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  The Hotsy Totsy Club . . . 2000-06-23. . . Cholly Kokonino reporting

Today we're proud to present Episode 2 of Juliet Clark's exciting new serial:

THE DREAM FACTORY

Being John Malkovich (1999)

The night before seeing Being John Malkovich, I saw Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola. They were shooting a movie outside my office (I work in a film archive). When I arrived, Sofia was buried up to her neck in orange dirt; some of my colleagues kicked more dirt into her face as they walked by. I thought this was sort of mean, but it did make the scene look better. Meanwhile, I told Spike Jonze about this series of dreams I’d been having lately. In the dreams I worked with a bunch of people who got sent to Hell every night. They always alluded to these visits with a mixture of horror and pride -- they seemed to think that this experience set them apart from others and made them fascinating people, sort of like getting a lot of tattoos. Eventually, I got sent along with them, and discovered that Hell was full of giant cartoon beasts resembling Pokemon. They chased everyone around the office for eternity; a few people were lucky enough to escape through a revolving glass door. I got to the door and woke up, and Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola were preparing to be interviewed by an Italian telejournalist. They were showing how youthful and fun-loving they were by roller-skating on a frozen bridge. As noted film curator Edith Kramer pointed out, the combination of ice and roller skates seemed dangerous. At the time, a group of turkeys was sitting on the waterfront, near the Italian telejournalist’s airplane. I made the mistake of hissing at one of the turkeys, and it suddenly jumped on another turkey’s shoulders and the stack of two turkeys came running toward me, looking very menacing. Luckily they lost track of what they were doing and wandered away. Later, the whole flock of turkeys took flight, continuing their long journey south for the winter.

. . . 2000-06-27

yes - it is dark

Tricky Cad: Case V, 1958, detail
Flirty skirty Marcel Duchamp had his little fling with "4-dimensional perspective," but when you're portraying eternity nothing beats a long-term relationship. And the paste-ups of Jess show a forty year commitment to four-dimensional perspective studies, with time, no longer viewed in rigid profile, as the fourth dimension.

As we all know by now, comic strips use spatial separation to convey temporal change; Jess's early "Tricky Cad's Time Space Continuum Has Collapsed!" work exploited that convention. To rearrange the sequence of comics is to change our four-dimensional point-of-view, to focus down an oblique line that cuts across the forward-march of image....

Jess's later work layers precisely trimmed and arranged bits of advertising, art books, jigsaw puzzles, and news magazines ("the images of our times") into a very-deep-focus Universal Now! as dizzying in its novel jumping-out of dimensionality as Jane Russell in 3-D or the "floating pictures" of the Dutch, the restless lost-in-time and lost-in-space eye shifting across a single, massive, unified, static surface that seems to dis-and-re-establish a new implied viewpoint every quarter-inch or so....

Arkadia's Last Resort
Arkadia's Last Resort; Or Fête Champêtre Up Mnemosyne Creek [Autumn], 1976, detail
Jess's monumental paste-ups of the 1960s through 1980s reproduce ex-TREEM-ly badly. First, they're huge -- Arkardia's... is 47" by 71", which is, what?, a four-by-five? Second, since they're built up of printed material from very varied sources, pretty much any reduction into new print material is going to obscure differences and blur dividing lines. Probably the only decent way to preserve and distribute this stuff is in high-quality fold-out prints even larger than the original or in large high-resolution digital scans with no photographic middleman. For the curious and easily satisfied, the Club provides a just-as-inadequate full sketch of Arkadia's....

. . . 2000-06-28

Movie Comment: Edge of Darkness (1942)

Enticed into Edge of Darkness by the shiny sparks flying between the opposed opinion poles of Leonard Maltin's enthusiastic "eye-popping camera work" and Time Out's snarky "too worthy for even the most die-hard action fancier," we found a very odd war movie twenty-five years ahead of its time....

. . . 2000-06-29

The Scent of an Atheist

Christian born-again proselytizers, like hetero male pick-up artists, pretend that they're engaging in human communication when they're only looking to score. Not really skilled enough at human communication to juggle the two at all convincingly, the usual outcome is a creepy sense of betrayal on the victim's side and a creepy "You're obviously a frigid coward!" attack from the aggressor.

It would take a lot of meanness to maintain such stupidity without a solid monoculture backing you up, which is probably why, in my experience, it's Christians and hetero males that are the big problem.

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How to Read the Hotsy Totsy Club (Aloud)

. . . 2000-06-30

 
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(JavaScript by Ray Davis, after the installation piece by Christina La Sala)

. . . 2000-07-01

Special Anniversary Narcissism Week!

We analytic egotists have to keep an eye out for mirrored abysses, which is why I've mostly resisted the impulse to dribble endless mission statements and explanations into the Hotsy Totsy Club until the sodden floor collapsed under me. But the Hotsy Totsy Club is a year old now, and as an analytic egotist I can think of no better way to celebrate than to spend an entire week on mission statements and explanations. Hee haw!


Hoozoo, by Cholly Kokonino

Let's start down to earth (or even lower) with Paul Perry's reasonable query, "Where is the Hotsy-Totsy Club?"
I currently live in Berkeley, California. The "original" Hotsy Totsy Club is a crummy bar, not far away from me on San Pablo Ave. ("The Most Beautiful Avenue in the World!"), where grizzled old boozers start congregating around 9 am. The neon in its sign seems to be burnt out in a new combination every day.
And Paul followed up with the equally reasonable, "I wonder exactly what role Cholly Kokonino had in the Coconino county of old?"
In all the strips I've seen, Cholly Kokonino was only a name without a character, a fiction within the fiction, a gossip-columnist pseudonym occasionally appended to Herriman's gorgeously overripe narrative setups.

The simultaneously snooty and slangy name is modeled after "Cholly Knickerbocker," a society columnist (or, more precisely, a series of society columnists) in one of the New York papers.

Applicability to the Hotsy Totsy Club is left as an exercise for the reader.

. . . 2000-07-02

Special Anniversary Narcissism Week! (cont.): Secret Origins of the Hotsy Totsy Club

In an email interview for The Industry Standard (which I never saw, since it wasn't put on their website), Mark Frauenfelder asked, "Why do you keep a weblog?"
Like most of the writers I know, I want to be rewarded for being self-indulgent. This is the latest attempt.

The structural assumptions built into formal essays and short stories don't match what gives me the most pleasure in writing. House styles drive me nuts, and even when reviewers achieve a measure of stylistic and structural freedom, they're restricted topically. I offered to write a column called "You Kids Get Out of My Yard!" for GettingIt, but that, uh, didn't pan out. (More precisely, the editor laughed at me but still stood a drink.)

Finally, a couple of friends (Juliet Clark and Christina La Sala) suggested that I just start my own online magazine. I knew pretty much right away that it would take the weblog form, though I hadn't yet heard the term: I wanted frequent additions of mostly short pieces; I'd be providing most of the material, but I'd want other voices; there would be lots of linking, since a fair amount of what interests me is on the web and since I always begin research on the web.

Email to Fred Pyen:
All of which semi-coordinates with a decade's worth of wondering what this thing I'm doing is all about and wanting an excuse to drag more of those thoughts into print ("and out of my mind," as Daniel Johnston says). The Hotsy Totsy Club being just another attempt at doing "this thing I'm doing" more directly, after having published criticism and feeling sickish and having published fiction and feeling sickish.

Your "Is this the way I used to fall off this log?" is a pretty beautiful summing up of my "official publication" history.... But, yeah, inasmuch as I can come up with a no pressure form right now, the weblog is it. No economic pressures, therefore no care about numbers, therefore we can push offputting when we feel like putting off and push offshowing when we feel more like showing off and mostly we can just point offstage and say "No, over there!"

From the Generosity discussion group:
I specifically started the Hotsy Totsy Club (complete with dopey name) to escape questions of "responsibility to an audience," "working with the editor," "academic protocol," and so on, having previously run myself several fathoms into the ground on them. Not that I dislike audiences or editors or academics, some of my best friends etc., but for whatever reasons of personal neurosis such considerations were starting to keep my inchoate yearnings permanently inchoate. I like self-indulgence (when it's truly self-indulgence rather than a sleazy attempt at group flattery) and ephemera and overweening pretentiousness, but can't seem to handle long forms at present. In short, I'm trying for a self-indulgent ephemeral overweening pretentious bite-sized unprofessional mess, and, thanks to the web publishing model of low cost and wide distribution, I think I can get away with it for a while longer.

Kinda perverse, kinda oblique, but it's the one thing right now that I like doing-as-consumer that I can also do-as-producer....


2000-07-03

Special Anniv

Yuck. I mean, I might be able to live for a week on a steady diet of cheesecake. But not, apparently, on a steady diet of pork fat.

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If there are any feminist scholars out there who're getting tired of Lacan (phallus phorphend!), they might consider directing their female gaze toward a new edition of Clover Hooper Adams's letters. The only existing collection was published in 1936 and practices, I suspect, something less than full disclosure. Since then, she's gotten a biography, a splashy supporting role in a group biography, and a scurrilous novel, but what's really called for with such an articulate woman is easier access to the primary documents. Otherwise wilfull ignorance like that displayed by some talking heads I saw recently who said that she probably contributed details of fashion and furnishings to the anonymous novel Esther (actually, her husband was much more obsessed with exterior and interior decoration -- "We shall instruct her. She dresses badly," he wrote to a friend about his then fiancée -- while Clover was the household member who could read Greek) too easily continues to work its will.

Besides heading up the nearest thing Washington ever had to an intellectual salon, Hooper Adams was an excellent portrait photographer and a notorious wit; no less finnicky an observer than Henry James considered her one of the most brilliant minds in America, a "Voltaire in petticoats," although his repectful tone wasn't returned in kind:

"At the same minute came Portrait of a Lady, which the author kindly sent me. It's very nice, and charming things in it, but I'm aging fast and prefer what Sir Walter called the 'big bow-wow style.' I shall suggest to Mr. James to name his next novel Ann Eliza.... he chaws more than he bites off."

"Apropos of Jesse, I had a letter from Henry James, Jr., written Tuesday at midnight on the eve of sailing. He wished, he said, his last farewell to be said to me as I seemed to him 'the incarnation of my native land.' Am I then vulgar, dreary, and impossible to live with?"

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And as still more encouragement to the Future Scholars of America: There's something left undone about this compare-and-contrast of Thelonious Monk and Henry Adams (for instance, comparisons and contrasts), but it's nice to see some acknowledgment of the place of ironic distance in the "popular arts" and in instrumental music....

... an' anotha thing ...... then again ...

Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
All other material: Copyright 2000 Ray Davis.