Weekend links 438

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Seishu Hanaoka’s Wife (1970) by Awazu Kiyoshi.

Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft & Rootwork: a colossal new addition to the Internet Archive, being a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 1936 and 1940.

• Edward Gorey is the theme du jour, so here’s some more: Gorey’s 1977 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show is revelatory, especially if you’ve never seen him talking before. Meanwhile, Laughing Squid has a previously unpublished interview in which Gorey discusses his love for his disruptive cats.

• Jeff Nuttall’s mid-century survey of the aesthetic underground, Bomb Culture, receives a fiftieth anniversary republication by Strange Attractor. The new edition is edited by Douglas Field and Jay Jeff Jones, with a foreword by Iain Sinclair and an afterword by Maria Fusco.

I have always questioned identity politics with my work. I often have characters that engage in homosexual sex but do not identify as gay (hustlers, neo-Nazi skinheads, extreme left wing revolutionaries, gerontophiles, etc.). But my films have also always been inclusive in terms of race, class, and gender. I find that the new emphasis on identity politics has really narrowed creative expression. It demonstrates a profound ignorance about sexuality, history, and human experience.

My sexual identity is pretty much fixed—I’m a Kinsey 6, if not a 7—but I acknowledge that this means I’m sexually repressed. I believe, after Freud, that everyone has some bisexual potential, and the tendency to increasingly entrench gender identity as innate and immutable is really preposterous. It also leads to strict rules about sexual representation—how gays, lesbians and transgender people “must” be portrayed, the policing of representation, a kind of proprietary stance about who is allowed to portray these characters.

It really boils down to a naivety about sexuality, and a complete failure of the imagination. It discourages people who may have the potential for some kind of sexual fluidity to express themselves. I’ve always been a “bad gay,” but now this political correctness has made me feel even more alienated from the notion of “gay identity”—particularly since the new assimilationist model is so conservative and dull.

Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce discussing art, porn and politics with Hoçâ Cové Mbede

• “Who is Barbara Baranowska? Despite the so-called Polish Poster School’s fame, certain people were seemingly forgotten. Perhaps they even wanted it that way…” Daniel Bird on an elusive artist. Related: Selected works by Barbara Baranowska.

• “I don’t think I’m ever mean-spirited and I try to understand human behaviour even though it’s impossible,” says John Waters.

Nine Dimensional Synod Of Oblique Pleasures is a very welcome new release by The Wyrding Module.

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…The Resplendent Illegibility of Extreme Metal Logos.

Apocalypse Burlesque — Tales of Doomsday Eros: a new book by Supervert.

Rare booksellers rallied against an Amazon-owned company and won.

B. Alexandra Szerlip on the 80-year history of the ballpoint pen.

Anjelica Huston: how we made The Addams Family.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 270 by Okkre.

The Cabinet of the Quay Brothers

Hoodoo Man Blues (1965) by Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band | Evil Hoodoo (1966) by The Seeds | I Been Hoodood (1973) by Dr John

Weekend links 309

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From What is a Witch, “an illuminated manifesto on witchcraft” by Pam Grossman and Tin Can Forest.

• “The other strand of influence for me from dance music was a production house called Savoy in Manchester, England. They were a super underground publishing house that printed cartoons and comic books, and they also released a series of underground dance records. And they were always being shut down by the police and all their stuff was being confiscated, because it was considered ‘anti-society’ in England.” Anohni giving a shout to my colleagues at Savoy Books in a new interview.

Belladonna of Sadness (1973), a feature-length animated film by Eiichi Yamamoto, has been restored, and is being given a premier release in the US. There’s a review here and a trailer here. No news as yet of a UK release but Finders Keepers has the soundtrack album.

Alejandro Jodorowsky talks to Daniel Kalder about his new novel, Albina and the Dog-Men, while Jodorowsky’s comic-book collaborator, Ladrönn, talks to Smoky Man about their new graphic novel, The Sons of El Topo.

Pretty little watercolours these are not. Made by bulldozers and dynamite instead of a paintbrush and easel, the works—often sited on baking sandscapes—fuse minimalism and modern industrial aesthetics to evoke the otherworldly structures of ancient civilisations, from Stonehenge to Mayan temples and the Egyptian pyramids.

Alex Needham on America’s land artists. A few years ago I tracked down some of the structures he describes using Google Maps.

• In every dream home a heartache: High Rise director Ben Wheatley on adapting Ballard, practical special effects and ’70s parenting.

Tom Phillips: From Prequel To Sequel, an exhibition of pages from A Humument at Shandy Hall Gallery.

• From fresh food to magic mushrooms: Michael Pollan probes the medicinal uses of psychedelic drugs.

• “Let’s not forget graphic design is an artistic discipline,” says Jonathan Barnbrook.

Supervert discusses censorship and related matters at SomethingDark.

• “I’ve sung gospel music when in great despair,” says Diamanda Galás.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 550 by James K.

Boy Club is a new gay magazine.

Gospel Trane (1968) by Alice Coltrane | The Gospel Comes To New Guinea (1981) by 23 Skidoo | Gospel Train (1990) by African Head Charge

Empire Creep Joint

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December brings a new chapbook story from Supervert: Empire Creep Joint, a tale of the Empire State Building being transformed into “102 Floors of Sodom”. Or so the citizens of New York believe… Rather a Ballardian idea, if there’s any currency left in that over-used label.

To find out more you’ll need to acquire a copy of the publication which is only available via Supervert’s annual December book giveaway. All that’s required is to submit your email address here then cross your fingers. In the past there was a choice of titles but two of these are now sold out thanks to the work of Clayton Cubitt and the divine Ms Stoya. There’s a lesson there for publishers.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Reverbstorm at Supervert
Witkinesque
Hysterical Literature

Reverbstorm at Supervert

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Keith Seward’s Horror Panegyric was a concise examination of David Britton’s multimedia Lord Horror project which Savoy Books published in 2007. I designed the book, the cover of which was my Arcimboldo pastiche of Lord Horror’s profile which appeared on the cover of issue 3 of Reverbstorm. The Supervert site which hosts an online copy of Horror Panegyric has this month posted my answers to some questions about Reverbstorm, the series having grown out of the first Lord Horror novel and the earlier comics:

The graphics in Reverbstorm sometimes seem more narrative than the words. How did you and David work out a scenario?

I don’t have objections per se to the usual story structures but in this series we both wanted to create something that wasn’t following familiar adventure narrative lines. The precedents for me were the European comic artists from Métal Hurlant who often favoured art over story; also Burne Hogarth whose work was a great influence on the style I used to draw Lord Horror. Hogarth’s Tarzan strips are adventure narratives but in his later books it’s the art that’s paramount. James Joyce is one of the characters in Reverbstorm, and you can also find a precedent in Ulysses where the story is overwhelmed by the surface detail.

Reverbstorm began with Paul Temple’s lyrics for the Reverbstorm song and a brief Lord Horror film treatment that Dave and Mike had put together for a production company. I don’t recall much about the treatment — I only looked at it once in the office — but it concerned Horror and Jessie Matthews in New York City, opening with a sequence where his Lordship kills some policemen in an alleyway. That vague outline can be seen in the first few pages of Reverbstorm with NYC changed to Torenbürgen. Other elements taken from the film treatment included the name Blue Blaze Laudanum — the actual robotic character came later — and the Souls which likewise became more substantially developed as the comic progressed.

Once we’d introduced all the characters things developed along thematic lines rather than strictly narrative ones. So the second part introduces the Ether Jumpers, the third part has the Apes, the fourth part the Ononoes, the fifth part Picasso and T.S. Eliot, and so on. Musical structure is an obvious parallel, and I consider some of the recurring background material to be visual leifmotifs which can indicate or imply one of the three main characters even if they aren’t present on the page. This musical analogy is an important one for appreciating the series as a whole. The entwined themes and references work in a manner that’s a lot closer to musical works than to the mechanics of an adventure narrative. (more)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Reverbstorm in print
Reverbstorm update
James Joyce in Reverbstorm
A Reverbstorm jukebox
Reverbstorm: Bauhaus Horror
Reverbstorm: an introduction and preview

The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera

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The book that made my head explode when I was 16. Calder & Boyars edition, 1968; design by John Sewell.

Years ago the idea of an opera based on The Ticket That Exploded would have been a wry joke: a novel brimming with text that’s fragmented even by Burroughs’ standards, as well as the usual preoccupations with spurting cocks, alien sex, parasitic invasion and erotic asphyxia. That said, if you can swallow the content (so to speak) a libretto is no doubt easy to create from all those sentence fragments, and there’s no worry about anyone complaining that you’ve missed some crucial part of the story. James Ilgenfritz’s The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera attempts just this in an extract which can be seen on YouTube:

Premiered at Issue Project Room while I was Artist in Resident in 2011, and based on William S. Burroughs’ 1962 novel of the same name, The Ticket That Exploded takes all its text directly from the novel. I wrote the libretto and composed the music, which was then exquisitely interpreted by some of the greatest musicians in the New York area. Jason Ponce collected a massive array of bizarre visual materials and innovative digital processing programs to perform the visual component of this work live onstage at the premiere.

There’s more from Jason Ponce at Vimeo. A DVD of the complete work is planned in 2014. Via Supervert.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Burroughs: The Movie revisited
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