Sunday, March 28, 2021

The Marmalade -"Man In A Shop" Vinyl 45 rpm Single, 1967 (Epic)

 


The Marmalade is not a Scottish band with a lot of character. There is a good song here and there, but then there is Man in a Shop, a record I have been obsessing with for the past 12 months. It's strange how a song or recording hits you when you at least expect it. I think I was intrigued just by the title; what does it mean to be a man in a shop? Before we go into that subject matter, it is best to describe The Marmalade's music as very radio (at least in the UK) friendly with touches of Roy Wood's The Move mixed with the vocal abilities of The Hollies. Which sounds good on paper, but they don't have the Roy Wood genius of writing tunes. Still, they came up with Man in a Shop


The song is full-on psychedelic chamber-pop with a certain amount of sadness—a cocktail of a tune that I couldn't avoid at any cost. I don't know if MIAS was a hit or not, but I don't understand how such a brilliant piece of earworm music could have failed. Reading the lyrics off the computer screen seems to be about a male shop owner who runs a clothing boutique for women, and is soft (in the head? Sexually?) and is lonely. There is a crowd of girls outside looking at the display window and admiring the mannequin or doll wearing the clothes for sale. He puts up a new dummy in the window and throws the old one into the basement. One can also read that this is about a psycho-killer. There is a weird communication between the kids outside the shop and the man (very much) inside. 


The song opens with an electric guitar playing backward. Any record that starts off with a backward guitar is more likely be a masterpiece as a rule. And then when you add trumpets to the backward guitar, well, you're close to God. Even though I have my suspicions about this 'man in a shop.'


Here are the lyrics:

Here's a tale of a man in a shop, who was
Kinda soft and liked to, dream all day
In the day a loving man in a shop, there are
Lots of things that I would, like to say, about loneliness

There's a little crowd of kids formed 'round my window
They've all come to see my Princess, ain't she beautiful

You can tell, by their smiles
What she means to their, little minds
She like's something out of, one of them child rhymes

There's a crowd of little girls now, 'round my window
They all like the clothes she wears lying there beautiful

You can tell by their smiles
That they like the style but not the price
That they, would have to pay, to live like her

Just a tale of man in a shop, who was
Kinda soft and liked to, dream all day
In the day a loving man in a shop, there are
Lots of things that I would, like to say, about loneliness

There's a lovely new girl in my window
Threw the old one in the cellar, ain't that pitiful

Maybe he can make more dough
Since he's to change the girl, we don't know
We will just have to wait, and see

That's my tale of a man in a shop, who was
Kinda soft and liked to, dream all day
In the tale of a man in a shop, there are 
Lots things that I have, had to say

- W. Campbell and S. MacLeese



Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken


Speaking in Tongues" was an exhibtion and catalog that explored the art and relationship between my dad Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken. The exhibtion itself was ten years ago. Curated by Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon.

Speaking In Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken 1961 - 1976

'Speaking in Tongues...' brings, for the first time, two seminal yet under-studied Los Angeles artists into close conversation. The exhibition examines how Berman and Heinecken bridged modernist and emerging post-modernist trends by ushering in the use of photography as a key element of contemporary avant-garde art. Their works are explored within the unique cultural context of 1960s and 1970s Southern California, as it fueled and amplified their highly original creative approaches.


 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Bowie -"Rare" 1982, Compilation, Italy (RCA)

 


On one level, a knock-off compilation of bits and pieces of David Bowie's music career output in the year 1982, issued and compiled in Italy by Carlo Basile and Fabrizio Ferrucci. It depends on how one defines 'rare' these days, but finding these recordings on one vinyl disc is rare. Although I have a few on 45 rpm singles, I didn't have any of them on an album. 


Basile and Ferrucci, whoever they may be in the Italian music world, did a fine collection of Bowie songs. Ragazzo Solo, Ragazza Sola  (translated title into English is Lonley Girl, Lonely Boy)the Italian version of Space Oddity. The pleasures of hearing Bowie singing in Italian and German for Helden (Heroes) are worth the package for me. But it's really having Velvet GoldmineHoly HolyMoon of Alabama, and the instrumental Crystal Japan that makes it a must-buy. 



Friday, March 26, 2021

Procol Harum - "Procol Harum" 2019 Reissue (Fly Records)

 


I first bought this album in the year it was released, which is 1967. For over 50 years, I have purchased "Procol Harum" over and over again. I have four different editions of the record on vinyl, and at least one in the CD format. Why I love this album since I was 13-years old is a bit of a mystery to me. Most of the music on "Procol Harum" is sad to me, and I'm attracted to melancholy melodies and performances. Perhaps it's the inner-goth in me or that the music brought images to my head. To this day, I really don't know what the lyrics for"A Whiter Shade of Pale" are about. I haven't even bothered to read them. There also have been a few covers of this song, and every one of them is a good one. Of course, Procol Harum's take on their song is the best. Gary Brooker, the vocalist, composer, and pianist, has a soulful singing voice. The lyrics by Keith Reid are rich in imagery and detailed with specific descriptions of incidents or objects. I dwell on the mystery, but I don't want to know or have the answers. Procol Harum's music lingers like a faint appearance of marijuana. I remember reading an interview with Robbie Robertson of The Band putting down "A Whiter Shade of Pale" as an imitation of the song "When a Man Loves a Woman" and thinking he's an idiot. To this day, I can't really listen to The Band due to what he said about my favorite song. 

If one has to choose one edition of this classic album, it would be "Procol Harum" reissued in 2019 by Fly Records (distributed by Forced Exposure in America). It's a double album set. The first disc is the original album in mono. The second disc is a collection of b-sides and some a-sided singles that didn't make it onto an album release. The other great classic Procol Harum song is "Homburg." For one, I love the idea of a song named after a hat. It's a beautiful melody, and there are two versions of it on the album. The seven-minute version is superb. Perfection in every manner possible. Plus, there are Italian language versions of "Quite Rightly So" and "In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence." After so many years, I now feel satisfied with having this one version of a perfect album. 

Wallace Berman, The Jewish Museum, New York, September 17 - November 17, 1968

 


Wallace Berman had a solo show at the Jewish Museum in 1968, curated by Kynaston McShine. He went to NYC for the hanging of the show, as well as to the opening. He went to NYC by himself, stayed at someone's apartment and immediatly got homesick for Topanga. On the other hand, the nearby bar/tavern was Max's Kansas City, and that was a good sign.

New York: The Jewish Museum, 1968. Paper browned, light edge creases; very good in illustrated printed wrappers.. First Edition. Oblong quarto, folded. Catalogue for Berman's exhibition "Verifax Collages" at The Jewish Museum, New York, September 17 - November 17, 1968. Four panel illustration on the verso. Text by James Monte, checklist, exhibition directed by Kynaston McShine.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Johnnie Ray - "Soliloquy of a Fool" 45 rpm single, 1957 (Columbia)

 


Johnnie Ray is one of my favorite figures in 20th-century pop music. He's the bridge between icon Frank Sinatra and icon Elvis. Visually I love his hair, and even more important, he would wear a bulky hearing aid on stage for one of his ears. Vulnerable, handsome, and intense. Ray can convey misery and loneliness like no other being. There is something alien about him, probably why David Bowie wanted to play him on the big screen. Johnnie Ray has done many magnificent recordings, but nothing as brilliant and special as "Soliloquy of a Fool." 

It's a song of regret and sorrow, but what makes it unusual is the music's production and arrangement. It is credited to Ray Conniff and his Orchestra, which means 'middle-of-the-road' arrangements typically. The instrumentation is basically Johnnie's echo-laden voice, a minimal electric organ, and some electronic or heavy echo percussion that is even more minimal. It's an extraordinary record as well as being truly beautiful. 

I'm dying to know the history of this song, but especially the recording. Conniff co-wrote the song, and I'm guessing he wrote the music. I suspect that it wasn't a hit, and in fact, it's the b-side of the single, with the A-side being "Miss Me Just A Little." Nevertheless, a small but stunning masterpiece. 

Wallace Berman Retrospective Catalog 1978


As far as I know this is the first full catalog of Wallace Berman's art. It was published by the Fellows of Contemporary Art in 1978. Two years after my dad's death. The exhibiton was curated by Hal Glicksman and located at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Walter Hopps was originally going to curate the show, but he disappeared and I can't remember why. I do have a memory having a meeting with Walter at a big table at someone's house. I was there with my mom, I'm pretty sure Hal was there as well. Walter spoke slowly with a sense of drama. He said "Wallace's art is.....on the wall....and the walls are white....." We all silently thought about this, and we all nod our heads yes. Nevertheless, Hal did a remarkable job in putting the show together, and it looked beautiful.

"Wallace Berman Retrospective" (1978) is out-of-print and be expensive when found. But for the collector..... "Perfect bound in wrappers, 118 pp., illustrated throughout. Includes a foreword by Hal Glicksman, an interview with Walter Hopps, essays by Robert Duncan and David Meltzer, a chronology, a catalog of the exhibition, and a bibliography. An important early gathering of Berman's work, his first retrospective."
-Tosh Berman

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

[ Who is in "Who is Lun*na Menoh" ] vol.1 - Moeko Maeda

The Tokyo Boys - "Midnight in Tokyo" MGM Records, 1963

 


Middle-aged male jet setters in 1963 would fly to Tokyo for business and, of course, pleasure. With their business accounts, they can stay at 5-star hotels such as The Prince or The Imperial and go to the small but exclusive bars in the Ginza. These bars would have hostesses where they pour your drinks and laugh at your dirty jokes. "Midnight in Tokyo," recorded in Tokyo and in 1963, is the soundtrack to that type of life. 

When I first started to go to Tokyo in 1989, there were traces of the 1963 lifestyle. Still orientated to the Japanese salarymen who have expense accounts through their company or visiting businessmen from America and Europe. That world still exists, but the outside world is much bigger now. Still, there is a romantic feeling for the decade of beautifully neon-lighted streets in the Ginza. It's still there, but more of a shopping experience as well as a location for refined dining and drinking pleasures. 

The Tokyo Boys made only one album, and it is this piece of exotica. Mostly big band instrumentation but filtered through various Japanese or Asian melodies. There's the Latin rumba, but with touches of the orient. For me, the album reminds me of the soundtrack to a lot of the 60s Yakuza films. I'm not sure if there is an original Tokyo Boys album release in Japan. Still, MGM records made this album as part of their "21 Channel Sound" series. The technique is that they used 21 microphones in the studio, a big thing in 1963. Of course, it's well-recorded, but the purpose here is to transport the listener to another world.  One where they can enjoy the fruits of labor, work, and the all-night drinking session with one's fellow office workers. 

Martin Denny took the listener to Hawaii or other ports of "exotica," but here in "Midnight in Tokyo" is a destination to one getting lost in Japanese elegance. It's a myth, but when you are a broke listener in one's studio apartment, this is the world of escape pleasures. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

"The Emotional, Cosmic & Occult World of Joe Meek" - V.A. (Mississippi Records)

 


There are many compilations of Joe Meek's recordings or productions, especially in the CD format. Still, on vinyl, this album is my favorite of the lot. It's not extensive but put together with great taste and intelligence. I suspect that this is a bootleg, so I'm not sure if the editing of this compilation was one because they had no choice, or by design, an excellent representation of Joe Meek's music. 

"The Emotional, Cosmic & Occult World of Joe Meek" (great title, by the way) covers a lot of ground within its 12 cuts. The most well-known 'hit' song here is John Leyton's classic "Johnny Remember Me." The others are obscure to everyone except for the hardcore Meek fan. The album opens up with The Blue Rondos' "Little Baby," in which Ricky Nelson meets Roy Orbison and is a great song/recording. The drums' thump-thump sound is here, which is very much a Meek trademark, but also the echo on the vocalist's voice, which sounds like it is coming from a world beyond us. It's eerie, beautiful, and sexy. 

Speaking of thump-thump drums, we have The Outlaws' "Crazy Drums," a fantastic percussion workout edited by Meek and played by Meek's guitar great Ritchie Blackmore. The Moontrrekkers' "Night of the Vampire" has a galloping beat with horror sound effects. One of the remarkable instrumentals that seem so right and is the definition of perfection at work. Meek worked a lot with Glenda Collins, and here we have a great tune, "It's Hard To Believe It," that confronts the optimism of the space age in the early 1960s. There are also two songs from the Meek masterpiece "I Hear A New World," The Blue Men's "The Bublight" and "Valley of the Saros." On one level, it is kitsch, but Meek took space travel, aliens, and the after-life very seriously. For one who wants to put one foot forward into the Joe Meek world, I strongly recommend "The Emotional, Cosmic & Occult World of Joe Meek."

Russ Meyer's Birthday

 


It was sex/filmmaker Russ Meyer's birthday a few days ago, or maybe yesterday? What a remarkable film artist. I remember going to see a film retrospective on Hollywood Blvd and being transported to an extraordinary world. Only two filmmakers affected me in that sense. The other director was Fassbinder. Both are obsessed geniuses who transform their landscape into a private space that becomes public. For me, there is nothing sexy about Meyer's work. It's about sex without the sexy feeling, which is very odd. Also, since he's the cinematographer and director/writer, one enters a place with its own sense of rhythm and rhyme. Meyer is a unique artist. Exploitation is his soul, and the crisp black and white images of his early films are a wonder in itself. But also in his color films how blue the sky is. Nature, tits, ass, and Russ Meyer.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Jefferson Airplane "Volunteers" 1969 (RCA)

 


I like it but don't love Jefferson Airplane. I'm very fond of vital voices within the band, mostly Marty Balin with a side dish of Grace Slick. Their 1969 album, "Volunteers," is the Hippie Revolution's height, and I like it for that reason. Although I do have to say that there is also another voice on this album that I adore. It's Nicky Hopkins piano playing throughout the record. It's an interesting road that leads Nicky from being the piano player of the British Invasion to the heart of the San Francisco Hippie scene. His playing is lyrical, and at times I just listen to his keyboard work and not listen to the rest of the music. Which is an odd thing to do, but the joy of hearing the piano among the guitars, drums, and voices is really the essential part of the music. 

"Hey Fredrick" is Grace magic. Her voice soars, the guitars (Paul Kanter and especially Kaukonen) twang with intensity, jazzy bass by Jack Cassidy, and Nicky's piano underpin the music as like adding salted butter to a slice of warm french bread. Eight minutes or so of bliss. The great thing about the Airplane is that they have the folk music aesthetic as a foundation, but it can lead to free-form jazzy rock with no fear of falling off the ledge. So yes, I don't love everything they do, but when they hit the spot, it's a bullseye. 



Signed TOSH copies at Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

 


The good news is Artbook @ Hauser & Wirth is open to the public. The other good news is that they have signed copies of my book TOSH: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World" in stock as well as my other books "Sparks-Tastic" and the book of poems "The Plum in Mr. Blum's Pudding" The store's hours are 11 to 6 PM.

Phone Number: (213) 988-7413

Joe Meek - I Hear a New World [Full Album]


I discovered Joe Meek in Tokyo about 30 years ago. I found this fantastic compilation of his recordings, but the 'odd' masterpiece without a doubt is his own album "I Hear A New World." I believe the album was made in 1959, and yes, on one level it's kitsch. But if you look at it on the level of someone who was obsessed with space travel, aliens from outer space, the after-life, and early electronics this album is amazing. Meek made the studio as an instrument. Without a doubt, he was a troubled genius. He's featured in the book "The Velvet Mafia," which we go in detail on our show BOOK MUSIK.
Here's the full album of "I Hear A New World" Joe Meek's "I Hear A New World"
And here is our podcast Book Musik where we discuss Meek and The Velvet Mafia with the author Darryl W. Bullock. Book Musik: The Velvet Mafia

Saturday, March 20, 2021

PAUL JONES - COME INTO MY MUSIC BOX, 1969 (COLUMBIA)

 


PAUL JONES - COME INTO MY MUSIC BOX, 1969 (COLUMBIA)

There are so many great singers from the British Invasion era, but my favorite voice from those times is Paul Jones. Brian Jones had the good taste to think of Paul being the vocalist before approaching Mick Jagger for the Rolling Stones. Instead, Paul Jones ended up being the lead singer in the band, Manfred Mann. His work with that band is exceptional. The Manns were unique because they were basically Jazz musicians who did pop but thought out their arrangements in the school of jazz or rhythm n' blues. They did the best cover versions of Bob Dylan's music as well. The band could be crass in their commercial taste, but always with the sophistication of a master musician. At the height of the swinging 60s, Jones left Manfred Mann to become an actor and solo artist.  Although his solo career has its peaks and lows, the one thing that never failed him was his voice. He can sing the alphabet, and he would bring out the complexities of joy, despair, and love within the letters. If one has to choose his best solo work, it would be 1969's "Come Into My Music Box."  

The album title is a very descriptive approach to the music on this record. We have everything from "Aquarius" (from the ultimate 60s musical "Hair") to The Band's "The Weight." It is like Jones wanted to express all his love on one LP.  The album, in a manner, is a compilation, due that are five separate producers (John Burgess Norman Newell, Peter Asher, Mort Shuman, and Paul Jones), including Tony Visconti making the arrangement and conducting on the song "Pick Up In The Morning." Listening to this 52-year old album, it is clearly a record to define the end of the 1960s. 

Paul Jones's solo either had a blues obsession, but he can also portray himself as a West End musical singer. "I'm Here To Nudge Your Mind" and "Aquarius" come off as a groovy version of the mainstream world of theater. There are traces of early Bowie, which suggests that David followed Paul Jones's presence in the pop world. By chance or design, Paul covers my two favorite songs from the 60s. Donovan's "Celeste" and Procol Harum's "Homburg."  "Celeste" suits Jones's voice, and he does take a Donovan baroque Folkie song into a theatrical song piece. "Hamburg" in Paul's world becomes a baroque psychedelic pop masterpiece. Using filters on the vocals can be seen as overkill. Still, it is powerfully effective when it kicks into his voice with echo. 

"Come Into My Music Box" is very much a variety show set on the LP format. It's a series of puzzles that fits perfectly together. In theory, this could have been a disaster. Still, the choice of songs and the genius of Paul Jones's approach to his material is a superb listening experience. 

Wallace Berman "Mail Art" to Billy Jahrmarkt (Batman Gallery)

 


A handmade mail art collage announcement made by Berman for an event at Billy Jahrmarkt’s Batman Gallery, which featured Lew Welch and Kirby Doyle reading, as well as a film or performance by Paul Beattie and Bill Spencer. The postcard is illustrated with a pasted down photograph by Wallace Berman, which features Lew Welch peering out from beneath a hole in a dock or floorboards, with the large leatherbooted foot of Kirby Doyle poised above his fingers. The image appears on p. 61 of Wallace Berman: Photographs.

The event which this commemorates was likely the joint reading of Welch and Doyle’s “Din Poem” in 1961, which is mentioned in the chronology in Ring of Bone. The event was likely held on the opening of George Herms’ show that year at the gallery – a reminiscence by George Herms in Foley notes that Beattie showed a film and Doyle and Welch read at his the opening of his exhibition that year [Foley p. 21]

The Batman Gallery had opened in November of the previous year, and though only active for 5 years, was in retrospect on the most important alternative art galleries of the west coast. The walls had been painted matte black by Bruce Conner, who was the first artist to be shown. Jahrmarkt was a close friend of Berman, whose Verifax collages were created on a machine given to Berman by Jahrmarkt. A very early work by Berman with an excellent assocation, linking him with a close associate and the greatest gallery of the time.

Berman, Wallace. Mail Art Announcement for an Exhibit at Batman Gallery.

San Francisco: 1961. Collage, silver gelatin print. ink, and postage stamp on card stock [3 5/8 x 6 1/4″]. Addressed in Wallace Berman’s hand to Billy Jahrmarkt and postmarked in May of 1961.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ciné Salon: Tosh: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World


Ciné Salon hosted writer, poet, and once publisher of TamTam Books, Tosh Berman, on Monday, March 8, 2021. Tosh Berman penned the acclaimed memoir Tosh: Growing up in Wallace Berman’s World (2019). Event description: Son Tosh Berman will approach his father’s art, the "father of assemblage art" Beat Generation icon Wallace Berman, with a deep-dive into the experimental collage film Aleph (1958-1976), a meditation on life, death, mysticism, politics and pop culture.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SIGNED TOSH books on the Artbook website

 


The image below is the 'now' me, or the adult. If you wish to purchase a SIGNED copy of my memoir about my youth: TOSH: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World (City Lights) you can do so here: Signed Copies of TOSH here

Playlist for Book Musik's "The Velvet Mafia" Featuring Joe Meek, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, etc.

 


We put together a playlist to go with the Book Musik episode on "The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties." We interviewed the author Darryl W. Bullock for this podcast. The Playlist is very detailed and indepth. Everything from Tommy Steele's "Rock With The Caveman" to Lionel Bart to classic Joe Meek, including the amazing "Do You Come Here Often?" by The Tornados. And some Brian Epstein related tracks as well. Enjoy!


Wallace Berman (self-made) Announcement and Sent to Michael and Joanne McClure

 

An announcement Wallace Berman (made by hand) and sent to Michael and Joanne McClure.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Who Is Lun*na Menoh? at the Ashland Indie Film Festival April 20th and April 21st


 WHO IS LUN*NA MENOH? will be playing virtually on April 20-21 on Ashland Indie Film Festival's Eventive page on https://watch.eventive.org/.

Tickets will be on sale on April 7th.
Stay tuned for more information.

Book Musik: "The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties" Discussion with author Darryl W. Bullock

 

Book Musik 042 – The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties – discussion with author Darryl W. Bullock

The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties book coverTosh and Kimley are joined by author Darryl W. Bullock to discuss his new book The Velvet Mafia: The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties. Rock ‘n’ roll as we know it would not exist if not for this group of gay men in the U.K. during the late fifties and sixties fondly referred to as “The Velvet Mafia.” Larry Parnes, Brian Epstein, Joe Meek, Lionel Bart, and Robert Stigwood are some of the major players in this book who left an indelible mark on the pop/rock world. At a time in the U.K. when being gay was illegal and when pop music could only be heard from pirate radio stations, they managed to push the needle forward and open up a culture that allowed us all to swing!

Theme music: “Behind Our Efforts, Let There Be Found Our Efforts” by LG17



Sunday, March 14, 2021

Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World (Tosh Berman Reads from his Memoir)


TOSH is a memoir of growing up as the son of an enigmatic, much-admired, hermetic, and ruthlessly bohemian artist during the waning years of the Beat Generation and the heyday of hippie counterculture. A critical figure in the history of postwar American culture, Tosh Berman's father, Wallace Berman, was known as the "father of assemblage art," and was the creator of the legendary mail-art publication Semina. Wallace Berman and his wife, famed beauty and artist's muse Shirley Berman, raised Tosh between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and their home life was a heady atmosphere of art, music, and literature, with local and international luminaries regularly passing through.

Purchase SIGNED Copies of TOSH: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World (TamTam Books)


One can purchase a SIGNED copy of my memoir TOSH: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World (City Lights) here: 

SIGNED TOSH: Growing Up in Wallace Berman's World 

THE VELVET MAFIA: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties” by Darryl W. Bullock (Omnibus Press) 2021

 


THE VELVET MAFIA: The Gay Men Who Ran The Swinging Sixties” by Darryl W. Bullock (Omnibus Press) 2021

If I had my own record shop, I would name the shop after Darryl W. Bullock’s book “The Velvet Mafia.” In my shop, instead of having sections or categories on artists, I would have Larry Parnes, Brian Epstein, Joe Meek, Robert Stigwood, Simon Napier-Bell, and Andrew Loog Oldham sections. Since these gentlemen are not recording artists but managers and producers, it will focus on their pop music view. Mostly gay, when being gay was illegal in England up until 1967, these figures articulate and sold generations music that was essential and sometimes bad. Here, bad is a sign of genius. All above are strong visionaries in how they sold a product - usually good-looking males, with occasionally questionable music talents, and artists of great importance and brilliance. 

Due to the laws and the straight world, LGBT professionals had to work publicly and secretively. Managers like Larry Parents and Brian Epstein came from Jewish working-class families who had retail shops. Both tried to enter the show biz world as entertainers or actors but realized that they could go into showbiz through promoter and manager. For Parnes, his ‘yes’ moment was seeing the teenage Tommy Steele in a Solo coffee house and Epstein visiting the Liverpool Cavern to see the future Fab Four. Both saw the future, and especially Parnes invented homegrown British orientated rock n’ roll. The Beatles, of course, became a planet to themselves. 

The book covers many grounds, but the focus is on Parnes, Epstein, Meek, Stigwood, and songwriter Lionel Bart. Each figure has other personalities circling them, and eventually, they mixed with the others. There are other managers/visionaries such as Andrew Loog Oldham and Simon Napier-Bell. Still, they will get their own book, or there will be a sequel to this perfect volume. I love pop music because it must be part of a more extensive culture or society. The Gay world so secretive, even with their own language at times, Polari, which is traced back to the 19th-century, and possibly to the 16th. It is a form of can’t slang that only insiders can understand. Here the Managers/Promoters made marketing decisions to create a product that appeals to the Gay’s sensibility and the screaming female fan market. Parnes is not a music person, but he realized that Rock n’ Roll needed its own platform in England and not shared with clowns, jugglers, and comedians. The roots of music hall culture will not disappear but transform into British rock n’ roll packaged tours. At times even great American artists such as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, and Buddy Holly would be part of the big show. This cross-continental programming fueled the imagination and desires of British youth. Many of the musicians from the British Invasion have seen Buddy, Eddie, and Gene. 

At the beginning of his career, who would have thought Robert Stigwood would end up being the king of showbiz. Managing Cream and Bee Gees, or the talented Lionel Bart, would lose all his dough. Parnes rarely made financial mistakes, and at times Epstein was overwhelmed with problems of narcotics, a hard love life, and finances that went totally out of his control. The 1960s was in consistent motion. I think this was the force that led these gentlemen to use their desires to make money (always the concern) and forge a new liberating culture. 

Darryl W. Bullock’s “The Velvet Mafia” is a well-documented look at that decade. With the skill of a historian/journalist, he captures these figures in motion and all the byproducts of that landscape. Here you get the Kray Twins and the voices of the young British artists as their lives being changed by these business and social visionaries. Joe Meek’s sad narration is told here as well. It’s a fantastic story of a man struggling with his place in society and being a genius in his field of record production. Kimley and I discuss and interview Bullock on his book on our podcast Book Musik. It will be up on March 15, 2021.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Tomorrow March 14th The last Day to See "Who Is Lun*na Menoh?" at the Portland International Film Festival

 


Tomorrow is the last day to see the documentary film on Lun*na called "Who Is Lun*na Menoh?" It's a classic and iconic film on her work as well as her personality. I'm in it as well. Fun for the entire family (kids seem to like this film). Here you can get the tickets online to see the film online:


Friday, March 12, 2021

Wallace Berman Postcard Sent to Dennis Hopper

 


A postcard made by Wallace Berman, sent to Dennis Hopper sometime in the early 1960s. Kept by Dennis, but I think sold when he passed away. -

Tosh Berman

Sunday, March 7, 2021

"Who Is Lun*na Menoh?" at the Portland International Film Festival

 


Who Is Lun*na Menoh” follows the life and work of the extraordinary Japanese artist. From her early career in Japan to the underground music scene in Los Angeles, from fashion show runways featuring her sculptural designs to art galleries showing her fantastical work, Lun*na’s edgy, witty and beautiful creations are explored.
Director Jeff Mizushima follows Lun*na’s artistic career, showcasing her uniquely individual expressionism and interviewing her family, gallery owners, models, fans, and fellow visual artists & musicians to find out who and what Lun*na Menoh is and why her art, in all of its forms, fits in our world.
Directed by Jeff Mizushima
81 mins | United States | 2020
Documentary
Tickets are available now and you can watch the film online from today, March 5 to March 14.  

Tosh Berman Discusses Wallace Berman's "Aleph" Monday, March 8, 2021

 


Monday, March 8, 2021 at 4 PM PST – 6:45 PM PST

CINE SALON FREEFALL SPRING 2012 ONLINE ZOOM
Tosh Berman will narrate a walk-through of his father's surreal collage art film ALEPH created 1958-1976 by the Beat artist Wallace Berman.
Son and author Tosh Berman will approach his father’s art, the "father of assemblage art" Beat Generation icon Wallace Berman, with a deep-dive into the experimental collage film ALEPH (1958-1976), a meditation on life, death, mysticism, politics and pop culture.

JOIN ZOOM MEETING
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89850653060...
Meeting ID: 898 5065 3060
Passcode: 550878

On TOSH (2018) published by City Lights Books: TOSH is a memoir of growing up as the son of an enigmatic, much-admired, hermetic, and ruthlessly bohemian artist during the waning years of the Beat Generation and the heyday of hippie counterculture.

FILMS: Selected film and tv clips, and full length screening of ALEPH (1958-1976) by Wallace Berman 7:43’ and a restored film by one Berman’s art world contemporaries. TRT 120 minutes.

BIO: TOSH BERMAN, writer, poet and once publisher of TamTam Books, penned the acclaimed memoir Tosh: Growing up in Wallace Berman’s World (2019).


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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Wallace Berman, "Silent Series: Magic Mushroom" 1965

 

Wallace Berman, "Silent Series: Magic Mushroom" 1965, verifax collage, 8 1/2 x 7 inches. Framed by Wallace Berman.  

Kohn Gallery is currently closed to the public. We are receiving deliveries and are available for appointment viewings. Please contact the gallery at 323 461 3311 or email Karys Judd at karys@kohngallery.com. Wearing of face coverings and signing of a waiver will be required for entry.
Gallery Hours
By appointment only
Gallery Information

1227 North Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
T 323 461 3311