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"Method of this work:
literary montage.
I have nothing to say only to show."
(Passagenwerk (1927 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin)

2005, May 30; 21:56 ::: Edogawa Rampo and the ero-guro-nansensu

Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination () - Edogawa Rampo [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Edogawa Rampo which is designed to sound like "Edgar Allan Poe".

Edogawa Rampo, born Hirai Tar? (October 21, 1894 - July 28, 1965) was a Japanese author and critic. He wrote many works of detective fiction. Kogoro Akechi was the primary detective of these novels.

Rampo was a great admirer of western mystery writers, and especially of Edgar Allan Poe. The pseudonym "Edogawa Rampo" is actually a Japanese rendering of Poe's name. Other authors who were special influences on him were Maurice Leblanc and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edogawa_Ranpo [May 2005]

In the late Taisho period and early Showa period, an artistic movement called Eroguronansensu, lit. erotic grotesque and nonsense, occurred influenced by decadence works of Europe. These words were used because they had an air of a new and modern feeling. Until the 1950s, pornography were still very limited in production. Open sexual expressions were permitted in novels and manga but a strict control was applied on pictures and movies. During World War II, pornographic materials were banned altogether. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_in_Japan [May 2005]

The first modern day mystery was "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe. From there several authors created mysteries with several famous characters. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous of them. In Japan, Edogawa Ranpo also began writing his erotic-grotesque-nonsense mystery novels as well. Given that mysteries are and have been historically popular around the world, it's only a simple leap of logic that somebody would try to put them in comics. --http://www.geocities.com/sgonhue/mng005.html [May 2005]

The secondary focus of the course will be the dominant form of aesthetic modernism in Japan in the interwar period; the erotic, grotesque, nonsense (Japanese: ero-guro-nansensu). Roughly contemporaneous with the excesses of Weimar art and culture in Germany, the erotic, grotesque, nonsense genre influenced the various media of photography, graphic design, painting, poetry, soft-core pornographic literature, and detective fiction. Since the erotic, grotesque, nonsense was imbedded in the rapid expansion of Japanese imperial and colonial power into Asia and the Pacific after WWI, the course will negotiate Japan's imperialism by treating the themes of primitivism and Sinophilia in the erotic, grotesque, nonsense. These were most prevalent in the strains of erotic, grotesque, nonsense influencing Japanese peripheral modernism (photography, film, painting) centered in northeast China and Manchuria in the early and mid-1930s. --http://www.unc.edu/depts/asia/descriptions_fall.htm [May 2005]

Eroticism and horror:
Horror literature contains a lot of veiled eroticism. It is comparable to pornography in that the aim of the writing is invoke a specific set of emotions, in the former sexual arousal, in the latter fear mingled with disgust. Fear is the primary aim but ideally there can be a sense of ecstatic cosmic awe or eroticism. Chinese and Japanese vampire and succubus tales are unmistakably sexual. The horror element allows the story to circumvent the societal taboos. The female vampires are often beautiful, underage women whose temptation is greater than any man, even in religious orders, can resist. It is interesting to note that Lafcadio Hearn was the first translator of “Clarimonde,” Theophile Gautier’s voluptuous tale of vampire lust and the seduction of a young monk. This pattern appears in Asian horror as well. Another factor common to the horror culture is horror’s role in the rites of puberty. Horror and ghost tales frequently describe seduction and first sexual experiences, especially of young men. They can be victims of supernatural beings with lust as their fatal flaw. Fox maidens and vampire creatures are frequently seducers and destroyers. Horror may be a way of dealing with the anxiety of sexual experience, the loss of bodily fluids and strength. Sex is a loss of control, a surrender to the dark forces of the body, a plunge in the abyss, an intimation of death.

Ero-guro :
Japanese shorthand expression for erotic-grotesque. It has been common among avant-garde manga artists, but actually dating back to early Showa (1920’s and 30’s) era’s mainstream decadent art. It also applied to a school of anti-Marxist literature, ero guro nansensu bungaku, or erotic, grotesque nonsense literature and later to film-making and even anime. See also Garo, Hanawa Kazuichi, Hanawa Waichi. --http://www.angelfire.com/sk3/asianhorror/e.html [May 2005]

Edogawa, Rampo :
Japanese mystery and horror writer (1894-1965). He was inspired to write detective fiction by Poe and also by Japanese author Ruiko Kuroiwa (1862-1920). His real name was Hirai Tar? but early on, he adopted the “Edogawa Rampo” (Edgar Allan Poe) pseudonym. Edogawa greatly admired Ruiko who wrote detective stories and published the influential periodical, Yorozu choho (All Things Morning News). Ruiko often serialized foreign detective novels, introducing Rampo and the Japanese public to a new facet of literature.

Mystery fiction in Japan is a very broad genre. It often embraces horror, dementia, bizarre behavior, cult religions, drugs, and sadism. In the 1930’s, it got so far out of hand that the government banned mystery fiction, compelling writers to seek refuge in other genres until the end of the war.

Edogawa was very interested in having his short stories translated into English. While he could not speak English very well, he could read at a respectable level. He worked with his translator for five years to produce Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Taking great pains, the translator would write a single sentence in English, and Edogawa would criticize it and not continue until it was corrected to his satisfaction.

While his most famous tale in English, “The Human Chair,” is not an outright horror tale, it has an interesting plot twist. It shows demented logic of an unbalanced mind. The basic premise, that the protagonist hid himself inside an armchair to touch the object of his obsession, is rather implausible but entertaining. In his introduction to the 1966 anthology Beyond The Curtain of Dark, Peter Haining briefly referred to the story as “new,” even though it was written in the 1920’s and had been translated into English in 1955. Strangely enough, Harlan Ellison picked it as his favorite horror story in the anthology, My Favorite Horror Story, edited by Mike Baker and Martin Greenberg (DAW Books: 2000). --http://www.angelfire.com/sk3/asianhorror/e.html [May 2005]

La quinta edición del Festival de Cine del Lejano Oriente de Udine ya está a la vuelta de la esquina. Por mi parte, atenderé la segunda parte del mismo (del 28 de marzo al 1 de mayo), el cual, como su página web bien dice, se trata del evento cinematográfico más importante del mundo, en cuanto a cine asiático se refiere. La lista de películas todavía no se ha hecho pública. De todas maneras todo apunta a que el festival seguirá con su tradición de ofrecer las películas más taquilleras de países como Japón, China y Hong Kong, Corea del Sur, Tailandia, Singapur, Filipinas y Taiwan. Lo que si han anunciado son tres retrospectivas. Una de ellas dedicada al director japonés Hirayama Hideyuki, famoso por su popular serie de películas Gakko No Kaidan(Historia Sobrenatural del Colegio). Otra muy interesante se centrerá en el cine surcoreano de los años sesenta. Más importante aún es el homenaje al director de culto Teruo Ishii, quien todavía sigue en activo. Sólo espero que esta última retrospectiva se proyecte en la segunda parte del festival. Ishii es famoso por la producción de películas grotescas, violentas y sádicas de un nivel extremo. No en vano sus trabajos han sido clasificados dentro del género ero-guro (o eroguronansensu, erótico grotesco y sin sentido). Trabajos como las series Joys of Torture, compuestas de 8 películas hechas entre 1968 y 1973 donde se combina la tortura, el bondage y sadomasoquismo o la obra de culto Horror of the Malformed Men (la cual fue y sigue siendo prohibida por su propia productora, Toei, para su lanzamiento en video y dvd o su transmisión en televisión), basada en cuentos del escritor japonés de misterio Edogawa Rampo, del cual Ishii es un gran admirador. Ishii también ha colaborado con Sonny Chiba en películas de artes marciales y fue el director de la series Abashiri Bangaichi(La Prisión Abashiri), las cuales convirtieron al entonces desconocido Ken Takakura en una superestrella. Recientemente Ishii ha dirigido Jigoku (Infierno), una especie de remake del clásico de Nobuo Nakagawa. Esperemos que esta quinta edición tan interesante como la del año pasado. --http://es.geocities.com/eiga9/noticias/noticiasenero_junio2003.html [May 2005]

see also: Japan - Japanese cinema - Edogawa Rampo - Teruo Ishii - ero guro nansensu

2005, May 30; 19:25 ::: Bizarre Sinema

Bizarre Sinema

Angekündigt ist endlich auch der 5. Band der Bizarre Sinema! Reihe. Im Gegensatz zum ursprünglich geplanten Titel "THRILLING ALL'ITALIANA 1963 - 1982" (siehe Bild links), wird aber zunächst "JAPANESE ERO GRO & PINKU EIGA, 1956 - 1979" (Bild rechts) veröffentlicht.

Der Titel ist Programm. Es geht um den japanischen Sexfilm (Pinku Eiga) und den sogenannten Ero-Gro (Erotic-Grotesque), einem Genre, in dem sich klassischer Chambara- und Samurai-Film mit Sex- und Horrorelementen mischt.

Ob "Thrilling all'Italiana" noch erscheint oder komplett aufgegeben wurde, ist nicht bekannt. "Bizarre Sinema! 1: Sexploitation Filmmakers" ist übrigens vergriffen.

Weiterhin angekündigt ist dafür der dritte Band von "WESTERN ALL'ITALIANA".

--http://justblog.blogdns.org/crimecoffee/stories/1617/ [May 2005]

see also: Glittering Images

Bizarre Sinema! Sexploitation Filmmakers (Bizarre Sinema- Wildest Sexiest Weirdest Sleaziest Films) (1997) - Piselli, Morrocchi [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: bizarre sinema Google gallery

2005, May 30; 19:25 ::: Odalisque by Ingres

La grande odalisque (1814) Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

The great Odalisque (1814) Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

see also: 1814 odalisque Google gallery

2005, May 30; 19:25 ::: Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947)

Model in backlight (1907) - Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard (October 3, 1867 - January 23, 1947) was a French painter and printmaker.

He was born in Fontenay-aux-Roses. In his twenties he was a part of Les Nabis, a group of young artists committed to creating work of symbolic and spiritual nature. Other Nabis include: Édouard Vuillard and Maurice Denis.

Known for his intense use of color, he painted nudes of his wife Marthe, flowers and landscapes.

He died in Le Cannet, on the French Riviera. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bonnard [May 2005]

The nude in art history
It's very difficult to find works that are able to materialize the fantastic conjunction of the Nude with Art. Only a few masters in the history of art were able to pass this test. The true essence of art is beauty, joined with the sensuality of the nude, often confused with vulgarity. Nudity is always disquieting, instigating and surprising. So the artist, both in painting and in sculpture, in dancing or in photography, discovers in the nude a profound link with the pureness of being. Sensuality stimulates creativity in every sense. Sensuality also evokes love, passion and the creation of man. This is why nudity moves us so profoundly. For all those who appreciate the artistic nude, OCAIW offers the most complete gallery, with representations by the principal masters and artists of art history. (Ariano Cavalcanti de Paula) --http://www.ocaiw.com/galleria_niah/index.php [May 2005]

"Art is never pure, we should keep it far away from the innocent ignorant. We should never let people approach. Yes, art is dangerous. If it is pure it is not art." (Pablo Picasso)

erotic art - nude - art - 1907

2005, May 30; 17:00 ::: Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)

Nude in Studio (1899) - Matisse

() - Matisse

Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 – November 3, 1954) was a French artist.

Influenced by the works of Edouard Manet, Impressionists Paul Signac and Paul Cézanne, and also by traditional Japanese art, Matisse painted in the Fauvist manner, and became known as a leader of that movement.

He painted with blaze of intense shades, flat shapes and controlled lines, with expression dominant over detail. He depicted mostly domestic scenes and figures.

Working in a number of modes, but principally as a painter, Matisse was one of the few artists to achieve widespread fame during his lifetime. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Matisse [May 2005]

2005, May 30; 16:47 ::: The Cedars of Lebanon (1862) - Edward Lear

The Cedars of Lebanon (1862) - Edward Lear
image sourced http://www.orientalistart.net/Page6.html

2005, May 30; 16:45 ::: Gathered, Not Made: A Brief History of Appropriative Writing

by Raphael Rubinstein

This paper originally appeared in March/April 1999 edition of the The American Poetry Review

Combining his quest for total objectivity with passionate bibliophilia, Walter Benjamin once dreamed of authoring an essay that would consist entirely of quotations from his sources. I'm not sure what my motivations were, but last year I wrote a poem largely composed of direct quotes from a 1979 guide to artists' videos. For the texts of other recent poems I've lifted from such sources as the table of contents of a 1950s literary journal, a review of an obscure 1960s film, an article on the Swiss pop music scene, and the intermittently legible legend on an old Mexican retablo. In some cases I simply transcribed the passage I wanted, while in others I also had to translate it. What amazes me about these acts of literary larceny is how satisfying I find the process.

Even though the words are not mine, I derive from them the same kind of pleasure and pride I get from lines I have written in a more conventional manner. Why, I wonder, should it be creatively satisfying to simply transpose lines someone else has written into a text I intend to sign with my own name? 

It is to answer that question that I decided to delve a little into the history of what could be called "appropriative literature." I wasn't interested so much in the 20th-century tradition of collage poetry--exemplified by "The Wasteland" and The Cantos--as in a more extreme approach in which, rather than weave obvious quotations into his or her words, the writer becomes a kind of scribe, transferring small or large passages, usually without attribution or other signals that these words were written by someone else.

The epitome of this kind of writer is, of course, Borges's splendid invention Pierre Menard, the fictional early-20th-century French poet who sets out to rewrite Cervantes's Don Quixote word for word. (In the 1980s, Borges's text was often cited in relation to so-called appropriation artists such as Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince.) The idea of erasing the lines between authors was one which Borges returns to again in his short essay "The Flowers of Coleridge." There, he raises the notion previously espoused by Shelley, Emerson and Valéry that all literary works are the creations of a single eternal author (a point he tries to demonstrate by tracing a recurring idea through Coleridge, H.G. Wells and Henry James). Arguing for the essentially impersonal nature of literature, Borges reminds us that George Moore and James Joyce "incorporated in their works the pages and sentence of others" and that Oscar Wilde "used to give plots away for others to develop." More recently, a whole school of literary theory has developed ideas remarkably similar to those Borges espoused. Roland Barthes, for instance, famously defined the text as "a multi-dimensional space in which are married and contested several writings, none of which is original" 

The following list doesn't include any Wilde-derived stories, alas, but there are plenty of instances of writers utilizing "the pages and sentences of others." I don't pretend that this is an exhaustive list -- I'm no literary scholar and didn't go far beyond what I could find on my own shelves. However, I think it does suggest the extent and vitality of the modernist tradition of textual pilfering. If nothing else, it has given me a better idea of why it seems so natural, and so creatively satisfying, to avail myself of the words of others.

(In emulation of Borges's bibliography of Pierre Menard's "visible" works, I've assigned each entry a letter.)  --http://www.ubu.com/papers/rubinstein.html [May 2005]

Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)
Jorge Luis Borges (bôr?h?s) (August 24, 1899 – June 14, 1986) was an Argentine writer who is considered to be one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. A poet and an essayist, Borges is generally best-known for his short stories. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Luis_Borges [May 2005]

Pierre Menard
Pierre Menard is a fictional 20th century writer, created by Jorge Luis Borges.

Borges's story "Pierre Menard, Author of The Quixote" ("Pierre Menard, autor del Quixote") originally appeared in Spanish in the Argentine journal Sur, May 1939. The Spanish-language original was first published in book form in Borges's 1941 collection El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Paths). That entire book was, in turn, included within his much-reprinted Ficciones (1944). Two English-language translations were published more or less simultaneously in 1962, one by James E. Irby in a diverse collection of Borges works entitled Labyrinths, the other by Anthony Bonner as part of a collaborative translation of the entirety of Ficciones published in 1962. The Bonner translation is reprinted in Borges, a Reader (1981). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Menard_%28fictional_character%29 [May 2005]

Ficciones (1944) - Jorge Luis Borges [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Reading Jorge Luis Borges is an experience akin to having the top of one's head removed for repairs. First comes the unfamiliar breeze tickling your cerebral cortex; then disorientation, even mild discomfort; and finally, the sense that the world has been irrevocably altered--and in this case, rendered infinitely more complex. First published in 1945, his Ficciones compressed several centuries' worth of philosophy and poetry into 17 tiny, unclassifiable pieces of prose. He offered up diabolical tigers, imaginary encyclopedias, ontological detective stories, and scholarly commentaries on nonexistent books, and in the process exploded all previous notions of genre. Would any of David Foster Wallace's famous footnotes be possible without Borges? Or, for that matter, the syntactical games of Perec, the metafictional pastiche of Calvino? For good or for ill, the blind Argentinian paved the way for a generation's worth of postmodern monkey business--and fiction will never be simply "fiction" again.

Its enormous influence on writers aside, Ficciones has also--perhaps more importantly--changed the way that we read. Borges's Pierre Menard, for instance, undertakes the most audacious project imaginable: to create not a contemporary version of Cervantes's most famous work but the Quixote itself, word for word. This second text is "verbally identical" to the original, yet, because of its new associations, "infinitely richer"; every time we read, he suggests, we are in effect creating an entirely new text, simply by viewing it through the distorting lens of history. "A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships," Borges once wrote in an essay about George Bernard Shaw. "All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare," he tells us in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." In this spirit, Borges is not above impersonating, even quoting, himself.

It is hard, exactly, to say what all of this means, at least in any of the usual ways. Borges wrote not with an ideological agenda, but with a kind of radical philosophical playfulness. Labyrinths, libraries, lotteries, doubles, dreams, mirrors, heresiarchs: these are the tokens with which he plays his ontological games. In the end, ideas themselves are less important to him than their aesthetic and imaginative possibilities. Like the idealist philosophers of Tlön, Borges does not "seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding"; for him as for them, "metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature." --Mary Park, Amazon.com

via Anne Galloway http://www.purselipsquarejaw.org

see also: appropriation - originality

2005, May 30; 13:56 ::: The White Slave (1888) - Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte de Nouy

The White Slave (1888) - Jean-Jules-Antoine Lecomte de Nouy
image sourced here.

White slavery is a form of slavery involving the sexual abuse of White women held as captives and forced into prostitution, as opposed to general race slavery.(see the article sexual slavery for this topic)

The United States and common usage of "White slavery" as a term originated in a moral panic, from the time of the American Civil War's Emancipation Proclamation to the Cold War's Great Society. There was a widely held perception that this form of abuse was a danger to every young white woman. Typical scapegoats have been Chinese, African-American and Jewish men. (see Thoroughly Modern Millie)

White slavery also refers to racial iniquity in the sense that it is somehow different than the "regular" idea of non-Whites being subdued. This idea of White slavery is still used in social Darwinist White separatism literature to refer to any involuntary subjugation of Whites. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_slave_trade [May 2005]

Odalisque In Western culture odalisques became common 19th century fantasy figures in the artistic movement known as Orientalism; they feature in many erotic paintings from that era. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odalisque [May 2005]

see also: 1888 - odalisque - white - slave

2005, May 30; 12:59 ::: Corset

Corset, 1962 - Jeanloup Sieff

The Story of O (1975) - Just Jaeckin [Amazon.com]

Modern history
The corset fell from fashion in the 1920s in Europe and America, replaced by girdles and elastic brassieres, but survived as an article of costume. Originally an item of lingerie, the corset has become a popular item of outerwear in the fetish, BDSM and goth subcultures.

There was a brief revival of the corset in the late 1940s and early 1950s, in the form of the waist cincher. This was used to give the hourglass figure dictated by Christian Dior's 'New Look'. However, use of the waist cincher was restricted to haute couture, and most women continued to use girdles. This revival was brief, as the New Look gave way to a less dramatically-shaped silhouette.

Since the late 1980s, the corset has experienced periodic revivals, which have usually originated in haute couture and which have occasionally trickled through to mainstream fashion. These revivals focus on the corset as an item of outerwear rather than underwear. The strongest of these revivals was seen in the Autumn 2001 fashion collections and coincided with the release of the film Moulin Rouge!, the costumes for which featured many corsets.

The majority of garments sold as corsets during these recent revivals cannot really be counted as corsets at all. While they often feature lacing and boning, and generally mimic a historical style of corset, they have very little effect on the shape of the wearer's body. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corset [May 2005]

Lingerie is a term, derived from the French language, for women's undergarments. These garments are heavily eroticised in Western culture.

Examples of types of items of lingerie include

* Babydoll * Basque * Bedjacket * Bodystocking * Bodysuit * Brassiere * Camisole * Chemise * Corset by bone * Corselet * Corsage by elastic * French maid * Garter * Hosiery * Jersey nightshirt * Knickers * Leotard * Merry widow * Naughty & Nice * Negligee * Nightie * Nightgown * Nightshirt * Peignoir * Petticoat * Undergarment * Robe * Slip * Stockings * Suspender belt * Teddy * Unitard
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingerie [May 2005]

see also: clothing

2005, May 30; 12:47 ::: Karin Schubert

image sourced here., photo unidentified

La Punition (1973) - Pierre-Alain Jolivet http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069135/

2005, May 30; 11:24 ::: La Decima vittima / 10th Victim (1965) - Elio Petri

image sourced here.

La Decima vittima / 10th Victim (1965) - Elio Petri [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Long before reality shows took over the TV airwaves and violent parodies like Series 7 and Battle Royale hit international screens, Elio Petri made this campy social satire of a future in which the bored, the ambitious, and the just plain violent can sign up for a deadly game of cat and mouse. "The Big Hunt is necessary as a social safety valve," explains one TV personality. "Why control births when we can control deaths?" Marcello Mastroianni, who plays the womanizing Italian media darling with a gift for ingenious assassinations, becomes the target of sexy champion Ursula Andress, a New York Amazon with a wardrobe as deadly as it is chic. She'll pocket $1 million if she can successfully kill Mastroianni, her 10th and last victim, but on the side she concocts a deal to do the deed in concert with a live song-and-dance extravaganza mounted by a tea company.

Directed with tongue firmly in cheek, Petri lampoons the whole media obsession with high-risk contests and games of chance with cool style, absurdly chic fashions, a bouncy score of organ riffs and funky lounge sounds, and a comically blasé performance by Mastroianni. It's like Fellini gone ballistic with a hint of Divorce, Italian Style: a battle of the sexes in a world where spontaneous shootouts are forever erupting in the fringes of the frame. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com

2005, May 30; 11:08 ::: The Wild One (1953) - László Benedek

The Wild One (1953) - László Benedek [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Wild One (1953) was the very first outlaw biker film, also made memorable by the youthful Marlon Brando playing gang leader Johnny Stabler. Lee Marvin was his nemesis, the leader of the rival gang. It was a low-budget production but the central figure was Brando, in a motorcycle jacket riding a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, who played a rebel without a cause two years before James Dean.

The film version was based on a January, 1951 short story in Harper's Magazine "The Cyclists' Raid" by Frank Rooney that weas published in book form as part of "The Best American Short Stories 1952." The story took a cue from an actual biker street party on the Fourth of July weekend in 1947 in Hollister, California that was elaborately trumped up in Life Magazine (dubbed the Hollister riot) with staged photographs of wild motorcycle outlaw revellers. The Hollister event sparked the formation of Hells Angels MC the following year and is now recreated annually. In the film, the town is located somewhere in Middle America.

Deemed scandalous and dangerous, the film was banned by the British Board of Film Censors from showing in the United Kingdom for fourteen years. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_One [May 2005]

Subculture of the 1940s [...]
In 1947, the same year that Jack Kerouac made his epic journey across America which he would later describe in On the Road and the same year as the occurance at Roswell, New Mexico which was claimed as a UFO crash, there was an incident involving a motorcycle gang at Hollister, California. A story about the incident was published that year in Harper's Magazine and would be developed (6 years later in 1953) as the Marlon Brando film The Wild One. A year after the incident the Hells Angels (without the apostrophe), formed in 1948 in Fontana, California. The name Hells Angels had been used as a movie title by Howard Hughes ten years before. The Hells Angels began as a motorcycle club looking for excitement in the dull times after the end of the war. They became far more notorious as time went on. Motorcycle gangs in general began to hit the headlines. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_subcultures_in_the_20th_century#The_1940s [Dec 2004]

inspired by Cool Rules: Anatomy of an Attitude (2000) - Dick Pountain, David Robins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: cool - biker - youth - 1953

2005, May 30; 10:11 ::: In Sound From Way Out (1966) - Perrey & Kingsley

In Sound From Way Out (1966) - Perrey & Kingsley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The end result of Perrey and Kingsley's first collabrative effort in 1966 combined Perrey's tape loops with Kingsley's live instrumentation and was filled with melodies and sounds like an animated cartoon gone berserk. It was titled The In Sound From Way Out! and was released on Vanguard that same year. Since this was decades before the advent of widespread digital technology, each cut took more than a week of painstaking editing and splicing to produce.

The twelve rather whimsical tracks bore names like "Unidentified Flying Object" and "The Little Man From Mars" in an attempt to make electronic music more accessible. The offbeat titles and happy, upbeat melodies added a genuine sense of humor to popular music years before another notable musician, Frank Zappa, would do likewise. In fact, "Unidentified Flying Object" and another of the album's cuts, "Electronic Can-Can" became theme music for "Wonderama," a Metromedia Television children's program of the early 1970s. Though most of the melodies were original, two borrowed from the classics. "Swan's Splashdown" was based on Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" while "Countdown At 6" borrowed from Amilcare Ponchielli's "Dance Of The Hours," much as Allan Sherman did in 1963 with his hit recording, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh." The final cut on the album, "Visa To The Stars" is credited to "Andy Badale," who would go on to fame as Angelo Badalamenti, arranger of the music in many of David Lynch's movies. In contrast to the rest of the album, "Visa To The Stars" is a more serious gesture and lacks the unusual sound effects of the other eleven cuts. It is highly reminiscent of the style of Joe Meek and his hit, "Telstar" by The Tornados. Perrey's Ondioline carries the melody throughout. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrey_and_Kingsley [May 2005]

The musical duo Perrey and Kingsley (Jean-Jacques Perrey, b. 1923 and Gershon Kingsley, b. 1929), were pioneers in the field of electronic music. Prior to their collaboration in 1964, electronic music was considered to be purely avant-garde. The notion of electronic music for the masses was nearly unthinkable. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrey_and_Kingsley [May 2005]

July, 1966


This is the wackiest record Vanguard has ever put out -- and good music too, as well as a lot of fun. You can even dance to the music, but don't try whistling it. Everything that the new art of electronic sounds can do, combined with some slightly bewildered regulation instruments, is here applied to a set of bouncy numbers, some with familiar tunes , others newly and delightfully composed.

What is the IN SOUND FROM WAY OUT! ? Atoms of pop music exploded into fresh patterns. It's electronic sound of pop music from the future. A sample of the strange new pleasure of a world which belongs to the space age. A sample of the electronic "Au Go Go" that might be heard soon from the juke boxes at the interplanetary way stations where space ships make their rest stops.

How is it produced? A new process called "Electronic Sono-synthesis" was created by Jean Jacques Perrey. To produce these syntheses not only musical instruments from electronic sources (Jenny Ondioline, Martenot Waves, etc.) but also sounds of natural origin (i.e. musique concrete) were used. These sounds were modified, transmuted, transformed, to the point of changing their harmonic structure - making out of them new, unprecedented original sonorities.

Each sound thus created was then prerecorded on tape, classified, cataloged by frequency and timbre. At the time of composing the "musical phrase", each sound was "isolated" and selected according to its nature. The sonorities were then painstakingly assembled by splicing each bit of tape together manually with micrometric precision to form the "melodic line" and / or the rhythmic structure of the piece chosen.

The synthetic rhythmic-melodic tape track thus created was then carefully synchronized with music played by live musicians on both electronic and natural instruments as well as with electronic sounds produced by oscillators, tone generators and feedback loops. Finally, through a complicated process of intricate overdubbing the likes of which we believe have never been done to this extent on records, a multi-channel tape master was produced embodying a synthesis of all electronic and natural elements.

The perpetrators of this riot of new sounds are Jean Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley. Perrey, a Frenchman who has devoted his life to the study of electronic music, decided to take the mystery out of the machines that threatened to be the masters of men. Kingsley, a gifted composer of classical music, has an impressive Broadway background behind him as a conductor and arranger. Together Perrey and Kingsley pooling their considerable talents, have produced a record of musical joy and wit. So switch in to the switched-on IN SOUND FROM WAY OUT. --http://www.kingsleysound.com/Insound2.html [May 2005]

see also: 1966 - electronic music - electronic music from the 1960s

2005, May 30; 09:38 ::: Out now

Soul Jazz presents: Acid - Can You Jack? (2005) - VA [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

1.Maurice - This is Acid
2.Sweat Boyz (Adonis) - Do You Want to Percolate?
3.Virgo (Marshall Jefferson) - Go Wild Rhythm Tracks
4.Mr Fingers (Larry Heard) - Beyond The Clouds
5.Tyree - Acid Crash
6.Phuture (DJ Pierre) - Phuture Jacks
7.Fresh - Dum Dum
8.Roy Davis - Acid Bass

Disc 2
1.Sleezy D - I’ve Lost Control
2.Virgo - Take Me Higher
3.DJ Pierre - Box Energy
4.Lil Louis - Video Clash
5.Tyree - Acid Over
6.Green Velvet (Cajmere) - Enforcer
7.Two of A Kind - Like This
8.Armando - Downfall
9.Phuture - Acid Trax

see also: history of acid house

2005, May 30; 09:20 ::: Zeitgeist

But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence... illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness. -- Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity (1841)

image sourced http://azothgallery.com/images/zeitgeist_maier_17c.jpg [May 2005]

Zeitgeist is originally a German expression, which means "the spirit (Geist) of the time (Zeit)". It denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era.

It is a term that refers to the ethos of a cohort of people, that spans one or more subsequent generations, who despite their diverse age and socio-economic background experience a certain worldview, which is prevalent at a particular period of socio-cultural progression. Zeitgeist is the experience of a dominant cultural climate that defines, particularly in Hegelian thinking, an era in the dialectical progression of a people or the world at large. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist [May 2005]

Blockbusters reflect zeitgeist
One theory of cultural historians has been that the biggest box office successes of a given year reflect thematic resonance with the Zeitgeist of the time. However, they believe that it is impossible to really see what elements of the film resonated with people without some historical distance. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbuster_motion_picture [May 2005]

Geist is German for mind, also for spirit and ghost. It is a central concept in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, and is similar to Heidegger's concept of Dasein, in that both are terms to describe the aspects of a being that are attempting to apprehend and understand the world.

It is a component of the adopted words zeitgeist and poltergeist. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geist_%28philosophy%29 [May 2005]

In philosophy, essence is the attribute (or set of attributes) that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is. The notion of essence has acquired many slightly but importantly different shades of meaning throughout the history of philosophy; most of them derive from its use in Aristotle and its evolution within the scholastic tradition. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essence [May 2005]

see also: history - periodization

2005, May 29; 21:18 ::: The Book of the Courtier (1528)

The Book of the Courtier (1528) - Baldassare Castiglione

The Book of the Courtier
The Book of the Courtier (Italian Il Cortegiano) was written by Baldassare Castiglione in 1528. Baldassare was inspired to write the Courtier by debates that occurred in Urbino on what makes a well rounded person (l'uomo universale).

The book is organized as a series of fictional conversations that occur between the courtiers of the Duke of Urbino in the year 1507 (when Baldassare was in fact part of the Duke's Court). In the book, the courtier is described as having a cool mind, a good voice (with beautiful, elegant and brave words) and proper bearing and gestures. At the same time though, the courtier is expected to have a warrior spirit, to be athletic and to have good knowledge of the humanities, classics, and how to draw and paint. However, with all these skills he does everything with certain nonchalance or "sprezzatura".

During his visits to Italy, Francois I of France read Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier. That text so inspired the king that he had it translated into French. He had several copies made, which he then brought back to France to distribute amongst his courtiers. He felt that this book portrayed the model royal court and he strove to create this type of court for himself.

To this day, the Book of the Courtier remains the definitive account of Renaissance court life. In its own day, however, it was used as a manual on how to be the "Perfect Courtier" and the consummate "Court Lady." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_the_Courtier [May 2005]

Sprezzatura is the art of doing a difficult task so gracefully, that it looks effortless. Sprezzatura was first used in 1528 by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier. The term began use in English in the mid-twentieth century, often to describe art.

"...I have found quite a universal rule which in this matter seems to me valid above all others, and in all human affairs whether in word or deed: and that is to avoid affectation in every way possible as though it were some very rough and dangerous reef; and (to pronounce a new word perhaps) to practice in all things a certain Sprezzatura [nonchalance], so as to conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it...." (Castiglione, Baldassare, The Courtier, Chapter §26 ¶2) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprezzatura [May 2005]

inspired by Cool Rules: Anatomy of an Attitude (2000) - Dick Pountain, David Robins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

see also: cool - 1500s

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