This morning, sleeping not yoga-ing, a little message from Alison in Adelaide, “Dear frances … i am pleased to hav approved $15000 for ur project! Wo hoo! Yay! Xxxxx”.
I’m feeling slightly delirious again …
I mean to say, Arts SA have funded pestilence, for development early next year. This is the third part of the cycle of works that started with extermination and hell. And so I get to play with some of my favourite dancers once more.
And equally thrilling is Alison herself getting Triennnial funding.
Champagne!!! etc. I expect a rather drunken night at La Boheme soon.
Friday teaching improvisation at ADT, and I decide the appropriate soundtrack is sunn0))), Gabrielle is there, and normally I have a slight aversion to music I’ve used in previous works, but Hell-O)))-Ween is such a beautiful meditation on doom and heaviness, and Gabby says, “Oh hell was so much fun, we should do it again”, which puts a base thought in my head considering besides $50 on costumes the budget paid mostly for fees. Anyway, I’ll leave you ripe with the desire to see hell in Adelaide.
Some good news and … nominally bad news today, I’ll leave the former ’til I can elaborate, but the latter … Arts Victoria didn’t fund my next work, pestilence (I need a category for this soon). I’m quite relieved, the thought of going back to Melbourne is distasteful, and I feel the support of my work there – I mean explicitly financially – was really quite shit. This frees me of ever having to think about making work there again, so I’m quite happy, and possibly will want to get drunk again later to celebrate.
I’ve been thinking about the cycle of works hell is a part of, my love of blackness and trying to coalesce the final two works into something, still depending on Jean Baudrillard as the foundation for all the works. Perhaps by the time I get to the fourth work, religion will be dead, but when I discovered Häxan today, or perhaps rediscovered because it seems so familiar, I know at least where the next two works are going.
Is it true that it displays witches cavorting naked with lusty devils? Is a baby really drained of blood before it’s tossed into a stew pot? What’s this about women lining up to kiss Satan’s bulbous ass? Inquisitional torture? Flying on broomsticks? Hysterical nuns? Sacrilege and perversion? Demonic orgies? Otherworldly monstrosities emerging from between an old crone’s legs? And it’s a documentary? And is there really a version narrated by William S. “The Naked Lunch” Burroughs, complete with acid jazz soundtrack? It’s all true.’
Being the day when a carpenter who has fantastically scant evidence for ever having existed in the first place was hung up on the objects of his trade and encouraged to die, I thought I start my erratic wasting a couple of hours by mocking god-botherers.
Pharyngula mostly writes about biology and has dead sexy aquatic porn, like photos of Hagfish embryos. Quite regularly though he likes to ridicule, and laugh at creationists, believers, all the usual vacuousness of faith, especially if it comes from a scientist.
In a lazy Friday destruction of Dr Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, he says, “I would suggest that this argument by Collins would be better answered by supporting the divinity of Julius Caesar. His existence is far better supported than that of Jesus; we even have examples of his writings preserved, with monuments and first hand personal accounts of his life. He allowed himself to be called a god — Deo Invicto, no less — and his successor built temples to the Divus Julius. It’s awfully silly that Collins thinks the argument that either Caesar or Jesus was a god generates uncertainty, that he resolves in one direction for one of the pair, and in the other direction for the other.”
Far more important though, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month if you live in the United States. I doubt a month will make much difference though, but I would like to see all my friends who have complete assholes for partners stop making excuses and choose April as the month to take out the garbage.
Back to China.
The Chongqing Nailhouse suddenly became news if you spoke English. The New York Times had a piece, and I was sitting at Orange a couple of days ago and saw it in The Age too. Hamish McDonald used to be the Beijing correspondent replaced a while ago by Mary-Ann Toy, but there’s no change in the approach to China coverage from either The Age or Sydney Morning Herald. Admittedly I read a lot of blogs and news coverage coming out of China, but these papers are consistently a week or two behind, provide inadequate and cursory appraisal, and largely seem to get their news from a small subset of China blogs. If that’s all it takes to get a gig at The Age, I wanna be in the Guangzhou office. (I’ll just read 在桥下流 and put my name to whatever Feng37 blogs about.)
Mainstream Media and the dereliction of Theatre. Both Nicholas Pickard and Alison Croggin from different incidents come to the same point about their respective city’s papers attenuated interest in performing arts, which is pretty similar to their coverage of China, viz. the nailhouse above. Over the other side of the world, New York Times previews Becky, Jodi and John that opened a couple of days ago.
Of course I have to finish with trannys, what do you think I am?
Another sublime one-liner dressed in a lurid font, Meghan Chevalier’s Confessions of a Transsexual Porn Star, who is the rather famous subject to whom the title refers. I sometimes wonder about my social standing when I seem to have quite a familiarity with the world of shemale porn…
One film I never did manage to find in Guangzhou, despite being banned for decades was Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo – Cina. Zhou Enlai and others were hoping for an ode to the marvelousness of the Cultural Revolution and communist China, what they got was not what they wanted. As for the four hour documentary now, The 88s tell all about it.
“If Guangzhou’s problem with street crime makes southern China seem a dangerous place … denizens of the province of Guangdong were less worried about the odd mugging or bag snatching than they were about rampant banditry or pillaging rebel armies.” I thought it was Feng37 blogging about media reports of what a scary place Guangzhou is, especially with all those Fulan migrant workers. Actually it’s about the 开平碉楼 watchtowers in Kaiping that are on the verge of UNESCO World Heritage listing.
I read Symbolic Exchange and Death until I wore out two copies, and I mean I was embarrassed about how poorly I treated these books, soaked in food and drink, shoved in bags and satchels until dog-eared and furry soft, my take-everywhere always-ready-for-a-good-time book, slept with and fell asleep in, I have had a love affair I feel guilty about only because it has never been boring. So here is, amongst pages I know so well I can close my eyes and see the crenelated outlines of paragraphs, a quote that was the heart of hell.
Like so many others, the mad, children and the old, have only become ‘categories’ under the sign of the successive segregations that have marked the development of culture. The poor, the under-developed, those with sub-normal IQs, perverts, transsexuals, intellectuals and women all form the basis of an increasingly racist definition of the ‘normal human’. It is not normal to be dead.
I’m so utterly devastated. He has been the single most important thinker, writer, philosopher for me, in my work, in my life for almost a decade … I can’t say any more.
French philosopher Jean Baudrillard dies
PARIS: Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher and social theorist known for his provocative commentaries on consumerism, excess and what he said was the disappearance of reality, died Tuesday, his publishing house said. He was 77.
Baudrillard died at his home in Paris after a long illness, said Michel Delorme, of the Galilee publishing house.
The two men had worked together since 1977, when “Oublier Foucault” (Forget Foucault) was published, one of about 30 books by Baudrillard, Delorme said by telephone.
Among his last published books was “Cool Memories V,” in 2005.
Baudrillard, a sociologist by training, is perhaps best known for his concepts of “hyperreality” and “simulation.”
Baudrillard advocated the idea that spectacle is crucial in creating our view of events — what he termed “hyperreality.” Things do not happen if they are not seen to happen.
He gained fame, and notoriety, in the English-speaking world for his 1991 book “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place.” In the first Gulf War, he claimed, nothing was as it appeared.
The public’s — and even the military’s — view of the conflict came largely through television images; Saddam Hussein was not defeated; the U.S.-led coalition scarcely battled the Iraqi military and did not really win, since little was changed politically in Iraq after all the carnage. All the sound and fury signified little, he argued.
The Sept. 11 attacks, in contrast, were the hyper-real event par excellence — a fusion of history, symbolism and dark fantasy, “the mother of all events.”
His views on the attacks sparked controversy. While terrorists had committed the atrocity, he wrote, “It is we who have wanted it. . . . Terrorism is immoral, and it responds to a globalization that is itself immoral.”
Although many Americans were puzzled by his views, Baudrillard was a tireless enthusiast for the United States — though he once called it “the only remaining primitive society.”
“Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise,” he wrote. “Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other.”
French Education Minister Gilles de Robien said “We lose a great creator.”
“Jean Baudrillard was one of the great figures of French sociological thought.”
Born west of Paris in Reims on June 20, 1929, Baudrillard, the son of civil servants, began a long teaching career instructing high school students in German. After receiving a doctorate in sociology, he taught at the University of Paris in Nanterre.
Paul Williams, who shot the 16mm film of extermination came into watch the dress run and pre-show warm-up run of hell and shot a fridge-full of high-speed 35mm photographs of us acting like mental patients. The results are sometimes unprintable and will stay within our select little group to avoid being jailed as some kind of debauched internet porn ring. The remainder, in which we all look seriously fucking beautiful I’ll slap up here over the next couple of days.
Two days of hell. I can’t really say a lot about it right now, it was insane, mental, fucking terrifying sometimes, a riot of fun and mayhem, sweaty, dirty bodies everywhere… The tyrannical pirate Paul Williams took photos, and there is a couple of videos floating around, waiting to get dumped to computer and bled out into the internet very soon. In the meantime though here’s some photos from after the warm-up run and before the real thing on Saturday, and onto the (execrable nanny-state bug-up-the-arse “we’ve decided not to serve your table”) Vodka Bar and the cheese frenzy at chez Paul that lasted all night, especially fueled by vodka/cranberry/lime/pink grapefruit soda, and lasted all very lazy Sunday. So, hell is over for now, and it’s been a blast and something of a reunion for us who haven’t been all together in the same room or even country or hemisphere for about six years. But if I could ever imagine dream company of dancers and assorted delinquents, this is it.
Dance Works is nice and cool inside even when outside was something disgusting, so there was no way I was going to leave for anything as stupid as a break. Sleeping on the floor, Emile shifting stuff around, Bonnie and Gala reading lots of nothing for everyone as we got all the junk together that makes rehearsals a show. Or something.
And Luke was rehearsing at Chunky Move during the day, so we didn’t really start anything until about 7pm, when even sitting around stretching induced great slathers of sweat and muck. This rehearsal was it, whatever we had and however we strung it together, that would be the showing on Friday (unless I get some strange idea in the interim). Costumes, and I use the word extremely loosely, are very manky, old white grandma underwear that got soaked and dirty by the time we’d kneeled down to start. It’s all very un-dance.
I changed some of the music in the “lesbian pinching flesh orgy” scene to the black mass church organ metal of Italian ‘prog-rockers’ Jacula’s track Magister Dixit off their sublime In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum. Creepiness and over-sexed meat-puppets all round. That and some clean-up stuff, and ‘avoid the monitors while stage-diving’ routines got us ready for the first real run of the beast.
Lily smacked me a great head-butt in the mush about 1 minute in, while Gala and I were busy strangling her naked “I don’t wanna die!!!” body, all immersed in the combination of wet-dog heat, instant shower quantities of sweat and a weird mix of everything alternating randomly between slippery and sticky. About 10 minutes in, I had a thought, “crap we forgot to turn the video camera on”, but Luke had me a puppetified corpse, so I was busy groping Gab. Who was later busy groping Bonnie, while we strung up Lily in a hostage scene and dispatched yet another grocery sack of viscera.
It gets all serious when Bonnie, in complete darkness describes how she died, but in the blackout no-one can see what Luke is up to in preparation for the next scene, the demonic butoh/Canton Opera Raccon Prince number, in which Gab usually ends by climbing up Luke, but this time just slid off. Haha!!! feel the invincibility of my sweat!!! And then on to Botticelli, one of those bits that goess between fun and terrifying to do and then we get to the end and it’s all round stunned silence. Followed by a plane crash.
Well I didn’t mean to give a track listing of the piece, but there it is. 43 minutes of HELL. On tonight.