Avalon cowboys

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And speaking of The Charlatans, these three posters by Rick Griffin stand out for me for the way they show the name of the headline group running across the set when placed together. Serial prints weren’t unusual among the San Francisco artists but this is the only example I’ve seen that works in this manner. The posters were promoting three concert sessions at the Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, from May to July 1967. The photography by Herb Greene adds to the attraction of this series; the combination of lighting, sepia tint, and the group’s apparel gives a more convincingly antique effect than similar attempts by other bands. For a taste of The Charlatans’ music, Alabama Bound is featured on my fourth psychedelic mix.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Seed
Art that transcends
Fillmore sealife
San Francisco angels
Family Dog postcards

23 Skidoo

1: A slang phrase

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Postcard via.

skidoo, v. N. Amer. slang. (ski’du:) Also skiddoo. [Orig. uncertain, perh. f. skedaddle v.]

2. In catch-phrases. a. Used as an exclamation of disrespect (for a person). Esp. in nonsense association with twenty-three. (temporary.)

1906 J. F. Kelly Man with Grip (ed. 2) 99 As for Belmont and Ryan and the rest of that bunch, Skidoo for that crowd when we pass. Ibid. 118 ‘I can see a reason for ‘skidoo’,’ said one, ‘and for ‘23’ also. Skidoo from skids and ‘23’ from 23rd Street that has ferries and depots for 80 per cent. of the railroads leaving New York.’ 1911 Maclean’s Mag. Oct. 348/1 Surrounded by this conglomerate procession as I went on my way, the urchins would yell ‘Skidoo,’ ‘23 for you!’

b. spec. as twenty-three skidoo: formerly, an exclamation of uncertain meaning; later used imp., go away, ‘scram’.

1926 C. T. Ryan in Amer. Speech II. 92/1, I really do not recall which appeared first in my vocabulary, the use of ‘some’ for emphasis or that effective but horrible ‘23-Skiddoo’—perhaps they were simultaneous. 1929 Amer. Speech IV. 430 Among the terms which the daily press credits Mr. Dorgan with inventing are:…twenty-three skiddoo (go away). 1957 W. Faulkner Town iii. 56 Almost any time now Father would walk in rubbing his hands and saying ‘oh you kid’ or ‘twenty-three skidoo’. 1978 D. Bagley Flyaway xi. 80 This elderly, profane woman…used an antique American slang… I expected her to come out with ‘twenty-three, skidoo’.

From the Oxford English Dictionary

2: An esoteric poem by Aleister Crowley

23

SKIDOO

What man is at ease in his Inn?
Get out.
Wide is the world and cold.
Get out.
Thou hast become an in-itiate.
Get out.
But thou canst not get out by the way thou camest in. The Way out is THE WAY.
Get out.
For OUT is Love and Wisdom and Power.
Get OUT.
If thou hast T already, first get UT.
Then get O.
And so at last get OUT.

From The Book of Lies (1912/13)

3: A film by Julian Biggs

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23 Skidoo (1964).

If you erase the people of downtown America, the effect is bizarre, not to say disturbing. That is what this film does. It shows the familiar urban scene without a soul in sight: streets empty, buildings empty, yet everywhere there is evidence of recent life and activity. At the end of the film we learn what has happened.

4: 23 Skidoo Eristic Elite by William Burroughs

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International Times, issue 18, Aug 31–Sept 13, 1967.

From Burroughs proceed to Illuminatus! (1975) by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, and many subsequent derivations.

Continue reading “23 Skidoo”

Weekend links 120

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• More Nabokov: The University Poem by Vladimir Nabokov, translated by Dmitri Nabokov and read by Ralph Fiennes. And Breitensträter – Paolino, a short story from Nabokov’s Russian period that’s only just been translated into English.

• More LSD: “For decades, the U.S. government banned medical studies of the effects of LSD. But for one longtime, elite researcher, the promise of mind-blowing revelations was just too tempting,” says Tim Doody.

• More Marker: The Guarded Intimacy of Sans soleil by Jonathan Rosenbaum, The Revolutionary Cinema of Chris Marker by Patrick Higgins, and Chris Marker’s Faces by Brian Dillon.

• “A private realm, not easily penetrated, from which emerged music that would give rise to so much of the music we know today.” Guy Horton on Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang studio.

• A narrative from the swamps of Borneo: BLDGBLOG on the mephitic enigma of London’s sewers.

• At Coilhouse: The Incredibly True Adventures of Gerda Wegener and Lili Elbe.

• “What some people call idleness is often the best investment,” says Ed Smith.

• Book cover design: Rick Poynor on Pierre Faucheux and Le Livre de Poche.

• Metaphysical psychedelia: Erik Davis on Rick Griffin: Superstar.

Diamanda Galás discusses her 13 favourite albums.

• Rudy Rucker’s Memories of Kurt Gödel.

• The Men of the Folies Bergère

Olympics or gay porn?

Smoketography

The songs of bowhead whales | Another Moon Song (2009) by Espers | One Thousand Birds (2012) by Six Organs of Admittance.

The Occult Explosion

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So here’s a strange thing: having spent another working week sifting through scanned books at the Internet Archive what do I find but scans of album booklet art by Wilfried Sätty only a couple of days after writing about his album covers. The album in question may be familiar to some readers but it was a new one to me. The Occult Explosion (1973) was a collection of recorded interviews with people such as Alan Watts and Anton LaVey discussing subjects pertinent to the title, although the general tone is more in the direction of catch-all mysticism than occultism as such. Anton LaVey is there to pronounce about Satanism, of course, and the album also features two songs by British rock band Black Widow, one of which, Come To The Sabbat, has since achieved a kind of novelty notoriety. (There’s a nice video-feedback recording of them playing the song live on Beat Club in 1970.)

Nat Freedland was the author of a book entitled The Occult Explosion for which the album acts as an audio appendix. This is all so typically 1970s: witchcraft, Satanism, rock music, yoga, Alan Watts, UFOs, ESP, and the whole thing packaged in Sätty’s post-psychedelia collages. The entire album is available at the Internet Archive: the recordings are here while the badly-scanned insert pages are here. (There’s a better view of the cover art at Flickr.) Some of the more impressive pieces of Sätty’s art follow, work which has been buried for almost forty years. Just to add to the net of coincidences this week, the last of the pictures below borrows a demon from Gustave Doré’s Divine Comedy, the same source as yesterday’s Rick Griffin poster.

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Continue reading “The Occult Explosion”

Lucifer Rising posters

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Lucifer Rising: A Love Vision by Kenneth Anger (1967) by Rick Griffin.

The status of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising as a kind of poly-cultural crossroads even extends to its poster art. The original poster by Rick Griffin dates back to the earliest drafts of the film, and with its swipe from Gustave Doré makes me think it’s the kind of thing Wilfried Sätty might have produced for Anger had he been asked. (They were both living in San Francisco at this time.)

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The San Francisco poster artists happily plundered the past for unusual images; Doré was a popular choice since his images are frequently striking and copies of the books (or reprints) would have been easy to find. This is one of the illustrations from the Purgatorio section of his illustrated Divine Comedy (1867) showing Dante being ferried up Mount Purgatory (“like Ganymede”) by a giant eagle.

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From Dante and Virgil to Virgil Finlay, one of whose illustrations was used on this promo sheet advertising a limited run of Bobby Beausoleil’s soundtrack for the film.

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Earth’s Last Citadel (1950) by Virgil Finlay.

The illustration this time is for a reprint of Earth’s Last Citadel by CL Moore and Henry Kuttner in Fantastic Novels Magazine for July 1950. I’ve never seen any mention of William Burroughs meeting Kenneth Anger which is a shame since they had acquaintances in common and Burroughs occasionally showed an interest in some of Aleister Crowley’s ideas. The Henry Kuttner connection in this case would provide a link to some of the borrowings Burroughs himself made from Kuttner’s writing. But no, it’s too much of a reach.

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Lucifer Rising (1980) by Page Wood.

After all that the final poster is an original piece of work by Page Wood for a premier screening at the Whitney Museum, New York in 1980. The art avoids the overt occultism in favour of making a resolutely low-budget piece seem like a Hollywood epic. Given Anger’s lifelong obsession with Hollywood’s myths and tragedies I think he would have appreciated that.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Externsteine panoramas
San Francisco by Anthony Stern
The art of Alia Penner
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