G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

Reads

Ordered by accident and almost tempted to keep it just for the terrible mis-registration on this copy's print job. Snooping around online and I'm not seeing any publicly available evidence of anyone else having come across such a terribly misprinted copy.

Almost want to send a picture directly to Dan Clowes just to ruin his day/week/life. But no, what good would that do without getting to see the look on his face?

#journal #reads

“Siphonophores are colonial marine organisms made up of specialised but genetically identical units, zooids, that undertake different functions, such as feeding or reproduction. The best-known species is the Portuguese man o'war, which resembles a large jellyfish but is actually seven different kinds of zooid that cooperate so that the colony acts like a single organism.”

From Paul McAuley's THE SECRET OF LIFE.

I note that he does the thing that I love when its done in fiction: including actual non-fiction knowledge. Chuck Palahniuk will almost always slide a little nugget of knowledge in his novels (i.e. how soap is made in FIGHT CLUB or how long it takes to choke in CHOKE, and I think there was something about airplanes or bodybuilding or both in SURVIVAL). This strikes me as an essential function of storytelling: using story to ever so slyly act as a vector for knowledge. It isn't the only function, but it seems to be one of several essential functions. It is after all a tradition as old as time itself. The oldest story known to humankind, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, lets it be known that wood obtained from Cedar trees is ideal for shipbuilding (and indeed, the oldest known surviving boat, excavated in Egypt, is built out of Cedar). The myth of Osiris contains mumification instructions. Story is carrier wave for philosophical pondering, parable, moral compass tuning, and factual knowledge. Drama is, for the most part, a really great delivery system.

At least that's how I like it.

#journal #reads #story

Spent the entire goddamn day speed re-reading this entire book just to locate one single passage I needed for a bit in THE SOLAR GRID.

Frustrating, but necessary. I am however reminded by what a fantastic and well-researched read it is. I doubt this is going to be the last time I utilize Luddite history in a story. It's such a fascinating episode in history. Remember this is just a few years before Mary Shelley started writing FRANKENSTEIN and young Percy was frequenting pothouses. Lord Byron was already a famed poet, having written verse in favor of the Luddites actually, and the Napoleonic Wars were still ongoing.

#journal #reads #work

Just read Paul J. McAuley's GENE WARS in THE BIG BOOK OF CYBERPUNK and fell in love. I am however ashamed to admit that this is the first of McAuley I've read. The story is pretty out there, but certainly much less out there than the time it was written (1991). Which leads me to believe that Paul J. McAuley possesses a mind of incredible foresight. To determine this from just one story may seem ridiculous, but you have to read it and then you will understand! He is clearly concerned with ideas far more than over-indulging in the soap operatic turmoil of fictional characters, which is very much my shit.

#reads

“While Anglophone publishing is intensely concerned with comparative titles and where a novel fits into the landscape, contemporary Arabic publishing largely is not. As such, there is no fixed terminology used for cli fi (climate fiction) in Arabic—though there is fiction that looks much like cli fi in English.”

Speculative Climate Futures in Arabic Literature

Personally, I think genre is bullshit and one of Western civilization's most detrimental inventions for culture at large.

#journal #reads #research #press

Warhol's MY HUSTLER cost $500 to make. Its first week at The Filmmaker's Cinematheque in New York brought in $4000 USD. The year was 1966.

It's hard to imagine being able to shoot an indy film today and make a profit after screening it in no more than one movie theatre, for months even let alone a single week.

Where did the world go so wrong.

#journal #reads

Andy Warhol sold one of his largest flower paintings to Isabelle Collin Dufresne (who would eventually adopt the moniker Ultraviolet) for today's equivalent of about $5,000 USD. Hardly comparable to some of the sums fetched by today's top working artists, but here's the thing; his rent for The Factory, the legendary space that was his art studio, production house, and entourage hangout was no more than $150, the equivalent of close to $1,500 today.

For context, the Factory was 5,000 square feet and located in Midtown Manhattan. It was by all accounts beyond dilapidated, but still a massive centrally located space in America's densest city. The best you could hope for for that kind of money today is little more than a closet and chances are it wouldn't even be so centrally located.

Another way to look at this is: The sale of one painting could cover the cost of over 3 months' rent.

#journal #reads

“The Velvet Underground and Nico officially debuted on January 10, 1966, in an unlikely setting. Dr. Robert Campbell had invited Warhol to speak to the New York Society for Clinical Psychiatry at its annual black-tie banquet at Delmonico's. When asked about his odd choice, Dr. Campbell rhetorically asked, 'How can you be immune to art and the creative process? Surely you're aware of the barely visible line between genius and madness.' Warhol decided that his 'lecture,' 'The Chic Mystique of Andy Warhol,' would consist of films for visuals and the Velvet Underground for sound. That way Andy wouldn't have to talk.

“When the guests arrived in the gold-and-white grand ballroom at six-thirty, they found the Warhol entourage... As soon as the group of three hundred doctors and spouses started their roast beef entree, bedlam broke out. The Velvet Underground played full volume as Nico began singing in her unearthly voice. Gerard Melanga started his whip dance.”

From FACTORY MADE by Steven Watson.

#reads

“Their marathon rehearsal sessions began on Friday nights. The next morning each of them ingested a blue tranquilizer and four quarts of beer and smoked a joint, and they then practiced until eleven at night. 'Our music evolved collectively,' Sterling Morrison recalled, and it combined rock and roll with the consciousness-altering musical discipline learned from La Monte Young. The group added guitar feedback and an electric viola that sounded like a jet engine. [Lou] Reed was inspired by now forgotten songs of the time: 'Smoke from a Cigarette,' 'I Need a Sunday Kind of Love,' 'Wind' by the Chesters, 'Later for You Baby' by the Solitaires. 'All those really ferocious records that no one seemed to listen to anymore were underneath everything we were playing,' said Reed.”

More from FACTORY MADE which I am thoroughly enjoying.

“The next problem was where they would play. The band didn't consider themselves to be entertainers, and there were few models on the music scene. 'Rock and Roll consisted of Joey Dee and the Starlighters, guys who played the uptown clubs and had matching suits,' Sterling Morrison said. They didn't want to be cute, like the Monkees, or sincere, like folk singers. Their image was aloof and nasty and urban. As Cale summed it up, 'Our aim was to upset people, make them feel uncomfortable, make them vomit.'

“They found a suitable venue for performing when another neighbor in their Ludlow Street building, underground filmmaker Piero Heliczer, invited them to play at the Filmmakers' Cinematheque on Lafayette Street for two events. Angus MacLise and Piero Heliczer described them as 'ritual happenings.' They featured Piero's films projected through veils hung between the audience and the screen. Multicolored lights and slides were superimposed on the veils, and on the stage were dancers. The strange and overwhelming sound that overlaid this intermedia action issued from behind the screen, where the band improvised their music. In its multimedia overwhelming of the senses and in the band's invisibility, this performance reflected the group's evolution and quickly defined a place for them in the avante-garde.”

Piero Heliczer reportedly struggled with schizophrenia throughout his life but was nonetheless productive.

#reads

“Ronald Tavel's ingenuity was tested on several fronts in the spring of 1965. He had to imagine and write scenarios that represented different genres, and he had to create them very quickly.”

For about six months, they shot a film every two weeks to be precise. This is again from FACTORY MADE.

“He had to formulate strategies so that the cast could deliver his lines, even though they never tried to memorize them.”

It's hard to think of Warhol's films having had any semblance of script prior to filming, but apparently they did and they're all available for download.

#reads