Ed Sanders: Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts (1962-1965)

“Fuck You” Opening Party is tomorrow (Thursday, February 16th) from 6pm-9pm. Exhibition closes Thursday, March 8th. Boo-Hooray is open every day from 11am-6pm.

There’s a gallery space down on Canal St. in NYC called Boo-Hooray; it’s a splendid place dedicated to 20th/21st century counterculture ephemera, photography, and book arts. Tomorrow evening (Thursday, Feb 16th) is the opening night for their most recent exhibition: a comprehensive collection of publications from Ed Sanders’ legendary Fuck You Press, including a complete run of Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts.

Ed Sanders‘ an unofficial patron saint of the 20th century underground who has often been referred to as “the bridge between the Beat and Hippie Generations”.  More specifically, he’s a poet, singer, activist, author, and publisher. Any way you cut ‘n’ paste it, this man broke the mold and the mimeograph!

Boo-Hooray’s exhibition of fabulous Fuck You-ness will commemorate the publication of Sanders’ characteristically feisty, funny memoir, Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side (Da Capo Press).

Sanders shares a bit of history about his publication:

“In February of 1962 I was sitting in Stanley’s Bar at 12th and B with some friends from the Catholic Worker. We’d just seen Jonas Mekas’s movie Guns of the Trees, and I announced I was going to publish a poetry journal called Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts. There was a certain tone of skepticism among my rather inebriated friends, but the next day I began typing stencils, and had an issue out within a week. I bought a small mimeograph machine, and installed it in my pad on East 11th, hand-cranking and collating 500 copies, which I gave away free wherever I wandered. (…)

Fuck You was part of what they called the Mimeograph Revolution, and my vision was to reach out to the “Best Minds” of my generation with a message of Gandhian pacifism, great sharing, social change, the expansion of personal freedom (including the legalization of marijuana), and the then-stirring messages of sexual liberation.

I published Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts from 1962 through 1965, for a total of thirteen issues. In addition, I formed a mimeograph press which issued a flood of broadsides and manifestoes during those years, including Burroughs’s Roosevelt After Inauguration, Carol Bergé’s Vancouver Report, Auden’s Platonic Blow, The Marijuana Review, and a bootleg collection of the final Cantos of Ezra Pound.

Other contributors to Fuck You included Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Julian Beck, Ray Bremser, Lenore Kandel, Charles Olson, Tuli Kupferberg, Joel Oppenheimer, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Whalen, Herbert Huncke, Frank O’Hara, Leroi Jones, Diane DiPrima, Gary Snyder, Robert Kelly, Judith Malina, Carl Solomon, Gregory Corso, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Gilbert Sorrentino, and countless others.

It was a ‘zine “dedicated to free expression, defying taboo subjects, celebrating sexual liberation and the use of psychedelics years before the Summer of Love. Sanders and his collaborators bridged the Beats of the Fifties and the counterculture of the late Sixties, and helped define many of the differences between the two—the latter building on the breakthroughs initiated by the former.”

The Fuck You opening party is happening Thursday, February 16th – 6pm-9pm. Sanders will be reading from/signing copies of his book. Exhibition closes Thursday, March 8th. Boo-Hooray is open every day from 11am-6pm.

New Yorkers! Don’t miss this! (And by all means, report back in comments.)

(Hat tip to William Gibson.)

“Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

A captivatingly atemporal silver gelatin print from 1995:

“Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

(Our 400px column width definitely ain’t doing the composition any favors; it’s worth taking the time to view this stunning image as large as possible.)

The work of Tokyo/NYC-based artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto reflects a lifelong fascination with infinity and eternity. He has “spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.” (via)

The story behind this particular image: these are the fiercely protected, rarely viewed 1001 statues of the Sanjusangendo, a 390-foot-long wooden temple in Kyoto containing thirty-three bays, also known as Sea of Buddha. Sugimoto was determined to show the statues as they were meant to be viewed during the Heian Perod (794-1185). It took seven years for Sugimoto to get permission to enter the “Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” with his camera equipment and capture the eight-hundred-year-old Armed Merciful Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara figures just as the early morning sunlight hit them, simultaneously illuminating one-thousand-and-one haloes. The resulting imagery is both ancient and somehow futuristic, infinite and immediate.

More beauty from Sugimoto:

Alex Jones And The Clockwork Elves

Every once in a while I like to check in on Alex Jones, just to see how he’s doing. The man lives in a very dangerous world, you understand. Far more dangerous than the sphere that you and I inhabit. Crazy shit goes down on a daily basis in Jones’s ‘hood, so I just stop by every now and then to make sure that his head hasn’t exploded or, at the very least, to witness his head exploding.

There could not have been a better time. Truly, this is some of the man’s finest work. It’s got everything a conspiracy could ask for: government cover-ups, drug use, Philip K. Dick and elves. It’s awe-inspiring stuff. The gist is that powerful old men, who may or may not be ruling the world, are jacked up on the powerful hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Under the effects of the drug, they have come into contact with beings Jones’s claims they refer to as “clockwork elves” who instructed them to enslave humanity and build the Large Hadron Collider.

Now, Jones insists that he does not believe this (probably…maybe) and that this is “pretty David Icke”. He wants you to know that he doesn’t talk about this stuff because it would blow your mind. But he also knows that you need to know these things. You need to be aware because, as mentioned, Alex Jones lives in a pretty dangerous world and, with his help, you can too.

Psychedelic Hippie Poster Reader

A choice cut of trippy hippie spiritual subvertising:

via Gammacounter

This clip aired on USA Network’s classic gonzo variety show Night Flight at some point in the 80s or 90s. Scripture is from The Book of John, 3:16. Original source of the clip/name of “reader” unknown… but it has a faint whiff of proselytization to it, eh?

Birdwatcher Arrested, Subjected to Strip and Body Cavity Searches For Possession of… Sage?

Probably one of the more despicable leads you’ll read in American news this week, via the Orlando Sentinel:

Bird watcher wrongly arrested for possession of pot had sage in backpack. Deputy thought herb was marijuana; State Attorney’s Office ordered arrest without lab test.

Robin Brown was thrown in a Florida jail on felony charges of marijuana possession three months after sheriff deputy Dominic Raimondi mistook the sage she had in her backpack for pot. A field test had yielded a false positive, and after Raimondi filed his report, the State Attorney’s Office ordered for Brown’s arrest without ever conducting a crime lab narcotics test.

The 49 year old birdwatcher was taken out of her place of work in handcuffs and driven down to the station to be stripped, subjected to a body cavity search, and spend the night in jail. Such was Brown’s punishment for possession of a personal use-sized amount of marijuana plant… that wasn’t actually marijuana plant.

News of this story came to my attention via my friend Stephen, who comments: “Body cavity searches are getting to be a disturbingly common occurrence. Folks complain about sex education corrupting children, but when law enforcement wants to poke around inside your orifices, that’s just patriotic.”

There are many, many different ways in which Robin Brown’s story disturbs me. I’m not even sure what aspect to focus on; I just know that I owe it to myself to think actively and critically about what an increase in occurrences like this might mean, and that reportage of incidents like this should be shared as widely as possible.

BTC Part II: Faith Healer Defeats Evil Buttock-Ravaging Eagle Spirit

Sometimes Mondays are an extra special pain-in-the-ass, so here’s an encore installment of BTC. Via the GreatDismals comes this sit-uplifting interaction between a cheeky young prankster, “Robin Cooper“, and an unflappable call-in gluteus maximus-mending spiritual master, Gilbert Deya.


The Friday Afternoon (Short) Movie(s): Matter Fisher & The Saga Of Biôrn

Two short films for this week’s FAM; something to tide you over in preparation for the three day weekend here in the States. First up is Matter Fisher by David Prosser, the strange tale of a fisherman who finds an extremely magnetic piece of…something. Prosser’s style is dark and minimalist, lending everything a ghostly vibe. It’s a world so lonely, one has the distinct impression that the fisherman could very well be the only human being in existence.

Next is The Saga of Biôrn by the army of Benjamin J. Kousholt, Daniel D. Christensen, Mads Lundgaard Christensen, Jesper A. Jensen, Jonas K. Doctor, Steffen Lyhne, Pernille Ørum-Nielsen, Frederik Bjerre-Poulsen, Jonas Georgakakis. It tells the story of the titular Biôrn, a viking warrior whose only wish is to die in battle, so that he may enter Valhöll. This one has none of the brooding of Matter Fisher, going for a much more comedic tone. The end of Biôrn’s quest is particularly satisfying.

And there you have it, a couple of choice morsels for another Friday. Good luck on the rest of your afternoon.

The FAM: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring

It’s that time again, dear readers. Time for another episode of the internet’s most popular movie segment. (Editor’s Note: That is a lie. You, sir, are a liar.) Today, for your navel-gazing pleasure, we present Korean director Kim Ki Duk’s 2003 meditation, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring.

Taking place in and around a small temple, floating upon a remote mountain lake, it tells the story of a Buddhist monk and his young protege, neither of whom are ever named. Told in five vignettes, each corresponding to a season, we watch the cycle of these two lives, one enveloped in spiritual discipline, the other consumed by selfishness. The actors here give wonderfully understated performances, though the real star is no doubt the scenery in which they perform. Kim had the set built on Jusan Pond, a 200 year-old artificial pond in Cheongsong County, North Kyungsang Province in South Korea and it makes for a striking backdrop.

Critics have suggested that Kim made Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring to distance himself from a body of work that features extreme violence, animal cruelty, and heaping helpings of misogyny. In all fairness, his preoccupation with sex and violence are still present, though mostly off-screen. The arc of the boy’s life, beginning with his torture of animals and continuing through the murder of his adulterous wife, are tried and true territory for Kim, but here they enjoy a degree of subtlety. The cruelty to animals is still in full view, however, and while it serves a central purpose it may upset some viewers, so please be warned.

I’m a very big fan of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, however I know people who absolutely despise it, mostly for it’s snail-like pace and a feeling that the film is aware that it is Important Art. The former is most certainly true. It is a slow movie. The camera seems to linger, perhaps a little too long, on every scene but, of course, that is the point. That leads directly to the accusation of being too self-aware, and on that count I disagree. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring has big, sweeping things to say about life, but it arrives at those ideas as simplistically as possible, gilding itself in plainness. What emerges is a story honed imperceptibly by degrees, a sum of surprising and seemingly incongruous parts. It may be in that way that it best embodies the Buddhist traditions it so beautifully portrays.

John Murray Spear Builds a Machine God

A depiction of the New Motor. Artist unknown.

Ah, the 1800s were a simpler time. Before that whole Civil War mess, America was in the throes of the Second Great Awakening, with the Northeast so thoroughly scorched by religious fervor that a swath of New York was dubbed “the Burned-over district.”

Amidst this, Spiritualism was all the rage, too, so it didn’t initially attract much notice when John Murray Spear, a middle-aged Universalist pastor in Massachusetts, claimed to be receiving messages from dead men. Sure, it was somewhat strange that instead of talking to a deceased relative for comfort, he claimed that a “Band of Electricizers” made up of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others, had chosen him to bring a messiah into the world. But, in a twist fitting a new era, this savior was a machine, one that would, Spear relayed, “revolutionize the world and raise mankind to an exalted level of spiritual development.”

Those who already knew anything of the man might have figured he had simply snapped. Spear’s outspoken views on abolition and women’s rights, among other topics, led a number of churches to drive him out, and, in 1844, after a particularly vigorous denunciation of slavery, he was beaten and left for dead in Maine.

A picture of Spear, and the title page of a tome of the Electricizers’ revelations.

He recovered, and, in 1851, with the Electricizers’ plans dancing in his head, quit the ministry. Two years later, he began his work on the machine, with a result stranger than fiction.

BTC: “Evolution Made Us All”

Good morning, heathens! Here’s a nice hot cup of atheist-approved parody to start your day off with a big bang. It comes to us courtesy of Ben Hillman (apparently the same man responsible for animating Anthony Mackie’s sperm for Spike Lee’s infamous 2004 dramedy, She Hate Me):

Via our own dear S. Elizabeth, who is still giggling over the lamprey.