Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dinosaurs In 'Modern' Times.

I'll simply put it this way, without the benefit of modern science how were artists at Angor Wat in Cambodia able to carve this amazing likeness of a Stegosaurus on a temple which is dated to around the 12th century? Does this mean that they were carving from life? Or did they manage to find a skeleton and painstakingly reconstruct it to reveal the Age Of The Dinosaurs? Perhaps it was just lying there complete when they found it or maybe stories survived with enough detail to account for the image you see below:

Either way, whilst Europe was calling Dinosaur bones "proof of giants or dragons" from such legends as King Arthur and the Nephilim of the Old Testament it seems that people over there had their shit together. I went and tried to see this for myself because I was skeptical. I couldn't find it in the jungle but I am no longer skeptical that this carving actually exists at the temple site in Cambodia as it has become quite famous and is considered only mildly controversial. It was included in the Guide Book of the area but like many things of it's kind it is not highlighted. It seems we are always directed towards the "World's Biggest Corndog: A Modern Marvel" exhibit rather than the "History Shattering Provocative In Situ Carving That Makes Your Trip Mind-blowing and Memorable" at our left.
Compare this carving with a modern interpretation of this beastie:

The other point worth making is this: Do we just see some form of decorative "petals" above this creature as denoting the plates on the back of the Dinosaur? Or could this really be a question of how we see and read this carving? The head in the carving really leaves a lot to the imagination. Maybe it's just a crude pig.

Mark Van Hoen: Where Is The Truth.

Besides being a massive fan of Mark Van Hoen's and Locust's music over the years he is also a dear, dear friend. Through this great friendship I had the incredible honor of being invited to contribute to his latest record 'Where Is The Truth' which has now been released by City Center Offices. I wanted to share a few thoughts about the record from my perspective. As a fan I found this album to be a tremendous step for Mark, one into new territories of vocals and more Rock oriented songs and sounds. If it wasn't so fucking vapid to say I would call it Post-Post Rock, but as it is, I won't. While earlier Locust records had vocalists this is the first time that Mark himself has sung on one of his records. He has a sweet and innocent voice that haunts as much as it soothes. It is a deep and emotional record, that completes what I like to call these days a trilogy: Truth Is Born Of Arguments, Playing With Time & Where Is The Truth. I feel like each of these records mark a point in a cycle that turns back into itself with bold new dimensions every few years since he began his journey into uncharted territories of sound and sentiment through electronic music.
Through it's journey from a cable strewn studio in Brighton U.K. to an old Brewery in Brooklyn, this record was seasoned with turmoil, triumph and a shit ton of love and life. Check it out here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crispin Glover: It Is Fine.

The other evening I had the great delight of seeing Crispin Glover present his new film: 'It Is Fine'. I was so blown away by 'What Is It' a few years back at the Anthology Film Archives that I bought tickets the moment I heard the second installment was ready. Essentially the story behind "It Is Fine' is that a man confined to a wheelchair with C.P. wrote a screenplay that made it into the hands of Crispin. He was so enamored with the script that he spent many years and literally thousands of dollars of his own money into making this script a reality.

And what is this reality? Essentially the idea that even seemingly vulnerable and helpless people can play the villain too. Written by and starring a man who can barely speak in a comprehensible manner we follow over an hour and a half our killer from stoic divorcees to alienated porn stars in a kill fest of surreal proportions filmed in pulsing Bava-esque colors and David Lynch deadpans. By the time the film gives up on our reality the girls are asking if he is ready to kill them yet. Very strange indeed.

I was hoping from the first film of this trilogy "What Is It?" that there would be strong sexual content in the sequel and I was not let down. It's not that I wanted to see a man with C.P. get a blow job but it seemed like the right thing after he was jerked off by a stripper wearing a monkey mask in the first film. It's complicated, go and see the damn thing if you can. Beyond that Crispin gave a rousing rendition of his book Oak-Mot and others, and yes Crispin did answer every single question during the Q&A. Watch the trailer if you dare!

Matthew Patterson Art.

I can't say enough good things about my friend Matthew Patterson. When he told me that he was working on a new series I checked it out. I could not have been more impressed. I think that the art speaks for itself so I'll save any introduction and rather hope that he finds himself in illustrious company on this blog. Hopefully we can realize a dream that we had... more on that later. Enjoy!

Schwaller De Lubicz Tarot.

Schwaller De Lubicz changed my life. The infamous inspiration behind "Alternative Egyptology" De Lubicz remarked that "the extreme erosion on the body of the Sphinx could not be the result of wind and sand, as has been universally assumed, but rather was the result of water." Sheesh. That did not make people happy. Thank God for the idiocy of the Discovery Channel to keep that one afloat until we have something to validate (to the uninitiated) the inevitable conclusion that there was indeed a flourishing, high civilization before "the flood".

De Lubicz, who shall be referred to as A.O.R. for the rest of this post, at one point in his life had a Commune, Free School or Think Tank (depending on who you ask) in Switzerland. At this time he published several broadsheets for the members of Suhalia which presumably included this Tarot deck that he devised. I do not know where this came from, nor apparently does my source. I can only assume that this was created around the time of the "corn oil motor", "alchemical glass" or other wonders at Suhalia. While I find A.O.R.'s insights at the Sphinx Enclosure inspiring to a maddening degree what I really learned from A.O.R. is to shut the fuck up, listen and take in the essence of something before I even begin to try to "understand" it. If this is cryptic to you I recommend checking out Esoterism & Symbol or perhaps The Egyptian Miracle.

If you really have a strong stomach you can watch Robert Anthony West commenting with Graham "Emphasis Added" Hancock on the re-dating of the Sphinx here:

Unkle Sleazy TV.

My dear Unkle Sleazy has just posted a video to explain why he is not joining Ivan in performing as Soisong this upcoming tour. As with many family members, sometimes you find out in the strangest of ways. Um, I guess this is NSFW?

The Art Of Marjorie Cameron.

Marjorie Cameron, wife of Jack Parsons, star of Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome by Kenneth Anger and outstanding Artist in her own right, is an elusive artist to appreciate. There has only been one catalog of her work published and at best two of her works have been printed in the Semina Culture book although I have not seen a copy myself. I missed a gallery exhibition of her work here in New York but intrepidly I was able to get a copy of the catalog from the gallery on the West Side. I plan to photograph this catalog and post it here in the near future but have not the camera to do it at present. In the meantime I wanted to post a collection of her work culled from different places on the web in one place to create a kind of exhibition of my own to be appreciated by any and all who wish.

A great place to learn more about Cameron is the essay "Wormwood Star" found here. She seems to be popping up all over the place these days and soon the delightful Mr. Spencer Kansa will be publishing the first ever biography of this profound and deeply insightful artist. I can't wait to get a copy! An interesting quote from the Diaries Of Anias Nin Vol. 5

"...[Renate's] walls are hung with paintings by Cameron. Curtis [Harrington], Kenneth [Anger] and Paul talked of Cameron as capable of witchcraft. She was the dark spirit of the group. Her paintings were ghostly creatures of nightmares. In connection with her, this was the first time I heard about Aleister Crowley. There was an aura of evil around her. Her husband was a scientist who delved in the occult. He was blown up during an experiment in his garage."

Rare Jack Parsons Manuscripts.

While the story of Jack Parsons is well known the details are obscure. Seen as both a fallen angel and an idiot under the spell of L. Ron Hubbard he is certainly one of the most intriguing and enigmatic Americans who has ever lived.
On one hand a man who much of the U.S. Space program owes a great debt to and on the other an unwitting muse to the modern scourge of Scientology. A man who helped bring to our modern age the Jet Engine, the Vapor Trail, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and the idea that masturbating in the Mojave desert for several days can open the gateway to other planes of existence. This is the kind of shit that gets a crater on the moon named after you.

Several popular biographies exist and books have been published dealing with Parsons' life and work. However as is the case with many enigmatic personalities real insight is left to the direct experience of the work of the artist and their creation. A few years ago Weiser Antiquarian Books had a catalog sale which included many of Parsons writings in the form of handwritten diaries and composition book entries. Many of these have not been published before. I decided it would be a good idea mostly for myself but hopefully others if I cataloged some of these in another place so that they may be appreciated perhaps to a further audience and become more firmly entrenched on the internet. I will add that the feeling of taking off in a plane equipped with Jet Propulsion is another way to directly experience the artistry of Jack Parsons.

A Single Untitled Holograph Manuscript Leaf - Part of a Larger Unpublished Work. ND circa 1940s. ...Appears to be the first page of an Introduction for a projected book: "This book contains a truth, and therefore those who conceive of truth in terms other than those of ecstasy, terror, or indifference should read no further ..... The truth to be discussed is the truth of evil, and [fragment ends]." A tantalizing fragment of a work unfinished or lost."

An unpublished one page holograph manuscript fragment, entitled, "Church of Thelema Service for the Dead." ND circa 1940s. The text - essentially one long paragraph - is obviously Parson's unfinished notes towards a funeral service for use within the Church of Thelema. It starts with the observation "The Thelemic concept of death in the new Aeon is vastly different than the Christian concept in the old [A]eon" and continues on for another 70 or so words. There are a few crude pencil doodles - either of a spider or a leaf..."

Two 2 page holograph manuscript headed respectively "The Gnostic Creed" and "The Gnostic Doctrine" with a fifth unpublished manuscript page headed "The Lost Gospel." ND circa 1940s. Three short pieces, written in ink on the rectos only of five sheets of 11 x 8 1/2 inch cream colored loose-leaf notepaper (the type used in a ring-binder). The first two pieces - "The Gnostic Creed" and "The Gnostic Doctrine" - were published on pages 67 & 68 respectively of Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword. The fifth page, "The Lost Gospel" is unpublished. Like "The Gnostic Doctrine" it is in point form, and is divided into eight points, three of which have sub-points. Thus the first point reads: 1) The Religious Basis of the Modern Dilemma. A. The nature of the problem - pretense & hypocrisy - a double standard, B. The sexual Root. C. The moral root."

A nine page Holograph Manuscript Headed "Manifesto of the Witchcraft" with Unpublished Appendices of a Course Outline and Registration and Membership Form. ND circa 1940s. A holograph essay, written in ink (with a few pencil corrections) on the rectos only of eight sheets of 11 x 8 1/2 inch sheet cream colored loose-leaf notepaper (the type used in a ring-binder). The first six pages of the piece - the actual "Manifesto" - was published in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, pp. 69-70, under the title, " Manifesto of the Witchcraft." The seventh - ninth pages are all unpublished. The seventh page is a short course outline for Parson's intended Witchcraft group, it begins "Course P-1 Basic Magick [the word Witchcraft is struck through] Fourteen Sections, with assignments $10.00 [the price $21.00 is struck through] A paragraph follows, outlining what is taught, below which is "For registration in class instruction or extension courses write The Witchcraft P.O. Box." The eight and ninth pages are "Registration for Course P-1, and application for probationary membership in the Witchcraft." This is basically the text of a document outlining the responsibilities of "The Witchcraft" to the candidate, and vice-versa, that he or she would have to sign before joining and starting the course. In part it reads: "I further understand that the Witchcraft is a religious, benevolent, and fraternal organization pledged to the ideals of love, of liberty, and universal brotherhood .... " The candidate would then have been required to sign the document, giving his or her name, age, sex, occupation, religious affiliation, organizations, and reason for application. The manuscript clearly dates from the same time as several others also published in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword: "Wormwood Star," that published as "The Witchcraft" and the untitled mss. starting: "If the knowledge of Lucifer is the knowledge of hell ...," and "In dealing with the public from an initiated viewpoint ...."

For the most inquisitive you can continue to read these and other pages from the journals of Jack Parsons here. Out of the entire offering, which must have fetched near to $10,000 in total I found this to be the most interesting of all of the items listed.

Original hand drawn and lettered Natal Charts of Marjorie Cameron and Robert Cameron, prepared by Jack Parsons. Circa. 1946. Drawn and lettered in pencil on both sides of a single sheet of paper with the printed letterhead of "The Parsons Chemical Manufacturing Company," on the recto. The Natal chart of Parsons’s second wife Marjorie E. Cameron (1922–1995) is on the recto, and Parson's brother-in-law Robert E. Cameron (1929–1988) on the verso. Although not mentioned, both were born at Belle Plaine, Iowa, USA. Both nativities are curiously titled “Horoscope of Toth by Fra\ 210 [Jack Parsons]” Truly an extraordinary association item. "

Note that the letterhead reads "The Parsons Chemical Manufacturing Company" now wouldn't this look so fine framed in the hall of the temple next to this, the very pants worn by a monkey sent into space by the Soviets? I can't stand the beauty.