Weekend links 449

orpheus.jpg

UK poster, 1950. Cocteau’s film receives a UK blu-ray release this week.

• Into the Zone: 4 days inside Chernobyl’s secretive “stalker” subculture by Aram Balakjian. (Again. There’s an implication in Balakjian’s piece that illicit Chernobyl tourism is a new thing even though people have been doing this for a while now.) Related: Jonathan’s visit to the Chernobyl reactor control room, and photos of Soviet-era control rooms (plus a couple of stray American examples).

• “He’s a very interesting author: a disabled, gay writer during the Third Reich…who somehow survived only to be shot by a Red Army patrol days before the end of the war.” At the Edge of the Night (1933) by Friedo Lampe will receive its first English-language publication via Hesperus Press next month.

• “The tradition of the painted still life has been reinvented by contemporary photographers with pictures that pose a puzzle and slow the viewer down,” says Rick Poynor.

• Comic artist Matt Howarth has been writing short reviews of electronic music for many years. Sonic Curiosity is his archive site.

Bauhaus at 100: what it means to me by Norman Foster, Margaret Howell and others.

• RIP Jonas Mekas. Related: a conversation between Jonas Mekas and Jim Jarmusch.

• Beyond the Buzzcocks: Geeta Dayal remembers Pete Shelley‘s electronic side.

• Where to begin with Jean Cocteau: Alex Barrett goes through the mirror.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 278 by Sarah Louise.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jud Yalkut Day.

• Undulating Terrain (1995) by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord | Darkstalker (2000) by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore | Stalker Dub (2012) by John Zorn

Weekend links 363

sommers.jpg

The Constant Drumbeat of Terrible News (no date) by Allison Sommers.

• Nadia Khomami on Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty, an exhibition at the British Library. Related: Simon McCallum‘s potted history of LGBT characters on British screens. Elsewhere: writer and philanthropist Chuck Forester on gay sex in the 1970s.

The Panic Fables: Mystic Teachings and Initiatory Tales by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Finally available in English, a collection of all the comic strips written and illustrated by Jodorowsky when he was living in Mexico in the 1960s.

• A trailer for the restored print of The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1961) by Karel Zeman. Related: collage designs by Graphic Manipulator for a Japanese collection of Zeman’s films.

• “Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, Tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis,” says James McConnachie.

James Reith on “the Icelandic publisher that only prints books during a full moon – then burns them”.

• Mixes of the week: Wire 400 Mix #6 by Emptyset, and Secret Thirteen Mix 223 by Constantine.

• Mud And Flame: Penda’s Fen re-examined by Matthew Harle and James Machin.

Tilda Swinton in a Leonora Carrington-inspired fashion shoot for i-D magazine.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys.

Applied Ballardianism: A Theory of Nothing by Simon Sellars.

• At Dangerous Minds: The Dark Rift by Jim Jarmusch’s Sqürl.

French Underground Rock: 1967–1980; a Discogs list.

Suzanne Ciani‘s favourite albums.

Infinite artwork: Untitled, 2017

Rip, Rig And Panic (1965) by The Roland Kirk Quartet | Panic (1984) by Coil | Flash Of Panic (1994) by Axiom Ambient

Weekend links 345

lazo.jpg

Wasted Alice (2017) by Sonia Lazo.

Brian Eno: “We’ve been in decline for 40 years—Trump is a chance to rethink.” An equivocal headline, and the usual misinterpretation from the hard-of-thinking, prompted Eno to issue a clarification. More Trumpery: Jonathan Meades wonders what kind of wall “The Lout” might want to build. Related: almost all of Meades’ smart and witty television essays may be viewed at MeadesShrine (click through to Vimeo for download links).

• “Once you’ve turned entire buildings into instruments as on Medium, and then you’ve made the ionosphere itself an instrument as on Signal, where do you go next?” Emptyset discuss their forthcoming album, Borders, and a change in their working methods.

Christopher Burke & David Davis at Weird Fiction Review talk to Valancourt Books about reprinting neglected works of horror and gay fiction.

• At the BFI this week: All about Jim Jarmusch’s leading men, from Tom Waits to Bill Murray, and John Hurt (RIP): 10 essential films.

• “Claude Arnaud’s biography of Jean Cocteau shows how the artist lived a life nourished by infinity,” says Ricky D’Ambrose

Sukhdev Sandhu on John Berger: “a pathfinder who was alive to the present”.

Theodore Carter on Doll Part Art: Visual Feasts Made of Plastic Bodies.

• Count Backwards from Ten: Peter Bebergal‘s Top 10 Occult in Media.

• Books from Strange Attractor will now be distributed by MIT Press.

Eero Saarinen, the architect who saw the future.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 585 by Niagara.

• RIP Maggie Roche.

Hammond Song (1979) by The Roches | Losing True (1982) by The Roches | Keep On Doing What You Do / Jerks On The Loose (live, 1990) by The Roches

Weekend links 290

coin

The Royal Mint celebrates 400 years of William Shakespeare with new £2 coins. The “Tragedies” design gives Britain the Gothiest coin of all time.

• “I hate successful films that travel on an easy wave of ‘good taste’: for me, that is simply anti-culture.” Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli talks to Alexandra Heller-Nicholas about photographing Dario Argento’s masterwork, Suspiria.

• Mixes of the week: Für die Liebe II, an hour of ambient drift by Matthew Dekay, and Carwyn Ellis Mixtape No. 354 by The Voice Of Cassandre.

• Americans in Europe: Frances Mayes on the enduring mystique of the Venetian lagoon, and David Farley on the trail of Kafka in Prague.

“We’d read that Brion Gysin and William Burroughs had played around with some scientific equipment from Columbia University,” [Jim] Jarmusch recalls. It was “some kind of strobe light that they claimed, by placing eidetic pulses on the outside of your eyelids, could cause states of hallucination and trance. We found out how to check out this machine and experimented with … not fantastic results! In a way though, Luc [Sante] channels ghosts: he’s able to imagine and mentally reconstruct events and places from the past and weave them into stories. He can cross influences like Blaise Cendrars and JG Ballard with James M Cain and Raymond Roussel.”

[…]

If New York celebrates amnesia, perpetual transformation, accelerated obsolescence – and offers newcomers a blank slate, a chance to be born again – then Sante offers a mordantly heretical vision of the city. For him it’s full of layers and depths, of echoes and eerie reverberations, of occult whispers. “The tech crowd thinks that we can’t afford the past to be sitting on our shoulders. It’s a burden, a dead weight. We’ve got to innovate constantly. We have to … disrupt. But the 20th century is littered with valuable stuff – writers, ideas, daily certainties – that gets discarded and that needs to be picked up and looked at again.”

Sukhdev Sandhu profiles writer Luc Sante

The Edge Question for 2016: What do you consider the most interesting recent (scientific) news? What makes it important?

Bradley L. Garrett’s foreword for Secret Tunnels of England: Folklore and Fact (2015), a book by Antony Clayton.

Caitlin R. Green on the monstrous landscape of medieval Lincolnshire.

Mistaken Memories of Mediaeval Manhattan by Brian Eno.

Arche (live, 2013) by Master Musicians of Bukkake.

A Year In The Country returns for another year.

Kafka (1982) by Masami Tsuchiya | Manhattan (1984) by Seigen Ono | Tunnel (1997) by Biosphere

Burroughs: The Movie revisited

burroughs.jpg

Photo by Kate Simon.

Howard Brookner’s 86-minute documentary Burroughs: The Movie (1983) has been mentioned here on several occasions, and with good reason since it’s the best film anyone has made or will make about William Burroughs and the Beat circle he emerged from in the 1950s. Brookner’s documentary is a model film biography, opening with the writer’s appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1981 then backtracking to his childhood in St. Louis, his family life, the Beat period, the Bunker years, and so on, ending with his move to Lawrence, Kansas in the early 1980s. It’s intimate, frequently very funny, and reveals a human side to Burroughs too often buried by the weight of a sinister reputation. Brookner spent several years working on the film which features appearances from, and interviews with, a priceless range of friends, relatives and collaborators: Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Hunke, John Giorno, James Grauerholz, Brion Gysin, Patti Smith, Terry Southern, Mortimer Burroughs (William’s brother), William S. Burroughs Jr (William’s son who died while the film was in production), Francis Bacon, Jackie Curtis and many others. Tom DiCillo and Jim Jarmusch helped with the camera and sound duties.

The BBC screened the film as part of their Arena arts strand during the miraculous run of that series in the 1980s, since when it’s become difficult to see unless you have a copy on tape. So it’s been good to hear that Aaron Brookner is intending on restoring and reissuing his uncle’s debut film, having found the original print along with many outtakes. Howard Brookner died of AIDS in 1989 so Aaron is launching a Kickstarter fund to restore the film today, December 1st, which is World AIDS Day:

Burroughs: The Movie is a very special film: with in-depth interviews from Allen Ginsberg, Brion Gysin, and many more; intimate scenes such as Burroughs and James Grauerholz with Burroughs’ son Billy Jr.; and it is the only time on camera Burroughs speaks candidly about the tragic shooting accident that left his wife Joan dead.  As Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times Review: “Rarely is a documentary as well attuned to its subject as Howard Brookner’s Burroughs, which captures as much about the life, work and sensibility of its subject as its 86 minute format allows. Part of the film’s comprehensiveness is attributable to William S. Burroughs’ cooperation, since the author was willing to visit old haunts, read from his works and even playfully act out a passage from Naked Lunch for the benefit of the camera. But the quality of discovery about Burroughs is very much the director’s doing, and Mr. Brookner demonstrates an unusual degree of liveliness and curiosity in exploring his subject”. (more)

Given that so many of the film’s participants are now dead this project has historical as well as aesthetic significance. If you have some spare cash and a more than passing interest in William Burroughs than I’d urge you to lend your support.

Burroughs: The Movie at Twitter: @HowardBrookner
Burroughs: The Movie at Facebook: www.facebook.com/burroughsthemovie

Previously on { feuilleton }
Zimbu Xolotl Time
Ah Pook Is Here
Jarek Piotrowski’s Soft Machine
Looking for the Wild Boys
Wroblewski covers Burroughs
Mugwump jism
Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966
Burroughs in Paris
William Burroughs interviews
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire