US-California - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 7 - 05/22/97
The first part of this article was published in Full Moon 5.
RE/Search #13 (1991, 228 pages)
Interviews with sixteen innovative female artists. The best known names here
are probably Lydia Lunch and Diamanda Galas, at least for the musically
interested. But we also get to know several cutting-edge female performance
artists (for instance Annie Sprinkle and Karen Finley). While some of
them can be described as radical feminists, other artists here are working
with sex and eroticism in ways that probably make many feminists
react negatively. Not a stereotype selection, in other words. Some of
these women appear to be more angry than others, but none of them can be
accused of being particularly dogmatic, so even (perhaps especially) men
should be able to enjoy this book.
Besides, they do debate other topics than the male / female issue.
RE/Search #14 (1993, 206 pages)
Incredibly Strange Music Volume I
This guide to obscure vinyl recordings is based on 14 interviews with
various record collectors (including the Cramp's Ivy & Lux and the people
behind Norton Records) who are showing off their most beloved objects,
mostly from the '50s-'70s. The humour factor seems higher here than
in Incredibly Strange Films, the people interviewed being more interested
in giving us a peak into their amazing collections, than discussing
the records' artistic value in objective terms. Many of the items
displayed in this book must be difficult to get hold of, while I wouldn't
be surprised to find some of them cheaply priced at garage-sales or
record-fares. Mind-boggingly covers and bizarre titles are often the main reason for
inclusion, and many of those are probably more fun to look at than
to listen to. Still, some of the collections focus on exotic instruments
or eccentric music styles, making them interesting also from a musical
point of view. This book is a must for vinyl addicts, but is recommended
to all music listeners with a sense of humour.
RE/Search #15 (1994, 220 pages)
Incredibly Strange Music Volume II
More of the same excellent stuff. A long interview with
Jello Biafra starts off another journey to the fringes of
the vinyl world. Robert Moog (he invented the Moog synth) speaks
about the Theremin, an instrument which seems to be re-discovered
these days. A companion CD/cassette (no vinyl!?) is also available.
RE/Search #16 (1994, 148 pages)
Guide to Bodily Fluids
After the last two solid books, this is a rather weak RE/Search product.
Compared to any other RE/Search book, it seem very unnecessary, and
don't quite fit into their row of chosen subjects. Paul Spinrad dips into
every bodily produced fluid you'll ever think of, be it mucus, saliva,
sweat, vomit, urine, feces, earwax or toe cheese. He even covers farting.
By "bringing bodily functions out of the closet into polite conversation..."
it may serve a purpose helping to normalize our thoughts on
these functions. Large parts of the book are based
on the results from a questionnaire with 106 participators, which
is barely enough to make the results interesting, but as a statistical
research this seems far too few. Revealed here are facts like, of the 96% of us who
pick our noses, only 26% throw it in the garbage on some form of paper
or flush it away. Where the others go? 34% is tossed
away (often after some rolling), 9% is wiped onto the undersides of
furniture, 21% wiped on other places (carpets, bottoms of shoes and
even on boyfriends!), and 10% gets eaten. If you enjoy or need facts
like this, this book has lots of it. But it's a misfit and a low point
in the RE/Search series, both when thinking of quality and subject.
The future: V/Search Publications and Juno Books
RE/Search has now evolved into two new publishing ventures;
V/Search Publications and Juno Books.
Copyright © 1997 Knut Tore Breivik