Warning: The Suppression of Mirth and Scurrilous Laughter by bart plantenga

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WARNING: High Levels of Scurrilous Laughter

by bart plantenga


“L’humour est le plus court chemin d’un homme à un autre.” (Humor is the shortest road from one person to another.) • Georges Wolinski, satirical cartoonist at CH [RIP]

1a moquezThe nervous laugh, the golfer’s clap of hilarity, is applied in situations involving severely uncomfortable moments of consciousness, when one realizes that a humorist is suddenly talking about you or your type or talking about something you have no clue about, but you laugh anyway just in case – so as not to appear clueless or unhip.

These unsettling ah-ha moments occur in connection with the most scurrilous, upsetting of art forms – mockery, satire, burlesque, parody – which breed unease because here is where we undergo dramatic renovations of our comfort zone. But that’s the extent of our arsenal. They have our health benefits, we have heightened derision. They have the generals & the priests, we have the cartoonist & the stand-up comedian.

That the art of laughing at – & then getting others to laugh at – the absurd cruelty of the entitled, those who possess the power to make but mostly break is something we should not under estimate. The ultimate target of satire & comedy is hypocrisy, big hypocrisy as perpetrated upon us by those we entrust with our vote, our hard-earned wages, our lives, our rental agreements, our subscriptions, our souls.

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Life is Now: The Art and Music of Michael Alan by Mark McCawley

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Life is Now:

The Art and Music

of Michael Alan


by Mark McCawley



“Mostly figurative, and based on the performances, the drawings here suggest an artist enthralled by improvisation. Alan’s thread-like lines are manically impulsive; they barely go an inch without detouring. Short, jagged strokes, tiny loops, and quick arcs make jittery, skeletal outlines of distorted human forms. Hasty daubs of blues and pinks wrap the frames with translucent skin while also conveying the blur of movement. Alan loves motion…”

-Robert Shuster, The Village Voice, Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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Arklight: a musical overview — by Mark McCawley

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a musical overview


by Mark McCawley

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Danny Kolm, Gregory Kolm and Max Kostaras are three twentysomethings who’ve lived their whole lives in Queens, NYC. Danny and Greg are brothers who started playing music together in 2003 under the name Arklight, releasing dozens of cassettes and Cdrs on small independent labels. Their early sound was a harsh mix of no wave noise, free jazz energy and punk psychedelia. Various friends filled in the lineup, with Danny playing guitar and Greg manning the drums, until 2013 when Max, a childhood friend and sometimes collaborator, became a permanent member on lead guitar. It was then that their sound shifted to reflect a burgeoning interest in songwriting, structure and improved musicianship. For inspiration, Arklight looked to the music they grew up on and loved, including Neil Young, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Nick Cave and Beat Happening. They hope to continue their development and follow the muse wherever it may lead them.
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A Passport to Elsewhere by Richard Jurgens

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A Passport to Elsewhere

by Richard Jurgens


Cover photo © 2013 by Surya Green

Cover photo © 2013 by Surya Green

Tennessee Williams in Bangkok
by Eddie Woods
Inkblot Publications, September 2013
Distributed by
Providence, Rhode Island
ISBN-10: 0934301719
$15.00 US | $16.06 CDN | 12,11 EUR | Paperback
8×5 inches, 146pp

A couple of years ago I invited some hip young people to a literary evening at Café Brecht in Amsterdam. They were rather self-consciously cool: a lean former resident of Denver, Colorado, stone hash-pipe in hand; a secretive Irishman in a hoody; and a young Swedish woman with tattoos all over her shapely body and an eyebrow piercing.

When we got there, the American poet and writer Eddie Woods was already reading. It was him I’d brought them to hear. But a look of astonishment crossed the cool people’s faces when they tuned in. Soon they were nudging each other and giggling like schoolgirls in a porn shop. They couldn’t believe their ears. What? ‘Pussy’? Kali? Cunnilingus?
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Hal Sirowitz: The People’s Poet — essay by Ron Kolm

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Hal Sirowitz:


The People’s Poet


by Ron Kolm


Author photo © Copyright 2010 Kim Soles

Author photo © Copyright 2010 Kim Soles

I met Hal in 1980 when he was emceeing the poetry readings at St. Clement’s Church on 46th Street in Hell’s Kitchen. Hal did a terrific job in mixing the knowns and the unknowns, and then making the unknowns feel like they could end up in the pantheon of New York City poets. At the conclusion of each event Sirowitz would read some of his own work. The first time I heard him I was instantly hooked. His poems were short and funny, and in them Hal was able to project himself through his mother’s eyes. To her everything was a potential threat — especially to her family’s belonging to the mostly assimilated Jewish middle-class.  Religion still played a part in his work, but almost more as a set of superstitions, than as a link to the ineffable — and it was more through the sensibility of the father than the mother. Hal’s poems were also incredibly concrete — they were filled with real things; real cats, real girlfriends, real condoms. And many of them began with the mantra, “Mother said…”
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