Sunday, November 30, 2008

Death Cab for Forry (Black and Tan Fantasy, for FJA)

Sad sad news today on the death of Forrest J. Ackerman, requiescat in pace...

Variously described in the obits doing the rounds as either the ultimate Fanboy, or alternately, the Grand Old Man of Sci-Fi, (ageless in other words- wotta guy!), manchild in the forbidden zone Ackerman's modern Promethean energy as devil's advocate for the darkside is legendary, his acolytes legion, his lurid spawn ranging from The Misfits, who appropriated the typography of the Famous Monsters logo for their own insidious ends, to the endless noxious celluloid manifestations of the latest in le horreur vacui (truly) on the order of "Saw", "Hostel", "Cleaver" (just kidding)--

Forry's mission, as he decided to accept it (at a very tender age):

To promote promulgate hucksterize and lay bare for all to see the whole history of the justly celebrated and unfairly unsung literary and cinematic phantasms that float "between two worlds"-- in the realms of purest imagination in other words-- to make them manifest and writ large upon the land...

Forrest J. Ackerman! (I have a distant German relative with same surname come to think of it)-- possessor, Montresor, of a very late-19th century romantic weltanschaung fixated on the diabolic and the outre, a consciousness forged in the crucible of whatsis (ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties, boy)--

Which eventually, under his benign editorship, threw up (heh heh) the seminal 60's Warren Publications "Famous Monsters of Filmland", "Spacemen", "Vampirella", "Screen Thrills Illustrated", "Monster World"--

All of which reared their ugly and magnificent Gorgo-like mugs (that hideous strength) just a'beggin' you to pluck them hot off the rack in drugstores, barber shops, supermarkets and newstands all over America in the early 60's, to take them home, and-- well, what?

Pre-masturbation, sublimatory fanboy fantasy fodder (flight from eros into death), best fit to read under the covers with a flashlight, with the lights out (lights out, everyone)...

Necrological necrophiliac pulp trash but of course...

But pulp trash of the highest, most subversive order, in the glorious tradition of EC Publications--

Trash that fired the imaginations of millions of impressionable American adolescents (the sturdy as well as the sickly), among them quite a few nascent artistes, including yrs truly, who cut my baby incisors on Forry's magazines, eagerly ingesting at the very least 10,000 mics of the Ackermonster's enthusiasm for the Other (in fact, I first saw a still from "The Golem" in Famous Monsters, thrilling me to the very marrow, combining as it did my twin obsessions at the time with both the kabbalistic folk tales of my wayward Jewish youth, and also my budding passion for horror, fantasy and science fiction films and literature)...

Forry made an appearance in Manhattan in the mid-80's auctioning off a chunk of his legendary collection of horror and sci-fi film artifacts/props--including an actual False Maria robot from "Metropolis"-- at the Puck Building here... but according to former "New Worlds" (UK) editor British expat/sci-fi author Charles Platt with whom I attended this most likely Wendayne Wahrman-mandated fire sale, said auction consisted mainly of seconds from FJA's vast golden hoard (quite naturally Forry was holding onto the good stuff)...

Now he's swooped the scene...will be missed...another force 'o nature g-g-g gone...

If you do get the chance to revisit the very early FM's (hopefully the full archives of which will eventually be issued on dvd ala "Mad") you will notice from the getgo a very high level of scholarship on the page (he knew his stuff)--lots of fascinating historical erudition/tidbits dusted off and trotted out--

Not to mention many arresting photos on display each month spanning the silent era (the 1910 playbill pic of Edison's "Frankenstein"--see it to the left--scared the bejesus out of me/gave me literal nightmares), right up to (at least when I started reading it) the age of Bava, Hammer and AIP...also, the mag sported enlightened for the day multi-culti (very appropriate appellation here) big tent-like coverage of Mexican horror phenoms "The Baron of Terror" (a/k/a The Brainiac), the wrestling-horror Santos films, and later on, obeisance paid to the fabulous Jose Mojica Marins (Coffin Joe) and his Sao-Paulo slum-based "cinema from the mouth of garbage" (rocket from the tombs)-- imparting in every issue to those who were paying attention a vast Olaf Stapledon-like overview of the entire phantasmagorical film universe/continuum, in amongst the quips and puns and neologisms that were part and parcel of Forry's avuncular editorial persona ('n wot's wrong wid dat?)...

Around issue 25 however, under orders from Jim Warren apparently to dumb down or else wither and die (entropic heat-death of the universe--or at least, of the popular magazine), the quality of the articles took a drastic turn for the worse/swan-dive into the truly inane-- and then you really would maybe only scan through a copy very very hurriedly, very occasionally, for a glimpse of some fresh meat and image gristle, Forry's text rendered null/beside the point/farblonjet in extremis...

However, happy to say, in the hands of folks like Tim Lucas and his fine "Video Watchdog", the editors of "FilmFax" magazine, filmcrit popcult folks Dave Kehr, Glenn Kenny, VA Musetto, Lucy Chase Williams, Kent Jones, Geoffrey O'Brien, Michael Atkinson, Jim Hoberman (and it goes without saying, Richard Porton), the precocious scholarly approach still prevails and flourishes in examining the work of the cinematic old devils (I mean masters) (master master this is recorded through a fly's eye)...

As for the new masters-- well, l'esprit du les Monstres Fameuse, l'odeur du '60's transgressive modernism, that whiff of the fine fetid air of the Okefenokee Swamp mixed with the requisite Duco cement fumes needed to glue together 10 Aurora Universal Monster model kits (courtesy Captain Company, naturally ) still emanates occasionally in the various objets d'arts/manifestations of Drew Friedman, the Coen Brothers, Johnny Depp, Nick Cave, Mike Edison, Jon Spencer, Nick Tosches, George Romero, Genesis P. Orridge, Marie Losier, Guy Maddin, Alan Vega, Lars Von Trier, The Legendary Tiger Man, Willem Dafoe, Chan-Wook Park, Bill Moseley, Carlos Reygadas, John Waters, the Dark Poets, Zorn, Paul Lazar, Robert Rodriguez, Timur Bekmabetov, Howard Thompson's North Fork Sound, Black Fortress of Opium, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Werner Herzog, Asia Argento, Stereolab, Rey Trueno, Sonic Youth, Mike and George Kuchar, Dead Combo, David Lynch, Udo Keir, Louise Arnold, Michael Haneke, Amorphous Androgynous, Terry Gilliam, Bong Joon-Hoo, Diamanda Galas (what a motley crew!), and uh, gee, I dunno, I'm leaving a couple folks outa here I'm sure (SORRY!)...

And, most recently--

"Låt Den Rätte Komma In" (Let the Right One In)--

ultra-astonishing Swedish vampire film directed by Tomas Alfredsson, starring the lissome Lina Leandersson--

easily the best horror film I have seen since, oh, Géla Babluani's "13 Tzameti" (not really a horror film per se, but what the hey)

see 'em both asap...

(and I just heard that both are going to be remade in English...oy)

Be afraid, be very afraid

(Brothers and sisters-- I don't know what this world is coming to!)

and I say all of the above without the least trace of irony...

you ain't no punk, you punk
you wanna talk about the real junk?
if i ever slip, i'll be banned
'cause i'm your garbageman
well you can't dig me
you can't dig nothin'
do you want the real thing
or are you just talkin'?
do you understand?
i'm your garbageman
yeah, somethin' from the garage
and down the driveway
now get outta your mind
and get outta my way
now do you understand?
do you understand?
louie, louie, louie, lou-i
the bird's the word
and do you know why?
you gotta beat it with a stick
you gotta beat it 'til it's thick
you gotta live until you're dead
you gotta rock 'til you see red
now do you understand?
do you understand?
i'm a garbageman
aw, jump on and ride
yeah it's just what you need
when you're down in the dumps
one half hillbilly
and one half punk
big long legs
and one big mouth
the hottest thing from the north
to come out of the south
do you understand?
do you understand?
woo, i can't lose with the stuff i use
and you don't choose
no substitutes
so stick out your can
'cause i'm your garbageman
all right,
hop off

--The Cramps, "Garbageman"

"Goodbye old man, good bye..."



PS--Gods and Monsters ripped it up Dec. 3rd at Cakeshop on Ludlow Street in the heart of the Lower East Side, with special guests Dean Bowman on vocals and Mike Edison on theremin, below some pictures from the gig taken by legendary photog Clayton Patterson, the dude who captured the video footage of the 1979 Tompkins Square Park police riot...Clayton wrote on his email containing the pics "Loved the show"...

Gods and Monsters rip it up at Cakeshop, NYC, 12/3/08 | photos by Clayton Patterson

click to enlarge

PSS--More recaps/updates of the last month or so also coming soon, been frightfully busy (wahhhhh), that big announcement promised in the last posting will haveta wait for its proper moment of gravitas...

PSSt--my friend Soo Catwoman,original punkette/Sex Pistols mascot, is selling a variety of her custom t-shirts, some bearing her unforgettable visage, on ebay here and also through her MySpace site.

Check 'em out, they make lovely holiday gifts, and come highly recommended by this here poster boy:


Blogger Ajda the Turkish Queen said...

Gary, I love your blog. So full of useful cultural info. Glad you like the CD, too. ~Ajda, Black Fortress of Opium

12/11/2008 10:34 AM  

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008



Gang was over last night (Pakistani pistol Shaista Husain and Gus Palakas, Cineaste editor Richard Porton) getting down in serious party-hearty mode, feasting on goodies from Citarella (smoked Scotch salmon, sesame chicken, mango mousse) , sipping Ombra Proseco and breathing deep of the, uh, heady whiff of victory in the air as we celebrated the most uplifiting event of the new century...initial nervous jitters as McCain took the first few states gave way to relaxed and expansive mass jubilation as the inexorable climb of the electoral college votes in Obama's favor made it official by 11pm, and we heard the delighted shrieks and shouts out on the cobblestoned streets of ye olde West Village and environs...what can I say?? I have never felt so happy about an election, for the sake not only of this fair land but for the hopes and dreams of the whole wide world...

The last few weeks have gone by in a whirl, backtracking a minute I just want to say that sitting in on Mike Edison's " Literary Mayhem Event" at the Spiegelworld down at the South Street Seaport on Oct. 16th was extra-nice, extra-textured...Mike is an alte/neu big/little soul rebel out and about on the New York boho music 'n word scene with a new book just out, "I Have Fun Everywhere I Go", a devilish double-donged dip into his nefarious activities as a former editor and publisher of "Screw" and "High Times" , adventures as hard-core punk rock drummer stalwart with Sharkey's Machine and the Raunch Hands to name a few, and so forth, Mike is a genuwine good guy/nice Jewish boy with a big heart and yen for the transgressive...

Occasion was a set by his Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra which featured readings from fetching Rachel Shukert and Amanda Stern that skirted the pornographic (yeah!) and literary bad-boy-man-about-town Jonathan Ames, who has a great new book out and then some--I really loved playing with these guys, especially as the Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra featured supercool Jon Spencer on geetar (what a great guy and amazing fretboard stylist--loved his Blues Explosion when I caught them live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam couple years ago..Jon's currently working with Matt Verta-Ray in psychotic rockabilly combo Heavy he's about to reform Boss Hog with his gal Cristina to play Barry Hogan's All Tomorrow's Parties festival soon)...Jon and I traded some mucho combustible licks ala Beck and Page circa "Stroll On"...and the lovely Hollis Queens on drums and Dean Rispler made a cool, solid rhythm section, if only to bolster the high energy grunt of Mike Edison on keys and theremin and the almighty Word...and the full house lapped it up...

Couple nights later on Wed, Oct. 22nd Mike sat in on theremin with Gods and Monsters when we played a CMJ show out in Williamsburg at Public Assembly (formerly Galapagos, where I was on a bill with Jonathan Ames many years ago playing one of my 30's Chinese pop arrangement of Chow Hsuan's "Please Allow Me to Look at You Again" from my temporarily disappeared album "The Edge of Heaven" while Paul Lazar danced like Ray Bolger crossed with Sadakichi Hartmann), special thanks to Michelle Cable at Panache Bookings for hooking us up, it was quite an incendiary gig, and the next day Jason Candler and I played at the Knit as a duo for a CMJ party...

and then I was off to Madrid, arriving Sunday Oct. 25th, and headed straight to the Prado to eyeball my favorite Goya, Rubens, and Velasquez paintings, it was a lush warm Indian summer's day and the park and Botanical Gardens next to the Museum beckoned, as did the famous stand-up cafeteria across the street El Brillante, which boasts the word's greatest bocadillo de calamares, which I scarfed down with salsa rosa--yummm...a traditional treat every time I hit the Prado...

The Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra at Spiegelworld, NYC, 10/16/08—l to r: Dean Rispler, Mike Edison, Hollis Queens, Jon Spencer, Michael Chandler, and Gary | click to enlarge

Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem", Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

Rey Trueno, Bruno Galindo, and Gary Lucas, Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

photos by Miguel Vallinas Prieto | click to enlarge

From the 53rd International Valladolid Film Festival Programme Book | click to enlarge

Next day, I hooked up with my guy the estimable Spanish spoken-word artist and Madrid native Bruno Galindo and his pal musician and label owner Rey Trueno who had flown in from Mexico, and together with journalist and artistic maven Hector Marquez and his lovely gal Eliezer took the train to Valladolid, a medieval city about an hour from Madrid, the occasion was the 53rd International Valladolid Film Festival where I was booked to play "The Golem" in the Teatro Cervantes--and what a night it was (although sad to say I had to miss my gal Yael Naim's show in NYC that night, ya can't be in two places at once, unless we're talking hearts), I was scheduled to go on at midnight but they held the show till 12:30am, and 5 minutes before showtime despite the drizzle and fog outside a couple hundred very cool folks appeared suddenly as if out of nowhere--and I had one of the greatest rides of my life with the film, I kid you not, which left me drained but very very happy, and the next day I got up early and did an interview for National Public Radio Spain in the hotel restaurant, and another interview I'd done the afternoon before with a very sweet female journalist in the national Spanish newspaper El Norte de Castilla was out on the stands already...

They Can't Believe He's Risen Again—Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem", Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

Battle in Heaven—Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem", Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

The Golem Walks Among Us—Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem", Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

Gary Lucas Plays "The Golem", Valladolid Film Festival, Valladolid, Spain, 10/27/08

Gary Lucas and Bruno Galindo, 53rd International Valladolid Film Festival, Spain, 10/27/08

photos by Hector Marquez | click to enlarge

Thanks so much to Bruno and Hector for hooking it all up, I adore playing in Spain each and every time--only regret was I was unable to see the performance of my old friend Juana Molina, who was on tour in Spain at the time but was playing in a different city each night I was there--Juana is the beautiful and very very gifted singer/guitarist/electronica enchantress from Buenos Aires who can really conjure up incandescent atmospheres live and on disc--check out her cool new album "Un Dia" (all of her albums are seriously worthy of your attention)...Bruno saw Juana's show in Madrid the night I left to come back to NYC and said she and her band were incredible...

me, I came back to play a great gig with Dean Bowman here Thursday night at the Bowery Poetry Club with our new spiritual roots project Chase the Devil, in fact one fan had journeyed all the way from Chicago to see us perform! Check out our new MySpace site here...

Chase the Devil (Gary and Dean Bowman) bring their spiritual roots music to the Bowery Poetry Club NYC, 10/30/08

photo by Bertil Lundblad | click to enlarge

Also seriously worthy of your attention is the latest album from erotic torch-singer/songwriter/nu-jazz icon Vanessa Daou, "Joe Sent Me", which is available right now only through her website--I have followed Vanessa's music avidly over the years, and this album is her best to date, I've been walking the streets in a trance listening to it over and over on my iPod since I got a copy--although their music is apples and oranges, like Juana Molina, Vanessa Daou really knows how to create intimate moods and atmospheres like a waking dream...check out her slinky groove on "Near the Black Forest".

Speaking of grooves, me and DJ Cosmo, my partner in our avant-dance duo Wild Rumpus, have a new vinyl 12 inch, "Rock the Joint", about to drop Nov. 24th on her UK-based Bitches Brew label--this is our third single--our last one "Purple Somersault" was a iTunes UK Best of the Week download last summer--and it features the UK Human Beatbox Champion Beardyman on vocals--the advance press has been superb, check out a rave review from dance magnates' here and there are more rave reviews, photos and info up on our page can hear "Rock the Joint" now on the jukebox at our Wild Rumpus MySpace site here.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Been a good week all around in fact--along with the incredible Obama-Ramalama, legendary producer Phil Ramone (Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, et al) selected moi (blush blush) as one of his top recommended artists in his latest Huffington Post blog.


I have some really really exciting news about the status of a long-time-coming collaboration very near and dear to my heart, which I will share with y'all soon...

(Good things are worth waiting for!)



PS--If you are out and about this weekend in NYC, please come on Up to the magnificent, newly restored Bohemian National Home at 321 East 73rd (the center for Czech cultural life in the 20's here) for a Bohemian Double-Header Saturday and Monday at 7pm, both nights featuring yrs truly, literally Bohemian by birth on my father's side (the family name was originally Lichtenstein)...

First up will be a close encounter with legendary Czech underground poet Pavel Zajicek, leader of one of the darkest and best European avant-rock ensembles ever, DG 307....

I first met Pavel at Giorgio Gomelsky's Tribute to the Plastic People of the Universe held at the Kitchen in the fall of 1988, he was associated with their bass player/founder Milan Hlavsa in the early days before the PPU were founded, and in fact served prison time like them under the former Soviet-backed regime for his dissident music-making...Pavel and I have been pals for a long time, I jammed with DG 307 in the high hills outside Prague at a midnight bacchanale in the late 90's... he is an intense and charismatic presence onstage and off--and this promises to be quite a night of fierce poetry and music (his latest book of poetry is entitled "Love is a Midnight Scream from Hell"-- yeah!), an evening that should go down in the annals of L'Internationale Hallucinex (plus it's free!)...

Then on Monday I'm back at the BNH performing with "The Golem", my first performance with the film in NYC in almost 2 off the heels of my appearance with the film at the Valladolid Film Festival in Spain last week, I can't wait to tackle the Big Fella on his home Boho turf (they say the Golem is slumbering in the attic of the Bohemian National Hall, waiting to be activated...I promise to give him a wake-up call)...I will be working with a pristine, restored print of the 1920 film which has been colour-tinted...and like Saturday's event, this one is also free to the public (!)...there will be a cash-bar on hand to raise the already heady spirits of the dead and the quick in attendance (which side are you on?)... check out my short story "Me and the Golem" here to put yourself in the appropriate mood :-)


Anonymous disckret said...

hi Gary...
we were there, in Spain (Seminci, Valladolid film festival), in your Der Golem performance...
It was very nice, really. -zenkiu-
We talk about in ours webs (in spanish...of course)

11/11/2008 4:07 AM  

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