159. the Official, January 18th, 1992E.V., Fake Party

- Baltimore, us@

- January 18, 1992

- 1 of my favorite aspects of the "official" structure is that it's a conceptual approach that doesn't always require the use of specific instruments & props. Given my usual interest in penetrating "ordinary" situations, I tried to co-ordinate participants in the project to structure their interactions in social situations around CAMUs - as always, keeping a straight face in the interest of making it difficult for any unwitting audience to be "sure" about what was going on. E.g.: 1 player would start telling a wild story that would lead to something that the listener would presumably want to hear the outcome of & then digress - continuing this pattern to prevent any story climaxes from being reached. Other players would respond by either talking simultaneously or sequentially using the same structure. This is called, predictably enough, the "Digression" CAMU. Or a player could cue the "Ill-timed Preparation for an Encore" by suddenly leaving a room & doing something furtive somewhere - with the other players also leaving & doing something furtive. Our 1st attempt at this was at a party at Alan Barysh's. It wasn't very successful partially because the other partiers (our un-witting "straight" "men") were too few. Realizing that there wasn't much likelihood of arranging & (quasi-)documenting a more successful version of this, I decided to throw a "Fake Party" to do this in so that I could vaudeo it more easily. This was accomplished with the assistance of the late, great John "Santa Claus" Fonda, the ever-humorous "Blaster" Al Ackerman, Mora Majorowitz, the ever-enthusiastic Megan Hamilton, Tim Sheehan, & the ever-overkill John Sheehan as the fake partiers. John & Tim made enormous quantities of samozas. The "official" fake partiers were Scott Larson, Neil Feather, John Eaton, & John Berndt. Chris Astier crossed the line back & forth between the 2 categories - usually helping with the food preparation & ignoring the "official" procedures. I was the cameraperson & "director". Since most of the unofficial fake partiers had never witnessed an "official" presentation before, they were reasonably good "dead weight".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

160. the Official, March 21st, 1992ev, 14 Karat Cabaret, We're Not As Intense As John Duncan But We're As Worth Paying Attention To For Reasons More Complex Than There's Time To Explain In This Measley Band Name Band

- 14 Karat Cabaret, Baltimore, us@

- March 21, 1992

- Being on a double bill with John Duncan I decided against using any "sexual" film &/or vaudeo material & chose to present the more subtly conceptual "official" material instead. With Neil Feather surrounded by his inventions on the front of the stage to the audience's frontal left & me surrounded by my "erector set" percussion & many other devices behind him, the visual emphasis was overwhelmingly on construction. To the audience's frontal right was a movie screen on which I premiered an approximately 1/2 hour version of my 16mm film (still in progress as of this writing) entitled "John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" - a technically diverse, "non-linear", multi-mood extravanganza that parallels the "official" project in its genre reference juxtapositioning. Neil & I played largely in the dark occasionally flashing our foot-pedal controlled lights like lightning flashes to give the audience fleeting glimpses of the elaborateness of our gear. Much of the film contains construction footage so the feeling was of something elaborate being built inexorably in front of you too quickly to be able to grasp it all.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

161. the Official, April 29th, 1992ev, Band That Does Accept Money From Institutions

- "Progressions" Series, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Campus, us@

- April 29, 1992

- I had been invited to present films as a part of this "interdisciplinary" required course for the supposedly more sophisticated arts students. Wanting to present the "official" "Big Band" that had been practicing for almost a year with no place to play outside our practice space, I plugged a "show" with both my movies & the band. The result was probably 1 of the biggest extravaganzas of "reality" undermining the students are ever likely to be subjected to. They hated me. They hated US. They wrote papers about it which the teacher was kind enough to give to me. I published them, unedited (i.e.: replete with spelling errors) in a book called "Reactionary Muddle America". Don't expect to get much of an idea about the presentation from their papers though. More inaccurate accounts could hardly be generated. 1 woman wrote that after she left the show she could hardly find her way out of the building. I'm surprised any of them ever found their way in in the 1st place. A large poster with computer graphics greeted them at the entrance. A tad-pole on the poster became a "sperm" in 1 of the students papers. 14 page carefully computer typeset booklets were available at the door as hand-outs. These contained a list of the movies to be shown, a political-philosophical text, my complete movieography (with 114 listings), graphics, a list of band members & their instruments, a table of the CAMUs that we planned to use in the presentation, a brief explanation of our playing, a brief description of a complex sample CAMU, an article advertising the "show", & the 3 posters made for the show. All of this was made especially for this night. In other words, we gave them something more carefully made than any of them were ever likely to make in order to get their diplomas! I presented 8 vaudeo projected movies - a total of 67 minutes + the time of my prefaces. 1 woman walked out after 15 minutes & cried for the next 45. Then it was time for the band. A 55 minute version of "John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" was projected with a black rectangle blocking its middle so that there would be a blank space that the vaudeo could be projected into. I was on stage & the rest of the band were spaced about in the audience. In a carefully pre-planned sequence, I improvised a meandering "Neuro Linguistic Introduction" in which, by using hand signals, the band was cued to anticipatorily call out words in unison that fit my "narrative". These words collectively formed a stretched out sentence introducing our band name. Then we segued into a "Simon" in which each band member said the word or words that the previous band member had said & added a word to the sequence until every band member had added something twice. Then we segued into a simultaneous reading of a text in which our simultaneous accenting of 35 out of 78 beats was an example of what the text was about. Then John Berndt came on stage from the audience wearing a turban-like head piece & led the group in an "Imitative Unison" after which the whole band came on stage playing screamers. To kick off our stage set, we played an instrumental version of "78" in perfect coordination. This was what 1 brilliant young scholar called "everybody doing their own thing all at once". Gee, I'm sure glad we got recognition for our 10 months of practice. I had 4 videos playing simultaneously with the ability to have 1 of the 4 projected into the middle of the 16mm projection & 1 to appear on the 2 monitors on either side of the stage. The 4 tapes were: "Teaser" - a continually repeated shot of a penis trying to penetrate a vagina & popping out before getting a chance to fully enter; "Wallpaper Video" - the previously described wrecking ball wrecking of a building that had once housed 1 of Baltimore's biggest newspapers (now defunct) "The News American", "Concrete Mixing Usical Material Vaudeo #1" - an hour long sequence of carefully excerpted portions of some of my more sensationalist or strikingly imagistic vaudeos, "Concrete Mixing Usical Material Vaudeo #2" - an extremely fast moving summary of most of my movies from 1979 to 1989 - the slowest shot being a quarter second long. Most of the band members had foot-pedal controlled lights which they flashed periodically. For the penultimate section, the "Worm Charming" part (meant to charm the worms in the audience with its simple-minded steady beat) we set various things on fire. We had our favorite flaming sink, flaming Brad-A-Lon, flaming cymbals, etc.. John Eaton came out playing an alto sax that he'd liberally dosed the inside of the bell with the flame-paste that we used to make things flammable. Flames were shooting 2 or 3 feet out of the bell & shooting out the lower finger holes. When John finally put the sax down in the sink, all the welds came apart & the sax fell into its components! 1 student complained in his paper that we hadn't properly miked the flaming sax. Too bad we didn't just hand it to him so that he could've played it himself. Personnel: John Eaton (alto sax, voice), Scott Larson (medium accordion, voice, sink, abomination), John Berndt (DX7 synthesizer, voice, VSS-30 sampler, soprano sax, stephanie palmer apologetica), Peter Williams (bass, voice, pots & pans, pipe xylophone), Sarmad Brody (voice, Ensoniq VFX synthesizer), Courtney McCullough (voice, tenor sax, bass clarinet), Eric Myers (voice, cello), John Dierker (voice, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax), Dawn Culbertson (voice, bass, brad-a-lon), Neil Feather (former guitar, voice, R.E.SK1 sampler, bell tree, apex roto zither), myself (voice, "erector set" percussion, [thwarted] "terrence dougherty" electronics, trumpet, vibraphone), & Chris Astier (voice, fretless bass, tom).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

162. "Behavioral Drift #8/9 (The Slo GAME)" (by Franz Kamin)

- the Parish Hall, First Unitarian/Universalist Church of Baltimore, us@

- June 11, 1992

- This 15 minute piece coordinated by Sarmad Brody under the direction of the composer involved a "Narrator-Translator", 2 "Players", a "Thread Man" & a "Stain Lady", & 6 "choric Depots" - each with 4 members. This was an elaborate performance in which the 2 "players" played a game in stylized dancer slow motion while the "Narrator-Translator" recited a text partially about non-competitiveness, the "choric Depots" vocalized - occasionally ringing hand-bells, the "Thread Man" had to weave certain color clothes thru a fabric prepared with slits from the back to produce certain symbols & the "Stain Lady" had to place certain colored stains from the back of the same fabric. Both had to react quickly to signals from the "Narrator-Translator". I was the "Thread Man".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

163. the Official, July 25th, 1992ev, Band That Stretches The Amount of Typeface that Their Name Occupies Wildly Beyond the Parameters of Easily Remembered &/or Repeated Band Names in the Interest of Excessive (Self) Promotion Which Can Never Be Stressed Enough Given the Incredible Greatness & Simulated Originality of the Reality Bending Qualities of Their Quantum Psychological Playfare & Aleatoric Fortean So-Called Whatevers (not to Mention CAMUs) etc.., etc..

- 14 Karat Cabaret, Baltimore, us@

- July 25, 1992

- This was the last "Medium Band" show before a smaller version of the group left to go on tour. It was also the only time we performed our "Ersatz Buddhist Intro" - followed by a great puppet routine from John Berndt in which a punching puppet played a monofilament string held taught by a circular saw blade & miked with a piezo transducer. The players lined the side walls & the front of the space to partially surround the audience so that they could get a clearer perception & sensation of the speed & complexity of the player interaction. Many of our CAMUs build &/or move from player to player in a circular direction. The more the audience is surrounded, the more they can be aware of this. E.g.: in the "Off Beat Off", the cueing player plays a pulse, the player to their left plays triplets off the pulse, the player to the 2nd player's left plays in sync with the note durations of the triplets but shifts the accent to the 1st of every 4 beats rather than the 1st of every 3. The next player plays a pulse again but in sync with the accented beat of the preceeding player rather than that of the initial pulse provider - this results in 2 pulses - the 2nd being slower than the 1st. The process continues. To the inattentive, it seems that people aren't "playing together" when in actuality this playing in different tempos requires strict discipline. This performance involved our 1st use of foot-pedal controlled lights in a systematic rhythm. In a CAMU called the "2 Note - Atomizing Split", the cuer starts alternating in a steady rhythm between 2 notes, the rest of the band joins in rhythmic sync, half of the band "splits" from the other half by playing another 2 note in a different rhythm, then the half from which they'd split splits into 2 smaller halves - the splinter group again playing a different 2 note, this process continues bouncing back & forth between the 2 sides until every player is playing only 2 notes but in different rhythms. Then the process is reversed until all the players are in sync again. With the lighting, each player flashed their light on the 1st of their 2 notes. Thus, it starts with all lights flashing on & off in sync & gradually becomes much more complex - creating elaborate flashes & shadows - & eventually reunifies. Very disorienting if 1 isn't following the rhythmic progression. This was also the 1st time that we partially used a new element of the projection/playing relationship. The final 10 minute reel of my film "John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" was shown. New footage in the film was of various people "cueing" CAMUs. At the end of the reel shown, the "Wreck" was cued in the film & the players responded in kind. Personnel: John Dierker, Scott Larson, John Berndt, Dawn Culbertson, Eric Myers, Neil Feather, Courtney McCullough, John Eaton, & myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

164. the Official, August 4, 1992ev, Band That If You Don't Hear Your Vital Organs will Shrivel up & Disappear

- Portland School of Art, Portland, Maine, us@

- August 4, 1992

- This marked the beginning of our "official" Tour/Ture. The group for this was: Peter Williams (bass, I.V. stand percussion, voice, etc), John Eaton (alto sax, stephanie palmer apologetica, voice, percussion, etc), Neil Feather (bendy guitar, bell tree, recombinant electronics SK1 sampler, SK1 sampler, 16 second digital delay, demi nondo, portable vibulum, trombone, voice, etc), myself ("erector set" percussion, "terrence dougherty" electronics, trumpet, lap guitar, voice, etc), & Rebecca Barten (projectionist, voice, etc). The usual array of much modular interaction, "2 Note - Atomizing Split" foot-pedal lights, flaming metal objects during the "Worm Charming", & silliness. 1 of our CAMUs, "Normality", is performed by stopping whatever 1 is in the midst of & performing some "normal" activity like combing one's hair or some such. In our usual "anti-normal" interpretation of this it could be more accurately called the "Argument" because we'd usually pretend to be completely disgusted with each other & start yelling criticisms. It's best when the audience isn't sure whether we're serious or not. This proves to be very successful as a silly cognitive dissonance trick. This was the only stop of the tour where we projected 4 16mm films simultaneously: 3 ten minute reels of the "Official..Sandwich" & the 10 minute "OUR" - this latter being a collaborative film made by Rebecca Barten & myself especially to be shown in an "official" context. Both the "Official..Sandwich" & "OUR" have the same footage of people cueing CAMUs in them. The difference between them, of course, is how they're edited & what their other footage is. When they're shown simultaneously, they cross-reference each other. In "OUR" a diversity of "found" spectacle footage is used. Hurricanes, clowns, earthquakes, musclemen, floods, demolition derbys, etc.. During the "ture" we mainly played "Atavistic Electronics" during the showing of the films. This was our more "atmospheric" genre section. This CAMU is cued by a player playing a sine-wave at approximately 300 c.p.s. Then another player plays a pitch very close (often generated by a looping of Neil's playing his bull's horn) to create a beating pattern in the space. The way this can fill a room is very potent. Then players with pitch-specific instruments (bass, alto sax, & keyboard were used on this tour) play a whole tone scale that includes 300 c.p.s. Thus a simultaneous tonality & non-tonality is established. The "tonality" being the result of there being the central tone & the "non-tonality" being the result of there being no hierarchy of relations between the pitches. The common associative effect of the whole-tone scale being the feeling of "floating" or "drowning" (as 1 friend put it). This was further developed by the "free" playing of less pitch specific recordings, sound effects, & electronics. I often used the sounds of loons, african animals, boat horns, explosions, sirens, mutated speech, etc, etc as evocations. The combination of the floating imaging of the sounds & the visuals as well as the link between the screened cueing & the cueing seen amongst the players during other times of the performance created strong mutual reinforcement.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

165. the Official, August 7th, 1992ev, CKUT, Late Night Atrocity Exhibition Barkers

- Montréal, CacaNada

- August 7, 1992

- Our 1st promotional radio show of the tour. Such situations were good opportunities for interaction similar to that of the "Fake Party" described earlier. Under the guise of an interview we could follow our "official" rules & gradually "abstract" the language. E.g.: the "Mime Pathos Verbally Articulated" - 1 of us could suddenly cry out "Ohh, Noooooo.." & start describing an imaginary grossly exaggerated mime situation. In this instance it was "..I'm a mime & my arms have been cut off. I'm on the radio & I'm miming & I'm miming & no-onnnne is paying attention to anything that I'm doing.." etc.. Further complicating things were our inclination to perform these CAMUs simultaneously as well as the same 1 in sync. Thus Neil was "Explaining" our "Social Security #s" CAMU in a "normal" tone of voice when I began wailing the "Mime Pathos". "Conceptual" rather than "melodic" counterpoint. Personnel: John Eaton, Neil Feather, myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

166. the Official, August 7th, 1992ev..(another radio show)

- CKUT, Montréal, CacaNada

- August 7, 1992

- See the previous entry. Personnel: John Berndt, Scott Larson, Neil Feather?, John Eaton?, myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

167. the Official, August 7th, 1992ev, Foufounes Electriques CosmoRobotic $350.00 Boxers

- Foufounes Electriques, Montréal, CacaNada

- August 7, 1992

- Hey! A show in a big rock club / disco. Arranged by Jean-Luc Bonspiel (formerly known as Kiki Bonbon). The usual array of lighting, simultaneous dual projections of a reel of the "Official..Sandwich" & "OUR", flashlight on a turntable, disorienting vocal routines, complex rhythms, unusual instrumentation, etc, etc.. This was the premier of the CAMU CAMU in which players pretended to cue & respond to CAMUs that don't exist. We confused the audience of this 1 by wandering off stage in a diffused way to end the show in such a way so that people would, once again, not "be sure" of what was happening. Additional "official" tourists came to Montréal especially for this show partially because we thought we might make some money in the big rock club. As usual, the joke was on us. Personnel: Eric Myers, Scott Larson, John Berndt, Neil Feather, John Eaton, Peter Williams, myself, & Rebecca Barten.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

168. the Official.. (another radio show)

- Toronto, CacaNada

- August, 1992

- See the previous "official" radio show entries. Personnel: Peter Williams, Neil Feather, myself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

169. the Official, August 12th, 1992ev, Zerowork Jubilee John Cage Cover Band Orchestra

- Zerowork Jubilee, the Monastery, Toronto, CacaNada

- August 12, 1992

- Dedicated to John Cage, whose music I love & who had just recently died. Our already huge repetoire of CAMUs was added to with the premiers of the "Ersatz Manicini", the "Ersatz Orientalism", & "78 Set". Back to the touring quintet with the usual array already described with the addition of the "Baghdad object" (a large metal object with holes in for having a candle inside which gave off flickering grid shadows particularly effective during our "Worm Charming" section) & a great intro from our beloved friend Monty Cantsin/Istvan Kantor/AMEN.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

170. the Official, August 15th, 1992ev, Zerowork Jubilee Morphing Center Orchestra with John Cage Interpreters

- Zerowork Jubilee, the Monastery, Toronto, CacaNada

- August 15, 1992

- Having been approached by Katrini after the preceeding so-called whatever & asked whether we'd like to work with dancers, I worked out an interactive proposal usually referred to as the "Dancer Conducting". The dancers had 4 cues with which they could conduct the "official" players whose playing they could then respond to in their dancing & further cueing (which were all part of the same thing): 1 for silence, 1 for a Mexican Hat Dance, 1 for a "See-Saw" alternating between textures, & 1 for an "Ersatz Arabic" theme. As usual, these possibilities were modular & could be played simultaneously in any combination. Katrini co-ordinated 2 other dancers & this was premiered for some "prime-time" national tv show (which I never saw). The other new element was the introduction of the "'Patamorphic Institute Seminar(s)". While we'd been in Montréal we'd collaborated with Barnoz on making some Morphing movies in which the image of 1 thing could be shown transforming into another thing. The movie that we worked into the "seminar(s)" was of the face of Rebecca Barten transforming into the face of John Eaton & back again. While this tape would show, Rebecca & John would stand on either side of the monitor with their faces "frozen" into the same expression that their faces have in the video & they would foot-pedal-control lights to alternately show their faces at approximely the same rate that their faces were showing on the screen. Simultaneous with this, I would give a sortof "self-help" lecture on the psychological advantages of Morphing throwing in jargon of our invention or, in the case of "gravipause", borrowed from astronomy. Personnel: the touring quartet + the 3 dancers.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

171. the Official, August 22nd, 1992ev, Dreamtime Corroboree Comb Salepeople

- Dreamtime Corroboree, Dreamtime Village, West Lima, Wisconsin, us@

- August 22, 1992

- Dreamtime Village is a very special HyperMedia PermaCulture Hometown. As such, we were happy to have the opportunity to participate in its annual Corroboree (those Australian Aboriginals keep popping up). The space was a booming big gym. This so-called whatever included the premier of "Big", 1 of Neil's new CAMUs, & fire-breathing to begin the "Worm-Charming" bit. The "Dancer Conducting" became another audience participatory element. Only "OUR" was projected at this show. The audience was deliriously responsive.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

172. the Official, August 27th, 1992ev, Mercury Café Neo-Re-Exciters

- Mercury Café Theater, Denver, us@

- August 27, 1992

- As usual, what this show actually consisted of is far too complex to describe in detail here. It began with us opening a theater prop door (i.e.: a door in a frame on wheels) & popping out our heads in a vertical arrangement "singing" a "Barbershop Quartet Intro". Personnel: the touring quintet.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

173. the Official, August 28th, 1992ev, Mercury Café Neil-Re-Exciters

- Mercury Café Theater, Denver, us@

- August 28, 1992

- More of our full-blown so-called whatevering here. This performance will probably be most remembered as "The One Where Neil Set His Face On Fire." Yes, in our fledgling fire-breathing, Neil set his "Fu Manchu" face-hair on fire & melted a bit of flesh. This put an end to his fire-breathing career but the rest of us still continued to risk it. Films, video, spieling, tonal & rhythmic genre evocations, whirling flashlights, audience participation, fire, silliness, mindfucking, structuralism. Personnel: the touring quintet.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

174. the Official, September 2nd, 1992ev, Kansas City Artificial Intelligence 'Tute Photo Studio Unknown Camera Obscura

- Kansas City Art Institute, Photography Studio, Kansas City, Missouri, us@

- September 2, 1992

- By now Neil had a siren. There were no new CAMUs for the rest of the ture. This show had 1 of my favorite Nondo/Stephanie Palmer Apologetica duets followed by a "Normality" argument. We actually didn't have any technical trouble with the dual projection during this 1! Personnel: the touring quintet.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

175. the Official, Saturday, September 5th, 1992ev, Union Bar & Grill (Voted Athens Best Bar Live Music Featuring National Acts) Bug-Eyed H23 Visitors From Chronolytic Time

- Union Bar & Grill, Athens, Ohio, us@

- September 5, 1992

- Perhaps the finest of our so-called whatevers on the tour. Action-packed stimulation for the desperate pervert anarchist intellectual. Personnel: the touring quintet.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

176. the Official, October 17th, 1992ev, Blank Blank Space Blank Space Blank

- W.P.A., Washington DC, us@

- October 17, 1992

- Perhaps the finest of all of the "official" so-called whatevers. The players were arranged in an oval in such a way that the audience could be inside the oval or witnessing it from either end. Our playing with fire had extended to my setting my thumb on fire & lighting John Eaton's cigarette & John setting his chest & hands & arms on fire - not always the safest thing to do. The combination of all the new CAMUs from the tour/ture & the reinvigoration from having the group be a "Medium Band" again made this extremely convoluted & pleasurable. For an idea of some elements of this presentation, read most of the preceeding 40 entries. Personnel: Sarmad Brody, John Berndt, Neil Feather, John Eaton, Dawn Culbertson, Peter Williams, Courtney McCullough, myself, & Rebecca Barten.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

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