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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Judy La Bruce and Anna Muelter of HAU threw a bad breast dinner at the yummy Kreuzberg bistro Gino´s. La Bruce regaled BB cast members with stories about his recent trip to Paris where he interviewed the Kaiser of high fashion Karl Lagerfeld for Vice Magazine. Vice has gone super corporate and upscale under editor Jesse Pearson who use to be a junior editor with Index Magazine when I was a regular contributing editor for that downtown NY rag under the auspices of the wonderful Bob Nickas. I always thought young Jesse was super cute with his lanky rabbit rooted big dicque arrogance, and sloopy junky/hustler manner.
Herr Lagerfeld and BLAB got along quite well so I´m anxious to read the article which will hit the stands in April under the subtitle: A Coupla Elderly White Chix Sitting Around Talking.
At the Ginos table a lot of juicy tongue wagging with the talented Jeanine of PlanningtoRock who just performed at the Transmediale Festival, humpy Senol Senturkk who is busy working on designing Berlinale installations, lovely Lisa Schmidt and the beautiful Susanne Sachsse. Sitting near our klatch was Hearst International Fashion scribe Suzy Menkes chowing down on a slab of lamb with a gaggle of faggot assistants.
The next evening John Heys, Marc Siegel and Frau Sachsse curated and hosted an enchanting and hilarious Evening for Superstar Taylor Mead at Arsenal Institute für Film und Video Kunst. The 85 year old Mr. Mead is an underground treasure trove of wisdom and moxy, still going strong living in his tiny cluttered Ludlow flat on the lower east side of Man!hattan. Actor and fellow downtown New York luminary John Heys is one of Mead´s dearest friends and led the curatorial team in spontaneous readings of Mead´s incredible poetry and prose texts with music and zany, whimsical surprises including the 2005 documentary Excavating Taylor Mead by William A. Kirkley. Seen enjoying this special tribute Mead´s number one fan, German experimental guru Wilhelm Hein, feminist filmmaker Evelyn Rüssler,Daniel Hendrickson the translator to the shtars, musical siblings Tim & Kjohnny Blue and Susanne Sachsse´s beautiful 16 year old twins Salome & Richard Gershe who were on their winter break from high school. I love the Gershe twins like they came out of my own womb. Both of them could be supermodels or teenage acting superstars, and would be much more interesting on TV or in the movies then the Jonas Bros or Hannah Montana. It was great to hear that their best friend Jakob who is in the US as an exchange student was able to free himself from a crazy uber fundamentalist religious family and transfer to a secular clan where he will be living until June. With Jacobs sweet demeanor I am sure he will meet lots of American girls who will go wild for a pretty & sexy German boy from Berlin.
Had a wonderous time rehearsing for a new film project with the dynamic art filmmaking duo of Pauline Beaudry and Renate Lorenz. Pauline is a stunning Swiss/French beauty and musician who had a major following with her band Rhythm King and Friends. Renate is a handsome and intelligent butch. Their filmic aesthetic is similar to mine, and we spent a few jubilant hours working in the morning and late in the afternoon at the studio of vivacious and talented Spanish dancer/choreographer Arantxa Martinez who will be performing in this upcoming film in the s tyle of Jane Avril a dancer from the 1890s and turn of the last century. The Vagimule Davis creature will be interpreting the movements of great Black vaudeville star Aida Overton Walker. More on this as it develops.
In the evening little Tele´macos Alexiou of the Chocolate Grinder Film kollective hosted a saturnal feast at his Mehringdamn compound to celebrate his experimental short A Dream of Norma being accepted into the Forum Expanded section of the 60th Berlinale Film Festival. I star in the film as a deluded R&B singer in the mode of Etta James or Whitney Houston. The flicker will screen everday at 4pm at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Schlossplatz in Auto Kinoi by Phil Colllins starting Feb 11th until Feb 21st. After dinner we watched Sweet Charity directed by Bob Fosse starring Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis Jr., Ben-Vereen, Chita Riviera and Pauly Kelly. I hadn´t seen the movie in over 25 years, and love i ts Fossesque razzle/dazzle. I use to hate this film, but somehow it has grown on me and I adore it. So much fun hanging with the Choc Grind rock steady crew of little Alex, Julian Radlmaier, and Mourning Becomes Elektra. Little Alex´s Israeli boyfriend Assaf Hochman and Anna Muelter were also part of the frivolilty.
Received a screening copy of the magnificent experimental documentary film Scrap Metal by Jason Byrne. Jason was a loopy, mega juicy blondine neighbor of Professor jennifer Doyle in Silverlake. He was also a Cal Arts film student. He is all grown up and has been living in Tanzania, Afrika working on a project documenting war crime tribunals. If he ever comes through Berlin for a visit, I will have to give him a tongue bath from head-to-toe YUMMY!
Received this emug from the sweet and lovely Ms. Elly Clark the gifted British art photog based here in Berlin. Check out her gallery and help her get a new camera, her´s was recently stolen. I know you readers of Speaking From the Diaphragm are generous patrons to us grassroots types. I cant tell you how many times my readers have sent me much needed $moula to get out of my financial scraps.

Dear Friends,

This is the first mail from Clarke Gallery this year – so although we are (finally!) in February, Happy New Year!

The first Clarke Gallery show of 2010 opens on 13th March. Put it in your diaries. It’s a group show. The invite will be sent out in a couple of weeks.


Christian is currently leading a workshop with schoolchildren in Dresden, organised by Kunsthaus Dresden. In August he’ll take part in a group show in Belgrade. He’ll also have another solo show at Clarke Gallery this year.

Elly is a recipient of the Goldrausch Kunstlerinnen IT 2010 Stipendium – and the next exhibition is with all the others on this program. Her exhibition ‘Some Places I have Been To’ continues at Melusine and next week, on Friday 12th February Elly’s participatory photo & video project ‘Moscow to Beijing’ opens at Center for Endless Progess (invite attached).

And... not so great: on 16th December Elly’s Leica was stolen from a bar in Kreuzberg. She had the camera for 6 years and travelled pretty much the world with it. Her insurance had just run out. To raise cash to buy a new one, she’s about to launch an Alternative Funding Project - selling signed Single Edition 6”x4” prints via Flickr for 35 Euros each. The link will be sent in due course – but please get in touch if you’d like to be one of the first to know about it.

Vicky curated and has work in 'Collect': a paper based exhibition featuring artists from around the UK. The show runs until 10th Feb at Westgate Studios, 55 Westgate, Wakefield, UK. Click here for more info. Plus, have just made a film of Vicky talking about this show. You’ll be able to see this featured on Axisweb later this week. Otherwise Vicky is in a group show at The Rag Factory on Hanbury Street, London, called 'Danger: An Exhibition'. It opens on the 4th March, runs till 7th March. And meanwhile she’s on a residency at lumen.

Alexander is getting his website built by James Hurst, who did Antony Gormley’s site. He has also been putting in some all-night shift work painting gold leaf on ceilings in the Carlton club in London, which he describes as ‘hard core but fun.’ Meanwhile he’s waiting on news from several residency/post grad applications…

And finally, you can see photos from Liz’s December show COME here.

See you on 13th March if not sooner!


+49 (0)176 8716 2833

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Thus quoteth international film star Udo Kier when i asked him about working with the pop star in her Sex Book from the 1990s. We were in Blimy Birmingham England and i was curating the first Visions of Excess, and the philosophy of Gifts endurance art spectacular that was part of the Fierce Festival with Ron Athey, way back in 2004. I don´t know why Mr. Kier is in my thoughts lately, but he is. Udo and his black lover, whose name i forget. Udo owns a nice compound in Silverlake that he shares with his dinge companion, and he also has a mid century get-away house in palm springs that use to be a library. I was told that he still owns a flat in Berlin, but i was under the impression he got rid of it years ago.
Anyway I just got together with artist, filmmaker and musician Tim Blue at his pristine flat in Neu Kölln. Tim cooked a sumpteous feast for me. Its been months since I´ve spent any time with Tim who has been busy traveling with Irish artist and filmmaker Paul Rowley working on their new rationalist structure architecture film The Rooms which he gave me a sneak preview of. I really liked the movie, though i thought it was just a tad long. It reminded me of the 1964 Jean Paul Belmondo film l´Homme de Rio which features grand shots of Oscar Niemeyer´s Brasilia buildings.
Friday i went to the Bruce La Bruce opening at Peres Projects. La Judy was showing some silk screen Warholian prints of blue movie god Francois Sagan sagat and also previewing his new film LA Zombie-The movie that would not Die that also stars Mr. Sagat as a creature from benearth the sea whose mission is to fuck the dead back to life. The film looks incredible, and i even got nostalgic for a minute seeing my former hometown of Los Angeles. Plus there are cameos in the film by Tony Ward, who starred in Hustler White, and my favorite Hollywood eatery Ms. Donut on Melrose and HIghland Avenue.
Its almost Berlinale time. Can´t wait to see Ela Troyano and Uzi Parnes who have a program in Forum Expanded, and one of my fav homegirls Cheryl Dunye of Watermelon Woman and The Stranger Inside fame will be making a pitstop in town with a new film.
Also the beautiful Janez Janza of Aksioma Institute of Contemporary Art in Ljubiana, Slovenia will performing and exhibiting some new work at Art Lab Berlin see below for details.

3 February 2010, 7PM
Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša
NAME Readymade

Art Laboratory Berlin
Prinzenallee 34, 13359 Berlin

Art Laboratory Berlin, in collaboration with Aksioma - Institute for Contemporay Art, Ljubljana, is glad to invite you to NAME Readymade, the performative presentation of Janez Janša. The event will present the act of "name changing" perpetrated by three Slovenian artists who in 2007 officially, with all the required papers and stamps, changed their names to the then prime minister of Slovenia, Janez Janša (2004-08). All Janez Jansas' works, their private and public affairs, in a word their whole life, has been conducted under this name ever since.

"When the three artists changed their names to Janez Janša, they in fact adopted a critical stand to the state. To the Slovene government, in which until recently all posts seemed occupied as it were by a single person - Janez Janša. [...] Through the multiplication of Janez Janša's name, the function of the prime minister has assumed, within this specific artistic action, a similar position as the Campbell soup cans in Andy Warhol's works." (Zdenka Badovinac, Name Readymade, October 2008)

Janez Janša will take us through a series of artistic, political, administrative and media oriented actions performed by himself together with Janez Janša and Janez Janša, with a particular focus on their latest personal exhibition entitled NAME Readymade. Works exhibited in this show (valid ID cards, passports, credit and bank cards, driving licences, birth and marriage certificates, and so on) were generated by reality itself.
Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša cut right through the midst of their own realities, using procedures typical for art - transformation, translation, representation and mimicry. They turned around the classical relational scheme between art and life as it was developed in the 20th century. Art in the previous century was defined by way of reality entering into artistic contexts without mediation (Badiou defines the 20th century as the 'passion for the real'), while Janša, Janša and Janša want to achieve the opposite, so that their methods cut deeply into their material lives and the lives of their immediate surroundings.

This event will take place in the context of the ongoing exhibtion Creative Rights. On Appropriation, Copyright and Copyleft (until 7.2.) which can be seen on 3 February from 6pm before and after the presentation.

Production: Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art and the steirischer herbst Festival in collaboration with Maska and Moderna galerija Ljubljana.
Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

More information:

Marcela Okretič
Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
Neubergerjeva 25, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
gsm: +386 41 250830

Oh and Marc Siegel of CHEAP kollective sent me this missive today that i will pass on to you.

Hello CHEAP Friends,

This Thursday February 4 2010 we should all meet at the Arsenal cinema at 7
pm to celebrate the first star of American underground cinema, Taylor Mead.
(Mario was the first drag superstar, Taylor the first star­we CHEAPies are
not embarrassed to love our stars.) No, thankfully, Taylor did not die. But
we just thought it's high time this inimitable 85 year old beat poet and
hilarious movie star received some attention. Actually, our friend John Heys
thought so. John is in regular contact with Taylor who he knows from his
days in the New York Lower East side gay and theater scene. Ever since John
got a copy of the documentary called EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD (2005) he has
been set on organizing an evening for Taylor. John enlisted the help of
Susanne Sachsse and me and garned the support of the trusty Arsenal and alas
"The Movies Are a Revolution: An Evening for Taylor Mead" was born. Nobody's
got no money and we ain't go no fancy technology, so we couldn't bring in
Taylor or even bring in mayn of his over 100 films. But we do have a nice
evening of readings, some unexpected images, including a rare screening of
Gary Goldberg's PLATES (1990) starring Taylor and Bill Rice, and the
documentary to offer you! A great way to learn something about this seminal
figure in American underground film and theater and who knows maybe the
first of many Taylor Mead evenings to come!

(below you find the text that appears on the facebook page for the evening
with some description of the various videos/films to be shown).

Hope to see you there

An Evening for Taylor Mead - Thursday 4th February 2010
Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art
Thursday, February 4, 2010
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin

85 year-old Taylor Mead is the first superstar of the American underground.
Since 1960 he has appeared in over 100 films, including over 15 by Andy
Warhol. Mead is also a poet, filmmaker and stage actor of great acclaim:
bitchy, endearing, acerbic, anecdotal and jaw-droppingly indiscreet, Mead
is very much one of a kind. (Neil Young)
To pay homage to this exceptional talent, Mead's friend John Heys, with
Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel, has prepared a fittingly exceptional
evening including a documentary about Mead; film surprises; and readings
from Mead's poetry and essays.


EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD William A. Kirkley USA 2005 OF 88
EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD is the story of one s man s journey and struggle
for survival in America s independent film and art community. Known
primarily in the inner circles of New York s art historians and followers
of Warhol, Mead s resume demonstrates how he may be one of underground film
s most prolific yet overlooked artists.
Filmed over a four-year period and spanning nearly eight decades, we follow
Taylors s eviction from his lower east side apartment to co-starring in Jim
Jarmusch s Coffe and Cigarettes. Filtered through his life choices,
EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD is an endearing character study of someone who has
lived an unique artistic path. Best put by Taylor, It s the opposite end
of the Robert Evans spectrum .
Featuring many clips from the early independent film movement including
never before seen Warhol shootage, EXCAVATING TAYLOR MEAD considers the fate
of those who helped bring about the new American cinema of the 1960 s and
raises questions as to the sacrifice we make for art.

GLAMOUR, GLORY & GOLD USA 1988 (in extracts)
Extracts from an exclusive documentation of an event held in NYC dedicated
to Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis. Taylor Mead directed a reading of
Curtis's celebrated play and appears on stage alongside Penny Arcade,
Warhol¼s superstar Ondine and John Heys (who organized this program at

PLATES Gary Goldberg USA 1990 11
with Taylor Mead und Bill Rice
In the early 1990s Goldberg produced a series of Beckettian short films
featuring Taylor Mead and Bill Rice. They are amazing as well as light and
profound comedies.

Texts by Taylor Mead, read by John Heys, Susanne Sachsse and Marc Siegel,
will be added to the film program. There will be drinks during the breaks.

CHEAP congratulates our own incorrigible friend WILHELM HEIN, winner of the
Manfred Salzgeber Preis 2010, presented during the Berlinale. For
information see:

(zur Info: obwohl ich ein Fan, Freund, und Unterstützer von Wilhelm bin und
bleibe, habe ich nicht gesagt was mir auf der Salzgeber Website
zugeschrieben worden ist. Na ja...)

You all have a chance to congratulate Wilhelm personally at the opening for
a rare show of his paintings in the exhibition "Es gibt kein Bier in Hawaii"
on Saturday, Feb. 6 2010 at 7 pm at Fischer&Fischer Gallery Straßburgerplatz

AND I forgot to recommend Bruce LaBruce's show at Peres Projects, Berlin,
"LA Zombie: The Movie That Would Not Die" on view until April 24 2010, a
rare chance to see BLAB's latest film, L.A.Zombie starring the adorable
Francois "Piero on steroids" Sagat, who was wowing all at the opening with
free feels of his muscular goldstück.