Remembering Arthurfest

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The Arthur table. Free mags!

Arthurfest is an as-yet unreleased feature-length documentary by Lance Bangs which captured the two-day music festival of that name in Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles. The festival took place ten years ago to the day, and was the first such event organised by the sorely missed Arthur magazine. I was fortunate to witness some of the stunning performances on the park’s tree-bedecked plateau overlooking East Hollywood. Bangs’ cameras were hard to miss at the time—I even photographed one of them—but I’ve never seen any of the footage of the event until the appearance of a teaser which has been posted in advance of a tenth anniversary screening this weekend at Cinefamily, Los Angeles. This is tantalising stuff for the way the cameras bring the bands so much closer than they were when viewed at crowd level. There was also a lot happening each day on three different stages, one of which was indoors in the park’s Gallery Theatre, so it was impossible to see everything. Earth and Sunn O))) played inside the theatre but I missed both their shows as a result of a vampire-like reluctance to queue for a seat in the merciless sunlight. (I did get to drink Jack Daniel’s with the Sunn O))) guys, however…) Fingers crossed that Bangs’ film gets a proper release soon so the rest of us can see it. Meanwhile, here’s a few of my photos of the event…

Update: Arthur‘s Jay Babcock alerts me to footage of the late Jack Rose at the Arthurfest. Also at Lance Bangs’ channel there’s some of the performance by The Juan MacLean. Thanks, Jay!

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The main stage.

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Newspaper record covers

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Gazette Vol. 2 (1961) by Pete Seeger.

More elaborate record sleeve design. Was Pete Seeger the first artist to have a fake newspaper as a cover design? Gazette Vol. 2 is the earliest example I can find. Some of these examples were suggested by this earlier overview. If anyone knows of any omissions then please leave a comment.

Newspaper covers offered understandable attractions to a musician: a vinyl sleeve is almost the same width as a newspaper, and, for the more verbose artist, they give an opportunity to wax satirical at the expense of print media and newspaper readers. Disadvantages would include increased production costs, more design and copywriting, and sleeves that don’t always last very long, especially if actual newsprint is used for the paper. Given the recent resurgence of vinyl I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon see a further examples of this kind of design.

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The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (1968) by The 4 Seasons. Design: Desmond Strobel.

The 4 Seasons album is a surprise since it’s not so well-known yet features a very detailed newspaper sleeve. An 8-page insert continues the theme, and even includes a colour comic strip.

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Volunteers (1969) by Jefferson Airplane. Design: Gut (Allen Turk).

Did Jefferson Airplane copy the 4 Seasons album? Seeing the progression of these designs you have to wonder who was imitating who. The Airplane album also had an insert with more newspaper pages.

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Thick As A Brick (1972) by Jethro Tull.

Jethro Tull went further than everyone by making their album a 12-page newspaper which wraps around the vinyl. The content of the pages is filled with a satirical jab at concept albums and numerous in-jokes. Even if you don’t like the band’s music very much (I’ve never been keen) you have to admire the amount of work that went into this.

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Weekend links 11

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Panneaux decoratifs (1900) by Manuel Orazi at NYPL.

Ghostsigns: “a collaborative national effort to photograph, research and archive the remaining examples of hand painted wall advertising in the UK and Ireland.”

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories posts some Alphonse Mucha.

Voyage Fantastique – An illustrated guide to the body and mind at A Journey Round My Skull.

The gallery of the International Exhibition of Calligraphy.

Trevor Wayne Pin-Up Show, a new photo collection of the tattooed Mr Wayne which includes photos and a foreword by Clive Barker.

Phallophonies, a gallery exploring the penis in religious art. Related: “Churchgoers are outraged over a crucifix in a Catholic church that they say shows an image of genitalia on Jesus.”

Hollingsville: “Expect live and unscripted wanderings around voodoo science parks, examinations of cities as battle suits and thoughts on pods, capsules and world expos.”

Phantom Circuit #33 is a Ghost Box special featuring an interview with Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) and Julian House (The Focus Group). Related: Ghost Box films at YouTube.

Eldritchtronica and Wyrd Bliss, a mixtape by Simon Reynolds.

• Avant garde music and cinema meet at The Sound of Eye.

• Make your own newspaper with Newspaper Club.

Drawdio: A pencil that lets you draw music.

Yoko Ono collects rare books.

KittehRoulette.

• Song of the week: The Four Horsemen (1972) by Aphrodite’s Child.

Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists

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The Chemical Wedding by Madeline Von Foerster (2008).

Art lovers in the NYC area are advised to get down to the Saturday opening of this exhibition at the Dabora Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for some great paintings and a free glass of absinthe. Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists is curated by Pam Grossman who runs one of my favourite art sites, Phantasmaphile. Further details can be found at the gallery pages which include links to the artists’ websites.

Dabora Gallery and Phantasmaphile’s Pam Grossman are proud to usher in the spring season with the group show “Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists,” on view from March 14th through April 12th, 2009. It features fourteen of the most vital and visionary women artists working in the US today.

In literal terms, a fata morgana is a mirage or illusion, a waking reverie, a shimmering of the mind. Named for the enchantress Morgan le Fay, these tricks of perception conjure up a sense of glimpsing into another world, whether it be the expanses of an ethereal terrain, or the twilit depths of the psyche. The artists of “Fata Morgana: The New Female Fantasists” deftly utilize the semiotics of mysticism, fantasy, and the subconscious in their work, thereby guiding the viewer through heretofore uncharted realms – alternately shadowy or luminous, but always inventive.

Yoko Ono recently said, “I think all women are witches, in the sense that a witch is a magical being.” Each artist in this show is a sorceress in her own right. Endowed with fecund imaginations and masterful craftsmanship, their work transforms the viewer: we become spellbound, bearing witness to their attempts to reconcile the desire for a diurnal beauty with the lure of a lush and riotous inner wilderness. The fantastical is counterpoint to the ferocious, the monstrous to the marvelous. Allusions to myth and metamorphosis abound, as these works channel their own heroine spirits and tell their own secret tales. Here, frame is magic threshold, bidding us to take a breath, and cross over.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The fantastic art archive

New Delia Derbyshire

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Well…new for us. Glo Spot Records have reissued Psyche-Delia‘s scarce KPM album, Electrosonic (1972), in an edition that will quickly become as scarce itself: 500 copies on green vinyl.

Order it (or hear clips) from Boomkat.

The great BBC documentary about the Radiophonic Workshop, Alchemists of Sound, can now be found on YouTube. Lots of archive footage of Delia and her collaborators showing how they extracted extraordinary sounds from primitive equipment.

Delia Derbyshire is best known as the woman who created the sound of the original Doctor Who theme. This one piece is so globally famous that it has overshadowed the wide ranging work of one of the most creative women working in the 1960s and ’70s. Delia collaborated with many of the most significant figures of the era and was admired by many more. Her story involves such names as Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Pink Floyd, Anthony Newley, Frankie Howerd and The Rolling Stones, in addition to work with the National Theatre, seminal electronic innovators and, of course, the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop. Since her death in 2001, Derbyshire has gained cult icon status and her influence over artists who weren’t even born when she made some of her groundbreaking recordings has never been stronger. John Cavanagh (BBC Radio, Phosphene, author of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn etc. etc.) has found a rare album Delia recorded with Brian Hodgson (the man who created the sound of the TARDIS) and Australian mood music composer (who also scored some Doctor Who episodes) Don Harper in 1972. This was originally an lp of what is known as library music and was only made available to film, tv and radio organizations when originally issued. Cavanagh has licensed these recordings and the album—Electrosonic—will be released commercially for the first on his Glo-Spot label.

Electrosonic (1972)
Label: KPM
Cat: KPM1104

1 Quest
2 Quest – fast
3 Computermatic
4 Frontier of Knowledge
5 The Pattern Emerges
6 Freeze Frame
7 Plodding Power
8 Busy Microbes
9 Liquid Energy (a)
10 Liquid Energy (b)
11 No Man’s Land
12 Depression
13 Nightwalker
14 Electrostings
15 Electrobuild
16 Celestial Cantabile
17 Effervescence
18 The Wizard’s Laboratory
19 Shock Chords

Previously on { feuilleton }
A playlist for Halloween
Ghost Box