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Shock Value: New York’s underground ‘Cinema of Transgression’
07:47 am


Lydia Lunch
Richard Kern
Nick Zedd

There are times in life when it seems that certain things, events, people or books have been strategically placed for our benefit. For example, I read Nick Zedd’s Totem of the Depraved which ends with the filmmaker homeless, on the streets looking for a place to stay when I was homeless, wandering streets, sleeping rough, and getting by however I could. The book was apposite and Zedd’s words kept me company through some uncomfortable nights. And of course, there was the inspiration, the small luminous epiphany—if artists like Zedd could get by, stay sane, live and create, then so could I.

Self-styled “King of the Underground” Nick Zedd was the pioneer and major player of New York’s Cinema of Transgression in the late 1970s and 1980s with his films They Eat Scum, Geek Maggot Bingo and Police State. Knowing that “History is whoever gets to the typewriter first,” Zedd edited the Xeroxed and stapled together zine The Underground Film Bulletin and wrote (under various aliases) reviews for his own films. In 1985, he composed the Cinema of Transgression Manifesto:

We who have violated the laws, commands and duties of the avant-garde; i.e. to bore, tranquilize and obfuscate through a fluke process dictated by practical convenience stand guilty as charged.

We openly renounce and reject the entrenched academic snobbery which erected a monument to laziness known as structuralism and proceeded to lock out those filmmakers who possesed the vision to see through this charade.

Zedd (writing under the pseudonym Orion Jeriko) described his comrades as “underground invisibles” and named them:

Zedd, Kern, Turner, Klemann, DeLanda, Eros and Mare, and DirectArt Ltd, a new generation of filmmakers daring to rip out of the stifling straight jackets of film theory in a direct attack on every value system known to man.

And announced what they were going to do:

We violate the command and law that we bore audiences to death in rituals of circumlocution and propose to break all the taboos of our age by sinning as much as possible. There will be blood, shame, pain and ecstasy, the likes of which no one has yet imagined. None shall emerge unscathed.

Since there is no afterlife, the only hell is the hell of praying, obeying laws, and debasing yourself before authority figures, the only heaven is the heaven of sin, being rebellious, having fun, fucking, learning new things and breaking as many rules as you can. This act of courage is known as transgression.

We propose transformation through transgression - to convert, transfigure and transmute into a higher plane of existence in order to approach freedom in a world full of unknowing slaves.

Filmmaker and photographer Richard Kern described the Cinema of Transgression as “a loose coalition of people who just joined together in order to have a movement.”

Along with Zedd, Kern was one of the was the group’s main players, making short brutal (some might say “depraved”) films like You Killed Me First (1985), Thrust in Me (1985), The Right Side of My Brain (1985) and Fingered (1986). These films teetered on the wire, and were so personally demanding (mentally and physically and in drink and drugs) that Kern eventually left New York City for a while for the sake of his health. 

Artist, writer, actress and performer, Lydia Lunch appeared in many of Kern’s movies and saw the Cinema of Transgression as a way to “show the ugly fucking truth the truth. Period.” Around her were artists like Joe Coleman, who began his career by biting the heads off mice, and became an alchemist—turning pain into gold.

While much of the Cinema of Transgression is now mainstream or like Kern’s photos suitable for the fashion shoot or cat walk, Nick Zedd continues to plow his own visionary path as artist and filmmaker. I, at least, now have a roof over my head.

Angélique Bosio’s documentary Llik Your Idols captures the excitement, thrill and power of the Cinema of Transgression, interviewing Nick Zedd, Richard Kern, Lydia Lunch, Joe Coleman, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and others.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lydia Lunch wants to be Louis CK’s ‘friend with benefits’

This was uploaded a couple of months ago, and how I missed it for this long I do not know, but No-Wave high priestess Lydia Lunch has posted a video openly soliciting a sexual relationship with the doughy ginger comedian Louis CK. I found it on the Vimeo page of photographer Jasmine Hurst, at which, if you’re a fan of Lunch, you should really have a look, as it also contains a recording of her Future Feminism monologue from a couple of weeks ago.

But back to the wanting to eff Louis CK (OK, specifically, she suggests jacking/jilling off in front of each other, but tomayto/tomahto)—it should be obvious that it’s a not-even-close-to-work-safe soliloquy, shot in a confessional-booth style, with lighting so blown out that Lunch looks disquietingly not unlike Jeff the Killer. Given that Lunch has been known to deploy sarcasm as a rhetorical tool from time to time, just once in a while, there might be some kind of satirical point to this, but I feel it can be enjoyed more fully just taken at face value. The balls are in your court, Louis.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Future Feminism: a social cultural and political vision for a feminine utopia
Dangerous women: Lydia Lunch interviews Admiral Grey of Cellular Chaos

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Future Feminism: A social, cultural and political vision for a feminine utopia

The power of pussy: The inimitable Kembra Pfahler, spreading the gospel with a friend

So much of the popular, social media-driven feminist discourse is desperately treading water these days. The advances we’ve made over the years that have drastically improved the lives of women (unions, better wages, health care advances , reproductive rights) are under attack, and it only makes sense that we’d cling to what little we have left. It’s in this frantic crisis that we can sometimes forget the more utopian ambitions of the feminist second wave—the impulse not to preserve what little we have, but to recreate society entirely, in a way that exceeds the meager ambitions we’ve come to accept. Future Feminism seeks to nurture and develop that impulse.

The brainchild of Kembra Pfhaler (best known for The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and her performance art), Johanna Constantine (of The Blacklips Performance Cult), Sierra and Bianca Casady (CocoRosie) and Antony Hegarty (Antony and The Johnsons), the collective is the result of three years’ of consensus-based artistic and intellectual collaboration, much of it forged during rigorous retreats in isolated locations.

Kembra Pfhaler, Johanna Constantine, Sierra Casady, Bianca Casady and Antony Hegarty, presumably on retreat
I had to opportunity to speak with Bianca Casady about the projects’ multi-faceted development.

“We didn’t have any plans, so we definitely didn’t have any models [for organizing],” Casady confesses, “it was five artists—the most obvious thing to do was an art project together, a co-authored piece.” The “group-authored sculptural work” is to be debuted at The Hole gallery in NYC, Thursday September 11, but it’s merely a fraction of the multimedia project that Future Feminism has bloomed into. The Hole also promises performances and lectures from such heroic foremothers as Lydia Lunch, Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović and no-wave goddess No Bra. The sculpture itself remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, as are the “13 Tenets of Future Feminism” they will reveal on the opening night.

The five artists central to the collective will perform a concert at Webster Hall this Sunday to fund the exhibition, as it’s completely artist-funded thus far. Casady notes that the relative independence and autonomy of the Future Feminist collective has allowed them the freedom and time necessary to truly work as a unified body, though the timing for the reveal could not be more provident.

Some of us are very unplugged from the media. Mostly we really come together as artists. We’re certainly noticing a lot of uprising and actions going on formally, and a lot of momentum and energy right now. The timing feels like less of a coincidence. It feels like things are at a boiling point.


Image from the Future Feminism Benefit Concert poster
No one can predict which projects will inspire or move the masses, but it’s exciting to see feminism embrace the ambition of utopian thinking again—and it’s especially powerful to see women working together and creating new, strange culture—something that could (if we’re lucky) threaten the status quo.

“We’re not really looking for equal rights—that’s really different in our attitude,” says Casady. “We’re not looking to climb up the male pyramid scheme and try to assimilate into it to find some kind of balance. We’re proposing a complete shift, with the goal of balance, but it’s not like we want to meet in the middle. We have to reach for a better sense of ‘middle.’”

That’s a sentiment that’s existed before in feminism—the idea that having “what men have” is not enough, that we all deserve more. It’s fallen to the wayside in years, but I foresee a revival, as movements like Future Feminism strive for a radically different society, invoking the very qualities so often derided as “feminine.” In the words of the collective, “The future is female.”

The (absolutely packed) roster for the run at The Hole gallery is below.

Thurs Sept 11: Opening 6-9PM

Fri Sept 12: Bianca and Sierra Casady, Sarah Schulman

Sat Sept 13: Johanna Constantine, Lydia Lunch

Sun Sept 14: Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Wed Sept 17: Narcissister, Dynasty Handbag, No Bra

Thurs Sept 18: Ann Snitow speaks with the Future Feminists

Fri Sept 19: Kiki Smith presents Anne Waldman, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge and Anne Carson

Sat Sept 20: Kembra Pfahler and The Girls of Karen Black

Sun Sept 21: Lorraine O’Grady

Wed Sept 24: Marina Abramović

Thurs Sept 25: Carolee Schneemann, Jessica Mitrani, Melanie Bonajo
Fri Sept 26: Terence Koh as Miss OO

Sat Sept 27: Viva Ruiz, Julianna Huxtable, Alexyss K.  Tylor

Sun Sept 14: The Factress aka Lucy Sexton, Clark Render as Margaret Thatcher, Laurie Anderson

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Trust The Witch: Lydia Lunch, this week on ‘The Pharmacy’
07:06 am


Lydia Lunch
The Pharmacy
Gregg Foreman

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week’s Gregg’s guest is singer, artist, writer, performer and all around dangerous mind, Lydia Lunch, who discusses her work with The Birthday Party’s Rowland S Howard and Nick Cave; her first performance (age 14) at an acid party in upstate NY doing spoken word in front of a psychedelic backdrop; running away to NYC (age 16) to hang out with Suicide and Mink DeVille; how she got her name, which filmmaker Russ Meyer told her is “the best name in show biz” and why she considers herself a journalist above all else.

Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr. Pharmacist - The Fall
The Clapping Song - Shirley Ellis
Help You Ann - The Lyres
Intro 1 / I Can’t Stand Myself - Rx / James Chance and the Contortions
Lydia Lunch Conversation Part One
Liars Beware - Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Dance With Me - Lords of the New Church
Memorabilia - Soft Cell
Girl - Suicide
J’aime Regarder les Filles - Patrick Coutin
Last Time - The Anchors
Intro 2/Scientist at His Best - Rx/Scientist
Lydia Lunch Conversation Part Two
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Thoughts by Sterling Morrison - Sterling Morrison/ Sun Ra
Temptation Inside Your Heart - The Velvet Underground
Contort Yourself - James White and the Blacks
Low Life - Public Image Limited
Intro 3 / Too Many Creeps - Rx / Bush Tetras
Lydia Lunch Conversation Part Three
Solar Hex - Lydia Lunch / Rowland S. Howard
Sonny’s Burning - The Birthday Party
Intro 4
Lydia Lunch Conversation Part Four
Intro 5 / Father Yod & The Spirit Of ‘76 - Rx / Ya Ho Wha 13
Open Up and Bleed - James Williamson and the Stooges
Mr. Pharmacist - The Fall

You can download the entire show here.

Below, Lydia fucking Lunch in NSFW action…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dangerous Women: Lydia Lunch interviews Admiral Grey of Cellular Chaos
02:37 pm


Lydia Lunch
Admiral Grey
Cellular Chaos

Photo by Christine Navin

Lillie Jayne aka Admiral Grey is a composer, writer, actress, performance artist and the mesmerizing lead singer for Weasel Walter’s New York City-based Cellular Chaos.

The details are a little sketchy. A petite blond in a flimsy sundress has lost her shoes as she wraps herself around a Boojum tree as a cyclone devastates Baja, California. The truck she was traveling in to escape the storm had been swept up in a flash flood and sent careening through the rapids. Quick thinking propelled her through the open window. After four hours of pounding rain and thrashing winds, she releases her grip from the fragile branches and begins the long journey back to town. Battered and bruised, the white tornado known as Admiral Grey has just stared down a tropical hurricane and somehow weathered the storm undaunted.

Lydia Lunch: At what age did you realize you were born to perform? And what was your first performance?

Admiral Grey: My first performance was in kindergarten at Catholic school. A boy and I got picked out to be Leo and Leona the lion in the school nativity musical. I had one phrase to sing that finished with an extended-note ‘ROAR.’ I took my performance very seriously, and there was a great crowd reaction. I was proud, but a little taken aback and embarrassed by all the fuss everyone made – all I did was go out and do what I was supposed to do and do it well.

My first rock performance was at 14 singing Janis Joplin songs with a band at a talent show at school, at full force, fully inebriated and in full Pearl-era regalia - oh good god people didn’t know what to make of that. I’m glad I wasn’t beat up. Although it probably would have been great to get in a fight that night.

Lydia Lunch: What books or music inspired your young psyche and pushed you forward toward recognizing your calling as a performer?

Admiral Grey: At first, T. S. Eliot, a book of Hemingway’s lost half-written poems, searching - I was a bit obsessed with Rimbaud, young, with laser-sharp eyes wide open and a filthy romantic heart.. And of course I thought I was him reincarnated because we had the same birthday. Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the confessional poets…Speaking of confession, growing up Catholic, with all of its inherent pomp and ceremony, hugely formed me - my sense of performance, my sense of reverence and need for ritual. My sense of opulence - the Catholic church is so opulent and pagan, and so am I.

Henry Miller was another filthy romantic philosopher, and he too thought he was Rimbaud.The art, writings and sad story of Zelda Fitzgerald because of her frustrated and suppressed genius and ultimate disaster – as girls grow up it’s easy to get lost and pushed away from one’s talents and passions especially if your interests lie in a wide range of arenas and you don’t know how to live and act like everyone else. Marguerite Duras, as an intellectual and brilliant writer and uncompromising person. Obsessive workman-like writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway, DH Lawrence – Nietzsche. And Genet, Artaud, Camus… E.M. Cioran, Joan Didion, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Bukowski. Then there’s all of the current writers, too - right now, George Saunders is just destroying me. I went through a childhood phase of historical western and war books, and I continue to love history and non-fiction. It’s important to keep in touch with the scope of humanity.

Musically, discovering Frank Zappa was huge. I lived in a culturally isolated area with relatively strict parents. Of course hip-hop and R&B were huge growing up in the New York area. And renegades like Nina Simone and Jacques Brel. Joni Mitchell’s stubbornness as an artist as her work and career developed and got more esoteric and also as a woman, consistently staying single and taking on new lovers with each artistic phase and being open about it, was very bold and inspiring to someone like me who couldn’t picture having children. The Janis Joplin in Concert LP influenced me deeply, especially about pushing boundaries in performance and music.

Lydia Lunch: What historical figures do you most relate to?

Admiral Grey: Queen Elizabeth the first, which also happens to be my Christian name.  She was hyper-intellectual, spoke several languages, read several books a day and translated texts for fun, found time for creative and sporting pursuits, led powerful armies through battle and England through arguably the most intellectually, financially and artistically prosperous time as the most powerful country in the world, refused to marry, and never got assassinated even though that was a daily threat and intent of many for her entire life. And she did this all 450 years ago. Cleopatra before her was very similar and I am in awe of these people.

Lydia Lunch: What´s the zone like that you get into on stage? Are you conscious of what´s going on in the audience? Do you disappear into a hypnotic time warp where the music teleports you into the nightmare scenarios that your words paint?

Admiral Grey: Yes, and no. Since I’ve performed my whole life I almost always hover on the precipice of that fugue-state, although occasionally I slip straight in…I need to consistently check in with the audience, to give and receive from them, as it is truly something we are all doing together… it’s almost like hunter-survivor mode, with heightened senses and strengths and capabilities and very quick reaction times.  Plus a bit of ancient storytelling, and gospel hour. Sometimes I black out momentarily.

Lydia Lunch: What´s the difference between staging a piece for theater and playing live rock music?

Admiral Grey: Theater, to me, is choreography. It’s perfecting each moment and rehearsing it and rehearsing it until it bores you to tears – and then in performance, finding a way within that choreography to trick your brain into feeling and believing that all of that is happening for real, for the first time, and letting it be spontaneous, while another part of your brain makes sure that you hit all of the marks. That’s exactly what I like my bands to be like, though I don’t think it has to be that way. To rehearse so that the material is ingrained, so that one part of your brain can help you hit the marks while in performance you can free yourself to dance on the edge of mayhem and disaster throughout the performance. The trained unconscious part of your brain secretly holds your hand through the performance while the front of your brain thinks it’s going apeshit.

Lydia Lunch: Are there any classic plays you would like to stage?

Admiral Grey: I’d love to stage a Genet play.

Lydia Lunch: How do you blow off steam when you´re not on stage?

Admiral Grey: Performance is definitely my idea of blowing off steam, but when I am not working obsessively on my myriad projects…I love making things with my hands. My room is a bit of a tree house in a loft and it has grown into a sort of installation. And I like to cook and eat and drink and spend intimate, real time with people I love, of course. And I need a certain amount of extreme physical activity, so if I’m not performing I need to find ways to do that, in whatever regimented or bonkers ways I can without dying or getting pregnant. And I also need to run away and be alone, very alone.

Lydia Lunch: What´s it like working with Weasel Walter?

Admiral Grey: Oh, man. Well, let’s just say I feel very lucky to have him in my life. We enjoy the same things, we like to work in the same way, we enjoy music in a lot of the same ways, we enjoy making music together and performing with each other and touring together, and we have a deep mutual love and respect and trust that everyone should be lucky enough to have with a collaborator. Just a total blessing that we ended up working together. I feel lucky obviously as well to have him as a friend because he is solid as hell. And we laugh, at each other and with each other, all of the time, which is of the utmost importance.

Lydia Lunch: Any aspirations, premonitions or prophesies for 2014?

Admiral Grey: This year my biggest project is composing the music for and performing in a theater piece that I’m collaborating on with The Nerve Tank, a great experimental theater group in New York. It’s called “The Maiden” and is based on the myth of Persephone. It has already been very inspiring developing it. I want Cellular Chaos to release a new album and I want to finally release an album and videos of my solo work. I want to get the funding and team for a very ambitious absurd three act musical play that I have written and that has been sitting on the backburner for too long now. I want to not die, which is a great feeling to have.  I want everyone I love to be happy and healthy. And I’d like to collaborate with you.

The new full-length Cellular Chaos LP out now on ugEXPLODE.

Cellular Chaos on Facebook. Lydia Lunch’s website.

Below, an entire Cellular Chaos set taped at Death By Audio, Brooklyn on July 13 2013. Cellular Chaos are Admiral Grey: vocals, lyrics; Weasel Walter: guitar abuse; Kelly Moran: bass; Marc Edwards: sci-fi drums

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel: Nailing a whole lot of ‘Hole’ and ‘Nail,’ an exegesis

JG Thirlwell in 1987, portrait courtesy Richard Kern

This is a guest post written by Graham Rae.

“This isn’t the melody that lingers on/it’s the malady that malingers on.” – Foetus.

Flashbacktrack: for reasons that I am not going to discuss, I was in a great deal of mental and emotional pain in August of 2010. I often found myself listening constantly to the albums Hole (celebrating the 30th anniversary of its release this year) and Nail (30th anniversary next year) by Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel, which I have now been listening to for a quarter of a century. At that time, and others preceding it, these two therapeutic sonic works helped eat my pain and keep me sane. The reasons why they did, and why they will no doubt continue to do so in the skull-suture future, are what I intend to discuss here.

James George Thirlwell, the one-manic band behind Scraping Foetus, was born in Melbourne in Australia in 1960. He spent the first 18 years of his life being down in Down Under, saying that he hated every minute in the country. He attended an all-boy’s Baptist School for twelve years, singing in a choir and playing cello, the school experience a life-scarring one that resonates through a lot of his work to a greater or lesser degree. “I’ve put myself through a deprogramming process so I’ve blocked out most of my childhood, but I remember as I grew up I felt like I didn’t want to be where I was,”(1) he noted later. “I remember getting a bad report card that said my studies were okay but ‘James needs to have more faith’. I was pro-evolution and I’m an atheist to this day.”(2)

Thirlwell flirted with and dropped out of art school, but his disaffection for his art-content-informative (de)formative years soon led him across the ocean to London, where his Scottish mother had studied music. He told his parents he was going on there holiday and quite simply did not return to Australia, which had been his plan all along. He’s rarely been back to the land of his birth since; there are no Antipodean (or Scottish) melodies in his music that I have ever heard. Scorched earth policy from lifestart to teen angst finish.

Finding himself in the post-punk-blitzkrieg soundruins of England’s capital, the displaced Australian got himself a job at Virgin on Oxford Walk, which meant he could keep an ear and eye on the latest musical releases as they came out. After some sonic noodling in a couple of undergroundsound outfits (pragVEC, Nurse With Wound, Come), Thirlwell put out his first Foetus-themed release in January 1981, Foetus Under Glass doing OKFM/Spite Your Face.

Before we go any further, I have to explain something to the Foetus virgins in the audience. In order, apparently, to let the music speak in tongue twisters for itself, Thirlwell has recorded using more Foetus-themed pseudonyms and bandwagons than I would care to remember for three decades, but since 1995 has used Foetus as his main moniker. And what is the significance of that six-letter babybrand? Well, Thirlwell has been known to say with a shy sly wry grin it’s just an embryonic human, and that he likes the connotations of potential. But one thing’s for sure: with this mercurial never-miss-a-beat pimp of the perverse, you can never be quite be sure.

There have only ever been three Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel releases. Of the bizarre and slightly disturbing name, Thirlwell says: “My mental image of that is a foetus being tied to a railway track and being run over by a train and the engineer going, ‘Oh shit, not another!’. It’s a strong image and I like it. The word foetus is great, you know. I love f-o-e-t-u-s. I love the fact the oe is ee. I see it more in an abstract sense. It’s like a vague, abstract term.” (3)

Eventually-just-Foetus’s first few releases were cheaply recorded in London, with tiny numbers pressed for lack of cash, making small raindrop-in-puddle splashes in the British music press. Although he met his several-years-long girlfriend, firespitter No Wave punk provocateur Lydia ‘Lunch’ Koch during this time (more on which later), hanging out with her in a Brixton high rise flat, Thirlwell still wasn’t happy. He had no money, but fortuitously met Stevo of Some Bizzare, records through his Virgin job. This sonic-malefactor benefactor offered him unlimited 24-track studio time free, which Thirlwell jumped on, pulling mad 24-to-36-hour shifts to produce a full album and two 12” tracks.

The end result was the album Hole, recorded in May-October 1983 in London. The name shows its composer’s penchant for four-letter one-syllable titles. “You know, each (record title) has triple entendres. Like, say Hole, for example. It can mean hole in a sexual sense, hole as in a hole in the wall, or hole as in the hole that you descend into Hell with.”(4) The recording was originally conceived as a six-song album, with a three-minute rendition of “Clothes Hoist” for the whole of Hole’s first side. “The trouble is that as I worked on the song it started growing into a monster and the others just came from nowhere.”(5)
Read more after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Hard Rock’: First release from Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label w/ Lydia Lunch & Michael Gira
08:46 am


Lydia Lunch
Thurston Moore
Michael Gira

Hard Rock was the first release from Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label. One side of the hand-labeled cassette had a fucked-up spoken word piece by The Swans’ Michael Gira titled “I’m An Infant, I Worship Him” and the other a dark short story by Lydia Lunch, “Wet Me on a Dead Night.” Both pieces were recorded in Gira’s apartment in February of 1984.

The cassette listed as the label’s address, 84 Eldridge St, #5, New York City, 10002. I think it’s safe to assume that young Thurston was the one making the dubs and that this was where he lived at the time. I picked mine up at the legendary ‘zine store See Hear on 7th Street in the East Village. I lived down the block from the store when I was in my early 20s and I’d see Moore there often, more than anyone else save for the proprietor, Ted Gottfried (who, it occurs to me, has a ukulele combo called Sonic Uke.)

It’s pretty extreme stuff. The Gira piece is simply depraved. It represents a hefty dollop of what made The Swan’s live shows so incredibly powerful and scary—well, that and the mind-splitting volume—back in the 80s. You want intense? Go see The Swans live. They will pulverize you. It’s like getting beaten up by pure sound.

YouTube commenter, “falloutMAN84” mused:

I wonder if when Michael Gira was writing this he thought.. hmm, maybe I should keep this to myself. Nah, fuck it…

Er, yes, that’s right: DO NOT even contemplate putting this on where you work for any reason whatsoever. Not even for a minute or two. The rest of the cubicle farm will shun you, it’s virtually guaranteed. You have been strongly warned.

No matter where you are, proceed at your own psychic risk. I probably should have posted this on Halloween. I wonder if Moore’s deal with the Universal Music Group to distribute Ecstatic Peace releases covers this one? Even if it would I’d think the chances of the UMe re-releasing Hard Rock are slim to none.

Michael Gira, “I’m An Infant, I Worship Him”

Lydia Lunch, “Wet Me on a Dead Night.”
Bonus clip, Swans’ “A Screw” from the It’s Clean, It Just Looks Dirty video:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Girls Aloud: Insanely HUGE compilation of female-fronted punk bands 1977-1989

Behold an absolutely monstrous compilation of female fronted punk bands from all over the world from the mid to late ‘70s to the mid 80s (and a little beyond). Some of the artists you’ve heard of (Blondie, Crass, The Avengers, Josie Cotton, Kleenex, Honey Bane, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Rezillos, Slits, Malaria!, etc.) but others, trust me on this, there’s just no way you could have heard of all of them. The fellow who compiled this beast is a master. An expert’s expert! A maven’s maven!

This gargantuan set represents a deep education in an exciting, but for the most part never really respected sub-genre of punk. It would be overstating the case to say it has aspirations of being a Harry Smith-type collection of punk and obscure hardcore bands, but some of this stuff I don’t think I’d ever come across if given two lifetimes. Apparently some of these songs come from cassettes, probably copied one at a time. Obviously plenty of the tracks were taken from vinyl 45 RPM records. And the stuff from the Eastern Bloc countries…. I mean, where did he get this stuff?

What a maniac! It must have been really hard to collect all of these songs, even in this day and age. Without a deep knowledge of the subject, it would be difficult to even search for some of these records on Google. Like I say, it’s damned impressive.

From the Kangknave blog (where you will find all of the download the links and a track listing):

This is a pretty insane project put together by my pal Vince B. from San Francisco a few years back. As the title indicates, this is a homemade 12 x CD-R (!) compilation of punk bands fronted by female vocalists from 1977 to 1989. More like a giant mixtape than a compilation, as he only made 36 copies which he sent to friends and people who submitted material. You may notice that some of the bands didn’t have a steady female vocalist (The Lewd, etc.) but he still included songs that were sung by another member of the band. This is as international as it gets, with stuff ranging from world famous Blondie or Crass to the most obscure Eastern European cassette compilation veterans. The boxset came packaged in a hand-numbered fancy translucent lunchbox enclosing all 12 CD-Rs, a stack of full-colored cards featuring comprehensive tracklist and artwork/info, as well as a manga pin-up figure! Talk about a labor of love.


Above, Slovenian punk rockers, Tožibabe

East LA’s The Brat do “High School” in 1981.

Via Boing Boing

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Lydia Lunch & J. G. Thirlwell: The Immaculate Consumptive

A gathering by accident, design and hair-spray: The Immaculate Consumptive was an all too brief collaboration (3 days, 3 gigs) between Lydia Lunch (gtr. voc.), Nick Cave (pn. voc.), J. G. Thirlwell (aka Clint Ruin, Foetus) (drm., sax., voc.) and Marc Almond (voc.)

The 4 musicians met in London—Lunch had been filming Like Dawn To Dust, with Vivienne Dick; while Cave had been collaborating with Thirlwell (on the track “Wings Off Flies” for the debut Bad Seeds album From Her To Eternity), and both had worked with Almond, who was resting from Soft Cell, and working on Marc and The Mambas.

The party traveled to New York, where they were followed and interviewed by the N.M.E. Lunch had a Halloween event organized for October 30th and 31st—though The Immaculate Consumptive’s first gig was actually in Washington, on October 27th, where Thirlwell broke the piano, and ended with 2 nights later with Cave seemingly bored by the chaos of proceedings.

This is some of the archival material of those 3 gloriously chaotic days together. The cable access interviewer is Merle Ginsberg, known to many of you from her role as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race.


The Immaculate Consumptive - “Love Amongst The Ruined”

The Immaculate Consumptive - “Misery Loves Company”


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Conspiracy of Women: Lydia Lunch’s Post Catastrophe Collaborative Workshop

Lydia Lunch sent me this post about the upcoming Post Catastrophe Collaborative Workshop that she’s curating in Ojai California on May 24-27.

I should think if there was anyone you’d want in your corner post-catastrophe, it would be Lydia!

To question why women artists need a workshop by and for each other in 2013 is to ignore the damage done to the sensitive psyche by the brutarian policies of kleptomaniacal plutocrats in their race for global domination.

From the imperialist profiteering of endless war, to the justification of the psychosis of bloodlust in the name of God, oil or natural resources, from austerity measures as punishment against entire nations for the fraud perpetrated by greedy corporations and their criminal finance ministers, to the blatant arrogance of corrupt politicians who do their bidding with utter disregard for the health of the planet or the life of its inhabitants, we as women demand a safe place in which to create from the ashes of this man-made destruction.

We are seeing in these times a striking attempt on a global scale to redress economic and social imbalance by sheer physical presence—the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement in the US. Pervasive ecological imperatives have been won (and lost) by indigenous-led groups in South America and Africa. This consensus is essential for large-scale change, and yet, the foundered promise of the movements of the 1960s and 1970s indicate the depth to which transformation must but has not yet occurred in the way we live.

The dominator model continues to run the world, and in so doing affects us in both obvious and unconscious ways.

Indeed this bespeaks a need for the attention to the microcosm, to the immediate community. In the West where we are not bound by blood tribe or homeland, we come together in kindred passions.

What is absolutely necessary is the fostering of environments, which we must learn together how to more adeptly create, in which the existing hierarchical, dominator paradigm can be further and further subverted by the constant intention to transform our learned ways of relating to ourselves and one another within this powerful action of collaboration/co-creation.

This by its nascent nature requires a protected space—here by and for women—in which to listen and share the deep language of the body; the creative impulse; the desire to collaborate and the methods to invoke; the experience of time, space and accomplishment unfettered by the anxieties of funding and recognition. This last is extremely important.

Our current model of success for everyone, artists included, remains competitive and largely solitary in the West.

Women who create and attempt to move within established systems find themselves indentured into the necessary sales pitch to self-promote, furthering the continuance of the established pattern, which fosters alienation and dissociation rather than community.

A workshop by and for women can provide a haven of inspiration, encouragement and a sense of community in these extremely trying times. The burden of often deeply traumatized women constantly having to manage their emotions and warp themselves to adjust to social situations that adhere to linear, rational, productive values is soul-killing.

Art has the ability to act as salve to the universal wound. It gives voice to the silent scream within us all.

It rebels as pleasure in times of trauma. It brings a sense of beauty and joy by rising up in celebration of life, a direct contra-diction to the widespread brutality of socio-sadistic bullies who seek to divide and conquer.

A space of protection and clarity to explore the strengths and weaknesses women possess, along with their innate neural capacity for emotional imprint and communal feeling; concurrently with the research and practice of creative techniques together can foster tremendous healing along with powerful work.

This is an essential contribution toward the continuance of the species and its shift away from trying to dominate the planet toward the recognition that it is simply part of all life.

This workshop seeks to bring together a diverse and multi-generational collection of women artists who comprehend the importance of community, collaboration and creation as an inspirational weapon in the war against divisiveness, division and death. 

—Lydia Lunch /Vanessa Skantze

Lydia Lunch will be curating the second Post Catastrophe Collaborative Workshop in Ojai California May 24-27, 2013



Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Need to Feed: Lydia Lunch goes ‘Martha Stewart’ with a decadently delicious new cookbook
04:07 pm


Lydia Lunch

No Wave underground legend, feminist icon, artist, author, actress, musician and all-around troublemaker Lydia Lunch is now the author of a cookbook, The Need to Feed: Recipes for Developing a Healthy Obsession for Deeply Satisfying Foods, a “hedonist’s guide.”

Via email Lydia answered a few questions.

Dangerous Minds: Our mutual friend, author Chris Campion, told me that you were coming out with a cookbook, and via hoighty-toighty publisher Rizzoli, even, and that seemed somewhat out of character for you. Chris assured me that you were indeed a *most fantastic gourmet chef* and that your culinary skills were a not-so-very well-kept secret. The recipes in The Need to Feed—a Lydia Lunch-esque title if ever there was one—seem to bear that out, but still, how did a cookbook by Lydia Lunch end up being published by Rizzoli? It seems like there must be a story there…

Lydia Lunch: A few bizarre coincidences led up to me pitching the idea to Rizzoli. I had written the introduction to Cesar Padilla’s book Ripped: T-Shirts from the Underground, which they had published in 2010.

I kept seeing it everywhere. Artist Martynka Wawrzyniak, R.Kern’s partner, had originally pitched the book to Rizzoli and worked on it with Cesar. I was on a rare visit to New York shortly after its publication and met with Martynka. She suggested we pitch something to Rizzoli together and was instrumental in making The Need to Feed happen.

Around the same time someone had sent me an article from the TV Guide, in which Michelle Forbes claimed I was the inspiration for her character in True Blood. A witchy vixen who throws orgiastic bacchanals full of food laced with intoxicants in order to celebrate the resultant pandemonium. This inspired me to pen The Need to Feed.

Martynka is Vegan, loves food and to cook, shares my political disgust with the US Food industry and is a brilliant artist in her own right. Acting as editor and co-conspirator, she was able to push forward my politics, sass and vitriol, not the typical fare of a book that deals with food.

DM: And so now you are the proud author of a cookbook.

Lydia Lunch:I wrote the recipes with Marcy Blaustein, a friend of many years who left the thankless confines of the music industry to concentrate on catering in Hollywood, because as she once said “Everyone loves you when you feed them.” She’s just opened her first restaurant in Los Angeles called Eat This on Santa Monica and Hudson.

DM: Since I’ve never been invited to one, what are your dinner parties like? And what is the secret ingredient for a perfect Lydia Lunch dinner party?

Lydia Lunch: A great mix of people, enough time to enjoy the evening (long Sunday afternoons are actually best). Easy, spicy, tasty finger foods, great music, stimulating conversation…A relaxed atmosphere where people leave full of LIFE.

I asked Lydia if there was just one dish that was her favorite from The Need to Feed and she said it would be her jerk chicken marinade recipe:

I Said Jerk That Chicken!

If it’s hot…no doubt I’m going to want to stick it in my mouth. Just the way I am. I love any food that makes me break a sweat. Slowly savoring the healing heat as it penetrates every cell, kick starting the nerve endings and revitalizing the synapses as they gush with endorphins. Gooey good fun! Jamaican jerk marinades are magic to the mouth. The combination of heat, sweet and pungency create a powerful tangy rush of oral delight! Jerk is exotic, deeply penetrating, incredibly satisfying and yet highly addictive goodness. Gotta love it.

1-tablespoon ground allspice
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

6 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced

2 small yellow onions diced
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 inch of fresh ginger minced
2 - 3 Scotch Bonnet chili peppers deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dark-brown sugar

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil


Toast the allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a dry pan on low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a blender adding cayenne, black pepper, thyme, scallions, onions, garlic, ginger, chili peppers, brown sugar, orange juice and lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil. STAND BACK! And blend. Refrigerate for a few hours.

Use as marinade for chicken, turkey, pork or vegetables. Lather both sides of meat in jerk sauce and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Reserve the rest of the marinade for dipping. Grill, broil or bake. Use to brush on vegetables before grilling. Serve with rice and Mango Salsa.

Mango Salsa:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro minced
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Combine all of the ingredients and allow to marinate and to chill for 1 hour.

*Word of warning: Wear plastic gloves when handling hot chili peppers. Especially Scotch Bonnet…you touch yourself and the neighbors will hear you scream. You touch someone else, they will be calling the police.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Danach’: A film by Anna Österlund featuring music by Mikael Karlsson and Black Sun Productions

Talented film-maker and designer Anna Österlund’s latest short Danach is a collaboration with composer Mikael Karlsson and queer post-industrial collective Black Sun Productions. Österlund previously worked with Karlsson on the haunting, beautiful and disturbing film Breathing, and this time she has used his composition, which is the last track “Danach” on the final album release by Black Sun Productions, Phantasmata Domestica.

Black Sun Productions is a collective centered around “artivists” Massimo and Pierce, who for the past decade have performed as sound and visual artists and political activists under the name Anarcocks. Black Sun Productions have worked with Coil (Plastic Spider Thing), Lydia Lunch and H. R. Geiger. Massimo and Pierce met on the set of an underground porn film, and their work includes explicit elements of ritualized sex magick, chaos magick and elements of fetishism and sado-masochism. Phantasmata Domestica is the last ever release from this talented and uncompromising duo.

Now based in New York, Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, who wrote the track “Danach” for Phantasmata Domestica, holds a masters degree in composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music and graduated Summa Cum Laude with departmental honors in June of 2005. He is a multi-award-winning composer, recognized as one of the most exciting and original working today. Karlsson has worked with Lydia Lunch, Mariam Wallentin, Kleerup, Lykke Li, Benoit-Swan Pouffe, Alexander Ekman, amongst many others.

Anna Österlund told Dangerous Minds about her latest film collaboration and the music which inspired it.

‘The album name is Phantasmata Domestica which means something like house ghost and Black Sun Productions call it “an epic and emotional tale about sorrow and loss.” The last track “Danach” is about the next day, the ceremonies are long since gone - the pity with them. Waking up, being forced to move on with your life. What hereafter? What now?

‘I got to interpret these words and the music freely and came up with this video during last week. We filmed for just a few hours, in the same forest and only a few hundred meters away from where I made Breathing.

‘I made the heavy wool coat that she’s wearing and added my grandmother’s old mourning veil to the costume. The house I built on top of an old record player, so I could rotate it and the wind comes from my blowdryer. I had a lot of fun making the film, it’s quite tricky to go through with ideas when you don’t have a budget or a crew to help out, but sometimes that gives birth to new ideas.’

Danach stars newcomer Maja Mintchev, who Anna spotted for the role in a department store in Malmö, and the film was released just last month in Europe.

Danach is a film by Anna Österlund in collaboration with Black Sun Productions and Mikael Karlsson.

Phantasmata Domestica by Black Sun Productions, featuring Mikael Karlsson, Massimo & Pierce, Lydia Lunch, Othon, Cory Smythe, Fung Chern Hwei, Sirius Quartet and Michael Bates is available here.

More on Anna Österlund at Ravishing Mad and Mikael Karlsson.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Clara’: A film about joy, love and struggle by Anna Österlund

‘Breathing’: A haunting and eerie short film by Mikael Karlsson, Anna Österlund and Truls Bråhammar


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lydia Lunch’s ‘Ghost Lover’
01:32 pm


Lydia Lunch

“Ghost Lover” is a photograph shot by Lydia Lunch. The image is printed on high quality silver halide Fuji photographic paper and signed and numbered by the artist. “Ghost Lover” comes in an elaborately designed box along with a certificate of authenticity and a poem by Lunch titled “Sandpit” in both English and Spanish.

The “Ghost Lover” Edition is limited to 40 copies only and is available from Contemporanea in Spain.

Lydia Lunch was recently named the #84 best guitarist of all time in a SPIN magazine critic’s poll. I’m fairly certain that this is an honor Lydia never expected to receive.

Listen to “Red Alert” from 1979’s No New York album produced by Brian Eno.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rock outlaws: Interviews with Iggy Pop, Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch and Jello Biafra
01:57 pm


Iggy Pop
Lydia Lunch
Jello Biafra
Richard Hell

Iggy talks about lessons learned from David Bowie: “No,you’re not coming to the dinner table on heroin.”

Jérôme de Missolz’s documentary Wild Thing (2010) was made for French television and it’s a pretty good look at rock n’ roll outlaws from the 1960s thru to the present day.

Here are some excerpts featuring Richard Hell, Lydia Lunch, Iggy Pop and Jello Biafra. Lunch’s anecdote about The Dead Boys is a jaw-dropper. The Boys ate Lydia’s Lunch.

To watch the entire film (much of which is in French) click here. There’s some fascinating interviews (in English) with Eric Burdon, Genesis P-Orridge, Kevin Ayers and many more.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Wonderful punk and post-punk era photographs by David Arnoff

Stiv Bators, 1980
David Arnoff‘s post-punk era photography appeared in the NME, Melody Maker, Trouser Press, N.Y. Rocker and many other publications. The Cleveland-born, but London-based photographer and disc jockey’s work captures iconic bad boys and girls, relaxed and at their most playful. Arnoff is currently readying his photographs for a book and is looking for a publisher. I asked him a few questions over email:

Tara: Tell me about the Stiv Bators shot.

David Arnoff: I was hanging around with Stiv and his post-Dead Boys band in their hotel—pretty sure it was the Sunset Marquis—and we decided to do some shots of him on his own. He’d been messing about with a new air pistol, so we brought that along and just stepped out into the hall, after which it occured to him to maybe go back in the room and put some shoes on, but I said not to bother.  We started out doing some rather silly and predictable 007-type poses before he chose to just sit on the floor and look disturbed. I always thought the stripey socks made him look even more so.

Nick Cave, 1983
Tara: You worked with Nick Cave several times. He seems like a guy very concerned about his image, yet playful, too. What’s he like as a subject or collaborator?

David Arnoff: Nick is very easy and unaffected to work with. That shot with Harpo is the result of what started out as another cancelled session at the Tropicana Motel. He apologized for being up all night and indicated all the empty bottles on the TV as evidence, but was perfectly happy for me to carry on regardless even though he was not looking his best. The only downside was he was trying in vain to play “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” not really knowing the chords and the guitar was painfully out of tune.  Not an enjoyable aural experience. He was quite happy with the photos though.

Jeffrey Lee Pierce, 1983
Tara: Maybe it was the era, but several of the people you shot were junkies. Any “colorful” anecdotes about the likes of Cave, Jeffery Lee Pierce, Nico or Johnny Thunders?

David Arnoff: Far be it for me to say whether or not any of these people were actually junkies, but it’s funny you should mention Nick and Jeffrey together because I did squeeze all three of us into my little Volvo p1800 to go score on the street—Normandy, I think, around 3rd or somewhere. We then went back to my place in Hollywood, where Jeffrey became convinced they’d been ripped off. But Nick seemed more than happy with his purchase. Afterwards we went to that lesbian-run Mexican place near the Starwood. Nick tried to remember what he’d had previously and proceeded to attempt to describe what he wanted it to the baffled staff. I think they just gave up and sold him a burrito.

More with David Arnoff and his photographs after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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