Some ALTERED relevant S.P.C.S.M.E.F. Correspondence


I thought I was the only one! Brine Shrimp are the only hope for the future. Without brine shrimp, where will all the Sea Monkeys go? And what about all the Sea Monkey costumes and costume makers? I remember going to the circus as a child. Summers in Wisconsin.



Dear President Emeritus of the S.P.C.S.M.E.F.,

As I sit here moved to tears,

"I remember going to the circus as a child. Summers in Wisconsin."

I remember sitting behind you at the circus looking at my diagnostic screen & thinking "By Jingo! If we don't get this lad his brine shrimp sweat he's a goner fer sure!" I'm glad everything worked out ok - but what about future generations?

See you in the great beyond,



unfortunately i am currently unaware of any experimental film makers exploiting brine shrimp in the process of their creative endeavors. however i am aware of a particular film maker who sacrificed the life of a fish transplanting its (for lack of a better word) guts into the body of a doll. but the poor kid couldn't even cut the fish himself but had to resort to calling a friend of his who happened to be a biology student. i haven't seen the work yet, so if you're even remotely interested in fish rights i can get back to you. i really just wanted to congratulate you on your truly brilliant commentary on stan brakhage. He came to austin last year, thanks to in*situ, a local film group, and i had the most fun attempting to relate his critical discussions of each film with the actual work, grasping for connections. then he started talking about his muse and working in a trance state, and then i reached my fill of abstract expressionism for the day and started to wonder why he's so fucking famous. oh well. good luck in your fight for freedom.




Hello Seth,

It truly was amusing when Mr. Brakhage went into postulating about the paradox of funeral flowers before one film and then talked of the "WORLD TREE MYTH" (whatever the fug that is) for the next....and the only substantial difference between the films was a 15 second shot of a tree. AND then he gave us some mumbo jumbo about the similarities between film and music and how he was "composing" the in "". I thought this was kinda interesting so i tried to pay extra close attention to the amount and spacing of the colors but as with all the other films they didnt seem to have any correlation to the other frames. Bah! what a fart. Not to mention, the fact that at every opportunity he plugged his use of brine shrimp in methods he used......murderer.

Valete, Valeo

Etta Cetera pretending to represent tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE


Dear S.P.C.S.M.E.F. member extraordinaire,

"i really just wanted to congratulate you on your truly brilliant commentary on stan brakhage. He came to austin last year, thanks to in*situ, a local film group, and i had the most fun attempting to relate his critical discussions of each film with the actual work, grasping for connections. then he started talking about his muse and working in a trance state, and then i reached my fill of abstract expressionism for the day and started to wonder why he's so fucking famous."

Yeah, I'm proud of the way I sneaked in my commentary thru the back door & thru the kitchen window too, so to speak - just to make sure it got thru. Why is he so famous? Because he's a good art world salesman & self-promoter. Sometimes I don't care, but lately I've been getting pretty peeved. I mean ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (or some such). Doesn't anybody notice that most famous art world figures get that way just by bullshitting prolifically? I mean, sometimes there's so much theory surrounding the actual object or action that critics don't even notice that the theory is just a decoy to distract people's attention from there not being anything else there. Doesn't anybody remember the Emperor's New Clothes? Brakhage is an excellent speaker &, in my opinion, a pretty damn lame filmmaker. Critics love Brakhage because they love language more than they love film & they mistake the 2 for being the same thing when they write about it.

Brakhage's talk about what his films 'mean' was completely laughable. His "Ygdrasil" film, for example, is supposedly about the World Tree & how we see it & absorb it as an archetype into ourselves. Oh yeah? & how does he get that across in the film? He informed the audience that I was in that he showed us a tree & images from a car. The tree supposedly represented the World Tree & the car scenes supposedly represented the process of our filtering sights into ourselves. I don't buy it! Hey! I won't even BORROW it - let alone BUY IT! In my opinion, in order for the above pompous claim to hold 'true', the film would've had to, in some way WITHIN THE FILM, established the tree not just as ANY TREE but as a SYMBOL for the WORLD TREE ARCHETYPE. Without Brakhage 'explaining', there is nothing offered that makes that tree anything other than just a tree for the viewers. Of course, the viewers can attach whatever associations they like but they're not likely to suddenly take that 'leap of faith' into Brakhage's bullshit unless they're highly gullible, are they? As 1 friend said, he just got the impression that Brakhage just shoots anything (& rarely do his images interest me) & uses it all. Then he makes up the explanation afterwards lest anyone think he's not a 'HEAVY'. Ho hum.

Even at the plain ole level of filmmaking he was full of shit. Despite his claims of how hard it was to do what he does, as a filmmaker who DOES DO VERY INTRICATE DIRECT-ON-FILM WORK, I can safely attest that he's almost purely a noodler. His hand-painted films made no serious attempt to develop any specific frame-to-frame relationship. He does little more than slop the paint on & then get someone at a lab to change it a little to give slight differences between the films - & I DO MEAN SLIGHT!

We all have hypnogogic vision & I doubt that any human, including Brakhage, has ever had hypnogogic vision like his films. If he were serious, he'd have a frame-to-frame development that would evoke the pointillism of hypnogogic vision in a profound way instead of just passing off his shallow abstract expressionism as the 'real thing'.

Of course, I'm only giving the quick critique here. Brakhage's claim to be working along "musical" lines was as stupid as everything else he said. I don't mean to say that I have some narrow idea of what MUSIC must be & that he doesn't fall into it. To the contrary. He compared his films to the mathematically intricate work of Bach & such-like - as being sequenced with specific color units in a way analagous to the chromatic precision of a fugue, etc.. I mean, go bullshit someone who doesn't know what you're talking about Stan! Not only does he not do that, he's pretty far afield. Gimme Norman McLaren any day (or, for that matter, my own "The "Official" John Lennon's Erection as Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich"). He name-drops Buxtehude & Bach et al in order to associate himself with the "greats" that the audience respects without probably understanding them. A similar sly technique of self-glorification was also used by him when he explained how influential his film "Commingled Containers" was. Considering that this film consists of little more than shots of rushing water taken by inserting an extended lens into the water, I found this claim to be ludicrous in the light of films by Paul Sharits, Konstantin Petruk Moon, Matthias Mueller & many others (including myself - since I'd conducted a similar TRIVIAL experiment in 1981 - many, MANY years before Brakhage did).

The bottom line here is that Brakhage & Kenneth Anger, amongst others, are so canonized that audiences are completely blinded by their image. Anger gave a slide show @ the Warhol Museum (where I weekend & fill-in project) which I thought was abysmally shallow & which struck me as appealing mainly to people too lame to have their own lives & who, therefore, have to live it vicariously thru the trivia about Hollywood types that Anger presented. At the end, Anger was hawking advance sales of the 3rd volume of his "Hollywood Babylon" & people were eating it up. The thing that disgusted me was that he claimed to need the money so that he could make a NEW FILM! I mean, gimme a break, the guy's only made 9 films - at least 4 of which I consider to be total fluff - & he hasn't made 1 for something like 25 years! If he were a filmmaker, he'd be making films. The budget he supposedly had for "Kustom Kar Kommandoes" was larger than the budget for all 189 movies together that I've made to date! (as of November 1998) - & that includes 1 feature-length 16mm - something Anger's never even pulled off. He's a classic example of what the Church of Satan would call a "psychic vampire". Yuk!

Brakhage expressed sympathy for how rough it must be for experimental filmmakers of today. No wonder! While Brakhage can get a month-long retrospective of his films at the Warhol (that 4 people might actually watch), I could never even have an evening of my work screened there (even though I work there) for the simple reason that I'm not a "BIG NAME" - even though I've been a filmmaker for 24 years!! Lawdy.

Ok, enough quasi-impassioned 'plaining,

Yours in protecting the little shrimps (instead of the BIG ones),



Dear Sir (ma'am),

I respond to your notification concerning sea monkeys and their abuse by one Stan Brakhage, non-experimental filmmaker. I am also not an experimental filmmaker as all of my films were made on film (etc.) I would, however, like to experiment in the field of films on sea monkeys, as I am sick and tired of the sneers and denigrations directed at my lack of experience with zoo-cinegraphology. And I consider a few thousand arthropod (?) lives only too just a sacrifice to this great enterprise.

Hic Rhodus, Hic Salta!

Dr. Jackson P. Broadway, DD, PhD


Dear Anon & assorted demonic avatars:

I have taken the liberty of plagiarizing your post and supplementing it just a bit. If you wish to further plagiarize upon my plagiarism, you are most welcome to do so. If not, the same. Plagiarisms follow:

Having listened to avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage speak about his astighymenopterous vision and having learned that brine shrimp were used in the making of some of his films and then additionally having seen some hideous examples of recently cinematized brine shrimps, a number of individuals, including many from the K.E.S., were horrified and outraged enough to demand the immediate discontinuation of these crimes committed upon insects.

It is a well-known fact that certain paints used in hand-painting celluloid can lead to kidney and bladder cancer. Recall that the bladder is to the sea-monkey what the lungs are to us. Hence, in brine shrimp this cancer is particularly devastating since problems voiding water in sea creatures can lead to their DROWNING - an especially horrible death! Imagine the analogous horror of suffocating from breathing air which cannot then be released from the lungs! Image being ballooned to death! Then imagine the still greater horror of being water-ballooned to death!

Many will recall Brakhage's similarly inhumane treatment of the Gypsy Moth-- whose name itself derives from its analogous relation to the plight of the European Raggle-Taggle Gypsy-- nearly wiped from the face of the earth by the Nazis during the filming of WW II (apparently Leni Riefenstahl objected to the way they looked on screen). Brakhage has been waging his own war on God's tiny creatures for years now-- perhaps inspired by some misguided jealous hatred of the former entomologist and Surrealist filmmaker, Luis Bunuel.

When proposals for first actions were put forward in the S.P.C.S.M.E.F., and the possibility of boycotting Mr. Brakhage's films was raised, it was decided that he was NOT an experimental filmmaker because he uses the same techniques over & over again & simply describes each film differently. Hence, the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. is now redirecting its pursuits away from Brakhage and is currently engaged in the process of soliciting information about truly experimental filmmakers who misuse sea-monkeys but who remain unknown because of their lack of canonization.

In a festive gesture alluding to the migratory habits of the brine shrimp, those brave nomads which shuttle themselves back and forth across the Sahara upon the rough current of the Sirocco, the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. gathered outside of the Grammy Awards last night to hold a candle vigil and sing-along. S.P.C.S.M.E.F. members, armed only with their own courage-inspiring moral-faith and these small bits of burning wax, produced a moving three-hour long rendition of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" whose lyrics they altered somewhat to reflect the plight of the sea monkey and their demand that the US government encourage the establishment of a homeland for these helpless creatures.

Recently, the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. has also issued a statement to MoMA officials, suggesting that all of the films screened in its ongoing BIG AS LIFE series be preceded by a brief disclaimer announcing that "No Sea Monkeys were Harmed in the Making of This Film."


-- The Kino-Ethics Society: an organization devoted to the humane treatment of non-intelligent life in and around cinema and all things cinematic

copyright the K.E.S. News, KES news services 2/26/98: All Rights Resiled.


Dear K.E.S representative!

With 2 such powerful organizations bonded together, no-one can stop us! Look out Hollis Frampton (ok, so he's dead); Look out Kenneth Anger!; Look out Stan Brakhage (even if you aren't experimental)! The concerned Partners of People Who Look the Other Way won't stand aside & let you bullshit us any longer!

"S.P.C.S.M.E.F. members, armed only with their own courage-inspiring moral-faith and these small bits of burning wax, produced a moving three-hour long rendition of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" whose lyrics they altered somewhat to reflect the plight of the sea monkey and their demand that the US government encourage the establishment of a homeland for these helpless creatures."

Yes, "Blowin' in the Wind" was also a reference to Newton & Helen Harrison's "Brine Shrimp Farm" made for the Los Angeles County Museum's "Art & Technology" project around 1971 & its relationship to their later work in Monsoon Simulation. As Jack Burnham wrote regarding a different Harrison piece in his "Contemporary Ritual: a search for meaning in post-historical terms" essay reproduced in his "great western salt works" book, "The real focus should have been on the fact that humans feeding on lesser-developed life forms remains a fundamental aspect of ritual art."

By the by, just to let you 'know' that this is not a 'lone nut' operation but is, instead, an organization that PROPHETICALLY anticipated this problem BEFORE FILMMAKING WAS INVENTED, the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. is now proud to annouce that its membership has risen to a phenomenal 7 people who are each over 200 years old.


vehemently denying any connection with that upstart Etta Cetera & her completely bonkers so-called "Theosophical Shrimp Job Cult"


The Kino-Ethics Society utilizes the term "insect" idiosyncratically as a designation of all of the creatures human science classifies under the phylum Arthropoda, including the crustacea, the acerata, the malacopoda, the dilopoda, and the insteca or insects proper. In familiar linguistic usage, it is as common, and as taxonomically incorrect, to refer to members of the class acerata as "insects" as it is in the language of the market place to refer to the tomatoe as a vegetable. The K.E.S., apparently concerned with the particularly derogatory connotations attached to the term "insect" has politicized the mis-designation by foregrounding the mistake and applying it to all the Arthropods. K.E.S. was also concerned that the phylum's latinization in its scientific nominalization participated in a form of morphological "anthropomorphizing," the name itself sonically mimicking and taking on the phonetic characterictics of the Anthropoinae, that unhappy sub-order of primates to which the so-called "humans" belong.

Kino- Ethics Society


Subject: To the Phenomenal Seven of the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. from The Princess Possessed




The Lost Footnotes to Jack Spicer's Exorcism of Jean Cocteau's Orpheus




Note: most of the footnotes are missing. I will have to find them and restore them if I can. If I cannot, I will surely die. I am getting a lot of static. I love you too, Polly Peachum. So it is written, so it shall be done. Et tu, PMLA?









I am not saying that Kenneth Anger is guilty of those charges. Like Leni with Adolph, if Kenny had only listened to me, maybe he could have been the great leader he dreamed of being. He still seems to be popular and credible in magazines.


They say his favorite breakfast is not breakfast at all.

It is toast.

& Gloves.

Hand gloves.

Syllables are the fingers of a word's hand.

One uses them to lift the toast itself, to hold the knife, to butter it, to

say hello.


I'm not saying syllable just for show, if the toast had listened to me he would still be alive today, like my Uncle Claudius. If Jean Marais really loved me the way he says he does, he would put down that martini and drop me a post card. If Orpheus and Euridice really loved one another the way they say they do, they would spend less time time at the mirror and more money on shrimp cocktail.


That is the first footnote. It makes its appearance in the place of hands.

Handsome, aren't they?






Jean Maurais, plausibly masquerading the part of French film actor, is in actuality a famous Norwegian Aristocrat from North Carolina - a Rhett Butler looking sort of man without the glass eye. He is an expert on French Poetry, fine wines and the history of the Hermetic Tradition like my other friend the surrealist poet Jean Cocteau's Orpheus. Norway is a country made entirely of whales. It's not really their fault. It is really the fault of Rhine wines,

Jean Epstein's all time favorite rhyme.




Hickory-Dickory Dock

Two Mice raced up the Clock

The Clock Struck

One and the Mice

Fell Dumb

Held spellbound in

Three minutes of Silence


The mice are foolishly taken in by Apollo's charms and Dionysos' kegs. This is a big mistake in the cinema where silence is a major form of disaster.



I don't always have to draw a broken line.


footnote four: The poet expresses the obvious and self-apparent fact that he is the only fucking one in charge. Though obvious, this is obviously not true. The poet, like the mice, is self-deluded.



It is not my fault

Said the Poet, No

I guess it

Is, he reconsiders



twelve footnotes went into the poem here but only one returned. That makes thirteen, responded the Cheshire cat, and showed the underside of his cock.


The Cat

In the Hat


And Spat

On this and That

& This spat back

Reactive as he was

Though That didn't

Give a shit

Having been raised strictly on potatoes


That is a friend of Adolph Coors.

This is the original author of the script for Alice in Wonderland but he sold the rights before they were produced. Hence this important work of Surrealist Cinema accidentaly became a book and remain a film by virtue of virtuality alone.


The Cat, with or without the hat, is an obvious reference to the second footnote.




ALTERNATIVE TO FOOTNOTE 4: Someone says "Brecht" and you jump out of your pants.




[3] [counting backwards from sheep to bo-peep]

Coors is the king of beers.

Adolf is the king of aryans.







There is that line again. It is hard to make things go away. They are like people you don't like but that like you. You are like Rene Descarte's cogito.

It is bigger than anything, but doesn't stand up on its own. Those are the breaks. You need them to avoid a serious accident.









Jee Zuss! Look at all this open space! Ah! nature! Glorious!



























Maya Deren, spinster, was, by surrealist means to remain in abeyance by further surrealistic means, the first canonical American filmmaker (Meshes of New England), probably the first American woman, undoubtedly the first real American, and a major figure in the lives of Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, William Cullen Bryant, and the Ghost of Sergei Eisenstein. She was the daughter of Judy Garland, a leader of the Macedonians, close to Alexander-- even closer to his enemies. Thus Deren, moved by an alliance made between Dionysos & Apollo, spread the news of Hellenism to the States. That was really big news back in those days, because it was before newspapers. Of course they had television, but tv did'nt really catch-on since there were still no cigarette ads.



Alex is famous for crushing Alexander Hamilton's Rebellion and was one of the first Speakers of the House of the US Congress. Maya's mother, Pamela May Sedgwick, was the daughter of Jonathan Edwards, the "hell fire and brimstone" preacher who invented Princeton and finger sandwiches. Before that, everyone had to eat her sandwich with a spoon.


Soon gloves became neccesary in order to hide the evidence of gourmetism-- this being the United States after all. On that day, the first syllable was born, and it was Princeton. Jonathan Edwards looked upon his work and saw that it was good.


After a day of rest, Jonathan once again picked up his ass and invented his son-in-law Arron Burr's father (the first President), who died young, but not as young as Arthur Rimbaud when he stopped writing poetry.


For this Arthur Rimbaud was made to suffer.

As was his poetry.



That makes Arron Burr, who shot Hamilton in a duel, Arthur Rimbaud's cousin,

and Maya Deren's Uncle.


And recall that it was Arthur Rimbaud's nephew's brother, Ellery Queen Sedgwick, the famous editor of The Atlantic, who later published P. Adams Sitney, David James, and Teddy Kennedy.


















Curious coincidence that Kenneth Anger's real name is Jack Be Nimble.







The Poet's italics for paranormal reasons to be explained below have disappeared for paranormal reasons.







Sulkilly, my reluctant

Muse breaks

Like a little girl, in


Thomas' English


The Daughter of Muffins,

My Reluctance, you

Break lines A la Dylan,

But you Bake

Like a little girl, in




FOOT NOTE : Note: the feet are hands. They are, indeed, and as such, quite handsome on there own right.


Concerning, reluctance: many is the time I held her in my arms as she wept with the memories of her long lost museum...


Sulky, with her throaty upper-crust enunciations had her moments when to quote Henry James she was 'all stringbeans and charmingly tossed head lettuce.'


Be aware, reader of this reading, Kenneth Anger's film concerning urination features a woman who resembles Sulky (in the role of Kundrie who mocked Christ and is yet the Messenger of the Grail) as closely as Pee-wee Herman resembles Socrates.

































"Give me a kiss to build a dream on." Did the reader infer this line or did the mice act as underwriters? No matter. The poet enjoys a good dirty trick just as much as the next guy, well, almost as much, more I guess. Though I do miss the parties. Sulky, who had been close to Deren and Hamilton, was always playing tricks on poetry and Arthur Rimbaud like a mischievous Cupid trying to

get them together.






An ending to a new beginning:

"Science proceeds as if the past were the home of explanation; whereas the future has no home, having been abandoned before reaching puberty." Sulky wrote that in 1908, before there was such a thing as the future, and it still reads well today. This is because all real poetry is enhanced by a cup o joe and a couple of finger sandwiches.


They are better

Than Soup even

Really good Soup

Cause you don't need

A spoon and


Are your Fingers

And your Fingers

Are Syllables



Love, the Ghost of Jack Spicer in the Guise of the Ghost of the Princess in

the Guise of various and assorted mice


My dear Etta Cetera (and attendant cronies),

Any pathetic mewling as regards the fate (tortured or otherwise) of my spineless brethren can only but increase the magnitude of my desire to hop to their cinematic application. I am but stymied in attempt to mold their (trainable!) frilly little carapaces into a transparent, yet flexible substratum for my sea monkey carapace gelatin (a problem oh! so close to that of Edison, etc.) But O how I dream and wonder at the nefarious new possibilites which may open to those of the artistic persuasion; imagine this wholly! entirely! new! medium, a marine art to rank with knot-tying and sail-cutting, salt extraction and kelp cookery. Even now, I haunt the aisles of old comic stores, snatching up every copy of Archie and Classics Illustrated I find, and tearing out that precious ad with the little coupon (and I -never- forget to order another subscription to Grit while in the fervor of that magic moment). My shrimp paste dries, and their psychical screams of arthropic agony cheer the very cockles of my heart, and I continue to make films on film, at least for the time being...

Dr. Jackson P. Broadway, DD, PhD

Undersecretary, Institute for Cultural Phrenology



dear colleague,

the s.p.c.a.s.m.f.e.f. letter and traumatrope i.d. arrived safely. after careful reading and rereading, i was left exasperated, by the stance of the lengths at which these unsuspecting creatures are being abused. the filmmaker is the monster, of whom i'm referring- and by all means necessary- stopped. i accept my role on this earth to unaccepting volunteer exotic status. i refuse to have my eggs unknowingly taken away from my unwilling body. i have recently discovered another horror, these sea monkeys can be abused in other ways, i heard a childhood story today of senseless artemia death. the storyteller never fully recovered from the crushing experience and assured me that the artemia homicidal maniac was punished, although i do not believe in violence projection on any species, i felt that strain of existence (the kind that kills the s.m.), should have been corrected.

it warms my heart to be a part of this society (any society). i only hope to fulfill all of the sea monkey's wishes, which i believe to be alive.

best regards,

michelle dunn