Monday, June 29, 2020

Tosh For ARTBOOK/D.A.P. on "Offline Activities" (The Ice Plant)

Tosh talks about Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin's "Offline Activities" (The Ice Plant). The ultimate book of activities. Here I have fun with "Offline Activities."

"Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper" by Diarmuid Hester

"Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper is a much-needed study on this author and filmmaker's works and life.  Cooper is very much a verb and still extremely active in writing in various forms and formats.  Diarmuid Hester has an excellent grasp on what makes Cooper a great writer, as well as a thinker, and dwell into each part of his past novels and projects.  Like Raymond Roussel, one has to take Cooper's entire works because, in a sense, it's all part of his world that he constructs very carefully and skillfully. Like Jacques Demy's filmography, one movie leads to another. There is a pathway or string that attaches the entire film works.  The same goes for Dennis Cooper's writing and film projects. The beauty of Dennis's work is that it is very much part of contemporary culture. His collaborations with other artists are always of great interest, and true to the nature of his work. 

Hester also writes about the culture around Cooper, and that is equally fascinating as well.  The Beyond Baroque in Venice California years are explored as well as Gay/Lesbian culture of the 1980s,  90s, and beyond.  My only (very) little disagreement with the author is how he sees Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center becoming unimportant after Dennis leaving his post as Readings Director.  The institution has a long history before and after Dennis. It deserves a full-length biography (or oral-history) of Beyond Baroque.  Benjamin Weissman, who became the Readings Director after Dennis, did a magnificent job of organizing readings for the center and connecting to poets/writers from Europe, New York, and beyond.  Without a doubt, Dennis's importance to Beyond Baroque was essential, but the organization rocks on in its manner and ways to this day. 

"Wrong" is an essential read for anyone interested in Dennis Cooper's work. Still, also on a more significant landscape, it's about literature in the late 20th and 21st-century.  He's one of my all-time favorite writers, as well as a person of great taste.  This book opens up Dennis's world to others who are starting to get their first step into the works of this prominent figure in the arts. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

BOOK MUSIK PLAYLIST : The Association and Others

Book Musik did a focus on The Association and their little planet of goodies. We put together a playlist of hits and deep cuts from the Fab 6 (or 7), as well as others in that world. Enjoy!


Apple Music:

Monday, June 15, 2020

Tosh For ARTBOOK/D.A.P. on Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things & Cocktail...

BOOK MUSIK: Along Comes The Association by Russ Giguere & Ashley Wren Collins (Rare Bird Books)

Tosh and Kimley discuss Along Comes the Association: Beyond Folk-Rock and Three-Piece Suits by Russ Giguere and Ashley Wren Collins. The Association had several enduring top-40 hits in the 1960s but were a bit of an anomaly. While performing they typically wore suits and they sang lush harmonies on songs like “Cherish,” “Windy” and “Never My Love.” This was during a time when guitar-heavy rock was dominating the music scene and the cool kids had a proclivity for outrageous attire and social upheaval. But as an integral part of the Los Angeles music scene, The Association was in the thick of things, opening the Monterey Pop Festival and hanging out with all those cool kids.

Friday, June 5, 2020

June 5, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

June 5, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

Today there are 1,445 new cases, and 36 died today from the Trump Virus.  Atwater Village, my neighboring community, is remaining the same with 52 cases total, but where I live, Silver Lake now has 204 cases.   It was under 200 yesterday for Silver Lake.  Glendale, not that far from me, has 1,040 cases total, and today there are eight more who are confirmed to have the virus. Another person died as well, so now the death is 92.  The total in the County of Los Angeles is 61,045 cases and 2,565 deaths.

For me, this reads stay at home and keep away from people. Yet, people do need to live and eat, and therefore they take chances by going back to work and opening businesses.  People who do go out in the world are not only endangering their health, but also others.  Dog eats dog, but do they like the taste of the virus in their mouth?

Lun*na, throughout the afternoon, has been working on the Philip Guston video I made for Artbook / D.A.P.   That should be finished by tonight, and then I will send it off to their main office in New York or their remote workspace.  Do offices even exist in this world?

I'm dismayed in hearing about the Police in Buffalo New York and how they are handling the demonstrators.   There are reports that the Police knocked down a senior citizen who found himself on the pavement with blood coming out of his ear.   The attitude of the Police was to walk past him, but a police officer or two were called for their actions.  Amazingly enough, the entire police squad resigned in support of their fellow cops.  Does one wonder if they work for the public's behalf or support their family, the gang, known as the Police?

Thursday, June 4, 2020

June 4, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

June 4, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

Today there are 1,469 new cases of the Trump Virus, and 44 deaths reported for today as well in the county of Los Angeles.  The city of Glendale, California, which I can see from the distance from my backyard has 1,031 cases so far and 91 deaths.  Atwater Village, which is walking distance from my home, has 52 cases and two deaths.  Where I live, Silver Lake, is still a tad under 200, with 12 deaths altogether.  I look at these reports daily, and they very much tell me what I will be doing for the next few days or weeks - staying at home to work on the film script and various writing jobs.

The good news is the neighbor's cat is back in my backyard.  She was gone for 24-hours, and I was miserable without her. I thought that a coyote caught her, and I was miserable throughout the night.  My neighbor told me this morning that they are allowing the cat to stay indoors at their home, and I was thrilled that she was alive and healthy.  I like dogs, but I love cats. Their relationship with humans is complexed interestingly.  There is equal attention paid to each other, and I feel in these days of misery, going out on the front steps and petting this gorgeous beast makes me feel good.

For the past few days, I have been reading the novel "Tapping the Source" by Kem Nunn.   The book is considered to be 'surf noir,' which may be the case, still, a real joy to read.  I've been studying surf culture as much as possible for a writing project.  The solitary surfer appeals to my sense of need to be alone during these days of a harsh life.  I feel miserable about my mom being in solitude; although I do text or call her daily, it is awful to have this border between us, yet, I don't give up the fight against the Trump Virus.  I don't live in fear or even anxiety, but more with sadness on a daily basis.

This afternoon I did another video for Artbook / D.A.P. on Philip Guston, the painter.  I love doing these little segments for my work, and it's challenging to touch on subject matters that are complexed and detailed, but within 8-minutes long.  I'm naturally a wanderer of a writer or talker, so to be confined in a timeframe is something new for me.  Kimley and I also discussed what the next book would be for our podcast Book Musik.  It isn't easy because we are committed to doing two episodes per month.  Due to the virus, we can't be in the same room, so that means we have to get an extra copy of a book for us, which so far is not that difficult. Still, the delivery and mail system is slow due to the Trump Virus.  Life has changed where we have to make plans even for a short time ahead of us.  I hear people mention that people have to live, meaning go back to their old life before the virus, but to me, living now in seclusion or being apart from the world is an intense experience. It is very much being alive and interacting with the new world.  For those who feel fear, either for the business they are losing or their lives and not to be sick - it's still a fear.  I have no fear.  I choose to live in a new world. - Tosh Berman.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June 3, 2020 (In the Year of the Trump Virus)

June 3, 2020 (In the Year of the Trump Virus)

For the past two months, my neighbor's cat has been visiting us regularly.  She hangs out by our front door, and I have spent a great deal of time hanging out with the cat on our front steps. I don't allow the cat inside, due to my wife is allergic to cat fur.  Still, when I work outside, she comes to the backyard and hangs with me. She craves attention, so I often spend time petting and chatting with her.  I haven't had a pet cat or dog since I was a child. I moved around a lot, so I never felt the need to have an animal as a pet. Also, I feel weird about owning an animal.  I know having a pet around can make you feel good, but there is something wrong about owning a living creature that bothers me to the core of my being.  Saying that now, I'm nervous that the cat is not around anymore. I looked forward to seeing her, and I don't even mind her meowing for an hour.  Her sounds are perfume to my senses.

As I write, people are demonstrating in various parts of Los Angeles and the world.  Mostly peaceful, and the other day, on my way to my mother's house to drop off some goods, I saw a bunch of kids with their parents doing their version of a march in the neighborhood.  Things may move on, but I do feel that there is significant damage to President Virus, and he may not survive this time.  I say that, because I sense a mood in the air, and I think people are tired of his lies, lack of character, and just being under the attack of this over-grown spoiled child in a man's body.

Today, I worked on a Philip Guston video talk, which hopefully will take place tomorrow.   I'm also working on a film script, and I need to make some significant changes in its structure.  I never worked with other people in a writing job, and I'm learning a lot in how to compromise and hopefully make a better script. I feel like F. Scott Fitzgerald or William Faulkner when they were hired by a Hollywood studio to become a scriptwriter.   The glamour of such work is a turn-on for me.  It's different from working by yourself for a book project or essay.

As of this writing (5 PM ), there are 1,155 new cases of the virus and 46 deaths in Los Angeles County.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

June 2, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

June 2, 2020 (In The Year of the Trump Virus)

I got up (too) early to go to Trader Joe's for their matinee senior hour.  Once we got there, I saw only one line to go in, so we stood in line.  The woman in front of us told me that there is a senior section where you can go in right away.  I thanked her, which was very kind of her to point this out to me, and then it came to my attention that I now look like a senior to the outside world.  My life until this point, people mention how young I looked, but alas, that is now not the case anymore.

Once you get into the entrance, they spray some liquid on to your hands, and you're free to roam in the store, but you must follow the directional arrows, which I do with great passion. I realize that what makes me happy is to be told what to do. I'm crazy about that. I love people giving me directions, and I follow their floorplan or design.  Being a life-long Jacques Tati fan, I admire how individuals fit into the overall design.  There's a sign in the store that said no more than five individuals in this aisle.  I thought that was perfect.  I counted four people, and then I jumped into that space, as happy as a bee approaching a flower.

I go to Trader Joe's for the sole purpose of buying Charles Shaw wine.  We get a month's supply of wine, which is three-cases.  I can't have dinner without white wine of some sort, and then while watching a show, nowadays it's "Babylon Berlin," I have a glass of Merlot.  After the show, I get a second glass and meditate on the past 24-hours.  It's not a quiet meditation.  It's a horror show.

As I write, things are happening that are not good.  The Trump Virus is raging. Yesterday it was 978 new cases and 22 deaths from the virus. Today there are 1,202 new cases and 60 deaths from the virus in the County of Los Angeles. When I go out, I see more people are feeling relaxed about social distances and wearing masks. For the last four days or so, no one talks about this, at least in the media, due to the police killing of Black Americans. It's interesting to note in Los Angeles County; there are 394 Asians, 265 Blacks, 917 Hispanic/Latinos, and 643 Whites who died so far from the virus. When someone dies either from murder or an infection, how each death affects their community - among friends, co-workers, family members, and so on.  The world is not good to us.  On the other hand, we're not good for the world.  - Tosh Berman

Monday, June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020 (In The Year of The Trump Virus)

June 1, 2020 (In The Year of The Trump Virus)

It's fascinating to watch President Virus self-destruct in such a fashion that is not a surprise whatsoever.  He is a child that one tells not to touch the flame, and you turn your back on him, and there he is with both hands in the blaze.  I can't imagine how exhausting it must be to be a journalist and have to write about him.  Easily provoked, and since he's trapped in the White House (in theory), he is being poked by a long stick while he's in the cage growling against these advisors, family, and god who knows who else who choose to be with this piece of shit.  I can't imagine a Hell that is worse than spending social or private time with this attention addict.  I get the idea that Republicans believe that if they keep their head down and get stuff passed in the house and senate, it will be worth it. Even with that thinking, how low can a human go with smelling their asses?  How long will it take from now to when he's hanging upside down in some gas station near the White House?

On a personal level, I have work to do, with even a deadline, yet, this oxygen sucker of what some suspect is or was a man is dragging all of us into a mixture of mud and shit.  I'm not particularly eager to get my clothes dirty for such rotting pounds of flesh, AKA President Virus.  Any showbiz figure who comes to his inauguration with the Stones' "Heart of Stone" as his intro music was clearly not a good sign for the next three-and-a-half years.   Flush him and his entire world down the toilet.  I prefer his golden toilet if you don't mind.  -Tosh Berman

BOOK MUSIK: "Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present" by Seth Bovey (Reaktion Books)

Tosh and Kimley discuss Five Years Ahead of My Time: Garage Rock from the 1950s to the Present by Seth Bovey. Guitar, bass, drums, a catchy three-chord song, and a groovy guitar lick — that’s all you need to rock! The pure, raw sounds of garage rock have been around since the late 50s when people realized they could play music without a huge investment of time or money. Most bands never became more than a regional attraction but a few did rise to the top and many continue to have devoted cult followings. Bovey takes us through the beginnings with the instrumental garage rock bands of the late 50s and early 60s and explores the development of this highly influential genre of music right up to the present including an impressive international scene.
Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17