Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Bones Go Last - The Life of Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare (1886—1956) was an English artist—and practicing occultist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Onlive Traveler: AVATARA (2003)

AVATARA, a documentary about Traveler and its inhabitants (made in 2003) by 536 Productions of Vancouver, BC, Canada. Note that in the introductory audio dialogue, the speaker mentions the date of 1993, more likely this was 1996, the year Onlive Traveler was released to the public.

This footage was supplied to the Preserving Virtual Worlds project by Bruce Damer from his collection of videos documenting the history of virtual worlds.

Producer 536 Productions
Production Company Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English
Contact Information

Marty Feldman - Six Degrees of Separation (Documentary)

Martin Alan "Marty" Feldman (8 July 1934 – 2 December 1982) was a British comedy writer, comedian, and actor, easily identified by his bulbous and crooked eyes. He starred in several British television comedy series, including At Last the 1948 Show and Marty, the latter of which won two BAFTA awards. He was the first Saturn Award winner for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Young Frankenstein. Feldman died from a heart attack in a hotel room in Mexico City on 2 December 1982 at age 48, during the making of the film Yellowbeard.

"He smoked sometimes half-a-carton (5 packs) of cigarettes daily, drank copious amounts of black coffee, and ate a diet rich in eggs and dairy products". -  Mel Brookes

Feldman was part of what could be called the 'cream of British comedy' (no pun intended...much), many of the members of which are in this amazing photograph:

Who do you recognise?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kusama's Self-Obliteration (Jud Yalkut, 1967)

Yayoi Kusama's film Self-Obliteration documents a distinct period in the Japanese artist's work. The 1960s represent a period for Kusama where she is working and living in New York surrounded by the popular avant-garde of the time. Happenings, performance art, improvised and experimental music and the developing psychedelic consciousness are what define the film Self-Obliteration. These elements are added to Kusama's own philosophy of overcoming the boundaries and burdens of self-identity.

The film Self-Obliteration joins Kenneth Anger's Invocation of the My Demon Brother and Ira Cohen's Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda as a classic psychedelic visual document from the 1960s.


“‘Obliterate you personality with polka dots,’ exhorts Kasuma at her strip-and-paint exhibition, which she calls ‘naked happenings.’ ‘Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment. Take off your clothes. Forget yourself. Make love. Self-destruction is the only way to peace…’Kusama is prepared to obliterate any country that indulges in war games, particularly Australia."

The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is a short 38-minute film by Kenneth Anger, filmed in 1954. Anger created two other versions of this film in 1966 and the late 1970s. According to Anger, the film takes the name "pleasure dome" from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's atmospheric poem Kubla Khan. Anger was inspired to make the film after attending a Halloween party called "Come as your Madness." The film has gained cult film status.

Early prints of the film had sequences that were meant to be projected on three different screens. Anger subsequently re-edited the film to layer the images. The film—primarily the 2nd and 3rd revisions—was often shown in American universities and art galleries during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

The original edition soundtrack is a complete performance of Glagolitic Mass by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček (1854–1928). In 1966, a re-edited version known as The Sacred Mushroom Edition was made available. In the late 1970s, a third revision was made, which was The Sacred Mushroom Edition re-edited to fit the Electric Light Orchestra album Eldorado, omitting only "Illusions in G Major," a blues-rock tune which Anger felt did not fit the mood of the film.

The differences in the visuals of the 1954 original and the two revisions are minor. An early version, just shown once on German television in the early 1980s and hold until today by the NDR (Germany) includes an additional 3 minutes at the beginning, including a reading of the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The film reflects Anger's deep interest in Thelema, the philosophy of Aleister Crowley and his followers, as indicated by Cameron's role as "The Scarlet Woman" (an honorific Crowley bestowed on certain of his important magical partners).

The film uses some footage of the Hell sequence from the 1911 Italian silent film L'Inferno. Near the end, scenes from Anger's earlier film Puce Moment are interpolated into the layered images and faces.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (An Indigenous History of the American West)

For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families and their right to be free: ''Lay down your arms, my friends, and then we will remain together. Only if you lay down your arms, my friends, can we then talk of peace and come to an agreement which will be good for you.''

When they laid down their arms, we murdered them. We lied to them. We cheated them out of their lands. We starved them into signing fraudulent agreements that we called treaties which we never kept. We turned them into beggars on a continent that gave life for as long as life can remember. And by any interpretation of history, however twisted, we did not do right. We were not lawful nor were we just in what we did. For them, we do not have to restore these people, we do not have to live up to some agreements, because it is given to us by virtue of our power to attack the rights of others, to take their property, to take their lives when they are trying to defend their land and liberty, and to make their virtues a crime and our own vices virtues.

But there is one thing which is beyond the reach of this perversity and that is the tremendous verdict of history. And history will surely judge us. But do we care? What kind of moral schizophrenia is it that allows us to shout at the top of our national voice for all the world to hear that we live up to our commitment when every page of history and when all the thirsty, starving, humiliating days and nights of the last 100 years in the lives of the American Indian contradict that voice?

It would seem that the respect for principle and the love of one's neighbor have become dysfunctional in this country of ours, and that all we have done, all that we have succeeded in accomplishing with our power is simply annihilating the hopes of the newborn countries in this world, as well as friends and enemies alike, that we're not humane, and that we do not live up to our agreements.
Perhaps at this moment you are saying to yourself what the hell has all this got to do with the Academy Awards? Why is this woman standing up here, ruining our evening, invading our lives with things that don't concern us, and that we don't care about? Wasting our time and money and intruding in our homes.

I think the answer to those unspoken questions is that the motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil. It's hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children watch television, and they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.

Recently there have been a few faltering steps to correct this situation, but too faltering and too few, so I, as a member in this profession, do not feel that I can as a citizen of the United States accept an award here tonight. I think awards in this country at this time are inappropriate to be received or given until the condition of the American Indian is drastically altered. If we are not our brother's keeper, at least let us not be his executioner.

I would have been here tonight to speak to you directly, but I felt that perhaps I could be of better use if I went to Wounded Knee to help forestall in whatever way I can the establishment of a peace which would be dishonorable as long as the rivers shall run and the grass shall grow.

I would hope that those who are listening would not look upon this as a rude intrusion, but as an earnest effort to focus attention on an issue that might very well determine whether or not this country has the right to say from this point forward we believe in the inalienable rights of all people to remain free and independent on lands that have supported their life beyond living memory.
Thank you for your kindness and your courtesy to Miss Littlefeather. Thank you and good night.

This statement was written by Marlon Brando for delivery at the Academy Awards ceremony where Mr. Brando refused an Oscar. The speaker, who read only a part of it, was Shasheen Littlefeather.

Tȟašúŋke Witkó (Crazy Horse) of the Oglala Lakota Sioux

Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Comic Strip Presents - The Beat Generation

A group of Beatnik artists and poets convene for a weekend of debauchery, destructive behavior, and clever conversation at the house of naïve young wannabe Desmond while his parents are out of town.

Series One, Episode Three.
Original Air Date: 17th January 1983.
Written by Peter Richardson and Pete Richens. Directed by Bob Spiers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Ugly Swans (Russian: Гадкие лебеди)

A 2006 Russian science fiction film directed by Konstantin Lopushansky, based on the novel of the same name by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The film is often compared to Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, also adapted from a Strugatsky book.

The film's plot is loosely based on the novel, with some superficial differences. The story has been adjusted slightly to contextualize it in the "near future," with the main character Victor Banev recast as a UN envoy to the town of Tashlinsk, where a mysterious group has taken the town's children to an isolated boarding school. Here in the school the children are taught the enlightened philosophy of the group. The major departure from the novel's plot is in the ending.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Ruling Class (1972)

Peter O'Toole leads the cast in this musical, imaginative allegory of class and empire in decay. A member of the House of Lords dies in a shockingly silly way, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son is insane: he thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other somewhat-more respectable members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensues. Peter O'Toole, Alastair Sim & Arthur Lowe star.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

“A Path So Twisted”: Thinking Wildly With and Through Punk Feminisms

Jack Halberstam, professor of American studies and ethnicity, gender studies and comparative literature at the University of Southern California, has written five books, including Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (2012). A popular speaker, Halberstam lectures on topics such as subcultures, sex and media, and gender variance. In the 1980 queer punk film Times Square, two teenage girls, sensing a mutual instinct for rebellion, escape from a psychiatric ward in New York City, don garbage bags and become part of the discarded denizens of Times Square. Pammy and Nicky and the queer worlds they inhabit are regarded by a homophobic world as obstacles to a safe and clean city. This talk will explore with Pammy and Nicky the potential of the unsafe and unclean. Taking terminology from a Patti Smith song at the core of the film as a vocabulary for punk feminism, we’ll venture into the wild world and genders of Times Square to unlearn the lessons of compliance that are nested within discourses of improvement, recovery and health.