A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, neoism, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, CircumSubstantial Playing, etc..

in Pittsburgh:

Having lived in BalTimOre County & City from 1953 to 1994 it was long since time to move on & experience a different HQ. I went from BalTimOre to Berlin to CacaNada to Buffalo (shudder) & by the end of 1995 needed a new more stable home. Given that in January, 1995, I'd gone to Pittsburgh under the auspices of Orgone Cinema & presented 2 programs & had an enjoyable time, I decided to try moving t/here.

This turned out, at 1st, to be not such a good idea insofar as the friendliness I'd been received with when I'd given my shows wasn't repeated when I became a resident & it was close to impossible for me to get work. As such, when I was asked why I stayed in Pittsburgh, I replied that 'I'm shipwrecked here.': meaning that I was too impoverished to go anywhere else.

Nonetheless, there're many things I love about Pittsburgh & I very gradually made friends & became more & more culturally active. Thanks to Orgone, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, & Jefferson Presents, in particular, Pittsburgh had a thriving experimental moviemaking & screening scene that I was happy to be a part of.

This has been augmented & expanded upon by the long-lasting broader-community-based Film Kitchen, the brainchild of Bill O'Driscoll of the Pittsburgh City Paper. Bill & The PCP have been wonderful assets to Pittsburgh, as has been the Mattress Factory & many other institutions noted throughout the text below. By now, I've been lucky enough to've had many a fruitful collaboration with some fantastic Pittsburghers & to see Pittsburgh transform in highly interesting & progressive ways.

Recently my old friend from BalTimOre, Tom DiVenti, approached the Maryland Historical Society with the donation of his archive of things relevant to the BalTimOre underground literary scene of the 1970s & 1980s & they voted to accept it & to create an exhibit around it. Tom further did the service to his compadres of pointing the MHS in our direction too. Thanks to this, I created a Mere Outline BalTimOre webpage to organize all my BalTimOre performative activity together to make researching it easier.

While I was at it, it seemed appropriate to do the same thing with my Mere Outline Pittsburgh material since Pittsburgh is the only place other than BalTimOre that I've lived for decades. In the long run, I've had an amazing time in Pittsburgh - as I hope the below descriptions will attest. Maybe the Heinz History Center will emulate the example of the Maryland Historical Society & take an interest in the vital culture I've experienced since I've been here.

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE note, July 25, 2017E.V.

 

196. A Triple "S" Variety Show straight from the bowels of the Turquoise, Beige, & Flesh Room at the Funny Farm

- the Silver Eye, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, January 12, 1995

- The 1st of 2 presentations sponsored by Orgone Cinema. This was a concrete mixing so-called whatever in which I manipulated a video mixer into which 2 VCRs were fed & played 3 Synthesizers, 1 Sampler/Sequencer, & an Effects Unit. The vaudeo tapes used were the same as for "Broken Mood Elevator Uzak" minus the compilation. The video mixer enabled me to combine the images in more sophisticated ways than those ordinarily available to me. The vaudeos were projected.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

197. film vaudeo

- the Silver Eye, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, January 14, 1995

- The 2nd of 2 presentations sponsored by Orgone Cinema. The audience, upon entering, was greeted by myself &/or Orgone Cinema people (Michael Johnsen, Alisa Dix, Greg Pierce). We were behind a small table that had some peeled "100 year old eggs" - ie: fermented duck eggs which have turned black (both the "whites" & the yolk) - with the yolk having a jelly-like consistency. A common description of the smell of these eggs is "like dirty gym socks". Anyone willing to eat one of these was entitled to a reduction in admission cost. Also displayed were a raw fertilized duck egg broken open so that the duck fetus could be seen & a boiled fertilized duck egg which we offerred to pay any willing audience member $10.00 to eat - in addition to refunding their admission. Perhaps 2 people attempted to eat the fermented eggs. If I recall correctly, neither ate the whole thing - but they were probably both rewarded with an admission discount anyway. Each person was also given a bumper sticker & a 6 sheet (ie: 12 pages) hand-out made especially for the occasion. The hand-out included the listing of movies to be shown, my most updated "Movieography" (162 entries), a scrap sheet from "Mike Film Distribution Form #7", & some Mike Film to be (hopefully) used by the audience. The presentation of films &/or vaudeos was basically straight-forward. At the end of the evening, one audience member (Jim Mueller?) ate 1/2 of the boiled fertilized duck egg for which he received his door money back & $5.00.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

198. [Improvisation @ WRCT

- WRCT, 88.3FM, Radio Carnegie Tech, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, May 4th, 1995, 11:00PMish to Friday, May 5th, 1995, 3:00AMish

- 2 audio improvisations catalyzed/produced/recorded/mixed/edited by Ed Um-Bucholtz broadcast live & recorded to be [probably never] remixed & [probably never] submitted to the cassette publication entitled "Chocolate Monk" in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sharyn Lee Frederick: Bass, Vocals, Bass Clarinet, Tom; Michael Johnsen: Bass Clarinet, 3 String Guitar, amplified Water, Sine Wave Generator, Ho Shim Guitar; Giuglia Loli: Electric Violin, Alesis Drum Machine; Dave W(Ho)le Shim: Guitar, Effects, Sine Wave Generator, Johnsen 3 String Guitar; tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: "Usic - -1" test pressing (its public premier), Electric Violin, Bass. During the 2nd (last) set Edwin Houghton played Records/Turntable & Patrick Meagher briefly played Tom.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

203. "High Evil"

- A building on Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 2nd, 1996, 9:30 to10:30PM

- I was invited by Ed Um-Bucholtz to participate in a Rave / Halloween Party / Whatever called "High Evil" that was organized by tcrps-Bass Culture. One of the advertisements for it was a fluorescent orange sticker with the following text:

HIGH EVIL!!

They killed S.P. Dinsmoor and Jeff McKissack, they killed James Hampton, they want to destroy the Garden of Eden, the Orange Show, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millenium General Assembly! Where There Is No Vision The People Perish! Join us to expand the earth's field intelligence, expose their hidden hand! All Hallow's Eve, Dia de los Muertos show the gate; join us the second day of November to explode the locks! Come save the world! 456-BASS

I loved the advertising but, alas, I didn't have any fun at the actual event. Providing improvised sound were Sharyn Lee Frederick: child's violin, measuring cups, voice; Michael Johnsen: saw, amplified oboe, baritone sax; Greg Pierce: records, intercom, guitar, alto sax, dictaphone; & Dave W(Ho)le Shim: 4 track cassettes. I contributed projected video mixing. This was an experiment in combining vaudeos of mine ("My Life Flashing Before You" & "Something That Dissolves The Shadow Of Something That Was Next To Something That Combusted Twice. Once") with live drawing using a "VideoPainter". This latter device is a toy with a touch-sensitive screen that sends out a video signal. It can be drawn or written on & has various ready-made images targetted at a young user - such as pictures of a robot, a car, a dragon, a fairy, etc.. I scribbled on it, drew faces with parts made out of the ready-made images, wrote the words "Deeper & Deeper" when a recording of a hypnotist's spiel played (mixed in with sexual penetration footage), mixed the video with VideoPainter ready-made landscape images, etc.. There were various technical problems (such as my inability to get the preview monitor to work properly & the video projection cutting off my view of some of the necessary VideoPainter controls) & this was probably the WORST "performance" I've ever presented.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

204. Picktogrameting

- The sidewalks of downtown Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 30th, 1996, 1:30 to 3:30PM

- I made a 32 X 40 inch picket sign with graphics on both sides & no words. On 1 side I painted in red highly bit-mapped images of, "reading" from left to right & top to bottom, a pair of scissors ($) [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font] "chasing" an airplane (() overtop a mathematical symbol of 3 horizontal lines with a diagonal slash thru them (=) [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font] next to a check mark in a rectangular box () [not shown here due to a lack of the proper font]. The pixilation of these symbols rendered them almost incomprehensible as any of the above. This was partially "remedied" by drawing over them with black marker. On the other side was a drawing using black marker again of the international pictograms for telegrams & bathtubs. The image for telegrams shows a lightning bolt across a card. This was placed so that the bolt is headed into the tub. These symbols were largely chosen as "nonsense" although the lightning/tub-with-water juxtaposition was calculated to be provocative/evocative. Since this picket was made with the intention of using it in "guerrilla" actions, I researched the Pennsylvania laws regarding picketing, etc, to try to learn about what I could be arrested for. The only remotely relevant law I found was:

from: Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated

Statute 5507. Obstructing highways and other public passages

(a) Obstructing. - A person, who, having no legal privilege to do so, intentionally or recklessly obstructs any highway, railroad track or public utility right-of-way, sidewalk, navigable waters, other public passage, whether alone or with others, commits a summary offense, or, in case he persists after warning by a law officer, a misdemeanor of the third degree. No person shall be deemed guilty of an offense under this subsection solely because of a gathering of persons to hear him speak or otherwise communicate, or solely because of being a member of such a gathering.

(b) Refusal to move on. -

(1) A person in a gathering commits a summary offense if he refuses to obey a reasonable official request or order to move:

(i) to prevent obstruction of a highway or other public passage; or

(ii) to maintain public safety by dispersing those gathered in dangerous proximity to a fire or other hazard.

(2) An order to move, addressed to a person whose speech or other lawful behavior attracts an obstructing audience, shall not be deemed reasonable if the obstruction can be readily remedied by police control of the size or location of the gathering.

(c) Definition. - As used in this section the word "obstructs" means renders impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard.

Underlining [not visible here] mine. - anonymous

1 of the things that I found interesting about this was the use of the word "reasonable". It's funny to me, e.g., that if "obstructs" is defined as "without unreasonable hazard" it's considered "reasonable" to arrest someone for it. As usual, I wonder about how valid I would find any arbiter of "reasonable" to be in a courtroom situation. This law text was then printed out in "Zapf Dingbats 1" font.

50 copies of this were printed in black on red card-stock. The street action consisted of my "picketing" with the sign & giving people the hand-out as an "explanation" when they were extroverted &/or friendly enough to approach me. The basic intent was to use the "loaded" context of the picket sign to try to catalyze people into reading a "heavy" meaning into what might otherwise ordinarily be hardly even noticed as "just a picture" or as "nonsense". I got into at least 30 fairly interesting interactions with people during this. 1 guy interpreted the telegrams/bathtubs sign as meaning "de-oppression" (or some such). He claimed to've once been on death row & said that it made him think of that & electrocution. 1 young girl thought it meant that "people should stop drownding their children". An adult with her explained that there had been alot about that on the news lately. 1 person speculated that the scissors "chasing" the airplane might be trying to "clip its wings." When people asked me what it meant I gave various responses. Sometimes I said "The beginning is near!" as a variation on the old "The end is near!" cliché. Sometimes I told people it meant "nothing" & that "I just like to walk around with this & see how people react." Sometimes I asked people to interpret it for me. Sometimes when I gave out the hand-out as a "souvenir" I explained that if they typed it into their computers in "Zapf Dingbats" font & then converted it into a text font they'd "get a punchline". 1 person even seemed remotely likely to try it. 4 friends of mine (Fabio & Donna & Alisa & Greg) followed me at a discrete distance & photographed me. 1 drunk guy noticed that he was being photoed & aggressively confronted them wanting to know why he was being photographed & whether "he'd passed the test."

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

205. "Interspatiality"

- Wats: On? - The Jill Watson Festival of the Arts - The Great Hall in the Center for the Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, March 12th, 1997, 8:30 to 9:10PM

- Jill Watson was an architect & a teacher at CMU who died in a plane crash. She was noted for having coined the word "Interspatiality" about which she is credited as having said "The identity of a space is constructed from a reading of the other spaces represented within it." This festival was created in her honor. Michael Pestel, a flutist & installation maker (amongst other things) conceived of creating a musical performance for Wats: On? that combined the idea of Interspatiality & a reference to a house that Watson had redesigned sometimes known as the Kentucky "X" House (it's on a street named Kentucky in Pittsburgh). Michael procured the floor plans to this house - 1 of the most distinctive aspects of which was the dividing of the rectangular interior by an "X". In order to use the design as a score, I proposed that the players be arranged in an "X" pattern & that they each be assigned a vocabulary of sounds corresponding to sounds that might occur in the house near their corresponding position on the "X" - a different vocabulary for each of the 4 floors of the house. My preference was to have an outline of the house be taped on the floor of the Great Hall with the "X" taped in its correct floor-plan position with the players situated on it somewhat like appliances. The idea was to then have a group of people wander thru this "X" house "simulation" & turn the players on & off by proximity - as if they were lights or TVs or whatever.. Instead of this latter, Michael chose to be the conductor by starting & stopping the players with a cue from various flutes. The Bass Flute cued the basement sounds, the Alto Flute cued the 1st floor sounds, the Concert Flute cued the 2nd floor sounds, & the Piccolo cued the attic sounds. The Great Hall is a huge "T" shaped space with the "top" of the "T" being very long with a balcony overlooking each end. Speakers were placed in each balcony & at the bottom of the "T". All of the players were miked & their sounds were sent to these speakers under the control of Ed-Um Bucholtz (with assistance from Dave Shim). The players were: Michael Johnsen: contrabass clarinet, saw(s), soprano sax, miscellaneous; Hyla Willis: violin, miscellaneous; Rachel Matthews: fog horn, violin, bowed cymbal, household appliances; Anne Wolf: sewing machine, cereal; tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: DX27S synthesizer, Mirage sampler; Kevin Shea: percussion, tapes; Brandy Auld: percussion (such as ripping cardboard boxes); Mark Tierney: tenor & alto saxes; Greg Pierce: bugle, banjo, washing machine tub, miscellaneous. These "X" players were flanked by "the percussion section": 2 people on each of the long sides of the "X" playing small amplified chalk-boards by writing on them. These were students from Michael Pestel's "Sound Art" class: Jennifer Pratt, Audra Deemer, Laura Steinmaus, & Antoinette Ford. On 1 side were 2 guys scratching away at drafting tables. 1 of them was named John Ferry & the other's name is unknown to me.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

206. Sound Lecture - Part 1

- Michael Pestel's "Sound Art" class - Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, April 1st, 1997, 7 to 10:20PM

- I placed my suitcase with the hidden mercury-switch operated tape player (formerly known as the "Total Mobile Home Suitcase" - now just called the "Suitcase") in front of each attendee & opened the lid long enough to enable them to each hear a discrete section of the 12 minute loop tape. Simultaneously, Ed-Um Bucholtz gave some introductory comments while he played various environmental recordings. Then I presented my "Chinese for Celli" vaudeo. Ed passed around records for the class to look at. I had made an approximately 1 hour & 7 minute audio tape with my voice reading a lecture entitled "(M)Usic: 1885-1995 (1997)" about various aspects of the history of (m)usic from 1885 to the present. This was interspersed with examples representing some of the audio "work" being discussed - each selection being a 1 minute excerpt representing 5 year increments. A few slides were periodically shown. My reading & the selection were mono. BBC humor & fantasy sound effects were gradually introduced in the right & left channels during the text sections making the text increasingly difficult to hear - peaking in interference around the middle of the lecture. I had a microphone plugged into an amp & various small instruments, a thunder sheet, & a trombone. Following the density pattern on the S/F/X I'd play occasional sounds with these instruments. At 1st, when the recorded lecture was uninterupted, I mouthed the text as if I were reading it so that there was a rough sync between my mouthing & the tape. As the interference got louder, I'd read the text into the mike in & out of sync with the recording to accentuate & make audible selected portions of it - as well as to complicate the overall audio. Ed-Um would periodically interpolate further explanations & selections. After 37 minutes of the tape, there was an interlude during which I presented 2 more vaudeos: "Murraygate Busking" & "Great Moments in Odd-Ball Sports: A Cue Stick Guitar Duet". The last half-hour of the lecture proceeded with the text getting gradually more audible again until the last section had it being read by a computer voice instead of my own - with me once again mouthing the words as if the taped voice were my own. Sometime during the lecture, as the students were getting restless, I told them that Ed & I thought that the lecture should go on 'til dawn because we felt that that was the best way for them to truly experience learning this subject. This probably made some of them nervous with the apprehension that I might be serious. I also mentioned that frothing catatonic siamese twin zombies were loose on the campus & that the room we were in was probably a safe place. At the end of the tapes lecture I gave a hands-on demonstration of the on-line version of Karlheinz Essl's "Lexikon Sonate". While the remaining 4 students were distracted by this, I started playing my "Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins Volunteers Collective XXVII "d composing Mozart" Release Party & Vaudeo Op" vaudeo which features people dressed as siamese twins, frothing at the mouth, & erratically wandering around "mindlessly" playing instruments & their environment. Suddenly, Michael Johnsen & Sharyn Lee Frederick (who are in the vaudeo) came staggering into the room frothing wearing the same siamese twin clothes. Michael was playing the saw (quite difficult to do since he had to clasp its handle between his legs while walking) & Sharyn was playing a child's violin. This substantiated my earlier claim about "zombies on campus" which the students presumably had immediately written off as some sort of stupid joke & gave the whole experience a fairly chaotic ending. Ed & I had had more material prepared but we decided that the students had had enough for 1 night & called it quits.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

207. ["Prima Vista" (by Mauricio Kagel)

- LatinAmeriMIX!can

The Welker Room at Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, April 4th, 1997, 8:40 to 9PM

- This work for "slide pictures and undefined sound sources" from 1962/64 requires that 2 groups of players respond to slides (all or part of a set of 25) that give graphic notation basically hinting at approximate duration, pitch, & volume. Some of these slides also give instructions about when to turn tape recorders on & off. Each group controls the projection of the slides for the other group. Dave (Ho Chan) Shim, Ed-Um Bucholtz, Michael Johnsen, & I made 6 recordings of performances of this & picked the last 1 to use as our sound source for the presentation at Chatham. Dave made additional slides that were like blurred blue blotch versions of the score slides. In the Chatham presentation these were projected superimposed with the score slides. For the recording, I played trombone, voice, whistles, tuning fork, duck call, harmonica, & bells; Dave played sine-wave generator; Ed-Um played french horn; & Michael played baritone & tenor saws.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

208. [Lost in Translation

- LatinAmeriMIX!can

The Welker Room at Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, April 5th, 1997, 9:45 to 10:40PM

- I selected 57 books about Latin America or by Latin Americans by 24 authors. The blurbs from these were then translated, using a computer, into Spanish & back into English & back into Spanish. Translation problems were deliberately exaggerated. The authors & countries represented were: Allende, Isabel (Chilé); Argueta, Manlio (El Salvador - exiled); Arlt, Robert (Argentina); de Assis, Machado (Brazil); Asturias, Miguel Angel (Guatemala); Azuela, Mariano (Mexico); Bastos, Augusto Roa (Paraguay - exiled); Borges, Jorge Luis (with Adolfo Bioy-Casares) (Argentina); Brandão, Ignácio de Loyola (Brazil); Burroughs, William S. (United States of America); Carpentier, Alejo (Cuba); Caufield, Catherine (United States of America); Cortázar, Julio (Argentina); Donoso, José (Chile); Fuentes, Carlos (Mexico); Ibargüengoitia, Jorge (Mexico); Infante, G. Cabrera (Cuba); Koster, R. M. (United States of America; Panama); Llosa, Mario Vargas (Peru); Márquez, Gabriel Garcia (Columbia; Mexico); Queiroz, Rachel de (Brazil); Sánchez, Luis Rafael (Puerto Rico); Souza, Márcio (Brazil); Traven, B. (Germany; Mexico). The resultant texts were edited in various ways & a recording of them was made. This recording was mixed with a highly edited combination of excerpts or entire pieces culled from the following:

"Pan in A Minor" from the Steel Bands of Trinidad and Tobago CD

by an uncredited Steel Band

"We Can Make It" (1988) from the Roots, Rock, Soca CD by Black Stalin (Trinidad)

"Mr. Walker (calypso)" from the West Indies - An Island Carnival CD

- performed by an unnamed Cocoa-lute Duet in Grenada (the Cocoa-lute being a mouth-bow)

"Seven Skeletons Found in the Yard" from the Calypso Breakaway 1927-1941 CD

- performed by Lord Executor (Trinidad?)

"Oígame Juanita" from the

In Praise of Oxalá and Other Gods - Black Music of South America LP

- performed by an unnamed group in Ecuador

(using a leaf (hoja) as a melody instrument)

"No. 5 Tiempo de Son" from "Two Ritmicas" (1930)

from the Concert Percussion for Orchestra LP

- composed by Amadeo Roldán (Cuba)

- performed by The Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, Paul Price conducting

"La Cucaracha" from the La Cucaracha "Songs of the Mexican Revolution" LP

- performed by Cuco Sanchez and Dueto America (Mexico)

"Tanguedia III" from the Tango: Zero Hour / Nuevo Tango: Hora Zero LP

- composed by Astor Piazzolla

& performed by Astor Piazzolla and the New Tango Quintet (Argentina)

"Mary Ann" from the Steel Drums LP

- performed by The Native Steel Drum Band (Trinidad?)

"Yawar" from the Legend of the Jivaro LP

- composed by Moises Vivanco & performed by Yma Sumac (Peru?)

"Nago Rhythms" from the Voodoo Ceremony in Haiti LP

"Cantata para América Mágica" (1960) from the LP probably of the same name

- composed by Alberto Ginastera (Argentina)

& performed by The Los Angeles Percussion Ensemble

Flaco Jiménez performing a song in the movie "Chulas Fronteras" (Tex-Mex)

"Sweet Trinidad" from the Discover America LP

- composer unknown to me (presumed to be Trinidadian)

- performed by Van Dyke Parks (USA)

"Soria Moria" (1968) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Gerardo Gandini (Argentina)

"Divertimento III" (1967) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Cesar Bolaños (Perú)

"Tropicale" (1968) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Marlos Nobre (Brazil)

"Sonogramas" (1963) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Oscar Bazän (Argentina)

"Diptico I" (1969) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Manuel Enriquez (Mexico)

"Penetrations II" (1969) from the New Music from South America for Chamber Music LP

- composed by Alcides Lanza (Argentina)

(the preceding 6 selections performed by The New Sound Composers/Performers Group

- conducted by Alcides Lanza)

All of the La Region del Mesterio cassette

- composed & performed by Antonio Zepeda (Mexico):

"When It was Still Dark"

"Undulating Serpents of Water"

"Must I Leave the Beautiful Flowers"

"The Dust of Nothingness"

"Yesterday is not Today and Today will not be Tomorrow"

"Flowers of the Wind"

"Voices from Xibalbá"

"Obsidian Butterfly"

"The Sad Iguana and the Lord of Time"

The resultant tape had 13 parts. A part of the text for the 11th part is presented as an example of the fruits of the generative process below:

"In A by day of Life-@@escrito Low Countries to summarize part couple of the batch of this rare @ @ @@masterwork @ @ @@trivializes it. The book @ @ @@swirls, coils, joint would be bombed in the mind rewarded the ++Nobel of Premium insane visions of Perfect Order on their/its/your/his magisterial stylist-@@parejo in the translation to deride frequently noisy is the modernism-@@o the part than what jealously pursues in a way pure theories in the Cloud-Cuckoo-Earth and the rare deep revelations and the funny so it is the low crumbling of India tribes or the misery of the mislaid @ @ @@transmigrant who the blow in it carefully and @+be pike special @ @ @@mindscape, beyond the space and linear thought that contain thirty-two of party cases (the tapers, as them say) screwing an martyred Gloom president in a new way, powerful and new but not new-@ + fang was ++Canudos-hogar to all the damned of the land as manned itself and somehow easier to understand: the strange death purpose, the furious activity that swells up around the prosperity and then disappears as well as suddenly as wine jumps to the life in bullfight in an old lover with an immediate resumption and the passports absurdity, rises in a powerful sea-@ @ @@fantasia and end as an ++MOBY ++DICK of the @ @ @@stokehold.... Exchequer of the Mother Saw party that it has attracted many Indian from neighboring arrangements been about to begun, the death marched silently in the ++Wobblies or philosophical anarchism to enjoy these histories only."

This tape was played live in stereo while Ben Opie played clarinet & alto sax, Ravish Momin played percussion, & I played computer. Each part had different instructions for which we prepared in various ways. Ben learned various Latin American anthems which he played in part 10. Ravish & Ben both moved around the space during part 10, etc, etc.. The room had so much reverb that all the details became almost completely Lost in Translation as a result - the final joke was on me..]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

209. Sound Lecture - Part 2

- Michael Pestel's "Sound Art" class - Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, April 8th, 1997, 7 to 10:20PM

- As with the previous week's lecture, this was ostensibly being presented in collaboration with Ed-Um Bucholtz. I write "ostensibly" because, with Ed, one's never sure whether he'll even bother to show up. Sure enough, after I'd spent 3 hours setting up a slide projector, a 16mm projector, a VCR, a TV, 2 turntable/tape-players, 3 synthesizers, a sampler/sequencer, an effects unit, a midi-patcher, 2 powered speakers, a podium, a light, a microphone, a guitar amp, etc, it was time for class to start & Ed hadn't arrived. I began with playing the sneezing loop & the tolling bell loop from my Usic minus the square root of -1 record simultaneously on the 2 turntables. By about 7:20 Ed came in & dumped a pile of books & tapes out on a table. He asked me to go ahead & do something while he organized his material. It had been our intention to perform John Cage's "Radio Music" but Ed informed me that "he wasn't prepared" so we nixed that. I presented a slide lecture introducing my vocabulary & talking about the concept of "Sound Thinking" - playing a relevant cassette tape during 1 part. At some point, I read the 1st 2 pages of my "Low Classical Usic" essay while the beginning of my "Bogus Piano Concerto" tape played. Ed still wasn't ready, so I passed around the 11 record set of Harry Bertoia "Sonambient" LPs that I'd just received that day & began playing 1 of them. Ed finally declared himself "ready" & told me that he'd talk for 20 minutes about his "Radio for the People" project, after which I was to give an electronics demo. Then he was to talk for another 20 minutes about his "Telecorps" project & I was to finish with a reading of my "& the Deadbeat Goes On & On & On.." essay with my voice being systematically pitch-shifted while a vaudeo & film version of my "Bob Cobbing" was to screen. Ed started his 20 minute Chatham Chat at 7:45. By 9:15 he was still talking. I informed him that it was 9:15 expecting him to say something like "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know I was talking for so long!" Instead, the response was something along the lines of "Oh, ok, I'll finish soon.." - in the meantime taking the equipment I'd set up & my services as his sound-man completely for granted. By 9:30 he showed no sign of stopping. I told him it was 9:30 & he said something about still having more to say. When he then asked me to do something with the sound for him I said something like "Do it yourself! I'm not your fucking sound-man you know.." This seemed to perplex him. What could I possibly be irritated about? As he came over to adjust the sound, I said "You're such an asshole!" Ever oblivious, he said "Why am I an asshole?" I pointed out that I didn't spend 3 hours setting up equipment so that he could stroll in late & take it over & use up all the available time so that I couldn't even present my part of the night. He finally shut up & I finished my presentation to the 2 students that were left (out of the original millions that were in the stadium).

[October 17, 2010 note: Ed has since gone on to be one of the best music event organizers in Pittsburgh, amongst other things - SO, don't get the wrong idea: if he's still like what I describe above I haven't seen any evidence of it for a long time]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

210. ["Prima Vista" (by Mauricio Kagel)

- Industrial Arts Co-Op Benefit - IAC Garage at the Brew House, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 3rd, 1997, 8:40 to 9PM

- See entry 206 for an introductory description of this. Unlike the previous presentation, this involved both manipulated playback of previous rehearsal tapes + some live playing of instruments (mostly those used in those rehearsals). Dave (Ho Chan) Shim made fresh tapes from the previously used ones of Ed-Um Bucholtz & Michael Johnsen by processing them electronically & then manipulated these live. Michael Johnsen alternated between playing Dave's & my rehearsal tapes. Ed-Um played french horn & I vocalized & played whistles, bulb horn(s), harmonica, slide whistle, bells, etc.. As with the preceding presentation, in the recordings used, I played trombone, voice, harmonica, whistles, tuning fork, duck call, & bells; Dave played sine-wave generator; Ed-Um played french horn; & Michael played baritone & tenor saws.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

248. Volunteers Collective @ the Chatham College Swimming Pool

- Chatham College Swimming Pool in the (former) Mellon Mansion, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, October 26th, 1997, 6 to 9PM

- The Volunteers Collective is a project started in '89 (see entries 125 & 127). Beginning in March of '97, I initiated (with the assistance of Michael Pestel) an attempted monthly series of these predominantly improv sessions. These were originally intended to be at Chatham College on the last Sunday of every month. Since most of the Volunteers Collective sets have been mainly conceived of as recording sessions with no audience, they aren't usually listed here. Entries 125, 127, & 181 are 3 of the approximately 37 VCs that I've participated in so far that are included here because they were presented to a public. The tendency of the monthly Pittsburgh VCs (there's also a monthly VC series in Baltimore) has been more & more toward using site specificity as an inspiration catalyst. As such, the April VC was at an outside earthwork on the Chatham campus by Anne Wolf (see 204) entitled "Earth Cradles", the May VC (organized by Michael Johnsen (see entries 197, 202, 204, 205, 206, & 209), Sharyn Frederick, & GRN) was near an imploding building in downtown Pittsburgh, & the June VC was of Sharyn Frederick & Mike Johnsen finishing Sharyn's floor, etc.. As the VCs have tended toward this more experiential basis, I've become more inclined to include them here even if they've had no audience. Hence entries 242, 243, & 245. This particular VC was originally intended to consist 1st of a trip to an area very close to where planes are landing at a major airport & 2nd to be followed by a session in the pool. It was raining heavily this day, & various other problems prevented the airport trip, so we just went to the pool instead. This was a somewhat poorly organized VC & there wasn't as much concentration on exploiting the uniqueness of the audio situation as I would've liked but, nonetheless, it had some funny twists in it. The main personnel were tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: miscellaneous small instruments (such as agogo, bells, whistles, etc..), 2 Indian drums, voice, &, of course, the WATER, etc..; Michael Pestel (see 204): concert flute, a specially made instrument that combines a violin with a slide-whistle which we'll call here the "Vile Air", 2 Indian drums, voice, the WATER, etc..; & Mark Tierney (see 204): tenor (? or alto?) sax, trombone, Bugle, miscellaneous small instruments, the WATER, etc..; with the intitial participation of Ailecia Ruscin (before she had to leave for class): plastic recorder, plastic toy 'clarinet', miscellaneous small instruments, the WATER, etc..; & etta cetera (before she got too water-logged) (see entries 213, 214, 215, 216, 218, 222, 223, 224, 225, 231, 234, & 240): miscellaneous small instruments, the WATER, etc.. This group was augmented by the very energetic near-end arrival of Sharyn Lee Frederick (see entries 197, 202, & 205) who perked things up by skateboarding around, flinging herself in the pool with a full body waterproof suit on, & floating a candle in a metal mixing bowl, etc.. She played a bugle, miscellaneous small instruments, & the WATER, etc.. Even later, Japanese vocalist Mika arrived & sang & played WATER; Colorado musicologist Brenda arrived & played miscellaneous small instruments; & Chatham student Hikari came & played slide whistle &, perhaps, more (?). The lavish underground swimming pool where this occurred (next to a 2 lane bowling alley where some of the action also was) is credited as the 1st in-ground swimming pool in Pittsburgh. It's located in what was formerly the wealthy Mellon family's mansion - which is now part of the Chatham campus. A possible highlight of this VC was when a Pittsburgh's Haunted Sites tour (or some such) came thru (because of the proximity of Halloween) while we were playing - much to the surprise of both the VC participants & to the touring crowd. This gave Mark, Michael Pestel, & myself an unexpected audience of between 20 & 30 - who I assume were thoroughly confused by seeing 3 'grown men' playing instruments in a pool & splashing about madly.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

249. (M)Usic - 1885 to the Present

- Seminar Room, Woodland Art Center, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, November 20th, 1997, 7 to 10:20PM

- This was yet another variation on the mad scientist didaction previously described in entries 205, 208, & 211. I was located in the front of the room behind a podium on a table with various sound equipment on it. Record & Tape-Player/Radio #1 was connected by long wires to 2 speakers in the rear of the room. Record & Tape-Player/Radio #2 played thru 2 speakers in the middle of the room. A tape-player played thru 2 speakers near the front. My mic & a partially broken Hammond monophonic synthesizer were fed thru an effects unit & played stereo thru a bass amp & a guitar amp roughly flanking me. The synthesizer was on the floor by my feet as was a remote switch for changing the effects settings in a prearranged pattern of pitch-shifts within a 2 octave range. The room was generally dark - with the exception of a small lamp on my podium & a flashlight. As people arrived, loops of sneezing from 2 copies of my LP Usic - -1 played on the 2 turntables. These & the other loops on the records were speed-manipulated by vacillating between 33&1/3 & 45rpm. They were spatially manipulated with the balance controls. The Suitcase (see the previously named entries + 199) was put on people's laps & opened to play short synthesizer & sampler/sequencer bits.

I explained that "This presentation is not a complete history of recent "music" or "sound art".." while playing the keyboard with my feet. The droning synthesizer & my voice were panned by the effects unit. Then, the "'Lecture' Proper" began. As before, the pre-recorded lecture played - going over some 'western' (m)usic innovations & playing 1 minute examples. Sound effects gradually entered making the text more & more difficult to understand. I lip-synced the text, spoke over it in & out of sync & played various small instruments: such as whistles, trombone, thunder sheet, crow call, bulb horns, radios (adding to the spatial complexity), etc.. During the speaking section leading up to an excerpt from Johanna M. Beyer's "Music of the Spheres", I played the Hammond with my feet again. After the John Cage "Credo in Us" example, I presented my "Murraygate Busking" vaudeo followed by the "Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins Volunteers Collective XXVII d composing Mozart Release Party" vaudeo. During this latter, I also played 3 copies of Monty Cantsin's "d composing Mozart" audio tape thru the 3 different tape players so that sound was coming from 7 different speaker sources. This was accompanied by etta cetera (see the plethora of entries relevant to her listed in the preceding entry) & I staggering into the room as frothing catatonic siamese twins (as usual). One woman surprised us both by dipping her finger into the froth on the front of etta's scrubs & tasting it! An intermission gave the attendees some relief & the 2nd half of the "'Lecture' Proper" resumed. During the Sun Ra part of this, I tilted a rain-stick near the ears of everyone in the audience - as Sun Ra had done in concerts of his that I'd attended. The end of this part of the presentation involved a demonstration of Karlheinz Essl's "Lexikon-Sonate online" on the computer. Another intermission happened & I screened my black & white 16mm film entitled "Bob Cobbing" (the conceptually vandalized lecturer one) at silent speed - simultaneous with the vaudeo of John Henry Nyenhuis & myself presenting the "Bogus Piano Concerto" at the Music Gallery in Toronto (see entry 194) - & simultaneously with my reading my "Low Classical Usic" essay while pitch-shifting my voice for every sentence & inflating a beach balloon tucked under my clothes by my belly - both of these latter using foot pedals. At the end of this part (45 minutes long), I gave written copies of the essay to the witnesses. An excerpt from the raw footage of the "Volunteers Collective at the Anonymous Family Reunion" vaudeo was presented & I passed out copies of the cassette tape from the same event as endurance rewards for those remaining. A brief question & answer period followed.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

250. Practicing Promotextuality

- Galerie Lascaux, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, December 8th, 1997, 7:35 to 9:15PM

- I didn't really 'name' this until after it happened. It could just as easily be called a Mad Scientist Didaction (or an Uncert, etc..) but I'm happy to use a new pun. This was my 1st use of an audio switcher that I'd built 5 years before but never fixed to my satisfaction. It's designed to take 16 mono inputs (or 8 stereo inputs, etc..) & to produce 16 outputs to speakers. It's housed in a suitcase. Each input has an on/off switch & each output has an on/off switch & a volume control. There are also 16 panning pots so that the outputs can be divided into 8 rights & 8 lefts, etc.. I aimed a slide projector at a white wall & positioned 8 speakers around the area where the attendees would sit to watch the slides. As inputs, I had 2 tape-player/radios & an audio line from a camcorder. etta cetera (see entries 213, 214, 215, 216, 218, 222, 223, 224, 225, 231, 234, 240, 247, & 248) operated the latter, while I operated the rest. I projected the same slides used in my 2 Simultaneous Lectures: "(M)Usic 1885 to the Present" & "140 Slides to a Better Me" (entry 211). I explained the slides & played the radio & 3 tapes. The tapes used were my: "Concrete Mixing Usical Material using my Tapes & Records #4" (originally assembled around '90(?) for use in my "Terrence Dougherty" instrument & involving a large variety of bird & animal sounds + S/F/X + my own material from a fairly long time span), "Don't Mess with Me / Multi-Voice/Purpose" (June '96 synthesizer/sampler/sequencer experiments - both concentrating somewhat on playing primarily with 'live programming'), & "Speech Defect Synthesis Kit" (an anthology of various sampler (primarily) speech synthesis experiments of mine from '94 to '97). While I explained, I would turn the speakers on & off so that the sounds played would move around the space in various ways: in a circle, from front to back, erratically, etc.. etta moved thru the assembled people pointing the camera at them & gregariously speaking only in speech crutches (& the occasional oblique joke). The idea of the line from the camera was that the sound she was to generate & pick up was supposed to be rerouted thru the speakers. This didn't seem to work. The last tape that I played was a speech crutches sequence that etta & I collaborated on - with samples of etta speaking. Since the crutches etta was using included some common to my speech, we functioned as echoes of each other in which the somewhat 'non-semantic' aspects of the language used became emphasized as a deliberate distraction from the more 'informative linearity'. The playing of the speech crutches tape was intended to shift the apparent 'obnoxiousness' of etta's behaviour to a 'climactic' obvious formalness. Whether anyone followed any of this is a different story.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

252. [Volunteers Collective @ Jessica Rustler's Cylinder Gongs @ Chatham College

- Chatham College outside near Woodland Hall, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, February 15, 1998, near sunset

- As with many actions I'm involved with, this wasn't intended for an audience nor was it intended not for an audience. Michael Pestel & I simply played an approximately 40 minute set using this sculpture of 9 hanging gongs made from metal cylinders with their ends cut off while people on campus wandered by & lingered for a few minutes here & there. Michael also played a music stand by bowing it, played a cymbal, & played the gong support. I played the music stand by scraping it with various parts of a pocket knife, & played the cymbal & gong support too. I wore a latex 'hat' that looks like a human head severed below the nose with a pool of blood issuing out from it (the 'brim'). I played an extended cymbal section with the 'severed head' on the cymbal.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

253. Volunteers Collective @ the National Aviary

- Marsh Room, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, February 22, 1998, morning

- Sharyn Lee Frederick, etta cetera, Moya Luckett, Michael Pestel, Jon Skuldt, & I arrived @ the Aviary's Marsh Room an hour or so before it officially opened to interact with the birds there. These latter included one or more of each of the following: Wattled Currasow, Coral Billed Ground Cuckoo (named "Monster"), Greater Flamingo, Red Rumped Cacique, Red Crested Cardinal, Inca Tern, Giant Cowbird, Spackled Mousebird, Blue Eared Glossy Starling, Orange Bishop Weaver, Crested Oropendela, Kiskadee, Buff Throated Sultator, Black Head Woodpecker, Ruddy Duck, Cuban Whistling Duck, Hooded Mergansee, Wood Duck, Bahama Pintail, Rubybill, Argentine Red Shoveler, Hamerkop, Southern Lapwing, Scarlet Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Green Backed Heron, Boat Billed Heron, Snowy Egret, Bluegrey Tanager, Painted Bunting, Scaley Naped Pigeon, Red Bellied Macaw. Michael Pestel had been coming to the Aviary regularly to play & record & has selections from these sessions on his Ornithology Shadows CD. Michael played flute, Vile Air (a hybrid violin & slide whistle), & tape player; Sharyn played wood, rubber, ocarina, trombone, voice, greeting card, pie pan, whistles, & corrugated tube; etta played crow call, voice, micro-cassette player, floor (by squeaking her shoes on it), chime tree, siren whistle, & whistling. Jon played a tape player that produces an unintentional by-product drone, corrugated tube, slide whistle, & pie pan; Moya played very quite clarinet & harmonica; & I played voice, trombone, bells, violin, chime tree, Jon's droning tape player, whistles, bird calls, rattle, whistling, & corrugated tube. etta & Sharyn mimiced bird mannerisms & we all attempted to interact with the birds in various, usually sound based, ways. The public wandered thru & occasionally a child would play the chime tree or some bells.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

254. Volunteers Collective "A Year of Sundays" Release Party @ the Chatham College Swimming Pool

- Chatham College Swimming Pool in the (former) Mellon Mansion, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, March 29th, 1998, 8 to 9:30PM

- The Volunteers Collective is a project started in '89 (see entries 125, 127, 181, 242, 243, 245, 247, 250, & 251) that's gone thru various phases since then - the phase most recently preceding this event being 2 monthly series. A series on the1st Tuesday of every month @ the Red Room @ Normal's Store/Performance-Space started in January of 1997 & a series on the last Sunday of every month (in theory) @ various sites in Pennsylvania started in March of 1997. This was the release party for the Widémouth cassette (#18) entitled "A Year of Sundays" from this latter. It was intended to be a climax to the series since I've somewhat decided to not work within the Volunteers Collective context anymore. This decision was made largely to disassociate myself from the Baltimore VC which doesn't seem to have a conceptual orientation along the lines of what I'm currently most interested in. My preference is for what I'm provisionally calling "CircumSubstantial Playing" - meaning playing in which the whole circumstances under which the playing occurs is created/found & concentrated on as the primary stimulus for substance to be improvised out of. Such an approach factors in social & physical elements as being of high importance & isn't necessarily concerned with "music". "Music"-production seeming to be the main point of the Baltimore VC series. I advertised this event with the following e-mail notice:

Sunday, March 29th, 1998, at 8PM, in the Chatham College Swimming Pool located in the lower depths of what was the Mellon Mansion, people who think they might have fun doing such a thing (or something or another) will gather in the pool with street clothes on (no bathing suits PLEASE) to make sound while a smoke machine fogs up the area. I'm asking people to bring metal salad mixing bowls to float with candles in them - to also be used as percussion instruments. It's also suggested that waterproof sound makers be brought. As if that's not enough, the pool lights will be off so at various times & in various combinations the lighting will consist of the candles, a strobe light, & a (hopeful) video projection of (a so-far unedited) edit/compilation of the (presumably) complete Volunteers Collective footage - which is quite alot. This vaudeo will be projected onto the smoke, at least, & (dubiously) onto a screen planted above or in the pool as well - resulting in a perplexity of reflections. I'll probably bring masks to be worn by those not afraid to have their perceptions further confused. This is not advised for people inclined towards DROWNING under oddball sports conditions!

I did manage to complete the vaudeo edit - with sound from 23 sessions & visuals from 19. The selections used were highly fragmented & usually short & structured with substantial black space around the actual shot & separating sections so that they would project onto different parts of the screen, so that they would intrude suddenly, & so that they wouldn't play long enough to completely muddy the reverberant acoustic environment. The screen was made from white nylon Spandex & was approximately 10 feet high by 15 feet wide & was stretched perpendicular to the dividing line between the shallow & deep ends of the pool. Anything projected on it could be seen from both sides clearly. Wanting to have this be a potentially participatory experience for whoever might attend, this wasn't restricted to 'veteran' players to the exclusion of 'amateurs/students'. As such, a mix of the crude & the subtle was to be expected. Given that I started @ precisely 8PM & that most people wandered in after that, entering the room must've been disorienting. The strobe back-lit the screen & the video projection front-lit it. In the foggy dark, it was hard to see where you were walking & there were power cords & other objects around to be careful of. People danced in the strobe & the projection, played in the pool & wandered around the perimeter. There were big plastic water jugs as percussion & flotation devices + kickboards floating in the pool. I'd provided various small instruments, masks, & siamese twin outfits (which weren't used) & etta cetera & I provided 10 squeaky toys usually sold for dogs to play with. These were variously shaped, such as as a human foot, a chicken leg, etc.. Rachel Matthews & Sharyn Lee Frederick brought metal salad mixing bowls to float - one of which had a lit candle in it. Michael Pestel had arranged for the school to provide the fog machine, the Spandex, the strobe, the vaudeo projector, the pool, the VCR, & the sound system. We, unfortunately, had to pay a 'lifeguard' to be there who did next to nothing (including even be there all the time) & who was the only person present to be paid. The darkness & the chaos contributed to what I suspect was a conglomerate of quasi-autistic experiences for the attendees. I spent most of my time doing the lifeguard's job & making sure no-one drowned, tripped over wires, or otherwise hurt themselves, - as well as managing the technical end, etc.. Meanwhile, Carol danced, wearing a tutu, creating shadows - often in what I thought of as a 'dream-like' isolation from others @ the relatively uncluttered perimeter of the deep end. etta cetera slid across the floor on the leg-ends of a black velvet pants suit her mother had given her. I wore my "Hir Suit" (mechanic's coveralls with wigs attached) with a plastic "gorilla" chest bared & a large red sombrero. People wandered in & out - some mainly in there in the dark & possibly never even seeing who else was around them squeaking & screaming & throwing the water jugs at the walls. At least 23 people participated ranging in age from, perhaps, 13 to 46. These included those mentioned above + Ailecia Ruscin + Lowell + Margaret (?) & her son + Greg Pierce + Mark Tierney + Edgar Bucholtz + Terry + Ava Collins + many others whose names I don't know. My main criticisms might be that the live sound didn't always interest me & that the lighting wasn't disorienting enough. Nonetheless, given the dangers of the pool environment, I'm happy that we could push it as far as we did without anyone getting hurt.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

256. Death Bed Aerobics

- Silver Eye, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, August 1, 1998

- This was a very short (5:00) filmstrip projection collaboration between myself (as Party Teen on Couch #2) etta cetera [the apparently skewed grammar here being not a mistake]. We made 2 filmstrips meant to be projected side by side called Death Bed Aerobics. In most cases the strips were just meant to be projected next to each other without any motion other than that of the strips passing thru the projectors. However, at key points, the projections were moved to heighten their content. So, for example, when a text on the strips reads:

It All

Be- Gan

With A

Split- ting

Head- Ache

then the "Split- ting" would be a cue to separate the images further. Eventually, the images left the screen altogether. I was wearing my Leper-Skin Suit both in the filmstrip & during the screening. These clothes are an extremely ragged white linen suit covered with color xerox heat transfers of pictures of lepers & leprous skin. I was also wearing my funeral home softball team t-shirt.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

259. Reading

- Fuel & Fuddle, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, August 27, 1998

- Jon Skuldt asked me to give a reading with him so he opened with standing at the mike for a few seconds & then saying "Excuse me" as if he had to go deal with something for a moment - after which he played a tape of his giving a simulated reading in which, basically, no ordinary poems were read & he didn't return to the mike. Then, as "Party Teen On Couch etta cetera", etta & I started showing slides & explaining them & reading their texts. I was wearing my "Cloud Suit" (see entry 255) & etta was wearing 1 of her Story Dresses (see entry 255 again). We began with my "Play Out Regress" - a highly encoded & abstracted text from my high school yearbook (revised a decade later) & the audience received free copies of the magazine it appeared in: "dop e". Then I showed a slide of my "mediums for Heinrich Welz". This was followed by etta cetera's reading "Miss Connected"s/"Missed Connections" that had been placed in Baltimore & Pittsburgh City Papers by members of the Kneehighs Gang + a few responses to them while I played S/F/X. I projected & read the entire book version of my half-asleep phrases entitled "Telepathy Receptivity Training". I put on 1 of the Story Dresses & etta & I read the stories awkwardly off each other's dresses by flashlight. We ended with a reading of a slide of the sign made for 256.

- The movie from this is on my oneownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/dDrKuf7ybE8

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

260. Air Drop #2: Code Name: Alpha Alpha Alpha

- Overtop Carnegie-Mellon University & environs, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, September 4th, 1998, 1:30 to 2:30PM

- This was (as the above title indicates) the 2nd in a series. For more info relevant to this 1 (like a rough description of the type of paper plane used) see entry 246. One of the main differences between this & its predecessor is that it was done mainly in the name of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts & not Le Groupe Absence. The day started with a phone call at 8AM from the pilot, Delta Bravo, saying that the weather in Baltimore was too misty for him to take off as early as he'd planned. We

waited an hour to find out how the weather would change. Delta called back & said that it was clearing & that he'd leave around 10:30 & that we should meet him at the Allegheny Airport near Pittsburgh between 12 & 12:30. I called the ground cameraperson, Mike Juliet, to tell him that we'd be starting 2 hours later than I'd originally told him but I only got his answering machine.

12:15 & Juliet Lima, Sierra Lima Foxtrot November, & I (tANGO, aLPHA cHARLIE) arrived at the airport. Delta had just arrived. I was wearing sky camouflage with the front covered with a hundred or so square buttons with images of sky & clouds on them. Sierra was wearing a flight suit. We had a video camera, 2 35mm still cameras, a tape recorder, & a half-frame 35mm camera (for shooting filmstrips).

We shot various footage of each other & the plane & loaded the 950 paper planes (etc) in (unobtrusively packed in a shoulder bag & a small box so that they wouldn't attract too much attention from airport personnel). Delta ran thru his various technical checks & we boarded the plane & got ready for take-off.

Then the camcorder ceased to work. I later realized that a connection in the camcorder power had ceased to work & that the tape had then jammed. I tried changing batteries to no avail. Since we were about to take off, I gave up on the camcorder & decided to concentrate on the filmstrip camera while Sierra shot slides & Juliet shot stills. As the plane lifted off the ground, the filmstrip camera jammed! This had been working perfectly 'til then & I still have no idea why the film wouldn't advance & the camera wouldn't take any more pictures. There were still about 20 pictures left on the roll (out of 48 available).

In the noisy airplane, Delta had asked us to maintain silence while he communicated with the radio tower. I tried to communicate thru gestures to Sierra that I wanted her to rewind her slide film & take it out of her camera so that I could put it in the filmstrip camera & keep on shooting with that. She misunderstood, rewound the film too far so that it no longer had a tongue sticking out for rethreading, & handed me her camera instead. THEN she understood & began frantically trying to pry open the film cannister without exposing the film inside so that the tongue could be gotten out & the film could be loaded in my camera. The film got mangled & that was more or less the end of that roll. Down to ONE still camera &, hopefully, the ground camcorder! At least we got some good audio recording off the plane's sound system.

In the meantime, the plane was circling around the targetted drop area: the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University - picked because it's near an easily identifiable landmark (the Cathedral of Learning), because it has much open space for the planes to land on, & because there would be alotof people milling around outside. Juliet & I had put a "Missed Connections" in the City Paper (a weekly paper in many cities in the US) that read as follows:

"Missed Connections" or "Mis-Connecteds" or "I Saw Yous" (etc) are usually used by people who met someone briefly or just saw them somewhere without meeting them & who want to meet them again. A typical example might be something like "I saw you at Station Square. You had a red sports car & we kept looking at each other. Your friend Jennie introduced us but then you had to go. Can we meet again?"

Juliet & I had given a reading the week before (under the names of Party Teen on Couch #2 etta cetera - see entry 257) where we'd read Mis-Connecteds that our gang (the Kneehighs) had placed in various papers around the US (mainly Baltimore & Pittsburgh). This was partially to SEED the audience's mind in the hope that they'd read the next week's Mis-Connecteds & see the "UFOS ON CMU" one.

ANYWAY, we dropped the 950 paper airplanes over the campus - not sure whether we were actually hitting the target or not. The planes were of a type that flies loop-de-loops - chosen so that they'd stay in the air a fairly long time to increase the chances of people seeing them. We could see them flying all over the place. They looked great! We could see that many of them had landed on a golf course in Schenley Park next to CMU.

We returned to the airport, Delta flew back to B-More, & the rest of us headed back to P-Burgh to drop the film off to be developed & to head to the CMU campus to find out how many of the planes, if any, had made it there. We got there & were happy to find THAT THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!! The drop had actually been ON-TARGET! This's not an easy thing to do when you're flying in excess of 100mph & have other wind factors to take into consideration. We walked around & asked groups of students near where we saw planes if they'd seen the planes come down. None of them had. When we told them that we'd just flown over & that we'd dropped a thousand paper planes onto the campus, they expressed no curiousity AT ALL! They mostly stared dully or hostilely at me & made no move to even look at the pointed-out nearby planes. We didn't find any witnesses to tape-record an interview with & Mike Juliet was nowhere around to be found.

We went to the golf course next & there were paper planes everywhere. I went up to a few golfers who were surrounded by the papers & asked them if they'd seen them come down. They hadn't seen them & hadn't even noticed them all around them!? One guy did pick one up to read it & carried it off with him. We finally found a group of old men sitting around in the shade by the golf course building & one of them had seen the planes come down. They had a couple of the planes there with them. I asked the witness if he minded that I record an interview with him & he said he didn't want to be recorded because he was wanted by the police. I didn't believe this (or that my recording him would matter) but I respected his request & didn't record him. We talked substantially about the project. I explained the AAA somewhat to him - reading the slogans off the plane & talking about some of them somewhat.

The main AAA text on the plane was somewhat like this:

 

FREE ADMISSION TO RAVE IN SPACE!*

The Asssociation of

Autonomous Astronauts has launched

an information War against

the present-day state, corporate

and military monopoly of space travel.

 

What we need today is

an independent, community-based

space exploration program,

one that is not restricted by military,

scientific or corporate interests.

 

Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd.

The AAA moves in several directions at once.

Death to goverment space agencies everywhere.

All power to the Association of Autonomous Astronauts!

Space Travel - By Any Means Necessary

Dreamtime Is Upon Us!

Here Comes Everybody!

Space is the place.

The Christian millenium is right around the corner... may their world end with it!

Space travel is necessary - evolution implies it

Sex in space is necessary - evolution demands it

The Association of Autonomous Astronauts

is making the future happen.

The AAA asks, 'What is the point of going into space

only to replicate life on planet earth?'

Everything you ever wanted on planet earth, and never

received, will be yours in outer space.

 

http://www.t0.or.at/aaa

http:/www.deepdisc.com/aaa

http://www.uncarved.demon.co.uk

*must provide own transportation

The planes also had 5 rubber-stamps + an individual frame of super-8 film from my MIKE FILM project on each of them. The MIKE FILM was accompanied by my Baltimore P. O. Box address. One of the stampings read: Home Skiing is like Yard Sailing - an obscure reference to a fake attempt to start a silly fad thru the TV Hospital (see entries 183 - 189) & another tie-in to the "Missed Connection".

The old man that we talked with said that he thought that most people wouldn't be able to understand what it was all about & that if they'd even look at the planes they'd just throw them away in confusion. He seemed to understand the slogan "Only those that attempt the impossible will achieve the absurd" the most easily. He wanted to know if we were a "cult". I told him no.

Juliet & I had to leave to go to work. We stopped back at our house 1st & found that Mike Juliet had dropped off his camcorder footage. He had left his house at 7:30AM & hadn't gotten my message that the flight was starting late. As such, he'd waited at CMU between 10:45 & 1:30 & then gone inside to try to call me. When he came out the planes were everywhere. He'd missed the drop. He shot footage of people completely ignoring the planes laying around. Amazing.

Despite the footage fuck-ups & the lack of interest in the targetted audience, I'm happy that we managed to actually hit the target & to pull it off in general. To me, most people are hopeless robopaths - too busy following orders, being normal & being stupid to ever notice or care about anything unusual in their environment. This was an attempted seeding. It largely feel on (metaphorically) rocky ground: in the midst of hopelessly (?) dull people. College students: REACTIONARY MUDDLE AMERICA. Nonetheless, with a drop this large who knows who it may've reached. 4 website addresses were included. MAYBE SOMEBODY will check out the websites as a result. MAYBE SOMEBODY will have their mind tweaked a little. I'm sure the old men at the golf course did.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

269. Jon Skuldt for a Day

- Room 501, Cathedral of Learning, Pitt University, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, November 16, 1998, 3PM

- Jon Skuldt (see 251 & 257) asked etta cetera (see most of the recent entries - starting at 207) & I to assist with a presentation he was required to make for one of his classes. The theme (as I recall 7 months later) was to be texts based on interviews. Jon asked us to enter the room shortly after he'd begun, to identify ourselves as "Jon Skuldt", & to proceed along the theme. Jon afterwards told me that he "wanted to issue some sort of critique about the narcissism/fantasy of writerdom." He described his portion as having "used "writerly" and self-centered phrases (partially from artificial interviews or segments of interviews) as my source material. These phrases were contained as samples on the Macintosh, on cassette tapes, and I supplied additional source material live with my own voice. By constantly ping-ponging tracks and running them at different speeds/out of sync/etc. I hoped to create a text which would foreground the narcissism and absurdity of the statements, partly through repetition [..]." Some of the source phrases were:

 

Computer:

*y'know, as a writer, I...

*I just write what I feel, y'know?

*I am so sick of form getting in the way of my writing.

*What's it called again? No -- I don't really want to know -- I don't want

anything to infect my art.

*You are SO creative! That is just SO creative! That is SO creative!

You are SO CREATIVE.

and so on.

 

Voice:

*What I am about to say is EXTREMELY important.

*This is interesting.

*This is based on a series of interviews.

and so on.

After a few minutes of the above, I arrived & said something like "Hi. I'm Jon Skuldt - sorry I'm late but I had a very important meeting." I then explained that I'd just gotten back from touring & gave a rough description of The Department of Maybe Presents: Problem-Solving Demonstration & played a little of the mostly incomprehensible audio tape from the San Francisco version of this (see 265) on the Player Belt (see 212 & many of the entries after that). etta, as "Jon Skuldt", arrived shortly after me & asked the audience 2 questions to the effect of "Are you going home for Thanksgiving?" & "Can I get a ride to Baltimore?". She handed out pieces of paper for people to write their answers on, collected the papers, & sounded out the answers in Morse Code on a portable device & then left. She didn't get a ride. I'd already left, in the meantime, saying something like "Sorry, I've got to run, I've got an important appointment." After we left, the originating Jon Skuldt finished the ping-ponging segment by quoting the Macintosh samples & pulled out another tape recorder (one which buzzes and feeds back but can't record because it's trying to play) and insisted that the opinions of his fellow classmates were extremely important to him. He walked from student to student, asking for their opinions, and when each began to speak, he made ecstasy faces and moaned with pleasure.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

270. Internationally Reknowned Sprocket Scientist

- Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 8, 1999, 8:30-11PM

- I advertised this by putting up ads around town with paper cilia on one edge designed to attract attention. The ads were placed in such a way so that from some directions only the cilia were visible. The heading of the ads read "ATTENTION! ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS!" as if it were some sort of political notice. They also included the following program & descriptions:

00. Pictogrameting against the Sharks

(a protest in favor of holus-bolus)

I began the night by pacing back & forth in front of the gallery with my Pictogrameting sign (see 203 for a precursor). Anyone who asked me about what it meant received the program/ad (without the cilia). People entering the space heard 2 of my Usic - -1 loops playing.

01. S.P.C.S.M.E.F. Speech

(a crucial issue addressed 1st & foremost) [see the prototypical speech in 253]

02. Explanation of "Play Out Regress" with dop e Slides

(look at how precocious I used to be) [see 257]

03. "Background Movies for Home Music: [Perpetual (E)Motion] Home"

04. "Background Movies for Home Music: Light Motion" [should be Hurry]

05. "Background Movies for Home Music:

[Toasting Emotions in Freudian] Western"

(how to make generic home movies)

06. "How Orgone Cinema Treats Its Visiting Filmmakers"

(Pittsburgh's very own cultural rethink-tank in action)

In the optical print made from Orgone's master of this, the top of the image is cropped - making the frame size have an unusually skinny height. This enabled a dual projection of the 16mm overtop the vaudeo on the same screen. The 16mm was projected via an analysis projector wch was manipulated by Michael Johnsen to run at various speeds in relation to the already extremely slow speed of the original as witnessed in the vaudeo.

07. "Sound Thinking: Phase III: Mimesis"

(stamping a part of the mind rarely addressed & mailing it) [see 217]

08. "Satanic Liposuction, Neoism!, & YOU!!"

(you've been hearing about it subliminally since birth now find out what it's all about!)

This was screened in a 5 projection version. The 5 images were side-by-side spread over 3 screens. On either side of the "vaudience" there were 2 turntables/radios/tape-players connected to 2 speakers. Rita Rodentia & I were each manipulating LPs (Rita had a RRR 500 Lock Grooves record & I had my Usic - -1 record) & tapes (Rita had Amen's "Weapons for Children" & I had a Gen Ken tape that had been provided as soundtrack material especially for "Satanic..") & the radios. On the main 2-speaker mono P.A. "Satanic.." soundtrack material provided by John Berndt was playing & each of the projectors had occasional spurts of sound. As such, there were 11 speaker sound sources!

09. "Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins Volunteers Collective XXVII

d composing Mozart Release Party"

(the only safe place to be at this date & time will be the Silver Eye Gallery

be there or take your life into your own hands)

The vaudience was warned that all of Pittsburgh was plagued by "Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins". During the projection, 3 pairs of these staggered in from the rear & proceeded to knock over the chairs & drool. See 205, 211, & 248. These pairs were made up of Ron Douglas & Rachel; Ailecia Ruscin (see 247 & 251) & Tim Dog; & Jon Skuldt (see 251, 257, & 267) & a friend. 2 tapes of Monty Cantsin's

"d composing Mozart" were playing on the side speakers.

10. "In Perplexing Pursuit of the Prodigy Paleontologist" (version 2)

(a mobius comic strip)

The posters also promised "Foiled Again!" (serious concerns about Mind Control disguised as 'lunatic fringe' wear) & "The Department of Maybe Presents: Problem Solving Demonstration" (your chance to wax philosophical) but neither of these were presented due to technical problems & forgetfulness. etta cetera / Rita Rodentia did make foil hats for people as a prologue to "Foiled Again!" - with me warning them that they MUST have foil hats if they wanted to be protected against the thought police (or some such).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

272. Anti-Death-Penalty Demonstration

- Downtown Pittsburgh in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building, us@

- Monday, June 21, 1999, 5:15PM

- This was presented in conjunction with the Western Pennsylvania Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal & a coalition of other groups against the death-penalty. At a meeting of the Committee, it was proposed that a replica of an electric-chair be made as a prop in this proposed demonstration. When informed of that idea, Tim Dog & etta cetera (see most of the recent entries - starting at 212 with etta cetera mention) & others expanded that idea to include a giant puppet of the Grim Reaper holding a scythe with "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" written on it trying to execute the Statue of Liberty. I built the electric chair prop & etta built the Grim Reaper. We were helped in this building by Gabrielle Gottlieb, Tom the Thought Activist, Will Rat for Iraq, Tim Dog, & others.

On the day of the protest, etta wrapped a flowery-patterned sheet around her with "Give me Liberty or Give me Liberty" written on the back & adorned herself with other painted cardboard Statue of Liberty props & screamed "Give me Liberty or Give me Liberty" & other such things while I (still dressed in my clothes from my construction job) tried to strap her in to the chair. This was followed by multiple speakers talking against the death-penalty. The police were present, & this was done without a permit, but we weren't stopped.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

280. Community Affiliations

- Michael Pestel's CMU Community Affilliations Class, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, February 28, 2000, 6:15-9:15PM

- The "Community Affilliations" class at Carnegie-Mellon University is required for grad students in the "arts". Its purpose is to get students out of their studios & other art-world ghettos & into other communities. The class was told to meet at the fountain at the end of Baum Boulevard in the neighborhood of East Liberty. I arrived with the Pictogramet (see 203, 256, 268, & 271) & began a Generic Tour (see 271 & 274). They were then led to the apartment of Emily (1 of the students in the class) where "Where We're" was video-projected onto the wall upon their arrival so that they could experience the Generic Tour continuing in another way. The 1st 10 minutes or so of that played & then I stopped it & switched to a slide lecture similar to that described in entry 272. The same Mike Film containing hand-out that was used in 191 was handed out when I came to appropriate point in the lecture. 4 more vaudeos relevant to unusual community interaction were then screened:

"Neoist Guide Dog"

"Murraygate Busking"

"Funny Farm Summit Meeting"

& "Air Drops" (version 2)

The class was then invited to ask me questions as a part of a "Pittsburgh Pirates - Steelers of the Airwaves" pirate radio broadcast. The equipment was set up in the kitchen. I played 2 CDs in shuffle mode that I'd made with my material combined with sound effects & a mike was passed around for people to speak into so that their voices could be broadcast overtop. The radio in the living room (where the previous activities had taken place) was tuned to our broadcast so that non-participants could monitor what we were doing. I was assisted in this last portion by the Princess of Dorkness.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

305. Light Show (of Sorts)

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, August 25, 2000, 7:30-10:00PM

- I was asked, as a part of my job as a Warhol Museum projectionist, to show a Warhol film as background to an evening of bands in the theater there. Taking advantage of this RARE opportunity to actually do something 'creative' there instead of being little more than a piece of machinery, I brought in a camcorder & set it up on a tripod aimed out of the booth window & patched into the booth system so that I could include footage of the bands into the projection mix. I also brought in some scrap 35mm film to project - using an anamorphic lens to distort the images. I used 2 16mm projectors, 1 35mm projector, & video projector. Because the video screened was a live feed from the camcorder that was videoing the whole screen & stage area, the video included the other projections & the bands in an 'infinite regress' (limited to whatever level of finiteness the resolution was capable of). I dangled various objects, such as Fresnel lenses, in front of the 16mm projectors. The Warhol films used included reels 20-23 of "Screen Tests" & "Soap Opera".

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

306. Light Show (of Sorts)

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, September 1, 2000

- Once again (see entry 303) I was asked, as a part of my job as a Warhol Museum projectionist, to show a Warhol film as background to an evening of bands in the theater. I came even more prepared this time w/ the camcorder, slides, & scrap 35mm film. This time I used 2 16mm projectors, 2 35mm projectors, a slide projector, & the video projector. Again, the video screened was a live feed from the camcorder that was videoing the whole screen & stage area, so it included the other projections & the bands in an 'infinite regress' (limited to whatever level of finiteness the resolution was capable of) &/or showed close-ups. I projected found slides from Iceland & Africa & slides I'd made myself of various special texts - such as Kneehigh Gang "Misconnecteds" etc.. (see entry 257). The 35mm film used was from an animated Babar movie & a western. Since I could use both 35mm projectors simultaneously, in conjunction w/ anamorposis, I could overlap the images so that they formed a "+" or an "x" shape depending on how I rotated the lenses. The Warhol films used were reel 1 of "Screen Test #2", reels 1 & 2 of "Space", reels 1 & 2 of "Hedy", reel 2 of "Camp", & reel 1 of "Kitchen". I milked the available resources fairly thoroughly thru all the permutations of projection combination.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

308. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts)

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, March 2, 2001

- Once again (see entries 303 & 304) I was asked, as a part of my job as an Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, to show Warhol films as background to an evening of bands in the theater. This time, at least, one of the bands was named after one of the Warhol "Superstars": Edie Sedgwick - so the films shown could be relevant. Being more than a bit irritated by now by having my skills non-appreciated at this museum, I didn't approach this with as much enthusiasm as I might ordinarily have & didn't bother to make a video record of it that I could jog my memory with as I write this. I used 2 16mm projectors to simultaneously screen Edie's 2 (or more) "Screen Tests" + (probably) "Inner & Outer Space" & (maybe) "Kitchen" & used the video projector to screen "Ciao Manhattan". All of the 16mms were good material for subtle quasi-phase-shifting, etc.. For example: I superimposed the 2 nearly identical "Screen Tests" & moved them both in & out of focus so that her expressions could sortof 'morph' back & forth..

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

309. SNAFU = Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up

- Film Kitchen, Melwood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, March 13, 2001

- I'd been trying to have the Film Kitchen present 1 of my feature-length movies since about October of 1999 to no avail. Bill O'Driscoll, the FK's curator, programs the FK so that there are usually short pieces by 2 or more people in an attempt to reach a broad audience. As such, he thought that a long movie, especially a long experimental movie, would be too difficult for those targetted. Eventually we compromised on my screening all 3 reels of my 16mm feature "The 'Official' John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich" simultaneously with me mixing the sound live & providing live commentary.

Screening this film at all is a challenge. I can't afford to get a print made so I only have the originals with sound separate. The originals have an ENORMOUS amount of splices & direct-on-film manipulation such as taped on garphics & holes punched in - all of which increase projection problems. In the crowded projection booth we set up the 3 projectors. It had originally been my intention to have the 3 projections flushly side-by-side without any overlaps but the lenses available didn't permit this. Reel 1 was projected on the upper left, reel 2 was in the lower middle, & reel 3 was in the upper right. Some of the corners overlapped slightly. The soundtracks for each reel were on separate CDs to be played thru a mixer receiving input from 3 CD players & a mic.

After the lens problem was solved as best as we could, I moved onto the sound & the 2nd problem appeared: the output jacks of CD player 1 had bad connections. That player was replaced. Projector 1 was threaded & it didn't work either & was replaced. Because of the different lengths & natures of each of the 3 reels, the plan was to have the middle reel project alone for 8 minutes, then joined by the right reel, & finally joined by the left reel a minute after that. We started the middle projector & the bulb IMMEDIATELY blew so we stopped it. This was fucked-up thing #4 & we hadn't even gotten a chance to start yet. Ah, yes! I informed the audience that this was ok because it was an appropriate SNAFU, Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up. We replaced that projector & tried again & the film tore within a few seconds & we had to stop again. Fuck-Up #5. Again the SNAFU was referred to & we began again. This time leaving the soundtrack out-of-sync for expediency's sake. Fuck-Up #6.

Reel 3 has text throughout most of its sound. The 1st text lasts for about 12 minutes & begins as follows below. It pretty much sums up the projection situation:

Fucked.

Fuck-Up.

Fuck-Ups.

Fucked-Up.

Fucking-Up.

Totally Fucked.

Fucked-Upedness

S.N.A.F.U.: Situation Normal: All Fucked-Up

F.U.B.A.R.: Fucked-Up Beyond All Recognition

F.U.B.B.: Fucked-Up Beyond Belief

F.U.M.T.U.: Fucked-Up More Than Usual

J.A.N.F.U.: Joint Army & Navy Fuck-Up

S.A.P.F.U.: Surpassing All Previous Fuck-Ups

S.U.S.F.U.: Situation Unchanged: Still Fucked-Up

T.A.R.F.U.: Things Are Really Fucked-Up

I could be called a fuck-up. I could even be said to have made being a fuck-up into my modus operandi. Then again, the opposite could be said w/ equal accuracy. Whatever. Some people study how to do things so that they can do them "right". By doing it "right" they're often doing it in the same way that someone before them has done it - or building on what's been previously done by expanding its understood logic. Other people just go ahead & do something making mistakes left, right, & center - recklessly pursuing their own vision, despite unpromising conditions, in the hopes of, at least, retaining their own personality, complete w/ quirks, & in the hopes of twisting their mistakes into unforseen advantages.

As a film & vaudeo maker, I shine the most as a fuck-up. Then again, I shine the most as someone who can get an enormous amount done w/ almost no money. As of this writing, I've made about 200 movies. My total expenses for all of them together has been around $11,000.00! Many of them are fucked-up. But, perhaps, this "feature-length" 16mm film entitled The "Official" John Lennon's Erection As Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich is my magnum-opus of fucked-upedness. If this film is recognized for nothing else, perhaps it'll become a prime catalog of mistakes.

Given the above, all fuck-ups of the projecting were immediately contextualized as fitting right in. The projectors were stopped & started - sometimes because of problems with the film running thru poorly, sometimes just in an attempt to re-sync the sound & images. Everytime this happened it came across as another fuck-up & sometimes I made commentary to that effect. Everything went splendidly! Once again, the forces of frustration were frustrated!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

310. 15 Hrs of Video @ 30 Times Its Original Speed

- Jefferson Presents, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 24, 2001

- The title of this is also the title of the super-8 film presented. This film was made in 1987 especially for 106 ("Easter Island Bunny Booed Usic") by single-frame shooting 15 hours of finished video of mine off a large tv & animating the tv screen in various ways - such as by placing transparencies on it. This was the 1st time it was presented as 2 projections side-by-side. I improvised a concrete mix of sound materials adapted from the time period when the film was made (& related material from a couple of years later) that were specially prepared on 2 CDs. One of the CDs had a track that was played continuously throughout. The other CD had 60 tracks that were shuffled & looped & played thru a Breakaway Vocalizer 1000 Pitch-to-MIDI convertor. This device has built-in sounds that could be triggered by the CD input + preset rhythms. Both were used to varying degrees. The MIDI output was used to control my K1m wave-table synthesizer. Since the CD sound was mostly very fast, it superceded the Vocalizer's response ability & caused it to frequently malfunction - forcing me to adapt to not always predictable sudden changes.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


311. (M)Usic - 1885 to the Present

- Seminar Room, Woodland Art Center, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, April 10th, 2001, 6 to 8:30PM

- This was a somewhat stripped-down variation on the mad scientist didaction previously described in entries 205, 208, 211 & 248. I had changed the recording of the lecture to correct a minor mistake in it & burned a CD to use of it rather than the tape I'd previously used. I was mainly in the front of the room behind a table with a Breakaway Vocalizer 1000 Pitch-to-MIDI convertor, a CD player, a 4-channel mixer, & a K1m wave-table synthesizer on it. Initially, a microphone on a boom stand was in front of where I was standing. A radio transmitter was set up, unknown to the students, in a nearby office. The CD player played thru 2 speakers near the front. The room was generally dark - with the exception of a small lamp used to occasionally illuminate my printed copy of the lecture & a video projection. As before, the pre-recorded lecture played - going over some 'western' (m)usic innovations & playing approximately 1 minute examples. Sound effects gradually entered making the text more & more difficult to understand. I lip-synced the text, speaking over it in & out of sync. As before, I initially tried to create the illusion that the speaking heard was all coming from me talking into the mic until I shattered the illusion by walking away from the mic (while my pre-recorded voice kept speaking) in order to distribute a list of women composers. During the lecture I silently video-projected a video-transfer of a single-layer version of my 16mm film entitled "Hypnopedagogy" being projected onto a white spandex screen that was manipulated from behind to subtly distort the image.

After the lecture proper ended, I projected about 15 to 20 minutes' worth of my "Volunteers Collective" movie while I played excerpts from the pre-recorded lecture that the students had just heard - using the lecture to drive the Pitch-to-MIDI convertor & the K1m. This way, some elements of the lecture were brought a bit more out of 'history' & more into the present tense.

After this section ended , I'd intended to instruct the students to go to a nearby pond where I was going to have 2 friends dressed as a Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins Oracle interact with them. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily so we changed the plan & had the FCSTO (Spat & Babs) wait for them in the Men's Room instead. In addition to the usual FCST gear (described in many previous entries), they had a radio tuned to the station that I was broadcasting on that was partially disguised by a mask with a long shroud descending from it that etta cetera (see just about every one of the last almost100 entries) had made for a pro-Iraq demonstration. When I finished the "Volunteers Collective" section, a student asked something like "Is there a method to this madness?" & I told her that all questions would be answered if they'd go to the Men's Room.

When they got there, the FCSTO's radio was playing one of my Pittsburgh Pirates Steelers of the Airwaves "It's Always 6 O'Clock" radio shows on the theme of "Us Animals" - a highly edited selection of recordings related to human/non-human interaction. From the office/transmitter location, I broadcast a request that 1 of the students come to the office. Unfortunately, this wasn't understood too well at the receiving end but one of the students was induced to come anyway & I explained that I was broadcasting & asked the student to broadcast a request for another student to come. This was also somewhat unintelligible at the receiving end & all the students ended up coming to the office at once & a Q&A session finished it off.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

312. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts)

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 23, 2001

- Yet again (see entries 303, 304, & 307) I was asked to project light show materials to an evening of 2 bands in the theater - in this case: "Ladybug Transistor" & "Box Step". Eric, from the latter band, was thoughtful enough to provide me with reels of 16mm educational films - including: a very red "Peking Remembered" & a black & white movie about "mestizos" (or some such). I used 4 16mm projectors & one video projector.

The "Ladybug.." set started with the "Peking.." film projected centrally using a 25mm lens with a crosshatching of masking tape that looked very vaguely like someone's fantasy of a Chinese alphabet character across the booth glass blocking the projection path. Each reel of Warhol's "Harlot" was then projected flanking it using 2 50mm lens so that their images would be smaller. As I usually do, the projections got gradually more complex as another film was superimposed over the 1st with a negative masking so that the 2 films could fill in each other's blacked-out areas. Eventually, I put 2 masking tape stick figures in slightly different positions in front of the 2 central projectors & put the projectors so out of focus that the figures were surrounded by circles of white light. Then I alternately blocked each projection so that the shadow figures alternated back & forth & 'danced'. I also used Warhol's "My Hustler" either in this set or the next one.

For "Boxstep" I used inter-related footage on all 5 projectors: 2 prints of program one of "High School Youth" superimposed over each other slightly out-of-sync in the middle using the 50mm lens, a different program on the left using a 25mm lens, my final superimposition print of my movie "Bob Cobbing" on the right using the other 25mm lens, & a video transfer of the pre-superimposition version of "Bob Cobbing" as projected onto a moving spandex screen being video projected. This latter film is a highly cut-up & masked remake of a "High School Youth" program. As with the preceding set, tape masks were put on the glass.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

313. CircumSubstantial Playing & Blindfolded Tourism

- Mattress Factory -> thru the streets -> Wittamy Do(ugh)Boys secret place -> thru the streets, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, August 10th, 2001, 7 to 9:00PM

- In the basement of the Mattress Factory I set up chairs so that winding walkways went between them. At the front, there were 3 projection screens with the 2 side screens angled at about 30 degrees in relation to the central one + 3 video projectors & VCRs. In front of those was a table covered with electronic instruments including a pitch-to-MIDI converter, a radio mic receiver, a sampler, a keyboard, a mixer to channel the VCRs' sounds, an end mixer/sampler, an effects unit, a MIDI-patcher, & a CD player.

As the vaudience arrived, the room was very dark except for a flashlight that I carried. I was wearing my Anarkanian silver & multi-tentacled 'spacesuit' (see entry 305) & I ushered people thru the confusing pathways. I also had a hidden radio mic & transmitter into which I made sounds that were sent into the pitch-to-MIDI converter & then used to trigger samples. The 196 seconds of samples were all taken from the computer edit of my published Volunteers Collective "Yr of Sundays" tape (see entries 242, 243, 245, 247, 250, & 251 for related descriptions).

After about 10 minutes, I started the video projections - the 3 half-hour sections of my "Volunteers Collective" movie presented simultaneously. The samples & vaudeo footage were related - often from the same sessions. The mix was set so that the sound from the imagery on the left screen was heard only in the left channel, the sound from the imagery on the right was only in the right & the middle imagery's sound was in both channels. The left speaker was front left & the right speaker was back right - to exaggerate the stereo separation. After the vaudeo started, I continued to meander thru the seating aisles with the flashlight & making triggering sounds for another 5 minutes & then eventually went to the electronics table for more complex sound generating & mixing possibilities.

For the remaining 25 minutes of the projections, I mixed the soundtracks, played the samples, looped short tracks on the "Yr of Sundays" CD that was being played, added effects, & recorded & played back looped samples on the final mixer/sampler. The mixing was done in such a way so that only selected parts of the soundtracks were audible. As such, a vaudience member trying to associate sounds with images would have to be constantly searching for the connections. At a few key points, the samples I played were related to the visuals. Hence, when the 2 scenes of the implosion of a downtown Pittsburgh building (500 Wood Street) were shown (footage provided by Sharyn Frederick - see entries 197, 202, 205, 247, 251, & 252; sound provided by Michael Johnsen - see entries 196, 197, 202, 204, 205, 206, 209, 247, & 268) I'd play a sample of the implosion & exaggerate it even further with effects processing to increase the drama.

Throughout, my face & bodyshape (to a minor extent) were disguised by the 'spacesuit' - & I hadn't spoken. When the projections ended, I turned to the vaudience & explained that that (highly dense & disorienting section) had been the "orientation". In a sense, it was, because most of the footage was relevant to CircumSubstantial Playing & presented Volunteers Collective participants playing site-specifically. As such, the vaudience had been prepped for having a CircumSubstantial encounter of their own - which led to my then expressing my hope that they would continue on to the next part which would consist of their being blindfolded & taken on a fieldtrip to an undisclosed location. Just my speaking after the intense unusualness of all those very varied sounds must have been a somewhat shocking contrast. The fieldtrip plan had been widely publicized in many of the local 'news'papers, thru the internet, & thru mailings but I didn't expect many people to be willing to undergo such an experience. Was I in for a surprise! EVERYONE THERE, except maybe for one couple with children, WANTED TO DO THIS!! Over 60 people! Go figure.

They all filed out & up to the parking lot where various vans & cars waited to transport them. There were 9 drivers: Steve, Julia, Jessica, Bill, Stephanie, Michael, Brieanne, Jennifer, & Sara. I got out of my 'spacesuit' so that I was just wearing fairly ordinary grubby summer clothes. I went with the 1st van with Steve from the Mattress Factory driving, my friend John with a camcorder, & Franka Bruns (a reporter/photographer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) as well as perhaps 9 vaudience members - all blindfolded. Most of the MF drivers had been on a rehearsal run earlier that day to prepare them for what they were expected to do now.

I'd spent more than 50 hours making a 19 minute recording (which I ended up calling "CarCophony") meant to be played during this drive. This was made from over 125 car-related sound effects organized so that their playing would be subtle at 1st & then exaggeratedly obvious overkill. A rough outline of the structure is as follows:

Sparse Sneaky Beginning: 00:00:000-02:43.050

Subtly Silly 1st Continuous Miscellaneous Scenario into Gas Station: 02:43.051-05:44.583

Big Crash Scene: 05:44.584-07:22.804

Aftermath of Crash w/ Bad Batteries: 07:22.805-09:13.888

Motorcycles: 09:13.889-11:35.019

Miscellaneous Traffic Sounds Obviously Effected & Edited: 11:35.020-13:11.939

Approaching Peace at Last..: 13:11.940-15:00.004

..blown by the Races: 15:00.005-17:00.005

Final Car Wash: 17:00.006-19:00.000

In the html version of this text a more in-depth analysis of this can be read by clicking on the CarCophony Plan link. These sound effects were taken (without permission - please forgive me! I love sound effects!) from: Excelsior Sound FX 200 Sound Effects (green box) Volumes 1 & 2, Excelsior Sound FX 200 Sound Effects (orange box) Volume 1, Audio Fidelity (AFSD 5890) Demonstration & Sound Effects Record, BBC Sound Effects: DISASTERS, Sound Effects Volume 4, Lars Eastholm's Sound Effects Volume 3: AUTOMOBILES, Robert Hall Sound Effects 48/49 & 75, "the exciting racing sounds of Grand Prix challenge of champions", & BBC Sound Effects Library 5: Transport. I also recorded & integrated a test run of the trip with the assistance of my friend Joy.

The drivers were instructed to emphasize parts of the "CarCophony" by driving in response to it. So, eg, during the "Aftermath of Crash w/ Bad Batteries", I signalled to Steve that he should stop the van & jerk the car forward as the battery sounds sputtered. I'd timed the drive at 14:28 so the recording took this into consideration by having certain sounds, such as the passing of a diesel lorry, happen when the vehicle would probably be stopped at a light or stop-sign. The timing was also intended to result in the car "Races" section (a very dense & speed-change altered part) occurring around the time that people would be arriving at the undisclosed location so that as they would exit the vehicles they'd be surrounded by loud Grand Prix car sounds.

When the blindfoldees arrived, they were helped out of the vehicles by the 16+ guides/ushers: Mike, Greg, Cory, Woody, Chris, Cerrina, Ron, Joy, Miriam, John, Neo, Tate, Sharyn, Mel, GLF Dave, & Ben, etc. Many of these ushers had clear-plastic masks covering their faces & other masks on the backs of their heads. Ron was bare-chested except for a very stripper-esque fringy bra. The audience had their hands placed on the shoulders of the guides in front of them & the guides then walked & gave them forewarnings of upcoming obstacles to be careful of: curbs & steps & the like. Ironically, many of those ushering have participated in such celebratory political activities as "Reclaim the Streets" - now classified by the Police State's very own FBI in its typical despicable Draconian fashion as "terrorist". Yeah, right. As such, many of the blindfolded were being cared for by so-called "terrorists" & not a hair was harmed. The FBI are the terrorists.

The audience was led into a building & down some steps into a mysterious large space. This area had been lovingly constructed by the Wittamy Do(ugh)Boys (Mike, Greg, Dave, & friends) out of mostly found materials over more than a year. In the interest of keeping this experience continuingly mysterious for any audience members who might find this description somewhere, I'll leave this telling somewhat vague. Three or 4 hairy dogs wandered around rubbing past & adding to the sensations. The blindfolded were led around a deep pit in which 6 masked nudists were making sounds intended to be of difficult-to-ascertain origin. I had anticipated that if people were to peek from under the eye-coverings they'd be further surprised & confused by this sight. Only a very few people peeked! Maybe only one person peeked into the pit! Apparently, they preferred to totally cooperate with what they thought they were expected to do! Once again, I was shocked! The pit crew consisted of etta (who was the coordinator of this end of the activities - see most of the entries from 212 to 305), Swifty, Fruity Dave, Nicole, Spat (see # 310), & Wynne.

Franka, the Post-Gazette reporter, took photos from the pit vantage point & one of them was printed in the paper on the following Monday. Imagine the surprise of the blindfoldees when they finally got to see this aspect of what they could only hear at the time! In the photo, Miriam (a slender maid with a "Sunday-best" hat on) is leading a young blindfolded man on an apparent ledge while 2 troll-like figures are seen in the pit below - one holding a frying pan. The scene looks like a precarious hero's journey from a fairy tale.

The people were then led back out to be driven back to the MF. As they were leaving, I played various mostly whale, animal, & bird sounds over the pirate radio & added audience-specific voice-overs that could be heard via the radios in their vehicles. As the whale sounds played, I told the blindfoldees leaving that they'd just been temporarily altered so that they could be underwater & that if they'd peeped they would've seen rare undersea creatures. For people leaving in a car, I claimed that we'd just broken into the zoo. For others, I said that they'd just been blindfolded by anarchists & taken to an undisclosed location & returned UNHARMED & mentioned that if we'd been the government they might not've been so well-treated. As an elaborate edit I'd made of bird sounds played (from the "Us Animals" CD I'd made mentioned in 310), I explained that all the driving around had just been to confuse people & that they'd really just gone to the National Aviary nearby to the MF. All of these stories were meant to further expand their imaginings of what had happened.

The drivers had been told that the audience could be encouraged to remove their blindfolds when they got far enough away from the secret place. I expected the blindfoldees to be uncomfortable & wanted them to be able to be free as quickly as they could be without ruining the experience. At least 2 people opted in favor of keeping them on all the way back to the Mattress Factory so that they could more fully experience the mystery! Bravo!

Many, MANY thanks to the MF for being so open to supporting such a 'lunatic fringe' project, to the sizeable crew for being so generous with their time & energy (& so TRUSTWORTHY), &, especially, to the BLINDFOLDED AUDIENCE for taking the risk!! Thanks also to Jarrett & Owen & etta for additional camerawork & to all those not mentioned elsewhere specifically by name such as George, Barbara, Jean, & Maggie, etc..

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

314. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts)

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, August 17, 2001

- As usual, (see entries 303, 304, 307, & 311) I was asked, as a part of my job as an Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, to show Warhol films as background to a band in the theater. Why do I even bother to list such events here? At 1st, I didn't list 307 (& mightn't have listed this one) because my own input to it was a bit too small & unenthusiastic - but then my completism dominated: if I'm to list the more interesting 303, 304, & 311, I should also list the lesser ones like this one. Besides, even when I'm unenthusiastic about the basic materials used, as I was here, I still end up doing things more ambitiously than many people might just for the stimulation of it - & because I know these Warhol films better than most (for what it's worth). Regardless, I didn't video this one.

In this case, I was provided with a list of Warhol films that either a member of the band (who may've been called "NIJ") requested or their friend (the Warhol Museum employee who got them the gig) requested: "Empire", "Sleep", "Kiss", "Eat", "Poor Little Rich Girl", "Beauty #2", "Space", & "Screen Tests". I only used 3 16mm projectors - since the 3 others I tried to use had various problems. I did use for the 1st time 2 ultra wide-angle lenses & 2 zoom lenses. The only film from the list I didn't use was "Empire". I used reels 24 & 25 of the "Screen Tests". Reel 24 has a close-up of a mouth & a close-up of an eye - &, in both reels, there are deviations from the standard "Screen Tests" static headshot that helped make things more lively.

There were, perhaps, 2 main somewhat remarkable "scenes" in this multiple projection. First, the full-wall screening of a reel from "Beauty #2" with Edie Sedgwick making out (just how do you make "out" anyway?) on a bed with a guy in her (presumably) fake leopard-skin underwear combined with the somewhat smaller 25mm lens projection of Edie in the same underwear from "Poor Little Rich Girl" in the middle combined with a zoomed-in screening of "Kiss" in the upper-left corner. I shifted the 2 larger projections in & out of focus creating a shifting entanglement of related bodies. I think of this as the quasi-'orgy' scene.

Second, I used 2 prints of "Eat" to create a "mirror" projection. Since the museum has an accidentally left-right reversed or "flipped" print of "Eat" I've always wanted to take advantage of it in this way. I started out with the flipped & normal projections zoomed & side-by-side & then enlarged the projection size & superimposed them. Then I switched to the widest lenses & superimposed them. Some of my favorite scenes of the night were when Robert Indiana's blithe face was created anew as the lighting dominating one side, when mirrored, helped create the illusion of a face squeezed into a width-fluctuating hybrid. I played with stopping & starting the projections so that differing degrees of synchronicity occurred between the mirroring versions. Towards the end, the 1st reel of "Sleep" was zoom-projected into the middle of Indiana's forehead.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

315. Release Party for Street Ratbag #5

- Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, December 21st, 2001, 7 to 10:00PM

- The 5th issue of the Street Ratbag Liberation Front's magazine features a picture on the cover from the Mark Dixon initiated project "Think Tank VIII: Automobile Re-Visionaries" in which Mark & 4 others (etta cetera, Steve, Erik, James) lived in a roofless room for 2 weeks with an '85 Saab car & turned it into musical instruments. The inside color centerfold is pictures from "CircumSubstantial Playing & Blindfolded Tourism" (see entry 312). There are RATicles about both of these & audio excerpts from both on the CD that comes with the issue.

As such, the evening's program somewhat revolved around politics & quasi-documentation from the above. It began with the premier of "Guitarists Anonymous"- a self-help group designed to help guitarists withdraw from their debilitating addiction. This consisted of my asking the guitarist attendees to raise their hands &, when they didn't do so, explaining that they shouldn't be embarrassed because we were there to confront the problem - not to hide it. After more spiel along those lines the testifyin' began with a duet by Daryl Fleming on guitar & myself on samples of me playing guitar & ended with a duet with me on the same samples & Greg Pierce playing guitar (in a white shirt with subtle drawings on it). This was the 1st time I'd played publically with these guys - even though I'd played with Greg many times in the last 7 years.

This was followed by the 2nd version of the vaudeo from "Auto.. Re-Vision". After an entirely too long intermission during which I loaded a massive array of Mechanically Repetitive & ReRecorded Records samples, the Hip Criticals portion of the evening began. They're a "generic HipHop" group consisting of radical cheerleader extraordinaire HipHopCrates (aka etta cetera - see every entry under the sun from the last 4 &1/2 years) & Little Orphan Anarchy (aka Neo Havok). This was my 1st attempt at sortof playing HipHop (& I do mean sortof) & I probably wasn't very successful at it! My samples were culled from my archives of pieces of mine that I thought were conceptually relevant to some formal aspects of HipHop as I perceive it thru my no-doubt skewed & ignorant perspective. Nonetheless, my friend Spat (who does like HipHop & listens to it) liked it alot so I guess I didn't fail too miserably. The set list of etta & Neo's material consisted of:

"Terrorist Attack" -> Intros -> "Rape Rap" -> "Andie" (a personal favorite about a genetics experiment crossing something like a monkey with a jellyfish - in which family reunions weren't taken into consideration!) -> "WWW - U.S. Economy" -> "Rachel's Revolt" (against rhyming about clits & such-like) -> "Trash Rap" -> "Apparatus" -> "Graffiti"

The evening concluded with a screening of 16 minutes of the feature quasi-documentary from "..Blindfolded Tourism" showing attendees who'd been blindfolded (there were at least 3 present) what they hadn't seen. I thought that this bit of tantalizing would've attracted a large crowd but perhaps they didn't know about it because most people there were friends who hadn't been to the August 10th "..Blindfolded.." experience.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

316. Movies on the Mount / Short Attention Span / Guitarists Anonymous #2

- Duquesne Heights Community Center, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, January 18, 2002, 7 to 12 midnight

- The venue was a former supermarket & my corner of it was entered via ramp.

I alternated between a solo Guitarists Anonymous presentation (see 314) & a screening of 21 movies of mine made between 1977 & January 1st, 2001 that're all under 5:00 long (w/ one slight exception). A partition at the top of the ramp had a poster that announced:

& in this corner,

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

presents:

 

Guitarists Anonymous

- testifying for the recovery of those weak-willed musicians

who've fallen hopelessly into the bad habit of using such a banal instrument

 

+ 20 Movies Under 5:00 in Length

(for those of you who have a hard time paying attention to anything other than commercials)

{+ 1 slightly longer}

3:20 - "Computer Interview" - (w/ Steve Estes) - 1977

3:46 - "3 Mile Island" {version 5} - (w/ B.O.M.B.) - 1979

2:27 - "Paper Dolls in Dava's Class" - 1981

2:00 - "A Double Negative As Not A Positive" - (w/ Hannah Aviva) - 1982

2:30 - "Neoist Guide Dog" - (w/ Litvinov) - 1984

1:40 - "Nudist Party" - 1989

4:50 - "Ward of Mouth" - 1989

4:15 - "Barfroom" - (w/ DeeDee Ranged) - 1989

1:30 - "Official Neoast Chair Didaction" - (w/ Richard Brandow) - 1992

2:34 - "National Cancer Institute Documentary" - 1993

2:29 - "Department of Failures" - 1995

4:41 - "The Department of Dishes & the Cooking Show Present:" - 1995

4:40 - "Frothing Catatonic Siamese Twins Volunteers Collective XXVII

d composing Mozart Release Party" - 1996

1:50 - "Background Movies for Home Music: [Perpetual (E)Motion] Home" - 1997

1:41 - "Background Movies for Home Music: Light Motion" [should be Hurry] - 1997

1:50 - "Background Movies for Home Music: [Toasting Emotions in Freudian] Western" - (the above 3 w/ etta cetera) - 1998

0:57 - "N.A.A.M.C.P. P.S.A." - 1998

2:58 - "typewriter poem - tomas schmit - march 63" - (w/ etta cetera) - 1998

3:03 - "Shuffle Mode" - 1999

5:02 - "Space Ballet" (condensed) - 1999

2:25 - "Y, 2, Nay-Ked!" - January 1, 2000

 

The Guitarists Anonymous presentation involved a short filmstrip of "Withdrawal Aids" - pictures of instruments other than guitars. These were culled largely from issues of the excellent magazine "Experimental Musical Instruments" (alas, no longer published). In the 4 or 5 times I presented this, I gradually got more proficient in syncing the filmstrip changes to the way I played the guitar samples. Of course, I worked the audience by asking if any guitarists were present & contextualizing the presentation as helpful for them.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

317. Guitarists Anonymous #3

- Brew House, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, February 1, 2002, 8:30 - 9:00PM

- See entries 314 & 315 for the preceding 2 Guitarists Anonymous presentations. By this point I'd made a 60+ slide presentation which, like the filmstrip used in #2, was titled "Guitarists Anonymous Withdrawal Aids" & consisted of pictures of instruments other than guitar. With a remote for the slides, I advanced them somewhat in sync with dramatic changes in the guitar sample playing. My set was followed by the Ben Opie Trio & then Beam. I'm happy to report that members of Beam seemed to enjoy my thing & that the vocalist (who went by the names "Ikea" (maybe) & Marian Barry ((sp?) after the mayor of Washington DC who was busted for crack use) even went so far as to say something complimentary about what I'd done at the beginning of Beam's set. THANK YOU! I like yinz too! I hope we play together again!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

318. Guitarists Anonymous #4

- Backward on Forward, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 16, 2002, 7:53 - 8:28PM

- See entries 314, 315, & 316 for the preceding 3 Guitarists Anonymous presentations. By now, the 60+ slide presentation which had been used in 316 had 80 slides, & the filmstrip used in 315 had been improved somewhat. I'd also made a vaudeo that combined these 2 w/ footage shot by Kent Bye (as part of making a documentary about me) of 314 + a Rehabilitation Center scene w/ ethnomusicologist & well-rounded musician Eric Myers (see 160, 162, 166, & 176), Alex Van Ness (who assisted w/ 276), & Linda Gielec + an improvisation w/ great multi-instrumentalist Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, & 278) in his instrument-filled apartment. The filmstrip was projected by Mark Gunderson, using various playful projection techniques, to the left; the vaudeo was in the middle; & Gordon Nelson projected the slides approximately every 24 seconds on the right.

I began, as usual, by asking guitarists in the audience to identify themselves & pointed out that I'd have to "torture" the recidivists that I saw present. The projections were then started. The vaudeo & the guitar samples were fed into the sampling mixer. Usually the vaudeo soundtrack was kept down. It was brought up during selected Rehab scenes, selected instrument playing with Michael Pestel, & brief snippets of the duets with Daryl Fleming & Greg Pierce. I played the samples as the main soundtrack to this triple projection & sample looped selections with the mixer including something that included the statement "I didn't fuck that ex-Moonie for nothing" - an actual reference to my life included in the Rehab scene. At 2 points I took the Grossinator (a toy used as a 'torture' instrument in the Rehab scene that pronounces 'gross' statements like "I'm going to make a horrible gross fart!") & played a statement from it into the ears of 2 people who'd identified themselves as guitarists. At the end, the Grossinator was allowed to make the last statement to the hypothetical guitarists who hadn't quit the habit yet.

Following me on the bill were Impercept (a Pittsburgh-based laptop performer) & Scientifically Speaking with Irene Moon (a Lexington-based entymologist lounge & noise performer) who was accompanied by the electronics band SICK HOUR.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

319. Release Gig for "Circuits of Steel" CD

- Public Health Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, April 22, 2002

- "Circuits of Steel" is a Pittsburgh electronic music double-CD compilation published by Manny Theiner's SSS label & Manny arranged 7 release gigs at 7 venues over 7 days. This was the 3rd of these. The evening opened with Vertonen followed by V.V. (both from Chicago) followed by ARC Libre Trio (from LA) followed by myself followed by the evening's incarnation of the Pittsburgh Free Music Society (who change their name every gig & whose name for this one was something like "Statutory Independent Watchdog Body" - abbreviated henceforth as "Body") which included Michael Johnsen. Michael & I are both represented on the CD. What can I say? The (M)Usic was truly excellent from all participants - & there was a paying audience of about 7 in a room that could hold about 150. Whatever.

I began by projecting the 30 minute version of the "Volunteers Collective" vaudeo that has the 3 half-hours of the 90 minute version superimposed - with the sound intitially kept down. I was wearing my Anarkanian outfit (see entries 305 & 312) & carrying my Suitcase (see entries 199, 205, 208, & 211) with the hidden tape-player in it & a radio-mic transmitting from it. I'd go to a vaudience member & open the suitcase & a tape would play which would trigger shorter versions of the Volunteers Collective samples used in 312 to come out of the PA at the front of the room. After a few minutes of that, I returned to the front, where my controller keyboard + sampler + pitch-to-MIDI convertor + wave-table synthesizer + sampler mixer equipment was & removed the mic from the suitcase & hid it under my Anarkanian hood. Then I danced in sync with when my vocals would trigger the electronics.

After this phase, I started playing the electronics from the keyboard. Shortly before 21 minutes, I turned up the (slightly out-of-sync - but that's a different story) soundtrack to the vaudeo in anticipation of the 1st of 2 explosion scenes. When this scene happened, I played the related loud sample & Body got on stage & started playing. The desired effect was that when the explosion ceased, a minute or so later, Body's playing would finally be audible & would sound very rich & renewing in contrast - & I think it worked wonderfully. The personnel were: Greg Pierce, Michael Johnsen, Steve Boyle, Matt Weiner, Hyla Willis, & Ed Bucholtz. I turned the soundtrack down again & started playing with more emphasis on using the wave-table synthesizer sounds. For the 2nd explosion I turned the sound up again. After I ended, Body was introduced & they continued to play.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

320. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #06

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 7, 2002

- As usual, (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, & 313) I was asked, as a part of my job as an Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, to show films as background to bands in the theater. Why do I even bother to list such events here? At 1st, I didn't list 307 (& mightn't have listed this one) because my own input to it was a bit too small & unenthusiastic - but then my completism dominated: if I'm to list the more interesting 303, 304, 311, & 320 I should also list the lesser ones like this one.

I didn't even bother to write about this 1 at the time it occurred - probably because I thought it wd be the last 1 that I'd do (since I hadn't been asked to do this for awhile) & since I didn't do anything spectacular for it. 2 of the guys in Cloud Chamber (1 of the 2 bands performing this night) are friends of mine: Ben Opie (see entries 207 & 316) & Daryl Fleming (see entry 314) so I was happy to do something with them. HOWEVER, I decided to present something somewhat 'subdued' (by my standards) since Cloud Chamber is 'subdued'. As such, I used as the central image, a video projection of raw footage of mine of twilight coming thru a venetian blind flickering on a cardboard box. This was periodically flanked by my 16mm films "Subtitles (16mm version)" & "Subtitles (unsplit regular 8 version)".

I don't even remember whether I did anything for Church of Betty (the other band). They may've requested no projections.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

321. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #07

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, September 14, 2002

- Yet again, (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, 313, & 319), as a part of my job as an Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, I showed films as background to bands in the theater. This time, the bands were Beam (from Pittsburgh) & Spaceheads (from London?). Since I'd played on the same bill as Beam (entry 316) & had enjoyed them & since I hate just doing the "same old shit" & since the bands hadn't just requested particular Warhol films (yawn), I decided to do something that I'd wanted to do for awhile but had wanted the museum to pay me extra for (but had never bothered to hustle): to bring my broken WJX-12 video mixer & to use my own materials specially designed for such instances.

For Beam, I started with video footage of trees blown about by a storm - projected by 2 projectors - 1 image inside the other. This was augmented by highly masked Warhol Screen Tests reels 14 & 15 to the left & right. The masking resulted in the projections being very small & in their revealing little more than eyes & the areas surrounding them. I later projected Screen Test reel 16 centrally. I changed the video to my own "Wallpaper Video" of the News American building being demolished in BalTimOre. Since there were 2 video projectors being used, there were interesting moments of phasing. I used the broken video mixer to render the larger image negative (& otherwise effected) to be in contrast to the smaller video image (located upper central). I eventually switched to "F.R.E.D. S. L.I.S.B.E.R.G.E.R." - entirely macro footage from a warehouse where I'd lived.

For Spaceheads, I used a tape called "Feedback" which pulsated nicely in sync with their beat. This was augmented by reels 1 & 12 of Warhol's "Chelsea Girls" which feature Nico. These reels were chosen because Spacehead had requested something with Nico because they'd played with her. The Nico footage at times matched with the feedback in such a way so that it appeared as if the feedback was a thought balloon emanating from Nico's head without any thoughts being inside. I also used my own "Concrete Mixing #1 (Technosensualist version)" as projection material &, eventually, reel 1 of Warhol's "Sleep". I was highly active in use of the broken video mixer (which had as an input footage from a camcorder aimed at the stage) so that there was substantial rhythmic sync between what I was doing & both Beam & Spaceheads. This was possibly the most successful & popular band light show projection I've presented.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

322. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #08

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, October 4, 2002

- Yet yet yet yet yeti again, (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, 313, 319, & 320), as the Andy Warhol Museum projectionist, I showed films as background to bands. This time, the bands were The Karl Henricks Trio (from Pittsburgh) & another pop rock trio from Boston. For the 1st trio, I projected reels 13 thru 18 of Warhol's "Screen Tests" (roughly 3 at a time) using 3 16mm projectors. The left & middle projectors had the widest angle lenses that the museum has & the right projector started out with a zoom lens & later switched to a fairly wide angle 50mm lens. I taped large pieces of paper in the projection path on the booth glass & gradually mutated what image was allowed to go thru. At 1st, there was just a raggedy hole with an eye in it slightly to the left, with another such hole with a mouth, & then another hole with an ear & the side of a face. I scissor cut & ripped & folded further holes out & taped the cut-out pieces into new positions. I changed the positions of the projectors slightly too. Shards of faces were shifting & recombining - usually with a minimum of at least 2 faces as raw material.

For the Boston trio, I projected using 6 versions of my movie "Subtitles" so that there were substantially complex permutations. I started with the film version of "Subtitles (16mm version)" using the widest angle lens & filling the whole screen & then I masked the left half. Then I joined it with the film version of "Subtitles (unsplit 8mm version)" projected using the widest angle lens & masking its right half so that the 2 projections combined into yet another version (a "third mind" version perhaps?). Then I video projected into the upper middle of the screen most of "Subtitles (regular 8mm version)" which eventually segued into all of "Subtitles (June/July '92 version)" & into an 11 minute or so excerpt from "Subtitles (16mm analysis-projection video version)" & into all of "Subtitles (most overkill version)". Whenever the films reached their end, I swapped which projectors they were on & then I switched, 1st, from the widest angle lenses to the next available step down (the 50mm lenses) - having the projections side-by-side with an overlap in the screen's middle, &, 2nd, to 25mm lenses - 1st having the projections widely spaced apart & then side-by-side & overlapping the video projection. Given the basic multi-generational & inter-relatedness of the movies, this produced a strong image 'ping-ponging'.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

325. In Memory of Jerry Hunt (w/ a nod to Charles Tomlinson Griffes' "The White Peacock") #1

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 9, 2002, 3:02-3:34PM

- The Warhol films that I project in the theater of the Warhol museum are rarely watched for long by anyone. Most people seem to find them very boring. The film I was showing this day was the silent "Blow Job" - a shot of a guy's face while he's supposedly getting his cock sucked by a changing crew of gay artists. His expression doesn't change much, he mainly tilts his head back every once in a while as a presumed indication of excitement. After his presumed orgasm, he lights a cigarette near the end of the film. On this & the following day, an upright piano had been left in the theater near the screen - a leftover from some recent music events. When I started the film, there was no audience so I decided to play a piano "accompaniment" to it for my own amusement. I played in a somewhat 'flowery' 19th century romantic style, using flourishes, various scales, & drama, etc.. An audience member entered & I explained what I was doing & asked him if he minded. He didn't reply & only stayed for a few minutes - as is typical. After 12 minutes or so of this I got bored & stopped playing & returned to the projection booth. A couple of minutes later, 5 people entered & I decided to play for them with no explanation. As I passed by them en route to the piano, I heard the usual expression of boredom. One of the girls was saying something like "whatever!" & they seemed as if they might get up & leave. The theater was dark except for the screen & the exit signs & I sat at the piano & tried to play in as captivatingly romantic a style as I could (being not a great pianist by any means!) - & doing a passable job (I thought). I played for about 17 minutes & ended with a dramatic chordal crescendo just as the character in the movie lit his cigarette. I then left. The audience stayed throughout my playing & others may have come & gone. After I stopped playing, the audience almost immediately got up & left even though the film hadn't ended yet. This was a guerrilla uncert in that I'm sure that it wouldn't've been approved of by museum hierarchy & I, of course, had no intention of asking for 'permission'. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that my playing was what kept the 5 people there interested.

I decided to retroactively entitle this as I have in honor of the story that composer/performer Jerry Hunt would sometimes play pieces from his experimental classical repertoire, such as music by Stockhausen, when playing piano at a strip club. The story goes that he had to be protected by a chicken-wire cage to prevent projectiles from the audience from hitting him. The nod to Griffes' piece also ties into the combination of the gay sex (of "Blow Job") & what I call "Low Classical Usic" insofar as Griffes was an early 20th century gay composer who was live-in lovers with a cop & whose "The White Peacock" title was, I'm told, some sort of gay cruising reference.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

326. In Memory of Jerry Hunt (w/ a nod to Charles Tomlinson Griffes' "The White Peacock") #2

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, November 10, 2002, 12:30-12:34PM

- See the preceeding entry. There were 2 audience members at the beginning of this. I asked them whether they'd rather witness the film silent or if they'd like me to play the piano. They chose the piano playing. I tried to vary my playing from the day before's by creating patterns more directly related to the film & in other ways. I played a theme of sorts every time the guy getting the "Blow Job" tilted his head back, I played grumbling low notes when his head was in shadow, & trilling high pairs of major seconds when the white separated the 100 foot rolls, etc.. In keeping with typical drama-building technique, I played glissandi as the climax was nearing. As with entry 324, I stopped playing after the post-orgasmic cigarette was lit. The initial 2 people stayed for about 25 minutes. Other people came & went.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

327. Breakthroughs in Sprocket Science

- Jefferson presents.. @ Backward on Forward, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 23, 2002, 8:10 - 11:20PM

- This was the most ambitious screening I've attempted so far. Below is a somewhat rewritten version of a promotional letter that I sent to a local newspaper:

"Lamar "Chip" Layfield

Carol

Pat Brown

tentatively, a convenience"

This film is highly significant to me not just because it's my 1st one but because right off the bat I made something absolutely perverse in terms of what people usually expect from films. It's a super-8mm GAMBLING GAME, there's audience participation - in fact, without audience participation it doesn't get shown. The 'REAL' content of the film is very peripheral to where one might expect it to be. 'Nuff said.

2nd, I'll screen 8 VERSIONS SIMULTANEOUSLY of my movie entitled "Subtitles" [It turned out to be 7]. "Subtitles" is a project I started in 1980. The most recent version has been made especially for this screening. It's somewhat akin to so-called "language-centered writing" in the sense that it discombobulates symbols & recontextualizes them in so-called "non-transparent" syntax - ie: I originally took super-8 home movie versions of (mostly) cheesy SF movies & reorganized the scenes into categories such as: "paranoia" & "dissolves" - thusly removing them from their original dramatic narrative flow. Things became MUCH MORE COMPLICATED. I like to say that this movie doesn't have a title, it has a subtitle, which is "Subtitles". The implication is that the movie itself has become a translation for another movie that exists as a larger phantom. The various versions to be presented were originally mostly shot in 8mm, super-8, unsplit 8mm, & 16mm. They'll be presented in 16mm & VHS here.

3rd, "back by popular demand" (Gordon requested it & Jim complimented it to me at a party) is my FAKE PORN SUPER-8 PEEP SHOW MOVIE made as Tim Ore in collaboration with Dick Hertz: "Balling Tim Ore is Best". Dick & I worked as "peep show mechanics" at 2 large porn places. Our job was to edit together something like 32 new peep show movies from stock footage every week. We made this one as a disorienting spoof for unwary masturbators & actually snuck it into a peep show where it ran for 2 weeks 24 hours a day. Tim Ore was tha name I used when I lived in BalTimOre since the city was kind enough to make itself a giant sex ad for myself. I'll show the peep show marquees that're left in my collection that Dick & I made too.

4th, "Bob Cobbing". This 16mm monstrosity will be correctly projected on a spandex screen that can be manipulated to make the film even more mind-boggling than it already is. If I do say so myself, this is a technical masterpiece. Step aside you canonized lazy structuralists. I took an early morning educational tv show of the type that must've bored people who then had to go to work but who watched it as a form of college class & CONCEPTUALLY VANDALIZED IT. Every second of this film is manipulated differently. I'm not exaggerating when I say that very, VERY few films have ever been made this laboriously.

5th, "Volunteers Collective". Approximately the same piece was presented at the Public Health building on Pitt's campus to a crowd of about 7 people (see entry 318). Considering how ambitious it is, I hope I get better attendance this time. The ANARKANIAN goes into the audience with the MYSTERY SUITCASE which triggers sounds by remote control as it opens & closes. The anarkanian dances & the sound dances with it. The anarkanian provides a live bit of CONCRETE MIXING to the projected VHS document of CircumSubstantial Playing - site specific improvisations in a swimming pool, at a NUDIST MASK PARTY, with FROTHING CATATONIC SIAMESE TWINS, in a boulder field, in a barnfull of HARRY BERTOIA'S SOUND SCULPTURES. There's a very rich mix going on here - both formally & conceptually.

6th, we come to that most wonderful of all mediums: the filmstrip. Filmstrips were mainly used for educational & industrial purposes without much formal innovation. Those days are behind us. Here we have my collaboration with the ever-wonderful ETTA CETERA: "Death Bed Aerobics" - a dual projection. Ever wonder how to prepare for death? "Death Bed Aerobics" makes it seem like a snap.

&, finally, my most recently completed movie (except for the specially made version of "Subtitles"): "Cuntralia". When I made it I hesitated to ever screen it in Pittsburgh. That's how personal & embarrassing it is (actually, I've made more embarrassing things but we won't discuss those now, eh?). But, no, I can't resist. This is my tale of SEXUAL OBSESSION WHICH I TRULY BELIEVED ALMOST KILLED ME. Yes, the 1st day I started editing this began a downward spiral that eventually lead to the ER. See it now, because, as with the rest of this program, you'll probably never get a 2nd chance.

For the majority of the night I wore my Tim Ore outfit - except during the "Volunteers Collective" portion. For that section I used a new set of samples culled from 61 sequenced pieces that I'd made between '94 & '97. That connected the suitcase sounds more directly to the samples. One of the most remarkable things about this evening for me is that I had to borrow about at least $30,000 worth of equipment to do it from at least 3 or 4 institutions & both managed to do so & managed to have nothing go wrong! Fortunately, my wish for a larger audience came true & the place was full w/ about 50 people.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

330. Harps & Angles Quartet #1

- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, March 20, 2003, 7:00 - 7:30PM

- "Harps & Angles" is an installation credited to "Who is like God?s" & made for the Pittsburgh Biennial. Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, & 317) told me that he was planning to make an installation using piano harps from upright pianos turned into tabletops. He proposed that I be part of a series of performances using these harps. Thinking about this, I proposed that surveillance cameras be mounted over the harp table tops & that the images from these be superimposed over each other & projected into a pool of water which would reflect the projection. I further proposed that each of the harps be miked & that their sound be amplified thru speakers in the pool so that the water would ripple as response to the sound which would then cause the projection reflection to be altered by the ripples. Thusly, the sound generated by the harps would effect their own projected image & make an integrated result. I eventually proposed that this be called "Harps & Angles" as a reference to the piano harps & the camera angles as well as a joking reference to the common image of "angels & harps".

Michael Pestel proposed that instead of calling myself "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE", as I ordinarily would, that we make a name that refers to both of our given 1st names being "Michael". Since the meaning of Michael is sometimes said to be "Who is like God?", I proposed furthering the joking religious reference of the title by calling ourselves "Who is like God?s" as a sort of plural Michael that gave me a reason for using the unusual linguistic arrangement of punctuation within a word. Of course, I also preferred this because Michael is the only name I know of that's sometimes said to be a question.

In the resultant installation, the tables are arranged in a straight line slightly over 2 feet apart with the superimposition projection visible on the wall in front of where players would typically stand as well as projected into the water table placed in the corner of the room to the right of this. The water table was made to be approximately the same size as the piano harp tables. Pittsburgh electronic music composer & sound installation maker Jeremy Boyle gave us substantial advice on how to waterproof & place the speakers. Because of brightness in surrounding rooms, the reflection from the water table surface is too washed out. Given that this water table was an experiment, we discovered that it didn't work very well except when feedback was created. Bass feedback generated patterns on the surface of the water that Michael & I refer to as something like "Islamic tiles". I find these intricate geometrical patterns on the water completely fascinating. Michael placed weighted springs on these compass-point-placed speakers, which are mounted on the bottom of the table with their waterproofed surfaces exposed to the water, & a shell in the middle. The springs help conduct the sound to the surface & the placement of the shell can change the shape of the patterns. We discovered that many factors effect the substantialness of the patterns - such as how many people are standing on the floor around the table. Too many people apparently tend to dampen the conduction of the feedback thru the floorboards & to lessen or completely obliterate the patterns.

For this opening to the Biennial participants & their friends, our premier quartet consisted of Who is like God?s augmented by Steve Boyle & James Knopf. Given that this was an opening, there was much talking & milling about by the attendees & I found that the players reacted to this by being louder & 'noisier' than we might have been otherwise in an attempt to have more presence than the socializing crowd. We began by removing black coverings from the piano harp tables so that they & their projections were revealed. We then moved our hands into the middle, higher, & lower regions in an awkward & largely unsuccessful attempt at superimposed synchrocity. This quickly turned into loud & constant playing all at once that involved way too little paying attention to each other for my preferences. Michael climbed on top of his piano table & I simulated giving him a back massage by manipulating the strings on the same area of my piano table so that in the superimposition the 2 were combined. Towards the end, the feedback was brought into play. At the end, wind-up toys of a horseback rider & of penguins were set loose on the strings & the quartet walked away.

Before we ended, however, a formally dressed drunk woman from the audience, apparently perceiving this a "free-for-all" in which anyone could participate by beating somewhat senselessly on the harps, came up to the table that James had been playing on (& which he'd left so he could play on the same table as someone else) & took the largest available gong mallet & proceeded to hit the piano harp seemingly as hard as she could. This opened the floodgates to more audience participation & the audience swarmed over the piano harps as a seque to the original quartet leaving. Given that this installation is intended to be interactive & that our playing it was intended to inaugurate it so that the audience would then follow us, that would've been fine - except that the audience didn't seem to understand that we were doing something other than just attacking the surfaces to relieve of aggressions or some such. I was substantially disappointed both by the quartet's lack of paying attention to each other & to the audience's apparent insensitivity. Nonetheless, the audience seemed to love it & I was repeatedly told that it was "great". An audience member later broke a string & we learned to immediately remove the piano tuning handles after playing before the attendees could torque the strings too hard.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

331. Harps & Angles Quartet #2

- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, March 21, 2003, 6:40 - 7:05PM

- This was the 2nd of 5 planned performances in this installation. For a detailed introduction read the preceeding entry (#329). For this, the quartet consisted of the usual "Who is like God?s" duo (myself & Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, & 329)) + Elise Springer & Hyla Willis. Given the problems of the 1st quartet from the night before, we rehearsed this a bit so that there'd be more sensitivity between players. We began by simultaneously pulling off the covering black clothes from the piano harp table tops. Then Elise placed her hands in the middle, the upper register area, & the lower register area - followed by the other 3 players doing the same (one at a time) except that we ended by scraping the lowest string. Then we all 4 tried to do the same procedure simultaneously so that our hands would overlap in the projected image. In the improvisation that followed we cued solo w/ backing vamp sections by tossing a screw onto the piano table of the selected soloist. Players dropped out to facilitate duos & trios by standing back from their tables. 6 approaches to sounding the harps were chosen in advance as ones that we would try to collectively use in occasional unison: striking with mallets, plucking, strumming, sounding while tuning, activating by dropping objects onto the harp(s), & scraping. If someone were to use these techniques & someone else were to notice then the noticing person was to consider following suit to try to instigate everyone's doing so. I started the feedback & Michael, once again, climbed on his harp while the rest of us mimed massaging, tickling, & scratching him. We ended with the wind-up penguin toys walking on the strings while we walked away.

This time the audience refrained from attacking the piano harps until after we were done. HOWEVER, they were even MORE FEROCIOUS in doing so than they had been the previous night! With as many as maybe 10 people playing the harps at once they proceeded to hit the harps as hard as they could while they screamed. One guy used a rolling pin that had been used in the uncert as a large slide to vehemently hit the wood of the piano harp until Michael asked him to stop. The total lack of dynamic variety & subtlety in the audience's attack on the harps was truly astonishing. It was like watching a pack of monsters unleashed. They seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

332. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #09

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, April 4, 2003

- More projecting for music in the museum theater (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, 313, 319, 320, & 321). As with "Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #07", I brought my broken WJX-12 video mixer & my own video material specially made for 'light show' projecting. The 2 acts for the night were Pittsburgh electronic music performer & sound installation artist Jeremy Boyle & the Japanese electronic music composer/performer Nobukazu Takemura. I was only to project for Boyle & since I'm somewhat familiar with his work I brought materials that I thought would work well with what I imagined he might play. SO, for Jeremy's 1st part, I started off just projecting continually changing stark black & white vertical lines apparently generated as an unintentional byproduct of technical conditions unknown to me that I'd edited from the ends of certain 3/4" tapes in the museum's collection. These were highly manipulated live with the mixer. For the 2nd part, I added a section of my "Color Bars" video that used crude animation generated by me using a Video Painter toy. For the 3rd part, I used the superimpose function to mix in solid color leaves from a mostly unseen video of storm-blown trees (also used in "#07"). Using a soft focus edged wipe I allowed a tiny bit of highly color distorted tree footage to appear in a 'window' in the vertical lines underneath the color superimposition that they were generating. For the last part, I switched to mixing my 2 videos: "F.R.E.D. S. L.I.S.B.E.R.G.E.R." & "Wallpaper Video". A simple explanation of Jeremy's music might be that it consisted of mostly narrow-timbral-range electronics mixed with non-close-interval guitar arpeggios played in what some might call a somewhat relaxed 'ambient' manner. I felt that our respective formal restrictions worked well together.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

334. Harps & Angles Quartet #3

- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 13, 2003, 9:20 - 9:55PM

- This was the final public performance on this installation (there were several recording sessions & student performances that had 'random' audiences prior to this that aren't listed in this history & 1 final recording session a week later). For a detailed introduction read the earlier relevant entries (329 & 330). For this, the quartet consisted of the usual "Who is like God?s" duo (myself & Michael Pestel (see 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, 329, & 330)) + frequent collaborators Michael Johnsen (see entries 196, 197, 202, 204, 205, 206, 209, 268, {247 & 312}, & 318) & Greg Pierce (see entries 196, 202, 204, 252, 314, {317}, & 318). In order to give Michael J & Greg a chance to familiarize themselves w/ the installation a bit, this quartet had played on it as a 'rehearsal' a few days before. It seemed to be a consensus after this public playing that our rehearsal was 'better'. Alas, due to my technical fuck-up, that wasn't recorded. Still, I thought this night was great (Yeah? Who asked me?).

This was the closing event of the Pittsburgh Biennial & was called "A Night of Sound Art". There was a sound performance by Jeremy Boyle + Rick Gribenas + Paul Warne + Eric Meisberger; an on-going presentation of Carin Mincemoyer's "Snap Dress" w/ Jill Stifle; a performance by Phat Man Dee; & a performance by Josh Brand in the Prekop Family's installation room (painted in black & white zebra stripes); & then our thing-a-ma-whoosie-wob. Man Dee was the MC & she led the vaudience to us. Unfortunately, she didn't know what she was introducing so she called it "Harps & Angels" by "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE" (or some such) instead of "Harps & Angles" by "Who is like God?s". Oh well. She was still a wonderful MC.

As she led the teeming flock (just kidding) into our installation they saw the 4 piano harps covered with blankets under wch 1 player per harp were laying. Phat MD came & 'woke me up' & I came out from underneath the cover & went & 'woke up' the other players. I had recorded 61 samples from an audience-less recording of Quartet #2 & had rigged the piano harp I was using so that it could trigger those samples. To initially do this I was activating the strings (not very successfully) using an E-Bow (these things are too expensive). Michael Pestel was wearing a camcorder on a helmet on his head. Everybody played marvelously & the audience paid more attention to us than they had on the previous 2 occasions. Each table-top was quite a compendium of percussion. Since the installation had been in place for almost 2 months by now, the water table had gotten 'pond scum' & swarms of small insects had lived & died on it. The generation of patterns on the water's surface wasn't working as well as it had originally too. I got so engrossed in playing that I forgot to do live video mixer manipulation as I'd intended to. We ended when I climbed back onto my harp & covered myself & the other players eventually followed suit. This playing wasn't followed by as violent an audience assault on the instruments as had previously happened.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

335. Multiple Projection Light Show (of Sorts) #10

- Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, July 4, 2003

- More projecting for music in the museum theater (see entries 303, 304, 307, 311, 313, 319, 320, 321, & 331). This was the "Electroclash" night (or some such) & I projected for 2 non-Pittsburgh bands ("Freeze Pop"? & a 3 girl band from Brooklyn whose name I forget who sang along w/ pre-recorded music & used "Flash Dance" era disco choreography + a little posing w/ guitars & a little crotch-holding) & a presumably Pittsburgh-based DJ. The DJ requested Warhol films so I used the maximum available wide angle lens & projected "Screen Tests" throughout most of his sets. For the 2 bands I did live mixing of videos of mine using a Videonics MX-1 that I borrowed. This projecting was mainly remarkable as the premier of my "Lightbox" (June 15, '03) - a 2 hour tape made by manipulating a shot of a lightbox that'd been given to me as a teenager by the guy who made it: a box w/ a textured translucent side w/ strings of blinking colored lights inside that flash faster as it warms. I also used my "Shot out upstairs back window in rainstorm & aftermath" (June 17, '02), "F.R.E.D. S. L.I.S.B.E.R.G.E.R. - techno-sensualist 'master'" (December '92), "Feedback" ('87), "Wallpaper Video" (April 9, '90), "Color Bars" (October, '93), & "Vertical Lines" (July '02). The mixer enabled a large quantity of wipes. Sometimes the video was projected into the Warhol "Screen Tests". Whether anyone paid attention or appreciated any of this I don't know.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

336. RiverCubeology #5

- Chatham College Lawn, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, October 10, 2003, 12(noon) - 1PM

- Bob Johnson created a "Rivercubes Project" which involves collecting trash polluting Pittsburgh rivers & riverbanks & turning them into sculptures by having them compacted into cubes by the Keystone Iron and Metal company. 12 had been made as of this date. 3 or more of them were on the Chatham campus lawn & 5 noontime performances around these Chatham cubes happened every weekday of this week - culminating in this friday performance. These were organized by Bob + Michael Pestel (see entries 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, 329, 330, & 333) + Eden McNutt (who's agreed to be called a "sound poet" for the moment). Michael placed his "Vile Air" (violin with slide whistle attached) in the cube & had his concert flute, Eden was vocalizing, I was experimenting with feedback, & Tracy Mortimore was playing an amplified stand-up bass thru effects. All this was centered around Bob's RiverCube labelled: "Combined Sewage Outfall: A32". A group of students for a Creative Writing class sat on nearby steps writing - apparently in response to us.

My feedback experiment consisted of my taking an 8-ohm mini-speaker (1&1/8" in diameter) & soldering it to wire with a 1/4" phone plug on the end so that it could be plugged into the headphones jack of my 2 speed mono cassette recorder. This tape deck had a guitar strap attached to it so I could carry the recorder with hands free. I also took a 12VDC (Volt Direct Current) mini buzzer & a 12VDC piezo siren & wired those in a Y-down to a mini-mono plug so that it could provide input to the tape recorder's microphone jack. The soldering that this involved was done very last minute on the Chatham lawn. Initially my unrealistic hope had been that I might be able to attach the piezo buzzer/siren combination to a part of the RiverCube & the speaker to a nearby part & have feedback be transmitted thru the cube itself. However, as soon as I saw the cube I was sure that it would be an unsatisfactory medium for this so I satisfied myself with puttering around generating feedback more directly thru the air in the cube's vicinity, recording for a few minutes. I then took the recorder to a mic connected to our sound system & rewound the tape & played it back thru the built-in speaker a bit. Later I generated feedback at the mic while Michael played flute in front of it. This was also recorded & rewound & I walked around the students playing this back. Since some of the original feedback generation would've been inaudible to them, this was my way of making it so that they would have a delayed hearing of what they'd seen me create (without knowing what I was doing). A 2nd set involved Tracy & Eden & myself interacting more physically with the cube while Michael videoed this while pulsingly playing what may've been a bird-call in his mouth. A good time was had by all & some of the pollution of the river was transformed into that goofy stuff that grown people get up to.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

337. (M)Usic - 1885 to the Present

- Rick Gribenas' Sound Art Class, Miller Gallery, CMU, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 6 - 8PM

- See entries 205, 211, 248, & 310 for descriptions of previous incarnations of this lecture. I probably began (I'm writing this over 2 months later so I don't remember everything) by putting the SUITCASE (in addition to the above entries see also 199, 326, & 332) on the laps of the class & using its looped sounds to radio-control/Pitch-to-MIDI samples. The lecture was then played on a CD while I stood at a podium & pretended to speak into a microphone while really just mouthing the words. This continued until the part of the lecture where I walked away from the mic to hand out a list of women composers. For the rest of the lecture I either spoke or sang along with the recording or played various sound effects using such things as siren whistle, slapstick, corrugated tube, trombone, cow bells, dinner bells, & the feedback set-up used in 335, etc.. Shortly after the lecture began, a video was projected that was an edit of the 3 times I'd presented the lecture @ Chatham. This was timed so that during the CD version mention & excerpt playing of my "Drying Clothes Made Entirely Out Of Zippers" recording the relevant visuals would appear simultaneously. I moved thru the class making sounds - doing things like playing an Audobon bird-call slightly behind their ears. I also climbed a ladder for access to the ceiling-mounted video projector so that I could make shadows in the projection. The lecture ended with the class being invited to interact with an on-line version of Karlheinz Essl's "Lexikon-Sonate".

After this, I presented a vaudeo made especially for the occasion entitled "NASCAR vs Rudolph Diesel via Turntablism". This was meant to be a criticism of the over-association of Sound Art with HipHop DJs - with special attention paid to the sickening capitalism often found in that milieu. This was followed by a playing of Volunteers Collective samples (the 196 seconds of samples were all taken from the computer edit of my published Volunteers Collective "Yr of Sundays" tape (see entries 242, 243, 245, 247, 250, & 251 for related descriptions)) while a 15 minute excerpt from the Volunteers Collective (superimposition version) was projected (in addition to the above-mentioned see entries 312 & 318). A Q&A ended it all.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

338. RiverCubeology #5 (Reprise)

- Chatham College Lawn, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, February 12, 2004, 3 - 4PM

- See entry 335 for an intro to my participation in Bob Johnson's "Rivercubes Project". This was an outgrowth of the "Tireless" Project which was meant to scoop up tires from Pittsburgh rivers. Of the perhaps 4 Rivercubes (compacted river detritus sculptures) that had been on the Chatham campus grounds, all but 1 had been removed to be placed back near the point of the origin of where Bob had found their materials. Michael Pestel (see entries 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, 329, 330, 333, & 335), 5 members of his "Soundscapes: Nature, Music and Silence" class, & Bob & I gathered around the last of the Rivercubes on the campus to give it a sending-off party of sorts since it was to be removed later that day. 4 bells & an agogo were inserted into it to be struck. Fragments of a small piece of dry ice were inserted into it & a sprayer of water was shot at the pieces to make them smoke. Brightly colored Jello mix was combined w/ the snow that was around & dumped from buckets onto the sculpture. Marshmellows were added. The sculpture was struck with sticks & metal. Thin metal printing plates were used as thunder sheets. A drill with a metal polishing end on it was used to abrade whatever it came into contact with - including the plates & the marshmellows. Additional percussion was the ladder that supported an overhead camera shooting the cube & the buckets that'd held the jello slush. One of the students, Morgan, vocalised into a plastic tube inserted into the sculpture. I made frequent use of a chain. Michael experimented with a camera technique that he's been developing that involves using a small mouth sound-maker to provide sound effects that accompany camera movement. I audio recorded it using binaural microphones & a mini-disc recorder - highlighting the resultant perspective by moving around the event.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

339. Harps & Angles (new duet version)

- Brew House, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, March 26, 2004

- See entries 329, 330 & 333. This was the 1st time I ever applied for funding & received it. A whopping $400 from which was subtracted $150 for expenses. I had edited an approximately 30 minute 'performance' version of the vaudeo documentary that my collaborator & I had made of the original installation & the related 'performances' & other uses of it. Only 2 of the piano tables were installed for this & instead of having surveillance cameras mounted over them we used 2 mini-dv camcorders. The tables were facing each other in front of an audience seated on bleachers. The mixed together image from their 2 cameras was projected behind them to the left on a screen. We began by having the prepared tape projected onto the right side of the screen with its soundtrack audible. This played for several minutes & then my collaborator, Who is Like God? (Pestel), & I entered from the audience rear & assumed our positions at the piano harps. WiLG?(P) was wearing somewhat ordinary clothes but had spiked his hair with blue gel which was also covering most of his visible skin. I was wearing the brightly colored turkey feather covered outfit that I'd made for the Harps & Angles Quartet 3 described in 333. The vaudeo sound was potted down for the remainder. We played the harps by rubbing glass bricks along the strings producing an eerie & dense high-pitched resonance & then gradually switched to other methods of sounding the strings & other objects that we were using. As usual, WiLG?(P) & I occasionally coordinated our movements so that special visuals would result in the superimposition projection. After 20 minutes or so of this, I switched to playing samples of the Harps & Angles Quartet 2. As such, I left the overhead shot. This left WiLG?(P) to dominate the performative element which he did wonderfully with such touchs as playing small whistle-like instruments with his nose while climbing about on his piano-harp table top. Near the end the Videonics video mixer that we were using to combine the overhead images was set to its demo mode so that it could quickly cyle thru its selection of wipes to make the left projection more spectacular. Then WiLG?(P) & I wound up 2 fake birds in cages that then 'sang' & we climbed onto the tables in a precomposed manner. When the vaudeo ended I turned off the mixer so that both images stopped around the same time & the whole shebang ended.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

342. Cell Wars

- Benefit for Steve Kurtz & Robert Ferrell, Quiet Storm, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, September 25, 2004

- Parts of the following explanation of the cause that this was a benefit for are culled from various e-mails posted to the Critical Art Ensemble Defense list-serv:

Early morning of May 11, Steve Kurtz awoke to find his wife, Hope, dead of a cardiac arrest. Kurtz called 911. The police arrived and, after stumbling across test tubes and petri dishes Kurtz was using in a current artwork, called in the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Soon agents from the Task Force and FBI detained Kurtz, cordoned off the entire block around his house, and later impounded Kurtz's computers, manuscripts, books, equipment, and even his wife's body for further analysis. The Buffalo Health Department condemned the house as a health risk.

Kurtz, a professor at SUNY Buffalo & member of the Critical Art Ensemble, was then accused of being a bioterrorist. Various other people associated with the CAE were then served subpoenas as was Autonomedia, the CAE's publisher. Critical Art Ensemble has very publicly and legally performed scientific processes to demystify them and make them accessible to audiences. "Free Range Grains," CAE's latest project, includes a mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for the presence of genetically modified organisms.

A grand jury convened June 15th to decide whether to prosecute the bioterrorism case. After it was apparently decided that such a case was groundless, the prosecution switched tactics & decided to pursue the prosecution of Kurtz & Robert Ferrell, head of the Department of Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Health. The charges concern technicalities of how Ferrell helped Kurtz to obtain $256 worth of harmless bacteria for one of Kurtz's art projects. The accumulative possible sentence for these exaggerated charges is 20 years.

Even though the bioterrorism charges have been dropped, Autonomedia continued to be subpoenaed - raising the obvious criticism that the real purpose of the prosecutor & the Joint Terrorism Task Force is to create a test case for targetting dissent in the US & to justify already outrageous expenditures of tax-payers' money.

For my portion of the evening, I was planning to simply screen a short found educational film about how the body fights viruses & bacteria entitled "Cell Wars". In this, the protaganist, a boy, is shown entering his sister's knee wound where he is educated about, & helps with, her body's defense. The germs are also anthropomorhpized. It had been my intention to merely introduce the film by saying that the boy should be looked upon as Kurtz & the germs as his prosecutors & the enforcers of the so-called "Patriot Act", etc.. However, since the sound person wasn't there yet by the time I was ready to start & since, therefore, the original soundtrack couldn't be heard, I improvised an explanation throughout the film. This included the characterization of the woman playing a bacteria as being "Janet Reno &/or Madeleine Albright &/or the ghost of Margaret Thatcher or whatever" (or something like that) & the "phagocytes" as the pink bloc assisting Kurtz, etc, etc..

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

343. The Birds of Rio Negro

- Woodland Art Gallery, Chatham College, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, April 23, 2005

- This was primarily conceived of by Michael Pestel (see entries 204, 205, 208, 211, 247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 278, 317, 329, 330, 333, 335, 337, & 338) as part of the closing of his joint exhibition with painter Paul Krainak called "Brasilia - Constructing Oscar Niemeyer and Heitor Villa-Lobos". Not only was it the closing of the exhibit, it was also Michael's more-or-less (probably less?) farewell to his many years as Chair of the Art Department at Chatham & his many years of living in Pittsburgh. Underlying the piece was a fictional narrative about a meeting between Brasilian composer Villa-Lobos & Brasilian architect Niemeyer in which they stimulated each other to respectively compose "a symphonic work for the inauguration of Brasilia" & to design "a house [for Villa-Lobos] that would reflect the acoustic structure of the forest and enable [V-L] to enchant his friends with concerts under the sun and under the stars."

The exhibit room was a rectangle with a smaller rectangle protruding from 1 end. Primarily on the length-walls of the larger rectangle were hard-edge geometric rectangular paintings by Krainak. At the smaller rectangular end a video projected onto the underside of the lid of a prepared baby grand piano. This was a tape that Michael had directed & edited of himself playing the same piano on a barge as it floated down the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh. Placed about a third of the way out from a wall otherwise near the middle of the room was a stairway leading to a skylight well in the ceiling. The piece began w/ all the players except for myself & Michael facing the paintings on the walls & elevated slightly above the floor on rectangles of cinderblocks. The array went around the room clockwise as follows: Michael at the piano, my sampler spot empty, David Rothenberg w/ clarinets, Steve Pelligrino w/ accordian, Eden McNutt w/ vocal chords, Bruce Miller w/ banjo, Daryl Fleming w/ guitar & percussion & effects, Ben Opie w/ reeds, & Caterina De Re w/ vox magnifica. On the steps was Susanne Amundarain, narrator.

Michael began by playing the prepared piano, conceptually echoing the projection of himself doing the same thing. I was outside wearing my turkey feather covered pants & lab coat + a rubber chicken beak mask. I was vocalizing into a radio mic that was feeding into a pitch-to-MIDI converter that was triggering samples of Brasilian birds inside. These were heard in the gallery along w/ Michael's playing. I entered the room, pausing slightly for dramatic effect, & then took my place at the sampler - where I switched from the mic to the keyboard controller & paused in my playing.

Michael got up from the piano & walked to an array of flutes & began to play them. This cued Susanne to start reading the narrative text in paragraphs w/ pauses between them. Her reading the 1st paragraph triggered me to start playing again. I then added to the 37 bird samples a playing of Villa-Lobos samples excerpted from the following pieces: Peguena Suite; Prelúdio (No. 2), Op. 20; String Quartet No. 1 Capriccio, Op. 49; Elégie, Op. 87; Trio; Choros No. 2; Modinha; Quinteto Em Forma De Choros Bachianas brasilieras No. 2: "O trenzinho do caipira (The Countryman's Little Train)"; Valsa Da Dor; Baciana Brasileira No. 4; Ciclo Brasileira Distribuição De Flores (Distribution of Flowers); Bachianas brasilerias No.5; String Quartet No. 6; Bachianas Brasilerias No. 6; Assobio A Jato (The Jet Whistle); Alma Brasileira (Chorus No. 5); Assobio A Jato (The Jet Whistle); String Quartet No. 17; & Canção Do Amor (Song of Love). W/ each successive paragraph, going clockwise, a new player wd turn around from the wall & begin improvising until all of us were improvising together as the last paragraph ended & thereafter w/o narration. Here's the 2nd-to-the-last paragraph:

"Some ten months later, Villa-Lobos fell asleep on his studio sofa during afternoon siesta. He dreamed that he was playing the Brasilia Concerto on his grand piano mysteriously moving along the rivers of the Amazon. Did his playing propel the piano or did the very elements and forces of nature through which he floated push him forward? The music seemed inextricably connected to the land. It was the land. He understood that his playing was simply a point of intensification, a magnifying lens held up to the sun. Suddenly, as if this thought had taken physical form, the piano burst into flames and began to swell to the size and shape of Brazil. He was no longer seated at the helm of his musical craft, but soared upward to a bird's eye view high enough to watch his entire country engulfed in flames. He was helpless to redirect the dream and must have been gesturing in desperation, because Lucilia gently shook him awake and poured him some cognac. Later that evening, while Lucilia was rehearsing, he started up a fire in the fireplace and placed the working scores for the Brasilia Concerto and The Birds of Rio Negro into the flames one sheet at a time. Two weeks later, on February 17, 1959, Villa-Lobos died at home from cancer."

After a little while of the ending post-text group improv, Michael blew spit-balls thru his flute(s) at hanging percussion. Each time he did this, a player, again going in clockwise order, was to drop out. Therefore, I was the 1st to stop playing & Caterina was the last.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

344. [Opening

- Modern Formations Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, November 4, 2005

- My friends Elina Malkin & Kevin Hicks had an opening & asked me to play w/ them as part of it. I primarily played my set of oboe samples that I'd made in May of this year w/ the intention of activating them by playing oboe - a plan only poorly realized for recordings so far. For the sake of completism (or something), I hereby produce FULL SAMPLE DISCLOSURE:

Oboe Samples

- all samples are STEREO except where otherwise noted; the FX Bus is set for all at: Insert; the Pitch Bend for the Soft Machine & 'Early' Music sections is C = 1 UP, 1 DOWN, C# = 2 UP, 2 DOWN..; the Soft Machine & 'Early' Music samples have Normal Pitch-Bend, all others are Held.

The samples from C2 to A3 are taken from 3 Soft Machine records: Six (side 1 of the "Live" LP), Seven (both sides), Bundles (side 2). The whole tone scale starting w/ C2 has the left channel forwards & the right channel backwards; the whole tone scale beginning w/ C#2 has the left channel backwards & the right channel forwards. Given that all of them are looped forward & backward, wch side is heard backward or forward depends on the point the sample is at in its loop.

C2 All White - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C#2 All White - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

D2 All White - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

D#2 All White - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

E2 All White - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F2 37 1/2 - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F#2 37 1/2 - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G2 37 1/2 - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G#2 37 1/2 - Mike Ratledge - 1972 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A2 Tarabos - Mike Ratledge - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A#2 Tarabos - Mike Ratledge - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

B2 Tarabos - Mike Ratledge - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C3 Tarabos - Mike Ratledge - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C#3 Penny Hitch - Karl Jenkins - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

D3 Penny Hitch - Karl Jenkins - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

D#3 Penny Hitch - Karl Jenkins - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

E3 Penny Hitch - Karl Jenkins - 1973 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F3 Peff - Mike Ratledge - 1975 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F#3 Peff - Mike Ratledge - 1975 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G3 Peff - Mike Ratledge - 1975 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G#3 Peff - Mike Ratledge - 1975 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A3 Peff - Mike Ratledge - 1975 - Karl Jenkins: Oboe - looped forward & backward

 

The samples from A#3 to F6 (the range of the oboe) are taken from 20th century classical, jazz, & experimental recordings. The Pitch Bend settings for this section are: Pitch Bend UP: 7 UP, Pitch Bend DOWN: 6 UP [sic]. The purpose of this being to enable me to vacillate between a "perfect 5th" & a tritone. The Sustain Pedal setting is also turned OFF for samples from the pieces up 'til mine where it's turned on again.

 

A#3 Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra - Lukas Foss - excerpt from the 1st (of 3) movement(s) - 1948 - Bert Gassman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

B3 Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra - Lukas Foss - excerpt from the 2nd (of 3) movement(s) - 1948 - Bert Gassman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C4 Concerto for Oboe & Orchestra - Lukas Foss - excerpt from the 3rd (of 3) movement(s) - 1948 - Bert Gassman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C#4 8 Etudes & A Fantasy for Woodwind Quartet - Elliott Carter - 1950 - the New York Woodwind Quintet (minus 1) - Ronald Roseman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

D4 Kreuzspiel - Karlheinz Stockhausen - 1951 - looped forward & backward

D#4 Woodwind Quintet - Gunther Schuller - excerpt from the 1st (of 3) movement(s): Lento - 1958 - the New York Woodwind Quintet - Ronald Roseman: Oboe - looped forward & backward - mono

E4 Woodwind Quintet - Gunther Schuller - excerpt from the 2nd (of 3) movement(s): Moderato - 1958 - the New York Woodwind Quintet - Ronald Roseman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F4 Woodwind Quintet - Gunther Schuller - excerpt from the 3rd (of 3) movement(s): Agitato - 1958 - the New York Woodwind Quintet - Ronald Roseman: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F#4 "Concerto" for Oboe & Chamber Orchestra - Bruno Maderna - 1962 - Lothar Faber: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G4 Exotic Forest - Sun Ra - May 1966 - Marshall Allen: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G#4 Chroma - Paul Zonn - 1967 - Wilma Zonn: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A4 Spiral - Karlheinz Stockhausen - 1968 - Joseph Celli: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A#4 Sequenza VII - Luciano Berio - 1969 - Lázló Hadady: Oboe - looped forward & backward

B4 Double Concerto for Flute, Oboe & Orchestra - György Ligeti - 1971-72 - Lothar Koch: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C5 Extended Oboe - Elliott Schwartz- 1973-74 - Joseph Celli: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C#5 Songs of Remembrance - Richard Wernick - 1973-74 - Philip West: [Shawm, English Horn] Oboe - looped forward & backward

D5 Instruments I - Morton Feldman - 1974 - looped forward & backward

D#5 Chemins IV (su Sequenza VII) - Luciano Berio - 1975 - Lázló Hadady: Oboe - looped forward & backward

E5 Oboe & Orchestra - Morton Feldman - 1976 - Han de Vries: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F5 Sky: S for J - Joseph Celli - 1976 - Joseph Celli: Oboe - looped forward & backward

F#5 Instruments III - Morton Feldman - 1977 - looped forward & backward

G5 A Summoning of Focus - Malcolm Goldstein - 1977 - Joseph Celli: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G#5 Hawk - Stuart Smith - 1991 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A5 Xantippe's Rebuke - Mary Jane Leach- 1993 - Libby van Clove: Oboe - looped forward & backward

 

The following tENT samples are all looped forward.

 

A#5 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - right mono

B5 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - left mono

C6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - right mono

C#6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - left mono

D6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - right mono

D#6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - left mono

E6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - right mono

F6 'Oboe' 'Duet' - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - 1995 - left mono

 

The samples from F#6 to C7 are taken from pre-20th century classical music.

 

F#6 Sonata in G Minor - J.S. Bach - excerpt from the 1st (of 3) movement(s): Andante - sometime between 1717-1723 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G6 Sonata in G Minor - J.S. Bach - excerpt from the 2nd (of 3) movement(s): Siciliano (Largo e Dolce) - sometime between 1717-1723 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

G#6 Sonata in G Minor - J.S. Bach - excerpt from the 3rd (of 3) movement(s): Presto-Allegro - sometime between 1717-1723- James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A6 Fantasia in F Minor - J.L. Krebs - 1742 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

A#6 Fantasia in F Major - J.L. Krebs - 1742 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

B6 Partita III in D Minor - J.W. Hertzel - 1st excerpt - 1762 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

C7 Partita III in D Minor - J.W. Hertzel - 2nd excerpt - 1762 - James Ostryniec: Oboe - looped forward & backward

Kevin played guitar, concertina, finger cymbals, harmonica, & broke lightbulbs - wch added a nice dramatic touch. Elina played 2 small keyboards & tapes - mostly of stories. This was, in a sense, a "concrete mixing' gig much in the spirit of my old booed usic gigs of the '80s - but w/o any performative &/or projection element.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

345. booed usic & group armageddon

- Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 19, 2005, 8:30PM - 12midnight

- I had made a vaudeo w/ both English & Spanish explanatory titles running thru it called "booed usic" detailing my activities under that name from 1984 to 1988. This was made especially to be used as a part of my presentation at the DINA "Influencers" festival in Barcelona, Spain, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) on Friday, April 2, 2004 (see entry 339). That presentation having been such a source of frustration for me I was eagerly anticipating an attempt to present it more correctly. Here was my opportunity. For years, I've been plotting w/ my friend Fabio Roberti (see entries 192, 198, 203, & 322) to bring our mutual friend, percussionist Michael Evans, to Pittsburgh to perform & for Fabio to possibly come along & do something too. Sometime around the summer or fall of 2004, my old friend Daniel Higgs had been in Pittsburgh performing w/ his band Lungfish & he'd asked me whether I'd like to do something together.

So this seemed like a good time to pull all these threads together. Since Michael was going to come, it ALSO seemed like a good time for me to rebuild my long-neglected Erector Set percussion & to bring out ALL of my percussion equipment - including a glass marimba I'd gotten thanks to Michael Pestel & Neil Feather's Small Nondo. The former had been made by a Japanese student of Michael's named Yukiko (sorry, I probably never met her & don't know her last name & I doubt that Michael remembers it either) who moved back to Japan w/o taking it w/ her. The latter is one of 3 Nondos that Neil's made & is the only one of its size. I'd NEVER used all this equipment in one gig before. For a projection surface, I stretched the spandex screen that I'd made for the Volunteers Collective "A Year of Sundays" Release Party @ the Chatham College Swimming Pool (entry 252) & a standard portable tripod screen was put near the front of the stage, audience left. The stage was otherwise covered w/ all the percussion equipment. In front of the stage to audience left was all of Michael's percussion arranged so Michael could play it facing the audience. In front of the stage to audience right were my electronics: DX27S keyboard, ASR-X Pro sampler, a pitch-to-MIDI converter, a radio mic, & a sampler/mixer arranged so I'd play it facing the stage. Behind me were 3 16mm projectors to be manned by Fabio & a video projector.

The evening began w/ the "booed usic" vaudeo projected to the tripod screen. This consists of footage from booed usic at t he telectropheremoanin'quinquennial (entry 65), my "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" (entries 79, 80, & 85 in particular), pirate tv premier of "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" vaudeo (entry 105), Easter Island Bunny Booed Usic (entry 106), Generic As-Beenism (entry 107), Tent's Muir (entry 115), "More English" (entry 116), & Murraygate Busking (entry 119). Unfortunately, about 5:00 into this the DVD switched to the track w/ the irrelevant "Neoist Guide Dog" movie on it & then moved back to the "booed usic" track's beginning. Not off to a good start. As I'd planned out on a timings sheet, after roughly the 1st 5:17 I started playing my Mechanically Repetitive / Re-Recorded Records samples. I played the samples off & on according to plan - allowing parts of the "booed usic" soundtrack to be at the fore at key points where some text was to be heard. After the explanation of the "booed usic busking unit" (explained at length in previous entries, such as entry 104, & elsewhere) at what should've been 26:04, I started playing my newest set of samples made from the Gnome ribbon & knob controlled synthesizer. This latter was made from a kit by Terrence Dougherty - who had then given it to me back in early 1992. After Jean-Luc Bonspiel's intro to Generic As-Beenism's premier at the Ultimatum II Festival in 1987, I started playing the Erector Set & then moved on to the glass marimba.

Given that the purpose of this document is to describe my own part of the evening, I'll give short shrift to the others by saying that: Michael Evans played a wonderful 26:47 percussion set while Fabio used the 3 16mm projectors to show various found films (presented mostly silent) - including a documentary about dadaism. Michael stopped playing just as Fabio's 3 projectors tripped the power-strip he was plugged into. It was a nice accidental simultaneity.

Fabio then screened his new shortened edit of his Avant Garde Showcase. For the purposes of describing my whole take on the evening, this was particularly significant because of its spoofing of 1950s Avant Garde culture.

Daniel Higgs read some poetry next & then played a fantastic guitar solo that struck me as heavily Indian influenced. I was astonished at how much he had his chops down. He then introduced our impending collective improv as a "Group Armageddon" & I've chosen to stick w/ that name.

SO, for the end, Michael & Daniel played percussion & I played samples & percussion. I also activated the samples by playing a kazoo that was radio-miked that triggered the pitch-to-MIDI converter. Fabio showed more found films. This section lasted for about 34:00. Greg Pierce shot mini-DV footage of it & etta cetera recorded the sound w/ mini-disc. I made a quasi-documentary of the event called history in the making..

This latter brings me to my over-all impression of the night. A local music reporter for the Pittsburgh City Paper had promoted the event because he likes Daniel's performing. Ending his promotion he mentioned that we'd be presenting the group improv at the end & wrote that it might be a "disaster" or "history in the making" but that he'd opt for the latter. I appreciate that he gave us this promotional plug but I was thinking of things differently.

For me, the gig was important because it was bringing together friends that I'd been wanting to do things w/ but, especially in the case of Daniel, who I'd known for 25 years, I hadn't really worked w/ before. As such, it was exciting. HOWEVER, I didn't feel that we were necessarily breaking any new ground. After all, my "booed usic" presentation involved my updating & referring projects of mine from 20 years earlier. I even wore the zipper pants (made in 1984) & the zipper jacket (made in 1988) the wearing of wch had framed much of that era for me. I don't wear them very often anymore - even though I did pretty frequently up until fairly recently. Also, the evening's emphasis on percussion & found films was hardly an innovation. Daniel's guitar solo, great though I think it was, was still not spectacularly new. All in all, for me, the event was alotof fun (& alotof work) & the attendees seemed to enjoy it substantially, BUT, it was in many ways a self-conscious outgrowth of avant garde culture of the 50s & 60s rather than anything qualifying as "history in the making". Hence my earlier comment to the effect that Fabio's spoof was particularly appropriate. Nonetheless, I had a great time!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

346. Last Man on Earth

- Modern Formations Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, April 2, 2006

- My friend Matt Gleeson from Melbourne in Australia notified me that he & his band The Stabs were going to be touring the US so I set up this gig for them. Kevin Hicks & 2 of his friends opened, I was 2nd, Dimitra (a noise performer touring w/ The Stabs) was 3rd, & then The Stabs.

My set was called "Last Man on Earth" & featured projection of an edited vaudeo from an "Official" session of approximately the same name from November of 1992. This original session was a sortof 'one-man-band' thing of mine where I played multiple instruments. A short excerpt from its sound had been used as an example of "Terrence Dougherty" playing on a tape published by the magazine "Experimental Musical Instruments". The "TD" was a rack of electronics that I'd assembled that included simple devices from kits made by my friend Terrence Dougherty, radios, tape players & tapes that I'd made especially for 'random' sampling. 61 samples were then taken from that excerpt & used as the raw materials for my playing along w/ the vaudeo - w/ the soundtrack mixed in & out. Sounds I'd made on my DX27-S synthesizer were also used.

The vaudeo was basically divided into 9 sections:

1. "Terrence Dougherty" 1

2. Lap Guitar + "Terrence Dougherty" 2

3. Broken Organ + Broken Monophonic Synthesizer

4. Vibraphone + "Terrence Dougherty"

5. Trumpet + "Erector Set" + "Terrence Dougherty"

6. "Small Nondo" + "Terrence Dougherty"

7. "Experimental Musical Instruments" "Terrence Dougherty"

8. credits

9. Scratch Ending

During the 1st section, an electronic drone plays. I played a similar drone on the DX27-S during that. Excerpts from the soundtrack were also sampled & looped live - especially durring the vibraphone section. During section 7, I played the samples in ways that took advantage of their relationship w/ the soundtrack. For the ending I sped up the pace considerably & only played the beginning fragments of the samples.

The 1st section has a text overlay in the vaudeo of a short chronology of relevant birth & death info from the life of Mary Shelley - w/ an emphasis on the misery & loss that lead up to the writing of her novel of plague annihilation The Last Man.

In the original session I was wearing a full-body black leather motorcycle suit that was in fairly new condition. For this presentation, I wore the same suit BUT it's considerably degraded now that it's 13&1/2 years older. In a sense, this piece was the Last Man on Earth playing w/ himself.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

347. "footnotes" Release Film Kitchen

- Film Kitchen, Melwood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, October 10, 2006

- In honor of the release of my book entitled "footnotes" on SIX GALLERY PRESS [go to: <http://www.amazon.com/footnotes-tENT/dp/0977624250/sr=1-1/qid=1159322289/ref=sr_1_1/104-4080608-6135133?ie=UTF8&s=books> if you're interested in getting a copy], I screened some movies relevant to the book (wch is a compendium of sorts from my previous 9 bks) & gave some readings from it.

The movies screened were:

an excerpt from "Homeless Movies" - 1988 - relevant to my bk made in collaboration w/ Laura A. Trueseal entitled: "Yet Another Slow-Burning Feast of a Few Months Mischief in the U.K., Maybe (A Partial(ly) Epistolary Account of Non-Non & Non-Participation, Maybe)"

the premier of "B.T.O.U.C." - 1982-84/2001/02/06 - relevant to my bk entitled "How to Write a Resumé - Volume II: Making a Good First-Impression"

an excerpt from a slide-show reading of "Telepathy Receptivity Training" - 1975-91

an excerpt from "One Word per Person Party" - 1990

A reading from the "Reactionary Muddle America" section of "footnotes" wd've been given somewhere around here - 1992/2005-06

an excerpt from "Anonymous Family Reunion" - 1997 - from the bk/vaudeo of the same name

the "Expanded Texts" chapter from the DVD/bk called "Story of a Fructiferous Society" - 1974-2005

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

350. Improvised Sound / Improvised Film

- Jefferson Presents, Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, January 27, 2007

- In honor of LaDonna Smith, the veteran improvising violinist/violaist/vocalist, being in Pittsburgh, Manny Theiner & the fellows from Jefferson Presents organized this show. Films projected were from the JP archives (chosen by Adam Abrams & Gordon Nelson) & the Orgone Cinema archives (chosen by Greg Pierce). The evening began w/ a silent film w/ LaDonna improvising a soundtrack for it. A film by Adam was screened w/ an improvised soundtrack from Steve Boyle. Work of Gordon's was shown. His first film was untitled and contained a random selection of subjects he'd filmed in 16mm over the past 10 or so years - basically "improvised" images with no connecting themes. The 2nd film he projected was a found film entitled "BEHAVIOR OF THE FEEBLE MINDED". Michael Johnson & Margaret Cox performed an electronic duet. I screened my 1983 film entitled "Sound Along with t he Bounding Ball(s) - a film intended to be interpreted as graphic notation for producing its soundtrack. LaDonna, Greg, Steve, & I played along. Greg showed films. LaDonna played a solo set. The evening ended w/ a prolonged screening of various films w/ LaDonna & I, at 1st, improvising. Eventually Greg & Steve joined in. Something like that. For me, this was a special evening because I was playing w/ LaDonna for the 1st time & also because I was playing lap guitar for the 1st time publically since 1992 & using my (new to me) Digitech pedal board. The lap guitar was tuned to a conventional A Major open chord wch inspired me to play in a much more orthodox blues/rock manner (albeit w/ extended musique concrete technique) than 'usual'.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

351. Formalist 8mm Film from 1978-1998

- Jefferson Presents, Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 31, 2007

- Here's a highly abridged excerpt from an email that I sent to Gordon Nelson & Adam Abrams (the Jefferson Presents guys) & to Spat Cannon (the EXPLICATOR for the evening) preparing them for what they were in for:

"The entire program will be 8mm film BUT that includes: regular-8, super-8, & unsplit regular-8 (ie: 16mm w/ twice the ordinary amt of sprockets). In addition to this there are other complications. This will require TWO sound super-8 projectors (hopefully of good quality), ONE LOUSY super-8 projector (Ifor "Ghost" - wch is meant to be projected under shitty conditions), ONE 16mm projector (no sound needed from it), & TWO regular-8 projectors. Obviously, the regular-8s can be covered by there being dual-8 projectors that're also used for the super-8. For sound, I'll need either a VARIABLE SPEED tape player [or CD player] connected to the PA. The reason for this is that while the sound is intended to be synced (in some cases) the sound source is wild sound so I have to adjust the speed of it live to try to keep it synced to the film(s). I have a variable speed tape player but it's erratic & tends to DRASTICALLY change speed 'randomly' so it's pretty worthless for these purposes. If nothing else can be found I'll use that.

There'll be a special live element to this because my friend Spat is going to be the EXPLICATOR for "Satanic Liposuction, Neoism?!, & YOU!!". IE: he'll 'explain' the film in real time. A part of the joke of that is that, while he will've seen the film already by then, he won't really have much more of an idea of what's going on than the audience will. I'm relying on his silver-tongue to keep up fast-paced extemporizing.

Below's the proposed program. The numbers indicate wch order these films are in in my overall chronology.

004. "Ghost*

(of Lamar "Chip" Layfield / Carol / Pat Brown / tentatively, a convenience)

(of films by entities other than myself)

of my Mike Film project

* - a Projectionist's Nightmare"

- super 8 - indefinite duration - fall '78 (etc..)

I've worked under 'bad' conditions most of my life - ususally only using borrowed or broken equipment, usually having only a few dollars for my 'budget'. This film deliberately pushes that to an extreme. It's projected on a special small screen that makes the images mostly incomprehensible, it's deliberately poorly spliced, it's projected on bad projectors so that it's likely to break right away. It's a PROJECTIONIST'S NIGHTMARE. It's also very rarely shown.

016. "____________________________________ " - regular 8 - app 3:00 - '81

021. "Subtitles (unsplit regular 8 version)" - unsplit regular 8 - 9:50 - '81-'82

024. "A Double Negative As Not A Positive"

- w/ Hannah Aviva (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE DidActing under the name of E.G.Head)

- unsplit regular 8 - 2:00 - '82

043. "Les Promenades Hysteriques"

[double film/double projection version destroyed by Reinhardt U. Sevöl]

- made as part of TON TOCOCK SCHISME (Reinhardt U. Sevöl, Via Vidorae, & tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE)

- super 8 - 10:00 - '84

046. a. "See-Saw" {version 1} - See-Saw made by O.J.Dart - regular 8 - 15:20 - '85

053. "War & Peace" - super 8 - app 1:10-1:45 - '86

093. "You Haven't Heard the Record, You Haven't Read the Book, Now! Don't See the Movie!"

- super 8 - 27:00 - '88

132. "Vex 1990E.V." - w/ sound from Dick Turner - super 8 - 6:20 - march 19 & 20, '90 (etc..)

141. "Double Height" {pronounced like "Hate"}

- 2 regular 8 films for 2 side-by-side projections (also transferred to 1/2" VHS cassette)

- 2:00 - '91

175. "Satanic Liposuction, Neoasm?!, & YOU!!"

- super 8 - 1:17:00 - (footage from '78 - '98) edited from fall '95 - summer '98"

The 2 most performative parts of the evening were the projection of "Ghost" (wch was duly vaudeoed & wch is now the definitive vaudeo version) & "Satanic Liposuction..". Spat's role as EXPLICATOR (an early motion picture term meaning someone who explains the film to audiences live) was augmented by the spontaneous contribution of John Allen Gibel (this, too, was duly vaudeoed & incorporated into the definitive vaudeo version).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

352. [Circuits of Steel II Live Showcase

- Space Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 8, 2007

- Originally scheduled to be an outdoor gig at Market Square as part of the Three Rivers Arts Festival (Pittsburgh's large annual event), this got rained out & moved indoors. All but one of the participants have been on the Pittsburgh electronic music compilations published by Manny Theiner called "Circuits of Steel". These included "syne_lapse_variate", myself, Margaret Cox, Michael Johnsen, Rick Gribenas, Mathias Kristersson (from Sweden & not, therefore, on the comps), Hotness, Discuss, Rein[forced], & Grand Buffet. My fairly short set consisted of playing my MetaSamples in a somewhat rehearsed way. I'd recorded 8 practice sets in preparation for this. I also experimented w/ a few minor technical developments such as using 2 sustain pedals - one for the ASR-X Pro & one for the Oxygen-8 controller.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

353. Last Man on Earth (Triple Projection Version)

- Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, July 7, 2007

- I presented the single screen version of this on April 2, 2006 (see entry 349) under somewhat rushed circumstances so that I cd fill out the bill for a visiting Australian friend's band. This version of it was much improved. This was the 1st time I ever split a single image across 3 projections & experimented w/ it in various ways. I had previously done multiple projections w/ calculated inter-related imagery but never to this level of sync precision. There was so much equipment on stage that my physical presence as the person making the live electronic soundtrack was almost completely hidden. As before, I wore my extremely deteriorated full body black leather motorcycle suit - the same suit that I wore in the movie when it was still in good shape.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

354. Six Gallery Press Reading

- Modern Formations, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, October 12, 2007

- I projected slides of my "Play Out Regress" piece based on my high school yearbook encryption from 1969 & explained it (somewhat). Then I projected the beginning of my "Collector's Item" slideshow about the history of my rubber-stamp use & read bits & pieces of the accompanying essay in addition to extemporizing re the slides. Since I'd promised Che Elias, the organizer of the reading & publisher of 6GP, that I'd restrict my presentation to 20:00, I used a timer & counted down the last few seconds as my ending.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

355. "Backwards Masking in Rocks" premier & "Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records RECORD" release

- Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, April 30, 2008

- AARGH!! Another elaborate event that I'll try to reduce to a few paragraphs in the interest of writing something about it at all! "Backwards Masking in Rocks" is my Rock Book Opera. It's a movie that was premiered at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room with both a pre-recorded & a live sound track - as well as live 'acting' related to the movie. It was also the premier of my vinyl LP entitled "Mechanically Repetitive / ReRecorded Records RECORD" - released by Dear Skull Records <http://www.myspace.com/dearskullrecords>.

Pittsburgh music journalist Manny Theiner was kind enuf to write a 2pp article advertising this event for one of the local daily newspapers. You can (probably) read the entire article @ Music Preview: Local artist unveils an inconvenient sound <http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08115/875882-42.stm> or read my edit of it that's only about the movie @ Local artist unveils an inconvenient sound <http://www.hi-beam.net/mkr/tac/tENTINCONVENIENT.html>.

The movie begins, the great reed player & electronics performer Ben Opie is to audience left. I'm vocalizing, mixing, playing 2 copies of the new record, & playing samplers to audience right. We both have foot-pedal controlled lights on us that we can turn on for dramatic effect when so moved. The movie is about the conspiracy of rocks to sexually turn on humans so that humans will masturbate on them. Once the resultant bodily fluids soak the rocks they can grow into giants larger than humans & use us as sex-toys. Or something like that. Periodically, footage of a talking head geologist talking about his personal experiences along these lines appears. Simultaneously, the very same geologist appears on the stage & contemplates what appears to be a rock by using his head-lamp to light it & a magnifying lens. At some point, a 'bible scene' happens: a pregnant woman crossing the desert is stabbed by someone that GOD later orders KILLED. On stage, the very same woman is impaled by me & carried away. Throughout, I sing the copious subtitles & intertitles as the libretto in my best ROCK style (well.. sortof). It's all the fault of BACKWARDS MASKING IN ROCKS - if you didn't already know that.

About an hr into the movie, scenes of people playing ringing rocks are shown - mixed live w/ overhead shots of the records playing (also mixed live into the sound). Ben goes wild. He's been mainly playing theremin but now he's probably switched to soprano sax & he's damned good. The geologist starts to stroke a vulva that appears onscreen in a rock & it starts to SQUIRT BLOOD OUT FROM THE SCREEN (thanks to S/F/X Joe). The damned thing is menstruating! Thank the holy ceiling light that there's a fabulous documentary made about this.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

356. Street View Project: Sampsonia Way

- Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 3, 2008

- This wasn't my project & my participation in it was minimally performative but I like the idea of it so much that I have to list it here. As far as I know, this project was created by Robin Hewlett (who invited me) & Ben Kinsley. As I understand it, Google maps have an option of providing a street view that's created by shooting panaromic photos that computer users can navigate thru like a video game - seeing what the actual street looks like. Ben & Robin conceived of having preplanned actions happening on the street during the time that they'd invite the Google Street View team to drive thru & photograph it. I wore my turkey-feather suit & wings (the wings had been used in my "Generic As-Beenism" action from 1987-1989) & posed at the beginning of the photographer's route.

The photographer made 3 passes: in the 1st, I was in a doorway, in the 2nd I was being play-acting searched by play-acting under-cover cops, & in the 3rd I was dumpster diving. The 1st & 3rd can be seen on Street View.

Other people's activities included guys moving mirrors off a U-Haul, Parade Directors, a Marching Band, Parade Spectators, a Mad Scientist Lab, a Garage Band, Marathon Runners, Doug's + Ham, a Giant Chicken sculpture, actual firemen rescuing a toy cat from in a tree or some such, a biker rally, & an Angaron Battle.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

357. [Circuits of Steel II promotion

- Carnegie Public Library, Main Oakland Branch, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, May 11, 2008

- Thanks to Pittsburgh-based music promoter & publisher Manny Theiner, I got to play at the main branch of the public library on the same bill w/ Margaret Cox. Rick Gribenas, & Steve Boyle. This was one on many of the concerts that Manny made happen to promote his 2nd CD comp of Pittsburgh electronic music - "Circuits of Steel II". This was totally fun partially b/c the audience was largely from outside the Pittsburgh experimental music ghetto. Most of the attendees appeared to be people who came to the series b/c it was at the library & free. I had planned to do something using pitch-to-MIDI conversion for live vocal manipulation of samples. Alas, my pitch-to-MIDI converter broke when I was rehearsing & I had to change plans. Instead, I talked live, sampled myself talking live, & then worked w/ playing those samples back live while still talking. It was great to have that feeling of trying to do so much in the moment w/o preplanning. I had so much fun & enjoyed everyone else's set so much that I proposed founding a group w/ the 4 of us called "Sonic Aughts Union". This developed into HiTEC (see entry 365). Alas, Rick Gribenas, a very active Pittsburgh-based sound artist, died very young from lymph-node cancer a mere 10 mnths later.]

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

359. Braxton Plays Pittsburgh Plays Braxton

- Marsh Room, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, June 1, 2008

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: sampler, wave-table synthesizer, FM-synthesis synthesizer, mixer/sampler, radio mic, small instruments, voice; Anthony Braxton: alto sax, contrabass clarinet; Ben Opie: alto sax, contrabass clarinet; Michael Pestel: 3 bird-machines, small instruments, slide whistles, flute; Tracy Mortimore: string bass; Eden McNutt: voice; Dave Kadden: oboe, english horn, percussion; Dave Ruder: clarinet; Roger Dannenberg: pocket trumpet; the birds of the Marsh Room

Anthony Braxton was brought to Pittsburgh by my friends & collaborators Michael Pestel & Ben Opie for a series of concerts entitled "Braxton Plays Pittsburgh Plays Braxton". The 1st of these was a concert w/ Braxton's own group at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, the 2nd was of Braxton's creative orchestra music played 1st by CAPA Anthesis (a wonderful group of students partially taught & conducted by Ben) & then by a group of older Pittsburgh professional musicians - at the CAPA arts high school, &, finally, 2 improvisational concerts at the National Aviary. I was invited by Michael to participate in the latter of these 2. Given that I'd been listening to Braxton's music for 32 yrs & have always considered him to be one of the world's greatest wind players, I was thrilled.

For this, I made a set of 61 samples of common birds of North America (in one channel) + my imitation of them (in the other channel). 60 birds were represented in these samples. My imitations of the birds involved using crow call, whistling, voice, kazoo, slide-whistle, & flanger effect. I very painstakingly imitated each bird phrase by phrase, recorded these to computer & matched the speed of them to the recordings of the birds. Some of the imitations are quite good, others less so. While playing live, I set up the stereo outputs from the samples so that I cd pan between the channels in the mixer to have only the original bird sound playing &/or my imitation. Furthermore, the samples cd be effected - including using a formant morph or chatterbox to simulate their coming out of a human mouth.

The idea behind my sampling was that I was bringing the sounds of indigenous birds from the area outside the Aviary that the birds held captive inside the Aviary wd only be able to hear very faintly (if at all). All in all, I was extremely satisfied w/ what I played & it was fantastic to be able to play w/ Braxton & all the other great folks. I wore my feather costume that was originally made for "Harps & Angles" (see particularly entries 338 & 342 when I wore it) Michael Pestel & I did a sortof bird dance w/ each other that was a highlight for me. Unfortunately, I suspect that in whatever the final recording documenting this might be (to be issued on CD?) that I'll be barely audible, if at all.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

360. "Public Contexts" lecture

- Carnegie Mellon University Center for Fine Arts classroom, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, October 10, 2008

- I was invited by Jon Rubin to present a short lecture about my work w/in Public Contexts so I put together a 12pp script w/ audio-visual aids entitled "Public Contexts - 1969-2007" covering a small fraction of my relevant work during that time. Starting w/ my encoded high schoool yearbook entry from 1969, I went thru my snow shoes (I showed these to the class), Mike Film, Mystery Catalysts (such as my use of a cylinder seal on chewing gum & Testes-3), photobooth displays (see entries 020-022), B.O.M.B.'s action at Three Mile Island (see entry 026), my actions around Herpes Simplex Virus - Type 2; on & on thru 36 other projects - the last few being the article about me in a major Chinese arts magazine & my excursions into "Perverse Number Theory", etc.. This was the 1st time I ever tried to give a sound byte presentation encapsulating such a large body of work & it was extremely well-rc'vd.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

361. "HiTEC 033Z Systems Management" for "Worlds Within Worlds" class

- Mattress Factory classroom, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, October 25, 2008

- I was invited by Alberto Almarza to give a workshop on what I was doing with my Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative project (eventually a 22 person orchestra) that I'd started in July, 2008 & which still hadn't performed publicly yet.

I talked about HiTEC in comparison to typical orchestras & their "golden era" mythology. I brought in a selection of percussion instruments & demonstrated them. I then had the 5 teenage students practice the "Red Room" System:

01. "Red Room"(tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE):

Each player chooses 2 units of sound as their only vocabulary. These units can be distinguished in any way. No unit can be played in approximately the same relational circumstance twice - ie: If player 1 plays unit 1 immediately following another player's unit 2 then player 1 must avoid having that sequence occur again. The player stops whenever they feel like it or when all such relational possibilities are exhausted.

That was followed by trying out "Persisting Resisting":

02. "Persisting Resisting"(tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE):

Play in accordance w/ a system w/o telling the other player(s) what the system is. If you make a mistake, either stop playing & stay stopped until everyone else is done OR play according to a 2nd system for a 'satisfactory' length of time. What constitutes 'satisfactory' is determined by yr own criteria. Then return to the 1st system UNLESS you make a mistake during the 2nd system in wch case a 3rd system is to be followed for a 'satisfactory' length of time - after wch the 2nd system is reverted to UNLESS.. etc, etc.. From each system one either moves one system forward or one backward. If a player thinks another player has stopped they can end but they cannot restart (even if they're wrong about the other player stopping).

Then there was "Birds":

05. "Birds (for Michael Pestel)"[meta-system] (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE):

Choose 1 or more short phrases that you'll play throughout the entire session. These phrases, once chosen can only change in a very subtle theme-&-variation way. EG: yr phrase might be: "too-wee" wch you can then repeat in fairly quick succession as "too-wee, too-wee, too-wee" or as "too-wee, too-wee, too". There shd always be a longer pause between the playing of the phrases then the length of the playing of the phrases itself. SO, if playing the phrases takes 2 seconds, there shd be a pause longer than 2 seconds between them - preferably AT LEAST 4 seconds. The phrases can be much more complicated IFF (if & only if) THE PLAYER can remember them & not make mistakes (if mistakes are made, it's not a 'disaster', the player shd just then try their best to minimize the mistakes in the future by simplifying their phrase vocabulary & sequence). Here's an example of a more complex possibility: "wheep, wheep-wheep-wheep, wheedle-eep, qwawp!" wch cd then be varied as "wheep, wheep-wheep-wheep-wheep, qwawp!" &/or "wheep, wheep-wheep-wheep, wheedle-eep wheedle-eep, qwawp!" etc..

THIS SYSTEM, ONCE ACTIVATED, IS IN EFFECT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SESSION. IT'S PART OF A META-SYSTEM & A PLAYER'S BIRD-SONG SHD BE PERIODICALLY INSERTED INTO WHATEVER OTHER SYSTEM IS BEING PLAYED INDEPENDENT OF THE RULES OF THAT OTHER SYSTEM. SO, let's say that everyone's just played "Birds" & then moved onto "Red Room". Independent of "Red Room"'s 2 unit restriction, the players' Bird-Song can be inserted from time-to-time (or not) at the player's discretion.

Players can also be "Mockingbirds" or "Lyrebirds" by creating their songs from imitations of their environments. This, however, is an extremely difficult process that shd only be attempted by advanced players sure of their abilities. EG: (advanced) Mockingbird Player 1 might hear Player 2 (who's performing "Birds") go "too-wee, too-wee, too" but might hear Player 4 (who's performing "Persisting Resisting" by playing in a system like "only notes in a C Major Chord w/ an occasional non-pitched disruption". THEN, Player 1 can "Mock" them by playing "too-wee, too-wee, too" followed immediately by "only notes in a C Major Chord w/ an occasional non-pitched disruption". HOWEVER, this then becomes their "bird-song" & must be stuck to in exactly the same sequence throughout the session. More "mockings" can be added to the sequence but the order of the sequence must be adhered to & only minor variations can take place w/in the overall sequence.

- although the version they tried was a simplified one.

That was followed by "Avian Flu":

15. "Avian Flu" [meta-meta-system] (Johan Nystrom):

The Avian Flu is a meta-meta-system that undermines the Birds. The Flu is activated if the WoF lands on it and if Birds is in effect. The wheel must then be spun again to activate another system. During this next system, all players play their bird calls in a sickly diminished way.

Players should continue to play their sickly bird calls for the current system and the following one. If a player feels they successfully play their sickly Bird the two systems, they have recovered and should return to the healthy call in the next system.

If the player is feeling suicidal toward their call, they can choose to move on to the late stage of infection, and should begin playing only their sickly bird call (instead of whatever system they're in), but much louder and faster.

Other players can "vaccinate" late stage sick birds by flapping one arm & pointing at the late stage sickly Bird. Be sure to do this in a way that's not confused w/ accusing someone of being a saboteur. Sick birds then flap both wings, are cured, & resume their healthy calls. Birds who aren't cured die & can no longer play their call for the rest of the session.

Then they tried a sequence of "Birds" followed by "Red Room" followed by "Avian Flu" followed by "Persisting Resisting". I concluded by screening Tony Balko's 16mm film (in DVD-R format) of the beginning of HiTEC 021's 'full group' rehearsal from September 14, 2008 so that the students could get an idea of how the more accomplished musicians & performers in HiTEC realized these ideas.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

363. HiTEC "Systems Management"

- New Hazlett Theater, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, January 9, 2009

- Whew! One of the main reasons why I've all-but-stopped writing these descriptions is b/c these events have gotten so complicated that I just don't feel like putting the time & energy into explaining them anymore! BUT, if I don't, who will?

I founded HiTEC (initially called "Sonic Aughts Union") in mid-2008. Our 1st rehearsal was on July 14, 2008. By the time of this gig, we'd had 49 or 50 rehearsals. 16mm footage of the beginning of one of these rehearsals as shot by Tony Balko can be witnessed at: HiTEC021-16mm <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0thj_1lWlA>. It started out intended as a 4-person group to consist of: myself (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE), Rick Gribenas, Steve Boyle, & Margaret Cox. Steve & Margaret never participated; Rick dropped out immediately due to health problems. Instead, the 1st rehearsal consisted of myself, Rick, & Johan Nystrom - someone I contacted b/c I'd gotten a copy of a CD-R of his & knew him to be a Pittsburgher.

When the Sonic Aughts Union didn't come into being, I decided to try to form an even more ambitious group: an orchestra. Hence HiTEC was born. HiTEC stands for Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative. I proceeded to try to recruit something like 53 members - many of whom I didn't know. By the time of this gig there were 22 actual participants - 2 of whom cdn't actually play the gig b/c of schedule conflicts.

HiTEC 'performs' a piece, primarily of my creation, entitled "Systems Management". Other people who've contributed to this are Ben Opie, Johan Nystrom, Kerrith Livengood, Kenny Haney, & Stuart Anderson. The members of the group are called "Systems Managers" & I prefer to say that we "Manage the Systems" (instead of saying, eg, that we "play music"). The language used is deliberately dry & non-'poetic'.

Instead of necessarily 'performing' specified physical actions in unison w/ each other in accordance w/ a specified time-frame, the Systems Managers are given numbered thought experiments to conduct simultaneously - w/ the realization of these being highly open to interpretation. A Wheel-of-Fortune is spun to land on a number from 01-32. That choice is then the indicator to the Thought Experiment to be conducted.

HOWEVER, it's not that simple. In some instances, the Systems Managers can vote for 1 of 2 choices other than the one that the WoF lands on OR various ways of BYPASSING or being a DICTATOR contrary to the main body of Systems, etc..

For this presentation at the New Hazlett, the following 20 Managers were present:

Clockwise w/ the Wheel of Fortune @ 12 O'Clock:

048tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: piano, SysMan, electronics, percussion, spinner

012Tony Balko: camcorder

013Ben Opie - reeds, electronics

016Kenny Haney: clarinets

013Spat Cannon: upright acoustic bass

013Dani Simmonds: banjo-uke

013Roger Dannenberg: trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet

010Missi St Pierre: toy piano w/ effects

013Julian Krishnamurti: electric bass

020Johan Nystrom: extended percussion

010Kerrith Livengood: alto flute

011Ben Harris: violin

016Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

007Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer

014Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

012Joy: electric guitar w/ nylon strings

013William Wedler: Experiment 1

011Erok: trombone

010Stuart Anderson: laptop

012James Gyre: drums

How many times they had participated in this Systems Management process is indicated by the number preceding their name. Unfortunately, David Bernabo (acoustic guitar, electronics, melodica, percussion, etc) had just had surgery & cdn't attend. Also missing was Hyla Willis (erhu & percussion) who was attending an activist conference in Chicago.

The Systems Managers were arranged in a horse-shoe shape & divided into 4 Affinity Groups. #1 was to the audience's left, followed by #2, followed by James of AG3, followed by the Wheel-of-Fortune in the middle, followed on the audience's right by the rest of Affinity Group 3: tENT + Tony's projection + Ben Opie + Kenny, followed by #4. There was a large screen above the back of the stage area that showed the Systems Management instructions made available by the WoF spin & the voting possibilities (when there were any). To enable this projection, Roger Dannenberg developed "SysMan" software. A screen behind James showed a c/u of the Wheel's number.

(V)Audience members rc'vd a program wch listed the Systems Managers, etc, & provided the following explanation written by me [slightly corrected here]:

"HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) is an independent experimental orchestra founded in July of 2008EV by MAD SCIENTIST / BOOED USICIAN / JACK-OFF-OF-ALL-TRADES / HEADITOR & EARCHIVIST / PROPONENT OF CLASSIFICATION-RESISTANT WHAT-HAVE-YOUS / SPLEENIUS: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as an attempt to create a Low Classical alternative to those who worship at the temple of the fictitious & propagandistic "Golden Age" that's often used to justify the "Divine Rights" of cash-flow.

Somewhat like distant cousins to the lineage of Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Aus den Sieben Tagen" intuitive music compositions, FLUXUS prose scores, & the work in general of composer Franz Kamin, HiTEC currently navigates a CONCEPTUAL OBSTACLE COURSE called "Systems Management". Parts of this have been generated by cONVENIENCE, Opie, Nystrom, Livengood, & Haney - all, of course, fleshed out by the considerable talents & quick-wittedness of all the Systems Managers during our COPIOUS REHEARSALS.

Unlike most (M)USICAL projects, the playing of this group revolves around THINKING about particular things while playing in a very open-ended way RATHER THAN necessarily playing specified physical actions.

For example:

30. "Brain-In-A-Vat" (Descartes / tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE): Decide that you're a brain-in-a-vat instead of a brain-in-a-skull & that yr perceptions of what's happening in the current Systems Management session are programmed perceptions rather than 'real' ones. Adapt yr Management to what you then think is the most likely 'reality'.

A Wheel of Fortune is spun, a number is landed on, the number indicates which Thought Experiment is to be conducted by the Systems Managers. The (v)audience sees the experiment instructions projected & is confronted with trying to decipher the puzzle of how the Systems Manager's behavior(s) realize(s) the challenges of the experiment(s).

Why? Imagine that we live in a world where well 'nigh constant pressure is on to close one's mind. While such a closure can make life 'simpler' by disguising limited possibilities as infinite 'freedom of choice' (just don't look behind that Door of Perception!), the 'comfort' that's achieved has psychic virile vines lurking beneath its surface ever-ready to crack the facade wide-open w/ Cognitive Dissonance. As a COGNITIVE DISSIDENT, I embrace the rupture of over-simplification as an ally.

For me, HiTEC & "Systems Management" accomplishes what so many things I love do: it challenges the mind to make quick decisions, to be alert, to REMEMBER - & to KEEP THOSE NEURAL PATHWAYS OPEN. In the meantime, it can be an enormous amt of fun. AND it's deeply rooted in a history of (M)USICAL innovation that I have a heartfelt respect for: everything from Change Ringing to Toy Symphonies to Aleatoric Structured Improvising to Stochastics to the Scratch Orchestra to the Portsmouth Sinfonia to Ensemble Musica Negativa. Finally, it's hoped that if little more than the GREAT CONFUSION results at least there's the hope of thwarting the enemy: Stereotype Projecting.

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Who Unit?, Pittsburgh, us@ - December, 2008EV"

At the suggestion of New Hazlett Executive Director Sara Radelet, the program also contained a sheet w/ pictures of the Systems Managers + a partial list of their instrumentation on one side w/ 22 "Personality Type" paragraphs on the verso. Sara had proposed that this pre-exisiting material be organized as a game like something that might be on a placemat. Hence the "Match the Systems Managers to their Personality Types" game began.

These Personality Types were created, at my suggestion, by having the Managers pick 4 sentences from any of the abbreviated 16 Meyers-Briggs Personality Types that I'd provided them w/ & by having them add 2 sentences of their own. The results also factor into the Management of a System called "Personality Types (v2)".

Need I say? This brief description barely touchs upon WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. For the beginning of my documentary made from the 8 different camera shots we had of the gig go to: HiTEC 051 pt 1 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMpa9VMyWmU>. For a high-definition (but soft-focus) excerpt from about 1/3rd of the way thru go to: HiTEC 051 premier @ the New Hazlett Theater <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo2apKl_CCY>.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


364. Rhythms Lecture

- Rich Pell's "Time & Space" Concept Studio, CMU, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, February 25, 2009

- Rich Pell invited me to lecture about rhythm to his Carnegie-Mellon University class so I prepared a 6pp script & a DVD-R for the occasion & brought various percussion instruments from my personal collection. I began w/ an explanation of Stockhausen's experiments w/ speeding up rhythms to create pitches - wch lead into my own observations:

"What I get from this is that we have a continuum w/ sound that entails more than just a progression from, say, the inaudible frequencies below 20 cycles per second to the audible ones between 20 & 20,000 cps to inaudible again faster than that. Can an analogy be made between the trio of solids, liquids, & gases & the duo of rhythms & pitch? If so, shd there be a 3rd analogous category of sound? Timbre, perhaps?"

This lead to quoting from David Rothenberg's bk "Thousand Mile Song - Whale Music in a Sea of Sound" & to the idea of the variety of perceptual continuums amongst different creatures. From that I segued into playing a piece by my former collaborator Neil Feather called "Off-Beat-Off" as performed by the Official, April 29, 1992EV, Band That Does Accept Money From Institutions [see entry 160]. Following this vaudeo clip, in my script I had this note to myself:

"ASK QUESTIONS TRYING TO GET THE STUDENTS TO DESCRIBE WHAT THEY JUST WITNESSED - PERHAPS "RHYTHMIC" WILL BE USED - BUT MORE LIKELY "NOISE" WILL BE"

This lead into my discussing the notion of 'dance music' & into one of my favorite subjects: dancing to the sound of a refrigerator - involving the projection of an image of the tape cover of my friend the sound artist Gen Ken Montgomery's "egnekn's fridge" - quoting overtop this from my essay "& the Deadbeat Goes On & On & On..". This talk of 'dance music' introduced a clip from Wes Craven's film "The Serpent and the Rainbow" in wch the dangers of Pavlovian conditioning from entrancement were somewhat addressed. Eventually, the students were given the percussion & were instructed in how to attempt to play the "Off-Beat-Off" - hopefully having a new appreciation for what they may've previously thought of as "random" - now, perhaps, recognizing that skill, discipline, & high levels of organization were actually involved.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

365. Ben Harris & Kerrith Livengood's graphic scores

- Johan Nystrom's "why are music series", Monk's, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 21, 2009

- Johan Nystrom organized a 4 Saturdays in March series at Monk's called "why are music series - adventures in post-structural pointlessness and olfactory oblivion brought to you by the letters YR". I participated in this, the 3rd, & in the next, the 4th & last. In some ways, this series was an outgrowth of, & side-project in support of, HiTEC (see entry 361). The evening began w/ Kerrith Livengood's "Small Easter Egg Game". The performers (Johan, myself, Missi St Pierre, & Ben Harris) entered from the outside & began searching for small graphic scores that Kerrith had hidden. A text score independent of the graphics specified 3 different ways of playing. We followed #1:

"1. Hide all cards around the room. All players search for them, instrument in hand. When you find a card, stop and play it where you are. Then bring it to the table or stand at the front, placing them in a row in the order they are found. Return to search for other cards. Do not be concerned if there are long silences, or if two or more people find cards and play them at the same time. When all 19 cards are found, all players come together to play the piece from beginning to end, in the order the cards were found."

Further instructions specified:

"All cards represent between 5 - 10 seconds of time. Pitch, rhtyhm, and timbre are all suggested by the shapes, but no paramters are set in stone and colors, shapes, etc. are open to interpretation."

There were something like 18 or 19 cards. The drawings on them were in color. If they were interpreted as if all the separate & parallel lines, eg, were to be followed as suggestive of harmonies then they wd've mostly been beyond the ranges of the recommended "smallest instruments possible". However, given to the openness of interpretation, this wasn't a problem. All of the cards were found & the score was followed accurately enuf. The "Easter Egg" aspect of this was particularly fun & I liked the cleverness of transforming Easter Egg designs into scores.

This was followed by 5 graphic scores of Ben's. Kerrith joined in the above-listed performers (she sat out her own piece - perhaps for the pleasure of witnessing its performance w/o having to otherwise participate). These scores were 8&1/2X11", landscape orientation, black & white. The scores didn't have to be performed in any particular order so we perfoemd them in the order that they'd been emailed to us in. They were, however, created in a specific order. The 1st drawing Ben did was a dense conglomerate of roughly horizontal squiggly lines that overlapped:

The other 4 drawings were generated by finding other drawings w/in this one's dense field of lines. Each drawing had a significantly different look. As is the convention in graphic notation, the vertical denoted pitch & the horizontal duration. In the score that we performed 1st, there were 5 different horizontally parallel progressions that we interpreted as 5 parts. "Blotches indicate clusters or inharmonic sounds." "medium length" The dense 2nd score was even more open to interpretation. "longer" The 3rd score was basically a horizontally narrower segment of the dense origin score. "Players should oscillate around a specific narrow pitch range." The 4th (again, as performed) was sideways funnel shaped w/ the wide part to the left. "Players should converge on a specific pitch." "shorter" & the last had 5 graphically different clusters.

For both of these I played small instruments such as siren whistle, rattles, & zydeco tie; & vocalized. The vocalizing was the most fun & the most challenging for me since I tried for the 1st time publically to use throat singing technique - wch I felt I pulled off considerably more successfully than I expected to (albeit a little more poorly than I had while rehearsing!). Additionally, I used gestures to represent parts of the notation that I was unable to realize fully w/ sound alone. Kerrith played flute, Missi played toy piano, Ben played violin, & Johan played friction percussion.

From there, a small group of us paraded making mostly quiet sounds to the nearby Casa del Missi & Rich where Missi performed 2 sets of short compositions of hers involving prepared piano & delays.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

366. "Triple-S Variety Show" reenactment

- Johan Nystrom's "why are music series", Monk's, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 28, 2009

- On January 12, 1995, I had given my 1st performance in Pittsburgh - at the invitation of Orgone Cinema (see entry 195). This had been a "Triple-S Variety Show" concrete mixing event in wch I played 3 synthesizers, one sampler, & one sequencer live at the same time that I mixed together VHS tapes of my movies (mostly ones made for this purpose) while they were being projected. Sometimes the soundtracks of these were also mixed into the overall sound. This gig was a bit overambitious in the sense that I didn't have enuf time to devote myself to either the visuals or the sound individually as much as I'd've like. As such, the live mixing of the visuals, in particular, weren't as strong as I wanted them to be. All of this was originally mixed to VHS tape. In early 2009, I edited this 2 hr VHS document down to a 26 minute DVD-R & decided to 'reenact' the original presentation using samples taken from the materials developed for these "Triple-S Variety Shows" (of wch there were others). I presented it in this context partially so that people who hadn't lived in Pittsburgh in 1995 or who hadn't known me then cd experience that original performance (albeit compacted). I played sampler, sampling mixer, & wave-table synthesizer - structuring my playing largely around traying to make certain types of changes in rough sync w/ edit changes in the vaudeo & allowing specific parts of the prerecorded soundtrack to peep thru from time-to-time.

Following me on the bill was a duet set w/ David Bernabo playing accordian & Mike Tamburo playing a harp-like instrument of his invention called "Crowned Eternal" (or "Crown Eternal"?); then Michael Johnsen played a solo set on his home-made electronics; the evening ended w/ "A Collaboration": 3 guitarists: Mike Tamburo, Josh Beyer, & Tusk Lord).

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

367. HiTE Club Premier w/ "Guitarists Anonymous Withdrawal Aids #7"

- HiTE Club, New Hazlett Theater lobby, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, April 26, 2009

- After the moderate 'success' of the 1st gig of my chamber orchestra, HiTEC, at the New Hazlett Theater on January 9, 2009 (see entry 361), I was invited to host a monthly (M)Usic series in the lobby there. I decided to name this series "HiTE Club - for Histrionic Thought Experimenters & their fellow travelers. This name plays off of HiTEC, Night Club (Nite Club), Hite Report, etc, & has an even more ambiguous branding banner that I hodgepodged rebus-style together very hastily using images found on the net:

The evening began with joy toujours playing "You are beautiful-core" on ukelele & violin (both looped from time to time) & vocals. Self-described as "Music you can play while your four year old is sleeping". I then passed the sombrero "(This is a donation event (no nation but the donation [or is it doughnation?]) & we'll be passing the sombrero around to make sure the hat's big enuf to accommodate the 1st-born & gold bricks.)" Then "Tony Blowad" (David Bernabo: guitar & percussion, Matt Griffin: percussion, Brandon Masterman: baritone & soprano saxes, flute) played a set consisting of responses to fanciful sentences created by them pulled from a jar.

I finished off the nite with the 7th "Guitarists Anonymous Withdrawal Aids" (see entries 314-317, 322, 327, 328, 332) although it cd also be called the 9th one because 2 of the entries referenced parenthetically here were radio shows that I don't include as full-blown "GAWA"s. For this presentation I had joy be the projectionist of the slides (forward only, 1 every 24 seconds please) & David be the projectionist of the filmstrip (much more freeform). This was their therapy. Ok, joy surpirsed me by NOT playing guitar for his thing but he DOES usually play guitar so he still 'needed' the therapy anyway. I was so stressed from the lack of (v)audience (9, c'mon people!, 9!) that I forgot to put on the Guitarists Anonymous 'costume' until after the therapy session started. That was ok even though it was accidental. This was triple projection: filmstrip: left, vaudeo: middle, slides: right. I asked how many people in the audience were guitarists, many raised their hands. I pointed out that if I'd asked how people in the audience were child molestors probably no-one would've raised their hands. This could be used as evidence that guitarists are an even more serious problem because there are so many of them.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


368. HiTEC @ The End of Television

- The Nerve Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, June 12, 2009

- At midnight on this date, tv in the us@ changed from analog to digital. Ian Page proposed an event at which he would broadcast on an about-to-be unused & then-unused analog channel vaudeos sent to him from a widely solicited group. See Ian's blog about this @:

http://theendoftelevision.blogspot.com/

In order to inaugurate this auspicious occasion, Ian & I brainstormed an event to be broadcast both over the air & to a wall of something like 23 tvs that Ian erected around his gear at the Nerve Gallery.

I even went to the trouble of designing & screenprinting a poster for this:

Ben Opie's great jazz group, Sound/Unsound Trio, opened, followed by Fred Lonberg-Holm's also great group from Chicago, Valentine Trio.

Finishing off the bill was the 2nd public appearance of HiTEC (our 59th session). This featured the largest number of HiTEC players to ever be assembled at the same time: 21. The numbers preceding the names listed below indicate how many sessions each Systems Manager had participated in as of this gig. Some new members had been recruited since the New Hazlett premier.

Clockwise from Wheel-of-Fortune:

014Tony Balko: SM camcorder

056tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, voice

016Ben Opie: saxes, Thingamagoop

019Kenny Haney: Bb clarinet

014James Gyre: darbouka, drum set, flute

016Spat Cannon: acoustic bass

016Dani Simmonds: ukelele, small banjo, harmonica, darbouka, electronics

016Roger Dannenberg: trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet

008Josh Beyer: cello

016Julian Krishnamurti: electric bass

021Johan Nystrom: extended percussion

018Hyla Willis: amplified erhu

014Ben Harris: violin

019Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

009Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer, Crowned Eternal, melodica

012David Bernabo: electric guitar

016William Wedler: Experiment 1

014joy toujours: trombone

019Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

007Red Bob Jungkunz: drums

007Mike Kasunic: synthesizer, flute, percussion

While the New Hazlett premier was probably our technically finest presentation (thanks to the good conditions & fine staff at the theater), this might've been our most 'high-spirited'. By this time, Johan had moved to Philadelphia & had to come all the way back to Pittsburgh to take part. Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the nature of the event. Added to this, this was the night when the local ice-hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, was playing the final game to win the Stanley Cup. I exploited this by referring to it on the online edit of the gig:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsncOO-sql0

HiTEC began with its usual "Stamping & Clapping" & segued into "Escape Tunnel". From there it Managed "Patterns" simultaneously with an unknown System. "Bypass" led to "Subtlety Olympics" to "Birds". "Yourself" + "MUTE OBSERVER" (a new System developed by Ben Opie & pursued in a particularly inspired way here). "Private Phasing" + "IFF". "Getting It Out of Your" System. "Bypass"->"Debriefing". "Equilibrium" + "Yourself" + "Patterns". "Debriefing". "Persisting Resisting" + "Subtlety Olympics". "Octave Butler". "Bypass"->"Avian Flu". "Avicenna's Floating Systems Manager" + "Octave Butler". "Tele-Communications" + "Cheaper Imitation" + "MUTE OBSERVER". "DICTATOR". "Affinity Groups". "Saboteur (undone)". "Read Players" + "Patterns". "Equilibrium" + "Avicenna's.." + "Red Room" + "MUTE OBSERVER". "Comfort Zone 1" + "Population Control". "Saboteur". "Saboteur" + "Equilibrium" + "Infinite Monkey Theorem". "Saboteur" + "Avicenna's.." + "Getting It Out of Your". Pens Won! ?. "Infinite Monkey Theorem" + "Subtlety Olympics" + "Population Control". "Affinity Groups". Bathroom break. - ie: we ended it by all crowding, one-by-one, into the very small bathroom - much to the confusion of many (including straggling HiTEC Systems Managers).

Cameras were wielded, often somewhat participatorily, by myself, Mark Knobil, Tony Balko, Amanda Bowers, Morgan Cahn, Ian Page, & Alberto Almarza (this latter using a cell-phone). Thanks are due to those associated with The Nerve Gallery: Ed-Um Bucholtz, Lauri Mancuso, & Marcus Kim.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

369. HiTEC 61 @ The Visionary Arts Festival

- Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, August 7, 2009

- Alberto Almarza spent a year or so organizing this festival. There were perhaps 50 or more participants who each had a tent in which to display their wares or wherewithals.

HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) had 2 tents (1 just for storage) & a nightly presentation in the BIG TENT.

The display tent had a door propped outside that I'd painted with chalkboard paint & 6 monitors on the inside on which were screening simultaneously all of the +/- 60 or so documentaries that I'd made about the project so far. The door/chalkboard listed which documentaries were screening. The Wheel-of-Fortune was there too + a booklet explaining the project in detail & a huge book of press clippings of mine. I sat there most of the day greeting people & explaining. When I wasn't there, the ever-ready & cooperative & sociable HiTEC keyboard player, Unfinished Symphonies, would sit outside busking - playing his indefatigueable selection of songs. A few other HiTEC Systems Managers made cameo appearances - like the very affable drummer, Red Bob Jungkunz. The wonderful Pittsburgh-based artist's books press, Encyclopedia Destructica, had just put out a combination CD/book/DVD with 15 feet of folding-out paper dolls of the HiTEC Systems Managers as part of it & they had their own spacious display tent nearby. The HiTEC tent also displayed the paper dolls.

Roger Dannenberg spiced up each night with a presentation by "McBlare" - a robotic, computer-controlled set of bagpipes that he'd codeveloped that played music composed by him, Kenny Haney, & one other composer.

The personnel for this night's Systems Management are listed below. As usual, the numbers preceding the names indicate how many HiTEC sessions this particular Manager had participated in. Johan Nystrom, once again demonstrating what an incredible trooper he is, drove all the way from Philadelphia for this one night.

 

Audience left to right:

022Johan Nystrom: extended percussion, camera

010Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer, clarinet, amplified string & contact mic

016Ben Harris: violin

020Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

017William Wedler: Experiment 1

021Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

016joy toujours: trombone

008Mike Kasunic: electronics

058tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, percussion

019Hyla Willis: amplified erhu, Jamaican seed pod

015Tony Balko: SM camcorder

018Ben Opie: alto sax, tube w/ reed, small percussion

021Kenny Haney: clarinets

016James Gyre: drum set

017Spat Cannon: acoustic bass

017Dani Simmonds: ukulele, electronics

010Josh Beyer: Baribanjolo

017Roger Dannenberg: McBlare, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, SysMan

 

The 1st day of HiTEC @ the Visionary Arts Festival (& days leading up to it):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlInVCCK4Ro

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

370. HiTEC 62 @ The Visionary Arts Festival

- Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, August 8, 2009

- Alberto Almarza spent a year or so organizing this festival. There were perhaps 50 or more participants who each had a tent in which to display their wares or wherewithals. HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) had 2 tents (1 just for storage) & a nightly presentation in the BIG TENT. The display tent had a door propped outside that I'd painted with chalkboard paint & multiple monitors (6?) on the inside on which were screening simultaneously all of the +/- 60 or so documentaries that I'd made about the project so far. The door/chalkboard listed which documentaries were screening. The Wheel-of-Fortune was there too + a booklet explaining the project in detail & a huge book of press clippings of mine.

I sat there most of the day greeting people & explaining. When I wasn't there, the ever-ready & cooperative & sociable HiTEC keyboard player, Unfinished Symphonies, would sit outside busking - playing his indefatigueable selection of songs. A few other HiTEC Systems Managers amde cameo appearances - like the very affable drummer, Red Bob Jungkunz. The wonderful Pittsburgh-based artist's books press, Encyclopedia Destructica, had just put out a combination CD/book/DVD with 15 feet of folding-out paper dolls of the HiTEC Systems Managers as part of it & they had their own spacious display tent nearby. The HiTEC tent also displayed the paper dolls.

Roger Dannenberg spiced up each night with a presentation by "McBlare" - a robotic, computer-controlled set of bagpipes that he'd codeveloped that played music composed by him, Kenny Haney, & one other composer.

The personnel for this night's Systems Management are listed below. As usual, the numbers preceding the names indicate how many HiTEC sessions this particular Manager had participated in.

 

Audience left to right:

011[masked] Kerrith Livengood: electric guitar, etc..

017Ben Harris: violin

021Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

018William Wedler: Experiment 1

022Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard, tambourine

017joy toujours: violin

009Red Bob Jungkunz: drums

009Mike Kasunic: electric guitar

059tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, percussion

020Hyla Willis: amplified erhu, Jamaican seed pod

016Tony Balko: SM camcorder

019Ben Opie: alto sax, tube w/ reed, small percussion

022Kenny Haney: clarinets

018Spat Cannon: acoustic bass [had to leave slightly before the end]

018Dani Simmonds: tenor guitar, electronics

011Josh Beyer: acoustic guitar

018Roger Dannenberg: McBlare, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, SysMan

This night might've been the most fun sonically DESPITE the fact that there appeared to've been a conspiracy of guitarists. The often unpredictable HiTEC Systems Manager Kerrith Livengood (is she or isn't she a member?) showed up somewhat last-minute wearing a mask & setting up with a guitar rather than her usual flute(s). I wasn't even sure who she was at 1st! Mike Kasunic played guiatr instead of synthesizer, Dani Simmonds played tenor guitar instead of banjo-uke, & Josh Beyer played acoustic guitar instead of cello or Baribanjolo. It was an explicit rule of HiTEC that the playing of GUITAR, the world's most overused & banal instrument, was to be severely discouraged. OBVIOUSLY, the Systems Managers were in revolt!

The 2nd day of HiTEC @ the Visionary Arts Festival:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR3PRrwnCCs

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

371. HiTEC 63 @ The Visionary Arts Festival

- Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, August 9, 2009

- Alberto Almarza spent a year or so organizing this festival. There were perhaps 50 or more participants who each had a tent in which to display their wares or wherewithals. HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) had 2 tents (1 just for storage) & a nightly presentation in the BIG TENT. The display tent had a door propped outside that I'd painted with chalkboard paint & multiple monitors (6?) on the inside on which were screening simultaneously all of the +/- 60 or so documentaries that I'd made about the project so far. The door/chalkboard listed which documentaries were screening. The Wheel-of-Fortune was there too + a booklet explaining the project in detail & a huge book of press clippings of mine. I sat there most of the day greeting people & explaining. When I wasn't there, the ever-ready & cooperative & sociable HiTEC keyboard player, Unfinished Symphonies, would sit outside busking - playing his indefatigueable selection of songs. A few other HiTEC Systems Managers amde cameo appearances - like the very affable drummer, Red Bob Jungkunz. The wonderful Pittsburgh-based artist's books press, Encyclopedia Destructica, had just put out a combination CD/book/DVD with 15 feet of folding-out paper dolls of the HiTEC Systems Managers as part of it & they had their own spacious display tent nearby. The HiTEC tent also displayed the paper dolls.

Roger Dannenberg spiced up each night with a presentation by "McBlare" - a robotic, computer-controlled set of bagpipes that he'd codeveloped that played music composed by him, Kenny Haney, & one other composer.

The personnel for this night's Systems Management are listed below. As usual, the numbers preceding the names indicate how many HiTEC sessions this particular Manager had participated in.

 

Audience left to right:

018Ben Harris: violin

011Mike Tamburo: hammered dulcimer, clarinet, amplified string & contact mic

022Jonathan Brodsky: monome with mabalhabla software

023Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

018joy toujours: violin, amplified toy stuffed animal

010Red Bob Jungkunz: drums

010Mike Kasunic: electric guitar

060tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: electronics, percussion

021Hyla Willis: amplified erhu, Jamaican seed pod

017Tony Balko: SM camcorder

020Ben Opie: alto sax, tube w/ reed, small percussion

023Kenny Haney: clarinets

017James Gyre: drum set

019Spat Cannon: acoustic bass

019Roger Dannenberg: McBlare, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet, SysMan

 

This was the smallest HiTEC group to ever play publically - a sign of the beginning of the end.

The 3rd & last day of HiTEC @ the Visionary Arts Festival:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT06HpEcNj0

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

372. Systems & Processes 1: lecture

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, October 28, 2009

- After the 'success' of the "Public Contexts" lecture that I'd given in Jon Rubin's class the year before I was invited to become a professor at CMU. This came to naught. Jon did invite me back to teach FOUR classes in a row next - an honor he'd never meted out before. For the 1st introductory lecture I had a highly prepared scripted A/V presentation that was interspersed with interaction with the class. Here's the script:

[Since this lecture is in danger of being too dry for the possible attn span of the students, I'm going to try a strategy of sounding a hidden 'noisemaker' or otherwise doing something unexpected & surprising to re-engage people whenever I think the talk's getting too boring - that means that bulb-horns & the like shd be taken - if anyone asks about why I'm doing this, the object used & referred to shd be put in plain sight & students shd be encouraged to use it or anything else in a similar manner if & when they get bored]

[Each A/V component (ie: stills & vaudeo & audio) has :05 of slug preceding & following it & each of the stills is :10 long. Additionally, each component is a separate chapter. As such, to reach each component I shd just advance to the chapter. Each still shd be paused on. The :05 of slug is to catch my attn if I fail to pause on a still & is used to prevent an abrupt accidental moving on to another image section prematurely.]

My interest in systems is synonymous w/ my interest in any imagining of structuring something along broadly inclusive lines. Looking for a definition of "system" online I find many, many uses of the word in many disciplines. Perhaps the most useful for my purposes here are:

"A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.", "An organized set of interrelated ideas or principles.", "A social, economic, or political organizational form.", & " An organized and coordinated method; a procedure." This latter ties into process - the other focus of this class.

An online list of types of systems (slightly modified here) includes: "Anatomical · Artistic · Biological · Complex · Complex adaptive · Conceptual · Database management · Dynamical · Ecological · Economical · Formal · Information · Legal · Living · Measurement · Multi-agent · Nervous · Nonlinear · Operating · Physical · Political · Sensory · Social · & Solar" - I'm not necessarily familiar w/ deeper meanings of some of these &'ve perhaps been mainly concerned w/ something approximately akin to so-called "Systems Art" & Political & Social Systems.

Starting w/ Political & Social Systems I have 2 relevant anecdotes: 1. After screening a short video I'd made w/ post-9/11 commentary, an older man asked me what political system I thought wd 'work'. My answer: "NO political system."; 2. I was talking w/ a Russian ex-patriate in Iowa City & she sd something to me like: "Don't you want more power?" - to wch I replied: "NO, I want other people to have LESS power over me." These ideas are crucial to understanding my own systems imaginings.

[show The New Machiavelli cover here]

Here's a relevant quote from H. G. Wells' novel "The New Machiavelli" from 1911:

"'The present system, I admit, stands condemned. Every present system always has stood condemned in the minds of intelligent men. But where it seems to me you get thin, is just where everybody has been thin, and that's where you come to the remedy.'"

& here's a relevant excerpt from a song entitled "In Your Eyes" on a CD by Alan Barysh & Infiniteye featuring a speech by the Revolutionary Communist Party's Chairman Bob Avakian:

[show Art Between Deliveries cover here & play "Bob Avakian" track here: 1:09]

In other words, any political/social/whatever system will ALWAYS be good for some & bad for others. Here's a short movie that I made editing together various takes on this from a Hollywood spectacle, capitalist anti-communist propaganda, an underground movie, a scientific study, & other sources:

[screen "Capitalism is an Ism" here: 6:40]

The reason for the title "Capitalism is an Ism" is that in the "Ism" cartoon that warns its audience against Isms (mainly targeting communism) there's a transparent avoidance of using the word "capitalism" - wch becomes instead the "capitalistic system". I correct this pathetic propaganda manipulation here.

Perhaps the term that I found most immediately of interest in the previous systems type list was "Complex adaptive systems" wch I found described on Wikipedia (condensed here) as:

"Complex adaptive systems are special cases of complex systems. They are complex in that they are diverse and made up of multiple interconnected elements (and so a part of network science) and adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience. The term complex adaptive systems (CAS) was coined at the interdisciplinary Santa Fe Institute (SFI), by John H. Holland, Murray Gell-Mann and others."

"The term complex adaptive systems, or complexity science, is often used to describe the loosely organized academic field that has grown up around the study of such systems. Complexity science is not a single theory- it encompasses more than one theoretical framework and is highly interdisciplinary, seeking the answers to some fundamental questions about living, adaptable, changeable systems.

"Examples of complex adaptive systems include the stock market, social insect and ant colonies, the biosphere and the ecosystem, the brain and the immune system, the cell and the developing embryo, manufacturing businesses and any human social group-based endeavour in a cultural and social system such as political parties or communities. There are close relationships between the field of CAS and artificial life. In both areas the principles emergence and self-organization are very important."

SO, it seems that CASes might be a good term to use here. I like to create & catalyze systems for creative interaction that're adaptive learning tools for stimulation rather than inflexible & hierarchical. Just how egalitarian they are depends partially on the social 'contract' of their users.

But, before I go any further into the specifics of that, I want to digress. It seems to me that the behavior of humans is akin to that of social insects: bees, ants, termites, whatever.: ie: "any of numerous species of insects that live in colonies and manifest three characteristics: group integration, division of labour, and overlap of generations." Of course, another way of saying this is that the human perception of these insects superimposes anthropomorphic behavior onto these insects' patterns.

There are Queens, Workers, & Soldiers. But, what I want to know is: are their also Anarchists, Players, & Pacifists? Not to mention Perverts? Etc? Looking online I find that Jacobus Christiaan Biesmeijer and Han de Vries of the Ethology and Socio-Ecology Group, Utrecht University in The Netherlands have written something entitled "Exploration and exploitation of food sources by social insect colonies: a revision of the scout-recruit concept" in the "Journal of Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology" wch is explained in the beginning of the Abstract as follows:

"Social insect colonies need to explore and exploit multiple food sources simultaneously and efficiently. At the individual level, this colony-level behaviour has been thought to be taken care of by two types of individual: scouts that independently search for food, and recruits that are directed by nest mates to a food source. However, recent analyses show that this strict division of labour between scouts and recruits is untenable. Therefore, a modified concept is presented here that comprises the possible behavioural states of an individual forager (novice forager, scout, recruit, employed forager, unemployed experienced forager, inspector and reactivated forager) and the transitions between them."

Such meticulous dividing of types hints in the direction that I ultimately propose: viz: that the closer one looks, the more likely it is that one is to categorize individuals in a society into subcultures of one - or, ultimately, even smaller: into subcultures of mood swings & multiple personalities & the like.

Note particularly that there's an "unemployed experienced forager". What I want to know is: Is this forager living off of state-provided welfare as in a communist society? Or off of pensions, bonuses, stocks, inherited wealth, employee exploitation, corporate welfare & the like as in a capitalist society? Or off mutual aid as in an anarchist society? Perhaps Ed Lefko has the answer.

"Ed Lefko" is a character in a Science Fiction novella by T. L. Sherred entitled "E for Effort" published in 1947. It was also the pseudonym of someone who wrote me a letter in January of 1984 claiming to be able to communicate w/ ants. Sherred's "E for Effort" story was enclosed w/ the letter - probably to tip me off that Lefko is a CONCEPT rather than a specific human being. Most likely, the letter was from the great writer "Blaster" Al Ackerman who I was in substantial correspondence w/ at the time & who's an avid pulp SF reader & scholar.

Here's a copy of a magazine that I edited, printed, & published in 1985 named DDC#040.002 - issue 3.

[show DDC#040.002 #3 cover here & give everyone in the class a copy]

On the hot pink page toward the back is reproduced the Ed Lefko letter. Here's a paragraph from that:

"Do you know much about ants? Most folks don't and I didn't either until I learned their language and started to communicate w/ them. They are really intelligent beings and very creative. Take Gona, for instance. He not only can make designs in the sand that are far better than most homid artists, but is a poet as well. And, Gona, is not an exception."

I asked my entomologist/performer friend Irene Moon about social types "outside the big 3" of "queens, workers, & soldiers" & she replied:

"well there are many other roles besides the big three...but they always fit well w/in the system of the species for the most part. a pervert for example would go against the 'system'. but there are LOTS of roles in various social insect colonies all for specific purposes. these of course can all fall under the term 'worker'. for example [there are] slaves, some exist only as containters to hold honey spending their entire lives upside down w/ mouths that act as spouts, some are farmers tending to herds of aphids as cows, some are cops that hold others in jail. thing is though as much as we would like to anthropormorphize the roles of insect societies on our own....there really is absolutly no association biologically. It takes a self awareness to be anarchists, pacifists, artists, & perverts and they have none.

"there are a few odd exceptions. mostly from the sick or dying, although still not conscious. sometimes an ant w/ a really bad fungal infection will behave oddly and climb to the top of a branch away from the rest of the colony. or if a queen in a hive is dying and loosing pheromonal control others will rise up, even once non-viable offspring will become egg laying. but again im not sure these actually qualify."

Let's take this a step further. While the above instances of fungi & loss of pheromonal control effecting social insect behavior outside the usual system may not "qualify" as instances of "perversion" in the sense of WILLFULLY DEVIANT BEHAVIOR, they still bring up interesting exceptions to standard patterns. Think of fungi & pheromones as drugs & then consider the following: J. Dunn, on a Trinity Education website, has a page [http://www.trinity.edu/jdunn/spiderdrugs.htm] entitled "Spiders On Drugs" on wch he cites the following NASA data:

* Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through.

* Those on Benzedrine - "speed" - spin their webs "w/ great gusto, but apparently w/out much planning leaving large holes", according to New Scientist magazine.

* Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed by Britons in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random.

* On chloral hydrat, an ingredient of sleeping pills, spiders "drop off before they even get started".

Here are some relevant images:

[project spider web images (wch are back-to-back w/o intermediary slugs) & read each descriptive title]

Drug Free Spider Web

Web created while exposed to Mescaline\Peyote

Web created while exposed to LSD

Web created while exposed to Marijuana

Web created exposed to Caffeine

Web created exposed to Benzedrine/Speed

Web created exposed to Chloral Hydrat (sleeping pills)

Now, one possible question here is: Is a system equivalent to a drug? In other words, can a social system influence the type of, let's say, architecture that we build? The type of works in general that we create? Of course! W/ this in mind, I ask YOU:

What system have I been using to construct this lecture?

[wait for answers & speculations from students & engage in discussion - the rough answer, to be modified based on the details of the moment, is what follows:]

Basically, my system, since I started on this insect tangent, has been to follow my inspiration in a flexible meandering way thru web searches & sources w/ a mind to eventually leading back to an obvious connection to the Systems subject at hand. This could be considered a Complex Adaptive System insofar as I responded to real-time stimulus (my inspiration) to determine my direction (my navigation of the web) & applied what I learned (from the "revision of the scout-recruit concept") to help me develop the tangent & to narrow down the focus from social insects (ants) into a non-social insect example (spiders) to enable the use of easily-related-to imagery (the pictures of webs made under the influence of drugs) to eventually evolve the idea of a System as potentially equivalent to a drug & to, therefore, bring the evolved & adapted idea of the system back not so much "full-circle" but full-spiral into an expanded & more complexly associated notion.

[show Four Organs cover here]

Onto music: Steve Reich is a well-known "Minimalist" composer. In the liner notes to the Angel recording of his 1970 piece "Four Organs" he wrote:

"Four Organs [..] begins w/ a short pulsing chord wch gradually gets longer and longer in duration. As the chord stretches out, slowly resolving and unresolving, a sort of slow-motion music is created."

"Four Organs is an example of music that is a "gradual process.""

"Performing and listening to a gradual musical process resembles: pulling back a swing, releasing it, and observing it gradually come to rest... turning over an hour glass and watching the sand slowly run through to the bottom..."

[play an excerpt from "Four Organs" here: 1:53]

[show Great Western Salt Works cover here]

Jack Burnham, in his 1968 essay entitled "Systems Esthetics", wrote:

"The kind of product design that once produced "better living" precipitates vast crises in human ecology in the 1960s. A striking parallel exists between the "new" car of the automobile stylist and the syndrome of formalist invention in art, where "discoveries" are made through visual manipulation. Increasingly "products" - either in art or life - become irrelevant and a different set of needs arise: these revolve around such concerns as maintaining the biological livability of the Earth, producing more accurate models of social interaction, understanding the growing symbiosis in man-machine relationships, establishing priorities for the usage and conservation of natural resources, and defining alternate patterns of education, productivity, and leisure. In the past our technologically-conceived artifacts structured living patterns. We are now in transition from an object-oriented to a systems-oriented culture. Here change emanates not from things, but from the way things are done.

"The priorities of the present age revolve around the problems of organization. A systems viewpoint is focused on the creation of stable, on-going relationships between organic and non-organic systems, be these neighborhoods, industrial complexes, farms, transportation systems, information centers, recreation centers, or any of the other matrixes of human activity. All living situations must be treated in the context of a systems hierarchy of values."

Both Reich's early works & Burnham's essays were of substantial interest to me when I was in my twenties. My own emphasis has often been on not producing 'precious' objects by producing multiples instead & on producing states-of-mind thru experiences - often w/ a political subtext meant to resystematize behavior in a more egalitarian way than more 'precious' culture had previously allowed for.

Even though I don't think that there's anything intrinsically egalitarian in systems thinking, I do agree w/ Burnham that thinking in terms of systems is more likely to involve the "larger picture" than most object-producing mindsets do. At any rate, it's interesting to me that Burnham connects Systems Art to ecological concerns.

[show Come Out cover here]

A not completely oblique reconnection to Reich's work is thru his 1966 tape piece "Come Out". As Reich explains in his liner notes for the Odyssey record version:

""Come Out was composed as part of a benefit, presented at Town Hall in April, 1966, for the re-trial, w/ lawyers of their own choosing, of the six boys arrested for murder during the Harlem riots of 1964. The voice is that of Danniel Hamm, then nineteen, describing a beating he took in the Harlem 28th precinct. The police were about to take the boys out to be 'cleaned up' and were only taking those who were visibly bleeding. Since Hamm had no actual open bleeding, he proceeded to squeeze open a bruise on his leg so that he would be taken to the hospital - 'I had to, like, open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them.'

""The phrase 'come out to show them' was recorded on both channels, first in unison and then w/ channel 2 slowly beginning to move ahead. As the phase begins to shift, a gradually increasing reverberation is heard wch slowly passes into a sort of canon or round. Eventually the two voices divide into four and then eight."""

One of the things that interests me about "Come Out" is that it's both process-oriented & political - even though I don't really consider it an example of the implied social-consciousness in Burnham's systems thinking, I still like the parallel. Here's the beginning of the composition:

[play "Come Out" excerpt here: 1:40]

Another quasi-relevant tangent is that of audio recycling. To me, what's most important about recycling is the reuse of physical materials in an attempt to not deplete natural resources. However, there's also the recycling of music, for example, as both homage & a building upon the initial musical form - or, as a subversion of it.

[show Reich Remixed cover here]

Reich's "Come Out" specifically, & the rhythms & so-called 'new tonality' in general of minimalist music have been an inspiration to more recent electronica & DJ culture. In the Reich Remixed double-record set from 1998 both Megamix & Ken Ishii used "Come Out" as basic material. Here's the beginning of Ishii's piece:

[play "Come Out remix" excerpt here: 1:02]

This type of recycling plays into the "transition from an object-oriented to a systems-oriented culture" that Burnham postulated insofar as the object is less important than the multitude of uses that the concept generates. The process is this: Danniel Hamm is recorded talking about being beaten by the police, Reich finds this experience worth educating the public about & takes a fragment of the recording to create a formally compelling piece to call attention to Hamm's dilemma, future musicians find Reich's piece compelling enuf to recreate it to both advance Reich's technique & to remind people that police brutality is still a problem. The system of communication & its message is what's important - not necessarily the object - especially given that the object is mass-produced & that its content can be played, such as in situations like this or via the radio or podcasts or whatnot.

[approximately 40 minutes at this point]

Perhaps my own personal favorite type of Complex Adaptive System might be what's sometimes called "Structured Improvisation". This is a way of improvising in wch some elements are predetermined as guidelines. My use of such structuring is to try to catalyze improvising outside the habitual patterns of the participant by imposing unusual procedures.

[show Official Wafer Face cover here]

Pictured here is the front cover of "The Official Wafer Face Record", released in 1993 by Wafer Face Records. This was a project founded by myself & instrument inventor/builder Neil Feather. We changed its name every time we played - usually in accordance w/ a formula that began w/ "The Official" & had the date in there somewhere. For simplicity's sake the generic name was "The Official Project" or "The Official Big Band" when the group was larger. This LP came w/ a booklet entitled "MORE INFORMATION than most people are likely to want to read".

[show MORE INFORMATION booklet cover here]

In this booklet many aspects of the Official Project are described in substantial detail - hence the title.

[show Some Social Philosophy section here]

In the "Some Social Philosophy" section, I try to establish a politicized take on systems of audience/performer relationships:

[show 2nd & 3rd paragraphs of the above here]

"Sometimes a structure of some playing is oriented around merging the audience & the players by having everyone present be both. So-called "improvisation" is often perceived as pointing in this direction insofar as whatever skills any player brings to the moment are often stressed as being at least as important if not more so than the skills originating from a directing person or group. In contrast, some bands just want to move the audience to support their egos & their bank accounts - often by using sado-masochistic psychology to "keep the audience in their place" - meaning to keep the audience thinking that any desire to break out of their fixed role is foolish b/c they "just don't have what it takes" to be "talented", entertaining, stimulating, "what-have-you". To the anarchistically minded, such greedy sado-masochistic manipulation of the audience into being victims rather than friends is a microcosm of the state's suppression of the individual.

"The more widespread the infrastructure/belief system that the masses are an untalented glop (of course, "the masses" may definitionally be "an untalented glop") turning to an elite (the band, the state) for guidance (entertainment/propaganda, laws), the fewer individuals there'll be willing to try to appreciate & respond to something that falls outside of the dominant structure. Of course, this is a "What came 1st, the chicken or the egg?) (all over your face) dilemma insofar as it can obviously be argued that "the masses" created the state in their/its own image & not vice-versa. Whatever. We don't solve these problems but we do (sortof) address them."

Given such philosophizing, it's no surprise that we supported the Friendly Fascist candidate Vermin Supreme in his bid for whatever:

[screen "The Official,

October 18th, 1991E.V.

Vermin Supreme for Mayor

Sound Assault Committee" excerpt here: 3:57]

I'll return to Vermin Supreme later. In the meantime, "The Structure of Our Playing":

[show The Structure of Our Playing section here]

Here's where words like "structure" & "system" become ambiguously interchangeable (as if that hasn't happened already?). Could the heading of this section be just as accurately entitled "The System of Our Playing"? Whatever. Here's the 1st paragraph:

[show the 1st paragraph of the above here]

"We primarily play what we call CAMUs. CAMU is an acronymn for Cue Activated Modular Unit. CAMUs are categories. CAMUs are generally unusual restrictions on playing wch are meant to discipline the player, focus the player's attention, unify the group's playing in some self-conscious way, & stimulate ways of playing that the player might not be ordinarily inclined to. These CAMUs are Modular Units b/c they can be used at (almost) any point in the playing - they're Cue Activated b/c the playing of them is initiated by certain signals. CAMUs can be triggered by (almost) any player at their discretion. CAMUs are conceptual building blocks, elements of a common language "open" enough to give the player satisfactory (hopefully) leeway & "closed" enough to provide a framework for intentional coherence."

[show "Mouthing off Intro" score outline here]

The image showing is the score outline for the beginning of a presentation by "the Official, April 29th, 1992E.V., Band that does Accept Money from Institutions". The brief movie that follows presents the realization of the 1st 3 parts of this score.

[screen "the Official, April 29th, 1992E.V.,

Band that does Accept Money from Institutions" excerpt here: 6:08]

3 CAMUs were presented in this example. The 1st, "Neuro-Linguistic Programming Intro" had the band name embedded in an extemporized rambling monolog. The 2nd, "Simon", is a classic child's game that exemplifies, for me, the use of structured improvisation as a stimulus to creative thinking. The 3rd, "Direct Mail (Ordinary 78 variation)", slots the instruction text into another CAMU to frame the presentation of the words. All 3 use systematic processes to generate unusual language use.

[show HiTEC logo ["BRAINLAYOUT2.jpg"] here]

Jump cut / Flash forward ahead 16 years: In mid-2008, I founded HiTEC - an acronym for Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative. The most "HiTEC" thing I can think of is the mind & that's one of the things that the name refers to - I'm not trying to sell the latest gadget. Since I'd previously worked w/ a substantial group of people in the Official Project, as many as 17 in one session, I wanted to try working w/ an even bigger group in HiTEC. The largest size the group's attained is 23 but only 21 have ever played together at once. I also didn't want to repeat the particular type of structured improvising that characterized the Official Project. As such, I wanted to mostly stay away from specific physical instructions & explore the parallel territory of what I prefer to call "thought experiments".

[show Systems Manager logo ["SysManLayout.jpg"] here]

Now we're getting somewhere! HiTEC performs a piece entitled "Systems Management". As such, the HiTEC members are called "Systems Managers" & I prefer to say that when we're performing we're "Managing the Systems". Such specificity of language is intended to foster a particular mindset. Each of the Systems in Systems Management is meant to be a thought experiment. Rather than perform specific physical actions in sync, the HiTEC Systems Managers attempt to THINK about the same conundrums [1 : a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun

2 a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer b : an intricate and difficult problem] at the same time & to simultaneously try to somehow make physical something related to their thoughts. The language is all deliberately dry & businesslike - partially just in an attempt to avoid clichés of what many people think of as being so-called 'poetic'.

Each of the Systems in Systems Management has a number or not. A Wheel-of-Fortune is spun, that lands on a number, & that instigates a process determining what the Systems Managers then think about & attempt to actualize. The Systems w/out numbers are introduced thru spontaneous Systems Manager choice. It's my intention to try out something like this in this class. But, 1st, I'll play a few examples for you from 2 HiTEC rehearsals, our public premier at the New Hazlett Theater on January 9th, 2009, & our 2nd public event as part of the "The End of Television" at the Nerve Gallery on June 12th, 2009.

The 1st movie begins midway thru a realization of a thought experiment System called "Tele-Communications". You'll see the Wheel-of-Fortune to the right of the opening shot. August 28th, 2008 - this was the 15th rehearsal of HiTEC overall but this particular small group of Systems Managers were mostly just rehearsing for the 2nd or 3rd time. The crawling text at the bottom gives the System instruction. The basic idea of "Tele-Communications" is to try to get the other Managers to do something specific in some spontaneous way w/out using words. After "Tele-Communications" ends, the Managers "Debrief" & explain to each other what they were thinking & attempting to do. While witnessing the footage, pay particular attention to hand-signals & interactions. While everyone is playing an instrument, instruments aren't necessary. Systems Managers can use other means of making their thoughts physical.

[screen "HiTEC015-Tele-Communications" here: 5:40]

A little over 3 months later & we're at the 44th overall rehearsal on December 1st, 2008. I've done a superficial search on the internet for "thought experiments" & created 2 Systems based on 2 famous examples. One of these is called "Brain-In-A-Vat". The 1st 2 Wikipedia paragraphs on this subject read as follows:

"In philosophy, the brain in a vat is an element used in a variety of thought experiments intended to draw out certain features of our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. It is drawn from the idea, common to many science fiction stories, that a mad scientist might remove a person's brain from the body, suspend it in a vat of life-sustaining liquid, and connect its neurons by wires to a supercomputer wch would provide it w/ electrical impulses identical to those the brain normally receives. According to such stories, the computer would then be simulating a simulated reality (including appropriate responses to the brain's own output) and the person w/ the "disembodied" brain would continue to have perfectly normal conscious experiences w/out these being related to objects or events in the real world.

"The simplest use of brain-in-a-vat scenarios is as an argument for philosophical skepticism and Solipsism. A simple version of this runs as follows: Since the brain in a vat gives and receives the exact same impulses as it would if it were in a skull, and since these are its only way of interacting w/ its environment, then it is not possible to tell, from the perspective of that brain, whether it is in a skull or a vat. Yet in the first case most of the person's beliefs may be true (if he believes, say, that he is walking down the street, or eating ice-cream); in the latter case they are false. Since, the argument says, you cannot know whether you are a brain in a vat, then you cannot know whether most of your beliefs might be completely false. Since, in principle, it is impossible to rule out your being a brain in a vat, you cannot have good grounds for believing any of the things you believe; you certainly cannot know them."

Turning this into a System means that the Systems Managers are asked to "Decide that you're a brain-in-a-vat instead of a brain-in-a-skull & that yr perceptions of what's happening in the current Systems Management session are programmed perceptions rather than 'real' ones. Adapt yr Management to what you then think is the most likely 'reality'." This is, of course, quite a challenge when taken seriously. How does a person do this? Here's some footage from the 44th rehearsal where the Managers try it & then debrief, as usual, afterwards.

[screen "HiTEC044-Brain-In-A-Vat" here: 6:50]

Of course, being silly also has alotof potential. Being thoughtful & active & imaginative & sensitive to each other & true to one's own personality is ultimately what these thought experiments in Systems Management are trying to stimulate. You may be sick of this somewhat haphazardly shot rehearsal footage by now so I'll give you another example of "Brain-In-A-Vat" combined w/ 2 other Systems as presented at the New Hazlett Theater. This is an example of what we were ultimately working toward & is much more sophisticated in its documentation.

[screen "HiTEC051-Concerto+Brain+Debriefing" here: 3:45]

Perhaps the most significant relevant part of the latter example in relation to the "Brain-In-A-Vat" thought experiment is the part where I imagine myself to actually be a brain-in-a-vat & then try to effect my imagined physical environment by producing waves to make the vat fluid slosh around - thereby using one of the isolated brain's only obvious aggressively physical characteristics, the ability to generate waves, to influence its surrounding environment. This, in turn, effects the editing choice - wch uses a wave effect to create visuals that would be otherwise unnatural in 'consensus reality' as I commonly 'understand' it.

[show HiTEC book cover here]

By the way, the local publisher, Encyclopedia Destructica, publishes a HiTEC book that also comes w/ a CD & the DVD from wch that last excerpt was taken - in case any of you want to research this further.

Given that this class is not a music class, I want you to understand that the Systems presented here don't have to have so-called 'musical' realizations. Any person being creative can use any medium to try to manifest their thoughts. Some of the Systems encourage a broader variety of behaviors than others. There's one called "Getting It Our Of Your" wch has the instruction:

"Become VERY DRAMATIC. EG: Tear yr clothes, play w/ extreme dynamic level differences, make huge sweeping gestures, weep & laugh copiously, act out secret fantasies, etc. In general, up the histrionics level as uninhibitedly as you can. Feel free to be a total embarrassment."

The next clip, from the "The End of Television"/HiTEC059 event can give you an idea of how that can be realized.

[screen "HiTEC059-Getting It Out of Your" here: 2:23]

Finally, here's an example of "Tele-Communications" in action again, again from our 59th manifestation, where the Systems Managers explore a fairly broad variety of actions. Added to this is a simultaneous realization of Ben Opie's MUTE OBSERVER System in wch a Manager sets off a chain reaction of silent observations that gradually lessens the amount of people making sounds. See if you can see this happening & if you can follow the Tele-Communications signaling.

[screen "HiTEC059-Tele+MUTE" here: 4:50]

For now, that's enough about HiTEC & Systems Management. At our next class together, we'll be trying out some of these thought experiment Systems & you'll be asked to create some of your own. One aspect of HiTEC & Systems Management that's probably not very immediately apparent is that it's an experiment in creating & enacting a consensus social system in wch individualism is encouraged. This is, inevitably, political in the sense that participation in the Systems Management is somewhat deterministic of how one governs one's self.

& that brings me back to the earlier thread of political systems in general & my assertion that no political system can ever be beneficial for everyone - they can only work toward that direction. As much as I dislike the use of dichotomies as descriptive devices, especially of complex systems such as socio-political ones, recent events have gotten me to thinking along such lines.

As you might surmise, the recent event in question is the G20. I see the G20 as being of no benefit whatsoever to the majority of the people both in the world & in Pittsburgh. I see it mainly as an opportunity for arms dealers to spread extreme paranoia thru the mass media, especially thru so-called tv 'news', so that they can make massive sales to both the police & to the paranoid citizen. I see it as an excuse to conduct military-style war games against the general population & as an opportunity for greedy & power-hungry politicians to advance their career path by showing that they'll go along w/ ANY oppressive program as long as it makes them more rich & powerful.

But regarding polarities, I see the G20's surrounding events as being most striking, if only b/c of the bluntness of the reduction I'm about to use, as an exemplification of DRACONIAN LAW vs CREATIVITY. By this I mean that the G20's invading & occupying army represented the System based on the belief that the LAW IS ALWAYS RIGHT - regardless of how clearly demonstrable it is to be unfair, unethical, & vicious. Furthermore, I mean that the forces that the occupying army tried to terrorize & suppress are what the 'law' is most afraid of: namely, the forces of creativity. My assertion is that creativity represents the archetype of a CAS, a complex adaptive system, b/c creativity is at its peak when it's the most flexible & the most adaptive. The so-called 'law', on the other hand, is at its peak when it suppresses any change that isn't top-down dictated.

As such, it's no coincidence that on the Sunday before the G20, September 19th, 2009, the invading & occupying army produced a massive show of terroristic force by raiding only the homes & studios of creative people in the name of ferreting out potential 'terrorist' threats.

Namely, there were 2 raids that night on the studio of "Artful Trash Management" sculptor & eco-philosopher Bob Johnson's studio. Bob was housing the Seeds of Peace free food providers. Bob is most well known for fishing trash out of rivers & having the trash compacted into cubes that he then exhibits as Rivercube sculptures. His studio was raided by 2 separate armies of highly armed & armored paranoid so-called 'law' enforcement people. They discovered nothing illegal.

The "The Nerve" Gallery's building was broken into by the police that night. The Nerve itself, where HiTEC's "End of Television" performance happened, was apparently not broken into but parts of the rest of the building, used as practice space for one or more bands around town, was. When the cops left, they left the building unlocked. When the owner discovered this the next morning, he was apparently confused about why the burglar alarm wasn't working. The cops discovered nothing illegal. Probably the main illegality was the police's own breaking & entering & the leaving of the space vulnerable.

The "Cyberpunk Apocalypse" house in Lawrenceville was raided by another small army of highly armed & armored cops. This is a writer's collective. As I understand it, the cops didn't even enter the house. This was, again, apparently mainly a terroristic show of force.

Around this same time, cops harassed other creative people potentially associated w/ political activism by driving past their houses & shining lights in their windows. This happened to friends of mine in punk bands & to a friend of mine who's an extremely dedicated prison activist & performer. Even a guy who rides a recumbent bike had his house raided. In all cases, the excuses for the raids were extremely flimsy & no evidence of criminal activities were found.

Perhaps 2 days later, the studio of the Zany Umbrella Circus was forced into by the cops & searched. Zany Umbrella has performed widely, including at the 3 Rivers Arts Festival. As usual, no criminal or so-called 'terroristic' evidence was found.

Creative people are obviously different from uncreative people. Creative social scenes are going to have creative behavior. They're going to have creative dressing, creative sex, creative lifestyles in general. & this makes creative people often easy to distinguish from the more common non-creative people &, as such, easy to scapegoat for nefarious purposes. On the flip-side, of course, creative people provide entertainment & stimulation services for the non-creative & are often highly valued for this.

But for the purposes of the big business of arms dealing, spreading fear of creative people is good business. "Is there someone different from you in your neighborhood?", the police liason might say at a community meeting, "FEAR & REPORT THEM". Buy AK47s to so-called 'protect' yourself against them. Buy THREE LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices) to so-called 'protect' yourself against them. What on Earth is the City of Pittsburgh going to do w/ THREE of these damned things?! In Pittsburgh, no less - one of the most peaceful & pleasant places I've ever been. &, in the meantime, the city's closing down libraries. What a disgrace. Lest you think I exaggerate too much the spreading of fear & paranoia through the spreading of propaganda preliminary to the G20, here's a parody movie that CMU professor Rich Pell & I made together about this issue. Everything in it, except for the conclusion, is based on an actual event.

[screen "TV 'News' Commits Suicide" here: 6:09]

Are there any questions about this? Such as about what specific events are being parodied here?

[allow time for discussion & relevant anecdotes]

Now, back to my friend Vermin Supreme: He, too, was here for the G20 demonstrations. Vermin tries to be both an advanced example of a creative lifestyle AND a person who addresses the war between the creative lifestyle & the policing lifestyle. The following is some footage of him addressing the cops in downtown Pittsburgh during the permitted march on Friday, September 25th, 2009.

[screen "Vermin Addressing the Cops at the G20" here: :44]

Finally, you may've noticed that there were many cameras used for documenting the 2 HiTEC public events - 8 at the New Hazlett & 7 at The Nerve, to be specific. & another aspect of what I'm leading up to here is the proposal that we thoroughly document what we do together. How many people here have either cellphones w/ video camera capability or video cameras in general? I propose that ALL of them be used somehow in what we do together & that we all share the resultant files. THEN, if nothing else, I'll edit together all the footage & make a DVD of the result for everyone. Everyone else, of course, is welcome to do the same. That's it for me for now - unless people have questions.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

373. Systems & Processes 2: workshop

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, November 2, 2009

- I began by having the students realize the HiTEC (Histrionic Thought Experiment Cooperative) System named "Red Room":

01. "Red Room"(tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE):

Each player chooses 2 units of sound as their only vocabulary. These units can be distinguished in any way. No unit can be played in approximately the same relational circumstance twice - ie: If player 1 plays unit 1 immediately following another player's unit 2 then player 1 must avoid having that sequence occur again. The player stops whenever they feel like it or when all such relational possibilities are exhausted.

Jon Rubin raised & lowered his drink bottle, a student put her elbows on the table, etc, as "units". This was followed by "Population Control":

09. "Population Control" (Johan Nystrom):

Only 1/5th of the Systems Managers shd play at one time (except that this number shd be no less than 2). Players shd try to accomplish this purely by paying attn to each other rather than thru hand-signals, glances, & other obvious means. EG: someone who's playing shd decide to drop out & someone who's not playing shd fill in the gap. If more than 1 player replaces 1 drop-out then an(other) player(s) shd also drop out to restabilize the relevant number. If too many players become active then some shd decide to stop on their own to correct this. This ends whenever other factors, such as a spin of the WoF, occur to interrupt it.

The students were in a circle around tables placed in a square. I projected the Systems Management instructions as slides, read the instructions & tried to clarify them. "Tele-Communications" came next:

10. "Tele-Communications"(tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE):

Pick another player & attempt to communicate something that you want them to do to them w/o using words. You can either try 3 different ways of doing this or 3 different ways to clarify what you want. Continue playing if they eventually do what you want them to & stop playing for the rest of the system if they don't. As usual, various obvious complications will arise: EG: a Systems Manager might mime what they want the other player to do in such an obvious way that they make their chances of being able to continue substantial - or a Manager might want another player to do something that's highly likely to happen such as 'play something'. Contrarily, the "tele-communicator" might attempt to communicate in extremely subtle ways highly unlikely to be picked up by the targeted player.

One student made a dunking motion to which I responded with a dribbling one.

16. "IFF" (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE & Ben Opie):

"IFF" = "if & only if". Before any player plays they mentally create a condition external to themselves & their system wch has to be met for them to play. EG: Player 1 may decide in advance that they'll only play in a certain way for 10 seconds IFF Player 2 plays quietly by themselves for at least 5 seconds. Player 1 might also decide that they'll play in a different certain way IFF all players other than Player 2 play simultaneously. This creates the immediate problem of who plays 1st & under what conditions. Therefore, it's advisable that at least 1 player decides on an "IFF" that doesn't necessarily revolve around other people's playing - such as: "I'll play IFF an earthquake doesn't happen" or "I'll play IFF I'm taking the risk that it's highly likely everyone around me will play shortly after I start."

The students were eventually encouraged to develop their own systems. The class was divided into smaller groups called "Affinity Groups" (after political activist lingo used, in turn, by HiTEC). These groups were to brainstorm & to report back to the whole class. As I dimly recall, the students proposed some & we tried them. The results included "Robotic", "Object Exchange", "Expansive Gesture", & "Blinking":

"Robotic"

Systems Managers start from the perimeter of the space. Managers conceive of a robotic routine to perform & then follow it mindlessly. This usually involves moving away from the perimeter but doesn't necessarily have to.

"Object Exchange"

Systems Managers carry an object wch they handle in a way conventionally appropriate to that object. Managers then exchange objects w/ one another. Managers then use the new object in the same way that they used the original object. Each new object gets handled in the way that wd've been appropriate for the preceding object. EG: If a Manager starts w/ a squeeze toy & then trades that for woodblocks then the the Manager continues squeezing the woodblocks. THEN, if the Manager exchanges the woodblocks for a whistle, the Manager hits the whistle - as wd've been appropriate for the woodblocks, etc.. Sometimes the handling technique used will be coincidentally appropriate to the new object. EG: If in the above example a cymbal wd've been rc'vd instead of a whistle then hitting the cymbal wd've been coincidentally appropriate b/c woodblocks & cymbals are played using similar techniques. It's recommended that objects used for this be objects that can take some 'abuse' - IE: DO NOT USE YR EXPENSIVE INSTRUMENTS FOR THIS. If, by accident, an expensive &/or delicate object is used, PLEASE BE SENSITIVE & CONSIDERATE & HANDLE THE OBJECT CAREFULLY.

"Expansive Gesture"

Systems Managers begin by making an evocative gesture, such as yawning. Then, witnessing someone else's gesture, expand upon that. EG: A Systems Manager begins by scratching & sees another Manager yawn. The scratcher then lays down as if to sleep - as an extension of the yawning. If multiple Systems Managers are inspired by the same initiating gesture then whole strings of related gestures can happen. EG: While the scratcher is laying down, another Manager might respond to the yawn by slapping themselves in the face to 'try to make themselves wake up' while another might mime drinking a cup of coffee or another might play a lullaby, etc..

"Blinking"

Think of 3 things that you'll do when triggered to do so by another Systems Manager looking at you & blinking. A Manager can blink once, twice or 3 times. Once shd always trigger the same response in the receiving Manager, twice always another same response, & thrice always yet-another same response. EG: Manager A looks at Manager B & blinks once, Manager B then howls; Manager C then blinks twice at Manager A, Manager A then mutters to her or him self as if preoccupied; Manager B then blinks thrice at Manager A, Manager A then wiggles their fingers; Manager D then blinks once at Manager B, B then howls again, etc..

I, later, wrote the above encapsulations in order to facillitate future Management of the Systems. Students were also asked to think of new Systems for the next class.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

374. Systems & Processes 3: workshop & guerrilla action

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, November 4, 2009

- I explained various percussion instruments to the class & demonstrated them - such as the thunder sheet, slap-stick, a-go-go, vibra-slap, triangle, Zydeco tie, tuning fork, rattles, tambourine, Chinese gong, ratchet, dog's squeeze toy in shape of human foot, dinner bells, bulb horns, cow bell, cymbals, bracelet bells, corrugated tubes, slide whistle, alarm whistle, siren whistle, kazoo, crow call, train whistle, boom whackers, small glockenspiel, colander, duck call, & flex-a-tone.

Assisting me were joy toujours playing violin, percussion, cordless drill, & cameras + Josh Beyer playing cello, percussion, & camcorder + Hyla Willis playing erhu, percussion, & cameras. A highlight of this event was probably when Hyla demonstrated the erhu & allowed some students to play it.

I explained the desirability of the use of multiple cameras & encouraged footage sharing so that we cd all work w/ a collective pool of footage. As it turned out, I did get footage from multiple cameras but no-one else seemed interested in working w/ these multiple sources.

Attendance to the class was poor & only a few of the students seem to've thought of new Systems since the last class. One of the students proposed a System based on the rules of "Fight Club". I explained that the idea for the Systems was meant to be based around how one THINKS about what one's doing rather than specific physical instructions. One of these few students proposed an "Imitation" System, another proposed a "Not Really" System, another "Pretend to be Someone". Another student who hadn't attended the last class admitted that she had "no idea what we're doing". [Uh.. I reckon that's why attending class might be a good idea, eh?!]

I attempted to clarify the difference between a Thought Experiment & specific physical instructions to the class by explaining Avicenna's "Floating Man" & explaining HiTEC's adaption of that as "Avicenna's Floating Systems Manager". Hyla, Josh, & joy then went on to try to explain their own takes on the matter.

From there we tried "Not Really" (not really called that) in which the Systems Managers were to perform a vocal sound as response to someone's miming cue. "Imitation" followed, "Pretending to be Someone" was rejected by the student who proposed it, then "Survival of the Fittest" was proposed: A person plays a rhythm & becomes the fittest when either they're the only person left playing their rhythm or when only their rhythm, played by others too, is being played. This was criticized on the basis of various criteria such as: the simplest medium-tempo pulse will probably win. Josh played pizzacato cello during this one.

We then tried "Robotic" which was the student System that I thought most successfully was a Thought Experiment.

"Robotic"

Systems Managers start from the perimeter of the space. Managers conceive of a robotic routine to perform & then follow it mindlessly. This usually involves moving away from the perimeter but doesn't necessarily have to.

I found this to be particularly successful exercise! One student sat cross-legged on the floor & banged an inverted stool seat on the floor, another walked around holding onto objects such as seats, table & tripod legs, etc.. One walked & stopped & rattled a tambourine periodically, another rearranged object placement thru rotation, the professor made weather announcements. I made a multiple camera quasi-document which I then posted online:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkZjJ1ePIos

Partially since the author of "Object Exchange" wasn't there, the professor proposed that we modify it. I found this amusing & 'poetic justice'.

"Object Exchange"

Systems Managers carry an object wch they handle in a way conventionally appropriate to that object. Managers then exchange objects w/ one another. Managers then use the new object in the same way that they used the original object. Each new object gets handled in the way that wd've been appropriate for the preceding object. EG: If a Manager starts w/ a squeeze toy & then trades that for woodblocks then the the Manager continues squeezing the woodblocks. THEN, if the Manager exchanges the woodblocks for a whistle, the Manager hits the whistle - as wd've been appropriate for the woodblocks, etc.. Sometimes the handling technique used will be coincidentally appropriate to the new object. EG: If in the above example a cymbal wd've been rc'vd instead of a whistle then hitting the cymbal wd've been coincidentally appropriate b/c woodblocks & cymbals are played using similar techniques. It's recommended that objects used for this be objects that can take some 'abuse' - IE: DO NOT USE YR EXPENSIVE INSTRUMENTS FOR THIS. If, by accident, an expensive &/or delicate object is used, PLEASE BE SENSITIVE & CONSIDERATE & HANDLE THE OBJECT CAREFULLY.

In the documentary that I made just about this class, there's an explanatory title that says: "tENT exchanges the camcorder w/ Josh for Josh's rattle. Josh then manipulates the camera by shaking it as if it were a rattle." This amply illustrates the type of process that resulted from this System.

Using a preplanning order of Systems ("Robotic", "Blinking", "Expansive Gesture", "Object Exchange"), we went to the CMU Student Center for a guerrilla application of the Systems Management that the class had developed so far. This center is an open area with multiple couches where students typically sit & converse & use their laptops or whatever. As Hyla pointed out, this was an opportunity for the students in the class to take transgressive baby steps.

joy started by rubbing plants with his hand. Hyla walked carryting her erhu case & other baggage & touched her forehead to objects by bending to meet them. The same student who'd banged the stool on the floor in class now sat on the floor with her shoes on her hands & alternated hitting the floor with them. Another slunk around the columns & walls with his back to them. The students were discouraged from maming sounds until the end so their eccentric behaviors wouldn't be immediately obvious. However, sounds, mostly using my percussion instruments, were dominating by "Expansive Gesture". During this latter, I tried to set off s chain of yawns by yawning at fellow Systems Managers.

What either the participants or the unsuspecting student (v)audience made of this is largely a mystery to me. Somewhat to the "Systems & Processes" class participants' surprise, a group of girls not in the class started practicing what appeared to be a cheerleading routine. This was a marvelous coincidence. Given that I think that guerrilla actions are far more important experiential learnings than classroom confinements, I was happier with this. One student reported that someone came up to her during "Expansive Gesture" (probably) & made a 'Hey' sign to her so she took that as a cue to, in turn, do that to others. 2 students also shared their footage with me.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

375. Systems & Processes 4: workshop & guerrilla action

- CMU CFA, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, November 9, 2009

- This was the last of my "Systems & Processes" classes & the one where I felt things came together best. Assisting me once again was my good friend & fellow HiTEC member Hyla Willis (percussion, camcorder). Additionally, my other good friend & fellow HiTEC member Unfinished Symphonies (recorders, camcorder). Most or all 15 of the students attended this class - as opposed to only 6 of the 15 at the last class. The class more or less started off with one of the students proposing a System that I thought was one of the strongest ones:

"Numbers"

Systems Managers each pick a number from 1 to 9 & stick w/ that # for the duration of the realization of the piece. Managers call out their number at will. Each Manager then adds or subtracts in their head the 2 most recent numbers called out. If the resultant number is their prechosen number then they can move that number of steps in a straight line. Managers can choose to have addition be different from subtraction in terms of wch direction the resultant straight line can go. EG: Manager Z calls out "7",

Manager Y then calls out "4", all Managers then calculate that 7 + 4 = 11 & that 7 - 4 = 3. Since 11 is above the upper limit # of 9 it can't be any Manager's number &, therefore, noone can move as a result of addition. However, since 3 is w/in the "1 to 9" limit, it can be a Manager number. Let's say that four Managers have chosen "3" & that 1 of them has chosen to move right if their number is a result of subtraction. That Manager then moves right 3 steps. Let's further say that the remaining three Managers w/ the number "3" have decided to move either backwards or left if their number is reached thru subtraction. Then let's say that two of these three then take 3 steps backwards & the other takes 3 steps left. As w/ most Systems, if a Manager's predetermined personal System (ie: the number chosen & the particular response to the conditions of its production - ie: addition or subtraction) chooses to be unworkable (eg: immediately leads them to facing an obstacle that they can't get around) then that's what the Systems Manager is stuck w/! IE: There's no changing one's personal criteria 'mid-stream'.

While this wasn't, strictly speaking, a Thought Experiment, it did require a substantial amount of thinking prefiguring action. Of course, I also liked it because it involved basic math. We realized this one, discussed & clarified it, & tried it again.

We reviewed "Robotic", "Blinking", & "Object Exchange" & then realized the latter.

In keeping with my emphasis on multiple collaborative camera use there were at least 3 cameras quasi-documenting this. "Robotic", "Blinking", & "Expansive Gesture" followed (see the descriptions of the previous "Systems & Processess" classes).

We then moved to the CMU Student Center for another guerrilla realization of these Systems as we had in the last class. This time starting with "Numbers" in a more open area where there weren't couches.

In my quasi-documentary of this, I inserted the following crawl title during this section:

"For me, Managing this type of System stimulates interesting statistical &/or probability musings. Note that no-one has picked 1 or 9. Does this imply that their personal systems involve addition equalling forward motion & subtraction equalling backward motion? If so, then 1 cd only be reached by subtraction &, therefore, only yield backward motion - & 9 cd only be reached by addition &, therefore, only yield forward motion. Hence both numbers are less flexible than the rest. HOWEVER, since no-one picked them, 2 & 8 end up in the same situation. If everyone played it maximally safe & chose 5 then no-one wd be able to move b/c 5 cdn't be reached by either subtraction OR addition since all Systems Managers wd only be saying 5!"

"Blinking", "Object Exchange", "Robotic", & "Expansive Gesture" followed. We then decided to go thru the same process again at the tennis courts. On an adjacent court a tennis game was in progress. This was probably the point at which the students opened up the most - glad to be outside. There was more laughter & relaxed silliness within the otherwise somewhat rigorous framework. A trumpeter could be heard practicing in the distance.

We returned to the classroom for a summing-up discussion. One of the students who hadn't attended all of the classes asked: "What did we just do?" to which I laughed & replied something along the lines of "Basically it refers back to structured improvisation [..] as a Complex Adaptive System - &, for me, the purpose of things like this is to increase my ability to make real-time decisions & to increase my memory & to increase my spontaneity & increase my alertness, etc, etc - increase any kind of quality that has to do with my environment around me."

Unfinished Symphonies pointed out the value of breaking from one's routines as stimulation to step outside one's own limited habits as a creative activity. I asked the class if they'd at least had some fun to which there was a little bit of disappointingly half-hearted nodding. One of the students who had actually fallen asleep in class at one point (not necessarily from boredom - anemia & other problems occurred to me as explanations) revealed that she'd had what was for me the ideal reaction: namely inspiration & alertness as a result of the procedures. Another student, who I'd found to be particularly resistent at times, revealed that to him it was like experiencing child's games with adult experience.

I'd promised the students that I'd make a documentary about these 4 classes & get it to them ASAP. As such, I spent the next 3 (unpaid) weeks making a packaged DVD & a packaged CD & I hand-delivered these to the professor at the end of November a few hours before he was to reconvene with the class. I later learned that he didn't give these to some of the students until a few months later after the semester was over. I still don't know whether all the students got theirs. I found this to be an unfortunate ending to my very hard work.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

376. HiTEC -72 - Final Gig

- CMU CFA Kresge Hall, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, March 13, 2010

- Even as of the time of the Visionary Arts Festival gigs it was clear to me that interest in this project was waning amongst the Systems Managers. I tried to revivify this interest, mostly to no avail, with the "Systems & Processes" classes. I also tried to recruit new members who'd have a limited role but even that met with somewhat lacklustre response since people have complicated schedules, etc.. Of the 4 students from the "Systems & Processes" classes who expressed interest in participating, only Spencer Diaz actually did so. Of the others who expressed interest, only Gina Ketter did so. THANKS TO BOTH OF THEM! This particular gig was arranged by Ben Opie to be during the Spring Break at CMU because it was one of the only times when the space could be made available. While that was understandable, it didn't help attendance any.

16 Systems Managers participated (17 if the fabulous guest cameraperson Morgan Cahn gets included) & there were only 14 people in the (v)audience. This in a concert hall that might hold 200 people? The only member of HiTEC to attend in audience capacity was Ben Harris (unless we include Ilona Auth who generously donated her time to the unglamorous job of door person). At least he enjoyed it! The numbers, as usual, that proceed the Systems Manager's name & instrumentation indicate how many total HiTEC sessions they participated in.

Clockwise from tENT:

069tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: grand piano, percussion, remote-control electronics, SysMan, Wheel-of-Fortune

019Julian Krishnamurti: electric bass

023Spat Cannon: acoustic bass

024Ben Opie: alto sax, Thingamagoop, Max patches on laptop, rattle

025Hyla Willis: amplified erhu

027Kenny Haney: bass clarinet, Bb clarinet

019Tony Balko: camcorder

025Jonathan Brodsky: laptop

013David Bernabo: melodica, percussion

013Kerrith Livengood: alto flute, percussion

014Bob Jungkunz: percussion

021William Wedler: percussion

022joy toujours: violin

027Unfinished Symphonies: electronic keyboard

003Gina Ketter: viola

007Spencer Diaz: camcorder

Setting the tone for my part of the night was that while I was setting up the light on top of the Wheel-of-Fortune prop that helps determine which System will be managed, I fell off the chair I was tip-toed on, hit the edge of the stage with my ribs & the stage floor with my elbow & then bounced off to the floor.

This, apparently, resulted in my cracking something like 3 of my ribs - which took 10 WEEKS TO HEAL. I was not happy. Nonetheless, the "show must go on" & I proceeded to 'perform' in more pain than I ever had previously.

The Systems that had been developed by the "Systems & Processes" class' students (see the relevant 2009 entries) were incorporated into the overall body of Systems & the overall feel of the event was the sloppiest yet - albeit with usual phenomenally great playing from Ben Opie - especially as the "Sheepdog":

Here's the "Sheepdog" portion of the raw Hi-Def footage shot by Morgan Cahn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oYIc09Zxk4

All in all, I think we all had a great time replete with massive quantities of SABOTEURs.

Since we had no preplanned ending & since I wanted to avoid having an ending too much like any we'd had before, I wandered off during an unexpected System, it might've been "IFF", following my secret cues until I made it to an upstairs lighting control booth (that didn't work) - from which I didn't return. Since it was deliberately unclear whether it was over or not, Ben Opie & Jonathan Brodsky made quasi(un)succesful attempts to take over my role as SysMan software operator & the event careened even further into chaos until all the Systems Managers eventually gradually trickled out.

An excerpt from the edited version of HiTEC's FINAL GIG that includes "Infinite Monkey Theorem", 'SOMNAMBULIST", "Saboteur","Bypass", "Birds", & "Affinity Groups" (+ 1 typo - can you find it?) is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2jILMegKug

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

377. Sonluminous premier

- Project 53, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, August 11, 2010

- I acquired a sound sculpture that I adapted by building a frame around it & by inserting fiber optics lighting into it. The frame is designed to allow a camcorder to point down at the sculpture & lights. For this premier performance, I had the sounding surface miced so that I could feed its output to a Pitch-to-MIDI converter that in turned played samples - which I could then further sample & loop from. When the presentation began, I had a black cloth draped over the sculpture & frame so that it could only be seen from the overhead camera's perspective that was being projected onto an adjacent screen. I wore large rubber 'monster' hand gloves & manipulated the sculpture, the lights, & the samples in various ways.

After a few minutes of this, I pulled off the cloth so that the (v)audience could see the sculpture both from the front & from the overhead perspective. I continued with the variations for a total of less than 10 minutes & then turned off the optical fibers & the sound.

This premier was part of a cabaret type night organized by Kenny Haney that featured some excellent musicianship playing Kurt Weill songs, some puppetry, a group of Kenny's that featured Jaw Harp, etc.. The space, a welcome attempt to organize an instrument loaning resource for kids, reeked of cat piss to a level that came close to breaking a world's record. It didn't help that it was suffocatingly hot inside.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

379. Collecting

- Rich Pell's "Systems & Processes" concept class, CMU, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, September 15, 2010

- Shit! this was only a little over a month ago & I already barely remember it! I DO remember that I handed out a print-out of my interview with Olivia Ciummo about book collecting. It wasn't until I actually printed this out that I saw how riddled with mistakes Olivia's rendering of it is (not that that's really such a big deal). You might be able to read that here:

http://collectingseminar.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/artist-as-collectors-of-info-let%e2%80%99s-get-personal-olivia-ciummo/#comments

One of the interesting things about guest-lecturing in this class was just seeing the different take that Rich had on the subject in contrast to Jon Rubin (see the relevant 2009 "Systems & Processes" entries). Rich was emphasizing, amongst many other things, "collecting" - hence my theme of the evening.

ANYWAY, I presented my 35mm slide show entitled: "A Collector's Item: 25 Years of Rubber-Stamp Collecting" (aka "This Death Threat will be a Collector's Item") & encouraged the students to use the sample rubber-stamps that I'd brought. I also gave the students the option of witnessing the entirety of my film on my book & record collection from 1988 entitled "You Haven't Heard the Record, You Haven't Read the Book, NOW! Don't See the Movie!" + an excerpt from one of my in-progress DVDs of selections from my archives of movies by friends of mine OR just the latter. The majority chose the archival program so my sympathy went out to the minority who wanted the film too. The archival DVD chosen is the volume that covers from the L.A. Newsreel (an unfinished political work from 1969) to Mark Nugent (an optically printed film of spectacular skill that touchs on psychiatric research with LSD & other related drugs) - with quite a variety in between.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

383. A Neoist Research Project: Daffy Diplomacy

- Andy Warhol Museum, Projection Booth, Pittsburgh, us@ / A Neoist Research Project: experiments & outcomes, WORM, Rotterdam, Netherlands

- December 3, 2010

- FINALLY, A REAL breakthru in international communications: my international long-distance proposal to the Netherlands WORM "experiments & outcomes" event on December 3, 2010: "A Neoist Research Project: Daffy Diplomacy":

[definite article missing in Ojibway, not usually translated in Chinese, not expressed unless emphasis is required when "itu" 'that' is used in Malay] perchobaan tchi chwàngdzàu an gwójì inwewin ada an pada-berlaku dwoshù temenong gigi khayalan nibwakawin. - December 6, 2010 notes from Monty Cantsin

Tags: international communication, khayalan, neoism, misunderstanding, WORM

LISTED

& the UNLISTED version of the above:

I was invited to participate in a neoist "experiments & outcomes" event at WORM in the Netherlands by providing A Neoist Research Project & by doing something via international phone call on the nite of the event: Friday, December 3, 2010. I provided about 7 hrs of vaudeos to be presented & filled out a Neoist Research Project form that was sent me proposing "Daffy Diplomacy" - a project emphasizing MISCOMMUNICATION as an international language. On the nite of the event, I rc'vd a phone call from WORM to the projection booth where I was working. I put the phone on speaker mode so that I cd move around the rm a little & so that ambient sound cd be heard. I had 2 sound f/x CDs playing that I cd control the volumes of. One was being shuffled & the other played the tracks straight thru. This produced an unpredictable mix. Since I was following a presentation by someone in the dark claiming to be the editor of the Neoist Research Project bk, I, too, had my voice presented in the dark & I began w/ MY claim to be the editor of the bk. What followed mainly consisted of me reading from my proposal & slightly manipulating the f/x. At the end of my reading, one CD was playing a race car sound while the other played the sound of a helicopter taking off. I faded out the car & pushed the 'copter to max volume & then hung up the phone. I later learned that a performance that involved playing a pyrophone (a fire pipe organ to be precise) w/ hash in its pipes had been not too long before my part & that everyone was very stoned.

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

384. Electro-Acoustic Music Class

- Electro-Acoustic Music Studio, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 4:00PM-5:30PM

- Ben Harris, a violinist & composer who I'd met thru working with him in HiTEC (see numerous entries from 2009-2010), was teaching this class & invited me to be a guest lecturer. A highly edited snippet of some of Ben's music can be checked out as part of the final HiTE Club (#4) event documentary on YouTube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqBXLTzZhAs

Ben & I had discussed a little of my own history with creating my own electro-acoustic devices in the 1980s & 1990s & that stimulated me, in particular, to drag out the Speaker Switcher Suitcase that I made in 1992. This was a device I'd made as a somewhat portable system for enabling a primitive (pseudo-)16-channel surround. The basic idea was to have 16 mono (or 8 stereo) inputs w/ each input having its own small amp/volume & on/off switch & to have 16 speaker-outs w/ their own on/off switches & a potentiometer for 'panning' which functions as a volume control.

A few seconds of my working on this can be witnessed in Cheryl Fair's documentary about Baltimore's Garment District entitled "Sweatshop" here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62E9YEXBxNc

After I'd done the most meticulous electronics work I'd ever tried, soldering an enormous amount of extremely tiny connections using very thin wire, I discovered that only 15 of the input channels worked & that only 7 of the outputs worked - along with other inadequacies. Enormously frustrated by this, I put the device aside & only used it once in a presentation at the Lascaux Gallery in Pittsburgh in 1997 & then retired it.

Ben's interest prompted me to drag it out from its storage niche, along with speakers, & to pull together the relevant 3 CD players, 3 tape players, Gnome synthesizer, & mini-disc player along with sound f/x CDs, tapes of my Triple-S Variety Show electro-acoustic sequences, & my LatinAmeriMIX!can 'Magic Square' mini-disc (especially designed for live shuffle-mode purposes) & to play around with maximizing its limited spatial abilities.

For the lecture, the small (v)audience of students were given articles I'd written about my "Portable booed usic Busking Unit" & my "Terrence Dougherty" in advance, & I started off w/ an explanation w/ images of the Busking Unit followed by PXL footage of it in use in an outdoors public space in London followed by footage of it in 'performance' for the seals in the North Sea at Tentsmuir in Scotland, followed by footage of it in use at the Murraygate Mall in Dundee in Scotland.

Since Ben's class was also centered on the generation of visuals thru similar means as the soudn related to the visuals (& vice-versa), I screened my recently revised version of my1987 "Brain Waves Goodbye":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g9Q-0Q_MoY

Then I probably demonstrated the Speaker Switcher Suitcase, which had taken at least an hour to set up. This was probably the highlight for me insofar as it was only the 2nd 'performance' using the thing & I had a pretty good time exploring the funkiness of its unreliable volumes, etc.. I started by moving a looped sound effect from the (v)audience left to the mid-left to the left-center to the center-front to the center-back to the right-center to the right & then explored multiple other switching variations while playing one sound f/x disc straight thru while selecting other f/x to be looped on the other 2 players while playing Triple-S trombone loops on tape & bringing up more complex sequences & interpolating a Gnome section (alas, the ribbon controller no longer works, amongst other things, so the flexibility was limited).

At some point I demonstrated the playing of samples made using the Gnome from back in the day when it was fully operational. These samples can be effected, multi-tracked, & looped live in various ways unavailable using the original small synthesizer.

From there, I screened a few minutes of "Last Man on Earth" that featured the Terrence Dougherty. an edit of a presentation of that at Naropa University can be witnessed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2puiVTPGYU

The students seemed to most enjoy a presentation of the Total Mobile Home Microcinema Suitcase that I made in 1995. I put the suitcase on the laps of the students & had it rigged so that when the lid opened a 12 minute loop of Triple-S Variety Show sequence excerpts would play from a hiddent tape player in the suitcase that would in turn be broadcast by radio mic to a receiver that sent the signal into a Pitch-to-MIDI Converter that would then trigger K1m wave table synthesis electronics that I'd developed from 1994 to 1997 & that I'd used in some of the sequences excerpted for the tape loop. As such, the students could remotely control, in a very limited way, the playing of these sounds by opening & closing the suitcase lid.

For a finalé of sorts I jumped 15 years ahead to present "Mark Dixon's Selectric Piano", a piece I made in 2010:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3x6AJ6ssJsk

 

A movie about my homemade electronics entitled "Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics)" has since been made by me using footage from this class as my framing device. It's broken into 5 parts on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel:

"Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics) - pt 1: Function Generator": http://youtu.be/JM4yOAO27hQ

"Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics) - pt 2: booed usic busking unit": http://youtu.be/YG2sZzSPNgQ

"Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics) - pt 3: The Terrence Dougherty": http://youtu.be/7eH94cgjo4k

"Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics) - pt 4: Speaker Switcher Suitcase": http://youtu.be/sXdMjUdEMsk

"Kit 'n' Caboodle (My Homemade Electronics) - pt 5: Total Mobile Home Microcinema Suitcase": http://youtu.be/3-6MvvN6zSI

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

385. May Day Parade

- the streets of Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, us@

- May 1, 2011 - afternoon

- Well.. Such an event barely constitutes a 'performance' but I include it anyway because I love participating in parades & want to mention it somewhere. On May 1, 2001, a sizeable group of mostly young anarchists organized an unpermitted parade thru downtown Pittsburgh that was heavily suppressed by the police who, as is so often the case, were the real 'rioters' of the situation. Then, on May Day of 2010, another parade was organized in Polish Hill by a variety of mostly young people (not necessarily anarchists) in a neighborhood where many of us live & there were no police present & the parade was joyful & peaceful. Same went for this year. There was a well-rehearsed marching band, belly dancers, a bicycle-powered 'float', someone in a coffee-pot costume who actually dispensed coffee, & many other costumed celebrants & the like. I was wearing my turkey-feather outfit & was giving away balloons provided by my neighbor Mark.

- August, 2011 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

387. Stray Birds

- Marsh Room, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 11:00AM-11:30AM

- Michael Pestel organized a mnth long series of workshops & performances entitled "KIDBOP!" & "BEBOP!" in cooperation w/ the National Aviary, the Mattress Factory, & the Children's Museum. The basic idea was to bring Butoh dancer Taketeru Kudo from Tokyo, vocalist Caterina De Re from Australia by way of Seattle, movement artist Adelka Polak from Connecticut, dancer McLean Denny from Connecticut en route to Japan, musician Ben Opie from Pittsburgh, & (m)usician tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (myself) from Pittsburgh all together in one place to produce bird-related events.

KIDBOP was a series of workshops for kids under 15 that started in the last 3rd of June at the Mattress Factory & the Aviary & that culminated in a performance at the Rose Garden at the Aviary on the morning of Saturday, July 2, 2011. BEBOP was a series of workshops for people 15 & older at the Aviary that culminated in 2 performances at the Mattress Factory: one on Saturday, July 9, 2011, 2PM; & one on Friday, July 15, 2011, 8:15PM.

This particular performance was the 1st of 5 performances of the project & just involved Michael, Ben, Kudo, & myself (as well as the birds of course!). Michael (flutes, recorders, bird-calls, etc) & Ben (reeds) played a slow duet while Kudo entered clad in a loin-cloth & w/ streaks of make-up on his skin. Kudo's movements were delicate & complex - he's apparently beeen described as bird-like - hence his presence in this project.

I was sitting w/ a table in front of me w/ electronics on it (DX-27S keyboard, ASR-X Pro sampler, K1m wave-table synthesizer, mixer/sampler, etc) & a table to my right w/ percussion on it (5 differently sized frog rasps, an octoblock, ratchet, corrugated tube, crow-call, siren whistle, etc) wearing my dyed turkey-feather outfit that I'd originally made for the "Harps & Angles" performances that Michael & I did together in 2003 & 2004 - & wch I've used in other contexts since. I started playing around 10 minutes into Kudo's arrival. I had intended to use the samples that I'd used for Michael Pestel's The Birds of Rio Negro ( Saturday, April 23, 2005) for the 1st half of a projected hour-long performance & the samples I'd used for the Braxton Plays Pittsburgh Plays Braxton (Marsh Room, National Aviary, Pittsburgh, us@ - Sunday, June 1, 2008) for the 2nd half but the performance only lasted a half hour so I never made it to the 2nd set.These samples consist of 2 octaves of excerpts from the music of Hector Villa-Lobos & 3 octaves of Brasilian bird sounds.

At Michael's request, Kudo was the visual center of attention, so my playing & probably everyone else's was calculated somewhat to reinforce his actions. He entered slowly, jumped up onto a railing, lay on the floor & acted as if struggling to arise, climbed a dead tree, walked along a ledge, & tip-toed across my percussion table with great precision.

A short vaudeo of this by Rene Rosensteel can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQIioUO1Bb4

- July/August, 2011 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

388. BEBOP (Big Experimental Bird Orchestra of Pittsburgh)

- Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 2:00PM-3:00PM

- Michael Pestel & Taketeru Kudo had given a sunrise performance in the Mattress factory garden & beyond to start the day off. Then there was this afternoon event. The MF garden has the modified ruins of the basement of a house. It's surrounded by 3 walls with the MF main building on the 4th side. Thru the middle of it is a trough with running water that leads to a sculpted opening in a wall that one can peer thru. On both sides of the trough are recessed areas of varying depths. On the side furthest away from the main building, there's a wooden chair inside a circle of plants that almost completely obscure the chair. A few feet away from that is a descending stairwell at the bottom of which is a slightly wet area with some debris. Above this, it's mostly open except for one fragment of ceiling that can be walked across. If one were to descend the steps & to continue on, one would have to make a U-turn to the left & thru a doorway into a sunken ampitheater.

I was wearing sky camouflage with the front covered with square metal pins with cloud pictures on them. I set up an extensive percussion array at the bottom of the steps that included my skin-head bass drum with a dragon drawn on one of the heads, my Total Mobile Home Suitcase with a loop of Triple-S Variety Show electronics of mine, a vibra-slap, a ratchet, a Flex-a-Tone, train whistle, siren whistle, chain, an orange squeeze toy in the shape of a carrot with a face, a squueze toy in the shape of a human foot, a plastic toy in the shape of a highly stylized bee that makes a buzzing sound when struck, & many other things.

Given that I was below ground level I didn't see much of what happened in this 1st section. Movement artist Adelka Polak was seated in the plant-surrounded chair with her legs sticking out from the foliage. The (v)audience was seated in a tented area on an even concrete floor with their backs at a diagonal to the main MF building. To their left was Michael Pestel playing flute & recorder & various other small winds such as bird calls. Across from Michael was Ben Opie playing reeds. Furthest away from them, in the right corner, was Jim Storch with a more portable percussion set-up than included a Bodhran with an ad for Murphy's Irish Stout on it. Caterina De Re was vocalizing.

I think the event basically started with gangly tall dancer Mclean Denny started in the furthest corner of the amphitheater from the audience & slowly made his way around the perimeter & elsewhere. I was invisible to the audience but I occasionally threw an object out of my pit in their direction. The 1st thing I threw hit the arch over my head & bounced back at me. Ben Opie told me that the 1st thing I succeeded in throwing out of the pit, the anthropomorhpized carrot squeeze toy landed with astonishing accidental accuracy in the narrow water trough.

Mclean wended his way to the stairs & descended them heading into the ampitheater pit. Michael announced the 'end' of the performance, to applause, & then lead the (v)audience into the Mattress factory room adjacent to this garden where Butoh dancer Taketeru Kudo began his performance. He was dressed in a more urban manner than he had been previously. Ben Opie took position in the back audience right corner. Michael was closer to the audience to the right. Jim Storch was in the back left corner & Caterina was opposite Michael. Kudo was the center of attention. The audience were seated facing this in conventional positioning.

I began my participation in this 2nd half by ascending out of the pit, the sky rising from the underworld, rolling my bass drum across the garden area toward the new performance area & leaving it outside the open glass doors that opened from this area to the garden. Kudo began dancing while the 4 musicians in rectangular array played. I gradually brought most of my percussion from the pit to the new area - mostly staying out of the center peformance area - choosing instead to circle around the (v)audience on its backside & flanks. I'd do things like play the chime tree behind the (v)audience & play a tuning fork & spin it near an audience member's ears. I skidded small cymbals across the performance floor into the center of attention & walked a marching machine sound effect into the area too. This latter device consists of wooden dowels suspended by string within a frame so that when it's walked across a surface, such as this floor, it sounds like marching men. Michael stuck his foot thru it & played it that way - breaking the string but producing a nice effect.

I took my Total Mobile Home Suitcase & opened the lid to activate the playing of the hidden tape loop & the sound of cascading electronics emerged. It was exactly the type of sound I was hoping for. Kudo's Butoh dancing was strongly evocative of human struggle.

 

389. Stray Birds Sunset Full Moon

- Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, July 15, 2011 - 8:15PM-9:30PM

- Alas, I'm writing this description almost exactly a year after this event so I don't remember it as well as I'd like. This was the last of the month-long KIDBOP & BEBOP series that Michael Pestel had organized at the National Aviary & the Mattress Factory & that largely centered around Butoh dancer Taketeru Kudo he'd brought from Japan.

The main building of the Mattress Factory is a large formerly industrial space the main entrance to which is arrived at by passing a garden area where the ruins of a former building have been imaginatively repurposed by an artist unknown to me. The 1st gallery reached has a wall of sliding window doors on one side that look out onto the garden. The night began with dancer Mclean Denny coming out from behind a curtain in this entrance gallery. Projected onto the walls & perhaps the ceiling of the space were multiple videos made by Caterina De Re for this purpose. The videos, as I recall, were mostly nature details such as running water & plants - probably with shots of Kudo as well. Mclean exaggerated his height even further by attaching a branch to his back that extended a few feet higher. His motions were slow & considered. Michael played flutes & small instruments, Ben Opie reeds (& electronics?), Jim Storch probably percussion, & Caterina sang. They eventually led the (v)audience outside as the sun was disappearing over the horizon.

Kudo was to take over as the main dancer here - with the hope being that the full moon would be prominent. Alas, various things probably prevented this latter - such as buildings & clouds. The garden space has the cellar & steps remains from a building. Separating these remains from a more flat area is a narrow channel with water running through it. Walls on 3 sides enclose the space. Ground level is perhaps 8 feet higher above one of these walls. At this higher level, Matt was processing the running water sounds through computer effects which were then heard (although not by me) coming from speakers - possibly placed near the former building's basement steps. A tent roof was placed over the concrete floor seating area & the action took place in the garden.

The (m)usicians were placed much as we had for the July 9, 2011 event with the exception of myself. I was to the right of the audience facing the garden. I was wearing my suit covered with brightly colored turkey feathers (taken from feather dusters). I was playing a keyboard controller to activate bird samples that I'd made. I also had percussion (such as a thunder sheet), a Small Nondo (an instrument made by Neil Feather that consists of a sheet of bowed metal held in this bowed position by piano wire strung to create 2 strings across the Nondo's concavity - generally played by rolling a metal rod across the strings & hitting the strings & the bar with a drum stick) to my left, & the SonLuminous to the left of that. To my, & the audience's, right, & in the corner of the garden least visible to the audience, Jim Storch was playing. Ben was past him, more visible. Michael was closest to the audience to their left.

Kudo appeared from somewhere, probably the top of a containing wall, as he took over from Mclean as the main dancer. He & Caterina prowled the garden. By prearrangement, Kudo came to the SonLuminous (a sound sculpture consisting of metal rods with optical fibers interwoven with them) & butted his head into its rods to activate a clanging. As he did this, I switched on the optical fiber lighting, which had previosuly been off, for dramatic effect. Kudo eventually held a torch above his head with the flames fearfully close to branches & the tent roof. However, true to Kudo's highly accurate form, nothing caught fire.

- July, 2012 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

390. Premier of "Reductionism (#6)" + "Interpretive Duncing" + "Artifacts"

(preceded by "Volunteers Collective Revisited" + a piece by Roger Dannenberg)

- Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, July 25, 2011 - 8:15PM-10:00PM

- This Uncert was both the result of over a decade of work & a clear indication that even more work was probably called for. From 1997 to 1998 I had organized a series of site specific improvisational sessions that I'd called "A Year of Sundays". These sessions had been made particularly exciting by contributions from Michael Johnsen & Sharyn Lee Frederick as well as by the Anonymous Family Reunion. Michael Pestel had also been a primary mover & shaker involved. I'd made a 74 minute tape summary of the year - the 2nd side of which was an intricate computer edit. In 2000, my collaborator etta cetera & I were in Australia staying with my composer/performer friend Warren Burt. Warren helped me play this computer edit through a pitch-to-MIDI converter he had into a notation program. The result was the 1st of what I called a "Reductionism" - a monophonic rendering of a highly non-monophonic sonic event.

I eventually got my own pitch-to-MIDI converters. Over the years, inspired by this process, & using the score & the compuer edit to drive various types of synthesized sounds & samples, including ones from the original generative recordings, I produced a considerably less reductionist "Interpretive Duncing" piece. The piece evolved into something where a rather difficult monophonic score was to be used to play along with the "Interpretive Duncing" recording.

Having been fortunate enough to've worked with some accomplished musicians in my thought experiment orchestra, HiTEC, who might be interested in attempting to play this, I pulled together some of them: Ben Opie (alto sax), Roger Dannenberg (trumpet), Ben Harris (violin), Kerrith Livengood (alto flute), & Kenny Haney (bass clarinet) & we tried rehearsing the piece from the written score. Since the score is 73 pages long with about 30 seconds spent on each page there're alotof page-turns to distract from just trying to follow the notes.

After it became obvious that reading from paper was too difficult, I spent a month very laboriously creating a projected score for them to try to follow. A side-product of some of this process was the production of some 'noise' artifacts that I then incorporated into the piece. The musicians rehearsed 2 more times with the new projected version of the score & were then (just barely) ready to try it out publicly.

 

Given that this was mid-summer & that the venue was without air-conditioning, the atmosphere was almost overwhelmingly stuffy & claustrophobic. I started with my "Volunteers Collective Revisited" performance which includes some footage from the site specific (or CircumSubstantial, as I prefer) sessions that the "Reductionisms" grew (or shrank) out of. The musicians had been invited to play as part of this along with me (I was playing electronics) but everyone but Ben Harris forgot. This was followed by a performance of Roger's that should have involved projections but didn't because of technical mishaps.

By the time we got to the main event, people were already fried by the heat & humidity. I had forgotten to bring the remote for the DVD player, there were problems with the 2 video projectors, etc.. Because I'd forgotten the remote, I couldn't advance the DVD of the score to the appropriate section & completely forgot about doing so ANYWAY. After 5 or 10 minutes of playing the wrong version I realized what was awry & stopped the performance. THEN, we had to repatch things & go through a plethora of inconveniences - maddening both for the performers & for the players. Finally, we got it working well enough. The musicians persevered with almost superhuman strength. Roger had even rewritten the score to transpose it for trumpet & he & Kenny read off of that with a screen metronome to help them keep apace. At one point, one of the musicians stepped on one of the devices on the overcrowded stage & cut the prerecorded "Interpretive Duncing" + "Artifacts" sound off. It took awhile to figure out what was wrong & correct that mid-performance.

All in all, this was quite difficult to pull off & 'needs' to be redone under better climate control & projection conditions. A movie combining footage from the rehearsals & of the public presentation can be found here.

- July, 2012 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

391. The Great Ecstasy of OT-Level 3

- Darker Scratcher Amateur Surgery Show, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, November 30, 2011

- I was recruited for this by Rich Pell. He was planning to present a faux speed learning for advancing to the highest level of Scientology by asking an applicant (me) questions while I was to be E-Metered. This was to be bookended between 2 short Scientology videos. Rich was wearing a white lab coat. After Rich's intro he asked if there were any Scientologists in the audience who were "level 3 or higher" & I 'volunteered'. Rich & I had briefly discussed what was to happen beforehand but I was mostly on my own. My answers to the questions were sometimes cryptic - as if I had an insider's knowledge of code language. Eventually I feigned achieving a higher (or more ridiculous) state of consciousness that involved greater intensity of facial expression & a bit of foaming at the mouth. I tried to not ham it up too much but to, at the same time, be convincingly 'out-of-my-mind'. I felt some satisfaction when a member of the audience who'd been raised in a Southern USA holy roller church asked me if I'd been raised in the same environment because she thought that my actions were just like the "speaking in tongues" that she'd witnessed in church.

- December, 2011 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

393. May Day Parade speech

- the intersection of Finland & Melwood, Spit'n'Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 5, 2012 - early afternoon

- Starting in 2010, an annual May Day Parade has happened for the last 3 years. The parade is more festive than political - with an emphasis on costumes, a marching band, & a few group efforts that link together people into 'float-like' constructions. This year, I was asked to give a very short speech about the history of May Day to try to put things into political perspective. I was wearing my S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) outfit that consists of a large Shamu (an orca whale captive at Sea World that died in 1971) stuffed doll that I'd gutted & altered so that I can wear it as if it's eating me & shitting me out head-first. Using a megaphone I proclaimed:

In the anarchist magazine, "Street Rat-Bag" issue 5 from November 2001, I wrote a RATicle entitled "Recommended Reading" where I reviewed Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Regarding May Day, I wrote:

"And let's not forget the 8 hour day: something so taken for granted by now that many people forget that it didn't exactly come easy now did it? "A movement for the eight-hour day began among working people after the [Civil] war, helped by the formation of the first national federation of unions, the National Labor Union. A three-month strike of 100,000 workers in New York won the eight-hour day" & "By the spring of 1886, the movement for an eight-hour day had grown. On May 1, the American Federation of Labor, now five years old, called for nationwide strikes wherever the eight-hour day was refused." The bosses didn't exactly cooperate but the workers won eventually anyway, eh? There, now, that wasn't so bad was it? You bosses can still rob us blind!"

Earlier that year, I participated in a cheerful May Day parade through Pittsburgh's Financial District. It was suppressed by the police. Ten people were arrested, including Spit'n'Polish Hill's very own JOY, & charged with the usual trumped-up bullshit. As I recall, there may've even been snipers placed on nearby rooftops. Ridiculous? Indeed.

Nine years later, the 1st of these Spit'n'Polish Hill May Day Parades took place without any violence or apparent substantial irritation on anyone's part. There were no police present. Same thing the next year. A good time appeared to be had by all. This year, there was another May Day march through downtown Pittsburgh. Police presence was minimal, no one was arrested. &, now, we're in the midst of another perfectly pleasant celebration of worker's gains & the pleasures of spring!

Recently I told someone that the 1970s Church Committee investigation of such abuses as COINTELPRO had uncovered that the FBI had targeted May Day events for special suppression. I thought I'd probably read that in Zinn's book. When I went to look up the relevant passage for quoting today, I couldn't find it there so I looked in quite a few other books AND online & couldn't find what I was searching for ANYWHERE.

The question is: ARE WE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE OR SOMETHING?! Because a society where a peaceful May Day Parade goes unmolested is NOT the society I grew up in! Maybe RESISTANCE IS FERTILE AFTER ALL! Keep it up!!

Or, rather, that's mostly what I proclaimed. Unfortunately, since 9 people had been arrested & 22 others given citations the night before at a related event, the unmolested part wasn't quite as true as it had been when I wrote the speech. As such, I had to make some last-minute changes.

Shortly thereafter, I also wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper who had, predictably, printed the almost entirely, if not completely entirely, untrue police version of the story. Equally predictably, my letter went unpublished. Here it is:

Read Between the Lines

On May 6, 2012, an article entitled "Party leads to charges against 31" appeared in the Post-Gazette regarding arrests made on the night on May 4th. Below are some thoughts responding to that article regarding this situation.

"Police trying to disperse what they described as a disorderly party"

What is an "orderly party"? A party where people aren't having fun? A party where people stand still and don't talk?

"near the Bloomfield Bridge charged 31 people beginning late Friday night with crimes ranging from summary disorderly conduct to rioting and aggravated assault."

Read between the lines. A party becomes a "riot" when 20 police cars suddenly appear and very aggressive policemen with dogs, guns, tasers, mace, clubs, and threat of kidnapping ('arrest') is introduced. The police deliberately cause fear, panic, and chaos and then blame it on their victims.

"Nine people were arrested and 22 others were released and will receive their summons by mail. Police said one of those arrested, Jason Oddo, 26, of Irwin, pepper sprayed an officer and was charged with aggravated assault."

"Police said", yes, unfortunately, police ALWAYS make such claims in order to justify it when they use excessive force. And the people who know this best are the prosecutors and the police themselves. Talk to retired prosecutors who couldn't stand the constant lying. Any honest policemen will be at least willing to admit this to him or her self - even if they'll never have the courage to admit it publicly.

Let's take a more realistic, HUMAN, perspective. The officer is chasing the accused while macing him from behind. The officer trips and maces himself. This is very embarrassing and he feels like a fool. SO HE BLAMES IT ON THE ACCUSED. A courageous officer would admit his own mistake instead of then threatening his VICTIM with jail time for a felony charge. Believe it or not, officers, people would respect you more IF YOU STOPPED lying.

"According to criminal complaints filed Saturday, officers from across the city began responding about 11:30 p.m. to complaints about a crowd numbering between 60 and 100 people at Sciullo Field."

Ok, here's the back-story: someone defaced the Officer Sciullo memorial plaque in Sciullo Field a day or more before this party happened. The partiers didn't know this. If they had, they probably wouldn't have partied at that park. The police, understandably very touchy over the vandalism to the tribute to their murdered comrade, go to the park thinking these might be the same people and approach them in full-on attack mode. They want REVENGE - but their assumption that the partiers have something to do with the vandalism is unsupportable. The police, therefore, create an unnecessarily bad situation that wouldn't have happened without them.

"Arriving officers said attendees refused orders to disperse, yelled profanities at officers and became aggressive."

Try thinking of it this way: you're having a good time with friends on a beautiful night when you're suddenly attacked by a gang of some very angry and heavily armed people. You get scared but you try to keep your calm. Perhaps profanities are yelled. But the main aggression and the main profanities come from the attackers who happen to be LEGALLY ENABLED TO KILL YOU. Would you be upset?!

"Police said Mr. Oddo interfered with officers and when told he was under arrest ran away."

Let's get real: the officers arrived and instigated chaos. No overall order of dispersal occurred. At least one of the arrestees was told to disperse by an individual officer on an individual basis. As he started to leave, a different officer told him to sit down. He told the 2nd officer that he'd been told to leave and that that was what he was doing. The 2nd officer then insisted that he sit down. He complied. He was then arrested by another officer for "failure to disperse".

"Police said that as they pursued Mr. Oddo along Canoe Way, he raised up his hand and sprayed one officer in the throat. The officer, who scraped his knee, was treated at the scene."

A scraped knee is not a serious injury & in this case it was the result of the officer's clumsiness. Using it as an excuse to press felony charges is inexcusable.

"She was charged with riot, institutional vandalism, escape, failure to disperse, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness."

If the city doesn't like "public drunkenness" I strongly suggest shutting down the stadiums and bars. But then think of all the lost tax and pay-off monies!! Ever hear of "tailgate parties"? The police harass and prosecute people on a selective basis. Poor people who party are "rioters", rich people, people who can afford to go to Steelers games, can do no wrong. It must be 'nice' for the rich but it sure ain't fair for the poor.

"address available"

The giving out of addresses is a way of shunning people. None of these people have been tried yet, let alone found guilty. THEY ARE NOT CRIMINALS! Every time someone writes an article like this they should put their own addresses there so that they, too, can be made available for any shunning consequences.

"As arraignments were under way Saturday evening, about 20 people lined the wall outside City Court to help defendants post bail and show support upon their release. The crew had posted $2,600 in bail for five of those arraigned and were scrambling to figure out how to raise $10,000 to bail out Mr. Oddo."

Given that most of these people are working class, the raising of this money was a very generous and caring act. Some gave their entire paychecks, some gave almost everything they had, some had to borrow the money. The people donating the money will have to suffer for this. All because of the insanity of this judicial system.

*****************************************************************************

People go to superhero movies to see the spectacle of 'little people' with extraordinary abilities win against seemingly undefeatable forces of oppression. In real life, these forces are often the very things that keep the seemingly 'respectable' criminals in power - providing injustice for those of us who see through the lies. We need more superheros.

- The movie from this is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/loBDoK5Gyi0

- July, 2012 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

394. "Skeletal Remains"

- as part of "SIX x ATE" at the 2013 Carnegie International's satellite space, Pittsburgh, us@

- Monday, June 18, 2012 - early evening

- 2 side-by-side buildings in a Pittsburgh neighborhood known as Lawrenceville were rented or purchased somehow in connection with the upcoming Carnegie International & substantially refurbished as a place to have events. Casey Droege, someone that I'd met thru Lenka Clayton, was the organizer of a series there called "SIX x ATE" - short performances by 6 people on the same bill with a gourmet meal. Casey had come to 2 of the PHEW! (Polish Hill Elucubrating Writers) meetings that I host at my house. At one of them, I performed "Skeletal Remains" for her & the only other attendee. She'd liked it alot so she invited me to perform it for her series. Given that "Skeletal Remains" is a very short piece without any performative elements other than its mere playing, it's not really something that I would've ordinarily chosen to present solo. Instead, it's intended to be something presented as part of a larger reading type event where I skip from using different types of A/V to another. Nonetheless, I was happy to deviate from my usually more ambitious MO to oblige Casey's request & to get a nice meal out of it. Making matters even better, my friend Florian Cramer was visiting from Rotterdam so I could take him along.

The genesis of "Skeletal Remains" was that I listened to all the recordings in my personal collection of pieces that use excerpts from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" as its text. This includes James Joyce & Siobhan McKenna reading from the "Anna Livia Plurabelle" section, Cyril Cusack reading the "Shem the Penman" section, Andre Hodeir's Jazz Cantata on "Anna Livia Plurabelle", John Cage's "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs" as performed by Robert Wyatt & Richard Bernas (the latter not audible here) & as performed by Joan La Barbara & William Winant, Cage's "Nowth Upon Nacht" also performed by the latter duo, Cage's "Writing for the Second Time Through Finnegans Wake" as performed by Cage himself, Cage's "Roaratorio: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake" performed by Cage & Heaney & Ennis & Glackin & Malloy & Mercier, & "Laughtears" - a conversation re "Finnegans Wake", & Cage's use thereof, between Cage & Klaus Schöning. I then sampled from all these recordings trying to both choose sections that interested me & to choose a wide variety of material. These samples are then played in a way generally designed to create a new continuity. The title refers to "A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake" by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson - but instead of offering a key to understanding this dense work, as does the Skeleton Key, "Skeletal Remains" takes fragments of its bones & sculpts a new critter from them.

For this SIX x ATE presentation, I was the 5th of the 6 performers. We'd each been given 5 minutes apiece & I stuck to that rigorously. All of the performers had been thanking Casey as part of their presentation so I decided to do the same but to incorporate this thanking into the performance itself. Once I decided to do this, I pulled Casey aside & announced this intention. Assuring her that I wouldn't say anything to embarass her or make her look bad, she nervously agreed.

For my introduction I said something like this: "I don't know Casey very well but when we first met she generously gave me a copy of her "Tracks of My Tears" record. I asked her whether she'd like to collaborate on something relevant to this record & because she's open-minded she agreed. I put her against a wall & put on Throbbing Gristle's "Very Friendly" & explained that I'd be demonstrating my knife throwing abilities & then the lights went out. This piece is made entirely of samples recorded from the conversation we had in the next 5 minutes." I then began playing "Skeletal Remains" with the C7 sample from John Cage's "Nowth Upon Nacht" as performed by Joan LaBarbara.

This intro & "Skeletal Remains" beginning was multi-layered in content. Casey's record is of her telling stories about all the songs that've made her cry. All of the stories are somewhat non-traumatic on a scale of safe-to-terrifying. Contrarily, the song "Very Friendly" is about Ian Brady & Myra Hindley, 2 sociopathic sadistic serial killers. Their story is very traumatic. As such, by referencing it, I was upping the trauma level of songs that might make one cry & also referencing a different type of skeletal remains than those that my performance was otherwise referring to - viz: the skeletal remains of their victims. Of all the samples I was using, the "Nowth Upon Nacht" one is the most dramatic. Hence my choice of it as the 1st one played.

The actual playing of "Skeletal Remains" revolves around creating new continuities among the mostly text based samples. As such, I tend to do things like link together theme related 'sentences' such as by grouping references to Joyce's character Anna Livia Plurabelle. Restricting myself to a mere 2 minute realization, I then explained that, yes, I'd lied in my intro & then explained the actual nature of "Skeletal Remains" in some quick detail.

A short movie of both the PHEW! realization & the SIX x ATE one can be found online (@ http://youtu.be/6EicbqmLvbk ).

 

Here's more specific info about the works quoted from:

 

"Skeletal Remains" (aka "Our Song" aka "New Irish Stew") sources

 

1929 excerpt from "Anna Livia Plurabelle" (read by James Joyce) - 8:40

_- use 2 excerpts: :03, :08 = :11

 

1942 "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs" - 2:19 - John Cage

_- Robert Wyatt: voice, Richard Bernas: closed piano - obscure no. 5

_- use 1 excerpt: :03 = :14

 

1942 "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs" - 2:38 - John Cage

_- Joan La Barbara: voice, William Winant: closed piano

_- New Albion NA 035 CD

_- use 1 excerpt: :10 = :24

 

1959 "Shem the Penman" (read by Cyril Cusack) - 28:16

_- use 6 excerpts: :04, :05, :08, :07, :14, :21 = 1:23

 

_& "Anna Livia Plurabelle" (read by Siobhan McKenna) - 30:56

_- use 7 excerpts: :08, :02, :03, :04, :08, :08, :06 = 2:02

_- directed by Howard Sackler - Caedmon TC 1086

 

1962 excerpt from "The Coach with the Six Insides" - :33 - Jean Erdman & Teiji Ito

_- ESP Sampler 1051 Stereo - use 1 excerpt: :13 = 2:15

 

1966 "Anna Livia Plurabelle" - 52:37 51:17 - Andre Hodeir - Philips PHS 900-255

_- use 12 11 excerpts:

_:07, :04, :07, :05, :04, :05, :02, :04, :06, :03, :07 = 3:16

 

1976-1979 "Writing for the Second Time Through Finnegan's Wake" - 59:29

_- John Cage - mode 28/29 - use 14 12 excerpts:

_:07, :06, :04, :09, :05, :04, :08, :02, :02, :07, :05, :03 = 4:30

 

1979 "Roaratoria: An Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake" - 60:30 - John Cage

_ - mode 28/29 - use 15 12 excerpts:

_:06, :03, :04, :04, :05, :05, :06, :06, :06, :09, :04, :07 = 5:35

 

1979 "Laughtears" - 30:55 - John Cage & Klaus Schöning - mode 28/29

_- use 7 excerpts: :04, :05, :01, :08, :08, :07, :09 = 6:17

 

1984 "Nowth Upon Nacht" - :58 - John Cage - Joan La Barbara: voice,

_William Winant: closed piano - New Albion NA 035 CD

_- use 1 excerpt: :03 = 6:20

 

The score for it is shown below. This score simply gives my brief description of what pressing down my controller's 61 keys will yield. The ways in which it's performed should ideally change every time.

 

- July, 2012 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

395. 2nd Annual Polish Hill May Day Parade Speech

- the streets of Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, May 4, 2013, mid-day

- This was the 4th annual Polish Hill May Day Parade & the 2nd of my speeches given by request of people connected to the parade. [I originally had this listed as the 3rd of my speeches but as far as I can tell now, in September, 2015, it was really the 2nd - thusly throwing off my numbering in the movies I made of the following 2 years] This year's speech was about all the jobs I've had & about the latest dirty tricks that my current employer was starting to use to avoid paying me health care under the Affordable Health Care Act that I wouldn't've been eligible for anyway:

"They say the 1st one's free..

"But, then, before you know it, you're addicted..

"& your life is reduced to a miserable cycle of hustle & reward, you've become a Pavlovian Dog, a WORKER.

"My own sad tale begins with mowing lawns & taking out the trash & baby-sitting.

"Then I moved onto the hard-stuff. By 18 I had a pick in hand & I was trying to dig out a basement from solid rock. The next thing I knew I was selling my body for research, I was naked in front of strangers at art schools. I was doing "head modeling" for $2 an hour - as if I could take my head off & do something else with my body.

"From there it was just a never-ending hell-ride from one low-paying job to another - desperately seeking the ways & means to keep myself alive.. housed.. clothed.. fed.. drunk.. but I kept my head high, I remained defiant, I made my personality stronger, I started demanding MORE REWARDS for the sale of my soul, I upped my wage-slave market value..

"I worked as a driver for the Dundalk Marine Terminal, as a dishwasher for the Naval Academy, as a canvasser for Maryland Action & Clean Water Action & the Sierra Club, as a hard-wood floor finisher, as an English & Math teacher for the functionally illiterate, as a library worker, as a Film Repairer, as a Guest Lecturer at universities, as a book buyer & cashier, as a Peep Show Mechanic, as a raspberry picker, as a Wiring Installer for a medical lab, as a book store owner, as an exhibit builder, as a printer, a typesetter, a video installation installer, as a Museum Exhibit Technician, as an Archivist, as a Hot Air Balloon ground crew member. I've worked & struggled & barely survived.

"I've worked for the Maryland Science Center, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Heinz History Center, the Smithsonian, the Frick Fine Arts Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Natural History Museum.

"&, NOW, I'm at the top of my game! I've finally reached the point where, in exchange for the use of my skills, all these mega-wealthy institutions can try to screw me out of health insurance under the new Affordable Health Care Act! I've got so many skills I could work all those $250,000 a year Museum Directors under the table! So, of course, now they want to cut my hours back (not to mention my pay) to less than 25 hours a week MAXIMUM so that I can feel those thrills of being a starving human skeleton like I was in my early twenties!

"THANK YOU, MUSEUM WORLD, FOR SETTING THE STANDARDS OF HUMAN CARING THAT WE ALL KNOW YOU REPRESENT! Lardy, it's great to be a worker!"

- The movie from this is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: http://youtu.be/7GHfd1JVuMQ

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

396. "Banned Names"

- as part of "Tommy Amoeba's Rock N' Roll Birthday Gala Extravaganza and SubGenius Devival" at Howler's Bar, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, June 22, 2013

- Tommy Amoeba & Phat Man Dee being 2 of my favorite entertainers around Pittsburgh, I was delighted when Man Dee invited me to participate in this Church of the SubGenius Devival. I was completely hooked when Man Dee told me that my old friend Reverend Ivan Stang would be a participant too! My history with the Church being torrid, to say the least, I hadn't participated in any SubG events since my ill-received subversion of the Boston Bobalon in 1987. SO, I hadn't seen Stang for 26 yrs!! At one time, he was one of my 5 main correspondents. Our correspondence has continued to this day but the thrill of it has long since been somewhat mitigated by things like the flatness of email (vs the excitement of packages received via snail mail).

ANYWAY, this was a very full evening, certainly one of the more interesting ones I've participated in in Pittsburgh, & it's outside the purview of these Mere Outline accounts to describe anyone's act in detail except my own but I WILL eventually put a movie of the event online & I must at least pay homage to my fellow weirdos by listting them:

The evening began with geek performer / songwriter Andrew the Impaled. Aside from sticking nails up his nose & having audience members put him in a straight-jacket that he escaped from, he played keyboard & sang some excellent original songs.

Eric Singer poured some goop down a board with nails sticking out of it. Contact between the goop & the nails triggered speech samples creating an hilarious SubGenius related blasphemous quasi-cacophony - mad scientism at its best!

Phat Man Dee & the Cultural District followed next with Man Dee's jazzy vocals supported by a jazz keyboardist & acoustic contrabassist. Man Dee always puts her full heart & soul into it.

I was next with a simple sampler piece called "Banned Names". An in-depth description follows below.

The Reverend Ivan Stang gave an extended sermon/rant from behind a pulpit he brought. It was a great pleasure to hear his silver tongue at work. A humorless French heckler tried to get him to shut up.

Tommy's full-on performative tight rock band finished the night off. Tommy has a schtick like no other & seeing him go through his various costume changes is enough to keep me entertained & the band played good ole rock'n'roll with finesse. A great finale for a great night!

Sheesh! Someone even bought a copy of the "MM 26" CD that friends of mine & I recently published!

Compared to the rest of the evening, my piece was the LEAST performative but it WAS, at least, something that I was premiering there that WAS appropriate for a Subgenius Devival.

Backstory: I'd received an email with a link ( http://gawker.com/5982582/the-fifty+three-dirty-band-names-you-can-never-say-on-the-radio#13603499229444&{%22type%22:%22iframeUpdated%22,%22height%22:1285} )to an article entitled "The Fifty-Three Dirty Band Names You Can Never Say on the Radio"about a Catholic University banning certain band names & name of performers from being spoken over their radio station. The station, oddly, is heavy metal one AND is called a "pirate radio station" (at least according to the article). The "Dirty Band Names" is misleading. The names are chosen as either being irreligious, sexual, otherwise 'scary' (Cannibal Corpse?) or offensive (Art Phag?), or, in a few cases, apparently, just the names of popular musicians that the administration somehow finds offensive or threatening (Justin Bieber?!). The list is also 59 names.

I picked the following 53 names from the list:

Aborted Fetus

Abuses of the Clergy

Adolf Satan

Alabama Thunderpussy

Alien Sex Fiend

Anal Cunt

Angel Corpse

Angel Sin

Art Phag

Baby Jesus Hitler

Ballsac

Barbed Wire Condom

Bongzilla

Cannibal Corpse

Cradle of Filth

Crucifucks

Cock Spear

Cuntsaw

Cybernetic God Crusher

Dark Angel

Decrepit Birth

Death Angel

Deicide

Deep Fried Abortion

Dying Fetus

Eyehategod

Fullblown AIDS

Goatwhore

God Dethroned

Heaven Shall Burn

Hell-O

Impaled Nazarene

The Jackofficers

Jesus Chrysler

Jesus Eater

Jucifer

Killah Priest

Morbid Angel

Mighty Sphincter

Nails of Christ

Nun Slaughter

Pre School Tea Party Massacre

Pucifer

Pussy Overload

Rhino Clit

Rotting Christ

Scrotum Staplers

Sexual Orange Master

Shit Scum

Smother Theresa

This is Hell

Upside Down Cross

Wall of Smegma

& then had my friend Deb from a Pittsburgh-based heavy metal band called "Lady Beast" enunciate each of the names & additionally make up 8 air guitar vocals & sampled all 61 to make the "Banned Names" sample set. These were then played in a substantially rehearsed loosely structured quasi-narrative sequence.

The movie that I made of the entire devival is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel (highly abridged, as usual) here:

http://youtu.be/FfDCnTR03dg

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

398. ""MM 26" CD release #1"

- as part of Anthony Levin-Decanini's "Crucible Sound #4" at Modernformations Gallery, Pittsburgh, us@

- Thursday, July 8, 2013

- In November of 2011, I started a series of get-togethers at my house & elsewhere called "mm"s (pronounced "mmmmm.."). "mm" stands for "m(usic(ian's))m(eetings). I started these because I missed the luxury that most people have in their late teens & early 20s & then lose as their lives become more bogged down with adult responsibilities: namely, the funof just hanging out with friends & talking passionately about & listening to music. As of this writing (July 18, 2014), there've been 45 mms.

In addition to discussing & listening to other people's music we often play music of our own. In early 2013 I thought it would be fun to put out a CD that represents some of the talents of some of the core participants. This resulted in 7 of us putting out a CD in an edition of 500 that can be bought online & elsewhere.

Anthony Levin-Decanini is an mm participant. He also founded & curates a sereies of free improvisation concerts at the Modern Formations Gallery in Pittsburgh. The rule for participation in these concerts is that the players have never played together before. For the 4th of these, Anthony decided to host the 1st of 2 MM 26 CD release events. Anthony also has a blog promoting these concerts & in anticipation of this one he went all-out by polling me on favorite records here:

http://cruciblesound.blogspot.com/2013/07/some-favorite-records-from-tentatively.html

& then he recorded an interview with me that was so long that he edited it heavily & still had to break it into 2 parts:

http://cruciblesound.blogspot.com/2013/08/interview-with-tentatively-convenience.html

http://cruciblesound.blogspot.com/2013/08/interview-with-tentatively-convenience_21.html

Of the 7 contributors to the MM 26 CD, 6 were available (one, Unfinished Symphonies, was on tour playing keyboard for a a rock band). In keeping with Anthony's preference that the participants should be playing together for the 1st time, we had 2 sets: one consisting of a trio that'd never played together before: Rey Freme: analog synthesizer, Matt Aelmore: French horn & electric bass, & Anthony Levin-Decanini: electronics; the 2nd consisting of the same trio joined intermittently by myself (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE): sampler, wave-table synthesizer, sampler-mixer, roll-up keyboards, amplified fingertips, Speaker Switch Suitcase (& CDs prepared for playing through it), percussion, etc, Kenny Haney: alto clarinet, & Ben Opie: alto sax & electronics. We all eventually played together at the end regardless of the fact that Kenny, Ben, & I had played many times before. Additionally recruited from the audience to play a roll-up keyboard was my friend Elisa Schwenniger.

I had decided to make setting-up be a primary focus & to not let the audience know that that was what I was doing. With that in mind, I brought a huge quantity of equipment. During the 1st trio set I kept going on stage & futzing with my equipment while the other guys played a fairly slow atmospheric set. At one point, I sat on the edge of the stage & ate some of a sub sandwich.

Next on the program was a screening of the 1st of the many mm movies that I've made, a quasi-documentary of the 5th mm:

http://youtu.be/ZF85ExKktCE

This was probably followed by an intermission & then the last set. I had a plan to try to get through an intimidatingly large number of procedures in this last set. It was also my intention to use samples usually reserved for specific pieces & not meaqnt for egenral improvisation purposes - this was for the sake of breaking my my own rules. SO, I started off playing Cds that I'd made from frog & toad recordings from a Folkways record. These were directed through the use of my Speaker Switcher Suitcase (see my movie about that here: http://youtu.be/sXdMjUdEMsk ) to 7 speakers scattered around the floor. Then Kenny came on stage for 10 minutes or so & played a very soft & subtle clarinet. I velcroed on the 2 roll-up keyboards to my pantsl egs & put on rubber gloves that I'd attached contact mics to the fingertips of & plugged those into my sound system. This was to amplify the sound of my fingers touching things. I asked Kenny to leave the stage & I began exaggerating doing things with my hands like scrtaching my underarms & torso. Eventually, I started pulling percussion out of a suitcase-full that I had on the floor in front of the stage. I focused particularly on a small Chinese gong. Ben came on stage next & sat at its edge playing a small electronic device called the Board Weevil.

I went into the audience & put a roll-up keyboard on Elisa's lap & asked her to play it. She wasn't expecting this. Eventually, I took her & the keyboard to a table in front of the stage where I plugged a cord into the headphones jack that then went into a pitch-to-MIDI converter that then controlled my wave-table synthesizer. I didn't explain this to Elisa. Since plugging into the headphones jack cut the sound coming out of the roll-up's built-in speakers, Elisa became confused because it seemed that she couldn't hear her playing because she didn't realize that the wave-table sounds were being triggered by her. She probably pulled the cord out & then I cam over & plugged it back in again. My intention was to bypass clichés of performance by keeping things in a state of uncertainty.

I'd already played my "Skeletal Remains" samples at some point so now I returned & played my "The Only Jealousy of Cascando McKenna" ones. By this point, we were all playing together & Ben played in a wind trio with himself on sax, Kenny on clarinet, & Matt on French horn - along with the rest of us on electronics. I eventually went back to a more active spatial manipulation of the frog recordings through the Speaker Switcher. To make things even more complicated & confusing for Elisa I sampled her playing of the the wave-table sounds & played that sampling back looped while she continued to play the roll-up. I then switched to the "Banned Names" samples - at which point Elisa sat down again. I started throwing my percussion around - especially the Boom Whackers that're pitched tubes sound by striking. I bounced these off the stage steps so that their pitches could be heard.

At some point I started using toilet-paper rolls to try to focus feedback from my mic-ed fingers & then to amplify my voice & I gave them out to the audience to encourage to participate similarly. My final set of samples was the "Rasps" set culled from the same Folkways record that the CDs played through the Speaker Switcher were.

An abridged movie that I made of this event is ony my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here:

http://youtu.be/zc5N4qdFVW0

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

399. ""MM 26" CD release #2: Amir ul-Kuffar presents "The Only Jealousy of Cascando McKenna""

- Melwood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, July 13, 2013

- Wanting this to be a substantially different event from the preceeding "MM 26 CD release 1" of only 5 days before, I structured it around mm-related movies separated by short performances by the few contributors to the CD who were available (Unfinished Symphonies was still on tour, Anthony had gotten sick, Rey was away & wasn't sure he could get back on time, Ben had another gig).

I had been given what I took to be a Russian Army Medical Corps Major General's uniform by a friend of mine that I hadn't done anything with other than a series of photos. (I've recently been informed by a Russian I met in a bar that the uniform is fake but that the hat is real) I introduced myself as Major General Amit ul-Kuffar ("Commander of the Unfaithful" in Arabic) & explained in an extremelt unconvincing Russian accent that the mms were spy meetings made up of double & triple agents speaking in code language. Then I screened the "mm 05" movie:

http://youtu.be/ZF85ExKktCE

Matt Aelmore was up next. He passed around some CDs of music he likes - simulating what happens at mms (m(usic(ian's)) at my house. Then he played a recording that he'd made by mixing such music together while he played electric bass 'ovcertop' of it.

I screened "Ben Opie" next:

http://youtu.be/JQ_-qIxS-fE

followed by "Babelization Party" (not online yet).

Kenny Haney followed with a set of old-timey songs played on banjo - thusly demonstrating his musical skills that're quite fifferent from his clarinet playing. He introduced the songs with relevant stories about their histories.

I screened "mm 22" next which was the the mm where we discussed, amongst other things, modern dance. That was followed by "J from A to Z" which was recorded at another mm:

http://youtu.be/AGTbyNEmQps

I finished off the evening with the premier playing of my "The Only Jealousy of Cascando McKenna" which is a piece consisting of samples from 3 realizations of Yeats's play "The Only Jealousy of Emer" + 3 realizations of Beckett's radio play "Cascando" + an excerpt from a spectacular performance by Irish actress Siobhan McKenna. Here's my keyboard mapping score for it:

 

A somewhat warped movie of this event called "The 29 Mmmms" is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here:

http://youtu.be/1YQI5IBEA0A

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

400. Soap Box Opera episode 3

- midway through the annual Polish Hill May Day Parade on the streets of Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, us@

- Saturday, May 3, 2014

- This was the 5th annual Polish Hill May Day Parade & the 3rd speech I've given as a part of it. [I'd previously listed it as my 4th speeech but I realized as of Sept, 2015, that I didn't start the speeches until May Day 2012 so this is really the 3rd - as such, the movie online is misnumbered] This year I was wearing my black & white suit, black on one side & white on the other, & sandwich boards promoting "Info Desk PGH", a cultural industry workers labor organizing group that I founded. I gave the following speech:

"How many people remember my speech from last year like it was yesterday?  Try thinking of it as a Soap Box Opera that you tune into once a year.  Last year I listed my long & varied work history & complained that museums, who I've been working for for twenty years now, are cutting people's work hours to avoid paying Obamacare.  Since then, Info Desk has been founded.  I'm wearing Info Desk sandwich boards.  I'm not here as a spokesperson for Info Desk, we have no spokesperson.  Nonetheless, I'll refer to it from time to time.  

"Info Desk was founded to create a labor voice for cultural industry workers, for museum, library, & gallery workers.  Since then, an article has been written about us in the Pittsburgh City Paper (Thank You Bill O'Driscoll!) & we've drafted a "Declaration of Rights".  I have copies of this Declaration & I encourage you to sign it in support of us.  We're trying to collect 5,000 signatures to show the Cultural Industry that people support our goal of greater administrative responsiveness to the voice of the worker.  

"Now, I'm an exemplary lone wolf lunatic fringe individualist.  But I still believe in Mutual Aid!  In this spirit, I've joined Fight Back Pittsburgh, a chapter of the United Steelworkers Associate Member Program.  And I have to say: Fight Back is INSPIRING!  Through them, I've gotten to hear from many great people struggling for better conditions for workers - a tradition that Pittsburgh can be very, VERY proud of!  Through them, I've learned about the Fight for Fifteen movement, a movement for $15 an hour to be the minimum wage for fast food workers & others.  AND I SUPPORT IT!  I've worked for less than minimum wage - & I don't recommend it!  

"Here's the part where I tie in the May Day celebration of Spring with the May Day celebration of Labor: This winter has been BAD for me: financially desperate, desperately lonely - but, once again, I've survived it & warmer weather & smaller bills are bound to put me in a better mood.  And the changing seasons are always a reminder: 

"As a lone wolf accustomed to moving fast, attempts to cooperate with people different from me can be like herding cats.  I might be the hare & movements might be the tortoise but the tortoise just might win the race!  AND it's got a shell.  So, if you, like me, get impatient with change feeling too slow, BE ADAPTABLE, think of a new way to outfox the exploiters & DON'T BE SHEEPISH & DEFEATIST!  The world is your oyster!"

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

401. "A Catamaran Animist Vigor"

- Abandoned Store, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, May 7, 2014

- "A Catamaran Animist Vigor" is one of the 2 movies I made using Mark Dixon's Selectric Piano (see these relevant movies on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: "Mark Dixon's Selectric Piano": http://youtu.be/3x6AJ6ssJsk ) which is a Selectric Typewriter with a one-to-one correspondence between the keys typed & an electronic keyboard that's connected to it.

I projected this movie & 5 improvisors played along with it. These improvisors were 1/3rd of Holocene Extinction: cymbal, Anthony Levin-Decanini: Crackle Box, Joey Molinaro: violin, trumpet, synthesizer, Josh Tenenbaum: percussion, Ben Bennett: percussion. Near the end, I joined them by improvising with an organ bench.

The footage from this event was then combined with the previous movie & other new material to make a Score Movie intended for more through-notated future realizations. 7 seconds of this Score Movie (which is 54:27 total) can be witnessed on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/96111445

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

403. "A Catamaran Animist Vigor"

 

- Babyland, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, January 24, 2015

- The genesis of "A Catamaran Animist Vigor" is probably rooted in the fall of 2009. My friend the ever-inventive Mark Dixon had told me about his Selectric Piano - a typewriter that would play an 88 key electric piano. I started thinking about what text(s) I'd want to type on it. The idea of anagrams of "Anagrammatic Variations" appealed to me. I used an online generator to generate so many of them that the text file result was difficult to open. I narrowed it down to just the anagrams with "Catamaran" & "Catamarans" in them. In 2010. I went to visit Mark & to use the Selectric Piano. His associate Bart Trotman was generous & open enough to type the anagrams for me while I manipulated MIDI-activated electronics. Several movies were made of the results - images of catamarans were added to the mix. In 2014, I screened this by now dense movie at Abandoned Store while a group of 5 improvisors played. I shot footage of this. I went to great lengths to notate what the corresponding pitches were for each of the anagrams. The original movie + the Abandoned Store footage + the notation were combined into a Score Movie - a movie that gives instructions for the live creation of its own soundtrack. I rallied the musicians for playing this. We rehearsed. Finally, on Saturday, January 24, 2015, we presented the Score Movie to an attentive & excellent (v)audience at Babyland while the following 5 performed the score: Matt Aelmore (French horn), Roger Dannenberg (Laptop 'piano' chords), Kenny Haney (Bb clarinet), Brian Riordan (Laptop samples), tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (Percussion samples). The (M)Usic? Imagine an aleatoric minimalist/maximalist live musique concrete based on word-play & oh-so-much-more. This YouTube version isn't the complete piece, it's just the 'meat of the matter'. "A Catamaran Animist Vigor" was then followed by a performance by Anita Sphinx, a performance redolent of that same day's Summit Against Racism.

- 1st rehearsal broken into 3 parts on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here:

pt 1: http://youtu.be/cC5d-SriB6Y

pt 2: http://youtu.be/O2ToDm0HfKc

pt 3: http://youtu.be/Bh9p5Io83OQ

- 2nd rehearsal on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: http://youtu.be/9JueavuM5m0

- performance at Babyland on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: http://youtu.be/cn3U055X-2U

- August 19, 2015 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

404. "The Key to Success, from One Who Knows"

- Babyland, Pittsburgh, US@

- Friday, May 1, 2015

- Every year since at least 2009 there's been an at-least-annual cabaret in Pittsburgh, usually associated with a political event. Since 2010, there's also been an annual May Day Parade in the wonderful Polish Hill neighborhood. For most, if not all, of these May Day events there's been an accompanying cabaret, usually, if not always, the night before. This was the 1st of the May Day cabarets that I participated in. The request being that performers restrict themselves to 5 minutes or less, I managed to pull off the following in something like 2&1/2 minutes. I had originally developed this piece for something I'd been invited to participate in at a theater scheduled later in June. Anticipating that the organizer(s) of that would flake, as they did, I decided to present it at the more reliable May Day cabaret. Here's the script:

"The Key to Success, from One Who Knows"

- april 2015

Monolog:

I walk out from the wings with a chair in one hand on the audience side and a short ladder in the other hand. I put the ladder unobtrusively on the floor & set the chair down in profile. I face the audience & speak the next line while I reach down with my right hand, pull on my right boot-strap & lift my right leg up. While it's raised, I try to reach my left boot-strap & fail, stumbling a little.

"In the late 1970s, I met a young woman..

I sit in the chair & pull on both boot-straps pulling myself into a fetal position while I say the next line.

"She told me what she thought other people should do to succeed..

I set up the ladder so that its side is visible to the audience and so that I can ascend it from the direction I came from. I pull on my right boot-strap to lift my right foot onto the 1st rung of the ladder & repeat the process with alternating legs as much as possible while I say the next line.

"She was very stern and judgmental about it..

I walk to the wing to get the taller ladder & say the next line while I bring it on stage & set it up as the next prop in the chain - in the same arrangement as the last ladder.

"I've tried for years to follow the dictum..

I start to ascend this ladder in the same way that I did the last one while I say the next line.

"But no matter how hard I try, no matter what I do..

I continue ascending the ladder while I say the next line.

"I just can't seem to succeed..

When I get near the top my head should enter a pre-hung fake cloud hanging at a level that my head can reach in time. It's made out of cotton balls & hung with monofilament.

"No matter how much I put my head in the clouds where hers was..

I unhook the cloud from its attachment & wear it as a hat as I descend. Once I'm on the ground again, I say the next line.

"I still find my feet on the ground..

I take the big ladder down & carry it off-stage while I say the next line.

"No matter how much I try levity to defy gravity..

Back on stage again, I reach down to both boot-straps & make a feeble jump up while I say the next line.

"I still haven't managed to pull myself up by my boot-straps..

I pick up the chair & the small ladder while I say the next 2 lines.

"Oh, did I mention?

"She was a millionaire heiress living off a trust fund & I was working for less than minimum wage as a laborer..

I deliver the last line as I exit off-stage carrying the ladder and the chair.

"So I guess I'll just have to keep my feet on the ground and walk.."

- August 19, 2015 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

405. My 5th May Day Speech: Soap Box Opera Episode 4

bullhorn decorations: etta cetera; photo: Mark Knobil

- midway through the annual Polish Hill May Day Parade on the streets of Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, us@

- Saturday, May 2, 2015

[I'd originally thought I started giving these May Day speeches in 2011 at the 2nd of the annual Polish Hill May Day Parades but I realiozed as of September, 2015, that I actually didn't start until the 3rd of the parades in 2012 so this was actually just the 4th of my speeches - as such, the movies online for 204 & 2015 are misnumbered]

- The text of my speech:

"In the early 1970s feminists made the case that housewives were underappreciated, undervalued & underpaid marginalized labor. The idea was that they did housework, child-rearing, & cooking for their family but were at the mercy of their husband's determination of what the value of their work was. They were taken for granted. If the marriage was healthy & the arrangement was consensual then maybe everything was fine. But if the marriage was unhealthy then the housewife was somewhat trapped by the marriage contract without much legal ability to redress her grievances.

"Things have changed since then insofar as gender roles aren't nearly as fixed as they were then & there're now far more married women making a living, far more men staying at home as "househusbands", & far more common options for not being stuck in either of those roles.

"HOWEVER, in many respects, we're all still stuck in just trying to survive in a world of marketplace forces that we didn't create & don't necessarily want much to do with. & that's where the work that I respect the most comes into play, a form of work that, like that of the housewife in 1970, is underappreciated, undervalued, & usually not paid at all by the monster known as "society-at-large".

"What's that work? It's the work that probably all of you here do on a regular, if not DAILY basis. It's the work that's exemplified by this absolutely wonderful annual May Day Parade, by the Variety Show, by the Marching Band, by the Softball Game, by the Kids Activities, by the Food & Drinks.

"In other words, it's the work we do for the sheer joy & love & thrills & inspiration & community-mindedness of it & NOT FOR MONEY. It's the things you actually LIKE TO DO, the things you FEEL ARE IMPORTANT. It's the prison activism, it's the resistance to people being reduced to little more than money-making machines, it's the embracing of creativity as a sign of life far more potent than a Lear jet or a diamond necklace.

"I wish we could suffer less, I wish the struggling were less desperate. There are many, many times when even having a few hundred dollars would make a huge positive difference in our lives - but if you don't have that few hundred dollars you probably at least have the ability to do something to brighten up your day & that of the ones around you. Don't lose it!!"

- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: http://youtu.be/jImQyP8g_iQ

- August 19, 2015 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

406. Composer's Presentation

- PNME (Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble)'s Composers Night, Wigle Whiskey, Pittsburgh, PA

- Thursday, July 2, 2015

- Entering this in this list is probably stretching things a bit too much but it does just barely qualify so rather than adding it later when I'll then have to renumber all subsequent entries to accomodate it I'll enter it now. PNME was reaching out to local composers, much to their credit IMO, & planned this event as a sortof meet-'n'greet at Wigle Whiskey, a local whiskey manufacturer's place of business where they have an outdoor patio sizeable enough to hold the 30+ people expected to attend. Ben Opie & I had been suggested as composers by our friend & collaborator Roger Dannenberg, a PMNE board member. I, in turn, suggested my friend Matt Aelmore & Brian Riordan. Hence the word spread.

All of the composers were restricted to a 1:00 sample of their work. These recordings were sent to Kevin Noe, PNME's director, to be organized in alphabetical order by composer's last name on his laptop. At the event, each composer was given 1:00 to introduce their piece. I realized a 1:00 version of my sampling piece "61 Sequences Sampled" especially for the occasion. Given that 1:00 was too short a time to adequately play the samples, I retitiled it "Sequences Sampled". For my introduction, I watched my cellphone timer in an attempt to cut myself off at precisely 1:00 while in the midst of saying the word "discombobulated" (or something like that). As I recall, I actually went a few seconds over 1:00 & didn't cut the word off.

I found this event extremely encouraging & positive. Kudos to PMNE for organizing it! Alas, David Stock, the founder of PNME, died not long after this event on November 2, 2015. RIP. I was fortunate to be able to have an affable conversation with him at this gathering. Below is a seleection of photos taken at the event. These were provided by PMNE. I don't know the names of everyone who was there but I've labeled the few that I do know. Perhaps at 2016's planned follow-up to this Composers Night there will be a hand-out with the names of the composers & a photo & contact info so that we can continue to build this community. Best to all!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

407. "Beau Jest" @ Sync'd 7

- Sync'd 7, 3 Rivers Film Festival, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, November 7, 2015

- ""Beau Jest" @ Sync'd 7: "Sync'd" is an annual screening event in Pittsburgh founded & organized by Michael Maradan. Mike solicits silent movies from local moviemakers & recruits 2 different groups to play soundtracks for the movies. Mike 1st asked me to be a participant in Sync'd 4 in 2011. I didn't want to just make a silent movie without giving any thought to the circumstances it was to be screened in. Since I'd already made some "Score Movies" (movies meant to be the score for the production of its soundtrack) I decided to make another one in that series as a way of strengthening that body of work & of not just taking the soundtrack for granted as 'whatever'. SO, I made ""Spectral Evidence" trailer". Since I knew that my friends in the band "Lungs, Face, Feet" would be performing the soundtrack for it I tailored it somewhat for them. Mike invited me back the next year for Sync'd 5 & I made something even more tailored for the performer: "Ben Opie". For Sync'd 7 I designed "Beau Jest" for performers that I didn't know, "Sun Cycles". Sun Cycles is a duo & I picked them as my preferred soundtrack producer because I thought their instrumentation would work well with what I had in mind. Since I didn't know the performers I made Beau Jest a much more open form piece, taking air guitar playing as an inspiration, so that I wouldn't be too demanding. As it turned out, one half of Sun Cycles was sick & didn't perform so the instrumentation was guitar-centric & much more minimal than what I had in mind. No matter, Sun Cycles did a pretty good job anyway &, as the old saying goes, one half of Sun Cycles is better than nothing." - November 28, 2015 onesownthoughts YouTube notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

- While I didn't personally perform as part of this event, I did wear the above "Beau jest" outfit that I'd designed & partially made. Furthermore, since SunCycles was performing my Score Movie I consider this to be a performance (of sorts) of mine.

- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Z8WNrhWKdJ0

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

408. "Tex-Mix (Giddyup Americana)"

- Babyland, Pittsburgh, us@

- Sunday, November 8, 2015

- "For decades now I've been entertained by finding what I call the "Giddyup" rhythm in a variety of musics from various cultures. Maybe they're all influenced by the sound of horses running. Whatever. When I was a kid I watched Westerns with John Wayne in them. It wasn't long before he seemed like an idiot. An Americana idiot. Recently, I've learned to appreciate some Westerns (like Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter") & some Americana music - mostly thanks to Lukas Foss, Lejaren Hiller, & Elie Siegmeister. This movie is a document of my rehearsals for & performance of a sampling piece that repurposes singing cowboy songs from six 1930s Tex Ritter movies. It's my "Tex-Mix" (not my Tex-Mex). It might be the closest I ever come to making '21st century' Americana." - December 2, 2015 onesownthoughts YouTube notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

- The 6 Tex Ritter movies sampled from were "Song of the Gringo" (1936), "Arizona Days" (1937), "Sing, Cowboy, Sing" (1937), "Mystery of the Hooded Horsemen" (1937), "Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts" (1937), & "Rollin' Plains" (1937).

full "Tex-Mix (Giddyup Americana" movie on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/yVZPa4gCdAU

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

409. "RonDodo"

- Lightlab 10, The Space Upstairs, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, November 10, 2015

- ""RonDodo" (September-December, 2015E.V.) I started (d) composing in 1974. I've done nothing but d teriorate since then (ka-boom!). "RonDodo"'s the latest evidence of that. I was probably daydreaming about the punning possibilities of the words "Rondo" (a simple musical form) & "Dodo" (a bird rendered extinct by humans several hundred years ago) & wondered about how to turn it into a score. Lo & Behold!, "RonDodo" was born! I drew an outline of a Dodo & made a connect-the-dots tracing of it that followed an extravagant RonDo form: A-B-A-C-A-D-A-E..A-Z-A & placed this over graph paper to provide a regularizing component. I then established rules about how the players should proceed from there. Unpromising as this may seem to some, a fairly interesting (d) composition was generated. Since I'm fortunate enough to have friends who actually find these pieces of mine challenging & fun to play, I was also fortunate enough to work with the following crew to bring "RonDodo" to life: Matt Aelmore: French horn; Jason Belcher: valve trombone; David Bernabo: keyboards; Roger Dannenberg: trumpet; Calder Dudgeon: conductor; Kenny Haney: clarinet; Julian Krishnamurti: violin; Ben Opie: alto saxophone; Brian Riordan: percussion; & myself (yes, I'm even friends with me): tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: (d) composer, sampler, moviemaker. This movie quasi-documents the piece's growth up 'til its premier performance as part of David Bernabo's "Lightlab 10" at the fabulous "The Space Upstairs" in Pittsburgh. Such details as rehearsals are primarily intended for the edification of geek scholars. Then again, if you're checking this whole business out in the 1st place you probably ARE a geek scholar in which case I greet you (albiet in this removed way) with thanks for your interest. The final version presented here is also available on CD as part of my "1975-2015" collection of selected works of mine for 40 years. Figuring out my email & writing to me is probably the best way to get a copy because I don't anticipate it's getting distributed otherwise." - tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE onesownthoughts YouTube notes December 9, 2015

the percussion stand tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE designed & built for "RonDodo"

 

full "RonDodo" movie on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/CzsoiM8z1wk

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

410. 10 Minute Playfest: Musical Sales Warehouse Stories

- Brillobox Bar, Pittsburgh, us@

- March 6, 2016E.V.

- I was asked by my friend Tree to tell stories for the 10 Minute Playfest that she was organizing at the Brillobox bar in Pittsburgh. She & her friend Chris St. Pierre founded the Pittsburgh incarnation of this in 2011. I'd only previously attended one or 2 of these & I'd enjoyed them. I love telling stories & was glad to be invited. Usually when I'm asked to participate in these cabaret-like events that my friends organize I plan my part, rehearse it, & time it. As far as I can tell, few or none of the other participants are ever this careful about keeping the duration under the allotted amount. This time, I just decided on 5 stories centered around a warehouse I'd lived in in Baltimore from 1977 to 1978 & didn't bother to rehearse or time my telling the stories. Bad idea. The result? I went over time (like pretty much everybody else?), didn't complete one of the stories & didn't even get to the one I'd intended to be the last one. If there's a next time I'll rehearse & time like I should have this time. To the people told about in the stories: I hope you don't feel disrespected, the stories are lurid but I don't mean them to be unfriendly to you. Somewhat unexpectedly, for me, the place was packed. I don't usually 'perform' in such popular events. One young woman came up to me afterwards to compliment me (I think?) & to express astonishment that she'd actually heard stories about the '70s! Ah, Herodotus, move over. When will my Lost World Amusement Park open up?

- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/D1mHckDXEzI

- April 2, 2016EV notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

411. Chalkboard Suit & Chernobylite Jokes

- Babyland, Pittsburgh, us@

- April 29, 2016, E.V.

photograph: Mark Knobil

- "Chalkboard Suit & Chernobylite Jokes": 2016 marked the 7th Annual Polish Hill May Day Parade. Each year, & for years even before the parade started, there've been Variety Shows open to public participation that precede the parade. This year I'd been reading about Chernobyl. The theme was of the parade was "Many heads, many hands" so I decided to paint a suit with chalkboard paint & invite audience members to draw hands & heads on them while I talked about radioactivity, etc. My prepared text was as follows:

This year's 7th annual Polish Hill May Day Parade theme is "Many Heads, Many Hands" in honor of the 'Many-Headed Hydra' of Mutual Aid & Resistance to Oppression. SO, I'm asking for volunteers to come up here & lay hands on me..

Do you like my suit? I feel a little stiff in it. Maybe that's because I painted it with chalkboard paint - & that's why I have chalk dangling from it. The idea is for the volunteer many heads & hands to draw many heads & hands on the suit.

While the volunteers are doing that, I'm going to talk about radioactivity. Did you know that this past Tuesday, April 26th, marked the 30th anniversary of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl?

For those of you who don't remember Chernobyl, it was a nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, right at the Belarus border, that had an explosion from which 60 to 70 percent of the radioactive fallout went into Belarus. Hundreds of thousands, if not hundreds of millions of people were, & still are, effected.

My stepfather worked for the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company as a sign painter. Every year, a lottery was held where male employees were picked to clean the nuclear power plant. According to my stepfather, if you said NO you could be fired.

Fortunately for him, he didn't have to say no because the younger guys were happy to do the job because they got extra pay. My stepfather's dead now, not from radioactivity, he was spared that, he had ALS, apparently from U.S. chemical weapons he was exposed to in the Korean War. He still managed to live a long life. But that's a different story.

I've been reading a book entitled "Voices from Chernobyl", a book of interviews with 'Chernobylites' compiled by a Belarusyn journalist named Svetlana Alexievich in 1996, 10 years after the disaster. I'm going to tell you a few of the Chernobylite jokes that she learned from the people she interviewed. They're a bit out of context but I think you'll get the drift:

"They asked the Armenian broadcaster: 'Maybe there are Chernobyl apples?' 'Sure, but you have to bury the core really deep.'"

"There was a Ukranian woman at the market selling big red apples. 'Come get your apples! Chernobyl apples!' Someone told her not to advertise that, no one will buy them. 'Don't worry!' she says. 'They buy anyway. Some need them for their mother-in-law, some for their boss.'"

"Guy comes home from work, says to his wife, "They told me that tomorrow I either go to Chernobyl or hand in my Party card." "But you're not in the Party." "Right, so I'm wondering how do I get a Party card by tomorrow morning?"

"After Chernobyl you can eat anything you want, but you have to bury your own shit in lead."

"This prisoner escapes from jail, and runs to the thirty-kilometer zone at Chernobyl. They catch him, bring him to the dosimeters. He's "glowing" so much, they can't possibly put him back in prison, can't take him to the hospital, can't put him around people."

"'Now all the stores have radio-products.' 'Impotents are divided into the radioactive & the radiopassive.'"

Now, imagine, dear volunteers, if I were radioactive would you be laying your hands on me? Thank you.

photograph: Mark Knobil

- a movie of this is on my Vimeo channel here: https://vimeo.com/164947710

- notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

412. Soap Box Opera episode 5

- the intersection of Finland & Melwood, Spit'n'Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, April 30, 2016 - early afternoon

photograph: Mark Knobil

- This was the 5th year in a row I've given a speech as part of the Annual Polish Hill May Day Parade. It's gotten to the point where I start to think about what next year's speech will be about almost immediately after I give one. As usual, the parade went from one end of our small neighborhood to another & ended at a park where free food & booze, a Maypole, & a baseball game were offered. My speech happens about halfway through the parade. Here's the text of the planned part of the speech. As usual, I deviated from it slightly spontaneously:

Hello everybody! This is the 5th year I've given a speech as part of the annual Polish Hill May Day Parade & I'm honored & delighted to have personally turned into a tradition! Do you ever wonder why I do it?

It started when etta cetera asked me to. I have the highest respect for etta as an activist so I was happy to say yes. May Day is a very important holiday for me. People have a tendency to become complacent & to take gains attained through decades of struggle for granted. The next thing we know, we're back to 60 hour or longer work weeks & all sorts of loopholes beneficial to ruthless capitalists & dictators & bad for the rest of us. SO, it's good to have May Day to remind us to not be complacent! Of course, May Day is also a great day to celebrate SPRING. Gotta love it.

But why do I do it otherwise? Am I a demagogue? Am I appealing to popular passions without caring about whether I'm for real or not? I hope not - & that's why I'm going to talk about POWER.

In 1979, an anonymous person slipped an invitation under my door to an "Artists Support the Mayor Ball". I attended carrying a sign that read: "SUPPORT MULTI-DIRECTIONAL MIKE'S RUNNING FROM PUBLIC OFFICE", the very sign I'm wearing today. I was thrown out.

In 1984, I voted for the 1st time in an effort to try to get rid of Reagan. I failed. In 2004, I voted for the 2nd time in an effort to get rid of Bush. I failed. In 2008, I voted for Obama in an effort to offer darker-skinned people a break. I failed.

I don't say that I failed because Obama wasn't elected. Obviously, he was. I say I failed because the U.S. is STILL perpetually at war, mostly or entirely with people who're ethnically distinguishable from the majority of Americans. I say I failed because police are still killing African-Americans with impunity.

In 1998, I had a conversation with a Russian expatriate woman in Iowa City who told me about her ideas for politically empowering artists & asked for my opinion. I told her that I was less interested in accruing more power than I am in increasing my ability to prevent other people from having power over me. Neither Masters nor Slaves. Of course, that could be said to be a form of power in itself, the power to be one's self.

The point is that I give these speeches not to be a politician, not to be a proselytizer, but as a person trying to articulate what May Day means to me as someone just trying to live my life without always being forced into systems of other people's design that're bad for me. & I hope that there are kindred spirits out there that I can be friends with. PEACE!

- a movie of this is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/PD6IfIImVeY

- a movie of the parade is on the Internet Archive here: https://archive.org/details/MayDay2016

- May, 2016E.V. notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

413. "Limpolysemia"

- via Skype from Who Unit? in Pittsburgh, us@, to Minsk, Belarus; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Richmond, Virginia, us@; South Carolina, us@

- Sunday, August 8, 2016EV, noon in Pittsburgh, Richmond, & South Carolina; 7PM in Minsk & Rotterdam

- This was the premier of my sampling piece made for a video-teleconference of the same name. Sincee the main purpose of the conference was to establish communication between IMP ACTIVISTS in Belarus, who speak Russian, & IMP ACTIVISTS &/or Neoists in the us@ & the Netherlands who were speaking English, the samples were mostly in Russian - with the exceptions of quotes from a poem by Belarusyn Monty Cantsin. The performance of it that essentially opens the teleconference is at 12:53 in the feature-length movie that documents it on the Internet Archive here: https://archive.org/details/Iimpolysemia . Below are scans of the score & some scanned pages from the Russian coursebook that I took some of the Russian phrases from.

- September, 2016 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

414. "diSTILLed Life / rfeEinr Ashaircnm / refiner Anarchism / reinfer Arachnism"

- Open Mic Poetry/Prose Té Café, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, August 10, 2016EV, early evening

- My friend Ryan Broughman was visiting & we were looking for activities to keep the visit lively so I proposed going to this open mic as something I'd been meaning to check out for awhile. In 2006, I'd read my text "diSTILLed Life / rfeEinr Ashaircnm / refiner Anarchism / reinfer Arachnism" in its entirety by telephone & then over a pirate radio station roughly 2,550 miles away. This was an extremely labor intensive process because the text is difficult to read & I asked the DJ, Monty Cantsin, to record the reading & to give me a copy. This, unfortunately, didn't happen. With this in mind, I decided to read a small part of the text again for this open mic event. I began by explaining that I like complex ambiguities & that I embrace the challenge of reading & saying difficult-to-pronounce words. I then explained that around 12 years before a text had circulated through the internet about what I call "Internal Jumbling" & I showed them this plaque:

Since the actual plaque is only 8 inches wide by 6 inches high & was, therefore, unreadable to all but the sharpest-eyed members of the vaudience I read it to them 1st as it's written & 2nd as it's intended:

"According to a research at an English university, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are; the only important thing is that the first and last letters are in the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because we do not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole."

I then explained that it occurred to me that this Internal Jumbling Technique could be taken further by choosing selectiions of letters that could be resolved into more than one word. I experimented with this on my own & eventually enlisted the aid of computer programmer Patrick Bagwell to create a software to go through the English language & pick out all the words that had the same beginning & ending letters & the same interenal letters in varying orders & to organize these words into an Internal Jumbling Technique vocabulary.

Around the same time, I was invited to contribute something to a book to be published by Ediciones La Calavera entitled "Vertov from V to A" for which I was invited to react to a particular still from Dziga Vertov's great film "Man with a Movie Camera". SO, I wrote a text in reaction to the still & then rewrotee it using only IJT vocabulary words. The 1st text was entitled "diSTILLed Life", the jumbled rewrite was entitled "rfeEinr Ashaircnm". This latter text was then rewritten by resolving the IJT words into one of the 2 or more possible words contained within them. The 1st of these results was called "refiner Anarchism" & the 2nd was called "reinfer Arachnism". Finally, I wrote a text in which the differently resolved words were combined into one text inside brackets as "[refiner/reinfer] [Anarchism/Arachnism]." I then read a few sentences from the beginning of each of these 5 texts in order to enable the listeners to get an idea of what the permutational results were:

diSTILLed Life

As the still from "Man with a Movie Camera" e-mailed to me by Keith scrolled into appearance on my computer screen it was initially ambiguous to me. Judging from the top 3rd I thought it might be reflections on water, &, indeed, there's a scene in MWMC of machines intercut w/ the dam water implied to power them that comes close. Recognizing the full e-mage as a spool of something, I still didn't remember exactly what scene it was from & thought it might tie into the editing scene that ends the 1st 3rd. Instead, it's from the last 10 minutes. The film (almost) opens w/ a vaudience filling the theater to watch the film that they're in the opening scene of.

Thanks to Ryan Broughman for videography

rfeEinr Ashaircnm

As the sveilr of "Blhtrreoy Seeectrpd Morimiencca" usectroend to me by Keith ulmneupd pmoeferrd on my mcneiicomra it was utcgoulaaend to me. Cnniiaatpg form the top 3rd I uoonelpd it culod be scpeeetrd on bbbleur, &, vtblrieay, treeh's a flbraame in BSM of cltruey siplt w/ the unnoiolpg epamtihc to mtriaal uninopolg it culod be. Aadopitn of the felid as tahteer, I deeeeisrmmbrd eptalmhaicly wch stcpeer it was form & caeloagutd it colud be rlteoar to the rhspaee stpceer wch wpras the 1st 3rd. Sgktriinly, it's form the tbmilae uplnsaeed. BSM (prltay) ulpoons w/ a prnasitealm uninatesung the teetahr to ovbrese the mccnroemiia wch htlresos ovrsbineg.

refiner Anarchism

As the sliver of "Brotherly Spectered Microcinema" uncorseted to me by Keith unplumed preformed on my microcinema it was uncatalogued to me. Captaining from the top 3rd I unpooled it could be spectered on bubbler, &, veritably, there's a framable in BSM of cutlery split w/ the unpooling emphatic to martial unpooling it could be. Adoptian of the field as theater, I disremembered emphatically wch specter it was from & catalogued it could be relator to the reshape specter wch wraps the 1st 3rd. Skirtingly, it's from the timable unelapsed. BSM (partly) unloops w/ a parentalism ununseating the theater to observe the microcinema wch holsters observing.

reinfer Arachnism

As the silver of "Brothelry Sceptered Microcnemia*" unescorted to me by Keith unlumped performed on my microcnemia it was uncoagulated to me. Capitaning form the top 3rd I unlooped it cloud be sceptered on blubber, &, verbality, three's a farmable in BSM of cruelty spilt w/ the unlooping empathic to marital unlooping it cloud be. Adaption of the filed as teather, I dismemberered empathically wch sceptre it was form & coagulated it cloud be realtor to the rephase sceptre wch warps the 1st 3rd. Strikingly, it's form the timbale unpleased. BSM (paltry) unpools w/ a paternalism ununteasing the teather to obverse the microcnemia wch hostlers obversing.

[reinfer/refiner] [Arachnism/Anarchism]

As the [sliver/silver] of "[Brotherly/Brothelry] [Spectered/Sceptered] [Microcnemia/Microcinema]" [unescorted/uncorseted] to me by Keith [unplumed/unlumped] [preformed/performed] on my [microcnemia/microcinema] it was [uncoagulated/uncatalogued] to me. [Captaining/Capitaning] [from/form] the top 3rd I [unpooled/unlooped] it [could/cloud] be [spectered/sceptered] on [bubbler/blubber], &, [veritably/verbality], [three's/there's] a [framable/farmable] in BSM of [cutlery/cruelty] [split/spilt] w/ the [unpooling/unlooping] [emphatic/empathic] to [martial/marital] [unpooling/unlooping] it [could/cloud] be. [Adoptian/Adaption] of the [filed/field] as [theater/teather], I [disremembered/dismemberered] [emphatically/empathically] wch [specter/sceptre] it was [from/form] & [coagulated/catalogued] it [could/cloud] be [relator/realtor] to the [reshape/rephase] [specter/sceptre] wch [wraps/warps] the 1st 3rd. [Strikingly/Skirtingly], it's [from/form] the [timbale/timable] [unpleased/unelapsed]. BSM ([partly/paltry]) [unloops/unpools] w/ a [paternalism/parentalism] [ununteasing/ununseating] the [theater/teather] to [obverse/observe] the [microcnemia/microcinema] wch [hostlers/holsters] [obversing/observing].

- on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/WrbjKMTx6wg

- September, 2016 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

415. screening/reading/Q&A

- Film Kitchen, Melwood Screening Room, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, us@

- Tuesday, December 13, 2016EV

- As with most, or all, of the above, this barely qualifies as a 'performance' insofar as very little performative happened as part of it. STILL, it wasn't quite just a screening or a reading, I did use a prop & the reading & screening did combine into something a tad more than just a simultaneity because of the way their contents reinforced & augmented each other. Be that as it may, 2016 turned out to be The Year of the Spoken Word for me, the 1st year of my life where I didn't get beyond that. Too bad.

The Film Kitchen is an almost monthly screeening series that happens on the 2nd Tuesday of every month that was founded by Pittsburgh City Paper cultural asset Bill O'Driscoll in 1998. Each one offers food & beer & a screening, usually by multiple locals, rarely by just one moviemaker, occasionally by people from outside Pittsburgh. For this one, I presented 5 short recent works:

"Bemusement Park" (2015) - https://vimeo.com/135793724

"mm 60 presents: ORGAN" (2016) - https://youtu.be/i0hWJdRTBJY

"Chalkboard Suit & Chernobylite Jokes" (2016) - https://vimeo.com/164947710

"Soap Box Opera episode 5" (2016) - https://youtu.be/PD6IfIImVeY

"Wild horses couldn't.. (raining cats & dogs version)" (2016) - https://archive.org/details/WildHorsesCouldnt

Bill O'Driscoll wrote an article advertising the evening here entitled

"Film Kitchen 

Locally produced short films and videos highlight this monthly screening series"

which can be seen here: http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/film-kitchen/Content?oid=1970129 &/or here: tENTFK2016.html .

During "Wild horses couldn't.. (raining cats & dogs version)" I went to the podium wearing a snorkling mask & intending to light the text I was to read with the same lantern I'd used when I'd been at Assateague where the movie had been made. I'd timed the reading of the text at 8:42 so that I knew I could read it within the 8:56 of the movie. Unfortunately, that didn't leave me much room for slip-ups. The 1st of these was that the lantern, which had worked fine at Assateague, wouldn't light - even though the battery-life left on it should have been substantial. Alas, as I learned from reading paperwork with the battery later, in some rare cases, the battery has to be charged for 18 hours. Oh, well. The result was that I fumbled with my iJones, which I'd been planning to use for its timer, to get to its flashlight so I could see. That set me back enough to ruin my plans. Trying to read with the snorkling mask on wasn't so easy either.

After I'd gone to Assateague to shoot "Wild horses couldn't.. (raining cats & dogs version)" I'd written something about what a mess the trip had been thanks to a combination of a malfunctioning talking map app & rainy & windy weather. It was this text that I'd abbreviated for reading with the projection of the movie:

I love swimming, I love the ocean, I love swimming at the edge of the ocean & interfacing with the waves & the undertow. I wanted to go but I didn't have much money, I wanted to go but I don't have any friends who would or could go with me. I decided to go by myself.

I hate driving long distance, I hate driving in inclement weather, I hate driving at night. Driving long distance puts me to sleep, I start to severely flag after 2 hours & I have to drink "energy drinks" ostensibly good for 5 hours which keep me awake for an additional hour or half-hour. I work around the drowsiness & I succeed but it's a miserable & grueling process. Nonetheless, I drive long distance by myself in inclement weather all too often anyway.

My destination for my long-overdue ocean vacation was Assateague, the island off the coast of Maryland famed for its wild horses. I decided to navigate by using my talking GPS app on my new (CHEAP) phone. I'd never used one before but it seemed ideal. The predicted travel time was roughly 6.33 hours. I could handle that. Leaving at 5:55AM I stopped after 3.75 hours in Frederick to fuel up, to shop at one of my favorite used bookstores, & to get lunch. That added 1.50 hours.

Things were going well enough until I got to the Eastern Shore. That was when the talking directions started to malfunction. It got me off-guard the 1st time I was told to take a left & then to turn right in order to get on the road I was already on. I was past the turn when I realized that's what I'd just been told to turn onto. I made a u-turn, went back to the intersection, looked for a continuation of the route I'd left on the right, didn't find it, followed the directions some more, got led around in a seemingly pointless circle & ended up back on the road I started on. That was when I was sure the app was malfunctioning.

For something like the next hour it told me to turn left at every intersection & to then turn right to get on the road I was already on. I just kept straight on the road I was on. The bad directions started getting even crazier, things like: 'turn right on _____ (the road I was already on), after 600 feet turn left on ______ (the road I was already on), make a u-turn, turn right on _____(the road I was already on). If only Samuel Beckett were alive to make a radio play like this!

Eventually, this phase of the directions stopped. I figured that sooner or later the directions would get back on track. I'd looked at them written out before & knew that I'd have to make a big turn off the road I was on eventually so I just waited for directions to that effect. At some point I pulled over & looked at the app & saw that, yes, the directions were to Assateague, etc, & that I wasn't far away so everything seemed fine. THEN I was in Virginia. That wasn't fine. By this point I might've been driving for 9.50 hours. That was longer than I should've been driving & I was exhausted - but the app told me I was tantalizingly close to "A-S-S-ATEAGUE" so I persevered. Finally, the voice informed me that I was THERE! Imagine my bleary disappointment when I recognized that I was at Chincoteague, the island south of Assateague in Virginia. Close, but no cigar. An hour & a half later I finally made it to the Assateague Park.

When I'd made the reservation 2 weeks or so before the weather forecast had been mostly sunny. I looked at it now that I was there: total rainstorms all week long, no respite, all clouds, no sun. Oh, well, I'd swim anyway.

I had very little light left to set up my tent in, it'd taken me almost 12 hours to get there. My tent's cheap but it's 'modern' in the sense that it's lightweight & efficient with adequate resistance to rain & wind - or so it had been in my previous uses of it. I was a bit surprised to see that my fellow 'campers' mostly had RVs of a rather upscale nature. Once again, I was the 'poor guy', even though by my standards I was doing pretty good: a car that works & a reasonable tent.

That night it rained. At 1st it wasn't too bad, maybe on for a half hour & off for a half hour. Eventually the tent started to leak. By 6:30AM it was pouring & most of the interior of my tent was a puddle. I didn't get much sleep but it could've been worse. Then I had an epiphany of sorts: I actually thought this was FUNNY, I realized that I'm one of the only people I know who could actually laugh about this. If my last girlfriend had been with me we would've been ensconced in a motel or hotel room regardless of whether I could afford it & the complaining would've been EPIC. Thinking about my ability to turn things into a joke made me quite cheerful for awhile.

I didn't do much at the ocean, I went to a bookstore in Ocean City that was going out of business & got some reasonably good finds. Perhaps the best one was an 1154 pp book on celebrity "Deaths From Surgical Complications". You don't see that everyday. On my way back to the camp I got a 10'X12' tarp & 4 more tent pegs, I figured I'd make a try to fortify my tent better for the anticipated nightly downpour so I covered the tent with the tarp & pegged it down.

That night it didn't rain as much as it did turn into a windstorm. My tent was severely buffeted & the sound of the tarp flapping violently was a bit difficult to live with. I don't know whether my campsite was smack-dab in the middle of the wind's path but it sure seemed like it. The tent kept collapsing in on me & the noise was fierce enough to make this even more of a sleepless night than the one before. The wind had started around 10PM & was still going strong something like 30 hours later. When I dragged myself out of the tent that morning I took the tarp off.

A positive effect of the wind was that the clouds cleared occasionally & I got to shoot some sunny footage. I did actually go swimming but I was the only person I saw do so. The waves & undertow were astonishingly strong, I would've been terrified if children had been in the water but they weren't. I managed to keep busy while I was there, exploring & shooting a fair amount of satisfactory footage. As usual, my GoPro didn't work most of the time but I still managed to get some good underwater shots.

That night, Wednesday night, the wind showed me that it meant business. The tent was inflating like a balloon & then collapsing like it was burst. The rain was unrelenting, the lightning was frequent. I tried braving the storm to see if I could add more tent pegs & otherwise tweak things so the tent wouldn't have a tendency to flatten so severely. I had moderate but unspectacular success. By midnight I realized I didn't stand a chance: the tent was going to flatten eventually, I couldn't stop it, the wind was too fierce.

I got in my car & hoped the tent wouldn't completely blow away because I didn't want to have to try to find it the next day. Even the car was bouncing constantly on its shocks. I started to wonder if it, too, might get blown away even though the car's pretty heavy. That was another largely sleepless night.

Early Thursday morning the rain had lessened enough so I figured I could strike the tent & leave the island. The tent was FLAT & pointed in one direction. The pegs on one side had pulled out but those on the other side has stayed put so at least the tent was still there. I didn't try to make it neat, I pulled it off the sandy ground, shoved it in my car & left 2 days before my reservation ran out. EXHAUSTED.

Could I trust the talking map? I was too tired to try to deal with it any other way. I was expecting it to just take me to route 50 & then west to the Bay Bridge. It didn't, it took me on small country roads into Delaware. The phone was sitting to my right, I noticed that its screen had some sort of alert on it. I pulled over & read it. It told me something like: 'EMERGENCY ALERT - YOU ARE IN A HIGH FLASH FLOOD DANGER AREA - TURN ON YOUR RADIO AND AVOID THE DANGER AREAS'. Of course, the map program is what had taken me this way in the 1st place. & it wouldn't return to the map until I clicked to acknowledge that I'd received this warning. The ditches beside the small roads I was driving on were now small streams & the fields had new ponds. I turned on the radio & immediately heard reports about floods closing schools & roads & the like in Virginia & Pennsylvania but nothing about the area I was in.

After many more delays & obstacles, I made it to 76. I saw a BIG SIGN, obviously erected for this occasion, that warned to be on the alert for flooding on the road. For those of you who don't know the Pennsylvania Turnpike, it's very winding & the likelihood of being able to stop when you see the road ahead of you flooded is, uh, minuscule. That didn't seem to worry anyone but me since the drivers were going their usual 80mph about 2 car lengths behind whoever was in front of them, obviously convinced of their immortality & of the tank-like strength of their vehicles. I wasn't so convinced. After 11 hours of this I made it safely home. It'd rained almost the entire time. I should go on these trips more often. Care to join me?

The reading of the text went on a little longer than I'd intended, past the end of the movie, but it wasn't too bad. Then there was a Q&A, something I usually enjoy. As I generally prefer to be the case, but often isn't, I made a movie of this & put it on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel:

"tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE at Film Kitchen - December 13, 2016E.V." - https://youtu.be/9tj4JSKqvQI

In the movie, I somewhat correct the reading's going on past the end of the movie by providing a freeze-frame as cover-up. Nefarious!

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

416. "Cosmic Grunt / Betsy DeVos"

- Open Mic Poetry/Prose Té Café, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, February 8, 2017EV, early evening

- I'd decided to read something for this before I knew what the theme was: "Let's make America great again by taking a stand against bigotry, sexism & fascism - by celebrating & coming together through our diversity" - in other words, an alternative to the Kleptocracy of the Plunderbund that is the Rump administration. I'd written 2 texts just a few days before: "Cosmic Grunt" & "Betsy DeVos". I read "Cosmic Grunt" in its entirety. It was a challenge because I was trying to both articulate the 400 words in such a way that they were both udnerstandable but also at least a little grunt-like - which involved trying to run them all together. In the interest of reading both pieces in less than the 10 minute limit, I skipped over the DeVos intro because everyone seemed to know who she was. In the presentation of the text below, I include the entire intro.

"Cosmic Grunt"

- tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - February 6, 2017

I've been working on my 'opera' for the last year. It's entitled "Endangered Languages, Endangered Cultures, Endangered Ideas". As part of my research for the libretto for this, I read a book by Daniel Nettle & Suzanne Romaine entitled Vanishing Voices - The Extinction of the World's Languages. In this, they state that:

"The extinction of languages is part of a larger picture of worldwide near total ecosystem collapse. Our research shows quite striking correlations between areas of biodiversity and areas of highest linguistic diversity, allowing us to talk about a common repository fo what we will call "biolinguistic diversity": the rich spectrum of life encompassing all the earth's species of plants and animals along with human cultures and their languages. The greater biolinguistic diversity is found in areas inhabited by indigenous peoples, who represent around 4 percent of the world's population, but speak at least 60 percent of the world's languages."

I'm in the midst of writing a review of this book & one thing led to another & I ended up quoting the great Irish comic writer Flann O'Brien. An edited version of this quote is as follows:

"A lady lecturing recently on the Irish language drew attention to the fact that, while the average English speaker gets along with a mere 400 words, the Irish-speaking peasant uses 4,000."

"The plight of the English speaker with his wretched box of 400 vocal beads may be imagined when I say that a really good Irish speaker would blurt out the whole 400 in one cosmic grunt."

I was so inspired by this that I decided to take the top 400 British English words as compiled by Brian Kelk based on 29 works of literature by 18 authors (4.6 million words) in order starting from the most frequently used & to read them as "one cosmic grunt":

theandtoofaIinwashethatithisheryouashadwithforshenotatbutbemyonhavehimissaidmewhichbysothisallfromtheynowereifwouldorwhenwhattherebeenonecouldveryanwhothemMrwenowmoreoutdoareuptheiryourwilllittlethanthensomeintoanywellmuchabouttimeknowshouldmandidlikeuponsuchneveronlygoodhowbeforeotherseemustamowncomedownsayafterthinkmademightbeingMrsagaingreattwocangoovertooherecameoldthoughthimselfwhereourmayfirstwayhasthoughwithoutwentusawaydaymaketheseyoungnothinglongshallsirbackdon'thouseeveryettakeeveryhandmostlasteyesitsmisshavingofflookedevenwhiledearlookmanylifestillmindquiteanotherthosejustheadtellbetteralwayssawseemedputfacelettookpoorplacewhydoneherselffoundthroughsamegoingunderenoughsoonhomegiveindeedleftgetoncemotherheardmyselfratherloveknewgotladyroomsomethingyesthingfatherperhapssureheartohrightagainstthreemennightpeopledoortoldroundbecausewomantillfeltbetweenbothsideseenmorningbeganwhomhoweveraskedthingspartalmostmomentlookingwantfarhandsgoneworldfewtowardsgavefriendnamebestwordturnedkindcriedsinceanythingnextfindhalfhopecallednorwordshearbroughtseteachrepliedwishvoicewholetogethermannernewbelievecourseleastyearsansweredamongstoodsatspeakleaveworkkeeptakenendlesspresentfamilyoftenwifewhethermastercomingmeanreturnedeveninglightmoneycannotwhoseboydaysnearmattersupposegentlemanusedsaysreallyrestbusinessfullhelpchildsortpassedlaysmallbehindgirlfeelfirecarealoneopenpersoncallgivenI'llsometimesmakingshortelselargewithinchaptertruecountrytimesaskanswerairkepthourletterhappyreasonprettyhusbandcertainothersoughtdoesknownit'sbedtablethat'sreadyreadalreadypleasureeithermeansspoketakingfriendstalkhardwalkedturnstrongthusyourselfhighalongabovefeelinggladchildrendoubtnaturethemselvesblackhardlytownsensesayingdealaccountusewhitebadeverythingcan'tneitherwantedmineclosereturndarkfellsubjectbearappearedfear

 

Betsy DeVos

- written by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, February 6, 2017

I'm sure everyone here knows who Betsy DeVos is, she's the Great Dictator's nominee for education secretary. As with most or all of Trump's nominees her only qualification for this position seems to be that she's a billionaire &, therefore, willing to pull as many fast deals as possible while in her position. She's also a supporter of private Christian schools & we can say bye-bye to the separation of church & state if she gets in power. But never let it be said that I'm not willing to fact-check from time-to-time. Here's what Snopes.com, the rumor-checking website, has to say about the accusations against DeVos:

"Billionaire?

True. DeVos (born Elizabeth Prince) is the daughter of the late Edgar Prince, a wealthy industrialist, sister of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater USA, and wife of Dick DeVos, entrepreneur and heir to the fortune of Amway founder Richard DeVos, valued at about $6 billion."

Amway is, of course, a pyramid scheme, a scheme based on leaving the losers holding the bag at the bottom of the hierarchy. Perfect for a Trump appointee!

"Donated $9.5 million to Trump's campaign?

False."

"No education degree?

True. DeVos does have a degree, just not in education; she graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a bachelor's degree in business administration and political science."

"No experience working in a school environment?

True."

"Never attended public school or state university?

True."

"Never put her own children in public school?

True."

"Does not believe in or support public education?

Mixture."

"Believes that public school teachers are overpaid?

Undetermined."

"Supports for-profit education?

True."

"Invested $200 million in Christian schools and organizations?

Undetermined. Through their nonprofit organization, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Betsy and her husband have given tens of millions of dollars to a great many schools and organizations, some of which are identified as "Christian." For 12 years running, for example, the foundation donated between $200,000 and $300,000 annually to Potter's House, a nonprofit "Christ-centered" elementary school serving underprivileged children in Grand Rapids, Michigan."

"Doggedly advocates funneling money out of public education and into for-profit, Christian-based education?

Partly true. As noted above, DeVos has long been an advocate for "school choice," which does involve, to some extent, funneling money away from public schools and toward private educational options, including for-profit and Christian-based schools."

But what really got me was DeVos's statement regarding guns in schools. As an NBC article online informed me: "President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary told lawmakers at her confirmation hearing that guns might have a place in schools due to the threat from grizzly bears." That's what tipped me off that just because she's a billionaire whose money is rooted in inherited wealth doesn't mean she's out of touch with reality. I mean, that's when I knew that we're dealing with a major intellect here.

Not wanting to be outdone by Betsy DeVos in the area of good ideas for guns & children, on January 21, the day after the Dictator enthroned himself, I posted this humble proposal on Facebook so that every surveillance organization in the US would be immediately aware of my idea:

"Hhmm.. I'm thinking that all fetuses should be REQUIRED BY LAW to purchase handguns to hold in the womb so that when they come out as babies they'll be ready to shoot any & all comers. If abortion is made illegal this law will at least increase survival-of-the-fittest casualties & help keep the population down. The tendency of midnight specials to misfire will help insure that the poor continue to lose."

But I'm not sure that that's going far enough. SO, on February 6th, I posted another proposal on Facebook for the NSA to consider:

"I'm not so worried about the bears as I am about the dinosaurs. This country needs to be prepared for a thawing of hitherto undiscovered cryogenically preserved raptors & the like. This thawing won't be because of Global Warming, of course, since we know that's a myth conceived of by people adverse to the American Way (or is it the American Weight?). Anyway, the underacknowledged raptor-menace justifies taking money from public schooling taxes & buying RPGs for nursery school children. I don't mean to suggest that taxpayers should actually PAY for this, I just mean that the arms dealers should get the tax-payer's money. The nursery school children will have to sign IOUs for the weapons - thusly teaching them adult responsibilties at an early age & making sure they'll be permanently in debt to whatever front companies DeVos &/or her cronies may have investments in."

Given that DeVos hasn't proposed such obvious options, I think that she's a namby-pamby liberal & ought to be rejected.

There's a movie of this too here: https://vimeo.com/203362094 . The light showing behind my head has beeen delibereately tweaked in post-production.

- March 6, 2017 notes from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

417. Reading from "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)"

- Open Mic Poetry/Prose Té Café, Pittsburgh, us@

- Wednesday, March 8, 2017EV, early evening

- After 5 years of research I wrote "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)" in the 1st 6 weeks of 2008. I gave a reading from it at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC on November 1, 2008 (The entire reading can be heard online @: Segue at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC <http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Segue-BPC.html> (scroll down to the appropriate mp3).) For various reasons, the book lay unpublished until I decided to publish it myself 9 years later. As of this reading, I now had a defective proof for it & I was waiting for a box of corrected copies of the book to be delivered. Given that I had retired & had begun living on a tiny fixed income, the extravagance of publishing the book might very well be the last such extravagance of my life.

I chose to read a short section from the bottom of page 76 to the middle of page 79:

- March 29, 2017 recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

- on my onesownthoughst YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/pWiuslygsWo

 

418. Book Launch of & Reading from "Paradigm Shift Knuckle Sandwich & other examples of P.N.T. (Perverse Number Theory)"

- The Glitter Box Theater, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, April 1, 2017EV, evening

- After 9 years of letting this book lay fallow for various reasons I decided to finally publish it & to launch it at my new favorite venue, The Glitter Box Theater. Alas, this coincided with a friend's wedding & probably wouldn't have been very popular even without such stiff competition so only one audience member was there at the beginning & 2 more straggled in: 1 midway, the next near the end.

I projected the pages that I was reading from & interjected a brief excerpt from a relevant movie of mine too in order to show the audience what an intricate construct was involved & to generally increase the A/V value of the event.

Life has become somewhat strange for me at this point in Pittsburgh because even though I've been extremely active here in many ways for decades now there seems to be close to no interest in anything that I do. I consider this book to be a major new release from a philosophical/intellectual standpoint but I realize that close to none of my friends care about such things. Despite that, I hope that someone reading these notes will take the time to witness the movie linked to in order to appreciate the depth of effort that went into writing & designing the book & in order to seriously consider the Paradigm Shifting ideas that're put forth.

- The movie from this is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/gw48jIh0oS4

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

419. Premier of excerpt from "Endangered Languages, Endangered Cultures, Endangered Ideas"

- Babyland Loading Dock, May Day Cabaret, Pittsburgh, us@

- Friday, April 28, 2017EV, evening

- Starting in February, 2016, I began having the mms (m(usic(ian's))m(eetings)) that I have at my house center around speicifc intrsumentation that I want to have part of my 'opera' in progress: "Endangered Languages, Endangered Cultures, Endangered Ideas". I had 15 of these mms & I shot footage of all of them & made QuickTime movie samples from each. My friend & collaborator, Roger Dannenberg, then developed software to my specifications that enabled sampling from these movies & enabled other speicifc things to happen.

tENTATOVELY, a cONVENIENCE

The libretto for this, which I'm still in the process of creating, is based around research into enfangered languages & what's lost when the languages become extinct. Roger had only recently gotten the ELsoftware to the point where it could be used in performance & I decided to try to perform the 1st 6 paragraphs of the piece at this May Day Cabaret. Unfortunately, the venue was exposed to the weather & rain, as well as sotware failure, led to a very short & somewhat fumbling performance. The libretto, if I'd even managed to make it through the short excerpt selected for the vent, would've been:

""The extinction of languages is part of a larger picture of worldwide near total ecosystem collapse. Our research shows quite striking correlations between areas of biodiversity and areas of highest linguistic diversity, allowing us to talk about a common repository for what we will call "biolinguistic diversity": the rich spectrum of life encompassing all the earth's species of plants and animals along with human cultures and their languages. The greater biolinguistic diversity is found in areas inhabited by indigenous peoples, who represent around 4 percent of the world's population, but speak at least 60 percent of the world's languages."

Roger Dannenberg

""Like species, languages too can be thought of as occupying ecological niches. The majority of the world's languages are, however, narrow-niched, like Taiap in Papua, New Guinea. Relatively few languages-such as English, Arabic, or Chinese-are broad-niched. At the same time tropical ecosystems are typically rich in number of species, they are poor in the number of organisms-the opposite of northern latitudes. Thus, the population of any one species may be relatively small; it is variety which is great-another characteristic of a stable ecosystem. If we apply this biological analogy to languages, then we would expect to find great numbers of languages spoken by relatively small numbers of speakers in the tropics."

"Most of my personal interests have been in what I tend to think of as "narrow-niched" cultural equivalents: culture & ideas that're "rich in number of species" & "poor in the number of organisms".. or to put it in an admittedly distorted other way: 'rich in imagination' & 'poor in the number of people appreciating this richness'. The 15 mmmovies I made to cull from for my 'opera' exemplify this.

"It's important to understand just what's lost as a language disappears. Detailed local knowledge is lost. Imagine having to reinvent the wheel every thousand yrs or less? Imagine losing the names for a variety of animals, imagine reducing them all to just "animals" & then not noticing or caring that 60% of what's in that category becomes extinct. Now imagine that applied to yr friends & family, imagine that they all become just one 'thing' to you, just "friends & family" & nothing more differentiated. Now imagine 60% of them dying off & yr not noticing b/c you cd no longer tell any of them apart anyway.

""Younger Dyirbal speakers now also use the term iaban, which originally referred to a spotted eel, to refer to all kinds of eels. In traditional Dyribal eels had individual names. On a bush expedition one younger speaker was able to name various species of trees such as bottlebrush and ironbark in English, but could give only the general Dyribal word for "tree" (yuqu) for all of them. In earlier years, Bob Dixon had recorded names for over 600 plants from older speakers."

"In today's day & age the natural environment has become less compelling for many people than the media(ted) one. As such, far more people that I know are likely to know names for apps available for their iJoneses than they are to know the names of the trees in their backyard. Given that the apps are human-made, that the phones are human-made, that the internet is human-made, that prioritizes everything human-made over life that exists on its own. Such a process is dangerous to the environment not only b/c of the way resources become allocated but b/c humans lose the ability to feel connected to anything that's unmediated. They lose their kinship w/ the non-human."

- paragraphs 1, 2, & 5 are quotes from the great book by Daniel Nettle & Suzanne Romaine's entitled "Vanishing Voices - The Extinction of the World's Languages" & the 3rd, 4th, & 6th paragraphs are from my review of that ( https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/524556-biolinguistic-diversity?chapter=1 )

I made a movie of these 1st 6 paragraphs being performed in various ways. This movie includes footage from this May Day Cabaret premier: https://archive.org/details/ELIPabridged

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

420. "Soap Box Opera - episode 6"

- corner of Finland & Melwood, 8th Annual Polish Hill May Day Parade, Pittsburgh, us@

- Saturday, April 29, 2017EV, afternoon

- For 6 years now I've given a short speech at a midway point in our annual Polish Hill May Day Parade. I love this parade & think it's a community event of great importance & generally plenty of fun too. This year, alas, the megaphone I was using ran out of power before I got to give the speech so we resorted to "The People's Megaphone" which meant that a group of volunteers repeated short sections of the speech as I recited it in small fragments. It was probably very hard to understand this way but it was very nice & cooperative for the people who assisted with this to do so. THANK YOU.

"Hi Everybody! Congratulations on creating an EIGHTH Annual Polish Hill May Day Parade!

How many people love the Public Library?

How many people love the Public Parks?

I love them too.. and, yet, the public libraries & many of the museums were created thanks to the vision of Andrew Carnegie, arguably a robber baron; and the creation of Frick Park was funded by the spoils of Henry Clay Frick, Carnegie's partner robber baron. As Howard Zinn tells it in his book entitled "The People's History of the United States":

"In early 1892, the Carnegie Steel plant at Homestead, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh, was being managed by Henry Clay Frick while Carnegie was in Europe. Frick decided to reduce the workers' wages and break their union. He built a fence 3 miles long and 12 feet high around the steelworks and topped it with barbed wire, adding peepholes for rifles. When the workers did not accept the pay cut, Frick laid off the entire work force. The Pinkerton detective agency was hired to protect the strikebreakers."

NOW, what if WE, we the people of the May Day Parade, were to create our own institutions, what if this parade IS an institution? What if we were to create something as important as the libraries & parks but founded in a spirit that doesn't exploit workers? That doesn't pollute? What if we already have?

In 2001, some Pittsburgh anarchists founded things like "Book 'Em", a books-to-prisoners program, "Free Ride", a co-op to enable affordably working on and acquiring bicycles, and the "Big Idea", an anarchist Infoshop. All three are still going strong seventeen years later!

In 1971, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, a non-profit institution, began as a filmmaking-equipment access cooperative and as one of the oldest and largest media arts centers in the United States. Food Not Bombs was founded in 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts and that caught on in Pittsburgh by no later than the 1990s.

In the 2000s, Babyland has united a significant group of creative and productive people and NOW there's the ambitious Blumcraft Building pulling together even more people! It's fantastic.

What if the institutions created by all this positive egalitarian energy were still going strong 100 years from now?! There are so many possibilities. Take, for example, this quote of good cheer from a book called "Vanishing Voices":

"The Kuna Indians of Panama, for instance, have recently set up the world's first internationally recognized forest park created and run by indigenous people."

I wish us all luck. Remember, Frick himself didn't build that 3 mile long fence, he hired people to do it. May we never fall prey to the character assassins and the goonies, may the power-hungry never turn egalitarian institutions into hierarchies. Happy May Day!"

- The movie from this is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/A_8Vgf97WMg

- recollections from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

 

 

 

 

to index

to Introduction & Glossary

to Personal Favorites: 1959-1989

to Personal Favorites: 1990-2009

to Personal Favorites: 2010-

to Mere Outline BalTimOre