Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Signing with Tosh Berman at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair 2015


Sunday, February 1, 3:00PM

Berman will sign copies of The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding, published by Penny-Ante Editionsand Sparks-Tastic: Twenty-One Nights with Sparks in London published by Rare Bird Books.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

THE SUNDAY SERIES: Sunday No. 3 (January 25, 2015)

Sunday No. 3

I don’t fully understand how on one Sunday, Mary could watch her son Jesus being nailed to a cross.  It is the source of pain through duty, which in turns can become a pleasure.  Faith is important, and even important to fight for the vision, but still, one would think they could hustle themselves out of this situation.   If not a direct bribe, then surely charm could have worked.  When I was a child of nine or ten years old I liked this girl at school. She's ‘sort’ of admired my personality, in that she could spend numerous hours on the telephone with me.  She was the first girl I have ever talked to on the telephone, that was my age, and the conversation went longer than the average.  Usually when I was on the telephone, it was just to answer the phone and direct the caller to either my dad or mother.  Here, she called me directly to talk.   I don’t know when eros enters the picture, but without a doubt, being nine or ten, the phone calls were erotically charged.   It wasn’t penis into vagina charge, but more coming out of the pores of our skin as well as our brains.  We were connected, but it was mostly a playtime version of phone sex, without the physical conclusion or release of that conversation.   She would play games with me. For instance she would spell out to me: I.L.O.V.E.Y.O.U. By the time she got to the V. I almost lost it on my end of the line.  I told her that she was spelling too fast, and if she can do it slower.  She did: I…L…O…V and so forth. 

We never saw each other outside of the school.  Our physical relationship was totally on the playground. I have no memory of sharing an actual class with her, and I don’t remember how we first met.  I’m very shy with girls, and especially as a child.  So it makes sense to me that she must have approached me on the school playground.   My mom would make me a bag lunch, and my pal and I often sat together and shared our lunches.   I think she was latina, and the food she brought were Mexican or classic Mexican-American food.   Mine was something out of “Father Knows Best. ” Usually a sandwich, apple and milk or juice in a container.  I was very much devoted to my lunch box, which showed images from the TV show “Man From U.N.C.L.E.  It was my favorite show, and besides the lunch box, I also had a Man From U.N.C.L.E. Spy kit, which consisted a membership card (showing that I’m a member of U.N.C.L.E.) and a plastic gun that can turn into a machine gun.  In my opinion, my name Tosh Berman, was just as exotic as Napoleon Solo.  

One day, I was flirting with her on the school playground.  At that age it is hard to convey how you feel about someone else, when in fact, you are not really clear about your yearnings.  In many ways, I yearned for this girl, without understanding why I felt that way.   She was a perfect package of beauty, niceness and a touch of wickedness.  Cruelty is sometimes a medium of expressing oneself.  I held her hand once or maybe twice.  It was like an electric current hitting my whole body.   Being so vulnerable, and especially in a school setting, with all our peers walking by and noticing us.  Her friends would tease us, and this I can see clearly bothered her.  Instead of being defiant to her school friends, she backed away from me.  That was painful, yet we still communicated, but the nature of our relationship changed. 

When time, things and people change and you feel the pavement under your foot turn into quicksand, you become desperate.  When you get used to being alone, and for a brief series of moments you get the attention that you crave… and then seeing or more likely feel it slipping away, is a pretty horrible existence.  Especially for a small boy.   I was nibbling on an oatmeal cookie that I got from home, in fact, my mom baked it.  I wasn’t hungry, and I was thinking maybe I could re-charge my relationship with her, if I offered half of my cookie, or damn it, just give her the whole cookie.  I went up to her and she was surrounded by her friends, who clearly didn’t want me around.   To be surrounded by a group of people who clearly didn’t like you, was like being stoned in public.  I could never figure out why they dislike me, except maybe for my shyness, and the feeling that I couldn’t add anything to this social group.  Also my hair was quite long, and most of the boys either had crew-cuts or very short haircuts.  Not only was I called a girl by these fellow students, but also my teacher called me one as well when we were alone one time.  I was walking in the hallway after getting some water from the drinking fountain, and walking towards me on the other side of the hall was the teacher.  As we passed each other, he said “girl.” He didn’t even look at me, when he said it, and he just walked on by.   I didn’t feel like a girl. Nor did I feel I looked like a girl.  I like girls, and I want them to like me, but I couldn’t understand why something so simple had to be so complicated.  

Nevertheless feeling shamed in front of her social group, I threw my oatmeal cookie in her face. I told her “it’s for you.” Seconds after that action that to this day fills me with shame. One of the boys in her group came upon me and pushed me to the ground.  As I tried to get up, he hit me in the face.  Again, I was on the ground, and he just kept pushing me down with his foot.  The girl was crying, which made me felt worse than being humiliated in front of the group.  The next thing I remember is the teacher who called me a “girl,” coming by and picking me up from the ground.  He talked to everyone around me, and he gathered that I was the guilty one.   And in truth, I was guilty.   Yet, again, I was hurt that no one factored in the emotions I was experiencing at that moment.  The girl understood my actions, and the boy just wanted to look good in front of her by defending her honor.   The teacher didn’t care for me, so I felt very alone that specific time and place.   To this day, on a Sunday, I look back at my time, and cringe.  The tragedy of the moment is still very much part of me, and who I am.  Yet, with that sense of guilt and feeling being misunderstood, I still look forward to tomorrow, hoping better days will come. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tosh Berman and Hal Glicksman Sign "WALLACE BERMAN - IN CONVERSATION at Los Angeles Art Book Fair

Tosh Berman and Hal Glicksman will be signing the vinyl album "WALLACE BERMAN - IN CONVERSATION" at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair at the Geffen MOCA on January 31, 2015.  2PM.  G09.


A previously lost recording published for the first time, featuring Wallace Berman - discussing his work, art and literature with Shirley Berman, Hal Glicksman, Jack and Ruth Hirschman.

Recorded by Hal Glicksman at the Berman family home, Topanga Canyon, 1968.

Mastered from the original tape recording, with a text by Tosh Berman.

“When I hear Wallace on this tape, I still can’t recall his voice or sound.  Some years ago, Hal Glicksman played this tape to me and my mom when we were planning the retrospective right after Wallace died.  What shocked me is that he was playing it in the background at a meeting and I didn’t have the foggiest idea it was my dad on that tape.  I spent the first 21 years of my life with Wallace, and when he died, his voice disappeared as well.”
 – Tosh Berman

Vinyl LP available to order from:
and from specialist retailers.

LP launch and
Saturday 31st Jan 2015
at 2pm. Table G09.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Wallace Berman - In Conversation" 12" Vinyl Album (Edition of 400) Published by Edition Muta

A previously lost recording published for the first time, featuring Wallace Berman
discussing his work, art and literature with Shirley Berman, Hal Glicksman,
Jack and Ruth Hirschman.

Recorded by Hal Glicksman at the Berman family home, Topanga Canyon, 1968.
Mastered from the original tape recording, with a text by Tosh Berman.
“When I hear Wallace on this tape, I still can’t recall his voice or sound. Some years ago, Hal Glicksman played this tape to me and my mom when we were planning the retrospective right after Wallace died.  What shocked me is that he was playing it in the background at a meeting and I didn’t have the foggiest idea it was my dad on that tape. I spent the first 21 years of my life with Wallace, and when he died, his voice disappeared as well.”
– Tosh Berman
Published 2015
Vinyl LP | 55m 55s
MUTA 05 / ISBN 978-0-9850044-6-0 / Edition of 400
Co-published with Derringer Books

You can purchase the album online here:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Sunday Series: Sunday No. 2 (January 18, 2015)

Photo from

Sunday No. 2

It took me awhile, but I think I arranged a chance to fuck “her.” It seemed like it took forever to get her to my point of view, that I was desperately trying to convey to her.   Her beauty has been a consistent heartache as well as a pleasure of sorts.  To want something, and being so close to “it, ” is like walking across two skyscrapers on a thin rubber-band in the wind.  She is standing perfectly still in front of me, but the wind is pulling me back, sideways, and this time, I hope forward.   She would often drop hints of sensual adventure, but once I try to act upon them, it is like it never happened.   Either by design, desire, or just a cruel version of torture, she would wear this piece of jewelry on her body that is like waving a red cape in front of a horny bull.  It was a thin chain that is connected to her waist and goes up to the back, and then around her beautiful neck.  If she was wearing a blouse it would appear to be a thin necklace around her throat.  But when she is wearing her backless black dress, you can see the full design, except the part that is connected to her, what I imagined, is her perfect waist.  When I was with her, especially in public, I could barely stand it.  

I’m consistently on the telephone with her, and she slipped in the information that she was planning to wear the “necklace,” in case I was planning to come over her house - which it seems she will be alone.  My reaction is like the wolf in a Looney Tunes 1940s cartoon, where my eyes are jumping out of my sockets, and my tongue is rolling over my thick lips.  I told her for sure I will be there, and since it’s Sunday, I’ll bring some things over.  Neither one of us works in the sense of “work,”… like Monday you have to go to work type of thing.  Personally I was daydreaming that I would be spending a week in her bed, while I trace my fingers against her jewelry.   In fact, I wanted to remove her jewelry piece, and with a felt pen, draw another version on her skin.   For the whole week beforehand, whenever I saw a felt pen on a table, or in a stationary shop, I would get an erection.  While we were talking and arranging a meeting just now, that is exactly what I was thinking.   Before I left the house I took at least three pens with me and put it in my bag.  

I knew she had a turntable in her apartment, so I stopped at Amoeba to locate Brian Eno and Robert Fripp’s “Evening Star” on vinyl.   Some years back, I remember having sex with this music in the background.  Side two is “An Index of Metals, ” which lasts for the whole side.  I think 28 minutes.   Perfect time length for intercourse, as well as climaxing at the end of the track.  Knowing this piece so well, I can use it as a guide of sorts, while actually fucking her.   I did find the album, although used, and looking at its surface, I did see scratches on the vinyl.  In theory, I thought this will be OK, and may even add creative tension in the sex act, with this in the background.  

As I was heading out towards the line to purchase the Eno/Fripp album, I saw a 45 single by Timi Yuro called “Interlude.” I stopped.  I turned around and picked the single up. This was a song, that I wanted like forever.  Timi was a favorite singer of mine, and often I felt, mine alone.  She was an American, died young, and had a big voice for a little girl.  This song, for me, is the ultimate doomed love song.  I often cried when listening to it, and that was embarrassing because a friend of mine had the single.  I tried to buy it off him, but he refused. He told me that once I find it, the song will bring new meaning to you.   I looked at the grooves of the vinyl, and it looked like it never has been played.  The store wanted $12.99 for it, and who am I to argue if the price is too high.  What I’m buying is not only art, but something that is essential to one’s life, or even identity.  With that in my hand, I started to walk towards the cashier, when all of sudden something caught my eye.

It was the front cover of an album by an artist or band called Perfume Genius.   I was struck by the beauty of the young man on the cover, and I immediately went to the record like an abandoned cat in a rain storm approaching a neighbor’s cat food plate.  The song titles were intriguing to me, especially the one called “Queen.” With my I-Phone, I found the track on YouTube, and watched and listened to it at that spot.  It was the glam rock song of my desires.  I gave up hope of ever hearing a new glam song, and this one with its pansy sexuality, was superb.  I played found another video of his, called “Body, ” and that too was magnificent.  When one discovers a new record or a new sound, it is like falling in love.  One wants to go around and shake people from their shoulders and tell them to listen to this.   Common sense told me that this was not a good idea.  So I took that album and put it under my arm with the Fripp/Eno album as well as the Timi single.  While standing in line to purchase the goods, she called me and told me if it is ok to come later over her house.  I said sure, and she said that she is really looking forward to seeing my face.  I felt good hearing that.  Also it gave me a chance to get back home and listen to the records.

Every time I play a record on my turntable, it takes me five minutes or so to clean the needle.  I’m obsessed with getting the best sound possible on my set-up, and I actually enjoy the procedure in preparing a record listening session.   I quickly checked the Eno/Fripp record to see if it’s in a good condition, and for a used album, it looked like it wasn’t played a lot.  There was a crackle here and there, but overall it sounded good, and therefore perfect for tonight’s planned love-making.    I then put on Perfume Genius “Too Bright” album.  

“I Decline” is the first song on side one.  At this moment, I ‘m taken to another place in my world.  I don’t even recognize where it is, but I know I like it.   Then comes the song “Queen.” It is like someone put a knife on my chest and cut it open, and released all the tension within me.  “No family is safe when I sashay.” I keep lifting the needle after the song is finished and replaying it.  I remember in Jean Cocteau’s “Orpheus” when the main character, a poet, would sit in his car parked in his garage listening to messages on the car radio from the underworld.  I feel the same way when I hear this song.  “Queen” is communicating with me directly.  Slowly, as I meditate on the song, it becomes clear to me that life is so multi-dimensional.  

Once the whole album was over, I immediately went into my work-space and got my head-phones and played the whole record again.  One of the things I admire about the record is its sonic textures.  The melodies are all strong, but there was something ‘ugly’ about the sound as well, which brings out the beauty of the lyrics and melody.  Due to the cord attached to the mixer, I couldn’t sit on the couch, so I got a big pillow, and lay on the wooden floor.  As the sound overcame me, I fell asleep and I had this odd dream of me being in bed and someone entering the bedroom.  It was a ‘she’ and I presumed it was my desirable obsession with the jewelry.  As soon as she got in bed in total darkness, I reached out and said her name.  She then told me that it wasn’t her, but someone named Sue. I didn’t recognize the voice, and I didn’t do anything. I just pretended that I fell asleep.  When I woke up, I hear the needle going back and forth at the end of the record. 

I then put on the 45 rpm single of Timi Yuro’s “Interlude,” and time truly became a dream.   I slowly realize that my desires are a dream.   There is my life as a living being, but beyond that, and through music, I realize that I am something more.   Not necessary a  better person, but I’m not the same guy that morning, then I am now this evening.   Time is like a dream, and my lust for her, has changed into a beautiful melody. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Sunday No. 1

Quiet Sunday is a loud Sunday for me.  The quietness around the house just opens up the inner sounds of my body, and my thoughts appear to me as a forceful speaker.  I want to shut it off, but I can’t. So today I decided not to have my bottle of wine.  I drink a bottle every night.  Either with my wife or by myself.  I get buzzed, but I never get drunk.  Or is being buzzed being drunk?  The difference is if you were in front of me, you wouldn’t think I was drunk.  I never get too boisterous, or opinionated and really, a bottle of wine for me is a way to pass time.  Time is the enemy that takes so prisoners. 

Sunday is the first day of the week.  I’m often reflective on that day, where I think what happened the previous week, while thinking about the upcoming week.  I keep a calendar for the purpose of not forgetting to pay off bills, or if I have luncheon or dinner appointments.  My life is very quiet, and therefore my thoughts are ringing out proud and loud, as I try to make sense of my existence.   Around 7 PM, is when I open the bottle of wine.  The first sip to the last is an adventure that I travel within.  

The things I like to do when drinking wine is to read, watch TV, or having a meal.  The hard part I think of not drinking wine, is the eating part.  Food is good, but wine makes the food desirable.  I usually drink two glasses of wine with a typical meal.  I also like to have a glass of wine before the meal.  It’s the initial glass that I drink slowly, while I write or listen to music on my laptop.  It’s a meditative moment where I’m focused on the drinking as well as the writing or music on hand.  Drinking wine doesn’t make the conversation better, or makes the music more enticing - but it adds a certain texture to those two distinctive practices. 

If I have the option, I rather drink wine alone.  Which is odd, because wine traditionally is a drink that one shares with another.  The thing is I have so many things to think about, that’s all in my head, I rarely have a need to verbally express myself to another person.  Wine in a way is that other person that’s in my head.  I don’t need wine to be social, in fact, I can amuse or be interesting to someone else without the effects of alcohol as a partner-in-crime.   Wine doesn’t impress me, or anyone else, it is a friend that puts his or hers arm around your shoulders, as you think or notice the passing of time.   As of right now, I’m writing without my bottle of wine, which is uniquely weird!  I don’t feel I need to have it for me to write.  The thoughts come out OK, but I do like wine as an object that is located in front of me.  When I do drink wine with respect to writing, I always prefer white.  White wine (all categories) allows me to think without the thoughts getting muddy.  Red wine usually puts me to sleep or often I feel like I’m moving in slow motion.  Red is for sure good for noticing time and what it’s doing that moment.  I become extra-aware of the moments passing - where with white wine, it is more about speed, and getting lost in whatever is on-hand at the moment you are drinking. 

My favorite day of the week to drink wine is of course, Sunday.  Traditionally it’s 24 hours of reflection.  Many go out to walk around the reservoir, or maybe see an afternoon movie, but I prefer to sit in front of my stereo speakers with a bottle of wine opened in front of me, and just let the intoxication take me to another space or place.  I like playing vinyl albums, because you have to leave your seat, and flip the record on its other side.   If you just think about time, it is usually 20 minutes per side, so I know for at least that amount of time, I can just focus on what I’m hearing and listening to.  The music is often just a soundtrack to my thoughts as if it was a ship passing between two giant icebergs in the far Atlantic. 

It is very odd not to feel the effects of my favorite drink at this time of night.   The truth is I never feel fully sober.  Mostly due to the toxins of the world that I breathe in and out on a daily basis.  My perception when I walk outside is sometimes overwhelming, due to the noise of the traffic and the volume of the crowd in various shopping centers and malls.  I also have a hard time dealing with people directly, especially on the telephone.  The only place where I feel totally comfortable is within my head with the buzz of a bottle of wine.  

I’m very curious to find out what will happen if I don’t drink my bottle of wine tonight.  Will minutes ring loudly in my ears as time passes?   What I do know is - schedule is addictive.  I think it even goes beyond addiction to drugs, drink, or any other vice one can think of.   Writing is very much an addiction as well.  The calendar is addictive. There is nothing more comforting than looking at your calendar and seeing your life being mapped out by the hour.  Drinking at night is also a sense of comfort.  It is a process through which to remark on the passing of that day, and that the schedule will go on at the present and into the future.  In other words, addiction is living.  And right now, I’m living to the fullest. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

THE SUNDAY SERIES starting Sunday January 11, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, 
Did you really think I would go away? Starting next Sunday, I'll be starting my "SUNDAY SERIES." Every Sunday I will post a new story. Some of it will be true, some of it will be blue, and some will just exist in its own natural naked state. Hopefully you will enjoy it, as much as I will enjoy writing the pieces for you. - Tosh Berman, January 4, 2014.