This was one of the many things going on celebrating the 50th anniversary of ‘The Summer of Love’ here in SF. If you saw my recent post on Susanne Ciani at the Berkeley Museum you might remember I shared a photo with some friends including V.Vale. from Re/Search Pubs. This post features him speaking in front of a photo taken by Jim Marshall during the summer of 1967. He is featured in the foreground of the photo and just the look on his face captures the awe and wonder of what it might have been like to arrive at that infamous corner of Haight and Ashbury at that time. While most of those people have moved on in life or have since passed, Val manages to still have that curiosity in life and culture/counterculture and remains in a perpetual state of awe and inquisitive-ness.
The first few minutes of this video is from part of the guided tour of the photos that line the hall in the basement of SF City Hall including a couple of bits of insight to what was happening in some of the pics, such as the story behind the Moby Grape album cover that was censored and how Otis Redding really stole the show at Monterey Pop. There were plenty of photos of The Dead and Jefferson Airplane as well as some great pics of various Hippies and Diggers and counter-culture icons like Ginsberg and Ken Kesey.
Val’s talk was mostly a deconstruction of the photo he was in which provided some really cool behind the scenes info about the original line up of Blue Cheer. Not a lot of people know that Val was a founding member let alone that Blue Cheer was originally a 6 piece (that was news to me too). They just happened to be on the way to Golden Gate Park for a proper band shoot when this was captured.
Enjoy this first hand account of the Summer of Love SF by someone who was there:
SFAC also has a show up called Tiny Bubbles a group show that Val also has a bunch of photos in which is up until August 19th.
It’s a rainy Sunday All Hallows Eve-Eve as I write this. It’s the perfect backdrop to edit together a few clips of Dwight Twilleys’ set at The Starline in Oakland this past Tuesday (Oct 25, 2016). Perfect as the music he played was acoustic renditions of mostly unknown recent songs of his. This was a bit of a misstep for those that wanted to hear the hits, some pop with power!
He’s been recording and releasing music steadily since the early 70’s and after a long and mostly unsuccessful stint in LA he returned to his hometown of Tulsa where he built a studio and became a fully independent recording artist who has continued to record and release albums to this day.
I got turned on to Twilley by Gary Sperrazza in the early 90’s (he was an early champion of DTB) and wrote about him in the early-mid 70’s. When I first heard that voice, that delicate balance of melody harmony, big-hook riffs and the power and dynamics behind it, I was instantly hooked!
So, it was a rare and wonderful treat to hear that voice in person after being a fan for 20 years, never thinking I’d see him live, but the choice of material was a bit lackluster considering the amount of material he has to choose from. I don’t think he really considered his studio stuff suited to the acoustic format, so it seems as if he really held back as to not under-serve those songs which were crafted in the studio, and built up of layer upon layer of guitars and vocal textures. I beg to differ, I think certain songs like ‘You Were So Warm’ ‘I’m Losing You’ ‘Just Like the Sun’ or ‘Sincerely’ all off the first record…’That I Remember’ ‘Sleeping’ off of the second lp ‘Twilley Don’t Mind’ or even something like ‘Out of My Hands’ from ‘Twilley’ (3rd LP) with the brilliant lyric “When the Walls Around You Melt You Can’t Pretend”… would have made for killer moments in an acoustic format.
The only song he played from that period during the acoustic set was ‘Three Persons’ one of the poppier songs from ‘Sincerely’ which is actually better suited for a band in my opinion.
The other thing that sort of killed the energy level was that he talked quite a bit in between songs. He had us in the palm of his hand with his opener (the first song in the ‘acoustic’ vid below. I don’t know that song or what it was called but it captured both the strength and delicateness of his voice and had that beautiful darkness that pervades a lot of his music. He could have gone right into anything after that but decided to regale us with tales of Ye Olden Days of the industry…running around with Phil Seymour, chasing Hollywood excess and all the stuff that I’d love to read in his bio but in all honesty, just cliche Rock and Roll LA excess done better by others and not why we love Dwight. It was actually cool at first to hear about this but it just got a bit (a lot) long (he went on for 7-8 minutes) and then he went into another lesser known mid-slow tempo song about his adventures with Phil called ‘Good Things Come Hard’ (also in the Acoustic vid below). He then talked for another 5 minutes and as soon as he was finally ready to lay another song on us his mic went out! This minor technical difficulty chewed up another precious couple of minutes after which he played yet another lesser known song from 1999’s lp ‘Tulsa’ called ‘A Little Less Love’ then another short story 3-4 minutes this time and another slow tempo song. At this point he’s played 4 songs and we were almost 40 minutes in! It was a small crowd of old fans and a very forgiving one for sure.
After another 7 minutes of story telling he breaks out the first ‘hit’ from one of the early albums, the aforementioned ‘Three Persons’ from the first album ‘Sincerely’ which was at least something people knew but far from the best choice from that gem of an album.
10 more minutes of talking this time and then another slow tempo piece…
His 7th and final song of the main set was an uptempo number with a driving beat and would have been a good one to throw in earlier on to break up the slow tempo that dominated the set. This last song is the third song in the acoustic vid below. I apologize in advance for some of the washed out video.
He finished and left the stage after a long and rambling trip down memory lane accompanied by a handful of songs. After a healthy applause his wife, engineer and Tour Manager Jan Twilley who essentially helped him get his career back in his own control after wallowing in obscurity in LA for years, led a chant for ‘I’m on Fire’ as an encore. Dwight got back up on stage with the opening band to back him up on a pretty solid rendition of that very song from his first LP ‘Sincerely’.
He brought out some old promo posters of ‘Sincerely’ that sat in a box for 40 years and was really cool about hanging out and signing everything.
I picked up his release from last year ‘Always’ on his label ‘Big Oak’ and I’m really enjoying it. I had him sign that for me. I also really liked his 2010 release on Burger/Big Oak ‘Twilley’. That was the first I’d heard he was back and recording, though he had been for awhile and that’s a testament to the way he was treated by the industry. His recent recordings are as rich and warm and as hook-y as anything he’s ever done and I even wonder if a few of these songs have been around in some form for as long or if he’s just mastered his tried and true formula.
Honestly, I was a bit underwhelmed by the evening as a whole but really glad I went. It was a special evening for the old die hard fan but I would have been bummed had I brought someone to this show to turn them on to this legend of a musician and songwriter. That being said, he seems to have enough left in him to return and have another go at it, he still has that magic and with a proper band and a more focused delivery. he would easily slay…
Until then, let’s enjoy this video with Dwight and Phil Seymour joined by Tom Petty on bass (though he actually played some guitar on the album)
Many of you old fart punk rockers out there will remember the days of cut-n-paste collaging in order to create an eye catching and status quo challenging advert for your old band’s basement gigs. Usually containing crude imagery, shocking content in black and white with ‘ransom note’ style text cobbled together from various sources. Many of you will also remember the next level DIY collaged zines that were painstakingly assembled late at night in a 24 hour Kinkos that your buddy worked at…
The content usually involved coverage of a regional or more accurately, ‘micro-regional’ underground music and/or art scene, covering shows and events with occasional short fiction or comics and music reviews. They were xeroxed and collated and stapled manually upon completion and subsequently given away to anyone remotely interested. Seldom did they charge for these. If anything, 25cts or a trade sufficed.
A lot of these ‘rags’ also travelled to other micro-regions via snail mail and this was before the internetz, so this was a lifeline for people seeking out new and exciting happenings in places other than their own. It went hand in hand with the burgeoning DIY music scene as this was also how bands contacted each other as well as venues to put together tours and find places to stay while out on the road, especially in smaller areas off the beaten path where folks didn’t have access to a big city to see shows of any level. Black Flag is a good example of a band that mastered this and in fact blazed a trail that is still used by bands today. Check out Spray Paint the Walls for a more detailed read about how they did it.
These were really small run, handmade and practically ephemeral which makes zines an interesting literary niche that is still going strong to this day.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE ZINE
Some zines that I know from back in the day started out as crudely xeroxed and stapled handmade affairs but eventually evolved into full-on mags with excellent content and credibility. A couple of examples that come to mind are Ugly Things run by Mike Stax out of San Diego Ca. who’s focus is 60’s garage and psych music. His staying power is a result of really thorough sourcing and in depth coverage of really obscure bands. He is really good at finding surviving members of these long forgotten groups and interviewing them at length which usually reveals some fun and interesting behind the scenes happenings we would never hear about anywhere else.
Also very in depth with lengthy articles to get lost in…as you see the early issues were very text heavy.
Early Big Takeovers (circa early 80’s)
Recent Big Takeover
Another example that I hold close is Bomp magazine created and maintained by Greg Shaw who started making zines by hand as early as 1966 with Mojo Navigator, an inspiration for Rolling Stone Magazine. He made Tolkien related mimeographed zines in the 60’s also, a very early representation of zines not music focused. His real legacy though lies in Who Put the Bomp which I’ve mentioned before as one of my old record store bosses Gary Apollo, who recently passed away also worked with Greg for a few years in LA on the magazine. Even the infamous ‘Powerpop Issue’ which looked really polished and professional was all done by hand! Cut-paste for days…
Early Bomp (circa 1971)
I had just read this article the day before in the New York Times: “No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book, Most People Still Prefer Them” and on our way to the event there were 2 separate people sitting across from us reading books, so as far as I can see, books and printed media are still important to people and if you think otherwise, you’re sadly mistaken and likely missing out on a lot of information you will not find online. It’s also similar to the Record experience in music, the desire to hold something in your hands crafted by artists through painstaking processes to create something significant and tangible which helps drive the experience deeper into your psyche…
This was further driven home when we entered the festival and saw how many people turned out to look at and buy these mostly tiny handmade mags! There were artists, musicians, printmakers, poets and authors, lefties, activists and anarchists and a wide array of items to be had. In addition to xeroxed zines, self published books and underground comics were t-shirts, posters, bags, buttons, some musicians had small run cds, cassettes and even vinyl all DIY and small runs. There were too many artists to mention but I’ve included links where possible and SF Zinefest has it’s own site at sfzinefest.org as well as an instagram and twitter where you can explore and discover a large group of artists both young and not so young! There were some OG’s in the house which leads me into some pics from the event.
First I had to catch up with V.Vale of REsearch Publicatons who is known for his zine Search and Destroy going back to 1977 and his Industrial Culture Handbook and coverage of all things weird and subversive under the REsearch imprint. I purchased this collated, unfolded printing of ‘A Visit From Monte Cazazza’ which I look forward to devouring.
PM Press had a table. The previously mentioned Black flag book Spray Paint The Walls can be obtained through them as well as some other important punk lit.
It was really cool to meet Michelle Cruz Gonzales from the SF all girl band Spitboy who were around from 1990-95. We grabbed her book Spitboy Rule also available through PM Press, but it was nice to be able to get one directly from her and she signed it. This will be a welcome read next to our recently obtained copy of Alice Bags book Violence Girl as these are the voices of xicana women from the old school punk scene, there were very few!
TEAM PRINT SHOP
I also ran into an old friend who worked for a t-shirt print shop I also worked at for awhile in Oakland. He’s since broken off and started his own thing called Team Print Shop
Pretty randomly, I walked past this one table and had to stop because I recognized the curious artwork on the t-shirts first, then the table also had zines with these similar cartoon-like characters in weird homoerotic poses I remembered from some show posters I grabbed from the bulletin board at my band’s rehearsal studio (images below) they were posters for a show that had already passed, so I wasn’t hindering the band’s progress!
Turns out these guys rehearse down the hall from us in Oakland and the band is a bit of an artist collective that release zines under Unity Press and the creator of these weird ass images are by the artist Jeffrey Cheung.
I was also stoked to hear they recorded their debut record in their studio on a 4 track and released to vinyl via the Oakland based label Digital Regress. The DIY ethic instantly endeared them to me and we also have the same name…Jeff’s Rule!
I gave the album a whirl and it’s really good for a 4 track recording! The style is very 90’s indie rock but without the pretentiousness of a lot of that stuff and it also lacked the noisy angst ridden aspect that turns me off to so many of those bands. There are some nice melodies here and simple arrangements and nicely played!
This table caught my eye also but we were on our way out, so I didn’t get a chance to say hi, but here’s a shout out to Bagger43 they had some nice looking stuff and I dug their aesthetic.
There were 2 rooms full of tables and plenty of people milling around!
We walked out of the event quite sated and it was great to see so many people out there just to celebrate the printed word, and of course to support art and artists operating on their own terms! Get off the internet and go read a book now! We came home with plenty of stuff to read and enjoy!
All pics by Jeff K. 2016 (except Bomp, Big Takeover and Ugly Things covers)
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of DaDa, City Lights Bookstore and Publishing have teamed up with a bunch of artists and organizations to put on various events/happenings/installations etc. around San Francisco in conjunction with happenings around the world. View more detailed info at the official DaDa World Fair event site via link below.
Following that is an interview reposted with permission from the interviewer. You can find more of Zora’s work including her excellent book series ‘Women of the Underground’ and more at her website zoraburden.com and be sure to check out V.Vale (ReSearch) and sign up for his newsletter in which more can be found from Zora and many others.
Following The Cabaret Voltaire piece is a bit of audio. Interviews with Tzara and Duchamp themselves as they talk a bit about the origins of the DaDa movement.
“As an artistic and literary movement in the earlier part of the 20th century, Dada stood out for its attacks on bourgeois sensibilities, its challenge to the hierarchies of gallery and museum culture, and its questioning of the purpose of art and the role of the artist in society. Dadaists attacked the norms of traditional art production and crafted a radical agenda that took to task not only the traditional canon of European art but of Dada itself”
Zora Burden interviews Cabaret Voltaire (of Zurich, Switzerland), Pt. 1 (Part 2 will appear in October 2016 newsletter). The 100-Year Anniversary of DADA is being celebrated in San Francisco by City Lights Bookstore’s Peter Maravelis and friends, as well as in Zurich, Switzerland, and elsewhere. www.dadaworldfair.net
ZORA BURDEN: For those who aren’t familiar with Dada and its history, will you give a brief explanation of the group’s formation and talk about some of the core members?
Cabaret Voltaire: As the birthday of Dada is the opening of Cabaret Voltaire on the 5th of February 1916, we can say that the core members of Dada were Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings. They started Cabaret Voltaire with Hans / Jean Arp who was there the same day already hanging up paintings in the Cabaret Voltaire. Probably Sophie Taeuber was there, as she was in a love relationship with Jean Arp. The same night Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco dropped by and joined immediately. A week later on the 11th of February, after Hugo Ball had sent out letters to friends in Germany asking them to join, Richard Huelsenbeck came to Cabaret Voltaire and started playing the “negro drums”. These seven personalities can be considered the key members of Dada at the beginning.
Richard Huelsenbeck brought Dada to Berlin in 1918 where he got to know George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Johannes Baader, John Heartfield and others. Tristan Tzara brought Dada to Paris in 1920, where he met Andre Breton and Francis Picabia. Picabia played an important role in making Dada international. With Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, Dada Baroness and Arthur Cravan were the main members of Dada in New York. In Hanover was Kurt Schwitters and in Cologne were Max Ernst and Johannes Baargeld. There were about 165 Dadaists, of which 21 were the core artists that formed Dada, the global art movement.
ZB: Can you summarize a few of Dada’s most important messages within its manifestos?
CV: If you go through the manifestos chronologically, there is quite an interesting development. The very first declaration or explanation is by Richard Huelsenbeck. In Spring 1916, he says that they found Dada, they have Dada, they are Dada, and that Dada means nothing! Then on the 14th of July 1916, Hugo Ball says that Dada is a word to be used to change the world. He asks: How to achieve eternal bliss? And answers: By saying Dada. Also: How do you become famous? By saying Dada. So you can use the word “Dada” almost like a magic word—a spell to change the world, to achieve eternal bliss, and to become famous.
In this same manifesto, Hugo Ball also says that we need to say the word “with noble gesture and delicate propriety, ‘til craziness, ‘til unconsciousness.” So he also provides a certain attitude—maybe the attitude of a Dandy—one who follows the consequence of a thought and the logic of “spiritual facts.”
Tristan Tzara in 1918, in his first Dada Manifesto, also uses Dada as a word and as a weapon to fight against everything and to “occupy” everything. With Tzara, Dada becomes a real tool that interferes wherever it can. In other manifestos Dadaists mainly describe what Dada is and how it is against other art movements.
Dada is here to change you, says the Johannes Baader manifesto, “Who is Dadaist?” He says that a Dadaist is a human who loves life in all its possible varieties. Baader, as Oberdada, wants humans who can create a new mankind imbued with this spirit. A similar notion can also be found in the “Manifest Proletkunst,” where Kurt Schwitters, Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp and others say that art is the spiritual function that will free humans from the chaos and tragedy of life. They seek “mature” human beings—that is what art is for. So Dada is a tool for creation; it “loosens up” structures to make a place for art to happen, as Walter Serner said in his Manifesto “Letzte Lockerung.” Kurt Schwitters agrees.
ZB: For those who may not know, why was Cabaret Voltaire chosen as the location for the first Dada performances? What is the history of the Cabaret Voltaire café/venue?
CV: Simply because the landlord let them do their Cabaret there. The building was built in the 14th century. Until the 1970s it was still the same restaurant (“Meierei”) where Dada originated in 1916.
ZB: How and when did Cabaret Voltaire reopen? Will you talk about the protests to save it and have it declared a historical landmark?
CV: In 2002, the whole building was squatted by artists to remind the people of Zurich (and Switzerland) that we have a cultural heritage here that was in danger of being used merely as a pharmacy or soap shop or luxury flats. The artistic squatting was successful—a committee of over 2000 artists and cultural workers formed, whose goal was to save the “Dada House.” At one point Swatch stepped in and offered financial assistance. in September 2004, Cabaret Voltaire reopened. It’s still a fight to keep Cabaret Voltaire open as a Dada space; right-wing groups continue to protest its existence.
ZB: What were some of the most notorious and subversive performances held at Cabaret Voltaire?
CV: Since 2004, the very first performance in Cabaret Voltaire was a concert by a Swiss band called “Kunst,” as far as I remember. There were a couple of opening events in 2004, speeches, also exhibitions, and a video by Nobuyoshi Araki. On the preview opening, the mayor gave a speech out of the window with a cardboard megaphone, and a Swiss Schlager band played.
It was more “actions” than performances that created scandal in Zurich. The first one was a T-Shirt we started selling with an image of Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a former RAF terrorist. We sold it next to a Che Guevara T-Shirt, asking if all terrorists would be fashion icons soon—and sure enough, Osama Bin Laden T-Shirts appeared! The local right-wing politicians said we were supporting terrorism and wanted to shut down Cabaret Voltaire.
Later we did a Street Art workshop. The local liberal party protested, saying we were supporting vandalism—again making a call to shut down the place. Then we did a “casting call” for men to join sex workshops for women where people learn how to discover their orgasmic potential. In this case, the city itself said we weren’t allowed to do this, because they don’t support pornography.
ZB: Do you think the Dadaists were the first real “revolutionary” group in the 20th century? How do you feel Dada encouraged personal liberation and freedom of expression?
CV: Dada was beyond any political or ideological movement. Even today, the term Dada is often misused to describe crazy or stupid things. Dada has always had a rebellious potential (which is quickly embraced by adolescents). But in the end, Dada is an attitude that questions everything. This is still not totally understood, but it is an attitude that leads to the future and to art. As previously mentioned, Dada is here to loosen things up and make a place for art. It’s not politics, or religion, or media, or science, or educational rules, but ART that defines our world! Maybe Dada wants to revisit the time when the world was defined by poetry and stories. Or more simply: Dada wants you to be a dandy, trickster and joker… so you will be the best human possible, every day!
ZB: How did the first Dada International Fair in Germany come about, and what was the motivation behind it?
CV: It was organized by the Dadaists in Berlin and took place in the gallery of Dr. Otto Burchard from June 30th until August 25th, 1920. According to the program there were 174 works showed by Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Francis Picabia, Hans Arp, Wieland Herzfelde, Max Schlichter, Max Ernst, Alois Erbach, Rudolf Schlichter, Hans Citroen, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Johannes Baader, Georg Kobbe and some others. Wieland Herzfelde wrote an excellent introduction text.
ZB: Because Dada is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, will you talk about the many ways Dada has influenced society over the last century?
CV: Dada was the very first postmodern art movement. As we are still living in a postmodern society today, one can say that Dada influenced the Western half of the world; the second half is yet to come to Dada. In 1923 when Kurt Schwitters went with Theo van Doesburg and Nelly van Doesburg on a Dada campaign in Holland, Dada was something the “dumb audience” (as Schwitters put it) adopted very quickly. With joy, people shouted Dada and used Dada as in a carnival where they can be a bit crazy and let themselves go.
Certain art movements refer to Dada: Surrealism, Lettrism, Situationism, Beat Generation, Fluxus, Happening, Punk, Performance art and creative activists. One can say that Lady Gaga is Dada and Pussy Riot is Dada. Here you can see the whole range of Dada influencing society today.
ZB: What are some of the events planned for Dada100 internationally? What are some of the events Cabaret Voltaire will be hosting? What other celebrations in Zurich will occur over this year?
CV: Cabaret Voltaire celebrated 165 Celebration Days. We did this every morning until the 18th of July and we did it every night at 20:00 from the 5th of February until the 15th of May. Our main event during the celebration was «Obsession Dada», an exhibition about Harald Szeemann’s work on Dada. With Una Szeemann we researched this in the Getty Research Center in L.A. We did a performance series on a copper stage designed by Una Szeemann, with international contemporary artists from all over the world. The idea was to reload Cabaret Voltaire with contemporary energy and therefore transform and bring it to the future.
We also curated the exhibition “Genesis Dada” in the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, where we showed the very first exhibitions by the Dadaists in Zurich: the paintings and drawings that were hung in Cabaret Voltaire and in Galerie Dada in 1916 and 1917. We showed how Dada was generated.
And we co-curated the exhibition “Kurt Schwitters: Merz” with an architecture design by Zaha Hadid in Galerie Gmurzynska on Paradeplatz in Zurich, which is more or less exactly where Galerie Dada was in 1917.
ZB: If a person can’t attend an event, what are some creative ways to celebrate Dada?
CV: Chant a Sound Poem in a public place. Chant it like a Catholic priest. Like Hugo Ball did on the 23rd of June 1916. Go to a shop and try on all the clothes in the shop and then not buy anything—like Urmuz (not a Dadaist but a Symbolist), did some years before Dada. Walk down a street with restaurants, open the door of each restaurant and shout “Viva Dada” and close the door again—like August Giacometti and Hans Arp did in 1918 in Zurich. Or make a Dadaist poem:
How to Make a Dadaist Poem
“To make a Dadaist poem: Take a newspaper. Take a pair of scissors. Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem. Cut out the article. Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag. Shake it gently. Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag. Copy conscientiously. The poem will be like you. And here are you a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.” Tristan Tzara
ZB: What do you feel are some of the most important works of Dada art or anti-art, literature, film, etc. a person should know about?
CV: Marcel Duchamp’s fountain, Kurt Schwitters’ whole body of work, Francis Picabia’s machine drawings and diagrams, Hugo Ball’s “Flight out of Time,” Hannah Höch’s collages, Sophie Taeuber Arp’s entire body of work, Dada Baroness, herself as an artwork. The life of Arthur Cravan, the early works of Max Ernst, the Dada magazines, and the 391 magazines by Picabia.
ZB: How do you feel Surrealism and Dada differ? What about in regards to the Theater of the Absurd?
CV: Surrealist are copycats of Dada without its humor. [Note: We at RE/Search disagree!] They’re too political, and are hidden behind pseudo-psychological topics. On the other hand, Arturo Schwarz would say that Dada is about nothing—it is total nihilism, whereas Surrealism is about Revolution and Women.