Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Butthole Surfers - Blind Eye Sees All (1985)

We had a VHS copy of this back in the early 90s, passed it round and marveled at the mad genius of the weirdos from Waco. If you have not encountered the Butthole Surfers before, be prepared for something confronting, ecstatic and intense. Musically they occupy the intersection between psychedelia and  punk and deranged Saturday morning cartoons as programmed by a visionary but slightly dangerous outsider artist.

Butthole Surfers - Blind Eye See's All - Live Detroit '85
Blind Eye See's All is a home video by the Butthole Surfers, which was released in 1986 through Touch and Go Video.

* Gibby Haynes - vocals, saxophone, guitar on "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave", "Mark Says Alright" and "PSY"; bass guitar on "Something"
* Paul Leary - lead guitar, vocals on "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave", "Bar-be-que Pope" and "Something"; bass guitar on "The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave"
* King Coffey - drums
* Teresa Taylor - drums
* Trevor Malcolm - bass guitar, sousaphone on "Something"

[01]. The Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave
[02]. One Hundred Million People Dead
[03]. Bar-be-que Pope
[04]. Cowboy Bob
[05]. Hey
[06]. Tornados
[07]. Dum Dum
[08]. Mexican Caravan
[09]. Cherub
[10]. Lady Sniff
[11]. Something
[12]. Mark Says Alright
[13]. PSY

Butthole Surfers collection on the Internet Archive of live recordings.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, w/English subtitles)

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Ukrainian: Тіні забутих предків, Tini zabutykh predkiv), also called Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors, Shadows of Our Ancestors, or Wild Horses of Fire – is a 1964 film by the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov based on the classic book by Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. The film was Parajanov's first major work and earned him international acclaim for its rich use of costume and color. The film also features a detailed portrayal of Ukrainian Hutsul culture, showing not only the harsh Carpathian environment and brutal family rivalries, but also the beauty of Hutsul traditions, music, costumes, and dialect.

In a small Hutsul village in the Carpathian mountains of Ukraine, a young man, Ivan, falls in love with the daughter of the man who killed his father. Though their families share a bitter enmity, Ivan and Marichka have known each other since childhood. In preparation for their marriage, Ivan leaves the village to work and earn money for a household. While he is gone, Marichka accidentally slips into a river and drowns while trying to rescue a lost lamb.

Ivan returns and falls into despair after seeing Marichka's body. He continues to work, enduring a period of joyless toil, until he meets another woman, Palagna, while shoeing a horse. Ivan and Palagna get married in a traditional Hutsul wedding in which they are blindfolded and yoked together. The marriage quickly turns sour, however, as Ivan remains obsessed with the memory of Marichka. Estranged from her emotionally distant husband, Palagna becomes involved with a local sorcerer, while Ivan begins to experience hallucinations.

At a tavern, Ivan witnesses the sorcerer embrace Palagna and strike one of his friends. Roused into an uncharacteristic fury, Ivan snatches up his axe, only to be struck down by the sorcerer. Ivan stumbles into the nearby woods and perceives Marichka's spirit to be with him, reflected in the water and gliding amongst the trees. As reality merges into dream, the colorless shade of Marichka reaches out across a great space and touches Ivan's outstretched hand. Ivan screams and dies. The community gives him a traditional Hutsul burial while children watch through crossbraced windows.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sergi Parajanov "Color of Pomegranates - Sayat Nova" (1968)

Director Sergei Paradjanov made a practice of making highly idiosyncratic films based on the folklore of regions in the former Soviet Union. In 1969 he made this film, based in part on the life of the 18th-century Armenian poet-monk, Sayat Nova.

Seriously out of favor with Soviet authorities (he was imprisoned in 1974 for his homosexuality, among other things), this film was not seen in the international arena until 1977. Then, The Color of Pomegranates was widely acclaimed for its poetic and non-narrative blending of historical and biographical Armenian imagery.

Cast: Sofiko Chiaureli, Melkon Aleksanyan, Vilen Galstyan, Giorgi Gegechkori

Narrated by: Armen Dzhigarkhanyan

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Part One

Jon Ronson discovers a twitter spam bot with the username Jon_Ronson.The spam bot was created by academics working formerly at Warwick University. Jon Ronson discusses his frustration with the fact many of the tweets seem plausible, even though they are about things he would never talk about himself. With the creators of this account refusing to take it down, it seems the only way to resolve this is by meeting them.

Part Two

Jon Ronson arranges a meeting with the creators of the twitter spambot 'Jon_Ronson'. After some heated discussion and confusion in this interview, he discovers the academics' true agenda.

Escape & Control is an online documentary series in which internationally acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson (Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare At Goats and The Psychopath Test) turns his attentions to the Internet.

It can sometimes feel like we're creating a new kind of democracy online, where we control and regulate each other instead of being told how to behave by those in authority. But there are people out there who don't like this idea at all. So they want to come up with ways to control it.

Sometimes maybe even secret ways...

With searing interviews, unravelling mysteries and some great fun along the way, Jon Ronson is setting off on an adventure that may mean you'll never look at your mouse in the same way again.

Written and Directed by Jon Ronson
Music by Jeffrey Lewis
Filmed, edited and produced by Remy Lamont
Produced by Lucy Greenwell

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grace Slick on Religion and Spirituality

Grace Slick sits with ReligionMatters Show's, Dr. Arik Greenberg, to share some memories of the 60s, personal stories and her spirituality. The interview is in two parts.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Critique of Separation (English subtitles) by Guy Debord, 1961

Critique of Separation (English subtitles) from 1000littlehammers on Vimeo.

Shot September-October 1960 and edited January-February 1961. Production: Dansk-Fransk Experimentalfilmskompagni. 20-minute short, 35 mm, black and white. GTC Laboratory; sound recorded at Studio Marignan.

Cameraman: André Mrugalski. Editing: Chantal Delattre. Assistant Cameraman: Bernard Davidson. Continuity: Claude Brabant. Grip: Bernard Largemain.

Before the credits, a hodgepodge of meaningless images is punctuated by a series of text frames — “Coming soon to this screen . . . One of the greatest antifilms of all time! . . . Real people! A true story! . . . On a theme the cinema has never dared to confront!” — while Caroline Rittener reads the following passage from André Martinet’s Elements of General Linguistics: “When one considers how natural and beneficial it is for man to identify his language with reality, one realizes the level of sophistication he had to attain in order to be able to dissociate them and make each an object of study.” All the rest of the film’s commentary is spoken by Guy Debord. Caroline Rittener also plays the young woman in the film. The music is by François Couperin and Bodin de Boismortier.
The images in Critique of Separation are often taken from comics, ID photos and newspapers, or from other films. In many cases subtitles are added, which may be rather difficult to follow at the same time as the spoken commentary. The people who have been directly filmed are almost always none other than members of the film crew.

The relation between the images, the spoken commentary and the subtitles is neither complementary nor indifferent, but is intended to itself be critical. —Technical Notes on "Critique of Separation

Critique of Separation by Guy Debord
Dansk-Fransk Experimentalfilmskompagni (1961)
Translated by Ken Knabb

WE DON'T KNOW what to say. Words are formed into sequences; gestures are recognized. Outside us. Of course some methods are mastered, some results verified. Quite often it’s amusing. But so many things we wanted have not been attained; or only partially and not like we thought. What communication have we desired, or experienced, or only simulated? What true project has been lost?
The cinematic spectacle has its rules, which enable one to produce satisfactory products. But dissatisfaction is the reality that must be taken as a point of departure. Whether dramatic or documentary, the cinema functions to present a false, isolated coherence as a substitute for a communication and an activity that are absent. To demystify documentary cinema it is necessary to dissolve what is called its subject matter.

A well-established rule is that anything in a film that is said other than by way of images must be repeated or else the spectators will miss it. That may be true. But this sort of incomprehension is present in all everyday encounters. Something must be specified, but there’s not enough time and you are not sure of having been understood. Before you have said or done what was necessary, the other person’s already gone. Across the street. Overseas. There will never be another chance.
After all the dead time and lost moments, there remain these endlessly traversed postcard landscapes; this distance organized between each and everyone. Childhood? It’s right here; we have never gotten out of it.

Our epoch accumulates powers and dreams of itself as being rational. But no one recognizes these powers as their own. No one becomes an adult — there is only the possible eventual transformation of this long restlessness into a routine somnolence. Because no one ceases to be held under guardianship. The problem is not that people live more or less poorly, but that they live in a way that is always out of their control.

At the same time, it is a world in which we have been taught change. Nothing stops. It changes more every day; and I know that those who day after day produce it against themselves can appropriate it for themselves.

The only adventure, we said, is to contest the totality, whose center is this way of living, where we can test our strength but never use it. In reality no adventure is directly formed for us. The adventures form part of the whole range of legends transmitted by cinema or in other ways; part of the whole spectacular sham of history.

Until the environment is collectively dominated, there will be no individuals — only specters haunting the objects anarchically presented to them by others. In chance situations we meet separated people moving randomly. Their divergent emotions neutralize each other and maintain their solid environment of boredom. As long as we are unable to make our own history, to freely create situations, striving toward unity will introduce other separations. The quest for a central activity leads to the formation of new specializations.

And only a few encounters were like signals emanating from a more intense life, a life that has not really been found.

What cannot be forgotten reappears in dreams. At the end of this type of dream, half asleep, the events are still for a brief moment taken as real. Then the reactions they give rise to become clearer, more distinct, more reasonable; like, so many mornings, the memory of what one drank the night before. Then comes the awareness that it’s all false; that “it was only a dream”; that there are no new realities and no going back into it. Nothing you can hold on to. These dreams are flashes from the unresolved past. They unilaterally illuminate moments previously lived in confusion and doubt. They strikingly publicize those of our needs that have not been answered. Here is daylight, and here are perspectives that now no longer mean anything. The sectors of a city are, at a certain level, decipherable. But the personal meaning they have had for us is incommunicable, like all that secrecy of private life regarding which we possess nothing but pitiful documents.

Official news is elsewhere. The society sends back to itself its own historical image as a merely superficial and static history of its rulers. Those who incarnate the external fatality of what is done. The sector of rulers is the very sector of the spectacle. The cinema suits them well. Regardless of its subject matter, the cinema presents heroes and exemplary conduct modeled on the same old pattern as the rulers.

All existing equilibrium, however, is brought back into question each time unknown people try to live differently. But it’s always far away. We learn of it through the papers and newscasts. We remain outside it, confronted with just another spectacle. We are separated from it by our own nonintervention. It makes us disappointed in ourselves. At what moment was choice postponed? We haven’t found the arms we needed. We have let things go.

I have let time slip away. I have lost what I should have defended.

This general critique of separation obviously contains and covers some particular memories. A less recognized pain, the awareness of a less explainable indignity. Exactly what separation was it? How quickly we have lived! It is to this point in our unreflecting history that I bring us back.
Everything that concerns the sphere of loss — that is to say, the past time I have lost, as well as disappearance, escape, and more generally the flowing past of things, and even what in the prevalent and therefore most vulgar social sense of the use of time is called wasted time — all this finds in that strangely apt old military expression, en enfants perdus, its meeting ground with the sphere of discovery, of exploration of unknown terrains; with all the forms of quest, investigation, adventure, avant-garde. It is the crossroads where we have found and lost ourselves.

All this, it must be admitted, is not clear. It is a completely typical drunken monologue, with its incomprehensible allusions and tiresome delivery. With its vain phrases which do not await response, and its overbearing explanations. And its silences.

The poverty of means has to plainly express the scandalous poverty of the subject.
The events that happen in individual existence as it is organized, the events that really concern us and require our participation, are generally precisely those that merit nothing more than our being distant, bored, indifferent spectators. In contrast, the situation that is seen in some artistic transposition is rather often attractive, something that would merit our participating in it. This is a paradox to reverse, to put back on its feet. This is what must be realized in acts. As for this idiotic spectacle of the fragmented and filtered past, full of sound and fury: it is not a question now of transmitting it — of “rendering” it, as is said — in another neatly ordered spectacle that would play the game of neatly ordered comprehension and participation. No. Any coherent artistic expression already expresses the coherence of the past, already expresses passivity. It is necessary to destroy memory in art. To undermine the conventions of its communication. To demoralize its fans. What a task! As in a blurry drunken vision, the memory and language of the film fade out simultaneously. At the extreme, the miserable subjectivity is reversed into a certain sort of objectivity: a documentary on the conditions of non-communication.

For example, I don’t talk about her. False face. False relationship. A real person is separated from the interpreter of that person, if only by the time passed between the event and its evocation, by a distance that continually increases, that is increasing at this very moment. Just as the conserved expression itself remains separated from those who hear it abstractly and without any power over it.
The spectacle in its entirety is the era, an era in which a certain youth has recognized itself. It is the gap between this image and its results; the gap between the vision, the tastes, the refusals and the projects that previously defined it and the way it has advanced into ordinary life.

We have invented nothing. We adapt ourselves, with a few variations, into the network of possible courses. We get used to it, it seems.

No one has the enthusiasm on returning from a venture that they had on setting out on it. My dears, adventure is dead.

Who will resist? It is necessary to go beyond this partial defeat. Of course. And how to do it?
This is a film that interrupts itself and does not come to an end.

All conclusions remain to be drawn, everything has to be recalculated.

The problem continues to be posed, its expression is becoming more complicated. We have to resort to other measures.

Just as there was no profound reason to begin this abstract message, so there is none for concluding it.
I have scarcely begun to make you understand that I don’t intend to play the game.

Ghosts of a Ghost: Time surgery, William Burroughs and the death of the image

Burroughs Lecture Series: Iain Sinclair from The Photographers' Gallery on Vimeo.

To coincide with the centenary of William S. Burroughs' birth, writer Iain Sinclair presents Ghosts of a a Ghost: Time surgery, William Burroughs and the death of the image, a fragmentary consideration of the interplay of photography, sound recording, manipulated autobiography, interview and anecdote in Burroughs' work. Sinclair draws on inspiration from the Taking Shots exhibition, personal correspondence, aborted film documentaries and late meetings (as recorded in his book American Smoke: Journeys to the End of the Light).

Supported by the University of Edinburgh
The Leverhulme Trust

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Slint - Live in The Brown Theater in Louisville, KY 2005

I have been listening to Spiderland, the 1991 masterpiece by Slint. It is as brilliant as it was when I first heard it back in 1991.  This is the first show of their reunion tour on 2/22/05 at The Brown Theater in Louisville, KY.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Grateful Dead Live in Château d’Hérouville 1971

Grateful Dead at full strength, with Pigpen still in the group (he would leave in 2 months and be dead in 12). He sings Hard to Handle here in sudden color. I am a great fan of the great three:
After 1970 things started becoming too country for my taste, although the playing and jams remained the work of excellent musicians, the seeking become a parade rather than a quest. This hour long film from French TV could be one of the last documents of a time that was near spiritual in its intention.

The entire audio for this performance is streamed here:

"We went over there to do a big festival, a free festival they were gonna have, but the festival was rained out. It flooded. We stayed at this little chateau which is owned by a film score composer who has a 16-track recording studio built into the chateau, and this is a chateau that Chopin once lived in; really old, just delightful, out in the country near the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, which is where Vincent van Gogh is buried. 
We were there with nothing to do: France, a 16-track recording studio upstairs, all our gear, ready to play, and nothing to do. So, we decided to play at the chateau itself, out in the back, in the grass, with a swimming pool, just play into the hills. We didn't even play to hippies, we played to a handful of townspeople in Auvers. We played and the people came — the chief of police, the fire department, just everybody. It was an event and everybody just had a hell of a time — got drunk, fell in the pool. It was great." - Jerry Garcia

Friday, February 07, 2014

Monterey Pop Festival Film and Outakes

Monterey Pop Festival - Other Performances (1967) by cosmo2161
Over three hours of perfect music from the psychedelic cusp of 1967. The best are here:

The Association- "Along Comes Mary"
Simon and Garfunkel- "Homeward Bound" "Sound of Silence"
Country Joe and the Fish- "Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine"
Al Kooper- "Wake Me, Shake Me"
The Butterfield Blues Band- "Driftin' Blues"
Quicksilver Messenger Service- "Dino's Song"
The Electric Flag- "Wine"
The Byrds- "Chimes of Freedom" "He Was A Friend of Mine" "Hey Joe"
Laura Nyro- "Poverty Train"
Jefferson Airplane- "Somebody To Love"
The Blues Project- "Flute Thing"
Big Brother and the Holding Co. w/ Janis Joplin "Combination of the Two"
The Buffalo Springfield- "For What It's Worth"
The Who- "Substitute""Summertime Blues" "A Quick One"
The Mamas and The Papas- "Straight Shooter" "Somebody Groovy" "I Call Your Name"
(Hilarious antics of Mama Cass), "Monday, Monday"
Scott McKenzie- "San Francisco"
The Mamas and The Papas and Scott McKenzie- "Dancin' in the Street"

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Legend of Leigh Bowery (2002)

82 min, color, sound

This documentary explores the life and times of Australian artist / designer / performer / provocateur Leigh Bowery. He designed costumes and performed with the enfante terrible of British dance Michael Clark, designed one of a kind outrageous costumes and creations for himself, ran one of the most outrageous clubs of 1980s London club scene Taboo (later immortalized in Boy George's Broadway musical, and was the muse of the great British painter Lucian Freud. The film includes interviews with Damien Hirst, Bella Freud, Cerith Wyn Evans, Boy George (who talks mainly about himself), and his widow Nicola Bowery. The sound score is by Richard Torrey, who performed with Bowery in their band Minty.

In 1993 Leigh Bowery formed the band Minty with friend and former 1980s knitwear designer Richard Torry, Nicola Bateman and Matthew Glammore. Their single "Useless Man" "Boot licking, tit tweaking useless man..." which was remixed by The Grid along with their twisted onstage scatological performances caused The Sun to describe them as the "sickest band in the world", of which Bowery was very proud.