Monthly Archives: October 2008

Simon Vinkenoog at Demian yesterday

Simon Vinkenoog at Demian today

Simon

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Vinkenoog

Simon Vinkenoog at Demian yesterday where he read from Goede Raad is Vuur to me (and the rest of Demian).

The Right Mask” by Brian Patten was translated by C. Buddingh’ is included in Goede Raad is Vuur, a poetry book by Simon Vinkenoog.

The Right Mask” is the ultimate mask allegory and a piece of cult poetry.

I know own a signed and author-illuminated copy of Goede Raad is Vuur.

Goede Raad is Vuur is the first book on poetry I own.

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Goede Raad is Vuur

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The window display

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Simon in de verte

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Simon van dichtbij

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Simon

I’ve previously mentioned Vinkenoog

Introducing Wim T. Schippers

Wim T. Schippers by Marco Raaphorst

Wim T. Schippers

This post is mainly intended for people living in Antwerp or the environs.

Tonight, “Pollens, wat een heisa!,” an homage to Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers starts at the Monty in Antwerp.

There are many things to be said about Wim T. Schippers, but since I write this blog in English and most of my readers are from all over the globe, these things will be of interest to few. Suffice it to start by saying that Schippers belongs to the Dutch Dada tradition.

Digression #1

I say Dada because Surrealism is to weak a word; and it can be agreed upon that surrealism was not but an insipid decoction of Dada; Dada having the chronological benefit of course. On the other hand, I realize there is no use bemoaning the insipidness of Surrealism, since Surrealism was its best possible replacement. Nevertheless, Surrealism to my liking has always been too formalistic and dogmatic.

In discussing Schippers, a number of comparisons are called for. In the Dutch language geographical area, we have Doctorandus P. whom I celebrated here[1] and [2] and who is most certainly a precursor of Schippers. Internationally, one can compare Schippers to Monty Python.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_azDvJdRC2Y]
Famous banana clip (I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear!)

Now the force of Schippers resides in his mainstream influence, most Dutch-speakers know him without knowing him, he is voice actor of a number of voices of the local version of Sesame Street, most famously Ernie. In The Netherlands he is also known by face as the presenter of a popular science quiz show.

Outside of some dim recollections of his 1970s TV shows, he crossed my personal path each Wednesday afternoon when I listened to his radio show on VPRO (Schippers in the persona of Jacques Plafond (Eng: Jacques Ceiling) [3]. These shows were hilariously irreverent. It was love at first sight.

Garage, Haarleem by Andy Field (Hubmedia)

Shit, I forgot my car, from a Sjef Van Oekel comic

Later still, there were the comics of Sjef Van Oekel, the brain of which was again Schippers.

In Belgium, the Dutch-speaking part where I live, there are two soul brother of Schippers: Kamagurka and Herr Seele. And perhaps Hugo Matthysen.

To conclude: Schippers is the nobrow example and canonical to this blog, even if you’ve never heard of him, try to find his equivalent in your country.

Ernies Drol by Laurens Bontes

Ernie’s drol (Ernie’s Turd)

photo Laurens Bontes

Much better than the similar work of Paul McCarthy

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbBRVUjWKUg]
Going to the Dogs -Part 01 – This is the famous play for dogs by Dutch Wim T. Schippers.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAVOOn-Ill4]

The song “Pollens, wat een heisa!,” from which the homage’s title was taken. Notice the naked ladies towards the end

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl0EFJWx-bg]

Phil Bloom, reading the news naked, in 1967 on national television.

Louis Althusser @ 90

Althusser by Green Gorilla

Photo unidentified

Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital (05) - 17Sep06, Paris (France)Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital (02) - 17Sep06, Paris (France)Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital (01) - 17Sep06, Paris (France)Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital (04) - 17Sep06, Paris (France)Sainte Anne, psychiatric hospital (03) - 17Sep06, Paris (France)

Photos of the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital by Philippe Leroyer

Louis Althusser, French Marxist philosopher would have been 90 today, infamous for strangling his wife on November 16, 1980 and not being tried for it. Althusser was diagnosed as suffering from diminished responsibility and committed to the Sainte-Anne psychiatric hospital in Paris. Althusser remained there for three years and was then released.

Gratuitous nudity #13

Women of Domai is filled with world class instances of gratuitous nudity, such as these hourglass shaped figures [1][2].

Bathing in an almost infantile innocence, Domai’s content[3] is a welcome interruption to the more explicit and sometimes abject stroke material most of us find on our internet travels.

Their editors are have a sense of humor and a level of sophistication:

“Last Sunday I was up early for once. (To quote Robert Heinlein: “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”) I went for a walk in the quiet town.”–Eolake Stobblehouse via [4]

Had he not succumbed to the complications of AIDS in 1997

Unidentified photograph of Fela Kuti

The Nigerian musician Fela Kuti would have celebrated his 70th birthday today, had he not succumbed to the complications of AIDS in 1997.

Like much of my music which I now consider canonical, I discovered him through my house music love story.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgpQNENsmo4]

Digression #1, namesake of “Shakara” track by Fela Kuti, [1] has embedding disabled

He first popped up as the author of “Shakara[1] on playlists of David Mancuso‘s legendary The Loft. Playlists I discovered of course via the internet.

Africa

Cover of a Japanese Fela Kuti compilation album

The pre-internet world was literally a terra incognita. If one found a record by Fela Kuti, one had to find good sources to discover the rest of his releases. Today we’ve moved to a terra cognita. One glance at Discogs is enough to discover the oeuvre of Fela.

What we still need though, in spite of the terra cognita situation, are tastemakers. Biased tastemakers.

Simon Reynolds has blamed the terra cognita thing for the supposed death of the underground, he will be hosting a conference on this soon[2].

He stated on this before:

“The web has extinguished the idea of a true underground. It’s too easy for anybody to find out anything now, especially as scene custodians tend to be curatorial, archivist types. And with all the mp3 and whole album blogs, it’s totally easy to hear anything you want to hear, in this risk-less, desultory way that has no cost, either financially or emotionally.” Simon Reynolds via woebot.

One more word on Fela. Woebot once said – I paraphrase – “I’ll take King Sunny Adé over Fela Kuti any day. Too much redundancy in Fela.”I disagree. I like long pieces and love Fela’s trance. Which reminds me, I miss Woebot.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMUWn_jRk0E&]

Unidentified clip of Sunny Ade

Here is a quote from that Woebot post:

Sunny Ade gets my vote over Fela Kuti anyday. There’s too much redundancy in Fela’s music, saxophones and organs meandering all over the place. Shaggy ain’t my thing. While the political ire and philosophical stance of something like “Kalakuta Republic” are rousing, in preference I’ll take the sheer sonic thrill of Tony Allen‘s edge-of-climax drum pans on the more “superficial” dance craze record “Open and Close“. That record retains the JB‘s hyper-tense instrumental dynamics and one-mind co-operation, without degenerating into marijuana miasma.”[3]

Saint Anthony at the movies

Perhaps the ultimate and most underrated dream vision (underrated because it is not recognized as a dream vision) in the history of Western literature is the The Temptation of St. Anthony, here [1] painted by Domenico Morelli as Le Tentazioni di Sant’Antonio, also the title of an Italian film of 1911 which depicts Flaubert’s version.

Domenico Morelli - Le tentazioni di Sant'Antonio by you.

[1] painted by Domenico Morelli as Le Tentazioni di Sant’Antonio,

Saint Anthony has not been popular among writers nor filmmakers but has been very influential to painters, the dream visions lend themselves perfectly to exploring taboo subject matter.

Temptation of Saint Anthony by Melies with woman on cross by you.

[2]

Only two notable filmmakers had a go at the story, Georges Méliès in 1898 and the aforementioned Italian version of 1911.

Then there is the curious case of The Private Affairs of Bel Ami[3]. For the realisation of this film Loew-Lewin Productions announced a “Temptation of St. Anthony” contest. David Loew and Albert Lewin had persuaded twelve modern artists to paint Anthony’s vision. Each artist was commissioned for $500. Max Ernst was the $3,000 prizewinner.

The work was to be shown in a close-up at a key moment in the film.

max_ernst_anthony by youngmanblues.

[4]

Although Max Ernst‘s rendition (here[5] in a better scan) was the winning work, Salvador Dalí‘s contribution[6] (featuring a parade of spider-legged elephants tormenting the saint) went on the become better-known.

Dream sequences in literature and film

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVb4CC4XU]

Dream sequence in La Prisonnière (1968) by Henri-Georges Clouzot

I love dream sequences in film. Every Disney film has nearly one. Always psychedelic. Film as a medium is particularly well-suited to impart dream visions, much better than previous visionary literature, which required more narrative realism.

An interesting juxtaposition here is Dante‘s Divine Comedy compared to its first film adaptation[1].

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA3NRe5kgak]

L’Inferno

The Divine Comedy exemplifies the conventions of dream-vision literature, though Dante specifically says that his Comedy is not a dream vision.

I guess what this post comes down to is the boring but somehow unavoidably attractive “literature vs. cinema” debate I’ve been engaging in.

The debate is boring when you limit it to either/or, but of interest if you view it from its technical angle, with fiction at the center, and medium-specificity at its perifery.

Notions such as unfilmability provide the best entry point.

But that notion I was not thinking about when going to bed last night. I thought about cinematic effects in literature, a notion first put forward to my knowledge by Lotte H. Eisner in The Haunted Screen.

She writes:

“Romantic authors such as Novalis or Jean Paul, while anticipating the Expressionist notions of visual delirium and of a continual state of effervescence, also seem almost to have foreseen the cinema’s consecutive sequences of images. In the eyes of Schlegel in Lucinde, the loved one’s features become indistinct: ‘very rapidly the outlines changed, returned to their original form, then metamorphosed anew until they disappeared entirely from my exalted eyes.’ And the Jean Paul of the Flegeljahre says: ‘The invisible world wished, like chaos, to give birth to all things together; the flowers became trees, then changed into columns of cloud; and at the tops of the columns flowers and faces grew. In Novalis‘s novel Heinrich von Ofterdingen there are even superimpositions.”

Der letzte Mann

Example of a superimposition in The Last Laugh (1924) – Murnau

She concludes:

“It is reasonable to argue that the German cinema is a development of German Romanticism, and that modern technique [cinematography] merely lends visible form to Romantic fancies.”

La Prisonnière is World Cinema Classic #67, L’Inferno #68.

Alton Ellis (1940 – 2008)

Alton Ellis (September 1, 1940October 10, 2008), was a Jamaican musician best known for such singles as “I’m Still In Love,” “Rock Steady” (which gave the rocksteady genre its name), “Can I Change My Mind [1]; as well as the originator of the Mad Mad riddim.  Ellis is survived by his wife and more than 20 children.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3JqGtjuLJk]

I’m Still In Love”by Alton Ellis

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kthwkH7k-0]

“Rock Steady” which gave its name to the genre.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xdqbuGieyg]

Mad Mad riddim medley