Friday, June 18, 2010

Natalia Zambiasi

From my vaults: Nils Asther


Kate Moss irrégulière

(click to enlarge)

Carmelita Mendes

New York

Ivory Rose McCulley

New Stuff: The Wire

There should have been an ad for our exhibition in this issue of The Wire, but somthing went wrong and we're only mentioned in the events section on page 90.

However, they did put our ad onto their online edition:


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Life: the recent decade

In a way you could say that the closing of my cinema on December 31st, 2000 was the greatest change of all. It was like the bursting of a balloon: almost every activity that I had been doing the 2 decades before ended on that day.

Almost: in reality much of my social life was very much reduced due to the fact that I spent as good as all my time at the cinema or with Ursula, I only went home to my apartment for sleep. I rarely went to concerts or other cinemas, other than at my own one or at the Berlin film festival which Ursula and I enjoyed visiting every year. And we both had great vacations, especially remembering my last times in the States, 2 trips to New York City.

A new thing started in 1998: I got a computer and an online connection, primarily to promote the cinema, but I very soon learnt the 'other' possibilities and within a few months I started making friends online and around the world. Some of you I met already at that time, and I'm still in contact with them and still finding new friends.

And at that time I also started organizing regular gatherings with my friends, first a kind of round table, later and to this day dinner parties that have been a huge success ever since. (You know, I have reported). Currently there's a dinner party every 2 weeks.

On January 1st, 2001 - for some the 'official' first day of the century - I had to face the fact that I'd need to do something new; there was no way I could go back anymore. For the first time in my life I needed a conventional job for a regular income.

Most of you know it, cause that's where I am now: working for a renown international online shop. At first it was just my thing: selling books, music and movies and all with a basis in the internet. But the company meanwhile has grown into an internationally active American corporate business with all the insignia that it brings along. Today I'm a wage slave working for the benefit of an anonymous entity that will spit me out at any moment it chooses. I must deal with conformity, humiliation and a suppressive and irrational bureaucratic system on a daily basis, and after 9 years I'm even getting less and less paid in the bargain. But currently I have no financial alternatives.

On the other hand I've got a 40-hour week, the rest is actually free time for myself. I never had that before. And a lot of new friends as well!

And then the greatest improvement of all: both Ursula and I were living in separate, very small apartments, mine was a chicken shack-size one, jam packed with thousands of books, almost as many video cassettes and cds. I had lived in there for 19 years, ever since I left my parents. I had agreed with Ursula that we find something for us together, but on the condition it be better and larger than our current 2 apartments combined, and it need to be inside the medieval part of town, the city center, which we both didn't want to leave. We found it! Through an old friend of mine I knew from our record collecting times (that is more than 25 years ago!) who had a much too large place for himself alone we now got the apartment that we have dreamt of: 110 square meters (ca. 1200 sqare feet), huge rooms with wooden floors and right smack in the middle of town, in fact just around the corner of the famous Cathedral.

And so despite all the misery I might have at work I can always look forward to coming home and Ursula is there and we got a place now we truly can enjoy.

And now that another decade has passed there might be great changes ahead once again! A good start was the news that the local arts club Kunstverein Graz is doing a Lyssa humana retrospective, and I will even be performing there as well. There also has been the offer that I might be able to go on with our movie events at their gallery for at least 6 events per year. So: the show will go on!

First Lines: Robert Louis Stevenson - Treasure Island

Squire Trelawney, Dr Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen have asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17-, and go back to the time when my father kept Admiral Benbow Inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre-cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.

Hanna Samokhina

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Michelli Provensi

ph: Eduardo Rezende

New Stuff: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Kino

Decades ago I lectured on mainstream cinema during the Third Reich. I just discovered this German release on the same topic and thought I'd like to read some up-to-date insight.

Who's That Girl?

Illustrator: Shohei Otomo

Find more at:

Tanya Ilieva

From my vaults: Fred Astaire


Beatrice Borromeo

New York

Monday, June 14, 2010

Caroline Francischini

ph: Rony Shram

My Life: the 90s

The 90s brought great changes to my life. First and foremost it was meeting Ursula. We met through a mutual friend, a local photographer who actually had also portraited each of us separately , but put both our pics in an exhibition about local personalities, mostly of the independent arts and music scene. So we had seen and known about each other before through different public events.

I think I can say that from our first real meeting, an afternoon at the beer garden (me gobbling down one beer after the other and babbling endlessly about my American grandfather and why The Godfather Part 2 was the greatest movie ever), we were immediately good friends and became more so with every next one. We were soon a happy couple, and to this day I have never been separated from Ursula for more than one day (with the exception of one week early on, when she was on an excursion in Italy, but even I visited her there).

At the exact same time of meeting Ursula many other things were going on in my life. My part in both the film club's cinema and Lyssa humana were undiminished when work was concerned, but I was becoming more and more estranged with the people involved, especially with the film club. I was playing in a second, slightly more conventional band, Flaxman Family/Hammersmith, and for years was preparing the production of a self-written and produced opera which was all done with a whole new group of friends and which was very large in scope. It turned out to become a rather abstract piece of musical theater, but was enormously successful.

And together with some members of Lyssa humana and another friend we were preparing to found a cinema of our own. There was an old cinema (actually the oldest in town being founded in 1918) that had over the years degenerated from trash movies to skin flics and ended as a porn theater and had been closed for 2 years already. After a lot of negotiations we were able to take it over as a group of 4 friends. I'll always remember when I broke the news to Ursula: we kept the project top secret, but I got the permission from my friends to tell Ursula. On an extreme cold winter day (it had minus 20°C) I invited her out to a cafe and spilt the news. Then I took her over the Old Stone Bridge and showed her the place which looked pretty ruined and needed a lot of renovation, which we managed within 3 months opening in March 1991.

The new cinema, Stali, dominated my activities for the next 10 years. I spent more time there than in my own apartment which I more or less only used for sleep. The first year we were prepared for hardship, and I had to do a day job, since we didn't pay out any of us from the cinema's minimal profit. I did all the programming which included negotiations with the distributors and conceiving the monthly program all with the lay-out and print of a several-page leaflet and I did more or less all screenings, at times 7 days a week.

I also still continued my previous activies and even tried to finish my diploma at the university, but it was just too much. By and by I withdrew from nearly everything else till it was only the Stali I worked for, although we also did concerts, exhibitions and other events there as well. Over the 10 years of the cinema I was the only person actually always present together with Ursula who didn't work on a daily basis at first.

It would now be very complicated (and would include many melodramas and stories), but not everything went well. By the end of the first year all friends (except me) feared the financial risk, became hostile to each other or just didn't want to work that much anymore, anyhow they all wanted out. It's complicated since they sold their parts to a third party, a movie distributor, who more or less took over, but with me as leftover...The advantage was that I got an agreement that no matter what, I would get paid, so from then on I had a real income and didn't need a day job anymore. It was nevertheless still at least 50 hours a week of work. The new partner sold his part to another local cinema owner after a few years, but I stayed in. When that partner withdrew in 1998 I finally became sole owner of the cinema (with Ursula's full participation), something I never really had aimed for, but that's how it turned out.

I could tell so many stories about my cinema which included a lot of fights and grief, an extremely straining and hostile competition with other local cinemas (and my friends, the film club!) besides the everyday problems. Ursula stayed with me through all the thick and thin of it and I admire her all so much more and am thankful, because without real love nobody would have voluntarily gone through all this and the final harrowing end of it in 2001.

One part I should mention, though: in the mid 90s some friends and I opened a film store called The Angry Red Planet selling movie books, posters, soundtracks etc, but also a lot of independent music, it was halfways a music store, of course. This went parallel with my work at the cinema, but unfortunately it went apart, not for financial reasons per se, but again personal problems. One lesson I can give you all: never do business with friends!

Since many ask: we did not close the cinema because we didn't make it, much to the contrary, I planned to keep this business as my life's achievement. What happened was: we did not own the building, we paid rent. The owner sold it and the accompanying house to a dubious business agglomeration which stayed anonymous throughout the whole transaction. They first pushed in a company as a front who bought the complex then resold it back to themselves after they had cleared the area. I spent 1.5 years at court to rescue the cinema. The contract was there stating my right to keep and prolong it, but since there had been so many changes in the ownership of the cinema the judges more or less capitulated (even said so), the legal situation was too complicated. So in doubt what do they do? They rather give it to an anonymous obviously not quite legal multi-million business than defending the rights of a simple self-employed cinema owner. In the end I lost, the cinema was torn down and a building with chicken shack apartments was built instead.


First Lines: William Gibson - Neuromancer

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Ashley Smith

ph: Chadwick Tyler

New Stuff: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

I'm indulging in childhood memories with this TV series and have been enjoying every bit of it, 4th season so far. I'm not sure, if this ever was shown on German TV before...

Who's That Girl?

Illustrator: Mark Kostabi

Find more at:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lucy Horn

New Stuff: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is one of those authors I got acquainted with in my youth, when I was into science fiction. I very much appreciated his Martian Chronicles and considered them better than the usual pulp sci-fi that you usually get. I never read Fahrenheit 451, since I really don't like its premise, but I did always want to read this novel.

Johanna Ovelius Gustavsson

ph: Anka Bardeleben

New Stuff: The Fall

My relationship to The Fall is a bit weird. Right from the start of the band in the late 70s I was always aware about them and also knew what they sounded like and did appreciate for what it is. And Mark E. Smith has remained a household name for fans of indie music over all the decades since. However, not until recently did I feel the need to buy one of his albums, by now I have 3...The reviews for this latest release were so enthusiastic I thought I'd need to get it.

Veranika Antsipava

New Stuff: Half Dreaming: Asian Shoegaze Compilation

Just a few weeks ago I got back to contacting my MySpace friend Mitsuko from Japan, who I had spoken to in a very long time. She told that she's meanwhile with the band Oeil, Japanese shoegaze band, which sound very much like My Bloody Valentine. One of their songs is on this album, so I got it.

Yulya Shumakova

New Stuff: Television Personalities

Browsing through my collection I came upon the albums I have from the Television Personalities and listened through them. I looked them up online to get updated on their history, and I found out that Daniel Treacy is out of jail and doing his music again. There actually was a new album announced, so I pre-ordered it plus got one that was missing in my collection.


Julia Pereira

New Stuff: Fushitsusha

This is Haino Keiji's regular band, when he's not playing solo or collaborating with other bands/musicians. Wikipedia describes the music:

"The band's sound is influenced by German krautrock bands of the 1970s and British psychedelic music of the 1960s and '70s. They are generally considered part of the Japanese psychedelic music scene alongside bands like Ghost and Acid Mothers Temple. Their music occasionally ventures to the more aggressive "Japanoise" end of the sonic spectrum, but usually remains haunting and contemplative."

Rosanna Norman

ph: Emma Jonsson Dysell

My Life: the 80s

My activities kind of exploded in the 80s. In 1982 I finished school (with quite good grades) and started studying German literature, philosophy and political studies at the Regensburg university.

My enthusiasm for the movies goes way back and by the end of the 70s I had already systematically started studying film history and theory and watching as much as I could. Turning 18 and being of age I went to the cinema at least 3 times a week.

In Regensburg there was a film club at the university that changed location in 1982 and became officially embedded (and subventioned) into the city's official gallery and musuem buildings. At that time they had a little room for projecting 16mm films and a small office, and the club had a great program of film classics and independent productions. Within a year I turned from regular visitor to a full member of the film club organizing retrospectives and film seminars on my own. On top of that I kind of slid into the office work doing 8-hour days there and then projecting the movies at night. In no time I was one of the main members of the club, and after nearly a year it was decided that I get a salary for the work that I had been doing for free till then.

It wasn't much, but it allowed me to move out from my parents' home and have an apartment of my own. I was 24 by then. I'd say the moving out was the main turning point of becoming adult (I guess my family thought so, too).

Although I was doing well with my studies at the university I must say I hardly had any time left for that, and I dragged them along till way into the 90s till I finally quit.

Here's a pic from a festival in the Filmgalerie (unfortunately small):

The members of the film club were mostly a wee bit older than me and all politicized left-wingers from the 60s and 70s, so the program we presented very much mirrored that including a very distinct intention to 'enlighten' the audience.

You may imagine that this very well suited my own intentions, but very soon I got estranged with this attitude, because it included some anti-American resentment, a closed-mindedness towards popular culture and - worst of all - a tendency to censorship.

Among my many activities at the cinema was also recruiting new members which I managed very successfully. One of them came directly from one of my film seminars ("How to Read a Film") and became a friend as well as a member of the club, Walter Harteis. As a movie enthusiast he introduced himself with a well-prepared suggestion for a retrospective of early Hitchcock movies which I also fully supported, since it consisted of many rarely seen works. The idea, however, was immediately rebuked with the comment: "We don't play Hollywood shit!"

It might seem irrelevant, but this one rejection was a watershed that set the goals to my future. Needless to say that I fought this discussion out and we DID show the retrospective.

The rebuff was uttered in pure aggression by one my my (till then) best friends who thought (and probably still thinks) he was a fervent Nouvelle Vague fan. There's so much wrong with that one sentence, but here are the important points:

- early Hitchcock movies were German and British productions and had nothing to do with Hollywood
- the Nouvelle Vague adored Hitchcock as one of the greatest artists of cinema; they also admired the Hollywood classics
- why should you reject anything just because it's from Hollywood?
- the whole thing revealed a shocking ignorance about cinema in its entirety

As a result I decided to form a sub-group within the club to enforce a program containing all that cinema rejected by the rest of the club: genre movies, B-pictures, avantgarde flicks, etc. This was not really that new a idea. It was loosely oriented on Amos Vogel's book "Film as a Subversive Art" and was much in the vein of what the more recent documentary "Midnight Movies" displayed.

I managed to get the permission to run an independent program on weekends at midnight, and we managed to continue it over a period of more than 15 years with enormous success, but also with constant aversion and attacks from the leftist 'establishment' inside the club and from similar groups all over town plus all the conservative powers. You must know they are just as conservative in their own way as their supposed political opponents. But we managed.

Out of the core of this cinema group we called Lyssa humana (human rabies) we founded a band. Inspired by our avantagrde favourites The Residents, Borbetomagus and the industrial bands like Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse we built our own 'instruments' out of scrap metal and spare parts, amplified the sound electrically and made what by today is officially called 'noise music'. Although this was really nothing new or very innovative we did succeed in shocking nearly everybody and managed to end sold-out concerts to a nearly empty auditorium. At least we became something like a local legend.

Lyssa humana was not simply a band, the music was just one small part of it. We organized the film nights on weekends (later once a month), exhibitions, concerts, even seminars and published our own magazine. It's not like we earned money, but it was fun. Besides that we were friends who spent a lot of time together and visited as many independent rock concerts that we could. We probably saw a few hundred bands, some of them meanwhile legendary.

By the end of the 80s I was active in all these things: organizing the film club and doing most of the screenings (as the projectionist), our activities in Lyssa humana, being active in the record collectors scene and doing many different and changing day jobs to earn a bit more money, too.

There would tons of stories to tell, but there's just not enough room here for that.

Angelika Wierzbicka Tyburc

New Stuff: Pan Sonic/Haino Keiji

I recently saw a clip from this live concert and was immediately thrilled. So I had to get the album! It's got the wonderful title: "Shall I download a black hole and offer it to you" Live in Berlin 15.11.2007

Here's the clip:

Carla Campbell

New Stuff: Werner Raditschnig

I recently experienced this artist of electronic music live, I'll be reporting about the event, and I decided to get one of his cds, since it was readily available online.

Sharon van de Pas

ph: Michael Schwartz