Friday, March 31, 2006

There But for the Prose of Others Feign I...

Gawker reports that J-Blair manque Nick "The Game" Sylvester has finally been 86'd from the Village Voice. Good riddance to bad rewrites, say I...

Enjoy your weekend,

TS

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Oops...

Hello Everyone,

My ISP reports that I've exceeded my allocated bandwidth for the month. Damn... I'll have to suspend the downloads for a few weeks. In the meantime, please feel free to post the previous eight offerings across the various networks. There'll be more to come.

Best,

Tom

Thursday, March 23, 2006

TS-Related Semi-Rarities, Part 1

(Pulled March 25. Sorry - we've exceeded our bandwidth. Thanks for downloading!)

Silver Apples - Decatur
(Whirlybird Records WR106 CD, 1998)



Following December 1996's Tora Tora Tora festival, I invited Simeon Coxe and his oscillators down to Atlanta to record an album with me at Microgroove Studios. Decatur was the result of our efforts.

We tracked for a week during the spring of '97, and Simeon and his two young charges (Michael Lerner and Xian Hawkins) seemed well pleased.

With the help of WRAS-FM's Yancy Yohannon, a co-headlining gig (with Harry Pussy) was organized. The Apples went down a storm. Big grins, free drinks, lotsa palaver, etc.

I spent a couple of months getting the mix where I wanted it, and then passed it on to Whirlybird.

We enjoyed a raucous listening party at the Orlando home of Obliterati's Nadeem Khan, and expectations were high...

Of course, Decatur was rather harshly panned at the time of its release, and fell quickly out of print.

Wanna give it a listen?

01 Decatur (42:10)

---

Composed and performed by Silver Apples: Simeon Coxe (oscillators and keyboards), Xian Hawkins (keyboards), and Michael Lerner (percussion).

Recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Tom Smith.

File size: 98.2 MB / Ripped at 320 kbps

---

Share, please.

Regards,

TS

Sunday, March 19, 2006

TLASILA Rarities, Part 6

(Pulled March 25. Sorry - we've exceeded our bandwidth. Thanks for downloading!)

To Live and Shave in L.A. - Live, Southgate House, Newport, Kentucky, Sunday, September 12, 2004.

Rat Bastard, small electronics and radio; Don Fleming, guitar and backing vocals; Mark Morgan, guitar and backing vocals; Tom Smith, vocals; Andrew W.K., drums and electronic treatments; Ben Wolcott, oscillator. Majordomo: Chris Grier.

Recorded by CG on stereo mini-disc; remastered and edited by TS at Western Blot 3/06...

Lovely venue, a raft of excellent groups arrayed in support, Sonore (Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson, and Ken Vandermark) performing upstairs prior to the show, and... a disappointingly small turnout.

Humbled, we had but one option: r*ck the f*ck out.

Started nodding at the afterparty; comandeered someone's bed and snored blissfully until morning. CG scored, however...

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01 Row Houses

02 Dignity Overnight

03 Pictures at an Exhibition

04 Party Hard (audience recitation)

05 Ideas Make Men Hard

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File size: 80.7 MB / Ripped at 320 kbps / Total time: 35:14

Share, etc.

Many thanks,

TS

Lief-Budd Hurls the Row...

Since returning from Spring Break I've been ensconsed in the library - eleven bloody hours were spent squinting there yesterday. Haven't watched much television programming in the last few weeks (apart from the Daily Show and peripheral skeins), but this morning I sat with my (sadly, very frail) dad while he mulled the inanities posed by the woeful Wolf Blitzer on CNN's Late Edition. Fucking Christ... At a time when Jon Stewart can elicit big laughs from an audience by merely projecting a photograph of Bush, it's astonishing that anyone, anywhere, can be bothered to carry water for the Administration. (Fox News excluded, of course. They're locked in for long-term abrasion.) Still, the Sunday blabfests insist on a thorough massaging of delusion. (For example, on CBS's Face the Nation, Dick Chaney asserted "I think we are going to succeed in Iraq; I think the evidence is overwhelming." The VP's oft-posited claim was then debated - without irony - on subsequent programs, including Blitzer's.) At some point, blood began to boil. (Maybe it was some sort of feral, sympathetic reaction to the okra bubbling away in the kitchen.) We determined that we'd seen just about enough. My father wisely switched to TV Land's Sanford and Son marathon, and I leapt over the sofa to grab my laptop. Next stop, International Herald Tribune...

Below, please find the first few grafs of William Pfaff's "If Bush Ruled the World" editorial. It's a free read, so I'll forgo the usual flood of text.

"Intellectual poverty is the most striking quality of the Bush administration's new National Security Strategy statement, issued on Thursday. Its overall incoherence, its clichés and stereotyped phraseology give the impression that Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, and his fellow authors assembled it from the boilerplate of bureaucratic discourse with contempt for the Congress to whom it is primarily addressed.

It reveals the administration's foreign policy as a lumpy stew of discredited neoconservative ideas with some neo- Kissingerian geopolitics now mixed in.

The statement's only visible purpose is to address a further threat to Iran, as its predecessor, in 2002, threatened Iraq. The only actual "strategy" that can be deduced from it is that the Bush administration wishes to rule the world. The document is nonsensical in content, insulting to other nations and unachievable in declared intention.

If people read it to find a statement of American foreign policy's objective, they will learn that the United States has "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Good luck..."

---

Smash Your Head Against the Wall,

TS

TLASILA Rarities, Part 5

(Pulled March 25. Sorry - we've exceeded our bandwidth. Thanks for downloading!)

To Live and Shave in L.A. - Live, Churchill's, Miami, Thursday, September 15, 1994.

Here's a previously unreleased TLASILA performance, one of the first featuring Ben Wolcott attempting to tame his often ungovernable oscillator. To these (obviously biased) ears, his efforts seemed extraordinary, a perfect compliment to Rat's unrelenting wall of distorted, fucked-out fuzz. As Ben helped to pry open our sound, we responded by bearing down on the sounds themselves, by more studiously examining their strata. Those were very exciting times...

Apart from the band, an unusually desultory Bill Orcutt, a random skinhead, and Churchill's late-evening bar staff, no one appears to have been in the club. O, fame, begone!

Rat Bastard, bass; Ben Wolcott, oscillator; Tom Smith, voice and tapes. Live engineering by Ariya Okomoto; mixed at Sync Studio, Miami 10/94 by TS.

The set has been remastered from the original Sync DAT mix, and edited into song-specific chunks. Otherwise, it's unexpurgated, presented as originally recorded.

"Out with the Shirt on My Back" and "Neu/Stipe Stüssy Pact" were written prior to the recording of 30-mm. Although they were frequently performed between 1992 and '94, they never found a proper album berth. (In fact, this gig may well have been the last time we assayed them in public.) The other five songs appear on "Helen Butte" vs. Masonna Pussy Badsmell.

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01 Intro

02 Lock of Gut Twine

03 Out with the Shirt on My Back

04 "American Car"

05 Neu/Stipe Stüssy Pact

06 Gone and Bitched Up

07 I Suppress Nothing

08 Wanna Bust Up a Virgin Ass?

---

File size: 43.0 MB / Ripped at 320 kbps / Total time: 18:41

Share, etc. We trust you'll enjoy the goddamned racket.

As this post uploads, the previous offerings are being withdrawn. Thanks for your kind participation and generous feedback. Mucho obligado.

Best,

TS

Friday, March 17, 2006

Regret We C*nt Quite Make Out That Obscentity...

From the ever-entertaining Regret the Error blog:

"Baltimore Sun runs photo with word 'cunt' clearly visible."



Heeeee-larious. Of course, the Sun's mea culpa was woefully timorous.

Baltimore's City Paper Online provided additional info, and re-printed the Sun's (shockingly) inoffensive images...



Cheap yuks, Maryland style...

Pussy-Hole,

TS

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Salon: "Decline and Fall"

Compelling, sobering, disturbing: thanks, Salon!

---

Decline and Fall



Kevin Phillips, no lefty, says that America -- addicted to oil, strangled by debt and maniacally religious -- is headed for doom.

By Michelle Goldberg

Mar. 16, 2006

In 1984, the renowned historian and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Barbara Tuchman published "The March of Folly," a book about how, over and over again, great powers undermine and sabotage themselves. She documented the perverse self-destructiveness of empires that clung to deceptive ideologies in the face of contrary evidence, that spent carelessly and profligately, and that obstinately refused to change course even when impending disaster was obvious to those willing to see it. Such recurrent self-deception, she wrote, "is epitomized in a historian's statement about Philip II of Spain, the surpassing wooden-head of all sovereigns: 'No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.'"

Though the last case study in "The March of Folly" was about America's war in Vietnam, Tuchman argued that the brilliance of the United States Constitution had thus far protected the country from the traumatic upheavals faced by most other nations. "For two centuries, the American arrangement has always managed to right itself under pressure without discarding the system and trying another after every crisis, as have Italy and Germany, France and Spain," she wrote. Then she suggested such protection could soon give way: "Under accelerating incompetence in America, this may change. Social systems can survive a good deal of folly when circumstances are historically favorable, or when bungling is cushioned by large resources or absorbed by sheer size as in the United States during its period of expansion. Today, when there are no more cushions, folly is less affordable."

For all her prescience, it seems likely that Tuchman, who died in 1989, would have been stunned by the Brobdingnagian dimensions of American folly during the last six years. Just over 20 years after she wrote about the Constitution's miraculous endurance, it's hard to figure out how much of the democratic republic created by our founders still exists, and how long what's left will last. The country (along with the world) is in terrible trouble, though the extent of that trouble is both so sprawling and multifaceted that it's hard to get a hold on.

It's not just that America is being ruled by small and venal men, or that its reputation has been demolished, its army overstretched, its finances a mess. All of that, after all, was true toward the end of Vietnam as well. Now, though, there are all kinds of other lurking catastrophes, a whole armory of swords of Damocles dangling over a bloated, dispirited and anxious country. Peak oil -- the point at which oil production maxes out -- seems to be approaching, with disastrous consequences for America's economy and infrastructure. Global warming is accelerating and could bring us many more storms even worse than Katrina, among other meteorological nightmares. The spread of Avian Flu has Michael Leavitt, secretary of health and human services, warning Americans to stockpile canned tuna and powdered milk. It looks like Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon, and the United States can't do anything to stop it. Meanwhile, America's growing religious fanaticism has brought about a generalized retreat from rationality, so that the country is becoming unwilling and perhaps unable to formulate policies based on fact rather than faith.

At any time, of course, one can catalog apocalyptic portents and declare that the end is nigh. Obviously, things in America have been bad before -- there has been civil war, depression, global conflagrations. The country seems to have exhausted its ability to elect decent leaders, but some savior could appear before 2008. One doesn't want to be hysterical or give in to rampaging pessimism. Books about America's decline in the face of an ascendant Japan filled the shelves in the 1980s, and a decade later, the country was at the height of power and prosperity.

Yet just because America has endured in the past does not mean it will in the future. Thus figuring out exactly how much danger we're in is difficult. Are things really as dire as they seem, or are anxiety and despair just part of the cultural moment, destined to be as ephemeral as the sunny mastery and flush good times of the Clinton years? It's human nature to believe that things will continue as they usually have, and that we'll once again somehow stumble intact through our looming crises. At the same time, it's hard to imagine a plausible scenario in which the country regains its equilibrium without first going through major convulsions.


So how scared should we be?

Kevin Phillips' grim new book, "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century," puts the country's degeneration into historical perspective, and that perspective is not conducive to optimism. The title is a bit misleading, because only the middle section of the book, which is divided into thirds, deals with the religious right. The first part, "Oil and American Supremacy," is about America's prospects as oil becomes scarcer and more expensive, and the last third, "Borrowed Prosperity," is about America's unsustainable debt. Phillips' argument is that imperial overstretch, dependence on obsolete energy technologies, intolerant and irrational religious fervor, and crushing debt have led to the fall of previous great powers, and will likely lead to the fall of this one. It reads, in some ways, like a follow-up to "The March of Folly."

"Conservative true believers will scoff: the United States is sue generis, they say, a unique and chosen nation," writes Phillips. "What did or did not happen to Rome, imperial Spain, the Dutch Republic, and Britain is irrelevant. The catch here, alas, is that these nations also thought they were unique and that God was on their side. The revelation that He was apparently not added a further debilitating note to the later stages of each national decline."

There's a sad irony to the fact that Phillips has come to write this book. His 1969 book, "The Emerging Republican Majority," both predicted and celebrated Republican hegemony. As chief elections and voting patterns analyst for the 1968 Nixon campaign, he is often credited for the Southern strategy that led to the realignment of the Republican Party toward Sun Belt social conservatives. Today's governing Republican coalition is partly his Frankenstein.

Phillips has been disassociating himself from the contemporary GOP for some time now -- his last book, "American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush," attacked the presidential clan as a corrupt threat to American democracy. His concern with the growing power of religious fundamentalism was evident then. As he wrote in the introduction, "Part of what restored the Bushes to the White House in 2000 through a southern-dominated electoral coalition was the emergence of George W. Bush during the 1990s as a born-again favorite of conservative Christian evangelical and fundamentalist voters. His 2001-2004 policies and rhetoric confirmed that bond. The idea that the head of the Religious Right and the President of the United States can be the same person is a precedent-shattering circumstance that had barely crept into national political discussion."

Since then, there's been much more attention paid to the role of evangelical Christians in the Republican Party. In "American Theocracy," though, Phillips brings something important to the discussion -- a global historical perspective on the relationship between growing religious zeal and the end of national greatness. "[T]he precedents of past leading world economic powers show that blind faith and religious excesses -- the rapture seems to be both -- have often contributed to national decline, sometimes even being in its forefront."

To tell the story of the impending end of American supremacy, Phillips ranges through history and across subjects, going into detail about seemingly tangential matters like the production of whale oil in 17th century Holland. It can be a slog -- Phillips is sometimes a dry writer who builds his arguments by slapping down numbers and statistics like a bricklayer. (At least he's self-aware -- at one point in his section on religion, he notes, "By this point the reader may feel baptized by statistical and denominational total immersion.") Much of what he writes in individual chapters has been covered elsewhere in numerous books about peak oil, the religious right and economic profligacy.

But Phillips' book is very valuable in the way he brings all the strands together and puts them in context. He has a history of good judgment that affords him the authority to make big-picture claims: In 1993, the New York Times Book Review wrote of him, "through more than 25 years of analysis and predictions, nobody has been as transcendentally right about the outlines of American political change as Kevin Phillips." Other recent books foresee American meltdown; James Howard Kunstler's "The Long Emergency" deals with some of the same gathering threats as "American Theocracy." Kunstler is a far more engaging writer than Phillips, but he's also more prone to doomsday speculation, and he sometimes seems to relish the apocalyptic scenario he conjures. It's Phillips' sobriety and gravitas that gives "American Theocracy" ballast, and that makes it frightening.

The first section, "Oil and American Supremacy," covers the history of oil in American politics, both foreign and domestic, and what it means for America when oil starts running out. The subject of peak oil has been extensively covered elsewhere, yet it remains on the fringes of much of the political debate in America, despite its massive implications. Essentially, peak oil is the point at which more than half the earth's available oil has been extracted. "After this stage, getting each barrel out requires more pressure, more expense, or both," writes Phillips. "After a while, despite nominal reserves that may be considerable, more energy is required to find and extract a barrel of oil than the barrel itself contains." Before that point comes, scarcity will drive prices to unheard-of levels. If that happens, the entire American way of life -- the car culture, agribusiness, frequent air travel -- will become untenable.

Experts differ about when we might pass the peak, but as Phillips notes, "even relative optimists see it only two or three decades away." Unfortunately, the United States is uniquely unable to grapple with the mere idea of life after cheap gasoline, because the country's entire sprawling infrastructure was built on the assumption that oil would remain plentiful. Writes Phillips, "[B]ecause the twenty-first-century United States has a pervasive oil and gas culture from its own earlier zenith -- with an intact cultural and psychological infrastructure -- it's no surprise that Americans cling to and defend an ingrained fuel habit …The hardening of old attitudes and reaffirmation of the consumption ethic since those years may signal an inability to turn back."

The end of previous empires, Phillips explains, also corresponded with the obsolescence of their dominant energy source. The Netherlands was the "the wind and water hegemon" from 1590 to the 1720s. In the mid-18th century, Britain, harnessing the newly discovered power of coal, became the leading world power, only to be left behind by oil-fueled America. "The evidence is that leading world economic powers, after an energy golden era, lose their magic -- and not by accident," he writes. "The infrastructures created by these unusual, even quirky, successes eventually became economic obstacle courses and inertia-bound burdens."

"American Theocracy's" middle section deals with religion. Once again, the book's value lies not in any new revelations -- Phillips mostly relies on the work of other reporters and analysts -- but in the context provided. In his sweeping overview, he misses some subtleties. He writes, for example, "Opponents of evolution -- successful so far in parts of the South -- are indeed busy trying to ban the teaching of it and textbooks that support it in many northern conservative or politically divided areas." That's not quite true -- Darwin's foes might dream of the day when he's expunged from the schools, but right now, their focus is on having creationism or "intelligent design" taught alongside evolution, not in place of it.

That's a relatively small point, but it's indicative of the rather cursory treatment Phillips gives to the dynamics of the movement he decries. He's much more interested in what it portends -- a kind of soft theocracy that itself is an indication of an empire in decline. What he's talking about is not a Christian version of Iran, but a country ruled by an evangelical party whose electoral machinery is integrated into a network of fundamentalist churches.

Again, the most fascinating part of this section lies in Phillips' comparisons of America with past global powers -- the intolerance of Christian Rome, the militant, expansionist Catholicism of 17th century Spain, the theocratic Calvinism of the mid-18th century Netherlands and the evangelical enthusiasms of Victorian Britain. Toward the end of the Netherlands' worldwide dominance, he writes, "Dutch Reformed pastors called for national renewal and incessantly attacked laziness, prostitution, French fashions, immigrants and homosexuals."

Phillips' final section, about national debt and the increasingly insubstantial nature of the United States economy, follows the model of the rest of the book, offering a summary of others' research on the subject, followed by historical analysis. What concerns Phillips here is not just the country's staggering national debt -- although that concerns him plenty -- but also the shift from a manufacturing to a financial-services economy, which he calls financialization. Instead of making things, Americans increasingly make money by moving money around. Finance, he writes, "fattened during the early 2000s -- this notwithstanding the 2000-2002 collapse of the stock market bubble -- on a feast of low interest enablement, credit-card varietals, exotic mortgages, derivatives, hedge-funded strategies, and structured debt instruments that would have left 1920s scheme meister Charles Ponzi in awe."

Unless the United States proves immune from the economic laws that have heretofore prevailed, this arrangement is unsustainable. As former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker wrote last April in the Washington Post, under the placid surface of the seemingly steady American economy, "there are disturbing trends: huge imbalances, disequilibria, risks -- call them what you will. Altogether the circumstances seem to me as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember, and I can remember quite a lot. What really concerns me is that there seems to be so little willingness or capacity to do much about it."

Again, as Phillips shows, the historical record provides warnings: "Historically, top world economic powers have found 'financialization' a sign of late-stage debilitation, marked by excessive debt, great disparity between rich and poor, and unfolding economic decline."
Looking at the possible crises facing the country, Phillips writes of the "potential for an incendiary convergence if -- a big if, to be sure -- several of the worry-wart camps prove to be correct … I can't remember anything like this multiplicity of reasonably serious calculations and warnings. It is as if the United States, like the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes's 'One-Hoss Shay,' is about to lose all its wheels at once."


For someone who is profoundly uneasy about America's future right now, there's something perversely comforting about reading this from a figure like Phillips. It suggests that one's enveloping sense of foreboding is based on something more than the psychological stress of living under the Bush kakistocracy. A feeling that the world is falling apart is usually associated with neurosis; now, it's possible that it's a sign of sanity.

But if Phillips is correct, the coming years are going to be ugly for all of us, not just blithe exurbanites with SUVs and floating-rate mortgages. With oil growing scarce and America unable or unwilling to even begin weaning itself away, we could see a future of resource wars that would inflame jihadi terrorism and bankrupt the country, shredding what's left of the social safety net. As Phillips notes, a collapsed economy would leave many debt-ridden Americans as what Democratic leaders have called "modern-day indentured servants," paying back constantly compounding debt with no hope of escape via bankruptcy. The prospect of social breakdown looms. The desperation of New Orleans could end up being a preview.

Desperate economic times are not good for democracy. The Great Depression, which ushered in the New Deal, was an anomaly in this regard. In an Atlantic Monthly article published last summer, the Harvard economist Benjamin Friedman wrote, "American history includes several episodes in which stagnating or declining incomes over an extended period have undermined the nation's tolerance and threatened citizens' freedoms." During the Midwestern farm crisis of the 1980s, when tens of thousands of families lost their land due to a combination of rising interest rates and falling crop prices, the Posse Comitatus, a far-right paramilitary network, made exceptional recruiting inroads. One poll had more than a quarter of Farm Belt respondents blaming "International Jewish bankers" for their region's woes.

The right's ideological infrastructure has only grown stronger since then. Kunstler may not have been exaggerating when he told Salon, "Americans will vote for cornpone Nazis before they will give up their entitlements to a McHouse and a McCar."

Eventually, like Spain, England and the Netherlands, the United States, shorn of imperial fantasy, may evolve into something better than what it is today. But terrible times seem likely to come first -- years of fuel shortages, foreign aggression, millenarian madness and political demagoguery. A Democratic president could stop exacerbating the country's problems and could reconcile with the rest of the world, but it's unclear how much he or she could really turn things around. America's economic and energy foundations are too badly eroded to be restored anytime soon. Besides, redistricting and the overrepresentation of rural states in the Senate mean that the GOP will remain powerful even if a decisive majority of Americans vote against it. Zealous conservatives in Congress and the media will almost certainly mount an assault on any future Democratic president just as they did on Bill Clinton. Governmental deadlock, as opposed to flagrant recklessness and misrule, is probably the best that can be hoped for, at least for the next few years.

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, it was clear to everyone that the United States had suffered a hideous blow, but few had any idea just how bad it was. It didn't occur to most people to wonder whether the country's very core had been seriously damaged; if anything, America had never seemed so united and resolute. Almost five years later, with Bush still in the White House, a whole cavalcade of catastrophes bearing down on us and a lack of political will to address any of them, the scope of Osama bin Laden's triumph is coming sickeningly into focus. He didn't start the country on its march of folly, but he spurred America toward bombastic nationalism, military quagmire and escalating debt, all of which have made its access to the oil controlled by the seething countries of the Middle East ever more precarious. Now the United States is careening down a well-worn road faster than anyone could have imagined.

-- By Michelle Goldberg

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

(Don't Go Back To) Collapsing Stars (continued)

Spring Break Update #2

UK author Rob Jovanovic was kind enough (or sufficiently masochistic) to email yesterday with a short list of follow-up questions for the Michael Stipe tome he's currently penning.

In the interests of vanit- er, journalistic transparency - we herewith present the complete transcript of our exchange. (Mr. Jovanovic's comments appear in bold.)

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hi tom

many thanks for your replies and the article link.

Hello Rob,

It's good to hear from you. I trust your research is going well.

There's a Nest (adj.)/Boat Of gig chronology within the TLASILA web; if you should require a sickening level of detail, that's the place to revel in it.

On to your queries:

do you have any photos that we could use of the various line ups that included stipe?

Oddly enough, we were unconcerned with photographic documentation. The only live photos that I know to exist were taken by Linda Hopper at a September 22, 1981 performance at the Night Gallery. The four images are rather indistinct... We never formally posed for publicity photos.

Mike Green and Michael Stipe devised a choreographic routine for the evening, by the way, and I recall the former enacting a sort of terpsichorean spasm / modified dervish whirl.

do you have any further info on the forthcoming 2CD set which i can include in the book, any chance of a promo?

I’m fairly certain the compilation will be titled Mix Pentecost(e), and comprise recordings made from 1979-1983. It will most likely begin with the Prepared Party experiments, and end with a piece Carol Levy and I created a few weeks before her death. I’m still sorting through the tapes – there’s 70 hours of material from which to choose... The Smack Shire will be releasing the two-disc set.

when you saw r.e.m. did you tell stipe what you thought of them?

Yes. I asked him if he was kidding, and explained to him that the world didn’t really need a group which fused Dr. Hook and The Yachts.



("There was a lingering odour of soap..." The mathematics of oblivion, cicra 1981. Image TS.)

I then asked Michael if wouldn’t rather prefer to ditch R.E.M. for Boat Of.

His riposte: Are you kidding?

Oh, we were such scamps back in the 1780s…

many thanks again

rob

It was my pleasure, Rob. Thanks again for your interest and, one presumes, good humor.

Sincerely,

Tom

I Only Swallowed 31 Bags...

(Amended 8:25 PM)

Spring Break Update #1:

I'm at Cyn's home in Atlanta; we're listening to Congolese icons Franco & OK Jazz and easing slowly into bed. Earlier, we enjoyed Ethiopian cuisine (at Meskerem) with my son Evan and his student nurse bride Dawn. Awesome to hang with them for an evening... Don Fleming rang just as Evan and Dawn were driving back to their hotel; he and AWK have been working daily twelve-hour shifts for more than a month on White Killer's forthcoming album. Nine of the fifteen songs planned for inclusion have apparently been completed, although none have as yet been mixed. (At least that's what I think Don said. There was a lot going on around me at the time...) We also spoke of the Voice's "Sylvestergate" debacle (it's telling that Doug Simmons was canned and Sylvie retained); DF and Andrew have been so busy in their studio bunker that they missed all news of the shitstorm which pummeled 36 Cooper Square... Hoping to get the Noon cover art and August tour itinerary squared away by the 24th. Or 27th.

Tomorrow, we breakfast with the kids, then hit the Georgia Aquarium later in the afternoon. They have an electric eel exhibit (true) and I'm dying for (ahem) agitation...

Apologies,

TS

Friday, March 10, 2006

TLASILA Rarities, Part 4

(No longer available as of March 19, 2006. As always, thanks for your participation, sharing the swag, etc.)

To Live and Shave in L.A. - Live, Churchill's, Miami, Florida, Saturday, October 15, 1994.

Okay, so this isn't an album's worth of previously issued, out-of-print material. I've simply run out of time. Spring break has arrived, and although I'm not traveling out of the state (I'll be writing papers instead), I will be away from my high-speed broadband connection for a week. (Cyn's DSL is pokey by comparison; uploading is basically impossible.)

These caveats and gripes noted, please accept this remastered, newly buffed, previously unissued, minimally edited TLASILA concert as a token of our affection and appreciation.

It was a great time for us musically, but the recording industry -- epecially within its devoutly, self-professedly independent sub-sectors -- was already showing signs of aversion to assimilation. In retrospect, this augured well for us. At the time, however, it was a source of great annoyance. We wanted to be heard.

Ben Wolcott joined the group in September of 1994, but for reasons no longer remembered (perhaps a scheduling conflict with a film production), he was unable to be with us on the evening of the 15th. Thus, the relative rarity of this performance...

We'd only recently wrapped Prostitution Heute!, the follow-up to 30-minuten männercreme, and had begun tracking our second full-length album, the ill-fated "Helen Butte" vs. Masonna Pussy Badsmell.

Michael Bull's Nightcap label sundered before Heute could be issued, and "Helen Butte" would ultimately be discarded by Ann Arbor's Bulb Records before washing ashore at Full Contact, a (very) short-lived subsidiary of Fifth Column. Those were miserable experiences, but they provided valuable lessons...

Rat Bastard played the bass. I sang and created the backing tapes.

Ariya Okomoto (then a member of Miami dream-pop cabal Snatch the Pebble) was the live engineer; he recorded the set for us.

The concert is complete. I edited the performance into five bite-sized chunks, but otherwise, thirteen minutes was about average for us. We crushed, then bolted. No mucking about.

01 I Suppress Nothing

02 Wanna Bust Up a Virgin Ass?

03 Modified Stock

04 58, Pumphand

05 Moschino Powerslum

06 "Free Bird" loop (bonus)

"I Suppress" and "Wanna Bust Up" would surface on Butte. Studio versions of "Modified", "Pumphand", and "Moschino" were recorded for Prostitution Heute! The "Free Bird" loop is exactly what you might expect, and it was made today, just for you.

File size: 30.5 MB / Ripped at 320 kbps / Total time: 13:17

Enjoy (if possible), share, etc. The previously announced posting sked will resume after the university break, on March 20...

Best,

Tom

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tracing the Trail of Slime...

From the superb Think Progress blog:

23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

Very interesting... Perhaps not as important or compelling as Sylvestergate, but close enough for Herpes Simplex.

As reading is better for you than pretending to have read the thing that purports to be beneficial, it probably won't maim you to give these topics a whirl.

Gotta jet,

TS

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ms. Orzolek, Meet Mr. Burrell...

(Revised March 10, 2006.)

A few hours ago I was in the gym, doing my usual workout on the eliptical trainer. As I listened to Show Your Bones, the forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, my attention was drawn to a video monitor which displayed Too Legit, VH1's lamentable 2001 MC Hammer biopic.

Two diversions fused. I waited for Bones to ignite, but I may as well have been listening to Sting. (Or redacting the comments of the participants of the "Reinterpreting The Funky Headhunter" panel from HammerCon '00...)

I got nothin'. Mild frissons, the usual burdensome, post-fame production slather, and no memory of the album once I'd left the rec center. Kinda draggy overall, as I wouldn't have illegally downloaded it had I not wanted to hear it. (Yes, as an ethical absolutist I'm a failure.)

Contrast this testimony with Sasha Frere-Jones' current New Yorker review. A different opinion is proffered.

(Granted, I've only listened to it once, in the midst of an eight-mile workout slog. It might conceivably grow on me, but I tend to either immediately react or not... Not that I really give a crap - I'm as much into the YYYs as I am His Name Is Alive... I like O's taut gams and Nick's retro Cave-y hair, but beyond that point interest expires. All music is gruel.)

As I slid my ID through the exit gate card reader I imagined Hammer's eldest daughter essaying the role of Ms. O in some future MTV2 sludgedoc. My mind then began to clear...

Yours Faithfully,

TS

TLASILA Rarities, Part 3

(No longer available as of March 19, 2006. As always, thanks for your participation, sharing the swag, etc.)

To Live and Shave in L.A. - Vedder Vedder Bedwetter (contiguous mix) (1995, rejected)

This album struck with a soundless thud in the summer of 1995. Although I hated everything about it for a very long time, I've slowly warmed to it. Now, I've at last made my peace with it.

The thaw can be attributed to my recently having stumbled over Vedder's original, contiguous (uninterrupted) mix. I cleaned up a few rough spots, remastered it, and...

01 Vedder Vedder Bedwetter (contiguous)

Backstory, scans, and other ejecta will be posted eventually. Apologies for the delay. Meanwhile, lyrics are available here.

File size: 163 MB / Ripped at 320 kbps / Total time: 71:16

God Help You,

TS

Ali Farka Touré...

Ali Farka Touré, the extraordinary Malian guitarist and singer, died today...

I'm cranking Radio Mali in tribute. Farewell, Farka!



(Ali Farka Touré, from the World Circuit Records archive...)

Click here for Jon Pareles' New York Times obituary.



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Sunday, March 05, 2006

New TLASILA MP3 Uploads Coming Monday...

(Er, make that Tuesday.)

We'll first be posting the original, rejected contiguous edit of the 1995 TLASILA album Vedder Vedder Bedwetter (out of print since 1996); later, a second disc of previously isued/out-of-print material will be made available. Lastly, a third album's worth of previously unreleased studio and live rarities will be ready for the plucking.

To provide you the full dynamic range of listening displeasure, we've taken the liberty of remastering VVB. I've scorned the album for years, but I find I'm warming to it again. Rat and Ben were right - it's much better than I've made it out to be...

Check this thread on the afternoon (or early evening) of the 7th. Swag will eventually be hoisted into position.

Yours,

TS

Americans: Wrong for America

Fans of Real Time with Bill Maher will recall the title of this thread as the punchline of the opening skit from the August 28, 2005 episode of his program. (Okay, extraordinarily obsessive fans, but I digress.)



Reading today's top headline in the Washington Post brought the Maher jape back from the recesses of memory and into sharp focus. (Apologies for the fuzzy frame grab.) Here's the link if you want to see the pretty pop-ups. Otherwise, the text of Dan Eggen's piece follows below...

White House Trains Efforts on Media Leaks: Sources, Reporters Could Be Prosecuted

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 5, 2006

The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.

Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering whether to approve tougher penalties for leaking.

In a little-noticed case in California, FBI agents from Los Angeles have already contacted reporters at the Sacramento Bee about stories published in July that were based on sealed court documents related to a terrorism case in Lodi, according to the newspaper.

Some media watchers, lawyers and editors say that, taken together, the incidents represent perhaps the most extensive and overt campaign against leaks in a generation, and that they have worsened the already-tense relationship between mainstream news organizations and the White House.

"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."

President Bush has called the NSA leak "a shameful act" that was "helping the enemy," and said in December that he was hopeful the Justice Department would conduct a full investigation into the disclosure.

"We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that," said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. "But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror."

Disclosing classified information without authorization has long been against the law, yet such leaks are one of the realities of life in Washington -- accounting for much of the back-channel conversation that goes on daily among journalists, policy intellectuals, and current and former government officials.

Presidents have also long complained about leaks: Richard Nixon's infamous "plumbers" were originally set up to plug them, and he tried, but failed, to prevent publication of a classified history of the Vietnam War called the Pentagon Papers. Ronald Reagan exclaimed at one point that he was "up to my keister" in leaks.

Bush administration officials -- who complain that reports about detainee abuse, clandestine surveillance and other topics have endangered the nation during a time of war -- have arguably taken a more aggressive approach than other recent administrations, including a clear willingness to take on journalists more directly if necessary.

"Almost every administration has kind of come in saying they want an open administration, and then getting bad press and fuming about leaks," said David Greenberg, a Rutgers University journalism professor and author of "Nixon's Shadow." "But it's a pretty fair statement to say you haven't seen this kind of crackdown on leaks since the Nixon administration."

But David B. Rivkin Jr., a partner at Baker & Hostetler in Washington and a senior lawyer in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, said the leaking is "out of control," especially given the unique threat posed by terrorist groups.

"We're at the end of this paradigm where we had this sort of gentlemen's agreement where you had leaks and journalists were allowed to protect the leakers," Rivkin said. "Everyone is playing Russian roulette now."

At Langley, the CIA's security office has been conducting numerous interviews and polygraph examinations of employees in an effort to discover whether any of them have had unauthorized contact with journalists. CIA Director Porter J. Goss has spoken about the issue at an "all hands" meeting of employees, and sent a recent cable to the field aimed at discouraging media contacts and reminding employees of the penalties for disclosing classified information, according to intelligence sources and people in touch with agency officials.

"It is my aim, and it is my hope, that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information," Goss told a Senate committee.
The Justice Department also argued in a court filing last month that reporters can be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for receiving and publishing classified information. The brief was filed in support of a case against two pro-Israeli lobbyists, who are the first nongovernment officials to be prosecuted for receiving and distributing classified information.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said last month that he is considering legislation that would criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than what is now covered by law. The measure would be similar to earlier legislation that was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and opposed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in 2002.

But the vice chairman of the same committee, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), complained in a letter to the national intelligence director last month that "damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of the intelligence agencies."
As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media. A grand jury investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald resulted last year in the jailing of Judith Miller, then a reporter at the New York Times, for refusing to testify, and in criminal charges against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff. In court papers, Libby has said that his "superiors" authorized him to disclose a classified government report.

The New York Times, which first disclosed the NSA program in December, and The Post, which reported on secret CIA prisons in November, said investigators have not contacted reporters or editors about those articles.

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, said there has long been a "natural and healthy tension between government and the media" on national security issues, but that he is "concerned" about comments by Goss and others that appear to reflect a more aggressive stance by the government. Downie noted that The Post had at times honored government requests not to report particularly sensitive information, such as the location of CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

"We do not want to inadvertently threaten human life or legitimately harm national security in our reporting," he said. "But it's important . . . in our constitutional system that these final decisions be made by newspaper editors and not the government."

In Sacramento, the Bee newspaper reported last month that FBI agents had contacted two of its reporters and, along with a federal prosecutor, had "questioned" a third reporter about articles last July detailing the contents of sealed court documents about five terrorism suspects. A Bee article on the contacts did not address whether the reporters supplied the agents with any information or whether they were subject to subpoenas.

Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez said last week he could not comment based on the advice of newspaper attorneys. Representatives of the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, which is conducting the inquiry, also declined to comment.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck declined to discuss details of the leak investigations there but said they were being conducted independently of the White House and were not aimed at pressuring journalists.

In prosecuting a former Defense Department analyst and two pro-Israel lobbyists for allegedly spreading sensitive national security information about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the Bush administration is making use of a statute whose origins lie in the first anxious days of World War I.

The Espionage Act makes it a crime for a government official with access to "national defense information" to communicate it intentionally to any unauthorized person. A 1950 amendment aimed at Soviet spying broadened the law, forbidding an unauthorized recipient of the information to pass it on, or even to keep it to himself.

Lawyers for American Israel Public Affairs Committee staff members Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman say the vagueness of the statute makes the Justice Department's prosecution of their clients unconstitutional. One count of the indictment specifically charges them with passing "classified national defense information" to a member of the media in 2004.

The Justice Department said "there plainly is no exemption" for the media under the Espionage Act, but added, "a prosecution under the espionage laws of an actual member of the press for publishing classified information leaked to it by a government source would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly, indeed, the fact that there has never been such a prosecution speaks for itself."

Staff writer Charles Lane and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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Skulk, demur, weep, or fight back. Our choice.

TS

What's on Your Pod/PDA/Shoe Phone/Reel-to-Reel?

Time again for a roundup of the files in rotation at Western Blot. Before I begin, a moment of silence for my Rio Carbon 5 GB player, stolen from my backpack at the VSU library in January... After giving up the search and rescue mission, I plunked plastic for a Philips 30 GB GoGear. I'm not a big fan of the iPod (in my opinion, iTunes blows); I prefer less proprietary devices.



(Mauricio, cued and ready to bring Hank Quinlan to heel... I suppose the blur is metaphoric.)

So, what's on yours? Really? Do tell. I hadn't previously heard of Tindersticks, Mew, Devendra Banhart, or She Wants Revenge... Yes, we'll definitely have to hang some evening. Lessee, I'll just check my calendar... I have a free Thursday in 2187. Okay with you?

(Yes, I'm a fucking dick. So what's new?)

Here's what I've been listening to in the last 30 days:

Mauricio Kagel's Acustica, Eno's Another Day on Earth (still in rotation after five months), Kryptic Minds & Leon Switch's Black Out Vol. 1-4 collection, Breakcore Gives Me Wood, the Carpe Diem Part Two comp., King Tubby's Dangerous Dub, Water Lilly's Dissidance EP, Dubstep Allstars Vol. 2, the Radio 1 Breezeblock livemix special Dubstep Warz, the 1969 comp Electronic Music III, Anthony Braxton's Ensemble (New York), For Four Orchestras, and String Quartet (Köln) albums, Essential Mix: Grime/Dubstep (another Radio 1 broadcast), Andy Partridge's Take Away/The Lure of Salvage, to which I've been grooving since I first bought it in Athens in 1980, The Associates' Fourth Drawer Down, which almost never leaves rotation, Animal Collective's Grass EP (why not?), Grim Dubs Vol. 1-3, my main dog Stockhausen's Gruppen/Carré and Sternklang reissues, the Joy Div Heart and Soul box, John Greaves & Peter Blevgad's awesome '77 release Kew. Rhone., the terrific Kindermusik compilation, Antony and the Johnsons/Current 93 Live at St. Olave's Church, London, Twisted Individual's Live on KoolFM set from 25 Jan 06, a wonderful late-period (20 July 81) boot from all-time greats The Slits (I miss you too, Viv), Miles' Live-Evil, Fog's Lust EP, lots of PiL (Metal Box, the always wrongly underrated Paris au Printemps, and the first three discs of Plastic Box), Microhate (check the best-of '05 thread for details), Copy's Mobius Beard LP (still not sold on it), Ian Boddy & Bernhard Wöstheinrich's Moiré album, Habib Koite & Bamada's very brilliant Muso Ko, New Age Steppers' 1980 debut long-player, Nouvelle Vague's self-titled 2004 covers album (difficult even for cynics to resist), the Raincoats' Odyshape (I had it long before either Kurt or Thurston, you pricks), scads of d+b plates, Miwon's Pale Glitter alb, the Kompakt Pop Ambient '06 collection, Putamayo Presents Mali, This Heat's Repeat EP, Boy Robot's Rotten Cocktails album, the other, in-progress To Live and Shave in L.A. release, Horóscopo: Sanatorio de Molière (I'm trying my damnest to finish it, but I'm never quite satisified - only three years and counting...), the Pistols' Sex Box, Suede's Singles comp (sue me), Digital Mystikz' Stuck EP, KJ Sawka's crazed Synchronized Decompression disc, Modeselektor's The Hello Mom Remixes EP, Diamanda's The Singer (there's always something from her her nearby), Rhino's killer two-disc '05 reissue of The Stooges' 1969 debut, Neubauten's 1999 EP Total Eclipse of the Sun (no Bonnie Tyler collab, Blixa?), The Fall's Totally Wired: The Rough Trade Singles comp (I know, I'm becoming brazenly nostalgic in my middle years), several hours of Russian drills from the university's online language server, Mikkel Metal's Victimizer CD, Unni Løvlid's Vita alb, the Kitbuilders' Wake Up (Module Version), Keith Rowe & Toshimaru Nakanura's Weather Sky disc (again, sue me), Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say... (ha-ha, I don't care - I'd rather have heard it than not, and as it happens, I like it), the Wild Dub comp (mainly because my 4 Be 2 vinyl was swiped ages ago, and WD has the "One of the Lads" remix on it), The Pop Group's Y (in rotation for 27 years now...), and the admirably succinct Yes L.A. EP.

So, that's the March report. Shall we meet again in another 30 days?

Yours Faithfully,

TS

Friday, March 03, 2006

Alexei Borisov, Live in DC...

I met Alexei Borisov in Russia during OHNE's 2002 tour of Eastern and Central Europe. He's a terrific musician and a genuinely decent fellow... Insightful, adventurous, prolific, open-minded... An awesome dude.

Alexei performed an impromptu set with OHNE after we'd completed our spit-slathered gig at Moscow's Bunkr Club; we ran into him a month later in Vienna, where he'd traveled to play at the Phonotaktik.02 festival. He was kind enough to attend our performance at the Rhiz (also in Vienna), and there he and I made tentative plans to create some sort of collaborative project together. Although we exchanged discs and music files, the project remains unfinished, largely untouched. Alexei's just one of those guys you need to be in the same room with - his fierce intelligence and understated sense of humor can't adequately be contained in a .wav file...

He's in the States now, doing a handful of shows. I can't break away until next week (when Spring Break begins), so I'm afraid I'm gonna miss everything.

Алексейи... извините, пожалуйста!

If you live in or around Washington, DC, however, you have an opportunity to catch Alexei in concert on March 3rd. Check it out if you're at all able.



Cheers,

TS

Three Images of Jeanne Moreau from "Mademoiselle"

As maggot larvae migrate through the corpse of our late Voice chum, I propose we send a contribution to Regret the Error's tip jar and switch channels for good. D'accord?

(Interlude...)

Okay, we're back...

One of my favorite films from the 1960s - from any decade (save the 1350s, which I loathed) - is Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle. Starring the perversely luminous Jeanne Moreau and written by Jean Genet (!), the film strains against narrative sentimentality while embracing an initially furtive, ultimately louche concupiscence not often encountered in the cinema...

A little slow for mouth-breathers, but sluts of a higher order will flip.

One:



(Jeanne Moreau, in full manic -repressive mode.)

Two:



(Layers accrue...)

Three:



(Moreau, inexorably drawn to a doomed assignation. Amazingly sexy...)

---

Patti Smith wrote about Mademoiselle in a 1977 issue of High Times:

Jeanne Moreau is really something. There's this scene where she's like a chaste schoolteacher superficially, but inside she's like a barbed wire fence on fire. There's like this burly Italian Burt Lancaster who walks through the fields with a big gold St. Christopher medal on his chest and his shirt open, and he's reeking of the wine fields, and he's got a chain saw because he's a lumberjack -- and there's all this tension because you know they're gonna do it and when they do, they don't let you down.

Whey they fuck it's so heavy. It's out in the field. He rips off her dress and she's like an instant animal. He makes crawl through the field barking like a dog and she's got this chiffon dress on, which he rips to shreds.

She's so great. To me, the way she conquers a guy . . . I'm really studying Jeanne Moreau. If I turn out like Jeanne Moreau when I grow up I couldn't ask for anything more. She's so self-contained. She could start a forest fire. She came to my concert in France. I was so honored I didn't even talk to her.

I'd like Jeanne Moreau to cut me down to size, 'cuz in the process of being cut down to size by her I'd really start to grow. She's great. Anna Magnani was great. Piaf was great. They were so much emotion. Like Janis Joplin -- she had so much too -- but Jeanne Moreau, she's got brains. It's like she's got an intellect in her movement.

Then she sold this guy down the river. Like they fucked for two days in thunder and lightning, and the sky was just totally opening up, the fields were on fire, the whole world was going berserk -- and they were just fucking right through it all. There was racial strife and poverty and people killing each other and everything was in flames, and they were still fucking.

And then he says at the end -- he's so stupid -- he's in love with her so he's trying to be nice, but he fucks up and says, "I'll be leavin' tomorrow." He's an Italian and he's not accepted in this French village. He's so stupid. You don't tell a woman you're leaving her after you fuck her for two days. If you are, you split fast, 'cuz else you're gonna die.


So she runs off and walks into town all fucked up, like she's a chaste schoolteacher with a bun and everything. She's like Jeanne Moreau, she's like a lioness and she comes in with her chiffon dress all blood and filth and she's like real satisfied and they see her and the women all get hysterical. She's like the symbol of purity, their Madonna, Marianne Faithful, and they can't believe she's been so defiled. "Was it the Italian? Was it, was it?" She looks at them and she goes "Oui." She says oui so great it's like "yeah" -- in fact I coulda sworn she said "yeah."

They killed the guy with sledge hammers, pitchforks and stuff, but that's another story. Thing was, after she sold him up the river, she was just exhausted from being fucked so great in the rain and lightning.

---

Brian J. Dillard, writing at All Movie Guide, suggested Marguerite Duras was given Genet's screenplay draft to finish. Fine with me, as I admire Duras equally. (I've never researched Mademoiselle's backstory, so I'll take Mr. Dillard's explication on faith.)



(Duras, from the 1966 French television documentary Un metteur en ordre: Robert Bresson.)

In 1951, French writer Jean Genet presented a screenplay called "Les Rêves Interdits/L'Autre Versant du Rêve" to actress Anouk Aimée as a wedding gift. He then proceeded to sell the rights three times without telling her. Eventually the script was reworked by Marguerite Duras and filmed by British director Tony Richardson as Mademoiselle, with Jeanne Moreau in the title role. In its final form, Mademoiselle tells the story of a repressed schoolteacher who visits a veritable plague of deliberate "accidents" on the people of her rural French village. She sets fires, poisons animals, and causes floods -- all in a fit of thwarted passion for an immigrant woodcutter. Though Marlon Brando was originally set to play the role of the Italian craftsman, the part went to Ettore Manni when the production schedule shifted. Umberto Orsini plays Antonio, the woodcutter's forlorn son, whom Mademoiselle maliciously humiliates out of perverse desire for his father. A notoriously difficult shoot, Mademoiselle was filmed consecutively with The Sailor From Gibraltar, another collaboration between Richardson, Moreau, and Duras. As for Genet, he despised the casting of Moreau; nevertheless, she would go on to star in Querelle, another adaptation of the author's work.

---



(Above, the Polish one-sheet for Mademoiselle.)

History lesson's over; track the film down. It's out there, waiting.

Regards,

TS

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lil' Cunty Sylvester, Exposed

From the Gawker, 1 Mar 06:

The 'Voice' Is Even More Fucked Up Than Usual

Here’s what we know: This week’s Voice had a cover story by hotshot young Nick Sylvester reporting that men around New York are using Neil Strauss’s The Game, about pickup artists and their techniques, and that women are increasingly aware of this and outsmarting their would-be seducers. We know said cover story has been removed from the Voice website. We know that the Voice’s acting editor-in-chief Doug Simmons, to whom we were referred when we called because the paper’s PR director has left the company, hasn’t returned our message. And we’re reliably informed that the newsroom — such as it is anymore — knows some sort of big shit is going down but isn’t being told what.

Here’s what we hear/speculate/gather: People quoted in the story claim they never spoke to the reporter. Editors at the paper now believe Sylvester likely fabricated material. Writers at the paper believe this is because young Sylvester — a former Harvard Lampoon kid who writes criticism for the Voice and indie-music reviews for Pitchfork — didn’t quite get the whole big-reported-cover-story thing, which he wasn’t really ready for and which Simmons was pushing him to do. Simmons, merely the acting editor, is trying to make a splash so he can get the job permanently. This is not the sort of splash he had in mind. Sylvester may or may not have fainted in Simmons’s office while being berated. And everything in the usually boisterous office is being kept very need-to-know.

Please insert an “allegedly” into every sentence of that second, speculative graf. We’ll let you know more as we do. Meantime, we’ll actually have to trudge to the corner a pick up a Voice. How delightfully old-school!

UPDATE: And here is an archived or cached or something version of the article, sent in by a diligent reader.

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Can't say I didn't warn everyone.

Best,

TS