Weekend links 101

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Kraken from Ernie Cabat’s Magical World Of Monsters (1992) at Monster Brains.

“I think for a lot of people who don’t read pulp growing up, there’s a real surprise that the particular kind of Pulp Modernism of a certain kind of lush purple prose isn’t necessarily a failure or a mistake, but is part of the fabric of the story and what makes it weird. There’s a big default notion that ‘spare,’ or ‘precise’ prose is somehow better. I keep insisting to them that while such prose is completely legitimate, it’s in no way intrinsically more accurate, more relevant, or better than lush prose.” China Miéville at Weird Fiction Review expressing an opinion that few in the literary world ever articulate, never mind agree with. Far more common is (to pick a recent example) Ursula K Le Guin dismissing Cormac McCarthy for “pretentious prose”.

• “Militant feminist scientists brainwash a research subject to assassinate the Welsh Minister of Prostitution. Meanwhile World War III is being fought and the USA has been invaded.” The IMDB précis for Taking Tiger Mountain (1983), a feature film directed by Tom Huckabee from a script by William Burroughs, and featuring a 19-year-old pre-Aliens/Near Dark Bill Paxton. The director discusses the film’s production at Screen Slate and attends a rare screening at Spectacle, Brooklyn, NYC, today (March 25th). YouTube has a three-minute clip. Surprising this has remained buried for so long. When can the rest of us get to see it?

• Prestel have published the catalogue for In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States. AnOther previewed some of the contents. The exhibition runs at the LACMA, Los Angeles, until 6th May.

…gays only make up about 3% of the population so we spend our whole lives “translating” straight movies, books, ballets into gay terms and studying the heterosexuals around us—we know much more about them than they know about us, just as blacks know a lot about whites but whites know virtually nothing about blacks.

Edmund White (again) interviewed by Frank Pizzoli at Lambda Literary Review.

• New on Caroline True Records: Jon Savage’s “Fame”, Secret History of Post-Punk 1978–81. “Some of it doesn’t sound like anything that has happened since,” says Savage. Indeed. FACT has the track list which I was pleased to see includes Chrome among the usual suspects. Hear a 12-minute promo mix at Soundcloud.

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The Colossi of Memnon by Jules Guerin. From Egypt and its Monuments (1908) by Robert Hichens at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Gay Life Stories, “a colourful compendium of same-sex love through the ages” by Robert Aldrich. Reviewed here. Related: Alice Dreger asks “Are straight people born that way?”

• Clive Hicks-Jenkins created a series of designs for a Washington DC performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. Follow their evolution in reverse order at his blog.

• Hocus Pocus: Margaret Eby on the brief epistolary relationship between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Rick Poynor on more cover designs for JG Ballard’s Crash.

London, city of dreams and rivers, caught on Polaroid.

• Photo prints by Thom Ayres for sale at Society6.

B*tches in Bookshops

• Meet You In The Subway (1979) by Chrome | New Age (Version III) (1980) by Chrome | Danger Zone (1981) by Chrome | Firebomb (1982) by Chrome.

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Regeneration (2011) by Toshiyuki Enoki. Via.

HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the art exhibition that caused such a fuss last year at the Smithsonian Institution, opens at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC, on November 18th. Among the events associated with the show is a screening of James Bidgood’s lusciously erotic Pink Narcissus. David Wojnarowicz’s video piece, A Fire in My Belly, is still a part of the exhibition so the New York Daily News reached for the outrage stick to prod some reaction from people who’d never heard of the artist or his work before. Will history repeat itself? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Watch this space…

Magic is not simply a matter of the occult arts, but a whole way of thinking, of dreaming the impossible. As such it has tremendous force in opening the mind to new realms of achievement: imagination precedes the fact. It used to be associated with wisdom, understanding the powers of nature, and with technical ingenuity that could let men do things they had never dreamed of before. The supreme fiction of this magical thinking is The Arabian Nights, with its flying carpets, hidden treasure and sudden revelations…

Marina Warner, whose new book, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, is reviewed here and here.

• Those Americans who adore big business but loathe the idea of gay marriage will be dizzy with cognitive dissonance at the news that 70 major US companies—including CBS, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks—have signed a statement saying the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is bad for business. Mark Morford at SFGate says this now means that real homophobes don’t Google.

Divining with shadows and dreams, tears and blood: S. Elizabeth talks to JL Schnabel of BloodMilk about her “supernatural jewels for surrealist darlings“.

Earth: Inferno (2003), a short film by Mor Navón & Julián Moguillansky based on the book by Austin Osman Spare. Via form is void.

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Illustration by Virgil Finlay for A. Merritt’s The Face in the Abyss. From a 1942 Finlay portfolio at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

The Mute Synth as created by Dirty Electronics & designed by Adrian Shaughnessy.

Phil Baker reviews two new Aleister Crowley biographies at the TLS.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

The Most Amazing Room In Queens, NYC.

Brian Eno on composers as gardeners.

Alan Turing is Alan Garner’s hero.

• Paintings by Guy Denning.

Static (1998) by Redshift | The Owl Service (2000) by Pram | Lover’s Ghost (2010) by The Owl Service.

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At the Mountains of Madness (1979) from Halloween in Arkham by Harry O. Morris.

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories always pulls out the stops in the run up to Halloween. In addition to a wonderful collection of Harry O. Morris collages, Mr Door Tree has also been posting Virgil Finlay’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe, Lynd Ward’s tremendous illustrations for a collection of weird tales entitled The Haunted Omnibus, Barry Moser’s woodcuts for an edition of Frankenstein, and Virgil Finlay’s illustrations for stories and poems by HP Lovecraft.

• “Eugene Thacker suggests that we look to the genre of horror as offering a way of thinking about the unthinkable world. To confront this idea is to confront the limit of our ability to understand the world in which we live – a central motif of the horror genre. In the Dust of This Planet explores these relationships between philosophy and horror.”

• “…the reader […] becomes a conscious participant in the process of imposing a linear sequence, while at the same time remaining aware that all narrative is an act of memory, and that memory is necessarily random.” Jonathan Coe reviews Marc Saporta’s book-in-a-box, Composition No.1, recently republished by Visual Editions.

• Nearly fifty years after its first performance, Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade is still disturbing playgoers. And nearly ninety years after its release, Alla Nazimova’s silent film production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé is touring the UK with live musical accompaniment.

Tom of Sinland at Homotography, in which illustrator Bendix Bauer portrays some of the fashion world’s notable male designers as Tom of Finland-style characters for Horst magazine.

Neil Gaiman Presents is a new audiobook imprint which launches with works by Jonathan Carroll, Alina Simone, Keith Roberts, M. John Harrison and Steven Sherrill.

• The Weird Wild West: Paul Kirchner has put all his Dope Rider comic strips online.

Leonora Carrington prints at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London, from November 5th.

The Fall to Earth: David Bowie, Cocaine and the Occult.

Photos of New York City, 1978–1985.

Kathy Acker recordings at Ubuweb.

The Occupied Times of London.

The Golden Age of Dirty Talk.

Pushkin silhouettes.

• This week I’ve been lost in the Velvet Goldmine (again): John, I’m Only Dancing (1972) by David Bowie | The Jean Genie (1972) by David Bowie | Drive-In Saturday (1973) by David Bowie.

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Art by Tessa Farmer.

• An exhibition of Tessa Farmer’s art is running at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London, until October 30th. On Saturday, October 1st, Strange Attractor hosts Good Neighbours: Faeries, Folklore and the Art of Tessa Farmer also at Viktor Wynd.

Unearthing The Psychedelic Harp: “David Moats talks to harpist and songwriter Serafina Steer about her work with John Foxx and Patrick Wolf, being classically trained, the difficulties of doing live soundtracks and psychedelia.”

• And speaking of psychedelia, Arkhonia is still blogging up a storm here, here and here about the lost Beach Boys album, Smile, the farthest Brian and co. ventured into the tripped-out weirdness of 1967. The complete original recordings will finally be released in November.

• “‘We’ve arrived at a level of commodification that may have negated the concept of counterculture,’ Gibson says in the Paris Review.” William Gibson profiled by Thomas Jones.

One of the qualities I always stress when talking about this design work influenced by Surrealism is its enormous boldness and creative freedom, which is something of a paradox in many cases, since the Czech and Polish designs were created under communist regimes. So, while Uncanny documents a significant current in the history of 20th-century visual culture, the show also has a polemical intention aimed, quite deliberately, at our circumstances now. Students who encounter these images in lectures sometimes feel constrained by their conception of what they — or their teachers — regard as acceptable in today’s marketplace. At times, this has struck me as being a form of insidious self-censorship. (more)

Rick Poynor: Jan Svankmajer and the Graphic Uncanny.

• The exhibition curated by Mr Poynor last year, Uncanny: Surrealism and Graphic Design, is now showing at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam until early December. Related: MizEnScen’s somber, surrealist collages.

Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates (1921) at Golden Age Comic Book Stories, the Urtext of buccaneer imagery.

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Another of those homoerotic religious pictures: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1876) by Léon Bonnat. Via Babylon Baroque.

• Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Laurence Sterne’s marbled page: Emblem of My Work.

John Martin’s Pompeii painting finally restored after 1928 Tate flood damage.

The Spectral Dimension: “where the paranormal and popular culture collide”.

The Writing of Stones (1970) by Roger Caillois at 50 Watts.

Mercury Arc Rectifiers.

• When silliness was an avant garde strategy: video from 1974 of Brian Eno performing China My China and (in better quality) The Seven Deadly Finns. (Go here for lyrics of the latter.)

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Faustine (1928) by Harry Clarke.

• This week’s Harry Clarke fix: 50 Watts reposts the Faust illustrations while Golden Age Comic Book Stories has the illustrated Swinburne.

What Goes Steam in the Night is an evening with contributors to The Steampunk Bible hosted in London by The Last Tuesday Society on September 6th:

Co-author S. J. Chambers invites you to the official U.K. celebration of her book The Steampunk Bible (Abrams Image). Part lecture, part signing, and part entertainment, S. J. will be accompanied by contributors Jema Hewitt (author of Steampunk Emporium ) and Sydney Padua (Lovelace & Babbage) for a discussion of the movement, a special performance by Victorian monster hunter, Major Jack Union, and inevitable hi-jinks and shenanigans to later be announced.

• RIP Conrad Schnitzler, an incredibly prolific electronic musician, and founder member of Tangerine Dream and Kluster/Cluster.

Golden Pavilion Records reissues fully-licensed late 60’s and 70’s psychedelic, progressive, acid-folk & art-rock music.

Dressing the Air is “an exclusive consulting and online resource for the creative industries”.

Luke Haines explains how to cook rabbit stew whilst listening to Hawkwind.

Wood pyrography by Ernst Haeckel from his home, the Villa Medusa.

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Satia Te Sanguine (1928) by Harry Clarke.

The truth is, the best novels will always defy category. Is Great Expectations a mystery or The Brothers Karamazov a whodunnit or The Scarlet Letter science fiction? Does Kafka’s Metamorphosis belong to the genre of fantasy? In reality men don’t turn into giant insects. And it’s funny. Does that mean it’s a comic novel? […] At a time when reading is in trouble, those readers left should define themselves less rigidly.

Howard Jacobson: The best fiction doesn’t need a label.

Pace the redoubtable Jacobson, Alan Jacobs believes We Can’t Teach Students to Love Reading.

How Ken Kesey’s LSD-fuelled bus trip created the psychedelic 60s.

Salvador Dalí creates something for Playboy magazine in 1973.

JG Ballard: Relics of a red-hot mind.

Electric Garden (1978) by Conrad Schnitzler | Auf Dem Schwarzen Kanal (1980) by Conrad Schnitzler.