August 2010

Hijikata’s Ankoku Butoh according to Stephen Barber: what other work is necessary apart from that which is impolite, impolitic, unwanted, ugly, poor, dark, bitter, unhealthy, repressive, permanent, monolithic, insidious, somapsychotic and psychogenic?

The body oscillates between carrying a profound anatomical shock, and deliquescing into a mist of deteriorating celluloid, in performance films of Hijikata’s work.

– Stephen Barber, Hijikata: Revolt of the Body, Creation Books, 2006, p. 57

– Hijikata, 1969, poor copy of photo by Masahisa Fukase

Ankoku Butoh would be an art form whose social threat and negation proved insidious and virtual, rather than explicit. Rather than Hijikata, it would be Genet himself, during one of his visits to Tokyo … , who took part in the most violent Shinjuku street-riot of 17 December 1969, opening himself to physical danger by taunting and harassing the riot-police lined-up before the thousands of protesters – while Hijikata, as the photograph of him carrying a watermelon indicates, was heading off in the opposite direction at that moment, increasingly swallowed-up in his own, insular concerns.

– Ibid., p. 63

– Yoko Ashikawa in Intimacy Plays Its Trump

From the earliest stages of Ankoku Butoh, its participants (including Hijikata himself, and Akiko Motofuji) had also performed in commercial sex-cabarets; by the end of the 1960s, much of the Asbestos Hall’s income was generated by activity in sex-cabarets of varying degrees of explicitness. Akiko Motofuji managed those activities and expertly co-ordinated the appearances of Hijikata’s young pupils in the Tokyo sex-industry. From April to December 1969, the (usually-separated) art-focused and sex-industry-focused facets of Ankoku Butoh reached their closest proximity, in a series of spectacles choreographed by Hijikata for his own dancers (such as Saga Kobayashi and Yoko Ashikawa) and other performers, at the Space Club Capsule venue, located in one of Tokyo’s principal upmarket sex-industry areas, Akasaka; the performances, with titles such as Space Capsule Illusionetique, featured intricate sequences of sexual tableaux, including lesbian sex-acts. The vast, mult-faceted Tokyo sex-club and prostitution industries would remain a principal, enduring source of income over the next decades, for both male and female Butoh performers.

– Ibid. pp. 65-66

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six lines in strange appreciation of the hunted

The black slit lies in its copper cloud.

‘Quiet as a knife.’

His heart beats its heavy, sinking beats.

Straight into the shadowy blue channel through the pines.

Fall silently or remain hanging.

They stay just as they are, forgotten.

– from Alexander Ahndoril’s The Director, trans. Sarah Death, Portobello Books, London, 2008, line by line, pp. 132, 172, 181, 191, 196 & 203

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gardesir: brand-names and images from old clothes

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orange and yellow

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more snaps, incl. an homage to Roberto Bolaño

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mostly new fences in Riverhead & other snaps







National Scandal
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Tennessee Williams, poet after Hart Crane and Constantine Cavafy’s hearts

WINTER SMOKE IS BLUE AND BITTER

(from Androgyne, Mon Amour)

Winter smoke is blue and bitter:
women comfort you in winter.

Scent of thyme is cool and tender:
girls are music to remember.

Men are made of rock and thunder:
threat of storm to labour under.

Cypress woods are demon-dark:
boys are fox-teeth in your heart.

– Tennessee Williams, Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol, 1967

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