Weekend links 444

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Visions Cosmiques—Improvisations Dédiées À L’équipage D’Apollo 8 (1969) by Jean Guillou. No designer credited.

• 50 years ago this weekend Apollo 8 was on its way to the Moon. Jean Guillou’s album of organ improvisations took the mission as its inspiration although his turbulent music seems more suited to the near-disaster of Apollo 13 than the weightless drift of space travel. The album has been out-of-print for decades but may be heard in full here and here. Related: the Discogs listing for the Philips’ Prospective 21e Siècle series of avant-garde music. Most of the other albums in this series remain unreissued, and are now very collectible, not least because of their metallic “Heliophore” sleeves.

• Christmas cheer be damned: the spook season extends from Halloween to the end of the year. At These Unquiet Things, Sarah Chavez offers a list of favourite seasonal vampires, witches and ghosts. For those who prefer something televisual that isn’t more MR James, The Lorelei (1990) is a feature-length supernatural drama written by Nick Dunning. And speaking of the unavoidable James, Sarah K Marr presents an annotated analysis of A Warning to the Curious embellished with her excellent photos of the area of the Norfolk coast where the story is set.

• At Bandcamp: Voltaic Liturgies: “A symbiosis of flesh, machinery and umbral cosmic mysticism” by Primitive Knot and The Wyrding Module; and In The Sunshine We Rode The Horses by Rowan : Morrison (Rowan Amber Mill with Angeline Morrison): “The album explores themes of our beautiful natural surroundings, and how the pursuit of profit guides us to learn ‘the cost of everything and the value of nothing’, paving the way for the scarring of the landscape with fracking, HS2, retail parks, and so on…”

• “Influential Manga Artist Gengoroh Tagame on Upending Traditional Japanese Culture”. Tagame is also a prolific gay porn illustrator, a part of his career the headline avoids although it is acknowledged in Anne Ishii’s interview.

• Mixes of the week: Dream Perception Mix by Moon Wiring Club, Strange Great Snow: A Conjuror’s Hexmas by Seraphic Manta, December’s Reverie by Cafekaput, and Secret Thirteen Mix 275 by CoH.

• On the Scary Thoughts podcast: Erik Davis on philosophical pessimism, cosmic horror, police procedurals, serial killers, gnostic notions, and Louisiana as featured in the first season of True Detective.

• Manuscripts, letters and other documents by HP Lovecraft are now digitised and available for browsing at Brown University Library.

• William Hope Hodgson—The Essex-born Master of Horror: a biographical essay by Peter Berresford Ellis.

• The best ambient releases of 2018 according to FACT.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Donald Sutherland Day.

Sandspiel

Rocket USA (1977) by Suicide | Ticket To The Moon (1981) by Electric Light Orchestra | From Ape to Apollo (1994) Thomas Fehlmann

Weekend links 353

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The Critics (1927) by Henry Scott Tuke.

• Geeta Dayal talks to ambient musician Midori Takada about Through The Looking-Glass (1983), an album being reissued this month by Palto Flats/We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records.

Jacob Brogan reviews The Abominable Mr. Seabrook by Joe Ollmann, a graphic biography of writer, occultist, explorer and determined cannibal, William Seabrook.

• More from the usual suspects (on these pages at least): Jonathan Meades on his new cookbook and a recent bout of heart surgery; and Iain Sinclair on The Last London.

The law only applied to men, but that didn’t mean same-sex relationships between women were immune to opprobrium. Dorothy Todd was hired as the editor of British Vogue in 1922. Under her visionary stewardship, the magazine became a bastion of high modernist style, swapping petticoats and corsets for Picasso, Cocteau, Man Ray and Woolf. Todd lived with her lover, the fashion editor Madge Garland. Sacked in 1926 because of declining circulation, she planned to sue the magazine, but was silenced when the publisher Condé Nast threatened to publicly expose her “morals”.

In such an inimical climate, it’s not surprising that art became a zone of enchantment as well as resistance. The plenitude of camp aesthetics, the lush excess, the cross-pollination of high and low forms might be conceived as a direct response to the paucity and hostility of the culture at large. From the mannered decadence of Aubrey Beardsley’s naughty woodcuts, to Cecil Beaton’s portraits of Stephen Tennant as a radiant boy prince, to the cabaret high jinks of Danny La Rue, to the wickedly doctored library book covers made by the playwright Joe Orton (a crime for which he received a jail sentence), camp offered a way of remaking the world, cutting it down to size and reassembling it in richly strange and strangely rich new forms.

Olivia Lang on the British artists working in defiance of iniquitous laws prior to the (partial) decriminalisation of homosexual acts in 1967.

• Due for publication later this year, You Should Come With Me Now, a new collection of short fiction by M. John Harrison.

Daniel Marner reviews Scarred For Life Volume One: The 70s, a book about the dark side of British pop culture.

Jay Babcock talks to Erik Davis about the end of Arthur magazine and his new life in the Californian desert.

• The nature photography of Nobuyuki Kobayashi and the ruin photography of Gina Soden.

Jon Forss of design team Non-Format on his time designing The Wire magazine.

Mac McClelland on how doctors treat mental illness with psychedelic drugs.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 216 by WSR.

Hisham Matar on Jorge Luis Borges.

London Boys (1976) by T. Rex | Last Train To London (1979) by Electric Light Orchestra | London (2004) by Patrick Wolf

Weekend links 348

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The Masque of the Red Death (1932) by John Buckland Wright.

• Thanks to MeadesShrine I’ve been working my way through Jonathan Meades’ television essays so this is timely: The Plagiarist in the Kitchen, an “anti-cookbook” by the man with forthright opinions.

• “‘Decopunk’ deserves to be bigger than Steampunk,” says Sam Reader. I consider my work on Bruce Sterling’s Pirate Utopia to be more Futurist than Deco but the period is right.

• “Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!”: 366 Weird Movies

But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one—not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.

George Orwell discussing the imprecise application of the “F” word

• At The Psychedelic Museum, a report on this month’s art show, Alice’s Adventures in Underground Culture.

M. John Harrison announces a new story collection which will be published later this year by Comma Press.

• Mixes of the week: Iceland: Foreboding Joy by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 211 by Fluxion.

Daisy Woodward on how LSD adventures inspired John Waters’ Multiple Maniacs.

• More Moomins: Graeme Miller talks to Patrick Clarke about his soundtrack music.

• Some recent cultural highlights as chosen by Timothy J. Jarvis.

Benge presents a list of his favourite electronic albums.

Is this the underground Everest?

Strange Things Are Happening (1968) by Rings & Things | Strange Magic (1975) by Electric Light Orchestra | Strange (1977) by Wire |

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome: The Eldorado Edition

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More Cameron, and her finest cinematic moment as she plays two roles—The Scarlet Woman and Kali—in Kenneth Anger’s erotic/psychedelic/thaumaturgic Bacchanal from 1954. Ordinarily there wouldn’t be much reason to draw attention to this, it’s been available on DVD and Blu-ray for several years, and various plunderings are scattered all over YouTube. The version here, however, gives an opportunity to experience the film as it was screened in the 1970s.

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Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, like many of Kenneth Anger’s films, existed in several different forms, with the tinkering and re-editing going on for years after the original footage had been captured. An early edit made in the 1950s was fashioned into a version known as “Sacred Mushroom Edition” which Anger screened to acid heads in the 1960s. I’ve never seen any mention of the soundtrack used for this version, or the other early editions, but in 1978 Anger released a new version with the film soundtracked by most of the Eldorado (1974) album by the Electric Light Orchestra. The note on the Vimeo page says the 1978 edition has only ever been publicly screened once but this isn’t the case. My first viewing of the film was in 1990 when the Magick Lantern Cycle was touring arts cinemas in the UK, and I very well remember sitting in the dark thinking “What the hell…is this the Electric Light Orchestra?” The version that’s seen today is soundtracked with Janácek’s Glagolitic Mass, a choice that seems much more suitable. For some time I’d thought of getting hold of the ELO album and running it with the film to remind myself of that initial viewing but there’s no need now that this version exists. The implication is that what you see here is the actual 1978 edit but the footage seems no different from the DVD version aside from missing a few seconds of credits at the beginning. The ELO album came with a cover photo showing Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a detail that may explain why the Hollywood-obsessed Anger was drawn to the album in the first place.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Brush of Baphomet by Kenneth Anger
Anger Sees Red
Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon
Lucifer Rising posters
Missoni by Kenneth Anger
Anger in London
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger by Marie Menken
Edmund Teske
Kenneth Anger on DVD again
Mouse Heaven by Kenneth Anger
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
Relighting the Magick Lantern
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally

Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally

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Finally…well, we’ll see. Forgive my sceptical tone, these announcements have been cropping up for years although this one seems genuine, with an Amazon page and everything. Good to know that it’s a Fantoma production since they did a great job with Jodorowsky’s Fando y Lis.

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The enigmatic Marjorie Cameron portrays the
Scarlet Woman for Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.

The word “classic” is often used too easily but these films are classics by any standard, masterworks of underground filmmaking, pioneering in their gay content (Fireworks [1947] is like Genet directed by Jean Cocteau and all the more remarkable since Anger was still a teenager when he made it), camp and occult in equal measure, and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, made in 1954, can claim to be one of the first examples of truly psychedelic cinema. DVD would be the perfect medium to present Inauguration with multiple soundtracks (it’s had at least two over the years) although I suspect we’ll only get the Janacek score and not the bizarre Electric Light Orchestra version I saw once at a cinema screening.

At long last, THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER VOLUME 1 is finally available on DVD this January.

Fantoma Films’ special edition DVD hits stores on January 23, 2007.

“It’s time that Kenneth Anger’s work became more available, because he is, without a doubt, one of our greatest artists.” Martin Scorsese

Cinematic magician, legendary provocateur, author of the infamous HOLLYWOOD BABYLON books and creator of some of the most striking and beautiful works in the history of film, Kenneth Anger is a singular figure in post-war American culture.

A major influence on everything from the films of Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and David Lynch to the pop art of Andy Warhol to MTV, Anger’s work serves as a talisman of universal symbols and personal obsessions, combining myth, artifice and ritual to render cinema with the power of a spell or incantation.

Covering the first half of Anger’s career, from his landmark debut FIREWORKS in 1947 to his epic bacchanalia INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME, Fantoma is very proud to present the long-awaited first volume of films by this revolutionary and groundbreaking maverick, painstakingly restored and presented on DVD for the first time anywhere in the world.

In production for over 5 years, THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER VOLUME 1 is easily the most requested title in Fantoma Films’ history. Painstakingly restored by Fantoma, these shorts represent the beginning of the independent film movement as we know it today and Anger’s revolutionary use of blending film to music has often been credited as giving birth to the music video. The films contained in this set include: FIREWORKS (1947), PUCE MOMENT (1949), RABBIT’S MOON (1950, shown here in the rarely seen 16 minute version), EAUX D’ARTIFICE (1953), and INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME (1954).

THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER VOLUME 1 contains the following special features:

-High Definition transfers from newly restored elements.
-Screen specific audio commentary for all films from Kenneth Anger.
-Rare outtakes and behind-the-scenes images.
-Restoration Demonstrations.
-A 48 page book with a written appreciation of Kenneth Anger by legendary
filmmaker Martin Scorsese, exclusive to this release, extensive notes for
each film, rare photos, never before seen sketches for Anger’s unproduced
film PUCE WOMEN, and more.

Fantoma Films’ DVD of THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER VOLUME 1 will be available in stores on January 23, 2007 for a retail price of $24.98.
Fantoma Films: www.fantoma.com
MySpace page: www.myspace.com/fantomafilms.

(Thanks to Jay!)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Ten films by Oskar Fischinger
Lapis by James Whitney
La Villa Santo Sospir by Jean Cocteau
Un Chant D’Amour by Jean Genet