Saturday

the performance of the real


But you asked how you get the comic pitch. Well, obviously a lot of it is rhythm. And as often as not, it’s the surprising rhythm. In life and in movies, you can usually guess what someone is going to say—you can actually hear it—before they say it. But if you undercut that just a little, it can make you fall off your chair. It’s small and simple like that.

Bill Murray

Thursday

the performance of the real


On the stage, acting adds to real presence, intensifies it. In films, acting does away with even the semblance of real presence, kills the illusion created by the photography.

Notes on Cinematography

Tuesday

the performance of the real


Watching porn’s usually like watching a melancholy documentary to me, a documentary about sex as a failed utopia or something, I don’t know.

Dennis Cooper

Sunday

the performance of the real


A CINEMA film reproduces the reality of the actor, at the same time as that of the man he is being.

Notes on Cinematography

Friday

the performance of the real


Who gives a shit about acting? I’ve seen enough acting for ten lifetimes. What interests me is when I see a personality emerge. Without that, the acting is worthless.

Paul Morrissey

Tuesday

P H O T O * B O O T H



Monday

the performance of the real


Model. He paints his self-portrait with what you dictate to him (gestures, words) and the likeness, rather as if it were indeed a painting, has in it as much of you as of him.

Notes on Cinematography

Sunday

P H O T O * B O O T H



Andy Warhol, photobooth pictures of Ethel Scull

Saturday

the performance of the real


Patti’s a smart performer. Using techniques similar to those recommended by Antonin Artaud, who created the “Theater of Cruelty,” she sets up a powerful dramatic tension by alternately scaring and eliciting protective feelings from an audience.

The New York Times Magazine
December 21, 1975

Thursday

the performance of the real


We went back the next night, and it was the exact same songs, but it was totally brand-new. This had nothing to do with last night, this had nothing to do with rehearsal, this had nothing to do with sound check–this was living and being born and coming for your fucking children in the middle of the night right in front of you....

And every time I saw that band it was the same thing–there was never a yesterday, there was never a set they'd played before, there was never a set they were ever gonna play again. Iggy put life and limb into every show. I saw him bloody every single show. Every single show involved actual fucking blood.

From then on, rock & roll could never be anything less to me. Whatever I did–whether I was writing or playing–there was blood on the pages, there was blood on the strings, because anything less than that was just bullshit, and a waste of fucking time.

Scott Kempner in Please Kill Me

Tuesday

the performance of the real


I usually spoke in the Circus in the evening, sometimes quite late at night. My audience was composed of workers, soldiers, hard-working mothers, street urchins–the oppressed underdogs of the capital. Every square inch was filled, every human body compressed to its limit. Young boys sat on their fathers’ shoulders; infants were at their mothers’ breasts. No one smoked. The balconies threatened to fall under the excessive weight of human bodies. I made my way to the platform through a narrow human trench, sometimes I was borne overhead. The air, intense with breathing and waiting, fairly exploded with shouts and with the passionate yells peculiar to the Modern Circus. Above and around me was a press of elbows, chests, and heads. I spoke from out of a warm cavern of human bodies; whenever I stretched out my hands I would touch someone, and a grateful movement in response would give me to understand that I was not to worry about it, not to break off my speech, but keep on. No speaker, no matter how exhausted, could resist the electric tension of that impassioned human throng. They wanted to know, to understand, to find their way. At times it seemed as if I felt, with my lips, the stern inquisitiveness of this crowd that had become merged into a single whole. Then all the arguments and words thought out in advance would break and recede under the imperative pressure of sympathy, and other words, other arguments, utterly unexpected by the orator but needed by these people, would emerge in full array from my subconsciousness. On such occasions I felt as if I were listening to the speaker from the outside, trying to keep pace with his ideas, afraid that, like a somnambulist, he might fall off the edge of the roof at the sound of my conscious reasoning.

Trotsky, My Life

Sunday

PUT ONE MORE “S” IN THE U.S.A.


Put one more S in the U.S.A.
To make it Soviet.
One more S in the U.S.A.
Oh, we’ll live to see it yet.
When the land belongs to the farmers
And the factories to the working men–
The U.S.A. when we take control
Will be the U.S.S.A. then.

Now across the water in Russia
They have a big U.S.S.R.
The fatherland of the Soviets–
But that is mighty far
From New York, or Texas, or California, too.
So listen, fellow workers,
This is what we have to do:
Put one more S in the U.S.A. [Repeat chorus]
But we can’t win just by talking
So let us take things in our hand.
Then down and way with the bosses’ sway–
Hail Communistic land.
So stand up in battle and wave our flag on high,
And shout out fellow workers
Our new slogan to the sky:
Put one more S in the U.S.A. [Repeat chorus]
But we can’t join hands strong together
So long as whites are lynching black,
So black and white in one union fight
And get on the right track.
By Texas, or Georgia, or Alabama led,
Come together, fellow workers!
Black and white can all be red:
Put one more S in the U.S.A. [Repeat chorus]
Oh, the bankers they are planning
For another great big war.
To make them rich from the workers’ dead,
That’s all that war is for.
So if you don’t want to see bullets holding sway
Then come on, all you workers,
And join our fight today:
Put one more S in the U.S.A.
To make it Soviet.
One more S in the U.S.A.
Oh, we’ll live to see it yet.
When the land belongs to the farmers
And the factories to the working men–
The U.S.A. when we take control
Will be the U.S.S.A. then.

Langston Hughes (1934)

Friday

JOHN BROWN


Old John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave,
While weep the sons of bondage whom he ventured all to save;
But tho he lost his life while struggling for the slave,
His soul is marching on.

John Brown was a hero, undaunted, true and brave,
And Kansas knows his valor when he fought her rights to save;
Now, tho the grass grows green above his grave,
His soul is marching on.

He captured Harper’s Ferry, with his nineteen men so few,
And frightened “Old Virginny” till she trembled thru and thru;
They hung him for a traitor, themselves the traitor crew,
But his soul is marching on.

John Brown was John the Baptist of the Christ we are to see,
Christ who of the bondmen shall the Liberator be,
And soon thruout the Sunny South the slaves shall all be free,
For his soul is marching on.

The conflict that he heralded he looks from heaven to view,
On the army of the Union with its flag red, white and blue.
And heaven shall ring with anthems o’er the deed they mean to do,
For his soul is marching on.

Ye soldiers of Freedom, then strike, while strike ye may,
The death blow of oppression in a better time and way,
For the dawn of old John Brown has brightened into day,
And his soul is marching on.

William W. Patton

Wednesday

THE DIGGER SONG


Your houses they pull down, stand up now, stand up now,
Your houses they pull down, stand up now.
Your houses they pull down to fright your men in town
But the gentry must come down, and the poor shall wear the crown.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

With spades and hoes and plowes, stand up now, stand up now,
With spades and hoes and plowes, stand up now.
Your freedom to uphold, seeing Cavaliers are bold
To kill you if they could, and rights from you to hold.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

Theire self-will is theire law, stand up now, stand up now,
Theire self-will is theire law, stand up now.
Since tyranny came in they count it now no sin
To make a gaol ag’in, to starve poor men therein.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

The gentrye are all round, stand up now, stand up now,
The gentrye are all round, stand up now.
The gentrye are all round, on each side they are found,
Theire wisdom’s so profound, to cheat us of our ground.
     Stand up now, stand up now.

The lawyers they conjoyne, stand up now, stand up now,
The lawyers they conjoyne, stand up now.
To arrest you they advise, such fury they devise,
The devill in them lies, and hath blinded both their eyes.
     Stand up now, stand up now.

The clergy they come in, stand up now, stand up now,
The clergy they come in, stand up now.
The clergy they come in, and say it is a sin
That we should now begin, our freedom for to win.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

The tithes they yet will have, stand up now, stand up now,
The tithes they yet will have, stand up now.
The tithes they yet will have, and lawyers their fees crave,
And this they say is brave, to make the poor their slave.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

’Gainst lawyers and ’gainst Priests, stand up now, stand up now,
’Gainst lawyers and ’gainst Priests stand up now.
For tyrants they are both even flatt againnst their oath,
To grant us they are loath free meat and drink and cloth.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

The club is all their law, stand up now, stand up now,
The club is all their law, stand up now.
The club is all their law to keep men in awe,
But they no vision saw to maintain such a law.
     Stand up now, Diggers all.

To conquer them by love, come in now, come in now,
To conquer them by love, come in now.
To conquer them by love, as itt does you behove,
For hee is King above, noe power is like to love.
     Glory heere, Diggers all.

Gerrard Winstanley

Monday

THE INTERNATIONALE


Arise, ye prisoners of starvation!

  Arise, ye wretched of the earth!

For justice thunders condemnation:

  A better world’s in birth!


No more tradition’s chains shall bind us,

  Arise ye slaves, no more in thrall!

The earth shall rise on new foundations:
  We have been nought, we shall be all!


’Tis the final conflict,

  Let each stand in his place.

The international soviet

  Shall be the human race!



We want no condescending saviors
  To rule us from their judgment hall,

We workers ask not for their favors

  Let us consult for all:


To make the thief disgorge his booty
  To free the spirit from its cell,

We must ourselves decide our duty,

  We must decide, and do it well.


’Tis the final conflict,

  Let each stand in his place.

The international soviet

  Shall be the human race!



Saturday

And what, in fact, is automatic writing?


Isn’t all writing automatic? If one corrects a poem after writing it, doesn’t one happen automatically on the correction? Automatic writing as practiced by the Surrealists seems to have been merely a euphemism for extreme haste. Recording their unconscious thoughts in correct lycée French, the Surrealist poets were froced into mere lists of exotic and goofy images, more monotonous in the long run than the celebrated Catelogue d’armes et cycles of St. Etienne.

John Ashbery
“A Note on Pierre Reverdy”

Thursday

Reverdy’s poetry avoids the disciplines of Surrealist poetry,


and is the richer for it. He is not afraid to experiment with language and syntax, and it is often difficult to determine whether a particular line belongs with the preceding sentence or the one following it. The lines drift across the page as overheard human speech drifts across our hearing: fragments of conversation, dismembered advertising slogans or warning signs in the Métro appear and remain preserved in the rock crystal of the poem. And far from banishing poetry to the unconscious, he lets it move freely in and out of the conscious and the unconscious. Since we do not inhabit either world exclusively, the result is moving and lifelike. Sometimes his preoccupations seem infinitesimally small–the shadow of a coin on a book of matches, for instance. But the small object can suddenly become enormous, be “all there is,” by means of a split-second crescendo like the ones that occur in Webern’s music. Reading a poem by Reverdy, one can have the impression one moment of contemplating a drop of water on a blade of grass; the next moment one is swimming for one’s life.

Ashbery