Way ahead of his time… Tiny Tim on climate change.
Brigitte Bardot in Vie Privée (1962), directed by Louis Malle.
Estonian animated film by Rein Raamat, Tallinnfilm, 1983. The film brings to life in one nightmarish vision three detailed engravings from the early 1930s created by Estonian artist Eduard Viiralt: “The Preacher”, “Cabaret”, and “Hell”.
Making up is hard to do.
1970s psychedelic horror animation out of Japan. Pure, filthy, abject escapism, with a fantastical synth soundtrack.
Directed by Jean Rollin
Starring Marie-Pierre Castel, Mireille Dargent, Philippe Gasté, Dominique, Louise Dhour
Music by Pierre Raph
Watch the full film HERE (French, with Spanish subtitles, but there’s very little dialogue).
“I could live in the world just like a stranger
I could tell you the truth or a lie
I could tell you that people are good in the end
But why, why would I?
Angels will cry when it’s raining
Tears that are no longer clean…”
And HERE is an interview with her.
When you already can’t sleep and then this comes up in your feed…
From the brand new album out on Warp, Garden of Delete. Go HERE for more cathartic lofi analog-digital apocalypse. Cronenberg would love it.
The 1960s – Two teenagers take fate into their own hands and become the ultimate fashion victims in this existential folie a deux starring Donna Modrowski and Michael Onesko. Story by Michael Onesko, original score by Mark Winner, directed by Dan Winner, voiceover by Linda Snelton, assisted by Germain Modrowski, Karen Winner and Connie Karabatsos. Shown at The Women’s Film Forum of Chicago, 1977.
Watch Felix Laband’s brilliant set at the 2015 Cape Town Electronic Music Festival on 8 February (click the hyperlink – the darn embed function doesn’t seem to work properly on WordPress).
Felix opens this particular “Deaf Safari” with a dodgy old recording (that I think I actually gave him!), of Marais and Miranda entertaining a frightfully colonial white 1950s audience with their “knowledge” of “Hottentot” and “Zooloo” linguistics. With a subversive stammer, it segues into an hour-long journey of cut-up sounds and visuals.
Laband displays fluent familiarity with and yet alienation from spectacular capitalist consumer tropes. The oversaturated bricolage of radio preachers, politicians, porn, pulp cinema, big game and exoticised cultural representations is absurd and defaced: eyeless, toothless, festering with skulls. Sound and visuals work in counterpoint: horny assemblages dripping blood and infection; a snatch of Cat Power’s languid “Satisfaction”. His work foregrounds our mindless addiction to and manipulation by these fragments bouncing off the walls onto one another, their banality dismembered, dislocated, demented, discordant, decaying.
A voice in Queen’s English: “I was wondering what it is that you don’t want to remember so badly… To put it another way, what are you trying to forget?”
The response, implied in the guitar run sampled from Nico’s “These Days”: “Please don’t confront me with my failures… I had not forgotten them.”
Felix forces us to examine ourselves honestly. This I love most deeply about what he does: he will not allow us to forget, nor feign ignorance. There are naive melodies, but there is no innocence, no deafness nor blindness. We are taken through his cabinet of jabbering apparitions, racist, patriarchal horror haunting every suburban corner, lullabies, toyi-toyi chants… The valley of the shadow of death… We are not tourists. This is our own back yard. We stare the nightmares down, bopping in slo-mo. The voices persist, demand acknowledgement until they dissolve. It’s a kind of exorcism.
And beyond that, always, despite all the schizophrenic folly and sadness, hope and jubilation live on in the unfinished refrains of blues ghosts captured long ago on wax… Vera Hall, Stack O’Lee, prisoners and murderers alike now free… and there is space to breathe, place to be here now, without judgement… we are bathed in grace and exquisite melody. This is strong muti for South Africans’ sickness.
I can’t wait for his new album, and I highly recommend that you see him live if you get the chance: he’s on form like never before and it’s a profound trip.
P.S. Read Sean O’Toole’s great interview piece for Mahala on Felix’s return (his new album, Deaf Safari, is set for release next month, after an almost decade-long gestation).
A violently schizo, thrown-together bunch of tracks I played at a gig called “Songs of Mystery & Terror” on 23 April 2014 at Casa Nostra in Sea Point, Cape Town.
This picture was made in appreciation of that really great joke that went around recently: Ayn Rand, Rand Paul and Paul Ryan walk into a bar. The barman serves them tainted alcohol because there are no regulations. They die.
For a while longer, Klausner fussed about with the wires in the black box; then he straightened up and in a soft excited whisper said, “Now we’ll try again… We’ll take it out into the garden this time… and then perhaps, perhaps… the reception will be better. Lift it up now… carefully… Oh, my God, it’s heavy!”
He carried the box to the door, found that he couldn’t open the door without putting it down, carried it back, put it on the bench, opened the door, and then carried it with some difficulty into the garden. He placed the box carefully on a small wooden table that stood on the lawn. He returned to the shed and fetched a pair of earphones. He plugged the wire connections from the earphones into the machine and put the earphones over his ears. The movements of his hands were quick and precise. He was excited, and breathed loudly and quickly through his mouth. He kept on talking to himself with little words of comfort and encouragement, as though he were afraid–afraid that the machine might not work and afraid also of what might happen if it did. He stood there in the garden beside the wooden table, so pale, small and thin that he looked like an ancient, consumptive, bespectacled child.
The sun had gone down. There was no wind, no sound at all. From where he stood, he could see over a low fence into the next garden, and there was a woman walking down the garden with a flower-basket on her arm. He watched her for a while without thinking about her at all. Then he turned to the box on the table and pressed a switch on its front. He put his left hand on the volume control and his right hand on the knob that moved a needle across a large central dial, like the wavelength dial of a radio. The dial was marked with many numbers, in a series of bands, starting at 15,000 and going on up to 1,000,000. And now he was bending forward over the machine. His head was cocked to one side in a tense, listening attitude. His right hand was beginning to turn the knob.
The needle was travelling slowly across the dial, so slowly he could hardly see it move, and in the earphones he could hear a faint, spasmodic crackling. Behind this crackling sound he could hear a distant humming tone which was the noise of the machine itself, but that was all. As he listened, he became conscious of a curious sensation, a feeling that his ears were stretching out away from his head, that each ear was connected to his head by a thin stiff wire, like a tentacle, and that the wires were lengthening, that the ears were going up and up towards a secret and forbidden territory, a dangerous ultrasonic region where ears had never been before and had no right to be. The little needle crept slowly across the dial, and suddenly he heard a shriek, a frightful piercing shriek, and he jumped and dropped his hands, catching hold of the edge of the table.
He stared around him as if expecting to see the person who had shrieked. There was no one in sight except the woman in the garden next door, and it was certainly not she. She was bending down, cutting yellow roses and putting them in her basket. Again it came–a throatless, inhuman shriek, sharp and short, very clear and cold. The note itself possessed a minor, metallic quality that he had never heard before.
Klausner looked around him, searching instinctively for the source of the noise. The woman next door was the only living thing in sight. He saw her reach down; take a rose stem in the fingers of one hand and snip the stem with a pair of scissors. Again he heard the scream. It came at the exact moment when the rose stem was cut. At this point, the woman straightened up, put the scissors in the basket with the roses and turned to walk away.
“Mrs Saunders!” Klausner shouted, his voice shrill with excitement. “Oh, Mrs Saunders!” And looking round, the woman saw her neighbour standing on his lawn–a fantastic, arm-waving little person with a pair of earphones on his head–calling to her in a voice so high and loud that she became alarmed. “Cut another one! Please cut another one quickly!”
She stood still, staring at him. “Why, Mr Klausner,” she said, “What’s the matter?”
“Please do as I ask,” he said. “Cut just one more rose!”
Mrs Saunders had always believed her neighbour to be a rather peculiar person; now it seemed that he had gone completely crazy. She wondered whether she should run into the house and fetch her husband. No, she thought. No, he’s harmless. I’ll just humour him.
“Certainly, Mr Klausner, if you like,” she said.
She took her scissors from the basket, bent down and snipped another rose. Again Klausner heard that frightful, throatless shriek in the earphones; again it came at the exact moment the rose stem was cut. He took off the earphones and ran to the fence that separated the two gardens. “All right,” he said. “That’s enough. No more. Please, no more.”
The woman stood there, a yellow rose in one hand, clippers in the other, looking at him.”I’m going to tell you something, Mrs Saunders,” he said, “something that you won’t believe.” He put his hands on top of the fence and peered at her intently through his thick spectacles. “You have, this evening, cut a basketful of roses. You have, with a sharp pair of scissors, cut through the stems of living things, and each rose that you cut screamed in the most terrible way. Did you know that, Mrs Saunders?”
“No,” she said. “I certainly didn’t know that.”
“It happens to be true,” he said. He was breathing rather rapidly, but he was trying to control his excitement. “I heard them shrieking. Each time you cut one, I heard the cry of pain. A very high-pitched sound, approximately one hundred and thirty-two thousand vibrations a second. You couldn’t possibly have heard it yourself. But I heard it.”
“Did you really, Mr Klausner?” She decided she would make a dash for the house in about five seconds.
“You might say,” he went on, “that a rose bush has no nervous system to feel with, no throat to cry with. You’d be right. It hasn’t. Not like ours, anyway. But how do you know, Mrs Saunders”–and here he leaned far over the fence and spoke in a fierce whisper, “how do you know that a rose bush doesn’t feel as much pain when someone cuts its stem in two as you would feel if someone cut your wrist off with a garden shears? How do you know that? It’s alive, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Mr Klausner. Oh, yes and good night.”
Quickly she turned and ran up the garden to her house. Klausner went back to the table. He put on the earphones and stood for a while listening. He could still hear the faint crackling sound and the humming noise of the machine, but nothing more. He bent down and took hold of a small white daisy growing on the lawn. He took it between thumb and forefinger and slowly pulled it upward and sideways until the stem broke. From the moment that he started pulling to the moment when the stem broke, he heard–he distinctly heard in the earphones–a faint high-pitched cry, curiously inanimate.
He took another daisy and did it again. Once more he heard the cry, but he wasn’t sure now that it expressed pain. No, it wasn’t pain; it was surprise. Or was it? It didn’t really express any of the feelings or emotions known to a human being. It was just a cry, a neutral, stony cry–a single, emotionless note, expressing nothing. It had been the same with the roses. He had been wrong in calling it a cry of pain. A flower probably didn’t feel pain. It felt something else which we didn’t know about–something called tom or spun or plinuckment, or anything you like.
He stood up and removed the earphones. It was getting dark and he could see pricks of light shining in the windows of the houses all around him. Carefully he picked up the black box from the table, carried it into the shed and put it on the workbench. Then he went out, locked the door behind him and walked up to the house.
The next morning Klausner was up as soon as it was light. He dressed and went straight to the shed. He picked up the machine and carried it outside,clasping it to his chest with both hands, walking unsteadily under its weight. He went past the house, out through the front gate, and across the road to the park.There he paused and looked around him; then he went on until he came to a large tree, a beech tree, and he placed the machine on the ground close to the trunk of the tree.
Quickly he went back to the house and got an axe from the coal cellar and carried it across the road into the park. He put the axe on the ground beside the tree. Then he looked around him again, peering nervously through his thick glasses in every direction. There was no one about. It was six in the morning.He put the earphones on his head and switched on the machine. He listened for a moment to the faint familiar humming sound; then he picked up the axe, took a stance with his legs wide apart and swung the axe as hard as he could at the base of the tree trunk.
The blade cut deep into the wood and stuck there, and at the instant of impact he heard a most extraordinary noise in the earphones. It was a new noise, unlike any he had heard before–a harsh, noteless, enormous noise, a growling, low pitched, screaming sound, not quick and short like the noise of the roses, but drawn out like a sob lasting for fully a minute, loudest at the moment when the axe struck, fading gradually fainter and fainter until it was gone.
Excerpted from Roald Dahl’s short story, “The Sound Machine”, first published in The New Yorker on September 17, 1949. Read the full story HERE.
dark phrases of womanhood
of never havin been a girl
without rhythm/no tune
distraught laughter fallin
over a black girl’s shoulder
it’s funny/it’s hysterical
the melody-less-ness of her dance
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
she’s dancin on beer cans & shingles
this must be the spook house
another song with no singers
& interrupted solos
are we ghouls?
children of horror?
don’t tell nobody don’t tell a soul
are we animals? have we gone crazy?
i can’t hear anythin
but maddening screams
& the soft strains of death
& you promised me
you promised me…
sing a black girl’s song
bring her out
to know herself
to know you
but sing her rhythms
sing her song of life
she’s been dead so long
closed in silence so long
she doesn’t know the sound
of her own voice
her infinite beauty
she’s half-notes scattered
without rhythm/no tune
sing her sighs
sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
let her be born
let her be born
& handled warmly.
— from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Macmillan Publishing, 1977. Shange was born Paulette L. Williams in Trenton, New Jersey. She later changed her name to isiXhosa/isiZulu – read more HERE.
“The character of Lucia has become an icon in opera and beyond, an archetype of the constrained woman asserting herself in society. She reappears as a touchstone for such diverse later characters as Flaubert’s adulterous Madame Bovary and the repressed Englishwomen in the novels of E.M. Forster. The insanity that overtakes and destroys Lucia, depicted in opera’s most celebrated mad scene, has especially captured the public imagination. Donizetti’s handling of this fragile woman’s state of mind remains seductively beautiful, thoroughly compelling, and deeply disturbing. Madness as explored in this opera is not merely something that happens as a plot function: it is at once a personal tragedy, a political statement, and a healing ritual.” (Commentary from HERE)
Maria Callas performs “Il dolce suono mi colpì di sua voce”, the “Mad Scene” from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti, recorded live in Florence in February 1953. Tullio Serafin conducted Callas, Giuseppe di Stefano, Tito Gobbi, Raffaele Arie, Valliano Natali, Maria Canali, Maggio Musical Fiorentino Orchestra & Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus.
Trigger warnings (har har): rape, murder
Chillingly quiet home-recorded cover of the Misfits’ song, which is probably one of the most disturbing songs I have ever heard.
Scenes from the 1992 Robert Zemeckis black comedy, Death Becomes Her (with Goldie Hawn, Meryl Streep and Isabella Rossellini).
From the album Kittenz and Thee Glitz (City Rockers, 2002).
TRIGGER WARNINGS: rape; lethal violence; murder.
I have just dreamed again of being Anene Booysen at the moment of her rape and immediately after it, my pooled blood congealing as my insides lie unseamed in the dust outside me, hacked apart from me, the jagged outside slammed inside me, in my last flickers of awareness the spasms of their hate ripping through me, thudding waves of blows, my head a heavy, dull explosion… the swirling, pulsing aftershocks of pain… going cold, knowing I can never be back together again, that I am smeared asunder into the ground like a fly or a cockroach or an ant, irreversibly crushed. It’s that final. I am no longer me, just a slowly drying patch of gore, beyond being gathered up and revived, soothed, cradled, stitched, kissed better, healed. No one can fix this, not my ma, not the hospital, not God. There is no “if” or “but”. I am aware that this is how I have ended.
I have no words strong enough to express the horror of this experience every time it happens to me, this dream. Yet I need to try to write it out of me in the hope that I never dream it again. Shhh, I tell myself, shivering uncontrollably, curled rigid and foetal, it was only a dream.
But it isn’t. This really happened. Really happens. Continues to happen. And that is what is most horrifying of all.
“Millions of dollars, the statisticians tell us, are spent yearly at beauty salons, cosmetics counters, gymnasiums, and dress shops in woman’s quest for beauty. But beauty for whom? The girls in the office? The women at the club? How can the world progress if women don’t consider men… the man… first?”
— Arlene Dahl, from Always Ask A Man: Arlene Dahl’s Key to Femininity (1965). Read more sage advice transcribed from this minor 1950s screen star’s tome HERE.
Go to http://obamaischeckingyouremail.tumblr.com/ (thanks to Anthony Collins for sharing this).
This play is on for two more nights at the Intimate Theatre on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus. I went last night. It is an absolute tour de force – insightful, brutal, awkward, compassionate, hilarious. If you are in Cape Town, GO, GO, GO!
Scrape is the story of an everyday woman suffering from an unusual condition.
After falling and scraping herself, Beth discovers that not only does skin heal, it can sometimes do so with a vengeance.
This one-person show, performed by Amy Louise Wilson, is presented by writer Genna Gardini and director Gary Hartley. It features sound design by musician and performance artist SIYA IS YOUR ANARCHIST and set design by 2011 ABSA L’Atelier and Sasol New Signatures finalist Francois Knoetze.
Scrape is presented by the new theatre company Horses’ Heads Productions. The production will preview at the Intimate Theatre from 19 – 24 March 2013 and go on to feature as part of The Cape Town Edge programme at this year’s National Arts Festival. Scrape will then return to the Mother City for a run at The Alexander Bar in August 2013.
Scrape, 19 – 24 March 2013, 20:00
The Intimate Theatre on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus
R50 general/ R40 students
To book tickets, contact 0827765490 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Hartley is a theatre-maker, performer and television producer based in Cape Town. In 2007 he graduated from Rhodes University with a distinction in Drama. His production, WinterSweet, made in collaboration with The Runaway Buni Collective and writer Genna Gardini, won a Standard Bank Ovation Encore prize at the 2012 National Arts Festival. He currently works as a writer and producer at Greenwall Productions and has produced for shows such as The Showbiz Report, The Close Up and Screentime with Nicky Greenwall.
Genna Gardini is a writer based in Cape Town. Her play WinterSweet was produced in collaboration with Gary Hartley and The Runaway Buni Collective for the 2012 National Arts Festival and won a Standard Bank Encore Ovation Award. She has curated The Readings Upstairs, a monthly series of play readings held upstairs at the Alexander Bar, since 2012. Her work as a poet has been published widely both locally and internationally. Gardini has presented papers at the 2012 AFTA Annual International Conference and GIPCA Directors and Directing: Playwrights Symposium. She also works as a freelance arts writer for various publications, including the Cape Times and Art South Africa magazine. She is currently completing her MA Theatre-making (Playwriting) at UCT.
Amy Louise Wilson is an actress living in Cape Town. She has studied Acting and Contemporary Performance at Rhodes University; Processes of Performance and Shakespeare Studies at the University of Leeds and Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town. Recent performances include The Petticoat Chronicle (dir. Lynne Maree), Voiced (under Clare Stopford) and 2012’s Standard Bank Encore Ovation Award winning Wintersweet (dir. Robert Haxton). She will be presenting her paper ‘Performance, Persona and Identity in the work of Die Antwoord’ at the New Directions in South African Theatre Today: Circulation, Evolutions, Adaptations symposium in France later this year.
Francois Knoetze is an artist based in Cape Town. Having recently completed his Honours in Fine Art at Rhodes University, he is currently pursuing his MFA at Michaelis. His work is multidisciplinary, incorporating performance, assemblage sculpture and film. In 2011 he was a finalist in both the Absa L’Atelier and Sasol New Signatures competitions. Last year he was named one of Art South Africa magazine’s Bright Young Things. He has been involved in numerous theatre productions as set designer and puppet-maker, including works by the UBOM! Eastern Cape Theatre Company.
Writer, journalist, musician and filmmaker SIYA IS YOUR ANARCHIST has written for publications like the Sunday World, The Event and The Callsheet. He has performed at the National Arts Festival and written several plays. He has also worked for TV shows such as Rhythm City (E-TV), Font (SABC 3), Breaking New Ground (SABC 2). He directed an SABC2 documentary on Aids activist Zackie Achmat called His Husband in 2011 and has exhibited multi-media installations for Goodman Gallery Cape Town and GIPCA Live Art Festival. He now works for Entertainment Africa as a features writer and is combining writing, music, art and media for the release of his upcoming musical EP.