Saturday, December 29, 2007

TamTam Books' Tribute to Edgard Varese

While shopping at a record store, I came upon a CD that brought memories to me. It was Edgard Varése's "Complete Works of Edgard Varése, Volume 1." My parents had this record in their collection and played it all the time.

So I have been playing this album non-stop, and I just want to share this experience with you. The record label is él Records out of London. Meanwhile here are some visuals with Varése's great music.

"Poeme Electronique" Music by Edgar Varése; film by Le Corbusier/Xenakis. 1958

"Ionisation" Edgar Varése

"Ionisation" Edgar Varése; peformed by Pierre Boulez & Ensemble InerContemporain

"Density 21.5 (1936) Edgar Varése; (Not sure about the performer or where it took place)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas from TamTam Books

There is something so beautiful with these short films, I just want to share them with you on this holiday morning.


TamTam Books

Bonzo Dog Band "Hunting Tigers"

Jacques Tati "Playtime" (Excerpt)

Jean Cocteau's "Blood of a Poet" (Excerpt)

Sparks's "Dick Around" (classic music video)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Actual Film Footage of the great French Poet Guillaume Apollinaire

With music by Léo Ferré

Apollinaire reading his poem le pont Mirabeau

Apollinaire's Poetry

TamTam Books' Tribute to Serge Reggiani

Serge Reggiani was very much a huge movie and stage star in France. But I am also a huge fan of his music. His voice sort of reminds me of Bryan Ferry. But that's a very superficial observation! What we have down below are some documentary footage as well as Reggiani singing one of his great songs, "Le Petit Carçon."

Serge Reggiani singing Boris Vian, plus other footage

"Le Petit Garçon"

A Documentary on Serge Reggiani

"Ma Liberté

Thursday, December 20, 2007

My Favorite Music For the year 2007

It is that great time of the year when we all make the best of 2007 list for films and music. Which in theory is great, but honestly I don’t like any of the new stuff that much. I could list David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” as one of the best films, but in reality it was THE ONLY NEW FILM that I thought was interesting. So I am going to do a two-part thing. I am going to list my favorite albums this year…. That was actually recorded years ago, except for a couple of exceptions. This is music that was played in my studio while working away on projects, etc. I will do films tomorrow or the next day


Les Rita Mitsouko “Variéty”

Idil Biret “Chopin: Complete Piano Music (Etudes)

Andre Hodeir “L’écume des jours” Soundtrack to Boris Vian’s “Foam of the Daze”

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band “The History of the Bonzos”

V.A. “Le Meilleure De Boris Vian”

Chantal Goya “Les Ann+Es 60”

Charlotte Gainsbourg “5:55”

Cream “The Very Best of Cream”

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich “The Legend Of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich”

Dirk Bogarde “Lyrics for Lovers”

Electric Light Orchestra “No Answer” (with Roy Wood)

Ennio Morricone/Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza “nova musicha n.9; Musica su Schemi”

Graham Gouldman “The Graham Gouldman Thing”

Jack Nitzsche “Chopin '66”

Jacques Dutronc “Madame l'Existence”

Juliette Greco “Si Tu T'imagines”

Michel Legrand “Le cinéma de Michel Legrand (Nouvelle Vague)”

Scott Walker “And Who Shall Go to the Ball? And What Shall Go to the Ball? – EP”

Sparks “Hello Young Lovers”

Sigue Sigue Sputnik “21st Century Boys”

Thurston Moore “Trees Outside The Academy”

...And not in any order mind you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

TamTam Books' Publisher Fights for another day...another moment!

At this very moment I am suffering from a great last night. My body got up but I swear I could see myself still asleep. And yet somehow, I need to function for the whole day. It seems impossible, but I must be strong. Onward soldier and don't look back!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Dream Concert with Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg and France Gall

Last night I had a dream that I went to a Serge Gainsbourg concert. It took place in a small High School concert hall, and it was strange going to this show because I was sort of aware that he passed away some years ago. The lights went dim, and then the lights appeared with the audience applauding like crazy. Somehow I missed the entire show by either falling asleep or some sort of lost concentration on my part.

But the good news is that there will be another set right after that one. So I am excited, and once again the light dims before his appearance on the stage - and once again I fall asleep and missed the second set as well. This dream woke me up and I had a hard time falling back to sleep again.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Who, Ossie Clark, and Paul Jones/ Uber-Mod London Freak Out

This is a little fascinating TV history- super early footage of The Who with an interview with one of my all-time favorite singers Paul Jones. London designer Ossie Clark is also featured as well. The documentary is from 1966, and I believe it's from a Canadian TV show.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What Has Tosh (TamTam Books) Been Doing?

Besides wasting my precious time on the website, I have been working on a memoir about my childhood. Which come to think of it is totally insane. I haven't the foggiest idea why I even started writing something like that. Cary at Bookbeat asked me to write an essay about my father Wallace Berman for a website called "Blast." I received great feedback, and of course I now feel like I have an audience so I must go on. But nevertheless it's nerve wracking to go back to one's past - especially in the murky area of one's childhood. The one thing I found that was interesting is that I haven't changed one bit since I was Eleven years old!

On the TamTam Books' front, Boris Vian's "The Dead All Have The Same Skin" is completely finished and now getting ready to take it to the printers. I am planning (unless something bad happens) to have this masterpiece out by Spring 2008. As well as another Vian title, "To Hell With The Ugly" which should come out Christmas 2008. A fantastic artist Jessica Minckley will illustrate the book. Check out her artwork at:

And on top of that we are working on the translation for Gilles Verlant's magnificent biography on Serge Gainsbourg. It's over 600 pages long and it promises to be the last word on this great artist. Paul Knobloch, who translated Vian's "Autumn in Peking" and "Manual of Saint Germain-des-Prés" is doing the translations for all three books.

So yes, I've been very busy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More obsessions regarding Francis Carco

I finished reading Francis Carco's "Perversity" and haven't stopped thinking about the book and the author himself. Who is this man? What I know of him is that he was born 1886 and died 1958 and he's French. I need to locate the book "Frenzy," it looks like a sister to "Perversity."

The great press Green Integer sometime ago released a collection of poems by Carco called "Streetcorners: Prose Poems of the Demi-Monde." I haven't read this one as well.

Portrait by Jacques Dyssord

So the journey to discover a new author from the past is on...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My all time favorite band: JEAN PAUL YAMAMOTO on December 18

TamTam Books' Tribute to DIRK BOGARDE

Dirk Bogarde is one of my all-time favorite actors. If his name is attached to the title or project, I am always there for him. He also had a second career as a writer - both memoirs and novels. Here are some of his film works:

"Song Without End"

"The Night Porter"

"Despair" by Rainer Werner Fassbinder


"Damned" by Visconti

Making of "Death in Venice"

This is an excellent memoir of his movie years.

Some may feel that this is a little bit campy, but I love this album. Bogarde basically recites the great American (and British?) songbook. Bryan Ferry anyone?

The Dirk Bogarde masterpiece in my opinion is Joseph Losey's "The Servant."

Based on this great little novel by Robin Maugham

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Guardian blog about Boris Vian by Tony O'Neill and other stuff

Everyone check out the Guardian book blog about Boris Vian's "I Spit on Your Graves."

It's a good piece, and I really appreciate Tony O'Neill's article.

I am exhausted at the moment. Lun*na had an opening last night that was fun. But got home late, and woke up early - and basically I am drooling at this table. Not a beautiful sight (site) my beautiful readers.

I took this image recently and I am obsessing about it. Why?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lun*na Menoh's Statement regarding her Mini-Art Exhibition: Yakuza Papers

“Battle Without Honor & Humanity”: THE YAKUZA PAPERS Vol. 1-5’
Directed by Kinji Fukasaku. First released in Japan in 1973 through 1974.

This five part film series is based on a real story regarding the Yakuza’s (the Japanese Mafia) survival from right after the war to the 70’s. And to this very day the film series is very popular in Japan.

In 2004 this DVD was released in the United States with English subtitles. When I saw the DVD again in the States I felt similar to the Yakuza with respect to those who are Japanese and living in the U.S. A lot of us who are Japanese have a personal dream to come to the United States and most of us who are living here, in what feels like we are on the fringes of Society. A lot of us here desire a friend or to be part of a family to be devoted to.

There is a battle everyday to reach the bridge between those who live in America and its open society and those who carry the Japanese spirit: Honor and Humanity.
The dialogues on the artworks are from the movie written by Kazoo Kasahara and Kouji Takada. These words touch my soul so I want to hang them on my living room wall.

These pieces are not only for the Japanese, but also for all of us who love THE YAKUZA PAPERS. We can all share this with people who feel “jingi.“ - honor and humanity.

All the artworks in this exhibition are priced $89.30.

The reasons are:

8 we pronounce yattu = ya
9 we pronounce ku or kyu= ku
3 we pronounce san which sounds like =za

So these are all “Yakuza Prices.”

- Lun*na Menoh, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Book I am Currently Reading: PERVERSITY

A short noirish novel written in the 1920's that takes place in Paris and it's about a pimp, prostitute and her borther - how can one go wrong with this book?

I know very little about the author Francis Carco, but I can feel another "obsession" in my bones, and I will surely hunt down everything possible about his work. The translator is the well-known novelist Jean Rhys.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ossessione A GO-GO

i just finished watching Luchino Visconti's "Ossessione" (Obsession) which is the first film version (of three made) of James Cain's novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice." And if I am not mistaken it is also the first film by Visconti. So far I am half-way through the short novel, and I prefer the Visconti film than the original source.

What's interesting is Visconti added a 'gay' subtext or story that is not in the novel. It gave the main male character more depth, which is interesting due to the fact that Cain's novel has no backstory or background of its main characters. When I finish the novel I will add more thoughts...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer, born August 22, 1928; died December 5, 2007

James Cain, Luchino Visconti, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Ossessione

This weekend I plan to stay home and read James Cain's "The Postman Always Rings Twice and then watch Luchino Visconti's first film "Ossessione."

I was never a huge fan of Cain's work, but I haven't read this book since I was a teenager. It was time for me to re-visit my youth in a sense.

On the other hand, Visconti never disappoints me! If I have the time I will also see the Tay Garnett film version with Lana Turner and John Garfield. It seems Garnett was a gag man for Mack Sennett, which is fantastic.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Film footage from David Bowie's "Baal" by Bertolt Brecht

This is rare for the David Bowie and Bertolt Brecht fan! The BBC production of "Baal" starring David Bowie plus two film clips of Bowie singing Brecht's songs. This is so fantastic you should kiss me when you see me on the No. 4 bus. Fantastic!

A Brief Thought on "Fantomas"

Fantomas, down below, is something that is part of my DNA at this point. I have a fascination with characters that can change identities and this particular character fits the model to a 'T.' Plus the fact that you get actual film footage of Paris circ. 1915 is simply amazing and beautiful.

But what is Fantomas? To me he always seems to be the collective fear of the powerful - and therefore is the 'charm' of the Fantomas series.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

David Bowie in Bertolt Brecht's 'Baal'

My friend Nick made me a CD of some old vinyl I had for awhile. One title is David Bowie's "Baal," which is one of my favorite recordings by this icon. For reasons I don't know, Bowie never released the long playing E.P. soundtrack, which is a shame.

"Baal" is Bertolt Brecht's first play and it is about a traveling musician who seduces and destroys lives with the ease of a dog drinking from soiled water. David Bowie starred in a BBC production as Baal, and it seems to be the perfect role for him. Yet there is no DVD or even VHS version of this production available to the open market.

Bertolt Brecht