Weekend links 497

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Poster by Zdenek Ziegler for Roma (1972), a film by Federico Fellini.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: a short history of Straight to Hell, a long-running fanzine launched by Boyd McDonald in 1971 dedicated to true stories of men having sex with other men. The post gives an idea of the contents but for a deep dive I’d suggest Meat (1994) at the Internet Archive, a collection of the best of the early editions of STH. Related: “Straight to Hell was an immensely popular underground publication. John Waters, William S. Burroughs, and Robert Mapplethorpe were fans; Gore Vidal called it ‘one of the best radical papers in the country.'” Erin Sheehy on Boyd McDonald’s determination to kick against the pricks.

• RIP psychedelic voyager and spiritual guide Richard Alpert/(Baba) Ram Dass. The Alpert/Ram Dass bibliography includes The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1964), an acid-trip manual written in collaboration with Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner from which John Lennon borrowed lines for the lyrics of Tomorrow Never Knows. But the most celebrated Ram Dass volume is Be Here Now (1971), a fixture of countless hippy bookshelves whose first editions were all handmade.

• “An Einstein among Neanderthals”: the tragic prince of LA counterculture. Gabriel Szatan talks to David Lynch, Devo and others about the eccentric songwriter, performer and voice of Lynch’s Lady in the Radiator, Peter Ivers.

• For the forthcoming centenary of Federico Fellini’s birth Stephen Puddicombe offers suggestions for where to begin with the director’s “exuberant extravaganzas”. Related: Samuel Wigley on 8½ films inspired by .

• “I met resident Tony Notarberardino for the first time in 2015 and entering his apartment was like crossing into another dimension.” Collin Miller explores the Chelsea Hotel.

• “More green tea, professor?” The haunted academic, a reading list by Peter Meinertzhagen. Related: Our Haunted Year: 2019 by Swan River Press.

• “30 July, Yorkshire. Thunder, which is somehow old-fashioned.” Alan Bennett’s 2019 diary.

• More acid trips: Joan Harvey on the resurgence of interest in psychedelic drugs.

• At Lithub: Werner Herzog’s prose script for Nosferatu the Vampyre.

Tief gesunken, a new recording by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore.

In Heaven (1979) by Tuxedomoon | Die Nacht Der Himmel (1979) by Popol Vuh | Roma (1981) by Steve Lacy

Weekend links 300

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Observatoire IX from the Observatoires series by Noemie Goudal.

• “Before Lady Raglan’s intervention, this figure had been anonymous. She gave him a name: the Green Man.” Josephine Livingstone on the persistence of a supposed figure from pagan folklore.

Ben Wheatley: “Financing a film as crazy as [High-Rise] takes good casting”. Related (in a Ballardian sense): the abandoned hotels of the Sinai Desert.

• “We were in danger of becoming full-time, paid up musicians…” Drew Daniel and Martin “MC” Schmidt of Matmos look back over their career.

Fahey didn’t make many new friends with his scything dismissal of the folk revival. He distrusted the way that folkies regarded music as a carrier for the correct political messages of the moment. As Lowenthal puts it: “To him, the student idealists had naïve worldviews and dreamed of unrealistic political utopias,” whereas Fahey “attempted to channel darkness and dread through his music.” For Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger devotees, the ideological message came first, with musical tone or trickery a distant second. As Fahey saw it, the dizzyingly strange source music they borrowed from and then built their careers on emerged as little more than a scrubbed-up ventriloquist’s doll, all the coarse grain and troubling metaphysic of its original voices jettisoned. He also detected high condescension and low reverse racism in how the folk-revival people preferred their old blues guys barefoot and wearing dungarees—even if they now usually dressed in sharp suits and often preferred to play amplified, electric urban blues.

Ian Penman on John Fahey

• “It’s amazing how quickly a sound can lose its moorings and float off into this kind of unchartered territory,” says Robin The Fog.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 540 by Via App, and Secret Thirteen Mix 178 by BlackBlackGold.

Oliver Wainwright on Edward Johnston, designer of the typeface for the London Underground.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: DC’s: Spotlight on…The Free-Lance Pallbearers (1967) by Ishmael Reed.

Each drop of Hennessy X.O is an Odyssey: Nicolas Winding Refn makes an alcohol ad.

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock pen an open letter to the next generation of artists.

Japan’s scariest manga artist (Junji Ito) loves Japan’s creepiest cosplayer (Ikura).

• “He was a sexual outlaw.” Jack Fritscher‘s love affair with Robert Mapplethorpe.

Peter De Rome: the RAF pilot who became “the grandfather of gay porn”.

The Strange Case of Mr William T. Horton

• RIP Big George Martin and Ken Adam.

Shortwave Radio World

Viriconium FAQ

Nine Feet Underground (1971) by Caravan | Green Bubble Raincoated Man (1972) by Amon Düül II | Betyárnóta (Outlaw Song, 1989) by Muzsikás

Weekend links 285

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Some of the art from my collage adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray appears on the cover of The Graphic Canon: Volume 2, published this month in a German edition by Verlag Galiani. Out next month (although possibly available now) is the same book in a Brazilian edition from Boitempo Editorial. One of the disappointments this year was having to abandon plans to contribute to Russ Kick’s forthcoming graphic canon of crime fiction. I was overstretched during the summer, and what with projects slipping their deadlines and the trip to Providence there wasn’t any time left for other things.

• For those who missed the first edition, a second and final expanded edition of the Penda’s Fen study/celebration The Edge Is Where The Centre Is.

• Whipping up a storm: how Robert Mapplethorpe shocked America; Kevin Moore on the photographer’s Perfect Moment exhibition.

In the best scenario, metaphysical art distributes the work of understanding among cultural traditions and symbolic systems, and it is along these lines that Carrington’s work has been described as a productive combination of Mexican, Egyptian, Hebrew, Celtic, Greek, and Mesopotamian elements. Her paintings, plays, and stories mix the symbols of alchemy, astrology, Tarot, herbalism, magic, witchcraft, and a personal iconography.

Leif Schenstead-Harris on the life, art and fiction of Leonora Carrington

• Mixes of the week: Hieroglyphic Being collects favourite cosmic jazz of the 1970s; NTS Radio presents an hour of Annette Peacock.

• At Kill Your Darlings: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas enthuses about Dario Argento’s delirious masterwork, Suspiria.

Pye Corner Audio releases a new album (only limited vinyl at the moment—boooo!) and remixes Stealing Sheep.

• The Trip Planners: Emily Witt meets the founders behind Erowid, the online drug encyclopedia.

Woven Processional (1985), music on the Long String Instrument by Ellen Fullman.

• “The Paris attacks prove Charlie Hebdo’s critics wrong,” says Dorian Lynskey.

• Photographs by Danila Tkachenko of abandoned Soviet technology.

Come Wander With Me / Deliverance by Anna von Hausswolff.

• The collages of Guy Maddin.

CAN HALEN

Let’s Take A Trip (1965) by Godfrey | Trip On An Orange Bicycle (1968) by The Orange Bicycle | Last Trip (1968) by We Who Are

Weekend links 152

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Light Moves on the Water (2010), a collage by Alexis Anne Mackenzie.

“[She] stated, emphatically and more than once, that pornography cannot and should not be linked to LGBT rights…When a gay man lives somewhere where his identity is threatened, it’s clear how sex – including pornography – and sexuality are intertwined. His sexual imagination, which is criminalized, matches the sexual images of gay pornography (which are also criminalized). Since acting out his imagination through sex would be to risk his life, the access to the images is safer. The images, created by gay men wherever it’s legal to create them, provide empowerment and diminish alienation.” An important piece by Conner Habib who asks “Why are we afraid to talk about gay porn?”

• Florida’s Parallel Universe: “The abandoned Nike Missile Site, surrounded by the Everglades, is a reminder of when humans almost destroyed the world and a warning that we could still lose everything today.” By Stefany Anne Golberg.

• In Search of Divine: A Retrospective by Katherine McLaughlin. Related: Jeffrey Schwarz, director of a new documentary, I Am Divine, talks about Divine’s career, and his film to Polari Magazine.

When Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy was banned in 1958, it was said that a man in a pub asked him how much the book weighed, then offered to bring two thousand copies across the border instead of his usual smuggled butter. We might have called it the Black North, for being dark with Protestants, but when I was a child in the 1960s, Ulster was the place British sweets came from: Spangles, Buttons and, most notably, Opal Fruits. It was across this border that the feminists of “the condom train” staged a mass importation of illegal contraceptives in May 1971. When they arrived from Belfast into Connolly Station, the customs men “were mortified”, Mary Kenny, one of the participants, remembered, “and quickly conceded they could not arrest all of us, and let us through”.

Anne Enright on censorship in Ireland.

• Open Culture posts a copy of Nigel Finch’s 1988 Arena documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Fall of Communism Through Gay Pornography: A video by William E. Jones.

• Surrealism Made Fresh: Sanford Schwartz on the drawings of the Surrealists.

• Cult Classic: Defining Katherine Mansfield by Kirsten O’Regan.

Jonathan Barnbrook (again!) on David Bowie (again!).

Sydney Stanley illustrates Algernon Blackwood

20 Haunting Ghost Towns of the World

• At Pinterest: The Male Form

The Life Divine (1973) by Santana and McLaughlin | The Rhythm Divine (1987) by Yello feat. Shirley Bassey | Divine (2000) by Antony and the Johnsons

Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon

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Nigel Finch was a key member of the team of producers and directors working on the BBC’s Arena arts documentaries throughout their golden run during the 1980s and 1990s. The films he directed himself—among them studies of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography, and a history of the Chelsea Hotel in New York—gave him an opportunity to push some gay content into the TV schedules at a time when Britain’s gay population were seen as enough of a public threat to be legislated against. Some of that proselytising impulse can be found in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon (1991), an hour-long documentary which alternates the life and work of the filmmaker with readings and enactments of the lurid episodes recounted in Anger’s scandal anthologies, Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II. Finch at one point asks whether Fireworks, the first film in Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle, should be regarded as a pioneering piece of gay cinema; Anger’s says he’s happy if people take it that way but says little else about its evident homoerotic atmosphere. He remains as resistant to identity politics as he’s always been. (See the unauthorised biography by Bill Landis for details.)

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Between the readings and interview sections Finch shows Anger being chauffeured around Beverly Hills in a hearse which stops occasionally at some locus of bygone scandal. Most of the Anger anecdotes are familiar ones from subsequent interviews but there is a bonus for Angerphiles with the appearance at the end of Marianne Faithfull who talks a little about their relationship before singing Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. The picture quality of this YouTube copy could be better but it’s watchable enough.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Lucifer Rising posters
Externsteine panoramas
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