Anarcho-Flarf Vandalism! (or, 3k+ pages of false poetry!)

Desolation
He loses the ļ¬ngers, sudden as
arms
Sarah Gridley

That poem is on page 3076 of Issue 1, a wonderful jab at culture by forgodot.com (and possibly Steve McLaughlin), an experimental poetry group.

Why is it interesting? Because Sarah Gridley, whoever she is, didn’t write that poem. In fact, none of the 3,000+ authors listed wrote the pieces that are attributed to them. It’s a 3785 page PDF file poetry anthology of beautiful lies and blasphemy!

One of the most fun parts is reading all of the writers respond in the comments. Tons of them are hopping mad. Others get it.

Silliman (whoever that is), is worried about his good name and makes vague threats about suing the editors. He also calls it “anarcho-flarf vandalism”. And all I gotta say is, go anarcho-flarf vandalism! I wonder what the anarcho-flarf flag would be. Maybe black and newspaper print? I could get down with that.

Honestly, I haven’t been excited about poetry in years. Or art, really, though I have to pretend like I am. Dada and surrealism got sucked into mainstream art, what’s left? Well, for starters, 3,000 poem anthologies of god-knows-what.

One poet that took it well and spoke reasonably on the subject is Sharanya Manivannan, who explains a bit more about the nature of the project and also the root of the word “anarcho-flarf”.

1925 Steamroller

There are some fun pictures of a 1925 steamroller over on Shorpy [1, 2, and 3]. Today’s fun steamroller fact: steamrollers were still in use until the 1960s, making them one of the longest lasting steam machines I can think of. (Turns out the modern ones are called “road rollers” which is a much worse name. Though I could imagine being a “road punk” would be kind of cool. And it would fit on your knuckles. But I digress.)

Abney Park To (possibly) Hijack A Zeppelin In Less Than A Month

I first heard that Abney Park (steampunk electronic rock band) was going to play on a zeppelin by way of their Official Page. I grew jealous. Then I discovered more details about it from Boing Boing and I was jealous of Boing Boing, for blogging about it first when I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. But then I realized that being jealous is useless. So I tried to sign up as a lackey for the flight, but that didn’t happen either.

So, like you do, I began to plot to kidnap/murder one of the members of the band to replace him or her for the duration of the flight. Naturally, I figured I should chose someone who it would be easy to disguise myself as.

But then I realized… Abney Park is a band of airship pirates. They will be stealing the zeppelin and either making use of it to harass British royal air freight or turning it into a populist form of travel.

Janis Zhaklis – The Real Peter The Painter

Thanks to a comment from Ben, I’ve come to learn the real identity of Peter the Painter. He was a latvian named Janis Zhaklis. Ian Bone has covered the story and has an audio interview with Philip Ruff, who traveled to Latvia numerous times to uncover the story. (You can also watch the interview on youtube).

And there’s also an interesting bit about the story of uncovering the truth from the kate sharpley library (pdf).

The short of it is that Peter the Painter was not a damned bolshevik, and he most certainly wasn’t the bolshevik responsible for the literal eradication of the anarchists in soviet russia. That’s a relief. We get to keep our folk hero.

Photos from Sunday’s Show

I’m pleased as hell with these photos that came out of sunday’s show. Just as a word of warning, the show in question was at an erotic arts theatre, so like half the pictures of me have a painting of a lady wearing pasties (and not too much else) behind me. If you know me, you know that I would rather that not be the case. But at least it’s a well executed painting.

Anyhow, there are pictures from:
Libby Bulloff [my favorite of myself declares me the patron saint of gibberish].
And Daniel McManus [my favorite of myself.]
And of course, I posted twopictures of setup to my flickr.

Folk Hero, Cop-Killer Anarchist Gets Plaques In London


Update: This is not a picture of Peter afterall! See the new post!

Peter the Painter, a notorious latvian revolutionary who holed up in London for a bit, has been honored with two commerative plaques on housing projects that have been named after him, much to the ire of the police.

Peter the Painter was the possibly fictional person responsible for the shooting death of three police officers… he and his gang (I find it humorous that all accounts talk about the “leader” of this or that anarchist gang) had been robbing a jewelry store to fund their revolutionary activity when they were stopped by police. They won that shoot-out.

Then there was the Siege of Sidney Street. The police tracked down Peter and his gang to a house on Sidney street and well, you guessed it, laid siege. In a perfectly Waco-like moment, “a fire broke out” and the firefighters were prevented from putting out the fire. Winston Churchill himself was present and nearly got pwned when a bullet flew through his top hat. Apparently, this moment was caught on film. I’d love to see it. So anyhow, there was a fire, but the anarchists inside didn’t just surrender out the front door. When police finally entered, they found Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow, anarchists, dead on the floor. No Peter the Painter.

Unfortunately, there’s a chance that Peter was another name for Yakov Peters, who was actually tried and acquitted (7 people, 5 men and 2 women, were tried and acquitted in the aftermath of the siege. None of them cops.), went on to go the Bolshevik route, ruining any good reputation he may have had, and helping form the Cheka, the first soviet secret police. He got his comeuppance in the great purge of 1938.

Now of course, the police in london are calling these plaques an outrage since they defend a “murderer”. Obviously, who gets to call whom a murderer is a matter of who wins the fight in the end… are revolutionaries murderers? Perhaps some of them. Perhaps even all of them. But if so, so are police, presidents, soldiers, executioners (hell, judge and jury at that)… the list goes on. Here were people committed to a purpose, one they considered noble, of human emancipation, when agents of the state came to try and take away their freedom. They defended themselves. I’m glad they’ve got a plaque or two.

Strange Maps & the NWO

My friend Willow just told me about one of the best time-sinks in the known internet, Strange Maps. The picture above is from a a post about how the New World Order was going to divide the world after beating back the axis powers. [Remember kids, WWII was about beating nazis, and the civil war was about emancipation. WWI? Did that even happen?]

The site is filled with an ungodly number of interesting maps. The map may not be the territory, but these ones sure explain things you don’t usually see explained.

Last Night’s Show in Seattle

I don’t think I can really express how amazing last night’s show at The Little Red Studio was. The space, usually an erotic performance theatre, was rented and was well, a really comfortable place to be. (Everyone stayed dressed, however, for better or worse.) The crowd was wondrous. As the first act, it meant the world to me that people came on time. I haven’t asked the numbers yet, but I feel like I played to at least 50 people. And people laughed when I was trying to be funny and sang along when prompted.

But the other musicians… Schrodinger’s Cat was probably the most impressive celloist I’ve ever seen or heard. Up there in his black hoodie, clawing at his instrument like a madman… it was wonderful. The sound cut out halfway through one of his songs and the entire room went dead quiet, so we heard him regardless. I saw Jill Tracy a year ago at Convergence 13, but to see her in this more intimate setting was beautiful. She was joined by Nathaniel Johnstone of Abney Park and Paul Mercer of The Ghosts Project. I can’t get enough of her voice and songwriting.

And then The Ghosts Project came on. The best comparison I can come up with is the live album on Ummagumma (pink floyd) mixed favorably with Godspeed You Black Emperor! and a healthy amount of dark. To say it suit my mood would be criminally understating the situation.

After their set, Nathaniel led the group in some of his solo work, and then every musician of the evening climbed back on stage for two improvised songs. I tell you, it was beautiful.

The show was put on by the astoundingly talented duo Bl00 and Red. (Red, aka Libby Bulloff, is pictured above stalking about through the empty space during load-in.)

I Can Give You Nightmares, Part 2

Now, just who would be enforcing this martial law? Clearly, it’s going to be big dog. Clearly, humans aren’t going to be in charge much longer. You’ve got to watch this video. The beginning is creepy, but it gets worse. I wonder, when they edited this thing, if they realized just how ungodly scary the noises this thing makes?

Last night, before everyone crashed, Paul Mercer [warning: MySpace] of The Ghosts Project [MySpace] showed us this thing. It is, of course, DARPA funded, and they brag about the payload this thing can carry. I don’t think anybody slept easily.