l'écriture elle-même, à la fiction. L'écrivain doit offrir le témoignage d'amour de la prose et de la littérature le meilleur possible, le plus vrai, le plus passionné.

Vous sentez-vous crevé, vidé après avoir terminé l'écriture d'un roman ?

JE: L'écriture est très physique : donc crevé, mais pas vidé. La dernière version d'un ouvrage est la plus fatigante mais la plus intéressante, c'est également un temps ou d'autres idées naissent, où d'autres projets se mettent en place. Une période ou l'on se place dans " l'après ", ou, personnellement, j'essaie toujours de prendre le contre-pied de ce que j'ai dit et écrit auparavant… L'occasion de " casser une mécanique " qui s'est mise en place pour ne pas se répéter. Donc jamais de vide ; plutôt soulagé, libéré et déjà dans une réalisation future !

Dans une recherche de perfection ?

JE: Evidemment, comme tout écrivain qui se respecte et respecte son lecteur, quel qu'il soit. Je ne retravaille pas mes manuscrits avec l'éditeur, à une exception près, où il m'a aidé à revenir sur la fin d'un livre. J'en ai d'abord été catastrophé et suis rentré chez moi abattu. Je me suis penché à nouveau sur la partie en question, puis finalement sur l'ensemble. L'intervention de Jérôme et Irène a fait gagner à mon travail en qualité et en cohérence ; un bel exemple de la collaboration entre écrivain et éditeur qui porte ses fruits !

Vos voyages, source d'inspiration ?

JE: Je crois surtout à l'obstination dans l'écriture, et pas tellement à l'inspiration. Je suis parti en Inde dans la perspective d'utiliser certaines notes pour l'écriture de Les grandes blondes. En rentrant, il m'a semblé que tout le voyage n'avait été qu'un prétexte à prendre des vacances et à retrouver l'Inde, mais finalement ces écrits de deux mois m'ont beaucoup servi quelques temps après. Ce que j'avais failli jeter s'est révélé précieux.

Vos romans vous conduisent sans cesse à l'étranger, dans des périples et des endroits divers… Votre goût pour ces découpages spacio-temporels ?

JE: Cela tient sans doute à mon amour du mouvement, à mon attirance pour les départs, l'exploration incessante de lieux différents. Les lieux sont des moteurs de fiction aussi importants que les personnages ; et le découpage du temps, ternaire pour le voyage (visible dans les trois parties), binaire pour les protagonistes (les allers-retours de Félix à Delahaye) de Je m'en vais, viennent lui donner un rythme particulier je crois, même s'il n'était pas évident à agencer !



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Book

Jean Echenoz Piano
The New Press

'Max Delmarc, age fifty, is a famous concert pianist with two problems: the first is a paralyzing stage fright for which the second, alcohol, is the only treatment. In this unparalleled comedy from the Prix Goncourt–winning French novelist Jean Echenoz, we journey with Max, from the trials of his everyday life, through his untimely death, and on into the afterlife.

'After a brief stay in purgatory—part luxury hotel, part minimum security prison, under the supervision of deceased celebrities—Max is cast into an alarmingly familiar partition of hell, “the urban zone,” a dark and cloudy city much like his native Paris on an eternally bad day. Unable to play his beloved piano or stomach his needed drink, Max engages in a hapless struggle to piece his former life back together while searching in vain for the woman he once loved.

'An acclaimed bestseller with 50,000 copies sold in France, Piano is a sly, sardonic evocation of Dante and Sartre for the present day, the playful, daring masterpiece of a novelist at the top of his form.' -- The New Press


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Excerpts

One, slightly taller than average says nothing. Under a large, light-colored raincoat buttoned to the neck, he is wearing a black suit with a black bow tie. Small cufflinks with onyx-quartz mounts punctuate his immaculate wrists. He is, in short, very well dressed, though his pallid face and gaping eyes suggest a worried frame of mind. His white hair is brushed back. He is afraid. He is going to die a violent death in twenty-two days but, as he is yet unaware of this, that is not what he is afraid of.

*


After disembodied voices had given the countdown, the concert could begin. The conductor was fairly exasperating, full of mannered grimances, unctuous and enveloping motions, coded little signs addressed to different categories of performers, fingers on his lips and inopportune thrusts of his hips. Following his lead, the instrumentalists themselves began to act like wise guys: taking advantage of a frill in the score that allowed him to shine a little, to stand out from the masses for the space of a few measures, an oboist demonstrated extreme concentration, even overplaying it to win the right to a close-up. Thanks to several highlighted phrases allocated to them, two English horns also did their little number a moment later. And Max, who had quickly lost the scrap of stage fright that had held him that day and was even starting to feel bored, himself began to make pianist faces in turn, looking preoccupied, pulling his head deep into his shoulders or excessively arching his back, depending on the tempo; smiling at the instrument, the work, the very essence of music, himself — you have to keep interested somehow.

*


White in color and emerging from who knows where, this second figure seemed gently but firmly to admonish Yellow Bathrobe, who immediately vanished. Apparently White Silhouette then noticed Max, who watched it walk toward him, become transformed in its approach into a young woman who was the spitting image of Peggy Lee — tall, nurse’s blouse, very light hair pulled back and held with a hair tie. With the same implacable softness, she enjoined Max to go back into his room.

“You have to stay in here,” she said — moreover in Peggy Lee’s voice. “Someone will be here to see you soon.

“But,” started Max, getting no further, as the young woman immediately negated this incipient objection with a light rustllng of her fingers, deployed like a flight of birds in the air between them. When you get down to it, she did look phenomenally like Peggy Lee, the same kind of big, milk-fed blonde, with a fleshy, wide mouth, and excessive lower lip forming the permanent smile of a zealous camp counselor. More reassuring than arousing, she exuded complete wholesomeness and strict morals.

*


As nothing special is happening in this scene, we might take the time to look closely at this ticket. There's actually a lot that can be said about these tickets, about their secondary uses - toothpick, fingernail scraper, or paper cutter, guitar pick or plectrum, bookmark, crumb sweeper, conduit or straw for controlled substances, awning for a doll's house, micro-notebook, souvenir, or support for a phone number that you scribble for a girl in case of emergency - and their various fates - folded lengthwise in halves or quarters and liable to be slid under an engagement ring, signet ring, or wristwatch; folded in six or even eight in accordion fashion, ripped into confetti, peeled in a spiral like an apple, then tossed into the wastepaper-baskets of the metro system, on the floor of the system, between the tracks of the system, or even cast out of the system, in the gutter, the street, at home to play heads or tails: heads magnetic stripe, tails printed side - but perhaps this isn't the moment to go into all of that.




*

p.s. Hey. ** EmptyFrame, Hi. Well, of course it's weird, sad to read your enthusiastic comment from before the Scotland results. Urgh. It's always so hard to know/say what France thinks about anything since its name and borders don't enclose a monolith, obviously, and I don't how one would suss 'secretly pleased'. People I know here were very interested in the Scottish independence vote and supportive of the Yes side. Oh, you know, that Le Pen lurking like a shark thing is so overblown by the media outside of France, as scary as her slice of support is. It's interesting the fantasies, both pos and neg, that France inspires in the non-French. But, you know, I have this anti-generalization mindset, for better or worse. My understanding is that there are some kind of distribution deals in place for our film in the US, France, and I think in Germany, and I think the rest is a wait and see thing depend ending on how the film is received at festivals and what offers come as a result. There's a question as to whether the amount of actual, shown sex in the film, which is so much less than we had originally envisioned, will prevent it from getting a release in the UK, given the struct rules about such stuff there. We'll see. In any case, it's for cinema release, theoretically at least. Art cinemas at most, I would guess. No, the film was more clear-cut in script form, and it became much more abstract and impressionistic during its realization due to Zac's very poetic visual notions. Working with Zac on the film was a sublime, unmatchable experience, and we're already working on two more collaborations, a book and a screenplay. Hard to compare it to working with Gisele. It was similar but also very different. Love to you too, man, and hugs about the disappointing referendum results. ** Scunnard, Bjork to Blatz, ha ha. It's weird how the strictest and most basic of structures can cause hallucinations. Good question about Blatz. You've got me. I forget a lot that Blonde Redhead used to be so good. Recent stuff by them sounds bland as shit to me. The Faint! I have this huge guilty pleasure love for their song 'Agenda Suicide'. Wow, I don't think I've listened to The Residents in maybe ten, fifteen years. Curious how that holds us. My instincts gather that their stuff doesn't hold up at all and that they probably sound like a transgressive Weird Al Yankovic now or something. Right now I'm tracking down someone to organize the film's raw footage so Zac (and I to some degree) can start editing in about 3 weeks. Sad about the Scotland thing. Or at least sad from over here. ** Gregoryedwin, Hey! It's very cool thing to see you in here, man! Wowzer! Sure, ask me via email, and I promise that I will even look for it, open it, and respond swiftly, which is not something I'm normally good at. So ask away! So good to see you! ** Damien Ark, Hi, Damien! It's so weird when Blogger erases comments. It does that once in a while, and I have no idea what the problem is, and people with blogs always complain about that to the Blogger higher-ups, and it never gets fixed. Yeah, definitely, of course, and a big please about you writing something for here whenever you want and in whatever form you like. I'd be totally happy, honored, etc. Thanks! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yeah, Graeff was quite the character. Thanks for the link. Everyone, if you want to dig further into Tom Graeff, Mr. Ehrenstein provided a link to the Queer History Project page on Facebook where there's stuff about him. I will tell Christophe that, and he'll be very happy, I assure you. Cool! I hope someplace has the brains to publish it. ** Tosh Berman, Hi Tosh! Aw, thanks a lot, sir. I certainly can and do say the same about your place! ** Bill, Hi, Bill. I hadn't seen that. Cool. Everyone, d.l. Bill offers to link you over to a cool thing called 'These Portraits Of Moroccan Hipsters Are More Nuanced Than They Look'. A tap on those words is recommended. I hate when chaos isn't useful. Chaos really should behave itself and use its considerable powers for good. Sorry to hear that. What are you seeing and what are you preparing? Possible to say? ** Kier, Kier! You're there and here at the same time! Nice that you're hanging with Ottar. Jazz club, terrible band, hm, yeah, let me know how terrible it was. I think 'Homme au bain' is on DVD in the US. Hold on. I'll check. Yeah, here. How did you end up spending your night? My day was pretty uninteresting to describe. I mostly wrote emails and made phone calls trying to find that person we need to do the film footage organizing job. I'm hoping to get helpful responses today. I worked some on my novel and on Gisele's new theater piece. I continued the planning for Zac's and my NYC/Iceland trip. This favorite artist of mine asked me if I would write a recommendation letter re: his application for a Guggenheim grant, and I said yes, of course. Yeah, it was just one of those mostly stay at home and do regular stuff kind of day. I'll try to be more interesting today. Oh, you bet, about the alert on your show. Everyone, and especially anyone who's in or near Oslo, Norway, d.l. Kier aka the great artist Kier Cooke Sandvik is in a super interesting sounding group exhibition called 'Unshelling and Shelling Again', and it opens tonight at a space called Diorama, and if you're incredibly lucky enough to be able to go, do so, and here is all the information you need re: getting there and when and so forth. So, you no doubt had a very, very interesting day today and night tonight, and please tell me all about it. Love from Paris and me! ** Sypha, Yeah, the Jesus as hunk painting seemed like it was everywhere at one point. Think I'll skip the Butler then. I'm sorry about the pain you're feeling about your ex-friend's further removal from you. Hugs. ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal. I like your poems a whole lot. All of them even. They're super smart and graceful and surprising and complicated inside and weirdly, beautifully calm on the outside in this really intriguing way. Thank you, and it'll be great to get to know more of your work! Maybe you saw that the awesome Chris Dankland mentioned really liking your poems yesterday too. I can't remember much about 'Europa', but, yeah, 'El Topo' is very trippy. His film 'Holy Mountain' is too, if not even more so. Good cannibal movies ... hm, wow, I can't think of anything really great. I mean, the obvious ones like 'Cannibal Holocaust' and 'Ravenous' and 'Sweeney Todd' are cool. When I was working on my novel 'The Marbled Swarm' and researching cannibal stuff, someone recommended two cannibalism movies that he said were really gruesome but fun, and I never actually watched them. According to my notes, their titles are 'Human Pork Chop' and 'The Untold Story - Part 1&2'. Have a good day! ** _Black_Acrylic, I'm so sorry, Ben. I was really hoping. So many of us were. I hope you're doing okay. And I hope that, mere compensation though it would be, that the Cameron government ponies up with empowering stuff. Hugs. ** Steevee, Hi. Oh, cool, I look forward to both of your articles a lot! ** Delilah Hannu, Hi, Dovey! It's really lovely to see you! Thank you so much for thinking of my humble blog and speaking of Antonio's incredible importance to this place, to me, to us. I miss him and think about him all the time. Oh, that amazing video! I'm going to embed it for everyone. Everyone, Delilah Hannu is the mother of the late, extremely missed artist Antonio Urdiales, one of the most genius people I've ever known in my life and, for a long, amazing time, a regular and extremely important member of the commenting gang here. She linked us up to a great, crazy video Antonio made for this blog a few years ago called 'The Weaklings', and I'm going to embed it at the bottom of the p.s. so all of you can watch it. Thank you so much, Dovey, and I send you such great respect and love! ** Misanthrope, Hi. 'In that way', hm. Okay, if you say so, buddy, ha ha. Cool, I'll go look at the tiny little football guy running around minuscule-y as soon as I get the hell out of here. Thank you for it and for your diligence. ** Chris Dankland, Hi, Chris! Thanks a lot for reading Cal's poems and for speaking to him! Cool, yeah, that Andy Pratt album is a lost, overlooked classic, I think. His best by far. So glad you liked it. You're interviewing Alissa Nutting, very cool! Yeah, I get so stressed before I interview someone, and, like, whoa, so much so when it's someone I really admire. I mean, I had the chance to interview my god Robert Pollard for BOMB at one point, and I was so intimidated that I wound up canceling out, which I, of course, have forever regretted. In my experience, the pre-stress almost always ends up being a phantom fear based on trying to imagine and pre-determine what a one-on-one will be like, and it's never the scare-fest it seems like it would be when the interviewee is a victim of that weird, distorting combination of fandom and general self-doubts. I don't really going into interviews with a philosophy or anything. I will say that, for me, in-person interviews tend to go much, much better than phoners or interviews by email. And I think my luck there is really specific to me, and it has mostly to do with the fact that the people I interview often have a pre-set idea of what I'm going to be like based on my books and stuff, and then, of course, I'm nice and pretty un-intimidating in person, and I think that kind of surprises and confuses and relaxes them in some weird way that makes the interview/conversations go kind of smoothly and easily. That's my theory anyway. Look, you're a super-smart guy with a totally unique mind, and I swear to god if you just ask her questions that you personally are really interested to hear the answers to and avoid that thing where you construct questions based on what you think an interviewer 'should' ask her, it'll go great. And she seems really cool and nice whenever I see her presence do things in social media. Don't sweat it, really. Awesome if 'TMS' has invaded your dreams. I kind of wanted it to have the possibility of existing outside of itself and becoming a labyrinthine construction of the reader's autonomous imagination. Like, you know, a drug or something. Anyway, thank you, very cool. Let me know how the interview goes, if you don't mind. How is your stories-writing going? ** Rewritedept, Hi. Mm, maybe next week would be better. I really need to find and hire that guy, and it's not proving to be as easy as I hoped. My day wasn't boring, but, if I tried to describe it in detail, you would probably be bored. GbV split again? That's news to me. Oh, I don't know, it's all and always very fluid in that camp, so who knows? ** Hyemin K, Hi. Cold sesame noodle is the Bresson of edible substances in my book. Especially Szechuan style. It's totally okay about the post. Your own work is the infinitely more important thing. Thank you kindly for buying those books. I like 'Jerk', but I think the theatrical adaptation I did with Gisele is much better than the original text. ** Jeffrey Coleman, Hi, Jeff. I was happy to have the band camp links. The more the merrier, for sure. Thank you again a lot! ** Okay. A bit back in time, Chilly Jay Chill asked me if I had done a post on Jean Echenoz, and I realized that I hadn't, so I did, thanks to CJC. Echenoz is a big, respected deal in France, but he's a lot less known elsewhere, and he can be pretty great, so I hope you like discovering him, if you are a discoverer, or seeing the props, if you're already a fan. See you tomorrow.


ijĒŞǙŞ ҚĦŖİŞŢ aka Antonio Urdiales 'The Weaklings'

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tom Graeff Day

* all text culled from The Tom Graeff Project Website




'Tom Graeff was born Thomas Lockyear Graeff on September 12, 1929, to George and Grace Graeff in the now-vanished mining town of Ray, Arizona. Before Tom was two years old, he and his parents moved to Los Angeles, where Tom grew up and where his brother James was born. Discovering a love for film at an early age, Tom enrolled in the UCLA Theater Arts program, which allowed him to study filmmaking.



Home movie by Tom Graeff, date unknown


'Graeff pledged the Delta Chi fraternity and became a brother. His college career was marked by poor grades and after being put on academic probation several times, he redeemed himself by making a short film about fraternity life entitled Toast to Our Brother.

'The film starred Graeff and a Paramount ingenue named Judith Ames, and guest-starred the Hollywood actor and comedian Joe E. Brown, a UCLA alumni. Judith Ames, who appeared in When Worlds Collide, later changed her name to Rachel Ames and found success in the role of "Audrey Hardy," one of the longest-running characters on the popular American soap opera General Hospital. Toast to Our Brother premiered at the Village Theater in Westwood on December 18, 1951 as a benefit for the St. Sophia Building Fund. The film garnered some industry attention and, because of the work Graeff put into it as writer, director, producer, and star, he was allowed to graduate in 1952.



Toast to Our Brother - Clip 1


Toast to Our Brother - Clip 2


'After graduation, Graeff made several attempts to break into the film industry. Inspired by Roger Corman, Graeff decided to work independently. Described by friends and acquaintances as outgoing, energetic, creative, and a born salesman, Graeff landed a job producing and directing a recruiting film for Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California. The resulting 20-minute film, entitled The Orange Coast College Story, was first shown on campus in May of 1954. The film was narrated by actor Vincent Price, who was a friend of the faculty advisor, and starred a young actor named Chuck Roberts, who became romantically involved with Graeff and helped him by working on Graeff's two feature films.












Stills from The Orange Coast College Story


'In the summer of 1954, Graeff began production on his first feature, a fantasy/ comedy entitled The Noble Experiment, to be shot in 35mm and color in Orange County, California, where Graeff was now living with his parents and younger brother. The film was photographed by Austin McKinney, who also shot Toast to Our Brother and who invented the apparatus that allowed the pre-recorded dialogue to be played back on set so the actors could lipsync. This saved on having to rent sound recording equipment or having to post-dub the actors later. McKinney had devised a 16mm version of the device while filming Toast to Our Brother, but now created a 35mm version for Tom's first feature.

'The film took a year to complete and premiered at the Lido Theater in Newport Beach, California, on August 2, 1955. Graeff again played the lead in this fantasy that he describes as being "about an amateur biochemist who, successful with a chemical 'get-along pill' for his mother-in-law, pours a barrel full of the concoction into the city water supply." The film was not well received by the local audiences, but remained Graeff's favorite of his films.

'Today, no print of this film has been located. You can read Tom's own description of the plot and themes of the film here. While a fantasy, The Noble Experiment was both autobiographical and eerily prescient about Graeff's later troubles.




The only surviving images from The Noble Experiment


'His hard work paid off, however, when he was hired as an assistant on Roger Corman's film Not of This Earth in the summer of 1956. To cut costs, Roger Corman regularly used crew members to play small parts in his films. We know that Tom worked as an assistant on Corman's Not of This Earth. Now it's been confirmed that the car park attendant in two scenes is Tom.



Roger Corman's Not of This Earth


'The experience working with Roger Corman led directly to Graeff's writing a heart-felt science-fiction script entitled Killers from Outer Space and, modeling himself after Corman, Graeff set about getting investors, hiring actors, and planning the production. Securing some of the $14,000 budget from actor Gene Sterling, Graeff placed a small ad in The Hollywood Reporter looking for more investors. The ad was answered by British actor Bryan Pearson (billed as Bryan Grant), who put up $5000 in exchange for playing the role of Thor, the evil alien, and casting his wife Ursula Pearson (billed as Ursula Hansen) in the small role of Hilda.

'Filmed in the fall of 1956, the film changed titles several times before it was eventually released as Teenagers from Outer Space by Warner Brothers in June of 1959. The film, now considered a cult classic, tells the tale of Derek (played by Chuck Roberts, a.k.a David Love) a space alien with a conscience who must save Earth from an invasion of giant flesh-eating monsters. It was shot entirely on location in Hollywood, California. The final title of the film was apparently not Graeff's choice. The last title he gave to the film before selling it to Warner Brothers was The Boy From Out of This World.



Tom Graeff's Teenagers from Outer Space


'When it was finally released, it appeared as the lower part of a double bill alongside the second Godzilla film, Gigantis the Fire Monster, and was shown almost exclusively at drive-in theaters. Critics were not kind to the film, though Graeff was mentioned in the Los Angeles Times and Variety as a director with talent and a creative approach to a minimal budget. Audiences and theater exhibitors were vocal in their contempt for the film.

'In the early 1960s, however, the film was sold to television, where it played frequently for the next thirty years and gained a cult following as a supreme example of a film whose intentions far outstripped its budget and for its infamous ray gun that turned living things into instant skeletons, an effect lovingly borrowed by Tim Burton in his film Mars Attacks!.












Stills from Teenagers from Outer Space


'In November of 1959, Graeff bought a large advertisement in the Los Angeles Times, announcing that God had spoken to him and wanted him to spread peace and love throughout the world. This was followed by another advertisement announcing that Graeff was now named Jesus Christ II, and would be making an appearance on the steps of a Hollywood church to spread God's word.





'In 1960, Graeff appeared in the Los Angeles County Superior Court to petition for his name change. With vocal opposition by the Christian Defense League, the petition was denied. Later in 1960, Graeff interrupted a church service at the Hollywood Church of Christ, shouting "I'm Jesus Christ II and I've got a message. Everyone must listen." Graeff was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. This was actually his second arrest for disturbing the peace that year. Earlier he had disrupted a college class and had to be forcibly removed.






Tom Graeff leaving the Los Angeles Court House in 1960


'Sentenced to 90 days in jail, Graeff jumped bail and fled first to the Midwest, then farther east until more entanglements with the law and state authorities led to jail time and finally an involuntary stay in a state mental hospital. After a series of electro-shock treatments, he was returned to his parents in California by late 1964.

'Although Tom seemed to have given up filmmaking for involvement in various social and religious causes while a fugitive, he nonetheless was hired as editor on David L. Hewitt's ultra low-budget science fiction film Wizard of Mars in 1965.



David L. Hewitt's Wizard of Mars


'By 1968, he had completed a bizarre screenplay entitled alternately Please, Please Turn Me Off, The Immortalizer, and The Fate Worse Than Death. In early 1968, Graeff took out a small ad in Variety, announcing that his screenplay, now entitled Orf, was for sale for the unprecedented sum of $500,000. Gossip columnist Joyce Haber followed up and printed a sarcastic piece in the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Graeff claimed Robert Wise was attached and Carl Reiner was to star. Wise denied any involvement.

'Graeff, hurt by Haber's misquotes and nasty attitude, published an apology to Robert Wise in The Hollywood Reporter, accusing Haber of purposefully omitting facts and trying to destroy negotiations to get the script produced. Haber responded in her column by telling everyone in Hollywood of the Jesus Christ II incident ten years earlier.



Tom Graeff in the late '60s


'Tom's final years were obsessive and energetic. He lived in a beautiful home on Rodgerton in the Hollywood Hills, apparently serving as an assistant/helper to the house's owner. Tom was vague about how he got his money. He always seemed to have enough to get by, despite never holding down a regular job. He continued to try and interest the Hollywood elite in Orf. He called agents and actors all over the world, asking them to read his script, then following up with them until they said, "No." And they all said no.





'Tom was also running Evolutionary Data Foundation, a mail order business that primarily existed to sell a long-playing record of a lecture he gave at the Metropoloan Community Church. The record's front cover had a groovy picture of Jesus and the back cover proclaimed "UNABASHED LOVEMAKING and how sexual hypocrisy got started." The lecture is a wacky, often humor-filled explanation of why man is inherently bisexual, with stops along the way into the theories of Desmond Morris and Richard Leakey. The record was broadcast twice in its entirety on local radio station KPFK-FM in 1969.



Cover illustration of Tom Graeff's LP


'Ironically, the back cover text on the record claimed that one of its uses was to help end the suicides of men with "an inability to cope with the flood of convincing misinformation concerning their homosexual feelings." Tom talked about committing suicide endlessly to his circle of friends, who laughed him off or became annoyed at what they thought was a way for Tom to get attention and sympathy. Tom swung from manic highs, running around Hollywood trying to promote his projects, to depressed lows when he just sat quietly and said little.



The last known photograph of Tom Graeff


'What led to Tom's suicide? Was it that "inability to cope" with his homosexual feelings? Hearsay evidence points to a very different reason, which may also explain why he moved from Hollywood to a small rented room outside San Diego. Why were many of his papers destroyed after his suicide? And what does Kurt Vonnegut have to do with Tom Graeff? My research continues as I try and track down the facts behind Tom's last years. It's a tale of lust, unrequited love, Hollywood studio treachery, the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, big time dreams, and the crazy emotional roller coaster of Tom Graeff's obsessions.' -- The Tom Graeff Project



The Boy From Out of This World: Official Teaser Trailer







*

p.s. Hey. ** gucciCODYprada, Maestro! That 'despite' sucks, obviously, but the proximity to great health repair is soothing. Yeah, I tend to write by hand, and it's no sweat and kind of nice, but I think it was easier to get used to that method when your only other choice was a typewriter than it would be now. Anyway, I'm really glad you're getting some writing done, most obviously. Future life stress is totally natural, but you've got that 'god' given talent with words, so figuring that that will shape what happens makes sense, even if how that talent ends up exactly doing the trick isn't easily fathomable in advance. In some way, you kind of always want your life to be a mess 'cos mess means freedom, but it's just about creating a mess that's inspiring and not overly stressful or something. I don't know. Man, so fucking good to get to talk with you, and I'll hope to have some kind of at least initial reading report as I dig into your tome. Big love, me. ** Scunnard, Hi there, old buddy. I'm good, thanks. Ha ha, wow, I did that once. I mean I tried to listen to all my vinyl alphabetically, but I didn't make it past something kind of embarrassing like C. Skipping Ant-Flag is hilarious for some reason. Much funnier than skipping Antioch Arrow. I wonder why. I think the words 'Anti-Flag' and 'skip' must be a comedy duo or something. It's good day for me lately when I write a paragraph, so kudos. Super nice to see you! ** Empty Frame, Hey! It's you! How about dem apples, as people older than me used to say where I come from. Tricks are good. Glad your tricks are good too. I'm very pleased with what we shot of the film, yeah, very. And we'll start editing in about three weeks, and then we'll really see. Krasznahorkai is great, yeah. I've read a couple of his books, lead to him by Tarr. I'm following the Scottish referendum as best one can externally, yeah. Very excited and even kind of nervous about today. Yeah, I mean, I guess if I were Scottish and had to vote, I would try to think as broadly and intricately as I could about it before voting, but, if someone handed me a valid ballot today, I would vote Yes, obviously. Fingers crossed! ** Jeffrey Coleman, Hi, Jeff. Severed Heads are really worth investigating. I would say maybe get into the earlier stuff first. I think their strong start might be their best work. Maybe for the first time (?) ever, I know both of your music recommendations already, and I share your big up about their stuff. But I'll go see what you chose of them to highlight with links. That will be fun. Thanks a bunch, man. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, D. I saw her sing it once, maybe even at the same show you saw. I do think it was at the Whisky. It was super tense. I hope to see Christophe next week, so I'll see if he know anything about a US release. When I told him that 'Man at Bath' was released on DVD in the US, he was shocked. Happily shocked. But he had no idea it was out. ** James, Mm, as you may now know, I think my Halloween playlist would have taken a fair amount more than 20 minutes, at least without tasting and skipping, which is probably the method I would have used. I've wanted to see 'Blow Out' again. I saw it when it was originally released, and it just seemed like a weak if interestingly revised in theory wash-down of the Antonioni masterpiece, but time has a mysterious way of upending first impressions, god knows. Love to you too! ** Steevee, That is very good news about the Godard. Bow before the almighty false Goth god, Azer, Mime of Darkness! ** Sypha, Azer, Mime of Darkness is the Bresson of Goth-inflected youtube performers! Enjoying the Johnson. Have I ever read Octavia Butler? Hm, maybe not. How are you finding it to be? ** Etc etc etc, Hey, bud! Are you making good progress on the finagling? And/or on the prostituting? Sure hope so, obviously. My Halloween plan this year probably won't match up with my usual heavy indulgence in the holiday because I'll probably be in NYC watching a performance of 'Kindertotenlieder' that night. Although I will try to hit every NYC spooky house that exists and that I can manage. How was the 'Finnegan's Wake' oral thing? And, well, what was it exactly? Or what was the interpretation? My experience with 'FW' has been to dip in occasionally over time. Open to a random page, read a bunch, get wowed and excited, and then close the book and try to do something with that inspiration. I haven't heard Ariel's new album. I've known Ariel's work since kind of pre-the beginning. He was a Cal Arts student when I was in LA and heavily in the art world there, and he was great buds with a few young artists I know in LA, so I got to hear his earliest makings on cassette back when he was a visual artist using the cassette and tunefulness as his medium. And I knew him a bit 'cos he was the studio assistant of an artist who's a very close friend of mine before he 'blew up'. So, yeah. I haven't been as excited by the slicker phase of his work, but I always listen to the new thing to see what's up, and I definitely plan to get his new one. I'm well, thanks, and you sound pretty well. Tell me more. ** Dom Lyne, Hi, Dom! Really nice to see you! I'm really glad you're doing well post-hands-on-treatment or post- the more hands-on phase. And I'm obviously very happy that you'll be seeing that psych since you think seeing him again will assist you. And, even more obviously, I'm really glad you're writing! And, cool, I'll go check out the 'Transmissions' re-release! Great! Everyone, the wondrous writer Dom Lyne has rereleased his collection of interconnected short fiction pieces 'Transmissions' via the Smashwords eBook site, and you can go get and read it here, and I strongly encourage you to do so. ** Kier, Kiersterooni! You're training to Oslo. Sounds nice. Norway's so beautiful, and I hope the train track is wisely placed. Oh, your Danish friend finally went home. That's sad. I hope you guys can stay in touch somehow. I guess that's where Facebook can become more than a place for outrage addicted people to blow up about every little pop culture controversy and declare it a sign of the apocalypse. (Sorry, I'm in a 'fed up with my FB newsfeed' phase at the moment.) You left at 5 am? Yikes! So, let's see, it's 10 am here right now, so I guess you're on the train right now hopefully looking out the window at fjords and stuff. Putting wooden poles in the ground sounds simultaneously like, yeah, hard work and so beautiful somehow. I'm such a spoiled urban brat or something. Wednesday: Let's see ... worked a bit, which was good. This very cool band asked me to handwrite the track list and cover copy for their new EP 'cos they want to have my handwriting as the EP's cover art, and that was intriguing and fun, so, of course, I said, 'Sure.' Zac came over for a pre-trip goodbye visit, and I gave him his plane treats, and he had handmade me my favorite substance in the entire world (cold sesame noodle) as a return gift, and that was amazing, and I'm really sad that he's leaving, but at least he'll be back soon. He also gave me a back-up version of all of the footage and sound files for our film on a hard drive 'cos my last pre-editing task re: the film is to find/hire someone to organize the footage and sync the sound files so we can start editing as soon as Zac gets back, and I have to start hunting down someone to do that today. Then I made 1 1/2 blog posts and wrote some emails and ate the cold sesame noodles and swooned appropriately and then bedtime insistently encroached, and I crashed. So, are you hooked up internet-wise while you're in Oslo? If so, what happened today? How was the trip, how was your arrival, how did Oslo welcome you? ** Thomas Moronic, Hi, T. Do you even need to ask me if altering one of your guest-posts into a Halloween thing is okay? I mean, seriously, could anything be more okay than that? Please do! Re: my novel, I'm essentially at the point I was at a few months ago when I had to stop working on it full-time. It is hard to say. This novel is very different from my others in a lot of ways. It has the pre-determined structure and organization and so on like my others, but it requires a lot more spontaneity and intuition because it's generated entirely by my current emotional state and by what's going in my life and how my life and emotions influence my imagination, which makes my degree of progress much harder to gauge. I would say, best guess, I'm somewhere between half to two-thirds the way through the first draft, probably closer to two-thirds, or I hope so. There are four sections roughly written, and I'm the midst of the fifth section, and, ideally, there will be maybe two more sections that I haven't started working on yet. I'll be able to know and say more once I've locked myself back into novel work, which I'm hoping will be as of today or tomorrow at the latest. I really appreciate your asking me! ** _Black_Acrylic, Spooktacular! Thank you! Oh, man, even my quasi-French nails are being heavily bitten today. That poll is discouraging and, sadly, not a huge surprise to me, but, shit, fuck polls ultimately. Thank you very much for those links. I'll be following the results closely and addictively until my tiredness gets the best of me tonight. Best of the best of luck to Yes! Is there some big public gathering planned in Dundee where people can share the results as they happen and hopefully celebrate together? ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal! I'm really glad you came back! And thank you a bunch for linking me up to your poems. I'll go read them later today once I've got this post and p.s. launched. Yeah, thank you! Everyone, Cal Graves, a newcomer to the insides of this place, is a writer, and you can give him a big DC's welcome as well as give yourselves literary treats by clicking this link to his tumblr and reading some of his work. T'would be very cool of you did that. I just read the poem at the top of the page when I was creating that link, and it's beautiful, man! Coil's great, yeah, I do know Nurse with Wound. In fact, it seems weird to me that I didn't think to put them in the gig. Brain freeze or something. Yeah, I like them, and your characterization of their sound is really good. About our film's distribution, it is kind of early, but I think it has a distributor in the US and, I think, in France and in Germany, and I think, otherwise, the producers are waiting to see if they can score distributors based on a hopefully good reception at film festivals. I haven't seen a new movie in fucking ages. Other than Christophe Honore's 'Metamorphoses', which was really good. I need to catch up. Everyone, anyone seen any good movies lately? Cal asked. What movies have you seen lately? Anything particularly exciting? ** Misanthrope, Oh, too bad, I would like to see that tiny guy. I'll try to find him. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Little though he is. Well, okay, but straight is obviously not a problem for you when a guy is the main vocalist and most widespread crush object in a popular boy band, unless you harbor conspiracy theories about his secret leanings. That 'turning straight guys gay' thing seems so 20th century. My hair is wavy rather than curly. Always has been. That was the bane of my teenaged wannabe hippie phase. ** Hyemin K, Hi. Yeah, I never liked carrots, cooked or raw. I do like carrot cake, though. I've been a vegetarian since I was 16, and, sadly that didn't straighten my hair, so I think you're very lucky. A huge amount of work to do often makes me ill, or at least makes me phantom ill. It's always to tell the difference. Oh, gosh, blush, thank you. ** Kyler, Hi. If I'm in NYC as almost planned, I'll try to get to WSP. I'm not sure what'll be going on since I'll be there technically to do/take care of the 'Kindertotenlieder' shows even though Zac and I are using that as a partial excuse to use NYC as a place to have some Halloween fun. Too bad about the Murakami. I'll skip it. ** Rewritedept, Hi. I do try to elude expectations whenever I can. Except in Rob Zombie's case, but that song drives me crazy, so what can you do? Just so you know, for future reference, if Bradford saw you refer to him as Brad, he'd have a snit fit. Can't tell yet about the chat. I have to see how much work and time getting/hiring the film footage organizer will involve mostly. My day wasn't a Thrasher tape, although, while Zac and I were visiting, a woman's baby fell down a long flight of stairs causing her to scream hysterically at the top of her lungs, which caused the otherwise unhurt baby to cry at the top its lungs, and that was kind of Thrasher. ** Right. I found out recently about this Tom Graeff guy's life story and work, and I thought it was interesting (in some way) enough to share with you. And there you go. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gig #63: Halloween countdown post #2: SunnO))), Azer Mime of Darkness, Andy Pratt, Aphelion, Coil, Propergol, Colin Newman, Stalaggh, Awsomemcmetcalf15, Severed Heads, The Tomb of Ellery, Atlas Sound, Nico, Haus Arafna, School of Rock Portland, Death Grips, Ululate, Rob Zombie, Jason Crumer







The Tomb of Ellery




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Sunn O))) Hell-O)))-Ween
'There's a kind of bliss in the folds of "Hell-O)))-Ween"'s distorted bass and tensile, wavering electric guitars-- its thick, repetitive chord changes might be the steadily gaining footfalls of a giant whose friends have already left you beaten and bloodied. Appropriately, the song's second half descends into droning death knells of tonal squall, a requiem for humanity. On its surface, "Hell-O)))-Ween" are riffs made miles long by sustain. But that length is like a timeline, or a trajectory from the simple fears of man's formative years through the powerfully unsettling simplicity of two distorted guitars and an enormous bass cabinet. On White2, Sunn set their amps on "primeval."' -- Johnny Loftus






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Azer, Mime of Darkness w/ Raven & Tara Going Under
'Raven, Your Acid Bath Princess of the Darkness and her pal Tara are on a goth-lite freakout! In this early video that they made with their friend Azer, Mime of Darkness (whose father wouldn’t let him be on YouTube, but then didn’t care, so they posted it), we have a perfect introduction to our new “serious as death” friends. Azer, Mime of Darkness got caught going into the “prep mall” while they were being goth across the street at Hot Topic, causing his ousting. Death to false goth! Easy come, easy go. See ya Azer, Darkness!' -- Dangerous Minds






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Andy Pratt Inside Me Wants Out
'Andy Pratt's self-titled album is a very quirky, idiosyncratic album that definitely establishes Pratt as a major force in the singer-songwriter arena. He also sounds very depressed as many of the song titles indicate (e.g. "Inside Me Wants Out," "So Fine, (It's Frightening)"). However, this doesn't diminish the album's power or the particular style that is very much Pratt's own. "Inside Me Wants Out" is in the running as one of the most dismal songs ever recorded, and could seriously be used as a study tool for a psychology class -- Sigmund Freud would have a field day with it.' -- collaged






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Aphelion Door Frame
'Cool stuff from this Washington state artist. Soundwise, think the love child of Dissecting Table and Navicon Torture Technologies (with a few stray sperm cells from Winterkalte), that came out completely malformed and mishapen. 10 brutal creations fueled by anger and pain, spewing forth a barrage of relentless sound layers combining dark, chaotic noise with walls of blasting percussion, screams, samples, and just plain bedlam.' -- Tesco






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Coil The First Five Minutes After Death
'Coil's 1986 album Horse Rotorvator ends with "The First Five Minutes After Death". An instrumental that sums up the album. Cold, Dramatic, and Hopeless. With blaring horns, screeches, and instrument work that sounds like well, the first few minutes after death. It's like the last person in the apocalypse dying and looking on at all of the destruction before he moves on to the after life. The album could be too depressing for some. If you are considering suicide or are really down on your luck, I would suggest not listening to this. It is easily more sad than anything else I've heard.' -- Sputnik






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Propergol Outburst
'Crée au milieu des années 90, Propergol, projet unipersonnel Français, s’est imposé, après quelques CDR’s et plusieurs CD’s, comme l’une des meilleures formations apparues dans le domaine des musiques électroniques underground ces dernières années. Propergol tire son nom du carburant utilisé pour le fonctionnement d’engins spatiaux. A l’image de son appellation, Propergol est un brûlot, un concentré de solutions inflammables n’attendant qu’un allumeur pour y mettre le feu. Inutile d’ailleurs, car l’énergie dégagée par le groupe y suffit. Les morceaux les plus ambiants ne préfigurent jamais la paix ou la quiétude… Ils ne sont que le prélude d’une apocalypse à venir, le décollage d’un avion qui, tôt ou tard, s’écrasera.' -- TRP






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Colin Newman I've Waited Ages
'Though it doesn't quite have the all-encompassing range of the connotative title, Colin Newman's first solo record features the wildly imaginative streak that makes Wire's first three records so endlessly exciting. In fact, A-Z was supposed to be his band's fourth record, but their label saw things differently. A-Z's insular, cloistered nature gives the feel of a 3,000 piece puzzle with no jagged edges to be found -- everything seems obtuse and ovular. That said, it takes some deep listening to get a grip on. It might not be a Wire record in name, but A-Z truly deserves to be held in the same regard as Pink Flag, Chairs Missing, and 154. It might be really warped and utterly confusing at times, but it's riveting throughout. The CD version adds five tracks, most of them being very worthwhile.' -- collaged






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Stalaggh Untitled
'Stalaggh came into its futile existence around 2000, when members of the Dutch and Belgian black metal and ambient music scenes came together for the express purpose of making an album that would fill their listeners with despair. To help achieve that goal, they dispensed with the usual growling black metal singers and instead brought in mental patients. Apparently one of the members of the band works in an insane asylum and was able to get permission to work with some of the patients, under the guise of it being primal scream therapy. Allegedly, among the many “vocalists” the band has worked with in this way is a guy who was institutionalized for killing his mother by stabbing her 30 times.' -- collaged






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Awsomemcmetcalf15 If I Die Young
'i have another chanall its a65248'. -- Awsomemcmetcalf15






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Severed Heads Lower than the Grave
'Severed Heads are one of the longest surviving bands to emerge from the Australian post-punk independent music scene. They began in Sydney in 1979, incorporating elements of ‘industrial’ noise-generation, tape cutting & looping and electronic sound synthesis. After several releases in that vein, Severed Heads began incorporating various popular music tropes, such as a consistent 4/4 rhythm, strong melodic lines, and resolving chord arrangements. This move was underscored by the incorporation of mimetic devices, such as drum machines. The result was a striking hybrid of the avant-garde, EBM and Synth-pop. After many line-up changes featuring Gary Bradbury and psychedelic guitarist Simon Knuckey, Severed Heads was the vehicle for composer Tom Ellard. On 4th February 2008 Tom Ellard announced the end of the "Severed Heads". Severed Heads played very last live shows on the 16th and 17th December 2011.' -- collaged






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The Tomb of Ellery Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me
'This is our computer-controlled animated band that performs at our anual Halloween party. This year the boys sang "Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me" by Alice Cooper.' -- FresnoDoug






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Atlas Sound Coffin Trick
'Though it was Cox’s earliest musical incarnation, it wasn’t until 2008 that the first Atlas Sound album emerged, Let The Blind Lead Those Who See But Cannot Feel. The genesis of the record can be traced back to those sixth-grade musical experiments; a time when he discovered through reading a Beck interview that his family’s disused karaoke machine could be used as a rudimentary multi-tracking device. As Cox’s tirelessly updated blog attests, with its caverns of freely available covers, demos and mixtapes, such recording processes are central to his music, colouring the intimate feel of Atlas Sound in a manner more apparent than when writing under the guise of Deerhunter.' -- 4AD






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Nico Das Lied der Deutschen
'The most provocative and controversial song in Nico's entire repertoire, "Das Lied Der Deutschen" was the historical German national anthem, adopted during the post-World War I Weimar regime in 1922, but better known for its associations with the subsequent National Socialist government. By 1974, the first two verses of the song, including the opening lyric "Deutschland Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der welt " ("Germany, Germany, above all others, above all others in the world") had been outlawed in Germany for almost 30 years, and Nico knew, long before she recorded it, the effect it would have on listeners. What she did not expect, somewhat naïvely, was the depth of hatred that her actions would arouse. Her performance itself is stirring for all that. Her voice is simultaneously mocking and sincere, a combination which resolves itself into one of her most beautiful efforts ever.' -- collaged






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Haus Arafna Lucifer
'The name of the band is related to an euthanasia physician called F. Mennecke, but Mennecke's philosophy is definitely not important for us, and we don't even know his personal philosophy. He used to write regular letters to his wife. After a "selection" in the Bethel clinics for nervous diseases he wrote a letter that brought a special flair to the Arafna house and inspired us to name our band "Haus Arafna". The letter is quoted in extracts in the cover of our Blut CD. He wrote about the dinner he had in the hotel and by the way how much occupants he killed that day. We are interested in irrational things in general, especially in any kind of horror that happened behind closed doors, leading to the conclusion that one might ask what's happening inside some hidden or secret systems today. Apart from that, Haus Arafna is a pleasing name. We launched Haus Arafna, because we were full of energy and simply had to start off. There isn't more to talk about...' -- HA






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School of Rock Portland The Green Manalishi
'For over 15 years, School of Rock has been teaching kids and adults to play music through unique performance-based programs. The School of Rock Portland school opened in 2006, and has performed over a 100 shows often joined by local bands such as The Thermals, Red Fang, Portugal. The Man, The Decemberists, Blitzen Trapper, and many more. School of Rock Portland recently put on a show of all Melvins songs. Check out these awesome kids!' -- SOR Portland






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Death Grips Beware
'“Beware” follows an unnamed protagonist as he abandons his humanity, giving in to the anger and frustration in his mind and becoming a sort of monster among men. The song explores several, admittedly dark, themes, including: sacrifice, satanism, violence, intolerance, greed, rage, witchcraft and magick, and suicide. The introduction notably samples from an interview with American criminal Charles Manson. The song also samples Up To The Beach by Janes Addiction and Dickie Burtons God Is Watching.' -- Rap Genius






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Ululate Lunch-Carrion
'Chinese Black Metal band Ululate was formed from the ashes of another Black Metal band, which Spectre was a part of. His first CD, We Are Going To Eat You, was released in 2003 through Dying Art Productions. Lyrical themes include horror and zombies. The second CD, YaZi, was named for the town the songs on the album arebased off of. The album also includes live songs from a gig in Wuhan 2003 was released through Dying Art Productions in 2004.' -- collaged






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Rob Zombie Superbeast
'Shriek the lips / Across a ragged tongue / Convulsing together / Sing violently / Move the jaw / Cry out loud / Bound up the dead / Triumphantly // The ragged, they come / And the ragged, they kill / You pray so hard on bloody knees / The ragged, they come / And the ragged, they kill / Down in the cool air, I can see // Hey, yeah, I'm the one that you wanted / Hey, yeah, I'm your superbeast / Hey, yeah, I'm the one that you wanted / Hey, yeah, I'm your superbeast'. -- Rob Zombie






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Jason Crumer Betrayal After Betrayal
'Using powerfully clear electronics as a base for declarative noise bursts, Crumer manipulates the sounds with a resounding animosity. In the vein of past Hospital releases from Pedestrian Deposit and Air Conditioning, Crumer yields a mean streak and an array of silences over the course of the album. The theme here is personal relations with tracks like 'Betrayal After Betrayal' which has an almost conversational quality, both the screams and the muffles, the physicality. 'Pissed Off Response' is an actionist-influenced piece of torture. There's nothing not painful here, especially the quiet -- the peaks are almost a relief. Ottoman Black is a stern and unforgiving universe.' -- Volcanic Tongue







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p.s. Hey. ** James, Hi. I don't know Stanley Crawford's work at all, so I don't know if there are great similarities or not. I'll take your Happy Tuesday and raise you a Happy Wednesday. ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal. Welcome to here, and thank you for the love/hate, which makes total sense, and I'll accept that gratefully. Is it possible to read your writing? I would like to, if so. And, yeah, if you feel like hanging out here anytime, that would be very cool, and it would be great and interesting to get to know you. Take care, and thank you again. ** Chilly Jay Chill, Thank you, man. The photographs were a wonder. Yikes about your computer, but, obviously, everything on it has been backed the shit up, right? I hope it clears and refills lickety-split and asap. I'm just feeling/typing my way back into the novel in a mind-to-hands-on way now, and my plan is to work concentratedly on it beginning maybe even today, but starting tomorrow at the latest. Yeah, whew, the scary problem re: the editing turned out to be a unfulfilled theoretical scare, but it was nerve-wracking there for a while. Onwards and inwards and outwards now. All is very good here, thank you! ** Thomas Moronic, Oh, man, sweet and gratitude central about the blog posts! I'm in need, and your curating and artistic overseeing skills are unparalleled, natch, so, yeah, thank you so much! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yep, the new Honore exists. It's been in theaters here for a couple of weeks. It's really something, even for him, and it's gotten the best reviews he has had for a while, so, yeah. I hope it gets released in the States. ** Kier, K! I do get happy escort client emails sometimes. I also get quite a few emails from people asking me to put them in direct touch with the escorts and/or the slaves, but I don't do that. Definitely not into being their pimps. And, most of the time, by the time the post launches, I don't remember exactly where I found them anyway. Good, cool: Paris/Le Manoir date it is. Just tell me when is good whence when is figure-outable. Figureoutable isn't a real word? It was hot here too. Even gross hot. I hope your foot has healed itself from the inside out. Today is packing day! That should be fun, but I kind of like packing for some weird reason. Definitely more than unpacking. And you leave tomorrow, or tonight? No doubt about that new cover and cuteness. Lemme see. Tuesday: well, mm, first, the potential big problem with the film/editing got resolved, which was a huge relief. Briefly, what happened that, while going through the footage to organize it to give to whatever person we're about to hire to really organize it for us pre-editing, Zac discovered that the sound files for the second and third days of shooting of one particular scene were missing and that the sound guy for that scene had given us the sound file for the first day over and over. That scene has important, intricate sound that can't be redone or faked without ruining everything, so it was potentially a complete disaster, but, luckily, he tracked down the machine on which the sound was recorded and, miraculously, its memory had not yet been wiped, so we were able to retrieve the sound files we needed. So that happened. I wrote some. Zac's going away tomorrow to the States for three weeks, and I always give him plane treats, i.e. things to eat and play with on the plane, before he leaves for anywhere by air, so I traveled around Paris gathering things to give him, and that was fun, but it was really hot, like I said, so I wound up a sweaty mess. But at least everyone else around me was too. I saw a poster that announced that Kraftwerk are doing that big series of 3D concerts that they've doing at various spots around the world in Paris, and I got excited until I realized that it's while I'll be in Iceland, so, oh well, and I've seen Kraftwerk twice, so I guess it's okay. I think everything else that happened was uninteresting par-for-the-course type stuff. So, okay, today you packed and then ... left, prepared to leave? What happened? ** Steevee, Hi. Yeah, based on the bit I saw of 'Goodbye to Language', I thought it was really inspired and extraordinary. You're so lucky to have gotten to see the whole thing not only in the theater but presumably with subtitles. Awesome! ** Misanthrope, You were Mr. Delete yesterday. Did you reveal things about yourself that you had second, third, and fourth thoughts about or something? 'Mystery is interesting': truer words hath ne'er been spoke. I don't know, I don't think Ocean's being into guys would dissuade an attraction to him from women. It's all a big fantasy attraction anyway. If he's into guys, it would just make the fantasy even more exciting, right? I.e., 'even though Frank was into guys, when he saw me, .... '. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. One day to go! It must be super intense where you are! ** Hyemin K, Hi. I've heard that about eating late, of course, but I've also read in seemingly knowledgeable contexts that the 'eating late = unhealthy' thing is a myth, that it started as something mothers said to their kids, and that it somehow got turned into official medical advice when it never was. Like ... my grandmother insisted when I was a kid that, if I are carrots, it would make my hair curly. She meant that as positive thing, but the last thing in the world I wanted was curly hair, which might explain why I've never been a big fan of carrots. Anyway, as an extremely plain eater, your food sounds exciting to me. ** Sypha, Hi. Oh, then the company might actually have invented the term, huh. ** gucciCODYprada, Hey, man! You good or hopefully even great? Today is hopefully the last day when I am overly busy mopping up work on the film, and my plans is to restart reading (yours) and writing (mine) as of tomorrow at the latest, so it's almost happening, man. What's going on? Love, me. ** Rewritedept, Hi. I'll try on my end, timewise. I don't know, I've never done FaceTime. I'm not sure if I want to. Every time someone FaceTimes me, it feels like a wasp is flying in my face, and I immediately end the call. Mm, I don't know about March, to be honest. It's too early to say. I'll have to give my answer to your question in raincheck form. My day wasn't bad. See: my thing to Kier. Why butcher paper? I saw that signed setlist on my FB need. Very cool indeed. Wow, I'll do my best to make my Wednesday live up to your sparkling theoretical rendition of it, man. Big challenge. I like challenges usually. ** Okay. So, your next Halloween post is a seasonal gig curated to give you the spooks. Dare you click those arrows and potentially get the bejeezus scared out of you? One wonders. Do what I just suggested or don't, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chilly Jay Chill presents ... 50 Portraits by Malick Sidibe












































































































































































































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p.s. Hey. Today the masterful writer Jeff Jackson who plies his language around here as d.l. Chilly Jay Chill gives a big show of the beautiful photographs of Malick Sidbie, and, taking an educated guess, I would think your pleasure is foretold, even though pleasure is an autonomous thing and entirely in your hands, so, enjoy? Tell CJC what you think? Would be cool. Thank you, CJC aka JJ! ** David Ehrenstein, Yes! Well, the fine filmmaker and d.l. Aaron Mirkin messaged me the other week to point out said George Miles, former twink porn star turned escort, wondering if I knew of him, which I did not, strangely. One can mostly assume that he or whoever named him knew of my books, but, yeah, there you go. Trippy. ** Steevee, Hi. I third David's astonishment retroactively. Yeah, I was happy and piqued to not only find an escort so rashly political but who sold his looks so daringly as well. Exciting that you get to see the Godard. I've only seen a piece of it, but what I saw was really incredible. ** Bill, Hi. Yeah, I thought they were perhaps a slightly more charming batch than usual. I guess Konstantin is counting on there being some deep-seeded need amongst potential clients to get off by becoming subject matter? Doesn't seem impossible. That George Miles has his appeal, but, it's true, not so particularly to me. Points for the name though, duh. I think if the new Ohle has 'less of the fractured insanity' then I'm going to skip it since that insanity is kind of a -- if not the -- big appeal of his stuff for me. Thanks for the book report. ** Thomas Moronic, Cool, the escorts finagled their way into your imagination-plus-fingers-based output. Very nice and multilayered and subterraneous dialogue, sir. Thank you! ** Kier, Hi, K-ster! Thanks, buddy, about my luck with the escorts this month. I do sometimes wonder if people read the escort ad implants and are impressed enough by one or more to hunt through all the escort profile sites out there and find and hire them that way. Well, I know it has happened a few times because I've gotten the odd email from satisfied customers thanking me for the tips. And, on similarly rare occasion, I'll hear from an escort saying, 'Wow, weird', in so many words. Yeah, Zac and I seriously tried to make a doll of that video boy. Problem was, one, cost, of course, and, two, that the special effects company we approached said the video screen grabs weren't enough to go by if we wanted a truly realistic looking doll. No, I don't know Elias. I wish. Peter Sotos, who knows the Iceage guys, told me Elias is a fan of my books. I did meet and talk/hang out a bit with Iceage's bass player, who is a super lovely guy. Your arms are such troopers. They're always getting mildly trashed. You go to Oslo in two days? Or is it one day by now? That's so exciting. I can't wait to hear everything you can spill about that. Take photos! When you come visit Paris, I'll take you to Le Manor de Paris. It's really not a bad spooky house at all. My Monday was all right. I did the usual bit of not enough work on the novel and new theater piece. Made a blog post. Conferred with Zac about stuff, and got to hang out with him in the afternoon whereupon I gave him one of his birthday presents very late because it, or, rather the three thematically connected things that formed a collective it, took forever to get here from Japan where it/they originated. He seemed to like them. We found out about a scary possible problem with something to do with our film and the imminent editing that I can't talk about and that we hope very much will be resolved this morning with a gigantic whew. Walked around, ate stuff, blah blah. It was good. How was Tuesday? Are you busily getting ready for your trip? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Shit, it's only two days until the vote, right? Nerve-wracking, but I read something yesterday that it made it seem like 'Yes' has a seriously good chance, holy shit! I'll go hear what Irvine has to say, thanks! Everyone, here's _B_A with a share to those of you who are interested: 'Irvine Welsh gave a most eloquent, impassioned interview on Channel 4 News about the Independence issue. Some nimble-fingered person has it up on YouTube already, and IW says his piece from 03:30 onwards here.' ** Popzeus, Popzeus! Man, how seriously awesome! I mean that you came in here! Hugs! Oh, Forest of Fear! I've never had the opportunity to check it out, but it has seemed exciting enough in theory that I think I included it in my last two (2012/2013) Drool-worthy Halloween Spooky House posts, so I think I would seriously recommend that you go. Man, I would love to go. I would kill to, kind of. But I'm pretty sure I won't get to NYC until maybe the 29th, and I see that FoF very strangely and illogically ends on the 26th. Shit. No, you should definitely go. And tell me about it. I am having a great fall. And you? I pray you are as well. ** Misanthrope, Hi. I haven't checked out Daniel Tosh yet, and thank you for the red flag. Yeah, but Marvin Gaye looked really good, and he fit into the conventional body type of the sex symbol soul singer. Vandross (at one point) and White were big, big guys, but women were throwing their undergarments at them and stuff. Theoretically, it seems like that kind of mix/match could happen again, but I don't know of any examples. Obviously, there are very good artists/singers doing stuff in the soul realm. Steevee mentioned Frank Ocean, who's the obvious example, I guess. That Madden glitch is funny to imagine, you're right. I might even look at a youtube example. I didn't know those things about you. You are now more clarified. That's cool. I just tried to think of things people don't know about me, and I ended up feeling like people don't know everything about me, which, to me, was an interesting thing to realize that I thought. ** Postitbreakup, Hi, Josh. Nice, meaning-impacted and yet mysterious phrase, right? I thought so. How are you, pal? ** Sypha, Hi. Weird that a company would use the name Muzak given that word's really negative connotations. Unless that company has been around so long that they coined the term and it was subsequently dispersed through culture and degraded. ** Rewritedept, Hey! Very cool and no huge surprise that The Breeders were amazing. Nice. This week? Maybe towards the end of the week. The next few days are packed, but, yeah, maybe towards the end? Talk soon. ** Right. Now continue to enjoy the photographs of Malick Sibide, won't you, and feel warm and lucky re: Chilly Jay Chill's sharing of them? See you tomorrow.