Monday, February 22, 2010

Friedman by Friedman: Josh Alan Interviews Bruce Jay

"A fella wrote a letter saying he only had a short time to live. He said if we could possibly run a photo of Mitzi Gaynor wearing one glove, while in her panties and waving, he might be able to squeeze out a few extra weeks."

Josh Alan Friedman talks with Bruce Jay Friedman on his years as editor of Swank, Men, Man's World and others in Part III of his ongoing series on Men's Adventure magazines of the 1950s.

Click here to read it at Black Cracker Online.

Birthdays Worth Remembering

Luis Buñuel
Josh Alan Friedman
Edward Gorey
Sheldon Leonard
George Washington

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Twaddlegate! Craggyman Strikes Again (You Want Henry James)

"There is always a form"

--Bill Dixon
--Chris Rich in response to Dean

+ + +

     Bustle rift in some adrift supermarket.  Craggy man buckled wheelchair whirring bulgelevel no fool fooling them not for a purpleheaded throbber reason more to flap.
     One in five with sores he sees there where the world comes from heated A bombs diving from cunts to tax the starvers cancersacking.  Past stalky ridiculousness of human form front back laughing tween tears when tears x rayically acid rain twist clockhands joyful showing joy backass fro breaking every bone in bodies cellophaned boneless breast make freezerfit full.
     Whirlychair craggyman lowdowning clefts and scoops, looking yon to looking again to cartoon morbid stalkies, scribble skin short hair to bristle em redfaced at cadabrawed liney public head post defecate smell urched ooue ooue pokerfaced you know damn well...inks the no direction of lookerson to turn at sunny park down coitus...fodder for deathy bedroom angst speels whatall mankind spurts.
     Craggy man strikes again.
     Z notions of entireness only direction of his harpy wheels yettho going to gone parkinglot celebrity status, get out of my face, blush at your own boner, go home get lost leastways.
     Dread holy technicolor confession looking for yourself sunday funnypages, strikes again.
     Unmerited jeans drabbering him non, rud sun marking somewhere, Z looping crowd folks burping tacks, vogue.
     Riverside mental patients wane eloquent poesy epic cops knocking portacan doors down gonna get you what do you think you think you can light up and think differently in any way than the rest of us where are your genitals fucker, though these questions they are not asked out loud like dogma.
     Z sees all of this that reaches his ears.
     Spandex allwheres, brains meltdown to shit fester souls stoop to pool floating under skies only crotch ass chest full spandexed so that crotch ass chest are not crotch ass chest or suggestive or crotch ass  chest or belonging to anything or anyone but crotch ass chest are spandexed shouting crotch ass chest ergo we am.
     Ground strewn identification of otherwisers, tossed identification otherwise penalty.
     Identification photo only crotch ass chest decoupage scrambled tooth and nail.
     Shame uninvented, figleafless.
     You want Henry James.

John Crouse, Lapse One from the book Lapses

+ + +

"But can they play jazz?"  Remember that one?  Maybe you are too young to remember that--but somehow I think that, uh, qualifier is still alive and well.  When I was a wee-tot, "Free Jazz" or "Improvised music" (or "Skronk" as some call it) somehow didn't ever quite count as music if it was played by people who couldn't play Jazz--no matter how it sounded.  It was always a 3/5th music if you will.

Yet if you could play an excruciatingly meticulously diatonic solo without one trace of dissonance over Autumn Leaves, somehow your "free jazz" or "improvised music" (or "Skronk") was somehow more legitimate, more real--no matter how it sounded.  

 Matt Lavelle didn't come under fire so much for his form, but for his alleged "subliteracy."  If words still meant anything (and the don't) we could debate M. Lavelle's literacy--perhaps setting up a chart or a graph with a system to tabulate grammatical infractions and from there determine a co-efficient against which we could plot a curve whereby we ultimately  (and numerically) answer the question once and for all if Matt Lavelle is "literate."

In the meantime, Matt has written a great deal--literate or not--and regardless of his "literacy" or his heretical use of our beloved punctuation (and more to the point, his occasional playing of a b5 when a 5 would have been the more harmonically, if not morally appropriate choice) I, along with many many others, have read Matt's writing and have thought deeply about some of the ideas he has presented.  So in a way, he's already won.  So much for the importance (let alone centrality) lexicographic propriety.

(You want Henry James)

+ + +

In a further kismetic synchronism, I happend upon Bassist Reuben Radding opining about "form":
I feel these days that a lot of the community I'm a part of in NY are less than psyched about free-improv groups, and are more interested in projects with some amount of composition, and I think I understand why (lack of a feeling of evolution, perhaps?)
The lack of a feeling of evolution?  What about the fact of evolution?  (Do words mean anything?)

While I can't vouch for Reuben and his (the?) "community's" feelings about evolution, I would certainly hate to have to argue that "free-improv" has not evolved. 

Is music evolving towards or away from a written set of instructions?  Is the end game in musical evolution the ability to read notes from a piece of paper or is the end game in musical evolution the ability to make music with out any props, signs, rules or instruction?

Is evolution the sole dominion of clever score writers?  Is it the sole dominion of the monitizers

Hey, here's an idea, how about a Top Ten List of the most evolved "not-free improv" improvisers, what they've evolved from and what they have evolved into.

Then (afterwards, of course) what say "we" make a separate (but equal) Top Ten list of the most un-evolved "free improv" improvisers, what they haven't evolved from and what they haven't evolved into.

Any takers?

(You want Henry James)

+ + +

Richie Aprile taught us the only time you back pedal is when you are going to drive over Beansie again--crackling any previously uncracked bones.  As if the ultimately, comparatively vanilla Herr Kelsey did anything of the kind.  "Formally conventional" as hurt word.  That Chris Kelsey sure knows how to hit where it hurts--a real social liability that one... 

Meanwhile David R. Adler makes this smear
And that’s what I suspect Chris means. For “formally conventional,” read “not free jazz,” not explicitly tied to the post-Ayler school of skronk.’
which is far more offensive on far more levels than anything I've read by Chris Kelsey--and yet no one is giving David R. Adler the gears.  Is that because no one noticed or is it because no one cares?  Either way, vhat a vacky voild!

(You want Henry James)

+ + +

The future:  

Total punctuation excellence.  Every world spelled correctly.  Nothing left to chance, not even chance, which is carefully scripted and administered within a carefully ordered, pre-determined parameters precisely gauged to successfully partner with work schedules and accepted societal and behavioural norms.  Sponsorships and larger cultural/corporate support awarded to those able to vaguely disguise-yet-uphold the musical code of ethics most clearly annunciated by Laurence Welk.  Total market/social exclusion for those who show the slightest signs of criticality or penchant for straying from said Welkian mores.  


Monday, February 15, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman on Men's Adventure Mags - Part II

"Oui, like most others in its genre, bottomed out with typo-laden smeary ink, triple-ghost, out-of-focus photos and dirt-cheap printing. Writers became nearly obsolete—strokebook packagers only need apply."

"Magazine Management (Part II): 'Throw 'Em a Few Hot Words'" by Josh Alan Friedman.

Click here to read it at Black Cracker Online.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman on Men's Adventure Magazines

"Art director Mel Blum spent hours meticulously airbrushing out aureoles or stray pubic hairs from girlie photos—only to spend the latter years of his career brushing them back in."

Josh Alan Friedman recounts the heyday of the men's adventure magazines in "Magazine Management (Part I)."

Click here to read it on Black Cracker Online.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New photos by Wyatt Doyle

"Flashdance" by Wyatt Doyle, now on New Texture.

Click here to see the series, or click on the image below.

copyright © 2009, 2010 Wyatt Doyle

Monday, February 1, 2010

Too Much Information, Life Sure Is Hard, Whale Blubber

"Oh no honey, don't write about your are you going to get grants if you write stuff like that?"

Suffering a wee bit of gastro intestinal distress today, thanks for asking. Fever, chills, something wanting desperately to come out and at the same time something blocking the way for that to happen.

This is a familiar feeling...reminds me of trying to play 'this music' in 'public'--festivals, concerts--you know, like 'normal' musicians do. Oh there's plenty of music ready to come out--pounding at the door even--but unfortunately there's this big, dried lump of shit in the way. What little comes out has no choice but come out around the big dried lump of shit in a compromised form. Which is to say the big dried lump of shit that's in the way has a significant say in the form and realization of the, uh, 'thing' being 'created.'

(It may also be that which wants to come out but which is blocked is poisoning me, giving me the fever, the chills, affecting how I think about things, how I relate to others. Interesting, that.)

While it may be the same for all forms of music, it is especially true that the unhindered realization of our beloved highly subjective music in the public sphere is endlessly constrained by hard dried lumps of shit--be it immediate issues of liquidity for the non-musical participants in a showing of music, be it the pervasive, barely veiled cronyism (the select perpetuation of which being the tail that wags the dog of actual music production) or be it our very busy schedules on account of our important and exciting professional lives.

Can a telling of the "history" of music really be complete, let alone, accurate, without a thorough examination of the processes behind who got picked to participate or, said another way, who (or what) gets free passage beyond that hard dry lump of shit blocking the way?

Does anyone get free passage? Or is it a bigger-the-front-the-bigger-the-back kind of a thing?

In my defense, I'm not the only one drawing on this analogy, or living it, it would appear. Cf. Matt Shipp:

"At times I feel like Herbie Hancock is taking up space. I feel his work doesn't warrant it. Everything he's done in the last 20 or 30 years is crap".

Crap, taking up words mean anything? Sure they do. And if Matt Shipp is chapped because of the obstacles he faces doing his work, can you imagine the roiling over rage among the systematically excluded--those banished to total non participatory obscurity as a result of the non-musical caprices and extra-musical mandates of the parent culture?

Certainly you can imagine the puzzled stares of those for whom Matt Shipp's participation and station within the art-economy is (and will forever be) beyond their wildest dreams. You can get with that, right?


+ + +

How about Brian Eno's Blubber talk? Did you catch that?

In the above link Brian Eno says:
"I think records were just a little bubble through time and those who made a living from them for a while were lucky. There is no reason why anyone should have made so much money from selling records except that everything was right for this period of time..."

"It was a bit like if you had a source of whale blubber in the 1840s and it could be used as fuel. Before gas came along, if you traded in whale blubber, you were the richest man on Earth. Then gas came along and you'd be stuck with your whale blubber."

"Sorry mate – history's moving along. Recorded music equals whale blubber. Eventually, something else will replace it."

Here's how Eno got it wrong. Recorded music equals fuel, living human musicians are the whales.

(Extra-musical/non-musical) sellers of the packaged, refined blubber are the "energy" companies.

As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be a let up in the demand for energy, nor the demand for music.

Energy companies didn't start to make real money, didn't start to consolidate and centralize their position in the economy and the fabric of our lives until they got out of the whale blubber business and into oil-pumped-from-the-ground business. No interaction with living whales necessary.

Similarly, sellers of musical energy didn't start to make real money until electronic gagetry came along--drum machines and the know, Brian Eno stuff.

If I had to guess, musicians (whales) will continue to decrease in number, despite the crash in the whale blubber business. Musicians, like whales will be put in to a "special protected endangered" category where they will become even more irrelevant. Musicians (whales) instead of living and function in society will become considered "rare and wonderful occurrences" to be glimpsed at from a tour boat off the coast of Cape Cod in a highly administrated, formalized way and otherwise left totally alone.

Recordings (refined, packaged musical fuel) will continue to be produced by less and less companies, using less and less humans, making a more and more insipid product, making more and more money in the process, becoming an even larger, drier lump of shit blocking the way.

+ + +

"Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit." — Guy Debord

copyright © 2010 Stanley Jason Zappa

Josh Alan Friedman's "Hell and Back"

He rattles off the starting lineup of the 1958 Milwaukee Braves, each man’s position, and even the management. Then he knocks off the lineup of the 1930s’ St. Louis Cardinals, the Gas House Gang. And here’s where he gets his wires crossed. He’s got Jesus Christ at 2nd Base.

“Whoah, there, David,” I interject. “Jesus never played for the Cardinals.”

"Hell and Back" by Josh Alan Friedman. Click here to read it at Black Cracker Online.

Birthdays Worth Remembering

Exene Cervenka
John Ford
Sherman Hemsley
Langston Hughes
Rick James
Brandon Lee
Moby Pomerance