Back now. “Hollywood.” After 15 or 17 or 2000 days of travel– the original plan was a week long stay in Oregon with elly, purpose: a lovely wedding (not mine)– somehow, after the ceremony and gathering of folk and a delusional wander around Eugene in which a man uncovered the heretofore ignored works of Ross MacDonald and an astonishing mid-sixties copy of (our hero) Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, I ended up in San Francisco. Even this ballooned for extra days, the city unwilling to allow a release according to my improvized schedule. I am tired. I want to hide for a million years and yet things is mad tricky; I leave again Sunday and have stupid Plans for the current week. Life, like love, comes in spurts.
January 28, 1968, “Commerce in Hippieland” by Jane Wilson:
“Trade follows the fad. On the one hand stand the hippies, suppliers of psychedelic art, tribal crafts, drug religions, acid rock, love-ins, be-ins, underground newspapers and flowers. On the other hand stand the voracious teenyboppers, curious college kids, swinging singles, gimmicky housewives, and panicky over-30s, who fear that Life may be passing them by. The hippies are supplying something, the straight world is demanding something, and in the middle–guessing–stand a few fearless entrepreneurs. Some of these are Flower Children, some are businessmen, some are greedy, some are idealistic…”
Kenneth Anger is my Grandfather. He is upstairs in my parent’s bed and I bring him his breakfast. He’s feeling better but restless and anxious to get out again. He’s planning his escape. I’m in charge of watching him, of serving him, but also making sure he does not get away. Over the next few days we get to know each other, really, for the first time. We laugh and joke, he begins to open up to me and I’m excited to make up for lost time.
I walk up the stairs one fine summer morning into his room to find an empty bed, sheets disheveled, pillows on the floor. From the bedroom window I watch as he rides off on what else but a motorcycle. At this point I become Anger and I drive through off road trails into the backwoods of the country. I slow down, get off the bike and walk, full of dread, toward my destination: prison.
The prison is some distance away. But I can tell things have gotten out of hand long before I arrived. A huge battle is being waged on the verdant fields of this stone Bastille. Full riot and a jail engulfed in massive flames of blood and steel. As I walk towards the flaming prison, an old man cries out among the sheiks firsts and smoke, “This is where you belong, isn’t it, Kenneth!”
When I awoke it was noon.
I remembered what I done last night. Cinema Dance Eros. I had come to see the good Dr. Kenneth Anger at Anthology Film Archive. To see what he had to say since last I’d heard him, live and direct from the Whitney Museum, some 2 years ago. I also came to see the new films, films many people did not believe even existed. But I had faith, the faith of a child that sees death grinning before the eye of the moon.
Lonely Christopher and I arrived early. I bought a ticket for my friend Colette. She arrived looking resplendent as always, her beautiful hat of crystal amaranth and her dress of white light. After I bought the ticket I heard, what I feared, and had not yet read on the giant sign in front of the ticket window: “We regret to inform you that Kenneth Anger will not be attending tonight’s program.” The man in person had been replaced by a taped interview conducted by, who else but, the French.
Of the new films, first up “Surfing Lucifer”, began with the Universal Studio logo and theme song, with a slight change in text, reading, “Piracy.” What followed was amazing footage of luciferian cowabunga man-boys riding hard gargantuan waves, on super 8 film stock, to the thick Cali beat of “Good Vibrations.”
The first program ended with the video taped Kenneth Anger interview. The great Anger began describing some Renaissance looking painting, obsessing over the unusual presence of a “negro.” He discussed his illness, Manic-Depression, with somber grace, and I felt a stir of empathy. He made stabs at his bastard Hollywood disciples, “I used Blue Velvet in a movie way before David Lynch did. In fact he got the idea because he liked how I used it. At least that’s what I heard.” He discussed his disgust with the politically correct and his disregard of any concern over the misunderstanding of his Nazis imagery in “Scorpio Rising.” “I like shock and I like controversy.” His face was blurred as he denoted the folly of Francis Ford Coppola, whom he called a great example of Hollywood waste, and gave good examples of such wasting, “He bought 800 Nagras and handed them out to the Filipino children to go around recording jungle noises. They couldn’t use any of it!” He ended these comments with a lesson of how demonic providence works its way against the Hollywood Goliaths, citing the disasters that beguiled the shooting of the motion picture “South Pacific”, “Nature gets revenge on Hollywood through natural disaster. If they had shot in a studio none of that would have happened.”
The second program began with the long anticipated new work, “Foreplay”. The standard pop song soundtrack was replaced with the natural sounds of balls smacking against feet and balls shot into goals after being dribbled on dirty knees and sock covered hairy ankles. An interesting take on the absurdity of competition and an ironic look at the latent homosexuality underlying modern athletics.
The great treat of the evening was the final act of the new works, “I’ll Be Watching You.”
CAUTION BEWARE SPOILERS!!!
“I’ll Be Watching You” begins with a handsome security man hidden in the booth of an underground parking garage clearly bored but focused, watching intently at the security camera monitor. The ironic ’80s pop hit with the stalker lyrics and romantic tune bopping against the images. Then in drives a stallion of a man behind his delectable Dodge Neon. As the man in the booth watches in the monitor, a man who looks just like him comes out to greet the man in the car. But how can he? He’s in the booth! He can’t be two places at once! Is he watching himself? is this a dream? A fantasy? The audience ponders as Anger cuts to a close up of a security camera. The eye of Horus camouflaged by modern technology. What ensues is an actual hard-core porno reedited but not censored. Cars roll out, parking garage doors close. Those who know Anger in laughter, those who don’t befuddled. End. Anger, Paris, 2007.
This is the perhaps final period of Kenneth Anger: the piracy period. He appropriates footage and reedits it. Kenneth Anger as cinematic pirate. I for one think the new guise entirely appropriate. There is a touch of humor and intentionality that makes these works entirely acceptable and rather, well, cute. I told all this to a friend, she remarked, rightly so, “Well, it is very modern.” And as the good Dr.’s main man said, “I have never grown out of the infantile belief that the universe was made for me to suck.”
4:37pm. June 23rd, 2008. Eugene, Oregon. Train station. Bootleg wireless.
Yeti sez: drink of me and live forever.
In the midst of an epic eleven hour sleep, a 26 hour journey becomes 29.
Woke up from a dream where I traveled to imaginary philly bus station to witness soviets filing gorby’s execution notice. Laser printed arial.
Full onset train based mysticism has set in. I see the hands of the clock and I am the clock and I am the time.
Hipster kid with acne whose girlfriend is excited about Spoon touring thinks that I have a cool shirt. He’s right.
Aspergers in an older gent going 36 hours up the coast. This is what you pay for, this is why you live. Hunting season.
Holy i have no cell axis and am in the mountains and there is a russian
what in the world
Hour one of a 26 hour train journey. The price and prince of madness. At van nuys. Chatty ham radio operator across aisle.
Those who’ve perused the kobek.com mainsite know that I have a long and abiding interest in early 20th century esoteric African-American and Afro-Caribbean religion; this was, at one point, intended to be the subject of an anthology of original writings and primary documents, but landing a publisher proved problematic. In the next few months, hopefully, I’ll be migrating the lion’s share of research materials online, where they’ll be available for everyone with an interest.
Digging through old materials, I came across a really odd thing– an apparent letter from W.D. Fard, the founder of the religious culture that would develop into both the Nation of Islam and the Nation of Gods and Earths (the 5%), to his primary disciple, Elijah Mohammed.
The best book on the history of Fard and Mohammed in the early Detroit/Chicago days is The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad by Karl Evanzz. Despite the author’s paranoid willingness to believe every imaginable thing about Fard (going so far as to suggest a family tie with the Theosophist Florence Farr), it does give a fairly accurate warts-and-all picture of Elijah Muhammad and W.D. Fard.
Following legal battles with both the Detroit (being the D in the 1930s, this inevitably involved human sacrifice) and Chicago police, Fard disappeared, never to be heard from again. Much, much later, after the advent of Malcolm X and the rise of the NOI to national prominence, the Hearst press, in conjunction with the FBI, outed Fard as Wallace Ford, a one-time California drug dealer and San Quentin convict. Apparently much of this serves as the basis for Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex. (I haven’t read the book, I wouldn’t know.)
During the course of my 2002/3 era research, I was saving and archiving about every scrap of information that I could find on both the Moorish Science Temple of America and the early NOI, which operated under several names, but was perhaps best known as the Allah Temple of Islam. Somewhere I found the following text of an apparent letter from Fard to Mohammed (the spellings of NOI names in the early years were different) and scans of two of its four pages. As far as I know, this is the only letter or writing of any kind (other than the Lessons, of which the actual authorship is difficult to ascertain) that is directly attributable to Fard. Based on the look of the scans and the language, I presume that it’s authentic, but there’s so much misinformation and disinformation on the topic that a forgery isn’t implausible. Take it for what it is.
South West Part of N. America
Dec. 18 – 1933
Mr. E. Mohammed
The Minister of Islam
Here is a few line to let you Know that I have received both of your letters one return mail and the other regular, also one from Kallatt; I have been just getting over the terrible mistake and unofficial movements that you been taken not only one that you went to Birmingham but different time you have done minus things with out saying any thing before. I have numbers of records of charges against you; but I not brought them to enforce knowing you have taken these steps with good attentions. NOW MY DEAR BELOVED BROTHER, I will tell you again and again you have heard me from time to time that must not under take the labor of Islam unless you do know it 100%; This is why I am here to guide you to the right road, you must always tell me other you will not be successful. It is true that you can use the wisdom but remember you are the wise and is in the mouth of the lion in his cave or civilization without any right in regards to the rules and regulations for practicing your profession in this cave civilization in first place you have no business being here but since you are here long way from home and your kind and are in the cave of savage you must use your wisdom with care, other this savage will peice you in two; The law of nature will not allow a man to run the home of another man, so be clear on this and use your wisdom with care; I will tell you to get out on the street and on the top of all the high building, yell out you wisdom when the time come, the time is not ripe yet, how many time have I told you this? Are you wasting my valuable moments on the same things over and over; My movements time and hours are limited and are for the dead nation, so you be aware not to rob the dead and your ???
You keep this letter and present to me when I see you and I will read for you and explain to you, I know you going to ask 1000 un-valuable question but write them down and present to me when I see you get on the labor now and study your assignment. See that you master your history all of the form all of the problems. All every thing I left you is to be dug out and study; Problem 31 should clear you of the mystery that you all long for but your wisdom and keep all to your self. Now right along with your study you can go over to Chicago unexpected do not tell no one where you going or when you going excepting Kallatt Mohammed, give them a lecture and run over to MILWAUKEE at 8th and Center St. inquire about Mr. Joe Bey, many semellers around there and ask to have a special metting for you, give them a lecture or two and go back to Evanston and ask for Mr. Brown. Try to get aquaited there and start a station there; you may promise some Ice Maker a big bone and get in with him and start arising the dead, With your wisdom you easily do this, but have patient; just look at me. I have all the hard luck and confronting more hard luck cause by my own people; Don’t you see they are poison by the devil and so badly poison that they can’t see me walking among them every day and eating with them give them Knowledge to compare with any body in the world and they are still in doubt. How many you want me to pick out each time when you have meeting; be wise and take lots of graveness for you are dealing with babies There will be time when they all will know you then your happiness will be give, Now I go back to my subject; Then from Evanston you can round Chicago again unexpected then home, stop in these little towns on your way home and leave little wisdom everywhere get around and get aquainted caravan the territory between your home and Milwaukee start stations every where you can St. Louis and Kansas City will be your territory too but at present you can master the above said and later I will tell you when to there; about your labor working the problems, you are doing fine; you may consult one of the Teachers on beginning and forming your figures, the distance of Platoon is given in one of the problems Light travel 186,000 miles per second and the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the Earth Then if you divide the traveling speed in to the distance it shall give you the time to strike the Earth. Ha! Ha! this is good one for you, I shall have big time with you when I see you; but now do not be bashfull to study, for the wise always go to the bottom to secure real cure: Write to me every day and tell me all about your study, My best wishes to you and family all the labors and 17,000,000 I am going with you, from W.D. Fard
Drudge in Hollywood
On Steve Ditko
From Sunset Blvd
Welcome to Kurdistan