T-Model Knows Better: an advice column by life coach/musician T-Model Ford (Arthur, Nov. 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004)


T-Model Ford is the 84-year-old self-styled “Boss of the Blues,” also known as The Taildragger. Every two months, Arthur calls up T-Model at his home in Greenville, Mississippi and asks some questions about matters concerning us our our readers. T-Model gives his sage answers, then we transcribe the conversation with some interpreting help from the fellas at Fat Possum, the Mississippi record label that releases T-Model’s all-bets-are-off blues albums (more info at fatpossum.com). If you’ve got questions for T-Model, and we suspect that you do, email ‘em to editor@arthurmag.com

What’s your favorite season of the year?

I take ‘em as they come, they’re all alike to me. I don’t worry about it. That’s the Man’s work. I’m doin’ alright. He’s letting me live, go around, doin’ my little thing. I’m feeling GOOD. 

What if you’re a person who doesn’t enjoy going to church, listening to the sermon and so on, but you still want God in your life? What’s the best way to get His attention?

Well, if you want to go to church, you just got to go on in to the church. But I don’t go to church. I got the church right here in my heart. I don’t go to church, because the half of them going to church, they ain’t the Christian I is. I can ask them about some things, they can’t answer. I can. I can’t read and write, but I can answer. I was raised up in the church. When I was getting in my 30s then, I married a woman. I was a young man and… I thought the peoples all around liked me, and they enjoyed me, I thought we was gonna be in the church. But they changed–they went to talking about me, saying I wasn’t going to the church for no good, I was going to church to look at the young women. And I ain’t thinking about it!

When it comes to romance, do you believe in making love on a first date, or should you hold out, stoke the fire for a while, so when it finally happens it’s so much sweeter?

Well, if you want it, go ahead. But if you don’t, let it go. And further up the road, it’ll do better. So, don’t worry about it. Let them worry about it. Don’t you worry about it. That’s the way they’re doing on me. They’re worrying about this old man! They say I’m 84 years old. But I ain’t worrying for nothing. I ain’t lost nothin’, and I gets what I want. I’m trying to get another CD fixed up, where I can go out there and do it again. 

How many songs do you reckon you know how to play by heart?

Well, it’s a hard question to answer. I know a heap of ‘em. But I can’t read and I can’t write and I can’t spell. When they crawl up in my mind, I can do it to it, I can sing it and I can play it. I had a white fella come to my house the other morning from England I believe it was, he wanted to hear me play the guitar. I told him, I can play. He didn’t think I want to play. He asked me to get it, and let him hear a little. I let him hear a heap. He crazy, he wrote it down in a book, I can play and what I can do. I really can play. I don’t have to ask nobody. I can play with anybody, I can play without ‘em. 

How many years does it take somebody to play the blues before they finally get it right?

Oh, it don’t take no time. If you interested in it, and wanna play and take heave at it… I learned in a week! And I’m BAD. I was shamed to go out with the guys I was playin’ with, but they finally got me out one time, and I’d been bad ever since. I ain’t scared of nobody with a guitar, I don’t care where he come from. I didn’t start til I was 58. Everybody want to know why I waited, but I wasn’t interested in nothin’ like that. I had workin’ on my mind, and women. But they never did worry me. I ain’t never worried but one time about a woman, and I got POISONED by her. And I ain’t worried about any none of them…they go and they come. That’s right. I let them worry about ME. I ain’t the man I used to be, but I’m a ladies’ man. 


14,000-word oral history of the Oct 21, 1967 exorcism/levitation of the Pentagon, originally published in Arthur’s Novemeber 2004 issue: “Out, Demons, Out!”

All above images from the documentary film Will the Real Norman Mailer Please Stand Up?, directed by Dick Fontaine.


14,000-word oral history of the Oct 21, 1967 exorcism/levitation of the Pentagon, originally published in Arthur’s Novemeber 2004 issue: “Out, Demons, Out!”

All above images from The Sixth Side of the Pentagon, directed by Chris Marker and François Reichenbach.

OUT, DEMONS, OUT!: The 1967 Exorcism of the Pentagon and the Birth of Yippie! (Arthur, 2004)

This piece was originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004), with cover artwork by John Coulthart and design by William T. Nelson, pictured above (click image to view at larger size). A correction involving Cosmic Charlie published in a later issue has been embedded in the text here at the most natural point. I’m sorry that I’ve been unable to include the many fantastic photographs from the print article here. However, I have added a still from the film “Will the Real Norman Mailer Please Stand Up” by Dick Fontaine, which we did not have access to at the time of print publication into the text, and there are more stills from various films appended. —Jay Babcock

Clip from Arthur No. 13’s Table of Contents page, featuring photo by Robert A. Altman.


On October 21, 1967, the Pentagon came under a most unconventional assault.

An oral history by Larry “Ratso” Sloman, Michael Simmons and Jay Babcock

* * *

By Autumn of 1967, the “police action” in Vietnam had escalated. The United States of America waged War—that hideous manifestation of the human race’s worst instincts—against the small, distant, sovereign land. 485,600 American troops were then stationed in Nam; 9,353 would die in ’67 alone. We were there under false pretenses (the “attack’ at the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened), operating under a paranoid doctrine (the Domino Theory, fretting that Vietnamese Communists fighting a civil war in their own country with popular support would envelop all of Southeast Asia and end up invading Dubuque, Iowa). Seven million tons of bombs would eventually be dropped, as opposed to two million during World War II. Indiscriminate use of gruesome weaponry was deployed, most infamously napalm, a jelly that sticks to—and burns through—human skin. Saturation bombings, free-fire zones, massive defoliation with the carcinogen Agent Orange. “Destroying the village to save it,” as one American military man put it.

For a generation that remembered the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals after WW II, something had to be done. Genocidal fugitive Adolf Eichmann’s “I was just following orders” excuse would not fly. The draft was sending 18-year-olds off to die. A domestic anti-war movement emerged, as had a counterculture of hairy young people who rejected the militarism, greed, sexual repression, and stunted consciousness of their parents and leaders to pursue Joy and Sharing as well as Dope, Rock and Roll, and Fucking in the Streets. Pundits spoke of The Generation Gap. A quaking chasm had split the nation.

San Francisco painter Michael Bowen had a dream of people coming together to celebrate his city’s burgeoning hippie subculture, and so he and his wife Martine initiated the Great Human Be-In on Sunday, January 14, 1967. Sub-billed as A Gathering of the Tribes, 10,000 hippies, radicals and free spirits convened in Golden Gate Park. Beat poets emceed (Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Lenore Kandel), rock bands rocked (Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Charlatans), Hell’s Angels returned lost kids to their mommies – and the cops busted no one, despite rampant open marijuana use. For many, the realization that there were other Martians was transcendental. Berkeley anti-war activist Jerry Rubin gave a speech, but his narrow political rap was dubbed “too histrionic” by Ginsberg and many in the crowd. It fortuitously forked Rubin’s direction. “It was the first time I did see a new society,” he said later. “I saw there was no need for a political statement. I didn’t understand that until then, either.”

Events ending with the suffix “In” became the rage. Bob Fass hosted the hippest radio show in the country, “Radio Unnameable” on New York’s WBAI. The all-night gab-and-music fest was Freak Centra, functioning as a pre-internet audio website. Regular guests included Realist editor Paul Krassner (dubbed “Father of the Underground Press”), underground film director Robert Downey Sr. (father and namesake of…), actor/writer Marshall Efron (arguably the funniest man on the planet), and a manic activist-gone-psychedelic named Abbie Hoffman—all rapping madly, verbally riffing and improvising like musicians. One night after participating in a UsCo avant-garde multi-media show of projections, movies, music, etc., at an airplane hangar, Fass stopped by nearby JFK International Airport and noticed a group of three dozen young people—clearly ripped to the tits—communally entranced by a giant mobile centerpiecing a terminal. The vast open spaces of an airport, with jet planes and stars in the sky, were the stage for dreams to come to life. Fass flashed on the infinite possibilities.

He conceived a Fly-In at JFK and announced it on Radio Unnameable. Though Saturday night, February 11, was freezing cold, 3,000 of the underground’s finest came to sing Beatles songs, torch reefers, dance the body electric, and groove with their sisters and brothers. “One of the things that happened,” Fass observed, “was that there was such a colossal amount of human connection that there was something akin to feedback that happened, and people really began to experience not ‘happiness,’ but Ecstasy and Joy. We’re planning another one at your house.”

New York responded to San Francisco’s Be-In with its own. Key to its success was Jim Fouratt, a young actor who’d become one of the most effective hippie organizers on the Lower East Side. Promotion for the event cost $250, which paid for posters and leaflets. On Easter Sunday, March 27, 10,000 full and part-time hippies came together—some in the carnal definition—at Central Park’s Sheep Meadow. It was a glistening, no bad vibes, lysergic day. Fouratt was central to virtually every NYC hip community event, including the infamous Soot-In at Consolidated Edison, where he, Abbie Hoffman, and others dumped bags of nasty black soot at the coal burning, energy company’s offices, in a protest that prefigured and influenced the birth of the environmental movement.

Emmett Grogan was a brilliant and enigmatic prankster/con man at the heart of San Francisco’s do-goodnik anarcho-rogues the Diggers. He suggested to his friend Bob Fass that a Sweep-In would strengthen the momentum the Fly-In had sparked. The idea was to “clean up the Lower East Side” area of NYC where the hippies dwelled. Fass conspired with Krassner and Abbie and listeners on his radio show, and they chose Seventh Street, where Krassner lived. The buzz grew louder and one day an inquiring bureaucrat from the Sanitation Department called Radio Unnameable. The potentates of garbage at City Hall were nervous about these beatniks with brooms taking their gig. While appearing cooperative on the phone and in a later meeting, the city pranked the pranksters on the day of the Sweep-In, April 8. When thousands of mop-wielding longhairs appeared at 11 a.m., they beheld a garbage-free, sparkling fresh, squeaky clean street of slums—courtesy of the Sanitation Department. Fass and Krassner were amused that they’d actually forced the city to do its job. Unfazed, they moved the Sweep-In to Third Street. When a city garbage truck turned the corner, the street peeps leaped on it and cleaned it as well.

No single human—other than Tribal Elder Allen Ginsberg—was as influential on this emerging culture than Ed Sanders. He led the satirical-protest-smut-folk-rock band The Fugs with East Village legend Tuli Kupferberg, ran the Peace Eye Bookstore (and community center) on 10th Street, published Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts, made films like Mongolian Clusterfuck, wrote poetry, rabble roused for myriad peacenik causes and cannabis legalization. Sanders—one of the first public figures to live seamlessly within realms of Politics, Art, and Fun—was a first cousin to Che Guevara’s paradigmatic New Man—albeit thoroughly American and anti-authoritarian.

But the Life Actor who embodies the Revolutionary Prankster in 20th-century history books is Abbie Hoffman. And he is where our story begins…

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“Towards the New Edge” by Daniel Pinchbeck (Arthur, 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004)

Illustration by Arik Roper

“Here and Now” column by Daniel Pinchbeck

“Towards the New Edge”

A few weeks ago, I attended the annual Burning Man festival, in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, for the fifth year in a row. Burning Man has been called the world’s biggest party, but I don’t even know if I have “fun” at Burning Man in any ordinary sense—being there is incredibly intense, a kind of psychophysical endurance test. Despite the difficulties, I will continue to return as long as it is possible to do so. The gathering acts as an enormous shamanic transformer, constellating new insights and clearing away old junk.

I chose to go to Burning Man instead of staying in New York for the protests surrounding the Republican Convention. My increasing suspicion is that traditional forms of protest, at this point, are only playing into the hands of the security apparatus. The police and military get the opportunity to test out their latest tactics and shiniest gadgets, while the corporate media finds the most incendiary images to broadcast across the US, amping up the anxiety. The catharsis that protesters get from yelling slogans across barbed wire barriers and out of “free speech pens” might be energy that could be more creatively invested in other ways.

As the corporate and governmental superstructure continue a lockstep march towards their own self-destruction, their attempts to pulverize the collective psyche into submission becomes more transparent and overt. Electrical currents of spite and anxiety ripple across our public discourse and private lives. The individual’s refusal to fall into these traps or accept this negative conditioning can be a great liberation. At Burning Man, I kept thinking that the most meaningful political act, right now, is to continue cultivating fearlessness in pursuit of joy. To be fearless, calm, and joyful is to jam a wrench into the “Brave New 1984” technodystopic machinery that is seeking to impose itself on our world.

I consider the current sociopolitical abyss to be a kind of evolutionary tool. The control apparatus of modern society may be functioning as a training ground for a new level of consciousness. Many different thinkers of the 20th century, as well as the prophecies of archaic and indigenous spiritual traditions, have proposed that a major change in human consciousness is imminent. This has been articulated in various ways. Before his death in 1961, the psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw that the “reality of the psyche,” repressed by the modern mentality, would soon become unavoidable. Mankind was being forced to climb “to a higher moral level, to a higher plane of consciousness,” to handle “the superhuman powers which the fallen angels” had dropped into our hands.

The Austrian visionary Rudolf Steiner (founder of Anthroposophy and Waldorf education) claimed that the mission of his life on Earth was to return the knowledge of reincarnation to the West. According to Steiner, individual human beings reincarnate again and again, and the Earth itself passes through successive incarnations. He considered this phase to be the fourth incarnation of the Earth. Steiner thought we are approaching a fifth incarnation, the “Jupiter state,” where humanity would evolve new capacities and reach a new level of wisdom. Actually, it’s not just humanity: according to Steiner, the plant and mineral kingdom would reach a higher level of consciousness during this next incarnation, while humanity would split into several different “human kingdoms,” undergoing different forms of evolution.

The Indian philosopher Sri Auribindo also felt that we were moving towards a new level or intensity of consciousness. In one of his last essays, “The Mind of Light,” he defined this as the “supramental” state. Just as life had self-organized out of matter, and mind had self-organized out of life, consciousness would evolve beyond the obscurations and ignorance of our current condition to attain a level of truth-consciousness, and spiritual awareness, that could not be manipulated or fooled. Aurobindo speculated that our evolution would accelerate exponentially from that point. Once we had reached this supramental state, this truth-consciousness, we would be able to transform our physical reality and our bodies. “Man,” Aurobindo wrote, “is a transitional being.” The powers unleashed by technology might be reintegrated into the psyche, at a higher level of development.

As counterintuitive as it may seem at first, I propose that our current environment, saturated with noise and chaos and fear-mongering, is the necessary background for attaining this supramental condition, for accepting and mastering the reality of the psyche. The new mindset stems from a fearless curiosity and hunger for truth, and a rejection of the cynicism and negative programming foisted upon it by the corporate-controlled media and current power structure. The new intensity of consciousness accepts the reality of psychic and occult levels of reality, denied by modern materialism, but integrates this understanding with a scientific, pragmatic, and empirical approach to existence. As a speaker at Burning Man pointed out, it is not “New Age,” but “New Edge.”

My hypothesis is that at least a portion of humanity attains this level of “supramental” mind – including, as Aurobindo proposes, an accelerated evolution —as we approach the year 2012, prophesied by the Mayans as the end of the 5,125-year “Great Cycle” of human history. Despite current appearances, we are on the verge of a transition into a new intensity of human consciousness that will institute an harmonic and utopian situation on the Earth. This thesis is not mine alone—it is carefully elaborated by Carl Johann Calleman, among others, in his new book, The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness (Bear & Co.). This book supports the basic ideas of the writers Jose Arguelles and John Major Jenkins—a new outsider paradigm is crystallizing.

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“Why?” by DAVID LASKY (Arthur, 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004)

Click image to really enlarge. It’s still not gonna be completely ideal—for that, you’ll have to see the actual magazine (available at the Arthur Store for cheep)—but it’s pretty good.

David Lasky: http://dlasky.livejournal.com/

Arthur’s Comics Editor in this era was Tom Devlin.

“Flipping Out” by VANESSA DAVIS (Arthur, 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004)

Click image to really enlarge. It’s still not gonna be completely legible—for that, you’ll have to see the actual magazine (available at the Arthur Store for cheep)—but it’s pretty good.

Vanessa Davis: http://www.spanielrage.com

Arthur’s Comics Editor in this era was Tom Devlin.

“The Concrete Wilderness” by Paul Cullum (Arthur, 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (November 2004)

The Concrete Wilderness
A “Camera Obscura” column by Paul Cullum

CAMERA OBSCURA is a regular column examining the world and its lesser trafficked tributaries, recesses and psychic fallout through the filters of film, video and DVD.

* * *
Discussed herein:

Medium Cool (1969)
Directed by Haskell Wexler
(Paramount Home Video)

Look Out, Haskell, It’s Real (2001)
Directed by Paul Cronin

Tell Them Who You Are (2004)
Directed by Mark Wexler
(currently awaiting distribution)

Soldiers Pay (2004)
Directed by David O. Russell, Tricia Regan and Juan Carlos Zaldivar
(DVD extra with Uncovered: The War on Iraq, directed by Robert Greenwald, available through http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com).

* * *

“This is a potential throw of the dice that could bring the media on our heads and cut the Democratic Party in half; my view is that we would have by far the larger half.” —Speechwriter Pat Buchanan in an internal 1972 White House memo advocating confrontation as policy

In these last dark days before November, as we count down to occupation or deliverance, rage or terror, the mind reclaimed or compulsory reeducation from the soles of the feet up, one film lights our way clear. In 1968, John Wayne directed The Green Berets, which famously ends on the beach at Da Nang with the sun setting in the east—a special effect of such audacity that it rivals the scripted ways we’ve choreographed combat ever since. Superman could sooner circle the earth and turn back time.

But that’s not the film I’m thinking of. I am thinking of its polar opposite.

In 1968, Haskell Wexler took his reputation as A-list cinematographer, respected documentarian, verité pathfinder, his Oscar for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and his good-faith line of credit at the studios and rolled them all on one admitted act of madness. Hired to direct a film version of the novel The Concrete Wilderness by the inmates running the institution at Paramount—Peter Bart, Robert Evans and Charlie Bluhdorn—Wexler wrote a script, drew up a budget, hired a cast and then, without telling anybody, junked it all to make the movie he wanted. So instead of a young boy cultivating pigeons in Central Park, we have Robert Forster playing a news cameraman oblivious to his role in the news around him, documenting the pigeons drawn to Lincoln Park in Chicago in August, 1968—the ones who would justify the police state being advocated inside the Democratic Convention hall to clamp down the era. In the process, Wexler managed to capture the one battle royale at the crest of the culture war on 35mm film. With the Clinton brain trust (Carville, Begala) now steering Kerry to port, highlighting the war hero-turned-agitator, and with the Reagan brain trust (Peggy Noonan, Michael Deaver, possibly Lyn Nofziger) reportedly guiding Bush to starboard, with its “Swift Boat Veterans” and “Hanoi Jane” alarmism, that war is still being fought today.

What paralyzes film as a medium of topicality is that it is automatically at least three years past its sell-by date by the time you see it—the time it takes a script to gestate and gel, executives to deliberate, actors to commit, the big trucks to roll, months of editorial synthesis and the media to be alerted. You’d have to look to Soderbergh and Erin Brockovich or Traffic, or before that David O. Russell’s still underrated Three Kings, nominally about the first Gulf War, to find studio directors willing to engage the topical issues of the day. If conflict is the crux of character, and the world today stoked with conflict to burn, no wonder so many four-wheel-drive studio vehicles wind up rusted and abandoned, axle-deep in mud.

Medium Cool remains the one narrative feature which proves the exception: Conceived in January during the Tet Offensive, it was constantly deflecting off the times throughout production. As such, it marks a kind of travelogue of the ‘60s: Lyndon Johnson declined the nomination in March, throwing the August convention into free-for-all. Martin Luther King is shot in April, the ghettoes burn and Forster and soundman Peter Bonerz (later of The Bob Newhart Show) are sent to “Resurrection City,” the tent city on the Washington Mall housing the remnants of King’s Poor People’s March, or to debrief black activists in their Chicago apartment. Campaign workers are interviewed outside Kennedy headquarters; when Robert Kennedy is assassinated a month later, the film recreates the interior of the Ambassador Hotel kitchen where he was shot (off the line, “So it’s on to Chicago, and let’s win there”) and sends its fake news crew to the actual funeral. We get probably the first discussion of the Kennedy assassination (the first one) in a Hollywood film, and certainly the first mention of the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

Much of this context is to be found in a fine companion piece inexplicably left off the DVD—Paul Cronin’s Look Out Haskell, It’s Real: The Making of ‘Medium Cool’, a 55-minute documentary currently screening on the Sundance Channel. Cronin has contributed to books on Cassavetes and Herzog and made films on Alexander Mackendrick, the director of The Sweet Smell of Success, and Amos Vogel, founder of New York’s Cinema 16. Here, a cavalcade of ’60s action figures sit for interviews—Studs Terkel (listed in Medium Cool’s credits as “Our Man in Chicago”), SDS activist-turned-author Todd Gitlin, Chicago 7 lawyer Leonard Weinglass—or are visible in outtakes: Allen Ginsberg wanders through the frame in Lincoln Park; Jesse Jackson stands atop a car in D.C., fist raised.

Buried beneath Medium Cool’s breakneck speed and ruthless experimentalism are any number of lean-to set pieces that could have been—and sometimes were—movies in themselves Buried beneath Medium Cool’s breakneck speed and ruthless experimentalism are any number of lean-to set pieces that could have been—and sometimes were—movies in themselves (last-minute floor passes to the convention hall were arranged by Warren Beatty, and similar shots found their way into The Parallax View; a subplot of a TV station forwarding demonstration footage to the police and FBI is basically the dramatic engine of Under Fire, relocated to El Salvador).

But it was the Chicago riots that earn the film its purple heart. In the face of Mayor Daley’s mandate to police to “Clear the fuckers out of the city,” and armed with hipster recon from producer Jonathan Haze (Seymour in the original Little Shop of Horrors), who was partying with the future Chicago 7 every night, Wexler put his first-time actress, Verna Bloom (Dean Wormer’s wife in Animal House), literally in harm’s way—in a manner that makes Herzog seem restrained. At the very moment that Russian tanks were rolling through Prague, we can experience U.S. armored personnel carriers and Jeeps mounted with fully-loaded 50-caliber machine guns subjugating the Windy City and hippies in football helmets piling up park benches, medics at the ready. Chants of “Pigs eat shit” and “Pigs are whores” are intercut with a cop clubbing a protester, shouting, “You stinking commie!” (giving a whole new cluster of meanings to Carl Sandburg’s “hog butcher of the world”). And through it all snakes Bloom in a bright yellow dress, as incongruous in her surroundings as the little girl in red in the otherwise black-and-white Schindler’s List. In the aftermath, we see the carnage in real time, while a disembodied woman’s voice wails on the soundtrack, “You motherfuckers!” Among the victims are Wexler himself, his eyes being flushed out with water, debilitated by a tear gas canister fired point blank at the camera.

Yet for all its celebrated verité, the film is awash in Godard. A poster of Belmondo from Breathless hangs over Forster’s fireplace; the bookended car crashes are airlifted straight out of Weekend; and the final shot is Wexler himself, who turns the camera on the audience—the tracking shot that closes Contempt, superimposed over the old Paramount newsreels—to a chant of “The whole world is watching.” Forster’s character is named John Cassolaris as a concession to John Cassavetes, who was originally slated to play the part under his own name, and Bloom’s character can be glimpsed in the opening cocktail party scene, an hour before she is introduced (she precedes the line “beaten to death by a mob”). And a death is foretold on the radio minutes before it occurs.

This extends to the line that gives the documentary its title—“Look out, Haskell—it’s real!”—which appears before the CS canister goes off in their face. It was, by Wexler’s own admission, added in post-production, since war zone conditions prevented them from shooting synch sound. And the speaker of that line? Haskell’s son Mark Wexler, who has just directed a reportedly irascible portrait of his father called Tell Them Who You Are, in the fashion of Aiyana Elliott’s The Ballad of Ramblin’ Jack, so new that it has only shown twice at the Toronto Film Festival (where Roger Ebert raved about it). This is the Haskell Wexler who was fired from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Conversation, who famously clashed with Michael Moore on Canadian Bacon and who risked industry condemnation by interviewing the Weathermen in Underground, which was subpoenaed by the FBI, and following Jane Fonda to North Vietnam to shoot Introduction to the Enemy (he also joined her for both Coming Home and Klute, for which he won his second Oscar). Can’t wait to see it.

* * *

And where are the cinematic rabblerousers of our own day? Well, on the verge of releasing I Heart Huckabee’s, his first film in five years, Three Kings director David O. Russell has taken the occasion of Warner’s planned re-release of his 1999 film to make a half-hour documentary on Iraq, The Sequel.

Soldiers Pay (declarative, not possessive), co-directed with Tricia Regan and Juan Carlos Zaldivar, catches up with Three Kings bit players, real-life Kelly’s Heroes, armchair Ottomans and fruit-salad generals who somehow got sucked into Operation Desert Nam. Between the water-rationed Marines describing Haliburton mercenaries who pull down $300K, or supply sergeants out “requisitioning” computers to play videogames on, we get the occasional 1,000-word picture, like a khaki-clad warrior squatting next to graffiti that reads: “Ha Ha—Our God’s Better Than Your God.”

When Warner’s caved to political pressure and scrapped the whole thing, microdistributor Cinema Libre stepped in and offered to piggyback the featurette onto Part 3 of Robert Greenwald’s Anti-Bush Tetralogy, Uncovered: The War in Iraq (Unprecedented and Outfoxed are on DVD; next up is Unconstitutional, on the Patriot Act). Meanwhile, as a land bridge linking the two (films and wars), consider this scene from a New York Times profile that ran September 12, 1999, two years before you know what:

“After listening to Mr. Bush’s remarks to the Hollywood crowd, Mr. Russell decided to tell him that Three Kings would be coming out just before the primaries and did not reflect favorably on his father’s leadership in the Gulf War. ‘You could see this look of uncomprehending concern and panic wash over his face,’ Mr. Russell recalls. Mr. Bush again seemed to be studying Mr. Russell’s clothes. ‘And then he immediately snapped into Presidential mode, and said, ‘Well, am I going to have to go finish the job?’”

* * *

DVDs/videos courtesy of Cinefile, the official video store of Arthur. Contact Cinefile at (310) 312-8836 or http://www.cinefilevideo.com.

Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys’ Bomb-Ass Matzoh Ball Soup (Arthur, 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov. 2004). Layout by W.T. Nelson.

Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys’ Bomb-Ass Matzoh Ball Soup
As told to Gabe Soria

Essential cookware:
one stock pot
one slightly smaller pot


For the broth:
enough chicken bones to fill the stock pot
2 or 3 white onions, halved
bag of carrots, peeled and halved
parsnips (slightly less than the amount of carrots), halved
bunch of celery, halved
bunch of dill, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

For the matzoh balls:
4 large eggs
1/2 cup club soda
2 to 3 tablespoons schmaltz (chicken fat) skimmed from the stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup of Manischewitz matzoh meal

I make this a lot because it’s awesome. I had it growing up. My dad would make it about once every two weeks, and he’d always make a gigantic pot using my grandma [complicated Polish name]’s recipe. [Arthur: How do you spell her name?] Beats me. [laughs] You try spelling that shit. I don’t even think that she can spell it. That’s why she changed her name to Annette. Annette Auerbach, my dad’s mother. She taught herself how to cook, making the most out of not-the-most.

First you gotta make the broth, which is key, and then you make the matzoh balls. For the broth, you gotta get nice chicken bones, enough to fill three quarters of the stock pot. For the bones, I go to Klein’s Market here in Akron and ask for soup bones. You put those in, and you put in chopped-up parsnips and carrots and white onions and celery. You fill the water right up to the top of the bones. Not above, not below. Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. Let it simmer for at least an hour, keeping it covered except for a little sliver. Check it every once in a while, and after the broth has reduced a bunch, put in a big handful of dill. The key ingredient is dill. It’s what sets my grandma’s chicken broth apart.

Now get a smaller pot, one that will hold all the broth, and strain out the bones. Normally me and my dad will pick through the meat on the bones and eat that. Take some of the carrots, some of the celery and some of the parsnips and cut them up into bite-sized pieces and save them to put into the strained broth later. Then you add some salt and pepper to taste and you got a good broth. You can even put in a little bit more fresh dill.

While that’s simmering, you want to make the matzoh balls, because they have to be refrigerated. You take four eggs, a half cup of club soda, a few tablespoons—three or four, you kinda do it by feel—of chicken fat that you’ve skimmed from the broth, plus a couple of tablespoons of chopped up parsley (chop it up nice and fine), salt and fresh black pepper, and about a cup of matzoh meal. My grandma only uses Manischewitz. I’ve never had others. I know some people use Goodman’s.

Mix it all up with your hands. Put a little bit of the chicken fat on your hands, rub it in so that the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers, get it nice and mixed up, and form balls with it. Make ’em bigger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball. Some people make gigantic matzoh balls and I just think that’s fucking stupid. That’s kinda like foot-long hot dogs. “They taste like shit, but they’re a foot long. Can you believe it?!”

Put the matzoh balls in the refrigerator. They’ve gotta sit there for at least twenty minutes, a half hour. And then just put ’em right in the broth to cook ’em. Bring the broth back up to a boil and throw the matzoh balls in. They cook in 20-25 minutes, covered. Don’t peek. You just gotta trust the matzoh. Have faith in the Manischewitz. You should have perfect matzoh balls; they should be floating at the top. And then you put in your vegetables that you’ve chopped and then you’ve got the bomb-ass soup. Some people add noodles, but my grandma never does. But that chicken meat that you pick off of the bones? Sometimes she’ll use that. It’s a bonus.

My Top Ten Favorite Psychedelic Folk Songs, by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Arthur, 2004)

Published in Arthur No. 13 (Nov., 2004)

My Top Ten Favorite Psychedelic Folk Songs
by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

I was invited to create a list of my personal FAVORITE music and so I did, for an English newspaper The Independent. I was happy to illustrate how different my taste is to the endless dark mediocrity of current so-called Industrial Music that people seem to assume I would like when I NEVER have!

A note about the number of Incredible String Band songs in the following list: In 1969, I was a member of The Exploding Galaxy kinetic performance troupe in London. Some members left to form Stone Monkey, who danced with the ISB for a while. I had been listening to the Incredible String Band since school. The surrealism and FREEDOM of the lyrics is what continually engages me: the subject matter of absurdity and spirituality combined. I feel the ISB are probably the lyrical geniuses of the ’60s and onwards, far more than the Beatles or Dylan, who become predictable and never really extended the form of the song as an open system in the same way. Once one gets the ISB all the other musics fall into place. These are the true troubadours of the last two centuries. They explore divinity and magick from a lyrical chivalric dimension. Combine this with the interdimensionality and you have works beyond compare. SUBLIME!

Go and explore, there are more stories in the drug mine of British folk than man hath dreamed of and Lewis Carroll hath penned to his own particular blend of paper.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
New York City, April 2004


1. “Meet on the Ledge” by Fairport Convention
(from What We Did On Our Holidays, 1968)
When I was at Hull University this song was on the student-picked juke box. The in-joke amongst we flower children/soon-to-be-drop-outs was that when we wanted to score hash from the University dealer we’d put this record on as a buying signal and meet outside by the “hedge.”

2. “When I Get Home” by Pentangle
(from Light Flight compilation double CD, 1971)
This is amazing! Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, Richard Thompson and the crew evoke the most immersive sense of melancholy. I saw all the guitarists individually in the Hall of Residence cafeteria so this always makes me smell gravy and roast potatoes instead of think of alcoholism. A whiskydelic song as Lady Jaye would say.

3. “A Very Cellular Song” by the Incredible String Band
(from The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, 1968)
Probably my equal favorite song of all time. Full of whimsy, weirdness, surreal lyrics that insist they are profound when you know they are more likely just found. When it gets to a sequence which describes the feelings of an amoeba you know that you are, after all, in the presence of genius!

4. “Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal” by Dr. Strangely Strange
(from Kip of the Serenes, 1970)
I can’t imagine life without this band. They always bring joy to my heart. Rumor has it the main singer split to become a full-on Zen priest so they only made two albums. Both are total classics of British pre-Raphaelite fairytales. No other people can pull off this nonsense poetry so authentically. The genius Joe Boyd brought them from Eire to record their masterpiece. You do not love words if you cannot love this song which has the silliest chorus ever written.

5. “Sign On My Mind” by Dr. Strangely Strange
(from Heavy Petting, 1970)
I used to have this on vinyl and the cover unfolded as intricately and dadaistically as the music and lyrics. Gnomic hippies peer from insubstantial cut-out trees as we are led a merry frolic into the surprise of a guitar solo by Gary Moore of Thin Lizzy fame! I have seriously considered doing a cover version of this song with The Master Musicians of Jajouka playing the flute parts.

6. “Time Has Told Me” by Nick Drake
(from Five Leaves Left, 1969)
The myth says that Rizzla rolling papers had one paper that said “Five Leaves Left” to warn stoners of impending doom. Of course, I could have chosen ANY song by Nick Drake. The intensity of melancholia drenching the analog tape, the sheer PRESENCE of his voice is an honor to share, as is the raw intimacy with which he describes turmoil, creating confusion in us by delicately flecking every edge of his words with guilty beauty.

7. “My Father Was a Lighthouse Keeper” by the Incredible String Band
(from Earthspan, 1972)
Here I am duty bound to confess I have at least 20 ISB CDs and albums! Never, ever, on any day, in any mood do I feel less than joyous to hear their voices and humor, their grand metaphysics and acid-drenched morality plays. At first I wasn’t sure about this era. L. Ron Hubbard supposedly wanted to guide their parables. But there is something in the violin—as an electric violin player since 1966 myself, I am a sucker for them. Now, I bellow along and feel the sea spray soak my mediaeval hose as I witness a murderous foam.

8. “Translucent Carriages” by Pearls Before Swine
(from Balaklava, 1965)
Tom Rapp is one of the great undiscovered poet songwriters from Eastern USA. Originally on ESP Disc alongside the Fugs and other neo-Beat nutters he occasionally lets slip a seductive lisp. I have never figured out the meaning of this song (which was first played to me by Annie Ryan in Liverpool in a post-acid glow) even though I did record it for the Psychic TV Pagan Day album. Answers on a dog-tag please. He is a lawyer now. Sensible man saw too much of the larval nature of mankind for his own peace of heart.

9. “War in Peace” by Alexander “Skip” Spence
(from Oar, 1969)
Skip was a Canadian bass player who switched to drums for the Jefferson Airplane during the acid madness until he was dropped in 1966 for missing a rehearsal! He turned up like a mad penny in Moby Grape next, still erratic and enigmatic. There’s the touch of Syd Barrett tragedy in the implosion and incompleteness of many of his songs. His deranged inspiration sneaks him in as folksy acid.

10. “Ducks on a Pond” by the Incredible String Band
(from Wee Tam and the Big Huge, 1968)
Yes, I know, there are so many others and where DO you draw the psychedelic line? By its very natyre it meanders and has no beginning, edge or point. I wanted to include the Blossom Toes’ “We Are Ever So Clean”; Nirvana’s “All of Us”; anything quirky by Syd Barrett (which means everything he did). Why I even toyed with Kaleidoscope from the USA and Dantalian’s Chariot (whose guitarist went on to play in The Police!!! Oh Andy Summers, ouch!). But “Ducks” is the 1968 masterpiece. A total artwork. A monster that will not shut up or stop spiralling around and around as dumb as a duck and as crazy as a fox complete with “inky scratches everywhere.”

Playlist on Spotify