Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nick Kent's "Apathy for the Devil"

Apathy for the Devil Apathy for the Devil by Nick Kent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nick Kent's collection of essays/interviews "The Dark Stuff" is a must for rock n' roll reading. The one theme that runs through that collection is the fucked-up rock n' roll figure. And he's good at capturing the low moments of very talented artists.

His memoir of the 70's "Apathy for the Devil" is an interesting book that focuses on himself of course, who was basically a mirror image of his subject matters that he wrote about. The 70's decade was not kind to Kent, but it is also what made him interesting - a good writer who can look into the lives of others and pick up the damaging aspect as well as what makes them great. So it is interesting to read what he says about artists of that period -especially the Sex Pistols, for whom he has mixed feelings. I was kind of surprised that he poo-poos Public Image Ltd, but the whole punk experience seems to left him with a bad taste in his mouth.

I don't totally agree with his music taste, but he is honest to see the weakness in lot of his favorite artist's works, and that I think makes him a good critic. The drug addiction aspect of his story must be told, but beyond that it is basically the everyday type of material regarding drug taking and its world.

What makes Kent unique is his take on fellow writers of the music magazine world (NME) and how they function in that world. Of all the writers I found himquite hard on Paul Morley, who I feel is one of the top critics of the 80's and still is. So yeah I don't trust his critical judgement, but I like the way he says it.

"The Dark Stuff" is the essential book to have by Kent, but this is a good volume and a detailed snapshot of life in 1970s London.

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Wallace Berman film with LIVE John Zorn Soundtrack

32 2nd Avenue

8PM / Performance tickets $20

Publication launch:
Wallace Berman (November 6 - January 9, 2010)
Published by Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery

in conjunction with:


Please join us for an evening of ecstatic films and electrifying music with Anthology Film Archives’ Composer-in-Residence John Zorn, who will perform live scores for rare films by artists Wallace Berman and Harry Smith. This special event will also celebrate the release of a new publication titled WALLACE BERMAN issued by the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery. Zorn and trio (Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn) are absolutely not to be missed!

Tickets available here!:

Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
526 W. 26th Street, No. 213
New York, NY 10001
P. 212.243.3335
F. 212.243.1059

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Daniil Kharms

Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writing of Daniil Kharms Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writing of Daniil Kharms by Daniil Kharms

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Totally a new writer to me and Daniil Kharms hits all my aesthetic spots on target. Absurd to the max but with a lot of heart. One can read the mood of what was happening in Russia at the time of these writings (early 20th Century) but I think that may be misleading. What we have here is a genius who would have been a force no matter what part of the world he came from.

The fact that he was part of the landscape of the Russian revolution and Stalin is just a plus with respect to the writings (he died tragically of couse). But what appeals to me is the logic and wit of his work. It's beautiful writing that holds no prisoner. Excellent collection.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tosh Berman Live and presenting Wallace Berman's Film "Aleph" in Berkeley

MARCH 19, 2010, at BAM

Gallery B

Inspired by Semina, a free-form journal published sporadically by artist Wallace Berman and his circle in California in the 1950s and 1960s, each issue of Anne Colvin’s Skank Bloc Bologna is a looseleaf collection of works from an international cast of artists, writers, and poets. Issues One through Three are available in the BAM/PFA Store. Issue Number Four will be the first time-based and paper issue, drawn from Colvin’s five-evening L@TE residency at BAM (February through June, on the third Friday of each month), and will include ephemera from the performances, spoken word events, screenings, sounds, and conversations.

The second installment of Skank Bloc Bologna Number Four features more of the unexpected! Tosh Berman presents Aleph, his father Wallace Berman’s hand-painted filmic meditation on life, death, mysticism, politics, and pop culture. Tosh, who runs Tam Tam Books, will talk about music with respect to his father and the film. Local artist Jennifer Locke’s career as a professional dominatrix and champion submission wrestler informs her physically challenging “actions,” which she performs hidden from the audience and reiterated in a live video feed. A recorded sonic tour by U.K.-based dub poet Lynton Kwesi Johnston explores his experiences as an African Caribbean living in Britain. Journalist, documentarian, and sound artist Tania Ketenjian, the host and producer of arts program “Sight Unseen,” which airs on KALX in Berkeley and is syndicated on Resonance FM in London, will produce field notes drawn from interviews with audience members to be used as the basis for a future radio show. Skanking encouraged!

Preceded at 6 p.m. by KALX DJ Citizen Zain, who will respond to SBB4 with a mix of skank, opera, and Scritti Politti. Wine and beer will be available for purchase.

L@TE is made possible in part by Bank of America, the Tin Man Fund, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Special thanks to our media sponsors, East Bay Express and San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Anne Colvin would like to thank Tosh Berman, the National Film Preservation Foundation, and John Zorn.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Michael Sorkin's "Twenty Minutes in Manhattan"

Twenty Minutes in Manhattan Twenty Minutes in Manhattan by Michael Sorkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you look at my list of titles on Goodreads, you can see that I am interested in books that are in a specific place and time. In many ways I think I prefer that than to say 'character.' But then again I find cities and locations are very much character in the sense that the architectural or urban landscape is a narrative in itself and there lies the suspense and often tells how humans react to that environment.

Michael Sorkin, like a skilled surgeon, writes about his neighborhood in lower Manhattan. And what he sees is visual history slowly and surely disappearing as New York merges into another identity or large shopping mall. The human interaction is still in place, but can one imagine a time where that will also disappear like one's favorite little shop.

Sorkin is an architect, and it is basically the eyes of that occupation that he looks at his home. The first chapter on various staircases in Manhattan is fascinating and scary (due to my vertigo). But he also admires all the quirks and charm of a building that doesn't work perfectly. This is a very human take on a city that is changing but will always be fascinating as well.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (1903)

Thanks for Ruth for bringing this to my attention. I am a mega-fan of Alice the book. And due to the Tim Burton film that just came out (haven't seen it yet) there is attention to everything that's Alice. What a complex, weird, wonderful novel. And I am presuming that this is the first film version of Alice. May be the best?