Category Archives: The Velvet Underground

>Weekend Mantras

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Sit back and enjoy ten minutes of Allen and Peter’s haunting chants – from the legendary ESP record, “The East Village Other’s Electric Newspaper“. It was released in the summer of 1966, “an electric newspaper collage”

(this record also featured contributions by various members of The Fugs (Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, Steve Weber), alongside contributions by various “Factory” denizens (Andy Warhol, Gerard Malanga, Ingrid Superstar), not to mention, poet and novelist Ishmael Reed (reading from his novel), jazz saxophonist/instrumentalist, Marion Brown, and – the very first “noise” recordings of The Velvet Underground (featuring Angus MacLise)).

It was recorded August 6 – to commemorate the twenty-first anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and (same day!) the wedding of Miss Luci Baines (President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s daughter)

More chanting from Allen and Peter can be heard here

and from Allen here and here.

and from here (Pacific High Studio Mantras (2010 Remaster with Arthur Russell – recordings from 1971, engineered for the digital world – don’t miss out on that one)

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Arthur Russell, Marion Brown, Peter Orlovsky, The Fugs, The Velvet Underground

>Angus MacLise

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[Angus MacLise in Katmandu, Nepal c.1978 – photo by Ira Cohen]


Angus MacLise (1938-1979) was, as cultural historian/curator, Johan Kugelberg puts it, in an informative interactive feature, last week in the New York Times, on the occasion of a pioneering exhibition and series of events that he and Will Swofford Cameron have co-curated,
“a major poet, (a) major visual artist, legendary drummer, (a) composer, and one of those odd human-link documents who link different eras and different streams of thought and streams of art”.
Often remembered solely on the grounds of being the original drummer for The Velvet Underground, MacLise was (as is increasingly becoming evident) so much more.
Kugelberg, in a presentation, entitled (by the paper, not by him, we’re guessing), “Artist, Musician, Zelig” (“Zelig”, after the Woody Allen ubiquitous chameleon character), attempts to break it all down – or, at least, attempts, (via an extraordinary “time-capsule”, a suitcase that was left with composers LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela over thirty years ago, containing recordings, artwork, publications and manuscripts, and which forms the basis of the show), to preliminarily explore the terrain.
Kugelberg’s multimedia talk and walk through the exhibit nicely compliments what remains essential reading, the main print article – Ben Sisario’s piece, The Velvet Unknown, Now Emerging.
(For another, earlier, but still useful, over-view of MacLise’s life and work, see Rene van der Voort’s article, here)
Boo-Hooray/Dreamweapon have released a useful promo video for the show that may be viewed here. They’ve also released two limited edition LP’s, previews of which can be viewed here and here
More MacLise recordings (including the soundtrack for Ira Cohen’s 1968 “Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda”) can be found here
and also here (in the 1971, Angus & Hetty MacLise edited, issue (“the psychedelic issue”) of the magazine Aspen

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Filed under Angus MacLise, Ira Cohen.Ben Sisario, Johan Kugelberg, The Velvet Underground, Will Swofford Cameron

>New York, 1967, What Was Happening?

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[What’s Happening? (1967) from Django’s Ghost on Vimeo].

“The prophecies of Marinetti are coming true some of them, the wilder, more poetic ones”, so, gleefully, declares Allen in this quintessentially 1967 documentary film by Antonello Branca, What’s Happening? What, indeed, is happening? Poets and painters and a brash New York City just for that moment in time and space come together. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg candidly speak (Andy speaks!). Allen appears first (around six and a half minutes in) being interviewed as he walks along the street and then (circa 3o minutes in) is seen holding forth at a street cafe. Gregory Corso makes a cameo appearance right at the very end (with a baby!). He gets the punch line. “War makes people crazy”.

“We have all come here together. Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, poet Gerard Malanga, over here, if you move your camera, poet Ed Sanders of a rock n roll group called The Fugs [unfortunately mis-translated on the screen by the Italian translator as The Fags!]..over (t)here, Tuli Kuperfberg, a poet and singer in The Fugs, over there, writing at the table. Peter Orlovsky with the long hair, who is a poet and also a singer, behind him, his brother, who was in a madhouse for 14 years. He’s a superstar of the Underground. Oh, and Jonas Mekas, Jonas Mekas, head of the Filmmakers Cooperative. He’s the one who puts together films like Flaming Creatures and The Brig and sends them around Europe and in America, the impresario. He also makes films, which he’s doing now.”

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Filed under Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Antonello Branca, Ed Sanders, Gerard Malanga, Gregory Corso, Jonas Mekas, Peter Orlovsky, The Fugs, The Velvet Underground, Tuli Kupferberg