Tuesday, December 1, 2020

BOOK MUSIK: Interview with Paul Morley on his book "A Sound Mind" (Bloomsbury)


Book Musik 035 – A Sound Mind discussion with author Paul Morley

"A Sound Mind" discussion with Paul MorleyTosh and Kimley are joined by writer Paul Morley to discuss his latest book A Sound Mind: How I Fell in Love with Classical Music (and Decided to Rewrite Its Entire History). Paul is a man after our own heart with wildly eclectic taste in music, an insatiable curiosity and a willingness to challenge his own assumptions. He is a well-established and highly respected pop/rock writer who’s been covering the scene since the 70s. In his 50s he realized that pop music wasn’t giving him the jolt it once did and decided to explore classical music. He discovered that its newness to himself made it as exciting if not more so than the latest pop phenomenon. It’s a fascinating adventure and the book is a passionate call to never stop expanding one’s horizons.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17

Monday, November 23, 2020

Wallace Berman, Untitled, circa 1965


A card my father sent to Teri Garr via the mail. "Wallace Berman, Untitled, circa 1965. The model is Teri Garr."

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tosh's Favorite Albums of 2020

 Keep in mind these are albums I purchased in the year 2020. Some of the music is old, but it's new to me. And in no special order - My favorite albums of 2020 are:

The Bachelor Pad -"All Hash and Cock"
Ennio Morricone - "Peur Sur La Ville"
Jack Nitzsche -"Jack Nitzsche"
The Quick - "Untold Rock Stories"
Jarvis Is... - "Beyond the Pale"
Dan Penn - "The Fame Recordings"
Sparks - "A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
Egisto Macchi - "Sud e Magia"
V.A.- "Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults"
A Raincoat - "Digalongamacs"
The Preachers -"Moanin'"
Various ‎– "More Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar"
Charlie Parker ‎– "The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection"
David Bowie - "Is It Any Wonder?"
Extended Organ ‎– "Vibe"
King Crimson ‎– "THRAK"
Vince Taylor & His Playboys* ‎– "Vince Taylor Rocks!"
Marc Bölan* ‎– "Electronic Musik"
Kenny Graham And His Satellites ‎– "Moondog And Suncat Suites

Sunday, November 15, 2020

BOOK MUSIK (No. 34) "I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen" by Ray Padgett (33 1/3)


Book Musik 034 – I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (33 1/3) by Ray Padgett

I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Ray Padgett

Tosh and Kimley discuss I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (33 1/3)by Ray Padgett. Tribute albums are often derided and tend to elicit a love/hate reaction. When done right, they can illuminate a song and boost an artist’s career as did this one for Leonard Cohen. Padgett looks into not only the specifics of this Leonard Cohen tribute album but the history of the genre in general and some of the key players like producer Hal Willner and frequent contributor Juliana Hatfield. When one great artist covers another great artist it can be sublime. Or it could make your ears bleed. Art is always a gamble…

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17

Friday, November 13, 2020

Wallace Berman "Semina 2"

Semina 2 was edited and published by my father, Wallace Berman. Suzi Hicks is the cover girl, and Wallace did the cover. Wallace was the ultimate DIY artist/publisher/designer. When you look at the cover, I don't think of the 1950s, but more 1960s or beyond that. If nothing else, Wallace was a visionary in his approach to art. He embraced technology but brought it down (or up) to his level. Many people have commented on the I-Phone design and how that image is taken from Wallace's Verifax work with the hand holding a transistor radio.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Wallace Berman: Semina No. 1 (1955)


I goofed yesterday due to god knows why, but here is Semina No. 1 edited and published by Wallace Berman. The cover is an image of the artist Cameron. Inside in the publication is the drawing by Cameron that led my dad to Jail for a night or so. From the Metropolitan Museum in New York City:

Title:Semina 1
Artist:Wallace Berman (American, Staten Island, New York 1926–1976 Topanga Canyon, California)
Author:Robert Alexander (American, Chicago 1923–1978)
Artist:Charles Brittin (American, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1928–2011)
Artist: Cameron (American, Belle Plain, Iowa 1922–1995 Pasadena, California)
Author:Jean Cocteau (French, Maisons-Laffitte 1889–1963 Milly-la-Forêt)
Author: Hermann Hesse (German, 1877–1962)
Author: Marion Grogan (American (?), active 1950s)
Artist:Walter Hopps (American, Eagle Rock, California 1932–2005)
Author:David Meltzer (American, born Rochester, New York, 1937)
Author: Peder Carr (American (?), active 1950s)
Medium:Mixed media artist’s publication
Dimensions:7 7/16 × 4 in. (18.9 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line:Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library Funds, 2014
Accession Number:2014.8.1

-Tosh Berman


Monday, November 9, 2020

Wallace Berman (Untitled, but often known as "Faceless Faces") 1963


A work by Wallace Berman, sometimes called "Faceless Faces" but not by him. He (very) rarely titled his artwork. The work is owned by MOCA in Los Angeles. Once the museum is open, you can see the work. From their press release: "Interested in chance and spiritual mysticism, Wallace Berman made work rooted in metaphorical explorations. Between 1963 and 1976, he created a series of collages using the Verifax, an early copy machine, to alter found images and reproduce them in mesmerizing duotone grids. Untitled (Faceless Faces) is a grid of photographs of formally dressed couples posing for the camera. Run through the Verifax machine, the resulting reproductions of these photographs were wet, allowing the artist to smudge or erase the faces and identities of the figures. In the resulting collage, the couples have a ghostly presence, their countenances eerily faded and obscured."
Frame: 31 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 1 1/2 in. (79.1 x 79.1 x 3.8 cm)31 1/8 x 31 1/8 x 1 1/2 in. (79.06 x 79.06 x 3.81 cm)
Image: 29 3/4 x 29 3/4 in. (75.57 x 75.57 cm)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Lannan Foundation

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Wallace Berman Installation at the Ferus Gallery, 1957

Contact sheet showing images of Wallace Berman's exhibition at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, 1957. The Getty Research Institute, Charles Brittin papers, 2005.M.11.13. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Photos by Charles Brittin

My dad, Wallace Berman, first and the very last gallery show he did while alive. This exhibition was shut down by the LAPD in 1057. -Tosh Berman


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wallace Berman: Invitation RSVP Card sent to Dennis Hopper (1963)

My dad, Wallace Berman, was sent an invitation by Dennis and Brooke Hopper to attend a cocktail party for Andy Warhol. He sent the card back to Dennis, but made it into an art piece. He wrote "Accepted: W.B." Throughout Wallace's life, he corresponded by sending cards, that were art pieces to various people. My dad never thought of it as "Mail Art," but more as a personal correspondence to an individual. Dennis held on to this card until he passed away. His estate sold the work, but where it is a bit of a mystery to me. -Tosh Berman


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Wallace Berman (Untitled) 1965?

 A work by Wallace Berman, and made in what I think was in 1965.  Make note of the bolts on each corner of the piece.  When you see those bolts that means he made the frame as well.  It was later that he took his work to be professionally framed.  At this time, he liked making the frames, and often as a nine-year-old assistant I would help him in the studio by holding the work as he screwed in the bolt. -Tosh Berman.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

"Word Book" by Ludwig Wittgenstein. Translated by Bettina Funcke. Critical Introduction by Désirée Weber. Art by Paul Chan. (Badlands)


ISBN: 9781943263240

"Word Book" by Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Translated by Bettina Funcke. Critical Introduction by Désirée Weber.  Art by Paul Chan. (Badlands)

I can't imagine myself as a child and having Ludwig Wittgenstein as my teacher.   Without a doubt, he would hate me.  Wittgenstein was a school teacher in rural communities in Austria between the years 1920 and 1926.  Concerning his biography, he was strict and stern with his young students.  It's reported that Wittgenstein hit one of the students, and they collapsed from the force of his slap or fist. That ended his career as a teacher, but he wrote a book before his unfortunate act of violence.  "Word Book" is a children's dictionary, and Wittgenstein, as a teacher, feels that students needed a book that they can easily go to for spelling corrections and to look up words.  The standard dictionary during those days was expensive or not focused on young student's needs.  

I can't think of more of a perfect philosopher to write such a book.  Wittgenstein's obsession with words and how language is used in the world is a long time concern.  What is the meaning of a word, and how is it used, with the additional thought of a thinking pattern behind the vocabulary.  Wittgenstein was sensitive to word usage in different dialects and communities. 

This beautiful book looks like a student's book from the 1920s.  This book is suitable for people who are studying German. In actuality, it's a replica of a book in a specific time and, more important, by the great Ludwig Wittgenstein.  Beyond his child-hitting approach to teaching, he must have been a great instructor to acknowledge a need that the students had for language that speaks for them.  Like my elementary school years, the teacher taught different subjects, and Wittgenstein taught them science, math, grammar, and writing.  "Word Book" is recommended to all Wittgenstein fans and anyone who loves language and understands the importance of the art and craft that is a dictionary. 

Wallace Berman "Untitled" (Lenny Bruce)


Copywright by Wallace Berman Estate

BOOK MUSIK - "Recombo DNA: The Story of DEVO" by Kevin C. Smith


Book Musik 033 – Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. Smith

Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. SmithTosh and Kimley discuss Recombo DNA-The Story of Devo or How the 60s Became the 80s by Kevin C. Smith. Smith takes a deep dive examining just what made Devo tick and twitch. From 1970 to 1979, he takes us through the background and influences of this Ohio band who experienced the Kent State shootings, discovered Dada, enjoyed manipulating the ideas of de-evolution, experimented with film and multimedia shows and ultimately became a band with top 40 appeal. They managed to find themselves in the company of the people best suited to further their cause from Toni Basil to Brian Eno to Neil Young. Talent and timing is everything.

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Wallace Berman


A work of art by my dad, Wallace Berman.  I think he did the piece sometime around 1965 or 1966.

Tribute to Sean Connery by Tosh Berman


It's strange to think about it, but I and my dad's bonding (no pun intended) was driving around Los Angeles and going to the cinema. I remember seeing "Dr. No" at the Chinese Theater either in the late morning or afternoon matinee. I must have been either 8 or 9 years old, and like millions of others, Sean Connery made an impression on me. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of the Bond films, but I love the title sequence, the action scene before the titles, and of course, the lens-eye of Connery walking up in front of the camera and shooting his gun toward the audience. After that, it's a blur of images of travel locations and girls. Still, no one can say "Bond.... James Bond" like Sean. His body language, clothes, the fetish of cars and weapons, and the fact that Bond/Connery can walk away from the 'adult' toys, and the most distinguished part of his body is his eyes and eyebrows. Roger Moore had the eyebrows thing as well. I was a fan of the Bond/Connery world's by-products, such as board games and toy guns. Sean and I share a birth date, and ever since I was aware of his birth date, I thought of him on my birthday as well. I will continue to think of him on my birthday until I pass on. -

Tosh Berman

Friday, October 30, 2020

"Peter and the Wolves" by Adele Bertei (Smog Viel)


ISBN: 9780578639437

This small gem of a book is superb.  Adele Bertei's memoir of her brief life with (now) legendary Cleveland musician Peter Laughner is a very heartfelt look at their friendship. Bertei, after this time, became a member of the original No Wave band The Contortions and worked with Tears for Fears as well as Whitney Houston.  Laughner was in the classic band Pere Ubu and a key figure in the music scene out of Cleveland, Ohio.  One of those present that is felt through the music and the intensity of those times.  Bertei, in this brief but powerful writing, captures the essence of discovering music, narcotics, and social drinking.  At the time, she was a fellow musician and a member of Peter's band, 'Peter and the Wolves.' There are no cliches, only the strong characterizations of Laughter and the introduction to the world of CBGB's - all captured by Bertei's stark but descriptive prose.  Ninety-three pages long and not a wasted word. Along with Patti Smith's "Just Kids," Richard Hell's "I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp," Chris Stamey's "A Spy in the House of Loud," Richard Lloyd's "Everything is Combustible." Duncan Hannah's "Twentieth-Century Boy, you can add "Peter and the Wolves" as another classic literature regarding the punk years.