The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 11, 2005

a sample of the original recording accompanying the photographs
sun's doing stuff at the moment
every sound an origin and primordial i'm sure of it
i'm so tired just listen to the music

Childhood home of David Bohm

Childhood home of David Bohm, Wilkes-Barre, PA (my hometown as well).
David lived above the furniture store in the photograph. A next-door
neighbor told us that the store had been resold in the early 50s to
someone currently living in Mountaintop. I don't know if the current
owner is related.

We were also told that the building next to the furniture store was a
combination house and mission; the former built in 1847, and the mission
at the beginning of the 20th century. The front porch has been enclosed
because the neighborhood has become dangerous, and the stained-glass
windows in the surrounding houses have been stolen; his are now behind an
outer wall.

The furniture store is at 410 Hazel St.

Bohm is one of the originators of the theory of hidden variables in
quantum mechanics; he had a large effect on Bell, among others. His work
on the implicate order continues to influence, and the work he was engaged
on before he died, prespace, is still at the forefront of QM research. See

Please note - this should be absolutely excellent! - Alan

Anthology Film Archives

PROGRAM 1:  The Archive
Thursday, September 15 at 8:00

PROGRAM 2:  Early Works and Collaborations
Friday, September 16 at 8:00

PROGRAM 3: A Quest
Saturday, September 17 at 6:00

Sunday, September 18 at 6:00

Program Summaries:

<I started watching experimental films at the
Unitarian Church in Schenectady, New York when I was
fifteen. Then I went to college and had the extreme
good fortune of taking classes with, well not really
classes, but I got to listen to a lot of the great
filmmakers boast and argue about their work --
Frampton, Brakhage, Sharits, Kubelka, Godard, Leacock.
By the time I started making films (I was painting) I
figured those guys had opened up a lot of space, but
that I wanted to go someplace completely different, to
deal more with the surprising world. I was drawn to
the filmmakers who could dig into emotional states and
tell stories differently, or tell different kinds of
stories, such as the Kuchars, Warhol, Ken Jacobs,
Yvonne Rainer, Alan Sondheim, the surrealists. I was
very interested in textures of speech and gesture,
in-and-of-themselves, like an anthropologist of our
own culture. Early on I realized that I wanted each
film to be like a new leap into the abyss.> --L.T.

         Leslie will be on hand for a Q&A after each
program, & will present a surprise from her personal
archive at every show.

PROGRAM 1: The Archive

Almost all of Thornton^s work includes archival
footage used in a very distinctive way.

  <I want to spark the imagination into sensing
something of a past, while at the same time giving a
place for the images to have a full, awesome present.
Not to privilege the past, but to experience wonder
that it exists, like looking at stars.>

OH, CHINA, OH (1983, 3 minutes, b&w, 16mm)
ADYNATA (1983, 30 minutes, color, 16mm)
[DUNG SMOKE ENTERS THE PALACE]  (1989, 16 minutes,
b&w, 16mm film & video)
ANOTHER WORLDY (1999, 24 min, b&w-color 16mm)
CHIMP FOR NORMAL SHORT (1999, 7 min, 16mm)
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS: Minus 10, 9, 8, 7~E(2004-05, 20
minutes, color, video)

Total program time: ca. 110 minutes

Thursday, September 15 at 8:00

PROGRAM 2: Early Works and Collaborations

The early works show the influence of both the
structural and minimalist preoccupations of the film
and art world, then fast-forward through a series of
experiments in storytelling. Subjects include
portraits of eccentrics, dying and faith in art;
collaborations are with Ron Vawter, the Wooster Group,
and others.

X-TRACTS (1975, 9 minutes, b&w, 16mm film)
ALL RIGHT YOU GUYS (1976, 16 minutes, b&w, 16mm film)
HOWARD (1977, 20 minutes, b&w, 16mm film)
JENNIFER, WHERE ARE YOU? (1981, 10 minutes, color,
16mm film)
SHE HAD HE SO HE DO HE TO HER (1987, 5 minutes, color,
16mm film)
   Produced in conjunction with Fireworks,  an
experimental theater production
STRANGE  SPACE (1993, 4 minutes, color, video)
Co-produced with Ron  Vawter
cinematography by LESLIE THORNTON
  (1992, 12 minutes, b&w, video)
THE LAST TIME I SAW RON  (1994, 12 minutes, color,

Total program time: ca. 95 minutes

Friday, September 16 at 8:00

PROGRAM 3: A Quest

Thornton became obsessed with the biography of
Isabelle Eberhardt, a late-nineteenth century traveler
and adventurer who passed herself off as a Muslim man
and lived a scandalous life in North Africa. The
program includes her groundbreaking feature-video,
<Unseen Cloud...> and excerpts from an ongoing project
entitled <The Great Invisible>, in which she digs
deeper into Eberhardt^s story and into her ecstatic,
yet devious relation with Islam.

color, video)

THE HAUNTED SWING  (1998, 16 minutes, color, video)

Total program time: 80 minutes

Saturday, September 17 at 6:00


The 2005 version of the on-going series,
90 minutes, 16mm & video

  <Forever unfinished, Thornton^s magnum opus resembles
nothing else known in the cinema avant-garde; two
children, Peggy and Fred, in a setting that could have
been invented by an elder, pessimistic brother of
Samuel Beckett, talk, dance, sing and squabble with
each other as they move through the history of the
20th Century.>


  <There^s something edgy and strong about PEGGY AND
FRED IN HELL... which comes on like a Godard movie
starring children... an audacious film/video you won^t
want to miss.>

   --John Powers

  Total program time: ca. 90 minutes

  Sunday, September 18 at 6:00

  32 Second Avenue (at Second Street)
  New York City   Telephone: (212) 505-5181


Thought this would be of great interest here - Alan (sent w/permission)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 14:11:55 -0500
From: Gabriel Gudding <>
Reply-To: ImitaPo Memebers <>
To: ImitaPo Memebers <>
Subject: [imitationpoetics] Literary Narcissism and the Manufacture of Scandal

Imitation Poetics
[regarding the manufacture of literary scandals for the purposes of
     * A Literary Narcissist's behavior will not only tolerate but encourage
attacks on himself so long as it can translate his own self-fascination
into more news of himself.
     * Just as the Narcissist will use argument, catastrophe, disputation to
attract attention, certain people will be willing to dispute the Narcissist
in order to participate in the economy of attention. Others will dispute
the Narcissist because they are so profoundly appalled by his/her behavior.
Either way, the economy of attention is fueled.
     * The Narcissist needs Catastrophe. The more internal crises of shame
the Narcissist endures and fails to heed, the more s/he will need to create
external Catastrophes. A chief and signal way a Narcissist might attract
attention is to start fights: Narcissists will gravitate toward satire and
caricature as a means of creating argument. The Narcissist will attempt to
construe strife with health: "These arguments need to happen," etc.
     * The Narcissist IS fascinating -- but not for the reasons the
Narcissist thinks. S/he is fascinating because the energy s/he will expend
in micromanaging the self image is so profoundly exceptional. People just
sort of stand there slack-jawed wondering if this person has a life. The
Narcissist however will mistranslate the fascination of others as admiration.
     * Poetry communities will tolerate narcissism so long as it is
translated into a Social Energy which others can use to strengthen and
promote their projects.
     * Narcissism and alcoholism. Alcoholism is a systematic way to push
down socially regulating emotions like shame, guilt, and embarrassment at
one's own self-aggrandizing behavior. The suppression of these emotions is
never successful, even in the most energetic of self-aggrandizers, and they
will periodically burst upward into brief displays of remorse and
convictions to change. These brief spouts of regulatory behavior are
sometimes shared publicly and sometimes privately among confidants. These
displays however can often easily be "re-used" by the Narcissist as a way
of showing his/her authenticity and emotional fealty to the community.
     * The Narcissist is aware of the economy of disgust surrounding his/her
behavior. S/he becomes more and more sensitive to this and consequently
begins to demand private declarations of loyalty from those people whom
s/he knows consider themselves friends -- even if they have said nothing
publicly against the Narcissist.
     * The Narcissist, aware of this disgust, will create a personal mythos
in which s/he will be justified and exonerated by the rewards of literary
"history." The stronger the disgust of others, the greater the energy used
to maintain the mythos of exoneration by history.
     * Narcissists are only interested in community so long as it pays
dividends to their energy: they will support it if it feeds them.
     * The narcissist may outright demand in private that you "pay" him
publicly with praise. Then he or she will publicly "repay" you with a
communal mention.
     * In their attempt to cause others to adopt their self-fascination,
Narcissists will become increasingly paranoiac, constantly searching the
environment and community for news of themselves, for fealty or disloyalty.
     * The Literary Narcissist begins purposefully to conflate criticism of
his social behavior into an indication of his/her literary worth. That is
to say, the Narcissist will try to show that the reason others despise or
are disgusted by him is in fact because he or she is a "Rebel," a true
Literary Revolutionist -- and that the statements of disgust others
publicly make at his behavior is merely an indication of (a) their
necessary denial of the work because they are threatened by it, or (b)
their jealousy of the work.
     * There comes a point -- and the point may come early -- where the
community thinks to itself "teapot" and the Narcissist still hears
"tempest." The truly insular narcissist (aka "the boor") will be met more
and more with shunning, ignoring and silence. This will wrest the
narcissist from his insularity -- such that he will begin another project
designed to create Genuine Interest instead of mere scandalous attention.
This project, like a new comet's head, will be followed by a long tail of
manufactured scandal so as to call attention to its presence in the
literary sky.

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