Sunday, June 12, 2005

There's safety on the shore

HALF JAPANESE "Trouble in the Water"

I've heard that when Bruce Conner, the California-based artist who's made fascinating things in a lot of different media for the last fifty or so years (collage/ assemblage/ film/ performance/ sculpture/ tapestry/ photography/ art direction/ drawing/ printmaking/ inkblots/ etc.) had a show in Manhattan in the early-to-mid 1980s, he hadthe great Half Japanese perform at the opening.

B.C. is a dude so amazingly talented and beyond-cool, I have a theory he's really ten people pretending to be one person. I'm serious. Lately I'm obsessed with the songs that Don Fleming sang while in 1/2 Jap, as well as his band the Velvet Monkeys, who are as due for serious reconsideration/ vinyl reissueization as Mofungo, Slovenly, Yeah Yeah Noh, the Loft, World of Pooh, Desperate Bicycles, the Shanks, June Brides, De Artsen, 39 Clocks, Uncle Wiggly and the Tinklers (which is to say a lot.)

The Smithsonian has an interview with Conner conducted in 1973 by Paul Cummings, archived here. Ohh shit, and here's another one done by another dude in 1974. I haven't even read these yet, I will when I have the time. You probably know this already but it's news to me: a DVD of the two films that Conner collaborated with Terry Tiley on is now available. The two are old pals. You could have designed a better cover for the disc with your ass, I know -- but just be very glad this exists. These films are awesome, especially "Looking for Mushrooms," and were never included in either of the two long out of print VHS collections of Conner's work that I watch pretty regularly since they're like the best things ever.

Thanks to the driven and brilliant Kevin Nutt of Case Quarter records/ Sinner's Crossroads radio show for sending this Rev. Charlie Jackson MP3 which I'm posting because it's a beautiful Sunday in Portland and I've now listened to this a dozen times despite the crappy sound quality and I personally love it so maybe you will too. Kevin writes:

This is from a boom box tape that Rev Charlie Jackson made himself during a live performance sometime in the late 1980s. Poor sound quality but it gives an idea of the stunning ferocity Jackson could produce live and in the church. Listen for the harmonica in the background.


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