THE MFS MESS: Emil Bacilla’s article on the Midwest Film Society last issue touched off a lot of under-the-table shit, which was, even weirder since Emil was in SF when the paper came out and couldn’t see what was happening. Briefly: Noel Cooper of the MFS contacted me through Peter Werbe about screening the MFS films at the Artists’ Workshop, which was for me a happy occurrence and was immediately implemented. JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS was shown at the Workshop Saturday, September 17, to a good-sized crowd, and flyers were passed out advertising the MFS fall lineup at the Workshop. Everything was groovy.
Then the shit hit the fan. Some members of the MFS (nameless ani) were very very upset about the location for the screenings, like, the Artists’ Workshop is a hangout for commies & junkies, we might get stabbed in the neighborhood, and, well, it just ain’t SAFE for nice old movie-lovers like ourselves. So \the plan was cancelled, and future screenings of the MFS, if anyone is interested, will be at a member’s home. I can’t give you his name or address or phone number because one of the officers of the MFS, whose number was published in Emil’s article, received three phone calls from our local bunch, BREAKTHROUGH, warning him not to have anything to do with either the Fifth Estate or the Artists’ Workshop. Well, this IS America I guess...
PLUM STREET HAPPENINGS: The Fifth Estate now handles a whole lot of books, magazines, “underground newspapers,” Artists Workshop publications, posters, & soon—RECORDS. The new office is on the 2nd floor, 923 Plum Street, and will be open daily until midnight. Stop by and FREAK OUT!!
The whole place was packed from opening until closing this last (GRAND OPENING!) weekend, which was very nice for all concerned. The Dept. of Parks and Recreation set up a bandshell in the open air market space and rock bands played continuously for two days. I didn’t get to hear even a bunch of them, but two bands that I did hear were into some very hip things. The Southbound Freeway (now minus Larry Miller) carried on for an unhappily small audience and were beautiful. Sunday evening a suburban group, the Ravens, did some hard-swimming things in a neo-James Brown bag and were out of sight, the lead singer especially. Let me say that it was very groovy to walk outside any time and hear music blasting out of the Village Square—it should happen every weekend.
Jim Semark (“Dr. Benway”) and myself are getting a new maniac band together and are looking for rhythm players—a drummer, bassist (electric), and lead guitar player. Anyone interested in getting together can contact me at the Fifth Estate office any night. Oh yeah—the band will be called the Down-Home Tyranosaurous of Despair and will do original songs by Semark (Death Dwarfs in the Street, Knee-Deep in Yore Heart, and others), adaptations from William Burroughs, rhythm and blues songs from the 1950s, and other ditties.
Don’t miss the INstage affair at the Community Arts Auditorium, Sunday, October 2, at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $1.50 and will go to help this new group find and keep a performing facility of its own. Featured will be dancers, bebop bands, paintings, readings, and a repeat performance of Albee’s ZOO STORY by the Concept East players (James Johnson and James Wheeler).
James Jonnson is currently performing in James Weldon Johnson’s TRUMPETS OF THE LORD weekends at the Concept East, 401 East Adams. The two are no relation. The play opened there September 16 and will continue.
All kinds of things are going to be happening on Plum Street and in the immediate area—watch for news of a new jazz concert area in the near future. I can’t tell you anything about it yet but will as soon as everything goes down. I mean you’ll finally be able to hear the most “psychedelic” bands in the country—John Coltrane (with his alter ego Pharaoh Sanders “The Holy Ghost”), Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, Sun Ra, etc. etc.—if this thing goes through, I’ll let you know.
That’s the funny thing about all the “psychedelic” music that people are screaming about—the “acid-rock” bands I mean—because if these folks were ever exposed to a John Coltrane or Cecil Taylor performance they’d lose their minds! If they have any. And they do. Once you get past the “big beat” and move into body-pulse rhythms and screams for melody you’ll find out where I’M at. Or Sun Ra, who plays the music of the future, like what music will be after LSD has finally opened up the people’s minds. Or like I heard myself say in the middle of a space-voyage one time, “all these words are just pre-consciousness bullshit—when everybody gets INTO IT there won’t be any more of this silliness.” Dig it.
Support your local bookstore—it supports you.