Archive for September, 2010


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This is a still of a film about boyhood. I shot it a few days ago. The boy walking is my son Eleazar and those are some of our dogs. The place is a beautiful football pitch. It is very near our house. We like to walk there at dusk when dragon flies are abundant in the rainy season. I appreciate the lack of light at this hour, which will be lesser in the film, because sound becomes evidently present.

August 15th, 2010

Carlos Reygadas was born 1971, in Mexico City. He Became a Lawyer in Mexico and specialized in Armed Conflict Law in London. He worked for the European Commission and was a member of the Mexican Foreign Service. Between 1998 and 1999 Reygadas made four shorts in Belgium, learning film in a self taught manner after being rejected from film school in Brussels. In 2000 he shot his first feature film, JAPÓN (JAPAN). The film was presented at the Rotterdam Film Festival and received a special mention for the Caméra d’Or Award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, as well several other prizes. He presented BATALLA EN EL CIELO (BATTLE IN HEAVEN) in 2005, which was selected for Competition in Cannes and won the FIPRESCI Prize at Río de Janeiro International Film Festival among others. In 2007 his film STELLET LICHT (SILENT LIGHT) competed once more for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival winning the Jury Award. He also won the Grand Prize at Riga International Film Forum ‘Arsenals’, the Golden Colón at Huelva Latin American Film Festival, the Grand Coral – First Prize and Best Director at Havana Film Festival, the Gold Hugo at Chicago International Film Festival, the Jury Award at Bergen International Film Festival, among others.


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This is a xerox copy of a photo taken of me by “Coach Jeff” who ran a summer kids program at Topanga Elementary in Topanga Canyon, California in the 70’s. I dared him to take the photo. He made a hand-painted pink frame (I was wearing dirty pink leotard + tights) and painted the words “fuck you” in white. He gave this to my parents as a gift. I’ve had this photo on my wall at various points throughout my life—this xerox here is the only remaining copy. I’d like to thank Coach Jeff for encouraging a healthy dose of fuck-you-ness at an early age.

These are the first photographs I ever made. I used a copy stand to shoot photos of Mick Jagger that I had found in magazines. Then I processed the black and white film and printed them in the dark room. I think I was in 7th grade, so I must have been about 12 years old, and going to public school in Denver, Colorado. I remember so well the swishing of the film back and forth in the cannister, the washing and hanging to dry of the negatives, the smells of the developer and fixer, using the tongs to fish them out and the red light in the room. I was instantly hooked on that moment where the image starts to appear in the developer. I was also hooked on the power.

Notations for the Mick Photos.

A snapshot of my fridge today. I had the idea to make my first cameraless film in 2003 from three cans of old 16mm color negative that were in and out of my fridge for over 10 years, living in different cities and getting aged by the process.

Topanga Beach was a private beach back in the day—like Malibu Colony—with homes built in the 1920’s. It became a bohemian community full of hippies and surfers in the 60’s and 70’s, and became known as “Lower Topanga” because it mirrored what was happening culturally up in Topanga Canyon. Like the other “private beaches” around, you couldn’t really go there unless you knew someone. There are and were many other communities along the West Coast with homes built right on the beach even though no one is actually allowed to own the beach—its all public space. You just need a way through the gates and fences to the beach and anyone can be there.

In the late 70’s, LA County decided that it should do away with the community and set out to bulldoze all of their homes using the law of Imminent Domain to make way for Topanga State Park Beach—its a seriously crowded surf spot now. But at least it’s “for the people.”

As I kid I believed the rumor that the owners of the beach houses burnt them down as an act of defiance to the county before they could be bulldozed. Since I grew up in Topanga I was fascinated by that story—and for years had been telling everyone that the Topangans “burned down all their houses”.

I was researching the story for one of my films and found a trove of archival photos, snap shots, magazine pictures and movie stills that showed the bulldozing of the houses on the beach. But then, there it was, near the end of my search—I discovered a small bit of proof that the myth was at least partially true—a photo credited to J. Murf of a burning house captioned: “Locals set fire to the last house on the beach.” Several of the photos with the homes still standing were used as material for a film this year.

Photo c/o Carole Winter.

The Malibu Times. Photo by Gary Graham.

Locals set fire to the last house on the beach. Photo by J. Murf.

Photo by J. Murf.

Photo by J. Murf.

Grant Rohloff and friends in front of Dr. Schweiger’s circa 1966. Photo by John Clemens.

Photo c/o Claudia Taylor.

Inez on Katano, Feb 73. Photo by Woody Stuart.

Photo by John Clemens.

Photo by John Clemens.

Photo by Marlies Armand.

Miki Dora at Topanga Beach. Photo c/o Bob Feigel.

Jennifer West was born in Topanga Canyon, California. Recent exhibitions include Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2010); PAINTBALLS AND PICKLE JUICE, Kunstverein Nuremberg, Germany (2010); POMEGRANATE JUICE & PEPPER SPRAY, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles (2009); LEMON JUICE AND LITHIUM, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland (2008); ELECTRIC KOOL-AID AND THE MEZKAL WORM, Vilma Gold, London (2008); OCCAMY, Marc Foxx, Los Angeles (2007); The White Room, White Columns, New York (2007). Group shows include IN FULL BLOOM, Galleria Cortese, Milan, Italy (2010); KURT, Seattle Art Museum, Curated by Michael Darling (2010); CELLULOID. CAMERALESS FILM, Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt, Germany, curated by Esther Schlicht (2010); SKATE THE SKY, part of LONG WEEKEND, Tate Modern, London curated by Stuart Comer (2009); NOW YOU SEE IT, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson (2008); DRAWING ON FILM, Drawing Center, NY (2008) curated by Joao Ribas; HERE’S WHY PATTERNS Misako and Rosen (2008); IF EVERYBODY HAD AN OCEAN: BRIAN WILSON, AN ART EXHIBITION (touring) Tate St. Ives, Cornwall, England; ; CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France (2007-08) curated by Alex Farquharson; COME FORTH! EAT, DRINK, AND LOOK…, Gavin Brown at Passerby, New York (2008); WORDS FAIL ME, MOCAD, Contemporary Art Museum, Detroit, Michigan, curated by Matthew Higgs (2007).


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010


— I got my life from the radio. When I was a kid growing up in the 1940s and early ’50s in the little farming community of Davison, Michigan, radio was still the primary entertainment medium in America and I listened to all sorts of programs from the Green Hornet, the Fat Man, the Shadow, and the Lone Ranger to Amos & Andy, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee & Molly, and Our Miss Brooks.

The beautiful thing about the radio was that you had to make up the pictures in your mind while you listened to the programs. But between 1948 and 1952 popular radio programming was switched over to television and this new medium quickly replaced radio as the place where people went for their entertainment. Many of the popular radio shows were translated into the one-dimensional imagery of the square box that would become the centerpoint of American life.

The one positive result of the advent of commercial television was that radio programming became predominantly music-oriented. Record shows almost completely replaced the wide range of entertainment programming as well as the “live” music of the studio orchestras of the 1930s & ’40s, and the disc jockey began to reign supreme over the radio airwaves.

The greatest thing happened in 1948 when WDIA radio in Memphis switched to a musical format aimed at the city’s black population, utilizing African American deejays like Nat Williams, Rufus Thomas and the young B.B. King to play popular blues and R&B releases and sell black-oriented products over the air. This sparked a movement to serve black audiences in all the major cities of America and a wave of black deejays who enjoyed the freedom of selecting the songs they played on their shows.

When I was a kid of of 12 and 13 I listened religiously to the local broadcasts of the inimitable Frantic Ernie Durham on WBBC radio. The colorful deejay who rhymed everything he said and played the greatest records in the world also owned a pair of low-rent record shops in the North End of Flint: Ernie’s Record Rack #1 at 943 Leith Street near Industrial, and Ernie’s Record Rack #2 on St. John Street, corner of Easy.

My dad worked at Buick Motors in the North End, and every Friday morning when he left for work I’d hand him a list of the 10 new records I most wanted to possess. He’d go to Ernie’s #1 on his lunch hour and apply my weekly allowance of $2.00 to the purchase of a pair of sides off my list, like “I Asked For Water” by Howlin’ Wolf on Chess, or “Nip Sip” by the Clovers on Atlantic, or “Mary Lou” by Young Jessie on Modern Records.

The Frantic One and the records he played on the air literally reshaped my life and lent it the foundation the rest of my years would be built on. His opening invocation would go something like this:

The Frantic One on the scene
with his crazy playing record machine
We start at nine and don’t put the twister to the slammer
Until the clock chimes 12 times
Great googa mooga, shugga wooga!
Nothin’ but the best and later for the rest!
We got that jumpin’ jive that’s truly alive
& the musical sounds to caress your ears,
my dears

Then the parade of records would begin, as detailed in the playlist below:

The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
Great Googa Mooga with Ernie Durham—The Frantic One
WBBC-AM, Flint, Michigan, November 1958 [VV-0001]

[01] Opening: Theme Music with Voice-over Intro
[02] Jackie Wilson: Lonely Teardrops
[03] The Quintones: Down the Aisle of Love
[04] Ernie’s Record Racks commercial
[05] The Miracles: Money
[06] Kenny Martin: I’m Sorry
[07] Al Smith: Wabash Blues
[08] Little Anthony & the Imperials: Tears on My Pillow
[09] The Spaniels: Here’s Why I Love You
[10] Dale Hawkins: Cross Ties
[11] Theme Music with Outro to first segment
[12] Theme Music & voice-over Intro to second segment
[13] Jimmy Reed: Down in Virginia
[14] Chuck Berry: Vacation Time
[15] Ernie D. Movers & Groovers Club Card Promotion
[16] Bill Doggett: [Unidentified]
[17] Jackie Wilson: I’m Wondering
[18] Texas Red & The Contours: Turn Around
[19] Peggy Lee: Fever
[20] Thurston Harris: Over and Over
[21] Ernie D. Movers & Groovers Club Card Promotion
[22] Ivory Joe Hunter: Yes, I Want You
[23] Theme Music with Outro to second segment
[24] Theme Music & voice-over Intro to third segment
[25] Joe Williams & Count Basie: Hallelujah, I Love Her So
[26] Ernie D. Flint IMA Pre-Thanksgiving Dance/Concert Promo
[27] Bill Doggett: Hold It
[28] Cozy Cole: Topsy (Part 2)
[29] Ernie D. Steve’s Auto Repair Commercial
[30] Dakota Staton: Confessin’ the Blues
[31] Sam Cooke: Win Your Love for Me
[32] Ernie D. Nature Boy Wine Commercial
[33] Ivory Joe Hunter: Yes, I Want You
[34] Eugene Church: Pretty Girls Everywhere
[35] Theme Music with Outro to third & final segment

Produced by Ernie Durham for WBBC Radio, Flint MI, November 1958
Post-production, editing & annotation by John Sinclair,
Detroit, December 6, 2005
Special Thanks to Jim Shaw & Bruce Cohen


On school nights, as memory serves, the Frantic One beamed out on WBBC from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, making way for Noble Gravelin’s country music show. But on Saturday afternoons he broadcast from noon to 6:00 pm, and while my little buddies and pals would be out playing some kind of rudimentary sports, I would be in my room glued to the radio set (this was before portable transistor radios) so I wouldn’t miss a minute of what Ernie D. was putting down.

On weeknights, when the Frantic One ended his show it was time to turn the dial to the other end, from 600 to 1420 AM, where you could find WLAC blasting out from Nashville, Tennessee with 50,000 watts of clear channel power and sending forth the finest in R&B throughout the Midwest and the East Coast from 9:00 pm till 2:00 am, with a series of nightly programs hosted by Jumpin’ John R [Richbourg], Gene Nobles (and later Bill “Hoss Man” Allen), and Herman Grizzard.

Each show was sponsored by a local record shop that specialized in sending 78s and then 45s by mail order throughout the South to satisfy the recor dneeds of their mostly rural listening audience without access to local record emporia.

Ernie’s Record Mart (“179 Third Avenue, in Nashville, Tennessee”), Randy’s Record Shop (“in Gallatin—and only Gallatin, Tennessee”), and Buckley’s Record Mart could provide you with any and all of the records played by the deejays, and there were regular groupings of hot records offered as, for example, the “Blue Star Blues Special—six records, 12 big sides, for the low, low price of $2.69 plus packing, mailing, and C.O.D. Send no money, just your name and address, to Blue Star, or to me, John R, at WLAC, Nashville, Tennessee.”

I obtained my first rhythm & blues recordings by following the excellent advice of Gene Nobles and sending away to Randy’s Record Shop for one of the specials when I was 12 or 13 years old, and I can still savor the beautiful memory of tearing open the mailing package and lifting out the six big, fat, juicy, 10-inch, 78 rpm records by Ray Charles, the Moonglows, the Drifters and their ilk.

I got my first 45 player for my 14th birthday in October 1955, just in time for rhythm & blues to explode into rock & roll, but my first 45 single was a hard-core blues item by Big Walter Horton on States 154, “Hard Hearted Woman.” I got the initial rock & roll recordings by Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Bo Diddley as soon as they were released, and I stayed with this music all the way through high school.

I was 16 when I started playing records for people in public, spinning 45s in the high school gymnasium on Friday nights after the football and basketball games had been played. My theme song alternated between “Handclappin’” by Red Prysock on Mercury, “Walkin’ with Mr. Lee” by Lee Allen on Ember, and “The Big Wheel” by Clifton Chenier on Argo Records, but every dance ended with the Spaniels singing “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite” from their VeeJay Records release..

Soon I started hawking my services to my friends at other high schools in the Flint area and got some gigs spinning at other venues than Davison High. When I went away to college in the fall of 1959 I lucked into a spot on the campus dorm station and got my first exposure to the other side of the microphone, playing R&B sides from 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning and kicking off every show with Chuck Berry singing “Up in the morning and off to school.”

This seminal experience with radio stirred new passions that have never cooled in the 50 years since. In the late ‘60s I did a slew of guest spots with my friend Jerry Lucin at WABX-FM in Detroit and then got my first real show at WNRZ-FM in Ann Arbor in 1972, a six-hour stint on Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am called “TOKE TIME: The Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festiival of the Air” and featuring “those tasty tads of rhythm & blues, soul and jazz.”

When WNRZ abruptly switched to a country music format I moved to the University of Michigan’s student station, WCBN-FM, where I produced a series of programs between 1973-1981 called variously “Ancestor Worship,” “RE:VISIONS—Another Look at Modern Music,” and “The Sound of Detroit.” I was off the air for a few years after I moved back to Detroit and then found a place on public Radio, WDET-FM, producing and hosting “Blue Sensations” every Saturday night at midnight, at the time (1989-91) the city’s only genuine rhythm & blues radio broadcast.

The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
Blue Sensations 67 with John Sinclair: Red Prysock at the Mardi Gras
WDET-FM, Detroit, February 1991 [VV-0019]

This special edition of the Blue Sensations program with John Sinclair was produced as the sequel to a show broadcast as part of the Spring 1990 Fund Drive at WDET-FM in Detroit with Martin Gross riding shotgun which advanced the theme RED PRYSOCK INVADES NEW ORLEANS, pitting the great rock & roll tenor saxophonist against an all-star Crescent City line-up in a simulated free-for-all boxing match at the Superdome in New Orleans that results in an inevitable victory for the John Coltrane of Rock & Roll—Red Prysock! In this episode Red Prysock goes to the Mardi Gras and encounters the Mardi Gras Indians, the Dixie Cups, Irma Thomas, Barbara George, Professor Longhair, Champion Jack Dupree, Roy Brown, and Smiley Lewis.

[01] Yusef Lateef: Happyology with John Sinclair WDET ID & Intro
[04] Professor Longhair: Go to the Mardi Gras
[05] Red Prysock: Blow Your Horn
[06] John Sinclair Comments
[07] Golden Eagles: Two-Way Pak-E-Way
[08] Wild Magnolias: Fire Water
[09] Wild Tchoupitoulas: Golden Crown
[10] Red Prysock: Happy Feet
[11] John Sinclair Comments
[12] James Brown Live at the Apollo: I’ll Go Crazy
[13] John Sinclair Comments
[14] Dixie Cups: Iko Iko
[15] Irma Thomas: Don’t Mess With My Man
[16] Barbara George: I Know
[17] Red Prysock: Zonked
[18] John Sinclair Comments
[19] Professor Longhair: Big Chief
[20] Champion Jack Dupree: When I’m Drinking
[21] Roy Brown: Let the Four Winds Blow
[23] Red Prysock: Red Speaks
[24] John Sinclair Comments
[25] Smiley Lewis: Rootin’ & Tootin’
[26] Red Prysock: Rock & Roll
[27] John Sinclair Closing Comments & Outro

Hosted by John Sinclair for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced & recorded to cassettes by John Sinclair at WDET-FM, Detroit
Digitally transferred from cassettes, edited & assembled by John Sinclair
at the Headpress Bunker, London, June 13, 2010
Posted by Larry Hayden
Executive Producer: Larry Hayden
Special thanks to Martin Gross & Celia Sinclair
© 1991, 2010 The John Sinclair Foundation


I moved from Detroit to New Orleans in July 1991 and got my first show at WWOZ-FM in February 1992, playing jazz on Tuesday nights. Soon I established my “Blues & Roots” program on Saturday nights at midnight to 2:00 am (later, when the station initiated its 24-hour service, from 2:00–5:00 am) and then added my “New Orleans Music Show” on Wednesday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

My adventures at WWOZ from 1992 till May 2003 must be explored in a subsequent writing, but suffice it to say that I had the time of my radio life in New Orleans on a station that every music-lover in town listened to at all times. My New Orleans show became wildly popular and I was voted New Orleans’ favorite radio personality for the last five years I was on the air there, but the series ended when I moved to Amsterdam in 2003.

I missed doing radio like crazy but otherwise life in Amsterdam agreed with me beyond measure. One evening in September 2004 I was sitting in the Coffeeshop Amnesia having a coffee and a smoke with a new acquaintance named Larry Hayden and lamenting my absence from the airwaves. A little guy who turned out to be called Henk Botwinik was passing our booth and stuck his head in to say, “We could do that right here.”

It was at that point that I entered the brave new world of internet broadcasting, and by November we were on the net with our first 16 episodes of the John Sinclair Radio Show from the 2004 Cannabis Cup, producing every show on location in coffeeshops, dancehalls and cultural installations and mixing great music from the African-American cultural tradition with interviews and commentary from a host of characters in the Dam. We expanded to Radio Free Amsterdam on January 1, 2005 and made our first podcast with our 38th program—podcasting was brand new then—and we’ve posted a show every Monday at 4:20 ever since.

There’s a lot more to tell about Radio Free Amsterdam and our affiliated station in Detroit called Detroit Life Radio, but I’m entirely out of time now and I’ll have to leave you with the latest episode of my show, #338, from Café The Zen in Amsterdam last Friday night. Thanks for listening.

John Sinclair,
Detroit, July 28 > Amsterdam, August 23 > Rochefort, France, August 26-27, 2010

The John Sinclair Foundation Presents
Café The Zen, Amsterdam
Saturday, August 22, 2010 @ 2:00-3:00 am [20-1034]

Our program this week emanates from Café The Zen in Amsterdam where we’ve been based all week with the New Orleans action painter called Frenchy and 101 Runners pianist Tom Worrell plus guitarist Vincent Pino (from Venezuela), drummer Steve Fly (UK) and bassist-engineer Leslie Lopez (Puerto Rico)—the International Blues Scholars. We’re listening to music we made here at Studio Zen on Monday night (16) and at the 420 Café on Wednesday (18), where we were joined by Chris Jones (New Orleans) on bongos during his brief visit to Amsterdam, and we’ve got a few records to add by Alberta Adams & the Planet D Nonet, Kermit Ruffins, Lenny Bruce on airplane glue, and Brother Jack McDuff. Ras Dan makes a brief recorded announcement from Café The Zen while he presently languishes in a Dutch jail waiting to be deported back to Surinam for lack of proper paperwork. Free Ras Dan!

[01] Opening Music: Tom Worrell & the International Blues Scholars: Tipitina
[02] John Sinclair Intro Comments with Larry Hayden & Steve Fly
[03] Ras Dan: Pasa Ding De Café Zen
[04] John Sinclair & His International Blues Scholars: Louisiana Blues
[05] John Sinclair & His International Blues Scholars: The Delta Sound
[06] John Sinclair Comments & Conversation with Larry Hayden & Steve Fly
[07] Alberta Adams & Planet D Nonet: Say Baby Say
[08] Kermit Ruffins: I Got a Treme Woman
[09] Lenny Bruce: Airplane Glue
[10] Brother Jack McDuff: Smut
[11] John Sinclair Comments & Conversation with Larry Hayden & Steve Fly
[12] Closing Music: John Sinclair & His International Blues Scholars: Friday the 13th > Monk in Orbit > My Buddy

Hosted by John Sinclair for Radio Free Amsterdam
Produced, recorded, edited & assembled by John Sinclair
Posted by Larry Hayden
Executive Producer: Larry Hayden
Special thanks to Celia Sinclair, Frenchy, Tom Worrell, Vincent Pino, Steve Fly & Leslie Lopez—Leslie Lopez, The Man
© 2010 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Author, poet and activist John Sinclair was born in 1941, in Flint, Michigan. He mutated from small-town rock’n’roll fanatic and teenage disc jockey to cultural revolutionary, pioneer of marijuana activism, radical leader and political prisoner by the end of the 1960s. Between 1966-67 he founded the DETROIT ARTIST WORKSHOP and joined the front ranks of the hippie revolution; managing the ‘avant-rock’ MC5 and organizing countless free concerts in the parks, which included White Panther rallies and radical benefits. He has since published several collections of his poetry along with the major work in verse, FATTENING FROGS FOR SNAKES: DELTA SOUND SUITE. In 1998 he first visited Amsterdam as High Priest of the CANNABIS CUP and relocated to The Netherlands in the fall of 2003. One of the pioneers of podcasting, his weekly internet program, THE JOHN SINCLAIR RADIO SHOW, is the flagship of Radio Free Amsterdam.


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

— These are a few pages I have photographed from a couple of my scrapbooks. I have been making these scrapbooks since I was at college. I now have about a dozen of them. I find that they are a great source of inspiration. Browsing through them unnoticed details or unexpected juxtapositions present themselves. Also I don’t like to hoard magazines, they take up so much space, so once I have read them I harvest them for the images I like and then they are recycled. The saved images are kept in a box under my bed and every so often I will have a rummage through and perhaps spend an hour or two sticking them in a book. It’s not done methodically, I choose whatever images grab my attention at that time.

Simon Foxton is a London based stylist and creative consultant born in Berwick Upon Tweed in 1961. Having graduated from St. Martin’s College of Art and Design with a degree in fashion design, he set up his own label Bazooka in 1983. He started styling for i-D in 1984 and is currently Consultant Fashion Director at both i-D and Fantastic Man magazines. His work is represented in collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Modern and he is currently a visiting lecturer for the Menswear MA course at the Royal College of Art in London.


Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

We will open eyes. And we will look around us. We will notice what everyone of us is doing. We will take an interest only in what is already here. We will not conceive too much. We will make no plans. What is important is what is now. Maybe we will see something that we did not see yesterday, although it was already here. Maybe we will look at somebody’s eyes and take his/her hand. We will try not to perceive hierarchies. Dust is dust, gold is gold. Is it consciously possible to make art, if we do not make art, but we declare it art in the end?

MECH/MOSS, July 10th, 2010
An unprepared ‘performance’ with some of my students, in front of a country pub.
Photo Jiří Maha

Jiří Kovanda was born in 1953 in Prague, Czech Republic. He is an artist, known for his discrete actions and installations which begun in the late 70s, as well as a lecturer at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, a position he has held since 1995.