Monthly Archives: October 2006

Cleanups and Sun Ra at Youtube

Screen shot from Space is the Place. In this particular scene in a desert, Sun Ra plays a card game called “The End of the World,” with the Overseer (Ray Johnson), who is dressed in white and drives a white Cadillac. Sun Ra pulls out a spaceship card and the Arkestra play the song “Calling Planet Earth” as their spaceship lands in Oakland, CA.

Some Sun Ra You Tube for you and some house cleaning on the Wackies and Kodwo Eshun pages.

More on the second Ra clip:

Don Letts directed this [Brother from another Planet (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4] beautiful and hilarious film about one of the truly great eccentric geniuses of music – Sun Ra. It was the third documentary we’ve made for the BBC series Originals – previously we profiled Robert Wyatt and Gil Scott-Heron.

Jez Nelson – who produced the programme – has had a long fascination with Ra since meeting him in 1990.

We’re currently in production with the next in the Originals series – a film about P-Funk legend George Clinton.

The show was broadcast on Friday October 28, 2005 at 9pm on BBC4. —

Tyrone Davis’s Can I Change My Mind in soul and reggae

Studio One Disco Mix (2004) – Various Artists
[FR] [DE] [UK]

I want to talk to you about “Ain’t Gonna Change My Mind” by Doreen Schaeffer, featured on this excellent Soul Jazz compilation. I first heard this in a version of soul and disco queen Loleatta Holloway (in fact the track was originally recorded by Tyrone Davis in 1968.); in her version it’s called “Can I Change My Mind”. It is featured on the crappy sounding but nevertheless great comp Cry to Me: Golden Classics of the 70s, 14 tracks Loleatta Holloway cut for Georgia r&b and soul Aware Records [run by gangster Mike Thevis] between 1971 and 1975. It came out on the cheapo Collectables label in 1992.

There is a very intimate connection between soul music and reggae. In the sixties and seventies of the 20th century, reggae producers and record shop owners made regular trips to the south and east of the United States.

Two more compilation albums in a similar vein are Nice Up the Dance-Studio One Discomixes and Studio One Showcase, Vol. 1. And on the last one I mentioned is the same song again, the one I know by Loleatta Holloway and Doreen Schaeffer, now sung by Alton Ellie, and it’s called “Can I Change My Mind”.

And here are the lyrics:

Aww, she didn’t bat an eye
As I packed my bags to leave
I thought she would start to cry
Or sit around my room and grieve
But y’all, the girl, she fooled me this time
She acted like I was the last thing on her mind
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind
I just wanna change my mind
Baby, let me change my mind
As I took those steps
Toward that open door
Knowing all the time
Oh, Lord, I just didn’t wanna go
But she didn’t give me no sign
Nothing that would make me change my mind
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind
Please, please, please, baby
I just wanna change my mind

Oh, I played my games
Many times before
But peoples, let me tell y’all
Oh, I never reached the door
But ooh, the winds howl tonight
I keep lookin’ back but my baby’s nowhere in sight
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind Please, please, please, baby Baby, let me change my mind [fade]

See also: Studio One

Perfume (2006) – Tom Tykwer

I passed Cartoons cinema here in Antwerp yesterday evening, and – ‘though I was 40 minutes late – went to see the remaining 90 minutes of Perfume, the new film by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run and Wintersleepers (which I had liked a lot)). My viewing pleasure was almost immediately ruined by seeing Dustin Hoffman and overall I thought that the movie was average.

Memorable was: the view of Paris with the buildings on the bridge (with the ensuing collapse); the views of rural France, the theory on how to extract odors from plants (distillation, maceration, enfleurage); the orgy scene (high mingles with low) and the producer of the film: Bernd Eichinger, who also produced The Name of the Rose (Eco), The Cement Garden (Mc Ewan), Die Unendliche Geschichte (Neverending Story by Michael Ende), Der Untergang, Elementary Particles (Houellebecq).

So Eichinger seems to have a passion for filming unfilmable novels.

On its [unerotic] nudity:

As in the original book, there is quite a bit of nudity, which is tastefully done, but I will be interested to see how this is swallowed in America – it will probably get an 18 rating or be cut down [it received and R-rating from the MPAA], which is a shame, it was given a 12 rating in Germany. — reviewer IJKMan on IMDb.

Grade: psychological realism: 5/10, feelgood factor: 7/10, oddity value: 7/10.

The Virgin Huntress (1951) – Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

The Virgin Huntress (1951) – Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
Image sourced here.

Raymond Chandler once called her “the top suspense writer of them all.” Born in Brooklyn in 1889, Holding married British diplomat George E. Holding in 1913 and together they traveled widely in South America and the Caribbean before settling in Bermuda for awhile. She published 25 novels in her lifetime—19 of them mysteries—and a wide variety of short stories. She died in 1955. — [Oct 2006]

Max Ophüls directed her story The Blank Wall as The Reckless Moment. The 2001 American film The Deep End (by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who were also behind Suture) is based upon the same text. Many of her works were published by Ace Books. Ace Books is famous for publishing William Burroughs’s Junkie in 1953:

Ace Books primarily catered to New York City subway riders, and competed in the same market as comic book, real crime and detective fiction publishers. Ace published no hardcover books, only cheap paperbacks, which sold for very little; Burroughs earned less than a cent royalty on each purchase.

Most libraries at the time did not buy Ace books, considering them trivial and without literary merit, and Ace paperbacks were never reviewed by literary critics. At the time of its publication, the novel was in a two-book (“dos-à-dos”) omnibus edition (known as an “Ace Double”) alongside a previously published 1941 novel called Narcotic Agent by Maurice Helbrant. Burroughs chose to use the pseudonym “William Lee”, Lee being his mother’s maiden name, for the writing credit. The subtitle of the work was Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict: An Ace Original. This edition is a highly desired collectible and even below-average condition copies have been known to cost hundreds of dollars. The United States Library of Congress purchased a copy in 1992 for its Rare Book/Special Collections. — [Oct 2006]

See also: crime fictionAmerican literature1951

Q (1982) – Larry Cohen

Q (1982) – Larry Cohen

See also: Google image gallery hundreds of video cover scans.

Q is one of my all time favourite films, although its been about 10 years since I’ve last seen it.

In Q (aka The Winged Serpent, 1982), the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl is resurrected and flies about New York City snatching human sacrifices off the skyscrapers. Cohen was able to employ the talents of Michael Moriarty, David Carradine, and Candy Clark, and the film is one of his most sophisticated, but it still manages to include such lines as “Maybe his head got loose and fell off.” and “I want a Nixon type pardon!”

See also: 1982video cover artworkLarry Cohen

The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire (2006) – Walter Benjamin

New English-language collection of Benjamin’s writing on Baudelaire: the title an obvious pun on Painter of Modern Life (1863) – Charles Baudelaire

The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire (2006) – Walter Benjamin
[FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Walter Benjamin’s essays on the great French lyric poet Charles Baudelaire revolutionized not just the way we think about Baudelaire, but our understanding of modernity and modernism as well. In these essays, Benjamin challenges the image of Baudelaire as late-Romantic dreamer, and evokes instead the modern poet caught in a life-or-death struggle with the forces of the urban commodity capitalism that had emerged in Paris around 1850. The Baudelaire who steps forth from these pages is the flâneur who affixes images as he strolls through mercantile Paris, the ragpicker who collects urban detritus only to turn it into poetry, the modern hero willing to be marked by modern life in its contradictions and paradoxes. He is in every instance the modern artist forced to commodify his literary production: “Baudelaire knew how it stood with the poet: as a flâneur he went to the market; to look it over, as he thought, but in reality to find a buyer.” Benjamin reveals Baudelaire as a social poet of the very first rank.

The introduction to this volume presents each of Benjamin’s essays on Baudelaire in chronological order. The introduction, intended for an undergraduate audience, aims to articulate and analyze the major motifs and problems in these essays, and to reveal the relationship between the essays and Benjamin’s other central statements on literature, its criticism, and its relation to the society that produces it.

See also: Walter BenjaminCharles Baudelaire

Interview with Salvatore Principato of Liquid Liquid

The year is 1979, and five young guys are free-flow jamming, in a Hispanic neighbourhood in downtown Manhattan, N.Y.C. The vocalist of this group is Salvatore Principato. By day, he works in a toy store (with Kim Gordon). By night, he‘s dropping his vocal inflections onto the rhythms of his group, who go by the name Liquid Liquid. Their own brand of ‘body music’ began to be heard not only alongside bands such as Suicide and ESG, but also in the pioneering sets of DJ’s like Afrika Bambaataa and Larry Levan. And without changing tack for new audiences, the band played on.
»When you go into the production stage of it, that’s when you think of ‘who is it that is gonna possibly care about this and how should I present it to them?’ But the original spark of inspiration, your groove or your melody or your catchy vocal line, it’s got to be just for you or the one you love.« —RedBullMusicAcademy

Sal Principato: »Alright, this video actually was done in 1927 by an animator called Oskar Fischinger and I don’t know if you know the history of animation. He was the guy behind the concept of ‘Fantasia’. [Walt] Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ and this video is called ‘When The World Got Drunk’. One of the guys from Liquid Liquid went out to L.A., California, to talk to his widow, like his 100 years old widow, to get the permission to use this for ‘Cavern’. She gave us [the permission], so it’s all straight up. And we are streaming it off the web, that’s why the sound and everything is a little twisted.«

Fischinger at YouTube.

The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (1989) – Susan Buck-Morss

The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (1989) – Susan Buck-Morss
[FR] [DE] [UK]

“Wonderfully imaginative…. Like Benjamin, Buck-Morss is a surrealist explorer, her mysteries unraveled by intuition, revealed by illusion.” — Eugen Weber, The New Republic

“Buck-Morss has written a wonderful book. Although rigorously analytic, the book doesn’t sacrifice those qualities in Benjamin’s writing that are not reducible to method. his lyrical, hallucinatory evocation of the city as a place of dreams, myths, expectations.” — Herbert Muschamp, Artforum

From the publisher:
Walter Benjamin’s magnum opus was a book he did not live to write. In The Dialectics of Seeing, Susan Buck-Morss offers an inventive reconstruction of the Passagen Werk, or Arcades Project, as it might have taken form.

Working with Benjamin’s vast files of citations and commentary which contain a myriad of historical details from the dawn of consumer culture, Buck-Morss makes visible the conceptual structure that gives these fragments philosophical coherence. She uses images throughout the book to demonstrate that Benjamin took the debris of mass culture seriously as the source of philosophical truth.

The Paris Arcades that so fascinated Benjamin (as they did the Surrealists whose “materialist metaphysics” he admired) were the prototype, the 19th century “ur-form” of the modern shopping mall. Benjamin’s dialectics of seeing demonstrate how to read these consumer dream houses and so many other material objects of the time – from air balloons to women’s fashions, from Baudelaire’s poetry to Grandville’s cartoons – as anticipations of social utopia and, simultaneously, as clues for a radical political critique.

Buck-Morss plots Benjamin’s intellectual orientation on axes running east and west, north and south – Moscow Paris, Berlin-Naples – and shows how such thinking in coordinates can explain his understanding of “dialectics at a standstill.” She argues for the continuing relevance of Benjamin’s insights but then allows a set of “afterimages” to have the last word.

Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory at Cornell University. The Dialectics of Seeing is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.

Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory, Department of Government, and Professor of Visual Culture, Department of Art History, Cornell University.

See also: seeingdialecticArcades ProjectArcades Project blogathon