August 2013

just because I repeat it and repeat it don’t make it not true

I wish you weren’t using fb as a medium. It seems hypocritical to do so. This forum is a private enterprise profiting from unpaid public labour – in the guise of being a public good. Of course, Ggle and the browserscape similarly exploit – some predict its extinction – the middle class to benefit the rich corpocrats. But the web despite the spin put on it by these interested parties retains greater end-to-end neutrality – disinterestedness – than any of the social racketeers and initiatives of corpocracy. I am suggesting therefore that this material and its intentions and the causes here promoted would be better served by being on a website – clearly placarded as independent.

to where Bryan Bruce posted the ‘extras’ to his documentary – which it is important to see – Mind the Gap, dealing with the neoliberal legacy of 1984, once lightly, a little too moralisingly and with some questionable zombie action.

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link via Louise Desrenards: China and Russia do not negotiate with Wimperialists

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Herbert Blau 1926 – 2013

– back dustcover, The Impossible Theater: A Manifesto, Herbert Blau

I had avoided looking but my friend Herb is dead.

…not a bad write-up, here in the New York Times, but hardly covering his academic career and many polemical interventions – the contribution to critique and scholarship of:

The Impossible Theater: A Manifesto. New York: Macmillan, 1964; rpt. Collier, 1965.

Blooded Thought: Occasions of Theater. New York: Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982.

Take Up the Bodies: Theater at the Vanishing Point. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982.

The Eye of Prey: Subversions of the Postmodern. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

The Audience. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

To All Appearances: Ideology and Performance. London/New York: Routledge,1992.

Nothing in Itself: Complexions of Fashion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

Sails of the Herring Fleet: Essays on Beckett. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

The Dubious Spectacle: Extremities of Theater, 1976-2000. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002

Reality Principles: From the Absurd to the Virtual. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

As If: An Autobiography, Volume 1. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Programming Theater History: The Actor’s Workshop of San Francisco. New York: Routledge, 2013.

We began a correspondence in 2000. I’d read his Blooded Thought and The Eye of Prey and wrote him – subject line “Importunate Antipodean” – early one morning, before I rolled up the door at Brazil and began pulling coffee. An additional pretext was my response to Rt. Hon. Helen Clark’s call for submissions on cultural policy: a long letter to Helen … to which neither she nor her office, nor anyone I sent it to, replied. I attached it. Herbert Blau wrote back within 24 hours. The early years are lost on the hard-drive of the old Brazil PC but I remember he said that if our Prime Minister understood anything of what I’d written, we were doing a lot better than they in the US – in election year, the one ‘stolen’: Bush vs. Gore.

I was generally late writing to him to wish him a happy new year or happy birthday. In keeping, then, that I discover late he died on May 3, his 87th birthday. My last message from him arrived on April 17. I feel too sad to publish it here and it hardly represents the brilliance and bellicose intelligence of my friend. Only the generosity of his “run-on life” is there. Perhaps one day I will collect the correspondence such that I have still in my possession and present it together.

One story I recall: he was in Berlin, seeing Sasha Waltz’s Körper. After the show he was invited backstage to meet the dancers. One of them, he wrote to me, was also from New Zealand. Oh, he said to her, I only know one other person from there, Simon Taylor. Simon! replied Lisa, He’s a friend of mine.

Körper by Sasha Waltz – Trailer from Stephan Talneau on Vimeo.

 

Herb ended his final email: Really, all best, even if this ends with me,

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on the property trail dreaming maybe Doyle’s warehouse is Kumeu Opera House or Bollywood Westie, Wollywood, but at this price maybe you would like to contribute: feel free to. But this was back in April. maybe it’s gone up.

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in Wellington at the end of summer we were as usual set upon by art, including the video work of the Chinese artist featuring the little elephant and Len Lye

 

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on the property hunt #1 and plastic bullets

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moving on from a discussion of the attractions of the Weimar, Tony Judt says and Timothy Snyder records:

The notion that what is wrong with bourgeois democracy is the adjective rather than the noun was a brilliant innovation on the part of Marxist rhetoricians. If the problem with western democracies is that they are bourgeois (whatever that means), then internal critics constrained to live in such places may offer criticism risk-free: taking your distance from bourgeois democracy costs you little and hardly threatens the institution itself.

– Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder, Thinking the Twentieth Century, Vintage, London, 2013, p. 53

… could one say equally the notion that what is wrong with capitalist democracy is the adjective rather than the noun is a brilliant innovation on the part of its critics? costing them little should they be constrained to live in such places: taking one’s distance from capitalist democracy hardly threatens the institution itself. Whereas the problem and risks of standing up against democracy in a post-communist world constitute for the Left its fatal genetic flaw and are as risks to be avoided where the problem is more easily denied.

… in which regard, laterally, check out David Kimelman and Earl Dax’s Weimar New York, in video:

… and in photos:

– Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser perform at Weimar New York for Obama, by David Kimelman

Street Fight, Otto Dix, 1927

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“Andenkenkadaver” by Michele Parliament

– from here

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“Butcher Bunny” by Mark Ryden

– from here

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was looking for R.S.H. when out of Detroit…

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