"re/search"

To do in San Francisco on Sunday: RE/Search's V.Vale and Rudy Rucker at City Lights

For decades, Happy Mutants met one another and got seriously warped by the astounding books and other media of RE/Search Press (previously), now, after a long drought, RE/Search is publishing a new book, Underground Living (RE/Search #19), featuring the photos of V.Vale ("early Ramones shows, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Survival Research Labs, and many more!"). The book launches this Sunday at San Francisco's legendary City Lights Books, where V.Vale will be in conversation with that happiest of mutants, the magnificent Rudy Rucker (previously). (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Carolee Schneemann, pioneering performance artist, RIP

Carolee Schneemann -- a performance art pioneer whose deeply provocative and thoughtful work focused on gender, sex, the body, and power -- died yesterday at age 79. My first exposure to Schneemann's work was in the mid-1980s on a grainy VHS dub of avant-garde art films that also included pieces by Karen Finley and Annie Sprinkle. That videocassette, along with the RE/Search book Angry Women and a few other underground tapes and texts, opened my eyes and mind to a multitude of new genres in feminist art and radical thought. From an obituary by Andrew Russeth in Art News:

Schneemann’s corpus of work is so gloriously diverse that it is impossible to summarize with a single defining piece, but among her most famous (and infamous) works is Meat Joy, a 1964 film of a performance featuring eight scantily clad dancers who writhe together, with animals parts soon joining the melee. It’s a bacchanalian display—unapologetic and exploding with pleasure—and an utterly indelible work of art.

“Meat Joy has the character of an erotic rite: excessive, indulgent; a celebration of flesh as material: raw fish, chickens, sausages, wet paint, transparent plastic, rope, brushes, paper scrap,” Schneemann wrote. “Its propulsion is toward the ecstatic, shifting and turning between tenderness, wildness, precision, abandon—qualities that could at any moment be sensual, comic, joyous, repellent.”

Describing the work on another occasion, in terms that could very well serve as a manifesto for her entire career, she said, “The culture was starved in terms of sensuousness because sensuality was always confused with pornography.

Read the rest

THE BUREAU: Part Three, "Assessing Others" — with a Metasonix D-2000 Vacuum Tube Drum Machine

Your supervisor would like to speak with you today at 10:53am. Good thing you have a great tasting sandwich to deal with that unreasonable feedback.

Now in print: William S Burroughs' lost guide to overthrowing a corrupt government

Tony Sanfilippo says, "'The Revised Boy Scout Manual," a lost Burroughs manuscript concerning how to overthrow a corrupt government has just been published in its entirety for the first time. With an afterword and reminiscence by V. Vale, publisher and founder of RE/Search publications. Vale's afterword is available in its entirety." Read the rest

Re/Search press releases its first-ever merch, only available for a few more hours

For cyberpunks of a certain vintage, Re/Search press (previously) was absolutely formative -- books like Incredibly Strange Films, Zines!, and, of course, Modern Primitives (RIP, Fakir) were incredibly influential material for the modern happy mutant. Read the rest

Charles Gatewood, photographer of fringe culture, RIP

Charles Gatewood, a pioneering photographer of the underground for nearly 50 years, died today from injuries sustained in a fall from his third-floor balcony. He was 74.

From documenting the Beats and the dark alleys of 1970s Mardi Gras to extreme body modification practitioners and sexual fetishists, Charles lived his life as a curious, open-minded photographic anthropologist at the fringes of culture.

I first encountered Charles's work in the 1980s through the groundbreaking RE/Search book Modern Primitives and a grainy VHS dub of the documentary "Dances Sacred and Profane" about his quest for individuals "breaking the bounds of convention." We first met in 1993 and I always looked forward to the terrific stories of his travels through the interzones that he happily shared with me. Charles was warm, generous, witty, and very grounded. I feel fortunate that hanging in my home is his marvelous portrait of William Burroughs and Brion Gysin gazing into their dreamachine, an image that inspires me every day.

Charles's photography provided a glimpse of the sometimes shocking, always fascinating, and strangely seductive scenes that are waiting for us if we just know where to look. He relentlessly challenged us to open our eyes and minds. I'll miss him.

Read the rest

The story of Traceroute, about a Leitnerd's quest

Johannes Grenzfurthner talks about Traceroute: On the Road with a Leitnerd(*)
(*) Leitnerd is a wordplay referring to the German term Leitkultur.

Documentary about the rise and fall of Tower records

I loved Tower Records. Not for the records (though I bought a lot of them there), but for the tremendous book and zine section. That's where I discovered Re/Search books and a ton of great obscure periodicals. It pains me whenever I see the crappy boring businesses that now occupy the former Tower Records store locations in Los Angeles.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But thats not the story. All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining this iconic companys explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. Directed by Colin Hanks.

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Blogging History: Lavabit founder stops using email; Neal Stephenson's Orth Hugo speech; NY-NJ ferry cop harasses man for reading D&D book

One year ago

Lavabit founder has stopped using email: "If you knew what I know, you might not use it either": Levison’s lawyer, Jesse Binnall, who is based in Northern Virginia — the court district where Levison needed representation — added that it’s “ridiculous” that Levison has to so carefully parse what he says about the government inquiry. “In America, we’re not supposed to have to worry about watching our words like this when we’re talking to the press,” Binnall said.

Five years ago

Stephenson's Orth-speak Hugo acceptance speech: Here's the Orth text of Neal Stephenson's acceptance speech for the Hugo Award for Anathem, snapped at the pre-award reception before we both discovered that our books had been beaten by Gaiman's kick-ass Graveyard Book.

Ten years ago

D&D book reader on ferry hassled by security morons: Thanks to the RNC, there are mandatory bag searches happening on the NJ-NY Ferry. This fellow first got hassled with a re-search for carrying The Player's Guide to Faerun a D&D book, and then the next day, security tried to confiscate his copy of Exalted: The Abyssals as 'inappropriate.'

Read the rest

Documentary film about industrial music

Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay is a forthcoming documentary about industrial music featuring BB pals Throbbing Gristle and V Vale (RE/Search) along with Cabaret Voltaire, NON, Z'EV, Sordide Sentimental, SPK, and many more artists/thinkers. Directed by Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins, the film is in post-production and slated for release later this year. Read the rest

S.F. tomorrow (8/8): Boing Boing, the Beats, and Underground Publishing

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I hope you'll join me tomorrow evening, August 8, for "Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing," a panel discussion at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The program is part of "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg," an intimate portrait of the Beat generation in the form of Ginsberg's snapshots. I'm looking forward to interviewing several personal friends and inspirations on stage, starting at 6:30pm. The panel is free with museum admission! My guests include:

* V. Vale, founder of Search & Destroy and RE/Search

* RU Sirius, founder of Mondo 2000, High Frontiers, and Reality Hackers

* Ron Turner, founder of Last Gasp Books

* Layla Gibbon, editor of Maximum Rocknroll

"Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing" Read the rest

SF 8/8: Boing Boing, the Beats, and Underground Publishing

Right now, San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum is exhibiting "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg," an intimate portrait of the Beat generation in the form of Ginsberg's snapshots, hand-annotated years later. On Thursday, August 8, Boing Boing is presenting a panel at the museum about the Beats' Influence On Underground Publishing. I'm honored to have the opportunity to interview live on stage several icons of San Francisco's counterculture press who had a huge influence on my life and career:

* V. Vale, founder of Search & Destroy and RE/Search (check out their new site!)

* RU Sirius, founder of Mondo 2000, High Frontiers, and Reality Hackers

* Ron Turner, founder of Last Gasp Books

* Layla Gibbon, editor of Maximum Rocknroll

The panel is 6:30pm - 8pm and free with museum admission. Hope to see you there!

"Boing Boing Presents: The Beats' Influence on Underground Publishing" Read the rest

New collection of interviews with JG Ballard

Extreme Metaphors is a brand new anthology of interviews with one of my all-time favorite writers, JG Ballard, master of surrealist science fiction, dystopian visionary, and brilliant cultural critic. Co-edited by Simon Sellars of the Ballardian blog and Dan O'Hara, the book collects 44 interviews with Ballard by a fantastic array of contributors including BB pals Mark Dery, V. Vale, and Richard Kadrey, along with Iain Sinclair, Jon Savage, David Cronenberg, and others. Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J.G. Ballard 1967-2008 (Ballardian, thanks Mark Dery!)

 

JG Ballard and David Cronenberg interviewed by Mark Dery - Boing ... JG Ballard: Interviews book, bash with RE/Search and Survival ... JG Ballard (1930-2009) - Boing Boing Read the rest

San Francisco art show: Winston Smith, Penelope Rosemont, Dennis Cunningham

Pioneering punk collage artist Winston Smith is hosting a new art show opening next Friday, July 27, at his Grant's Tomb studio in San Francisco. Along with Smith (art left), who I consider to be the world's greatest contemporary collagist, the show features Penelope Rosemont (art above) who in 1965 founded the Chicago Surrealist Group, and sculptor Dennis Cunnigham who is perhaps better known as an attorney who defended the Black Panthers and the Weathermen. The opening party for the exhibition, called Insect Music: Surrealism, Alchemy and the Image," is next Friday (July 27) from 7 to 10pm. On Saturday (July 28), our pal V. Vale of RE/Search Publications will conduct a public interview with Rosemont. Insect Music

UPDATE: PLEASE NOTE THE CORRECT DATES ABOVE Read the rest

Logo cousins: RE/Search and Target?

Logos separated at birth: RE/Search Publications and, er, Target's new home goods line? Read the rest

Brass balls in the Boing Boing Bazaar

Yes, brass balls. An easy-to-assemble kit, created by Paul Spinrad, MAKE editor and author of such timeless tomes as the RE/Search Guide To Bodily Fluids and The VJ Book. These balls are $18 in the Boing Boing Bazaar and would make a wonderful gift. For someone. Paul says:

You don't need a semiotician to know that these bad boys are full of meaning. As a token of esteem, they have a purity that makes other gift attempts look weak. Gleaming atop your desk at work, these totems of potency dare people to acknowledge their presence with a calibrated test-blend of serious appreciation and ironic distance-- and woe be to anyone who calibrates incorrectly. Everyone will want to touch the brass balls, feel their impressive weight, their uncompromising hardness. They are the family jewels.

These brass balls are sold in legal, kit form, and it is your responsibility not to assemble and use them as the deadly weapon or that they are. The balls are not toys; they weigh over one pound, and they will smash fingers, eyes, teeth, and skulls if swung in a fit of unbridled rage. Think of brass knuckles whipping around on a string, but without the soft, velocity-limiting hand inside...


Cinema buffs may associate the brass balls with the opening scene of Glengarry Glen Ross. Cable television viewers may recall similar "Big Brass Balls" from episodes of The Colbert Report. Lawyers may note, then, that this product is not solely derivative of any one intellectual work.

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Disney English

Guestblogger Paul Spinrad is a freelance writer/editor, and is Projects Editor for MAKE magazine. He is the author of The VJ Book and The Re/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids, and was an early contributor to bOING bOING when it was an online zine. He lives in San Francisco. 

Last year, cultural empire Disney launched its first "Disney English" school for kids in Shanghai, China. It would be a big win for Disney if they could own English language learning in the non-English speaking world. Any Disney English schools in areas where their presence might be controversial could be constructed like castles, with real moats! Chinese TV news clip here and Disney English website here. Read the rest

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