Hello, all. Wolven here–and I’m bringing you a curatorial collection of some recent or upcoming events, films, books, and articles which trip the edge of the strange and downright weird. I hope to make a kind of regular feature, but I make no promises; only vague assurances which leave you to wake, uncertain, in the dark hours before dawn, sweating, wondering at the unknowable capriciousness of the cruel mocking laughter of a seemingly adversarial universe, only to realise that you, yes you—
Sorry. Got away from myself for a second, there. Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
David Bowie and William S. Burroughs: Back in 1974, the King of All Glam and soon-to-be-King of all Goblins, David Bowie, met the man who was the father of the cut-up literary form, master of intentional psychedelia, and all around altered-state enthusiast, Mr William S Burroughs. At that point, Burroughs interviewed Bowie, and the fascinating, rambling results can be seen, here. Topics covered run through Ziggy Stardust, youth culture, identity, sexuality, dreams and world travel and, like any good interview, the questions Burroughs asks are as enlightening as the answers Bowie gives, giving lots of insight into where both of their heads were, at this point in their careers. Definitely worth a read.
William Burroughs’ Graphic Novel to be Released: Speaking of Mr Burroughs, back in September the Guardian reported that Fantagraphics Books has acquired the rights to his long-unpublished graphic novel Ah Pook Is Here–a collaboration with artist Malcolm McNeill–and will be publishing it in the Summer of 2011. The vastly experimental work apparently concerns a media mogul who encounters a system of extremely affecting imagery concerning fear and death. When he decides to use this system to control the thoughts and consumer habits of everyone in the Western world, he incurs the wrath of Ah Puch (or Ah Pook), the Mayan God Of Death, the followers of whom then travel through time to exact their vengeance. Yeah, it’s gonna be that kind of thing. Keep an eye on Fantagraphics’ news page, for updates. (An animated version of one of Burroughs’ pieces regarding Ah Pook can be found here.)
David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method: Right about here I was going to make some kind of witty quip about cut-up, identity, the Ego, and the Collective Unconscious to get to the fact that John Kerr’s book A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, and Sabina Spielrein was turned into the play called “The Talking Cure,” by one Christopher Hampton, and the attendant fact that that latter piece is being turned into a film—A Dangerous Method–by one Mr. David Cronenberg, but I figured I’d just jump right into it because, Man. That is seriously roundabout. Starring Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, and Keira Knightly, the film (also the book and the play) focuses on the lives and works of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Sabina Spielrein, respectively, as they craft the burgeoning field of psychoanalysis.
The interaction and interplay of these three is, itself, a fascinating psychological study, and one which highlights the generally little-known role of Sabina Spielrein in constructing the psychological discipline and thus we have the thrust of the book. Play. Movie. Yes. Anyway, Cronenberg rarely disappoints, and he has already shown himself to work well with Viggo, in both A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, so we should all be looking forward to this one.
Alan Moore’s “Fossil Angels”: About a month ago, Bleeding Cool remarked on the recently-unearthed Alan Moore piece, “Fossil Angels.” In addition to providing the links to both halves of the piece itself, Bleeding Cool does a damn fine job of giving the rundown on the slow implosion of Chaos Magick-themed project KAOS, as well as Biroco‘s–the founder–eventual removal of himself from the “occult scene,” as a whole.
Interesting thoughts there about what it means to be a magician, in public, and the idea that, eventually, everyone moves on. But that’s merely attendant. The real meat here is, as usual, Moore and his ability to place himself as the iconoclast, even within a culture seemingly composed of iconoclasts (and just chew on that idea a little).
What Moore does in this piece is poke the self-important hornet’s nest of self-styled magicians, with the simple question of “What Does Magick Actually Do?” He then sets about systematically dismantling every answer everyone has ever offered to that question, from the dark ages to today, and to propose his own answer. Love him or hate him, right or wrong, Moore definitely knows how stir the pot and in “Fossil Angels” he’s given others within the magical community some concepts out of which they certainly can get a lot of mileage, if only by arguing with him about them.
Cthulhurotica: Last but not least for this edition of the WSRU, there’s a new small press anthology coming out on December 15 (earlier, if you pre-order), called Cthulhurotica. (Full Disclosure: I am personally acquainted with one of the contributors to this anthology. But I’d probably be telling you about it even if I weren’t.) As you may have guessed, from the title, the anthology concerns itself with the potential for the erotic within the Cthulhu Mythos.
Edited by Carrie Cuinn and featuring visual art, literature, and scholarly essays from some well-known names in science-fiction, fantasy, and horror, Cthulhurotica seeks to fully explore the sensual and sexual aspects of HP Lovecraft, and to investigate what it is that draws some of us to the terrifying, the horrible, and the inexplicable, rather than causing us to flee. As they say, on the site, “Cthulhurotica is the place where sex and madness meet.” And just in time for the winter holidays!