January 2010

Songs of the Day

  

The Necessaries | Detroit Tonight | An Arthur Russel band featuring Ernie Brooks from The Modern Lovers. Bluesy Rock, not quite as good as solo Arthur or any of his other various side projects. This song is probably the most pop friendly on the album

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With Artist Courtney Brooke Hall

 

If you're a regular to this site, you'll most likely recognize the image above. This photo appeared on our homepage for quite some timed as the seductive picture designed to lure visitors to our blog. The photograph is a self-portrait by photographer, Courtney Brooke Hall, an artist working from the area of Western Massachusetts so rich with interesting artists, that The Pixies (who began there) once referred to it as the "Valley full of pioneers." Courtney agreed to talk to us about her work, but before she does, I thought it would be nice to provide a little background music.  The Youtube clip below is a song from Greg Weeks, a member of the Philadelphia based band The Espers, the founder of the Drag City imprint label, Language of Stone, and a personal friend of Courtney. Enjoy.

 

 

RINY: When I first saw your photographs, I thought I was looking at an interesting collection of found photographs from the seventies.  Do you intentionally try to create a retro look?

CBH: Being able to look back in time objectively allows us to hunt down the positive aspects of time periods. The 70’s do appeal to me, but mostly as a reference point to now.  I seem to be drawn to times when youth in culture took a stand against societies norms, such as the 20's or the 60's. I am very into the 70’s aesthetic, but now is a really interesting time to live, and to be able to take the positive things from the past and refine them into something even more amazing.

     

RINY: What draws you to that era?

CBH: They were times that pushed buttons, the Woman’s Suffrage movement and getting the vote in 1920, the liberation that brought, and then in the 60's, well everyone knows about that. The hippies, the rock and roll, THE DRUGS, it seemed so great. The 70's seemed to be so hip so down to earth, and yet so crazy, it was a time of sexual freedom, and I love that sort of thing. There was a back to the land mentality too, trying to become in tune with nature. It was all so beautiful, the ideas, the music, the clothes, and certainly I'm romanticizing these eras. What I try to take from them personally is the part of these times that seemed to have a great deal of realism to them, had people trying to unfetter themselves and get back the core of what it meant to be a human.  All this unrest and open thought triggered so much great art, fashion, and philosophy.

     

RINY: Your aesthetic, to me anyways, seems very west coast, like these pictures seem like scenes from Northern California or maybe even New Mexico, yet you work in Western Mass. I lived up there for a while and know there’s definitely a lot of sub cultural icons up there - J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lou Barlow, a bunch of Free Jazz guys like Archie Shepp and Yusef Lateef, and then the crop of guys like Sunburned Hand of the Man, who ‘s music seems complimentary to your work. Are you involved with any of this? If so, how?  If not, what is going on up there in your world?

CBH: I have yet to make it to Northern California and I get told this pretty often. I need to make a point to go and actually see it for myself. Part of the reason I haven't been is because I am so connected with this place I live, all of New England really. I just love it here, the seasons, the magic and the history it has. All the forests here seem haunted. I have driven across the country a few times now and visited some great places, New Mexico included. I loved it there in fact, and yet still I can't picture any other place as home.

I have yet to really run into most of the people you mentioned. I think that it's due to the fact that right now, musically speaking that’s just not the sound I'm into. I actually did meet J Mascis to do art for Witch's second Album.

        

     

RINY: You shoot a lot of self-portraits. What are you trying explore with these photographs as opposed to say, shooting other subjects or landscapes?

CBH: I think at one point I wanted to be an actress, when I was younger I was in plays but nothing very serious. Being the subject of my photos lets me get out my need for that, I feel all these little characters just twirling inside me, and in my photographs I get to let those little creatures come to life. I think a lot of people have these sides of them, people you can't just be everyday, but through art they can explode and you can be as fanciful and crazy as you want. It’s an important outlet to be able to live inside a part of a personal fairytale. Honestly a big part of my self-portraits has to do with living out in the woods and not having people to shoot without advanced planning. Most of my self-portraits are done when I look outside and I get inspired by the light hitting the trees, and it's just impossible to organize a spur of the moment shoot with someone who lives far away.

RINY: You also shoot a lot of women. Who are these women and why shoot women as opposed to men?

CBH: I think for the similar reasons I like self portraits, it's as if women find it easier to be softer, sexy, dreamier, and they seem so ready to play one of those roles they have tucked away, they are ready to pull out one of their little characters and show it off.  I also have a strong tendency to shoot in nature and there is something about a woman in nature that seems innate. Over the years I have been blessed with many wonderful lady friends, truly talented people. Most of the women I photograph, that’s who they are, my friends.

   

  


RINY: Your work seems to have an overwhelming theme of sexuality, women, hippies and Psychedelia. It also seems to have undertones of outlaw biker culture, Wiccan and occult themes. What about these themes are you drawn to?

CBH: I am a big fan of nature and the natural world, of people realizing their true self, and their oneness with the universe, a sense of a greater cosmic community. Many of those themes you listed tend to show up in my work because they are all, to one degree or another, anti-establishment themes. It's rarely a determined decision to try and make one of my photo sets have a certain theme besides highlighting a part of a person's personality, or working with costumes and surroundings that inspire me. It's not as if I set out to replicate specific sub cultural themes, but if those themes have inspired me then they will certainly be present in my work.

  

  

  

 RINY: How do you approach a concept and how do you choose and direct your subjects?

CBH: It's strange I feel like day to day I am collecting little mental notes and storing them away for the right moment, and often I don't put them all together until the last minute. Part of that has to do with my subject. Concepts for them are like a hand picked, tailored outfit. Rarely do I have a concept and try to get someone to fill it. More often I find myself looking for a pretty face, or wistful body and then I create a world around them.  When I am working within that concept I will often go over a short story with my model/friend, or describe a character to them and 99% of the time they get it right it away, as if that person was inside them all the time. It's inspiring to watch that happen and my work benefits from that process.

  

RINY: What inspires you culturally?

CBH: EVERYTHING! Art, film, history, nature, science, folklore, friends. It's virtually impossible to cite specific things that inspire me; it's hard to explain how a fragrance can inspire a photograph. Although I work in a visual medium, it's not solely images that inspire me.

RINY: Does music inspires your work?

CBH: Oh, of course! I love to have a soundtrack to the stories I create and photograph. I'll put on a Bo Hansson record and drift away to other worlds and get glimpses of what I can bring back to this one.  It's so exciting to find new music and get lost in it, and especially exciting when I can get lost in the music my friends make. It seems as though I'm constantly surrounded by musicians too, which is always wonderful. Honestly I have limited musical skills, but I'm in a band with my man, Chris, and Greg Weeks and his wife Jessica. We don't get to play together often because of distance, but the one show we played was in between a double feature of Jodorowsky's El Topo and The Holy Mountain. It was a phenomenal experience and it really needs to happen more often. Playing music with other people is so exciting to me because it's a visceral experience that is unique and new to me.

 

  

RINY: You’ve done some work for bands like the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cinerama, Greg Weeks of The Espers, Witch, Feathers, Bat For Lashes, etc how did that come about? 

CBH: Some of those connections are more interesting than others. Sometimes it ends up being strictly business and only on the Internet, but in cases like Greg Weeks or the Feathers/Witch folks, it leads to fun friendships and meaningful collaborations.

RINY: What was that experience like?

CBH: It's so flattering, and humbling to get to meet, and many times become friends with, such beautiful and creative artists. Not to sound too cheesy, but I often feel blessed. I prefer working with other artists too; I love the sense of collaboration and comradery. There's a tremendous amount of artistic freedom and creative input when working with other artists who understand where I am coming from and what I am trying to accomplish.

 

 

RINY: Do you consider yourself a photographer or an artist?

 CBH: There is a big difference for me between to the two. I never go out intending to document a subject, I want to create fantasy worlds and highlight the magic I see in people and nature.  I want to make images that move people, that people might mistake for a painting, or from being from another time or even another universe; images that transcend the content with in them.  So I consider myself an Artist.

RINY: Why photography as opposed to other mediums?

CBH: Photography allows me to play with reality, to create my own worlds. I feel photographs allow for an honesty that can be played with to enable my fantasy worlds to make sense, that people understand that this scene really happened, but they never see the everyday world the way I present it. I never want to make fantasies that are completely unattainable, so photography gives me the ability to insert real people and real world surroundings into my paracosm. My camera lens is a wormhole.
 
RINY: What type of equipment do you use?

CBH:  I learned to shoot on a beat up Canon AE-1, and I still shoot Canon to this day, except these days it's digital. I still use all my old AE lens with an adapter; I just can't stand the way the new lenses feel. They are so loose, and I love the having my aperture on my lens. I'm not much for gear; it weighs me down, so I work with what I can. I'm sure if I had bigger budgets there are cameras I'd love to use, but starving artists work with what they have.

 

RINY: Have any books inspired your work?

CBH: With out a doubt. I am big fan of fairy tales, and old children's books. Some of my favorites are East of the Sun West of the Moon, an Old Norse tale, The Brown Owl by Ford Maddox Ford, and Donkey Skin a French fairy tale by Charles Perrault. Fairytales, folklore, and mythologies have the same feel to me as my photographs, a realistic unreality. I also live for anything by Joseph Campbell and Carl Sagan.

RINY: How about films?

CBH: I love Jean Rollin vampire films, old silent films like Salome, I just recently saw La Belle et la Bête by Jean Cocteau, it blew me away!  There are so many honestly. I'm a big fan of directors like Fellini, Jodorowsky, and David Lynch I feel like I could list so many, at this point I am not entirely sure I could even give you a current theme between them all. Our Netflix queue at home never ends, so I'm a bit overwhelmed by great movies lately.

 

  


 RINY: What other photographers and artists have influenced you or inspire you?

 CBH: This is a hard question for me, I don’t find myself being drawn to one photographer over another.  I love Mucha, Arthur Rahckam, Waterhouse, Frank Frazetta, I also love the photos in old Playboys, but there are so many photographers that took part in that I can’t pick them out really. I should point out though that there are some great current photographers out there that move me, such as Alison Scarpulla, Ellen Rogers, and Caryn Drexel to name a few. It’s really about appreciating certain things whether it be art or nature, and using a camera as a tool to demonstrate that appreciation.

RINY: Who would you love to photograph and why? 

CBH: I was just talking about this to a friend not that long ago. I would love to get some of those ladies I listed above as well as an additional handful of other beautiful ladies together (stylists, models, fashion junkies, musicians, and the like). I feel like we have created this web of family via the Internet and friends, it would be great to get us all in one place and just have fun, and document each other. I want to have us embrace each other as artists and feed off of each other’s ideas and create a stronger sense of community. I hope to make it happen not too far from now.

RINY: With the given resources what sort of scene would you create to photograph?

CBH: I have always wanted to build a castle with out walls in the forest, beautiful beds and great candelabra stands, long elegant formal tables complete with a fire place by its side all engulfed by pines and maples, I would then fill it with lovely ladies in white with long flowing hair, and Persian cats. I will make it happen.


 

RINY: What are some images that have inspired you along the way?

 

  

  

  

 

To find out more about Courtney visit her website: Light Witch

To see more of her visual influences you can check her blog: Dreamboat Courtney

LA Girls Part I | Mercedes Helnwein | Artist

 

Mercedes Helnwein is an LA based artists, filmmaker & writer. She is the daughter of artist, Gottfried Helnwein.

 

 

Categories: Artists, art

LA Girls Part II | Alex Prager | Photographer

 

Alex Prager is an LA based photographer. Slick, creepy, well done.

Via Sweet Station

Categories: art, Artists, Photography

Selected Titles From The Weird Book Room

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

     

 

Discovery via The News in Welsh for Life

Should any of these books address your problems, they can be purchased at Abe Books

Categories: Books, Book Covers

Exit Lines & Quips: A Gentleman's Resource

"This blog is so good it makes me want to dump a whole box of Mr. T cereal all over it then jump up and down laughing maniacally." - Rich Awn

 

Igmar Bergman's Office

"Write the whole plot on a postcard. We do the rest."  Buster Keaton

"You can sweat out beer and you can sweat out whiskey but you can't sweat out women." Sam Langford

"Dressing, like painting, should have a residual stability, plus punctuation and surprise." Richard Merkin

"If I could say it in words, there'd be no reason to paint." Edward Hopper

She loves me. I can tell that through her screaming. Barrymore & Lombard in 20th Century

"If I ever bore you it will be with a knife." Louise Brooks

"Blondes make the best victims." Alfred Hitchcock

See anything you like? The Lady Eve

"It's not true I had nothing on. I had the radio on." Marilyn Monroe

If an actor asks, "What's my motivation?" I say, "Your salary." Alfred Hitchcock

"A good detective never gets married." Raymond Chandler

 

OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Pull up a chair. Sit down. Smoke a cigar. Enjoy Exit Lines

Categories: Quotes, Movies, Fashion

Honey West | Girl With a Gun

  

  

From Bookhound:

Honey West was a female private eye that invaded the hardboiled detective scene of the 1950s and muscled over some of the big boys. Created by G. G. Fickling (the pseudonym of husband and wife team, Gloria and Forest Fickling), Honey West starred in eleven novels before cashing out in 1971.

The 1950s were the heyday of the paperback novel. Men returning from World War II wanted something to read that was different from the relatively tame pulps they’d read prior to the war. Mickey Spillane was one of the first to offer the edgy kind of entertainment those men (and some women) wanted when he created his two-fisted private eye, Mike Hammer.

Honey West was the feminine version of the time. Before women’s lib, women depended on sexual allure and wiles to get what they were after. Honey oozed sex and wile, and frequently ended up in situations where clothing was not exactly optional, but she ended up underdressed all the same, usually through no fault of her own. She carries a .22 revolver holstered on her garter and is forever reaching up under her skirt/mini-dress to pull it out.

 

     

 

Godard, who was also a fan of American detective fiction, once said, "All you need to make a good movie is a girl and a gun". Whether or not that holds true to books is debatable. Though the American covers got better with time, the Europeans are far more convincing.

 

     

     

 

Categories: Books, Book Covers

Good Movie | Chappaqua

  

  

Chappaqua is a 1966 cult film written, directed by and starring Conrad Rooks. It is based on Rooks' experiences with drug addiction. It includes cameo appearances by a host of famous names of the 1960s: author William S. Burroughs, guru Swami Satchidananda, beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Moondog, and Ravi Shankar, who co-wrote the score with Philip Glass. Rooks had commissioned jazz artist Ornette Coleman to compose music for the film, but his score, which has become known as the Chappaqua Suite was ultimately not used. Coleman too makes a cameo appearance in the film.

The film briefly depicts its namesake, Chappaqua, New York, a sleepy hamlet in Westchester County, in a few minutes of wintry panoramas. The hamlet is an overt symbol of drug-free, suburban childhood innocence, and is also one of the film's many nods to Native American culture. The northern Westchester area had been heavily inhabited by Native Americans; the word chappaqua itself derives from the Wappinger (a nation of the Algonquin tribe) word for 'laurel swamp'.

  

 

 CAST & CREW

 

Conrad Rooks, Ravi Shankar, Ornette Coleman, The Fugs, Allan Ginsberg, Phillip Glass, William S. Burroughs, Moondog, Jean-Louis Barrault, Guru Swami & More...

 

  

  

  

 

THE AMAZING TRAILER
 

Chris Alker & Stuart Argabright of Ike Yard @ Le Poisson Rouge

 

Chris Alker has been throwing monthly at Le Poisson Rouge for some time now and he's been digging up some of New York's No Wave and Post Punk legends to help him out. A couple months back he had Sal P of Liquid Liquid on the decks and this month he's giving you Stuart Argabright of the seminal No Wave band, Ike Yard. It should be a good one. He's got quite the bio which you should read below.

 

 

Stuart Argabright is a Producer and Director who has been working in music and multimedia in NYC since 1978. Between 1979 -1989 Stuart formed The Futants, Ike Yard, Dominatrix, DCC aka Death Comet Crew, The Voodooists, black rain.

In addition, Stuart has been working in Music Video, and with Artists such as Gretchen Bender, Robert Longo, Bill T Jones, and author William Gibson, including the 1994 "Neuromancer" Audio Book and "Hip Tech High Lit" in 1987 with Judy Nylon and Sean Young. Stuart and Co.'s music appear as soundtracks on movies by Directors Nicholas Roeg, Johnathan Demme and others.

"The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight" music video (directed by Beth B) appeared in MOMA's

"Music Part 2" show in 2009 and resides in MOMA's permanent Collection.

Stuart and co composer Chuck Hammer recieved Emmy nomination in 2001 for their Sdtk work for NY Times TV's popular Cable TV series "Trauma: Life In The ER" on TLC.

In 2005, Stuart formed new group Dystopians and in 2008 Outpost was formed with Mark C from Live Skull.

Argabright also producing The Rammellzee's "Bi Conicals Of The Rammellzee" Album for the Munich indie Gomma and remixed DFA's LCD SoundSystem ( unreleased) and Tussle (SF) for Troubleman 2006 and is currently preparing to work on a remix with Scott R of SF's early electro group the UNITS, as well as a collaboration with Mirror Mirror for Rving. Int. 2010.

and also now running his new label REC ( Rapid Expansion Corp )

Ike Yard:

Although IKE YARD dissolved by the beginning of 1983, the band reformed as a three piece unit with original members Stuart Argabright, Kenneth Compton, and Michael Diekmann in 2007.

In NYC Spring 1980 Stuart Argabright, founder/drummer/vocalist of the FUTANTS, began sessions with Kenneth Compton on bass/vocals at Kristian Hoffman's rehearsal Studio on the edge of Chinatown. The group was completed when Fred Szymanski (synthesizers/ programming /treatments) and Michael Diekmann (guitar, synthesizer), with their interest in experimental electronic music and techniques, joined in August 1980.

Although NO WAVE as a musical aesthetic had just peaked in NYC before the formation of IKE YARD, the initial influences were more European: British post-punk and Krautrock. Soon after, non-rock genres such as funk, nascent hip-hop, and experimental electronic were evident in the stylistic approach to composition.

IKE YARD began with a lineup that included guitar, synthesizer, bass, drums and percussion. The additional percussion was often ‘found’ scrap metal: brake drums, sheet metal, and other debris from the streets and vacant lots of the Lower East Side. During 1982, with the guitar and finally bass being replaced fully by a four-piece synthesizer set up, IKE YARD’s sound transformed into a music bleached of flesh, reduced to a glistening skeleton – the music of machines haunted by ghosts.

The band’s modular analog synthesizer set up included gear by Korg (MS-20, MS-50, SQ-10, VC-10), Roland (TR-909, TR-606, TR 808, TB-303, MC-202, CSQ-600), Arp (Solus, Axxe), the EMS Synthi-AKS, and the Buchla Modular 112 keyboard controller. IKE YARD's stark soundscapes were engendered through a combination of the unique contributions of the band members and the availability of new music-making instruments and emerging technologies of that time.

In Spring 1981, IKE YARD recorded an EP for Belgium’s Crepuscule records (which was named single of the week in Melody Maker upon its release in November 1981). IKE YARD was the first US group to record for the Manchester UK’s prestigious Factory label; an album “A FACT A SECOND” was released on Factory America in September 1982. The band performed with NEW ORDER at Ukrainian National Home, SECTION 25 at Peppermint Lounge & Maxwell’s, SUICIDE and 13:13 (w/Lydia Lunch) at Chase Park, and with the DEL BZYZENTEENS (w/Jim Jarmusch) at CBGB’s and the Music for Millions festival. In addition, the band played at Danceteria, the Mudd Club, the Pyramid Club and Tier 3.

 

Categories: No Wave, Music, Events

Fishing With Ween

 

Dean Ween of the band Ween is an avid fisherman, with his own fishing club Brownie Troop 666.  He also has his own internet fishing TV show that takes him all around New Jersey looking for fish.  Below are two clips. In the first one he's in Trenton looking for stripped bass and drugs. In the second he takes the Butthole Surfers fishing in Manasquan. Below that is my favorite Ween song. I'm hoping he'll eventually take "The Situation" and "Snookie" from Jersey Shore fishing in Seaside Heights.

 

 

 

 

 

There was another great fishing show, Fishing With John, in which John Lurie of The Lounge Lizards took his friends, like Jim Jarmusch, Tom Waits, Dennis Hopper, Willem Dafoe & Matt Dillon fishing around the world. Below are the Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waits episodes. Respect the theme song.

 

 

Categories: sports, Music, Fishing, TV