Saturday, February 15, 2020

BOOK MUSIK 17: Tony Nourmand & Dave Brolan (Reel Art Press)


Tosh and Kimley discuss the books of Reel Art Press with special guests Tony Nourmand (the founder and editor in chief) and Dave Brolan (the music editor.) Reel Art Press publishes stunning books on an eclectic array of subjects usually with a music, film or pop-culture foundation. Tony and Dave, both enormously passionate about what they do, regale us with some fantastic and often amusing stories about running an independent press and working with the likes of Led Zeppelin and some of the most iconic music/rock photographers in the biz. Each of their books brings a unique perspective and is a piece of art in and of itself.

Friday, February 7, 2020

"Badass Babe!, Sex & Fury & Other Stories" by Bonten Taro (Black Hook Press)

9784990744014 Black Hook Press

I knew nothing of Bonten Taro, but after reading his manga "Badass Babe!, Sex & Fury and Other Stories," I'm now a fan.  Taro is obsessed with the world of tattooing as well as Yakuza culture.  His stories as themselves are not that brilliant, but the combination of drawing talent and focus on revenge, strong female characters,  and the over-the-top violence is a glorious cocktail of delight.  He is the Mickey Spillane of the Japanese Manga world.  Black Hook Press, out of Japan, did a magnificent job in presenting Bonten's work in this beautiful and pulpy edition.

"Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece" at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles


"Once Upon a Time in the West: Shooting a Masterpiece" (Reel Art Press) is a masterpiece of a book. The author Christopher Frayling will be at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, discussing his book on a film that changed in what we think of the Western genre. Not only that, but Sir Frayling is an expert on the Spaghetti Western. The book, in-depth, discusses the Italian film industry and its artists. Not only on the genius of Sergio Leone, but also the brilliant soundtrack music by Ennio Morricone and the script by Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Leone. Sir Frayling will present this beautifully illustrated book that is essential to the film fanatic but also the fascinating history of the Spaghetti Western. The event will take place on Saturday, February 8th, at 3 pm.

Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles
917 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles 90013

Thursday, February 6, 2020


French New Wave: A Revolution in Design" Edited by Tony Nourmand. Introduction by Christopher Frayling. Design by Graham Marsh. Text by Alison Elangasinghe.
The French New Wave, of course, has a presence as cinema, but also, and equally important is how the international graphic arts contributed to these markable films. I believe most of us who were touched by the French New Wave was first seduced to its greatness by its movie posters. In an obsessive (and love is always obsessive) manner, we look at the graphic genius of Jean-Michel Folon, Boris Grinsson, Waldemar Swierzy, Christian Broutin, Tomasz Ruminski, Hans Hillman, Georges Allard, René Ferracci, Bruno Rehak, Zdenek Ziegler, Miroslav Vystrcil, Peter Strausfeld, Maciej Hibner, Andrzej Krajewski, Maciej Zbikowski, Josef Vylet’al, Sandro Simeoni, Averardo Ciriello, Marcello Colizzi and many more. From France to the U.S. to Poland, Japan, and elsewhere, The French New Wave was a foundation where graphic art was made and equally as important as the actual films.
The editor Tony Nourmand will be in conversation with Christopher Frayling. A book signing will follow. At Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 917 East 3rd Street. Sunday, February 9th at 3PM. - Tosh Berman



Saturday, February 1, 2020

BOOK MUSIK 16: Bowie's Bookshelf by John O'Connell

Tosh and Kimley discuss Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie’s Life by John O’Connell. Any serious Bowie fan knows that Bowie was a voracious reader and the epitome of an autodidact. In 2013 the Victoria & Albert Museum had a David Bowie exhibit and Bowie graced us with an additional memento which was this list of 100 books that changed his life. John O’Connell dissects each of these books and tries to surmise the specifics of influence and import to Bowie. It’s an impossible task but an amusing one that leads to further discussion on one of our favorite topics: David Bowie!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Musik 15 - Tony Conrad Writings with Guess Andrew Lampert

Book Musik 15 – Tony Conrad Writings

Tosh and Kimley discuss Tony Conrad Writings with special guest Andrew Lampert who co-edited the book with Constance DeJong. Conrad is primarily known for his work as a musician/composer, an experimental filmmaker and artist. He was a hugely influential key figure in the early minimalist music scene in New York in the 1960s. Wanting to explore other modes of creativity he then pushed up against the confines of the film-going experience with films like “The Flicker” and “Yellow Movies.” Always curious, always questioning, Conrad never ceased to be doing something new and unexpected. His Writings give us just one more wonderful chance to go down the rabbit hole with him.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

BOOK MUSIK No. 14 "Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach by Roshanak Kheshti (33 1/3)





Tosh and Kimley discuss Wendy Carlos’s Switched-On Bach by Roshanak Kheshti from the 33 1/3 series. Switched-On Bach, an album of Bach compositions played on a Moog synthesizer, is one of the bestselling classical recordings of all time. In the 1960s Carlos worked with Robert Moog to further the synthesizer’s capabilities and with the 1968 release of Switched-On Bach she pioneered an entirely new way of making music. She also wrote powerful scores to several films including Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. And she was one of the first public figures to come out as transgender. She’s groundbreaking in both her professional and private life and yet she’s maintained an air of mystery and intrigue that we find very compelling.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Tosh's Favorite Reads (Books) for 2019

Tosh’s top Books in 2019:


“Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish: Essays” by Tom McCarthy (NYRB)

“Rebel Rebel” & “Ashes to Ashes” by Chris O’Leary

“Head-to-Toe Portrait of Suzanne” by Roland Topor (Atlas Press)

“Death Valley Superstars: Occasionally Fatal Adventures in Filmland” by Duke Haney

“The Alley of Fireflies and Other Stories” by Raymond Roussel (Song Cave)

“The Orchid Stories” by Kenward Elmslie (Song Cave)

“Curl” by T.O.Bobe (Wakefield Press)

“Mac’s Problem” by Enrique Vila-Matas (New Directions)

“Another Ventriloquist” by Adam Penn Gilders (J &L Books)

“When I Was a Wolf: Outlaw Takes on Fables and Fairy Tales” by Shuji Terayama (Kurodahan Press)

“The Artificial Silk Girl” by Irmgard Deun (Penguin Classics)

“The Sundays of Jean Dézert” by Jean de La Ville de Mirmont (Wakefield Press)

“In Black and White” by Junichiro Tanizaki (Columbia University Press)

“Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words” by Morricone and Alessandro De Rosa (Oxford University Press)

“Year of the Monkey” by Patti Smith (Knopf)

“Nada” by Jean-Patrick Manchette (NYRB)

“I’ve Seen the Future and I’m Not Going: The Art Scene and Downtown New York in the 1980s” by Peter McGough (Pantheon Books)

“Intelligence for Dummies: Essays and Other Collected Writings” by Glenn O’Brien (ZE Books)

“Life for Sale” by Yukio Mishima (Penguin Classics) 

“The Man Without Talent” by Yoshiharu Tsuge (NYRB)

“Punk Rock is Cool for the End of the World” by Ed Smith (Turtlepoint Press)

“Essays:One” by Lydia Davis

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

"Tony Conrad: Writings" with Andrew Lampert in Conversation with Tyler Hubby and Tosh Berman



Save the date for Saturday | January 4th | 3 PM for the Los Angeles book launch of 'Tony Conrad: Writings' with editor Andrew Lampert in conversation with Tyler Hubby and Tosh Berman. This should be a super fun event... don't miss this!


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Reggenza Italiana del Carnaro (Italian Regency of Carnaro)" by Tosh Berman




Some actions take place that one can regret and move on, or let the fate of history handle it from now on. Gabriele D'Annunzio was a man who wouldn’t let fate decide his sense of order and passion. The city of Flume was part of the Austrian Littoral. Due to the Treaty of London (1915) was placed in the hands of the Croatian territories into the Kingdom of Serbs. D'Annunzio felt that Flume belonged to Italy. He and 2,600 troops, reportedly shell-shocked from the Battles of the Isonzo, marched into Flume and staged a seizure of the city.



Gabriele D'Annunzio was an Italian poet, essayist, playwright, and equally important, a soldier. Think of Yukio Mishima, but Italian. There is no doubt that d’Annunzio was a Fascist, but one who mapped out his world in such a fashion that relayed a perfect sense of space, and that landscape was Flume. In his own hands, and without the permission of Italy, he and his soldiers annexed the territory to the Kingdom of Italy. Italy, in return, put a blockade of Flume, demanding that d’Annunzio and others surrender.

What’s interesting to me is not the politics or even history, but the fact that a poet/writer led such a campaign. One can argue if d’Annunzio is a great poet/writer, but without a doubt, he was in the avant-garde of the literature of the time. In honesty, he’s more 19th-century than say someone like his peers at the time - specifically Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and the Futurists. Marinetti called d’Annunzio and the leaders of the ‘Exploit’ “advance-guard deserters” So, The Futurists were very much supporters of Italy and its empire. The Italian government, in a compromise, offered Flume’s citizens a modus vivendi, which in Latin means ‘mode of living,’ to co-exist in peace. d’Annunzio was against the modus vivendi and put it to vote in the Italian National Council of Flume. They accepted the proposal from Italy, and then d’Annunzio insisted on being put to the vote with the citizens of Flume. They, too, voted for the modus vivendi.



D'Annunzio distrusted the Italian government that he decided to make the final decision. On September 8, 1920, D'Annunzio became the Comandante; in other words, the Dictator of the Italian Regency of Camaro. The only other country to recognize the Italian Regency of Camaro was the Soviet Union. The constitution, or known as ‘The Charter of Carnaro’, was a combination of Fascist, Democratic-Republican theories, and Anarchist touches. This vibrant cocktail that became a country had, for sure, the touches of a creative poet. The Charter made “Music” a religious and social institution. Besides setting up the standard platform for governance (law, defense, education, etc.), d’Annunzio also set up a platform to support the “superior individuals” such as poets, heroes, and supermen.

Benito Mussolini found d’Annunzio inspiring and loved his style of leadership. The truth is d’Annunzio invented Italian Fascism with his balcony speeches, the roman salute, and his charismatic relationship with the audience or crowds. He even had black-shirted followers. The whole fascistic aesthetic came from this poet.


So like Yukio Mishima, who had his well-dressed army, the influence of those on the right, and their sense of style, elegance, also matched with a great deal of brutality. In America, we are not attached to those who dressed-well. Most Americans find it suspicious and are looking for others who fit in their style or aesthetic.

 Like all things, it had to end. D’Annunzio declared war on Italy, and of course, even though well-dressed, lost that battle. Eventually, it became part of the Empire of Italy.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

"The Criminal Child:Selected Essays" by Jean Genet (NYRB)iI

ISBN: 978-68137-361-4

Those who write and look up to other writers (as a writer should, by the way), I have to imagine Jean Genet is very much 'it.'  As a teenager and a young man in his twenties, I greatly admired Yukio Mishima and Genet.  In no fashion was I going to idolize Robert Benchley (that happened in my 50s) or any writer that appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List.   Genet is a criminal.  And a proud criminal on top of that.   In our world now, criminal writers are looked down upon.  As you gather, a writer has to be, at the very least, a morally upstanding citizen.  Genet is bad-ass.  But a bad-ass that can write about his world in such delicious language.  One of the great presses in the English language is the New York Review of Books (NYRB), and their edition of Genet's "The Criminal Child: Selected Essays is a small and remarkable book.  The title piece is regarding the nature of the French reform-school system, and how much Genet preferred the kiddie-prison of his youth.  Also, his essays/commentary on the visual art of Alberto Giacometti and Leonor Fini is superb. Genet can connect to an artist like a hand attached to an arm.