I think I spooked someone who was accused of singing sad songs. Antonin Artaud is the Father of the Modern Theatre. He wrote ‘Theatre As The Plague’. I talk about him with Victoria Arnold, the sister of my dear friend, Bill Arnold, who I concluded killed himself on my eighteenth birthday – eighteen minutes past midnight – so it was the day after I was born. He drove on to a railroad track in Ogden Utah, around the bend from some tall cottonwood trees, so the engineer would not have time to stop. Bill turned off the headlights to the Volvo my mother bought him.
I was in love with this woman singer for over ten years. I love her no more, because I suspect I have been identified as the stalker of Belle who asked me in a e-mail to writer her about be getting sober.
On October, 8, 1986 I flew down to LA to see Vicky. We had not seen each other sense Bill’s funeral held October 12, 1964. Nancy Hamren was in love with Bill since she was thirteen. She loved his sister – who had a crush on me since she was eight. On the 9th. she bid me to look at the contents of a black box she found after she became the caretaker of her father’s estate. Bryan Arnold did not recognize his daughter due to alzymers disease. At the end of our eight hour promise to tell the truth, Vicky held up the empty box, and asked;
“What do you see in this box?”
“I see nothing in that box!”
“Wrong! Your death is in this box. You are killing yourself with alcohol. I beg you not to do this. I need you to remain alive so I will not be all alone in the world with these dark truths!”
I found my letter to Vicky three days ago. In it I talk about Artaud. I have three weeks of sobriety.
“As you will read what I have enclosed, and read, you will see that I am hanging on to Dear Artaud’s next words. I have absolutely no clue as to what I am feeling, and what I know. For three weeks now I nor anyone has a clue where I am coming from.”
Starfish is a female version of Bill. Victoria is a female version of me.
I am appalled to learn that Franklin Graham, Donald Trump, Vlademir Putin, and huundreds of self-appointed leaders and teachers of the teaching of Jesus Christ, have utterly betrayed Jesus, humanity, and the idea of Democracy – by persecuting people who love one another, and are of the same sex. I had a homosexual experience with an older man in 1986. I problably should have had other affairs, or, formed a lasting bond.
In the last four days I have shed many tears. I am very moved by the words I have put down, and the words that are waitng in the wing. I had a vague idea of what the plot is, and waited patiently for words from the Source! As a theologian, I have received lessons from God – directly.
Three months ago I decided to introduce one of my main characters as a Christian, which is a taboo if you want Hollywood to turn your story into a movie. I was now considering my Christian audience. Why am I taking such a risk? My book is already dead if I keep this up. In the last two days I knew I was going to champion the world-wide LGBT people. Just writing a simple James Bond book was out of the question. Elizabeth Taylor championed victims of AIDES, as did Aileen Getty, who are more directly related to Ian Fleming than I, and, if you google Bond and bi-sexual, there exist a suggestion. But, more than that, I love the creative challenge, and, the words Jesus spoke to me;
“Be not afraid. Spiritual courage, will be met with spiritual courage.
At 11:30 A.M. I discovered in the Rose Labyrinth a story by Edgar Allen Poe ‘The Masque of the Red Death’. This work appears in a essay by Jane Goodall who is famous for her work with monkeys. Jane employs Antonin Artaud in her work who in 1933 wrote ‘The Theater and the Plague’. The poet Michael McClure wrote a book of poetry dedicated to Artaud, and it looks like he turned Jim Morrison on to these strange ideas that now consume the lives of everyone on the planet. My literary treatment of the coronavirus may constitute the first attempt to define our collective experience in a creative and literary manner. Have artists done paintings of the plague? I am taking a second looks at what you might call Rock Literature as a device to take us to a new world that is no longer a preference, but a necessity.
This study offers a reappraisal of the importance of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) in contemporary critical debate, and examines the intricate parallels between his heretical dramaturgy and the heresies of ancient Gnosticism. It argues that the gnostic drama explored throughout Artaud’s oeuvre presents an assault on the founding tenets of Western thought that is more thoroughgoing and powerful than that mounted by the post-structuralist critics who have adopted Artaud as an icon of failure and madness.
As the vocabulary of freedom becomes day by day more thickly encrusted with the shit of American foreign policy, it’s salutary to hear the voice of Michael McClure, a poet who for 50 years in print has explored states of freedom with candor and athletic intelligence. He writes poetry with acute eyes and ears, translating critical observation into precisely tempered verbal notations, celebrating the animal body and human consciousness growing out from it. He’s an expert reader, too, with an actor’s voice, sensual and attuned finely to cadence and energies of enunciation. And he’s learned from musicians. As his Beat associate Jack Kerouac might have noted, McClure knows Time.
In the wake of his friendship with The Doors’ Jim Morrison, McClure developed a close working relationship with that group’s keyboard player Ray Manzarek. I Like Your Eyes Liberty, vividly recorded in Terry Riley’s Californian studio, raises McClure’s association with music to a new plane. Riley uses a range of keyboards, acoustic and electronic, to generate radiant real-time arrangements, not mere accompaniments, but spontaneously made settings that draw together strands of his own decades of rich musical experience. Gamelan sonorities and raga spirals, stately grand progressions, and jazz in introspective modes, electronic shimmer and prepared piano percussiveness elaborate McClure’s arresting images and measured speech.
As well as texts from his 2002 book Plum Stones, McClure revisits his 1964 Ghost Tantras where, moved by Antonin Artaud, he physically imagines “beast language,” voice acknowledging openly its flesh and muscle. His delivery through these incantations remains disciplined from within — no screams or histrionics but articulate groans, moans and quiet roars that move smoothly from and into verbal shapes and shared meanings.
Novelist Joseph Conrad once wrote that words are the great foes of reality. The mouths of imperialist politicians prove his point. But McClure has always written to sustain fidelity of language to our given physical realities. This recording will of course have no traceable impact on political decisions but it gives form to what is currently under immense threat from an official discourse of cynical deception and overt violence. It’s a serious statement about getting in touch and the considerable pleasure it offers is an integral part of its importance.
The Masque of the Red Death” (originally published as “The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy“) is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The story follows Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, hosts a masquerade ball within seven rooms of the abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose “costume” proves to contain nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn.
The last room is decorated in black and is illuminated by a scarlet light, “a deep blood color” cast from its stained glass windows. Because of this chilling pairing of colors, very few guests are brave enough to venture into the seventh room. A large ebony clock stands in this room and ominously chimes each hour, upon which everyone stops talking or dancing and the orchestra stops playing. Once the chiming stops, everyone immediately resumes the masquerade.
At the chiming of midnight, the revelers and Prospero notice a figure in a dark, blood-splattered robe resembling a funeral shroud. The figure’s mask resembles the rigid face of a corpse and exhibits the traits of the Red Death. Gravely insulted, Prospero demands to know the identity of the mysterious guest so they can hang him. The guests, too afraid to approach the figure, instead let him pass through the six chambers. The Prince pursues him with a drawn dagger and corners the guest in the seventh room. When the figure turns to face him, the Prince lets out a sharp cry and falls dead. The enraged and terrified revelers surge into the black room and forcibly remove the mask and robe, only to find to their horror that there is nothing underneath. Only then do they realize the costume was empty and all of the guests contract and succumb to the disease. The final line of the story sums up, “And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
The Plague and its ·Powers in Artaudian Theatre JANE GOODALL Artaud’s essay “The Theatre and the Plague” begins with an account of a dream-vision experienced by Saint-Remys, Viceroy.of Sardinia, in 1720: … he saw himself plague-ridden and he saw the plague ravage his miniature state. Beneath the scourge, the frameworks of society dissolve. Order collapses. He is audience to (it assiste a) every moral deviation, to every psychological debacle; he hears in himself the munnuring of his internal fluids, disrupted, in complete derangement, becoming heavy and gradually turning to carbon in a vertiginous shrinkage of matter. I In “assisting” at this apocalyptic spectacle, the dreamer is essentially in the position of any audience member in the Theatre of Cruelty. He knows the dangers to which he is witness cannot kill him, but he realises too “that the will operates in them to the point of absurdity, to the point of the negation of possibility, to the point of a kind of transmutation of the lie from which you can remake the truth” (T.D., p. 15), and this realisation teaches him to act in defiance of destiny and tum the fatal course of events which was set according to his premonition. His Story illustrates that the powers of the plague are powers of revelation, of alchemical transformation, leading through the nigredo of dissolution towards a new genesis. Artaud describes how volcanic eruptions on the surface of the flesh violate the inside/outside borders which preserve corporeal integrity, as social, psychological and ethical structures implode. “Civilised man” disintegrates in an elemental forcefield that seems to be reversing the process of creation and the more determined his strategies of self preservation , the more directly they contribute to the process of his destruction. It is as though the logic of causality in which he invests all hope of survival is itself subservient to some more deeply laid design requiring his unwitting co- 530 JANE GOODALL operation for its fulfilment. So Artaud tells another story, of how Boccaccio and his debauched companions remain unheeding and unscathed in the open countryside whilst … in a castle nearby, transformed into a fortified citadel with a cordon of armed men to prevent entry, the plague transforms the entire garrison and its occupants into corpses and spares the men at arms who alone have been exposed to contagion. (T.D., p. 22) Edgar Allan Poe, an acknowledged mentor to the Theatre of Cruelty enterprise, gives amesmeric rendition of the story of the garrisoned company in “The Masque of the Red Death.” The victims of the red death are possessed by a force which manifests itself in a horrific transgression of the inside/outside borders in every sphere – social, biological, territorial, existential: No pestilence had ever been so fatal or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal – the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow men.2 Prince Prospero, “happy … dauntless … sagacious,” remains unaided by the occult counsel of the dream vision and thus unable to read the semiotics of the red death, believing that he can evade it by the very strategies of liminality against which its influence is pervasively manifested. He retreats into a fortified castle with a thousand of his retinue, who -are instructed to solder the bolts on the iron gates so as “to leave means neither of ingress nor of egress to the sudden impulses of frenzy from within.” After some months, he proposes to celebrate their privileged sanctuary with a masked ball. Prospero has a fetichistic sense of order and ritual which borders on the pathological, and the appearance of the personified Red Death as the inconceivable climax of his obsessively prescribed ceremony is like the parousia of a formless double which has been coming inexorably to meet, possess and devour him in a flamboyant display of the powers of horror. In Artaudian metaphor, the power base of horror is always…