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If my dreams manifested on earth, what would I find? Probably some broken candles lighting the poster from All Things Must Pass, talking ducks and dogs, the SSPS tape I have been listening to constantly would be playing in some phantom unseen stereo. My most trusted High John the Conqueroo roots would line every pocket. Restaurants I went to would all have Jesse DeRosa leading the house band. Endless pizza with no worries about my triglycerides. I would still have the haircut I had when I was 16 (One eyed surfer.) Oh wait, that's reality, sans haircut. What are my dreams?
I walked into another man's dream world the other day. Well, sort of, it is a collection of the amazing things that Ronald W. Lewis has witnessed as a citizen of the 9th ward of New Orleans. Mardi Gras Indians, beads, Skeleton Krewes, mystic orders, it goes on and on. He spins an amazing tale and has a grasp at what really is important in life: Love, family, community. These are the things he holds dear.
1 cruise ship, 4 days, 42 bands, 2,000 people. Welcome to my recap of the 70,000 Tons of Metal "vacation event!" Check out the giant photo album, and this week's edition of Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine with 70,000 Tons of tuneage! When the cabin was booked, about 20 bands were listed for the cruise. The promise was 40; it was so far off that it didn't feel like it was real. At that time, Death Angel (photo at right), Iced Earth, Fear Factory, Agent Steel, Testament, Exodus and Forbidden were some of the already confirmed bands. I don't remember worrying if they would really book a full 40. The lineup was already more than adequate! The crap weather hit the Northeast just in time, and a Miami/Cozumel retreat looked like a pretty damn good idea. I had my misgivings, of course...this whole concept was such foreign territory in terms of how things were going to work in the collision of the cruise and metal worlds-and I thought it might not be pretty. I anticipated fights, things getting broken, people and suitcases going overboard, lots of vomit ... there definitely were things that lent themselves to going wrong.
"The so-called 'professional's' worst handicap, in making anything, is that his knowledge sets into him and concretizes all his thought, thus blocking him from creative adventure..." Stan Brakhage, introduction to Lenny Lipton's Independent Filmmaking (1972)
Brakhage was fond of quoting Maya Deren’s etymological derivation of “amateur” from the Latin amator, or “lover”; that is, “one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity.” And, indeed, cinema is unusual in that most of its avant-garde development has been initiated by so-called (or self-professed) amateurs. Take Marie Menken, for example: the very definition of the amateur, whose films were originally made on a 16mm Bolex, shown to her friends in intimate settings, and generally derided as trifles by her husband, poet-filmmaker-professor Willard Maas. Ironically, history and criticism have been kinder to Menken’s films—Sitney’s Eyes Upside Down (2008) has seen to that—and she is now generally considered one of the most formative influences on the New American Cinema and on Brakhage in particular.
All of this came to mind as I sat through the contents of two upcoming programs at Anthology Film Archives, Orphans Redux (Friday the 21st) and Amateur Night: Home Movies From American Archives (Saturday the 22nd). For the sake of continuity, let me begin with the latter program and circle back around to the first.
Where was I? Ah, yes—amateur filmmakers. Their relationship to the avant-garde is a natural one, if only because so many respected artists have embraced an amateur aesthetic. While most home movies offer little of artistic value, they may remind us of experimental films we have seen—and vice versa. The two overlap most obviously in the “diary film”, whose most important contributor is perhaps Anthology’s own Jonas Mekas, and in extreme cases of found footage work, such as Hollis Frampton or Ken Jacobs signing their names to anonymous films of their liking. When does a filmmaker first become professionalized? Is Saul Levine less of an amateur filmmaker because his work is featured in Artforum?
Amateur Night is a compilation film by Dwight Swanson that vacillates between an urge to explicate and the desire to let this material speak for itself; not going far enough in either direction is ultimately its weakness. For example, Amateur Night often employs DVD-style commentary by those who knew the filmmakers, yet the film’s ambivalence leaves one wishing to know more about the larger picture of home moviemaking in America: some discussion of popular formats, when they were introduced and their socio-economic basis would have been enlightening, particularly as some of these pieces were made on rather obscure gauges like 9.5 and 28mm. Still, there are a number of interesting films here, some of which are marred by poor contemporary soundtracks. There is even some home footage of Hitchcock in England toward the end of the 1920s, though this is not terribly exciting stuff on a visual/visceral level. Indeed, the least interesting works tend to be those that ape commercial standards, like the Christmas fantasy of Margaret Conneely’s Fairy Princess (1955), Homer C. Pickens’ documentary Smokey Bear (1950), C. C. Minnich’s slapstick/trick film The Coker Avenue Gang (1930), or Dr. Frank S. Zach’s motion picture pamphlet Welcome San Francisco Movie Makers (1960). On the other hand, there are intriguing instances of citizen journalism like Naokichi Hashizume’s Heart Mountain Relocation Center (1945), which documents a Japanese family’s sojourn from Los Angeles to the Santa Anita Assembly Center and finally Wyoming during WWII; Morris Margolin’s Innsbruck (1953), an Austrian travelogue; Louis C. Harris’ Atom Bomb (1953), a newspaperman’s home movie of Operation Upshot-Knothole; and Lower 9th Ward (2005) by Helen Hill, who was murdered the following year after returning to New Orleans.
Wallace Kelly’s Our Day (1938) is the most technically accomplished film here, and was named to the National Film Registry in 2007; it’s a very interesting piece of middle class ritual, an attempt by the Kelly family of Lebanon, Kentucky to define their particular brand of rural happiness in the midst of the Depression (see video below). But my favorite films were the pastoral Naushon Sheep Drive (1915) by one of Emerson’s grandsons, Alexander Forbes, which creates some wonderfully accelerating rhythms amid all the hard cuts and sun flares, and, oddly enough, Nixon Visits Idaho Falls (1971), a document of lost innocence as teenagers singing “we are Americans, we hope that you are too” clamor to shake the infamous president’s hand. The most avant-garde piece is certainly David H. Jarret’s Butt Shakers (1959), a Super-8 silent film found at a Pittsburgh flea market by that city’s Orgone Cinema group. Filmed in the Hill District, “the center for music and night life between New York and Chicago," we see a group of young African-American dancers flanked by people engaged in conversation and newcomers at the door. Halfway through this excerpt, the filmmaker began dabbling with double exposures, perhaps winding the film back in the camera and shooting over the same material; now we have people relaxing in the kitchen while ghostly bodies vibrate in the air like free radicals. I say “avant-garde” because superimposition is the one filmmaking technique which is never used to clarify or disseminate information and is, therefore, pure poetry.
Orphans Redux is a selection from the 7th Orphan Film Symposium, a bi-annual event organized by Dan Streible. The gathering, which took place at New York University back in April, featured works by Andy Warhol, Gustav Deutsch, and Ed Bland’s The Cry of Jazz (also at Anthology not long ago) as part of its 80 miscellaneous presentations under the broad heading of “Moving Images Around the World.” I say presentations because the films are generally accompanied by scholarly work—Friday’s show will feature introductions by Charles Musser, Bill Brand and Mark Cooper, among others. Some of the oddities include Chinese Motion Picture Studio (1934), a Movietone reel supposedly offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Chinese film industry, but whose repetitions of hackneyed dramaturgic formulas are more likely to recall experiments by Peter Kubelka and Martin Arnold with commercial detritus; Cartier-Bresson and Herbert Klein’s With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain (1938), a propaganda film in the newsreel style which depicts those wounded fighting against fascism and desperately implores the audience to donate money for their cause (scholar Juan Salas makes some interesting connections between Lincoln Brigade, Buñuel, and Bataille’s brand of surrealism); experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller’s home movie of the March on Washington (1963); Lidia García Millán’s Color (1958), a recently restored experimental film from Uruguay that reminds one of Menken’s Drips in Strips (1961), exploding the myth that paint on film is somehow just moving paint and nothing more; and the Miles Bros.’ A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire (1906), which AFA’s program notes wryly call “a highly unusual, lyrical, and even structural single-take film,” with full knowledge that this is the same piece structural filmmaker Ernie Gehr used to make Eureka (1974) after Annette Michelson showed it to him in Europe.
Of particular note is Scott Nixon’s The Augustas (1930s-1950s), shot on both 8 and 16mm and compiled by a traveling salesman whose 26,000 feet of footage is now in the archives of the University of South Carolina; this particular entity being restored by the National Film Preservation Foundation. The Augustas is a peculiar kind of travelogue, documenting 38 sites bearing that name across the U.S., from Augusta, KS to Augusta Springs, VA to Augusta Street in Savannah, GA. The use of “Augusta,” with its etymology of “august: great or venerable,” is perhaps ironic in light of the drab rural and small-town settings documented by Nixon. None of these locations is of historical import, yet they are brought together under the umbrella of an abstract sound-pattern—which is, perhaps, the same principle that led Hollis Frampton to make Zorns Lemma (1970), organizing disparate signposts under the guiding hand of alphabetized typography. Nixon’s use of “Augusta” has the same delicious tension between what Northrop Frye called an “anagogic” realm, or “language as existing in its own universe, no longer a commentary on life or reality,” and a recalcitrant reality that bears an irreducible ‘local color,’ an absolute connection to geographic space, at its heart.
Orphans Redux is playing on Friday, January 21, at 7:30 PM, and Amateur Night on Saturday, January 22, at 7:30 PM, at Anthology Film Archives, corner of Second and Second.
Tags: Alexander Forbes, Alfred Hitchcock, Amateur Night, Annette Michelson, Anthology Film Archives, Bill Brand, C. C. Minnich, Charles Musser, Chinese Motion Picture Studio, Dan Streible, David H. Jarret, Dr. Frank S. Zach, Dwight Swanson, Ed Emshwiller, Ernie Gehr, found footage, Helen Hill, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Herbert Klein, Hollis Frampton, home movies, Homer C. Pickens, Jonas Mekas, Juan Salas, Ken Jacobs, Lenny Lipton, Lidia Garcia Millan, Louis C. Harris, Margaret Conneely, Marie Menken, Mark Cooper, Martin Arnold, Maya Deren, Miles Bros., Morris Margolin, Movietone, Naokichi Hashizume, National Film Preservation Foundation, National Film Registry, Nixon Visits Idaho Falls, Orgone Cinema, Orphan Film Symposium, Orphans Redux, P. Adams Sitney, Peter Kubelka, Pittsburgh Hill District, Rachel Grimes, Saul Levine, Scott Nixon, Stan Brakhage, The Augustas, University of South Carolina, Wallace Kelly, Willard Maas
Somewhere in the back of my head is the spectre of a quote by Neil Gaiman, probably from or about American Gods, where he talks about how roadside attractions are America's sacred spaces. Maybe I imagined it, and true or not, it's something that I think about when I come across places like the Mother-In-Law Lounge, a New Orleans temple and shrine to the self proclaimed Emperor of the Universe, Ernie K-Doe. You know Ernie K-Doe from his 1961 hit single Mother-In-Law, and you can Paul Harvey the rest of his story at his Wikipedia page here.
Under the impression it was still a happening venue I headed over there with Crow Hill Gnostic Temple's Sister Jillian to check it out Saturday afternoon. It was weird, even though the outside is covered with vibrant, beautiful and exquisite murals it seemed like the life was gone. We took some pics (below!), hung out and moved on. Sunday afternoon we happened to bump into a person featured on one of the murals, the world class puppet mistress Miss Pussycat, and she informed us we missed the last show there by just a week.
WFMU is taking pledges RIGHT NOW to send Station Manager Ken aloft with helium balloons! Pledge now to help us reach our goal by noon! For every $1000 we raise, we'll fill up a balloon and tie it to Ken, who is in the WFMU parking lot in his favorite lawn chair. If we're successful, Ken will lift off!
One week from today (December 8th), WFMU will be taking pledges over the air to send Station Manager Ken aloft with helium balloons! Tune in or watch our live video feed to witness the madness firsthand! The pre-game show begins at 9am, and we'll be taking pledges 11am-noon.
The launchpad: WFMU's parking lot. The vessel: Ken's favorite lawn chair. The fuel: your pledges, realized as giant helium balloons; for every $1000 we raise, we'll attach another balloon to Ken.
If we're successful, we'll raise $180,000, and Ken will lift off! Pledge online or over the phone between 11am and noon on December 8th at (800) 989-9368. We've even got shiny new swag for the taking: a t-shirt designed by Tom Frost, and a WFMU baseball cap! Help us make radio history!
“You guys are having fun at the expense of new travel security measures. And they are a pain in the butt, no doubt. But there is a problem and you're not offering alternatives to a real problem. Why aren't you in any way critical of the reasons for the necessity of these things? Just wondering.”
Since we’re having a special guest (Rudy Delson!) on our next show, we thought we’d answer Listener Steve here on the Blog.
1: The TSA scanners are a virtual strip search. The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ...” How is it reasonable to require every single traveler to submit to a strip search?
2. The TSA scanners are not safe. Jason Bell, a molecular biologist and biophysicist, has reviewed the TSA’s own safety reports, and has concluded that people should opt for the pat-down search rather than go through the scanners. Here are some (long) quotes:
“Essentially, it appears that an X-ray beam is rastered across the body, which highlights the importance of one of the specific concerns raised by the UCSF scientists... what happens if the machine fails, or gets stuck, during a raster. How much radiation would a person's eye, hand, testicle, stomach, etc be exposed to during such a failure. What is the failure rate of these machines? What is the failure rate in an operational environment? Who services the machine? What is the decay rate of the filter? What is the decay rate of the shielding material? …These questions have not been answered to any satisfaction …”
“… the statement that one scan is equivalent to 2-3 minutes of your flight is VERY misleading. …relating non-absorbing cosmic radiation to tissue absorbing man-made radiation is simply misleading and wrong. ... a total body dose is misleading, because there is differential absorption in some tissues. … Even more alarming is that because the radiation energy is the same for all adults, children, or infants, the relative absorbed dose is twice as high for small children and infants because they have a smaller body mass (both total and tissue specific) to distribute the dose. Alarmingly, the radiation dose to an infant's testes and skeleton is 60-fold higher than the absorbed dose to an adult brain!”
There is much more, including Bell’s call for the TSA agents to be equipped with radiation badges to monitor their own exposure. You can read Bell’s full post here.
(Thanks to BoingBoing for the link.)
3. BUT! You don’t have to go through the scanners, you can opt for the “pat down.” Still an unreasonable search, and guess what? The TSA agents don’t change their gloves for each one! That hand going down your pants carries the cooties of 1,000 junk-touchings. The TSA’s own blog has a lot of posts about the problem they’ve had with spreading scabies at Boston’s Logan Airport. Scabies today, flesh-eating bacteria tomorrow, n’est-ce pas?
Finally, to address Listener Steve’s question about the “necessity” of strip searching all travelers: What is the reason for it, really? Does it really make traveling safer? Really?
There is a lot at stake for the hundreds of Roma (Gypsy) and Serbian bands that play at Guča: prestige, bragging rights, and most important, money. Most of the brass bands make a living playing at weddings and other celebrations marking rites of passage. Guča is THE place to get noticed and gain notoriety. It’s like the brass equivalent of a networking event.
I traveled to Guča with a group of six filmmakers from the Meerkat Media Collective, to film a feature-length documentary called Brasslands. Over the past year we have been following the NY Balkan brass band heavyweights Zlatne Uste as they gear up to compete in Guča’s international competition round. Once we arrived in Guča we were introduced to Demiran Ćerimović and His Orkestar, a Roma band from the South of Serbia.
The tracks featured here are by four-time Guča winner Demiran Ćerimović and his Orkestar. They competed in this year’s finals round. I recorded Demiran on two occasions. Some tracks were recorded in the informal setting of a restaurant concert, where the band played for tips. You can even hear some of the customers in the background. The other two recordings were made behind a school before the competition finals.
Keep your eyes and ears out for the film Brasslands, which chronicles Demiran, as well as other brass luminaries (Goran Bregovic, Dejan Petrovic, Marko Markovic). To view the trailer and movie stills, and more music visit www.brasslands.com.
This is a post by Adam Pogoff of the Meerkat Media Collective, who will be Rob Weisberg's guest on Transpacific Sound Paradise this Saturday 6-9pm ET
Last month, Billy Jam had asked me to help him with a remote broadcast on September 10th, to which I obliged happily, not entirely taking note where it was going to be. I put the date/time in my schedule and was going to get the details closer to the broadcast. I got directions emailed to me a day before the remote and the descriptions "treacherous", "fire trap", "sketchy", "caution", "down the cliff", and "deadly", were all within the body of this email. As was "X Ray Burns"... I thought to myself "this is either going to be a blast, or it'll be the last day of my life!" I packed my bathing suit and went headfirst into the broadcast that Billy titled "Dirty Jersey: Throw the Needle in the River": featuring Bill Rapp, Wheeler Antabanez, The Two Maks (Weird NJ), X-Ray Burns, Diane Kamikaze, DEMER, & Gentrified. All NJ aficionados, homeboys, homebodies, historians, hooligans or devotees, in their own way. If you haven't checked out the archive of the show, check this minute long YouTube blast for a taste of how the entire 3 hours went down - and literally almost washed down the river if it weren't for some quick troubleshooting by Liz Berg back at the compound.
Posted by dianekamikaze on September 13, 2010 at 04:18 AM in Art, Billy Jam's Posts, Comics, Diane Kamikaze's Posts, Film, History, Music, New Jersey, Photography, Radio, Science, Travel, Video Clips, WFMU in General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: BillyJam, boating, Dianekamikaze, dioxin, FishandChips, Kearny, NJ, Passaic, WeirdNJ, WFMU, Wheeler Antabanez
This weekend in NYC, there are a number of great happenings to choose from. At 1pm Saturday, Generation Records plays host to Tesco Vee's Hate Police as a freebie, and while you're at it, pick up a copy of the recently pressed Touch & Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83 book, which he'll be selling there. Published by Bazillion Points books, it includes every issue of the legendary zine and is over 500 pages long in full 8.5" X 11" format. Also in attendance will be DS/Dave Stimson, who co-wrote, edited and copied the zine along with Mr. Vee, so if you want the two of them to sign it for you, Generation would be the place to be. Check out this past week's edition of Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine where Tesco Vee, Dave Stimson, John Brannon (photo, right), vocalist of Negative Approach and Paul Richard of Adrenalin OD were guests, with program sparked by the release of the Touch and Go collection, as well as Tony Rettman's book, "Why Be Something That You're Not" Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985". With the aforementioned guests was also Ian Christe of Bazillion Points- publishers of the Touch & Go book. Check out the archive here: we spun a bunch of (mostly midwest and east coast) hardcore, had a few laughs and heard some really great recollections, along with one or two record geek moments. Later Saturday at Santo's Party House on Lafayette (website says 4pm but it also says Sunday-which is incorrect) is the Chronic Youth/Santos Bash with Negative Approach headlining. On that bill is the Pissed Jeans, Tesco Vee's Hate Police, Hellmouth and Mind Eraser. Other shows on Saturday: At the Acheron; Starkweather, Raw Radar War, The Communion (an upcoming guest on Wm. Berger's My Castle of Quiet program) and Panzerbastard, and at Gramercy; Exodus, Malevolent Creation, Holy Grail and Bonded By Blood.
Looking for a vacation a little further out into the future? Try this: October 22nd to the 24th in the southern California desert, there will be a 3 day Mad Max reenactment festival. Check out the details here.
Oh, you say you're a long term planner? Well, OK I've got you covered there as well. From January 24th-28th you can go on a heavy metal cruise- with, at last count, no less than 20 bands playing from Miami to Cancun and back. Roster sample: Amon Amarth, Marduk, Saxon and Trouble! 70,000 tons of metal, indeed! Happy planning!
The August 16th episode of Talk's Cheap featured live music from two bands who are part of the "Columbia Diaspora". This term's been used to describe a mass musical migration from Columbia Missouri to Chicago in the early/mid oughts, led by scene progenitors Mahjongg and Warhammer 48k, resulting in groups like Michael Columbia and Chandeliers. The Columbia expats brought a new sound infusion to Chicago -- ranging from brute sludge to new wave dance -- which has continued to develop and branch off into new forms. The expats found a home in Griffin Rodriguez/Blue Hawaii's Shape Shoppe recording studio, and may have drawn some inspiration from the city's musical history (I'm especially thinking of 80s electronic/house and late 90s rhythmic post-rock), but these sounds are not textbook 'chicago' music by any means. It's more like diaspora music from some delocalized point in the future, where electronic elements like drum triggers, computer sequencers, and vocoders have become extensions of the human body.
CAVE inhabit the more organic side of this spectrum; its trance-inducing kraut-rock grooves flow like lava. The four piece consist of three Columbia expats -- Cooper Crain (guitars/organ), Dan Browning (bass) and Rex McMurry (drums) -- plus Chicago native Rotten Milk (also of Stress Ape and the Terry Plumbing label) on synthesizer. Have a listen to Cave's live set below, check out their discography for releases on Permanent Records, Drag City (who released the Pure Moods 12'' pictured), and Important Records, and check here for tourdates as Cave explore Europe this fall,
In case the title of LAZER CRYSTAL's debut LP (MCMLXXX, Thrill Jockey 2010) didn't tip you off, they dig the '80s. Probably more for the psychedelic visions of our digital future than anything else; check out the Max Headroom-style video for Love Rhombus after the jump. The LP compiles their two previous 12'' EP's released by Chicago's HBSP-2X (aka Captcha Records). For this recording, Lazer Crystal were the trio of Nicholas Read (electronics & vocals), Josh Johannpeter (percussion), & Mikale De Graff (vocals & electronics).
There is a lot of overlap between these "Columbia Diaspora" bands -- Cooper of CAVE once played in Lazer Crystal, Josh and Mikale of Lazer Crystal are also in Mahjongg, etc. Check the Chicago tag on the FMA for more, or dig back into a time before the Free Music Archive launched with our Chicagoland FMA preview back in July '08.
I was at my brother's for his birthday celebration and BBQ earlier today. His house was where the bat "situation" occurred that I wrote about in this forum some time ago. We discussed the recent losses of Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper, Art Linkletter, Frank Frazetta and Ronnie James Dio, whose public memorial service was held yesterday in Los Angeles. My cousin hipped me to the fact that Hopper had photographed the Ike & Tina Turner lp cover "River Deep Mountain High", right, and of course, we are all aware of Frazetta's contribution to (record cover) art -here's a pic of the Dust lp from '72. Speaking of album art, I remember being told about DIO's logo being flipped upside down to read DEVIL, that I thought was cool at the time, which explained to me why it was a little clumsily put together--an observation I had from a graphic artist's point of view. See here! The Ronnie James Dio "Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund" is where his wife requests donations be sent if anyone wishes; the goal of the fund is to reduce the risk of developing life threatening cancers by offering access to preventative medical services. His death was almost 25 years to the day after the Hear'n Aid project he launched recorded it's song "Starz", as a heavy metal answer to Live Aid, and raised over $1million to donate to relieve famine in Africa. See Dave the Spazz's post on Dio's early recordings with old pix to boot! Check out Sue P's Solid Gold Hell playlist that has a Dio Tribute also. I personally have not been able to deliver a Dio tribute on the WFMU airwaves, due to being away, and the scheduling of the merged Kamikaze Fun Machine and Solid Gold Hell "Bleeding Ears Fest" last week, so this post will suffice until Dio's birthday, which will be when I honor him through his music. A big thanks to The Bloody Muffs, Napkin, Wizardry, Gorod and Mortals for playing the on-air fest, the proved to be a huge onAir fest weekend for WFMU!
"...Nay, these were the most beautiful women of the world; the whole world, not just the world of today, but the world since time began and the world as long as time shall run.
Nor were the wild animals on display at the circus any less sensational than were the girls. Not elephants or tigers of hyenas or monkeys or polar bears or hippopotami, anyone and everyone had seen such as these time after time. The sight of an African lion was as banal today as that of an airplane. But here were animals no man had ever seen before; beasts fierce beyond all dreams of ferocity; serpents cunning beyond all comprehension of guile; hybrids strange beyond all nightmare of fantasy."
Charles G. Finney / The Circus of Dr. Lao
Well, those two California native ladies are still traveling abroad in 1983, and I'm back with the sequel to last week's posting - side two of the 90 minute letter we were working on; a scatalogical, sarcastic, sexy and swinging romp across foreign shores.I believe they're still in their pensione in Greece with the British girls when we rejoin them...
Ever drifting down the stream-
Lingering in the golden gleam-
Life, what is it but a dream?"
Lewis Carroll / Through the Looking Glass
Picture two young California girls on holiday in Europe in 1983, recording and sending tapes full of their thoughts and experiences back home to their boyfriends, and also with an ear to the fact that said boys had wacky radio shows and intended to play the best bits on the air or cut them up as audio collage fodder.
Here we present side one of the first of two of these surviving tapes by these very clever and opinionated ladies. Sadly, the missing one had a lot of verite sound as they walked around London and commented saucily about what they saw, so now we'll pick the story up as they've moved south on their trip.
By the way, these letters are quite randy, raunchy and filthy, so I'd rate this a NSFW audio experience.
Since I'm presenting the unedited tapes, some of it will get a bit tedious, but there are some hilarious stories and bits of dialogue for those who can wade through the whole document.
Chris Boarts Larson is always busy, and always smiling. She is the creator of Slug and Lettuce fanzine, a free quarterly publication that celebrated it's 20 year anniversary in 2007 with issue #90. Starting in NYC, Slug and Lettuce was the zine that took days and days to read because it was so packed with information, columns, reviews, comics and Chris' amazing live band photos. It always felt like an international zine, as her editorials were personal and relatable to those of us immersed in music in more than just a passing interest - not just a local scene report, although there was plenty of music reviewing throughout. It embodied the feeling of community in a scene that could be very disjointed, especially as the years went on. Chris is publishing out of Richmond, VA now and aside from having a life, has gotten a percentage of the photo archive online from her Slug and Lettuce personal vaults at slugandlettuce.net. The online site is searchable by issue -right now from issue #57- #89 spanning from 1998 to 2006, which I believe are her Richmond residency years. The site is searchable by issue or by band name, and she intends to chronicle the first 56 issues worth of photos, which is easily a few hundred, in the near future. At some point in time she aims to put the column archives up. Although the amount of photos is overwhelming to look at, even at this point in time, I will love the day when all those columns are back up. Check out the amazing photo of Louisville's Coliseum, at left taken by Chris from issue #85. S & L had the DIY attitude in every way covered, whether it was columns about vegan/vegetarianism, eco-punk, gardening, punk parenting or activism, I devoured each and every issue for years. The last time I saw Chris was when Amebix was in town in 2009, she was traveling to all of their shows and has contributed heavily to their website archive, check those photographs in this location. Her photography has always been amazing, and the effort to put these all online, which still continues is mammoth. She loves what she does, and it shows, year after year. Thanks Chris!