Music

John Cage’s compositions and performances have had a profound influence on generations of musicians and artists. In this tape, he initiates For the Third Time as author Richard Kostelanetz interviews him. “I’ve left the punctuation out, but I’ve distributed it by chance operations on the page, like an explosion,” Cage says. “You can replace the punctuation where you wish.”

The Chocolate Factory is a suite of monologues in the voice of a fictionalized serial killer, one monologue for each victim. The camera, with an almost structuralist rigor, pans up and down simple line drawings of each of the seventeen victims. A Black Sabbath song, picked apart and extended, serves as punctuation and soundtrack. Reinke has described the video as, "My autobiography as Jeffrey Dahmer."  But really, as the narrator says, "It's all about the victims."

Circle's Short Circuit is an experimental feature-length work with neither a beginning nor an end—the film can be viewed from any random point. It moves through a circle of five interlocking episodes that describe the phenomenon of interruption in contemporary communication through various forms and modes, investigating causes, consequences, and side-effects. Genres shift along the episodic path of this circle, moving from documentary to essay, through collage, simulated live-coverage, and silent film.

A troupe of male and female jugglers and musicians perform for a growing crowd in Central Park, New York, led by Hovey Burgess and Judy Finelli.  The sun is shining, and the troupe are skilful, playful, and flirtatious. 

C.L.U.E. (color location ultimate experience), Part 1 is a collaborative video and performance work by artists A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds, with AJ Blandford and Seattle-based band Kinski. Inhabiting the intersection of human movement and architecture, A.L. Steiner and robbinschilds (Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs) present a full-spectrum video, set to a score by rock quartet Kinski.

Filled to capacity, each car of a 157 car train sounds a percussive note in this homage to John Coltrane. And not one coal train, but two.

This title is also available on Sympathetic Vibrations: The Videoworks of Paul Kos.

The Commision is an ambitious narrative in operatic form that blends video effects and electronically manipulated sound with stylized docu-drama. Based on the real-life drama of Niccolo Pagnini, the 19th Century violinist and composer (Ernest Gusella), and his contemporary, Hector Berlioz (Robert Ashley), the work addresses the exploitation of genius, the artist as tragic hero, and the historical exploration of inspiration in the Romantic tradition.”

—Bob Riley, FOCUS: Steina and Woody Vasulka (Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1986)

Dan Carbone sings Debbie and the Demons.

Utilizing a four-way split screen, Divided Alto documents Landry’s improvised flute performance—focusing on the harmonics of the instrument as he plays double and triple chords. The camera centers on the elements that make the music—the mouth and fingers of the musician—as the music moves from counterpoint to synchronization, establishing rhythms that ebb and resurface.  The tape is double-tracked in stereo, video, and audio.

Paul D. Miller (b. 1970) is a conceptual artist, writer, and musician better known as DJ Spooky. A popular and prolific recording artist, he has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Butch Morris, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth), Kool Keith, and Killa Priest (of Wu Tang Clan). Miller’s work uses a wide variety of digitally created music as a form of postmodern sculpture.

Drink Deep is a lyrical vision of friendship, hidden secrets, and desires. Cohen uses several types of film image to add texture to the layered composition. Beautiful shades of grey, silver, black and blue echo the water, reminiscent of early photography and silverprints. Cohen says, "The piece was constructed primarily from footage I’d shot of skinnydippers at swimming holes in Georgia and rural Pennsylvania. It’s about water and memory and stories just submerged. It is also, in part, a response to thinking about censorship.

Commissioned for the Ocularis curated Free to Be…You and Me Invitational compilation, which premiered at Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space and also screened at Chicago Filmmakers, where Mercedes Landazuri and I performed a banjo and synth rendition of “It’s Alright to Cry” (the song that followed Dudley Pippin on the compilation).

A fantasia that makes twisted use of elements from the Elektra myth and vampire stories. Imagine a woman listening to Richard Strauss's Elektra while watching Carl Dryer's Vampyr and the dream she might then have that night. The protagonist imagines herself as Elektra. She has an unhealthy obsession over her dead father Agamemnon. She also passionately despises her mother Clytemnestra, as she is the one who murdered her father. Elektra exhumes the ax used to kill her father in his bath.

“But these meetings, these partings, finally destroy us.”

—Virginia Woolf, The Waves (New York: Harcourt, 1978)

Performance artist and playwright Dan Carbone belts out four spooky songs in a room filled with mummy dusted lunacy.

The Flag, 2006

"The Flag is the second part of a video series about the state-controlled national day ceremonies of the Turkish Republic. Shot during the April 23rd Children’s Day celebrations, which mark the establishment of the new Turkish Parliament, and hence the official demise of the Ottoman Empire back in 1920, this split screen film documents a pompous patriotic performance devised by elders to be performed by children.

This is a colorful fable of many foibles involving a man of the cloth who wishes to shed those accouterments for something of a more sinister fabric. The plot tumbles unrelentingly toward a sci-fi tone when a time machine is thrown into the vivid melange and our anti-hero gets caught up with an ancient soul who has the hots for less ancient hunks. There’s spectacle on a budget and young and old doing their best to put on a big show about the sacred, the profane and the goofy.

Free Society is a short experimental music video that juxtaposes images of police harrassment in the U.S. with images of the military quelling revolutionary opposition. Includes comments from televangelist Jerry Falwell.

This title is also available on Paul Garrin Videoworks: Volume 1.

Freebird, 1993

Silver directs and performs all the roles in this raucous and hilarious music video rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Freebird", the infamous Southern rock anthem for an entire generation of 1970s male youth. In this spoof of straight mass culture, Silver flips ironically between roles; from a lesbian proudly proclaiming her sexuality at the Academy Awards, to an in-concert Coors-drinking Ronnie Van Zant, and, finally, to a black-lace lesbian lounge swinger celebrating the wild, colorful world of “out” visibility.

From The Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge is a series of video clips taken at the Pyramid Club, a seminal location for the East Village drag scene in the midst of the club's most influential years. While rummaging through a file cabinet full of event fliers from the Pyramid Club, an office worker in drag guides the viewer through video documentation of past performances at the club.

Shot in black and white Super 8, this lyrical short follows a wandering, disengaged youth through grey afternoons. German Song features the hard-edged music of Come, an alternative band from Boston.

Turn the lights down / Way down low / Turn up the music / Hi as fi can go / All the gang's here / Everyone you know / It's a crazy scene / Hey there, just look over your shoulder / Hoo hoo / Get the picture? / No no no no / Yeah / Walk a tight rope / Your life-sign line / Such a bright hope / Right place, right time / What's your number? / Never you mind / Take a powder / But hang on a minute, what's coming round the corner? Wooooo woo woo / Have you a future? / No no no no / Yeah

An erotic/mystical misadventure in which the allure of the religious path is strewn with earthly temptations. Struggling with a bogus Zen koan involving flowers in keyholes and jumping through windows, the protagonist will end up entering, by the conclusion, the realm of subatomic particles, thereby achieving transcendence-of-a-sort. On the soundtrack, operatic quotations comment ironically (and sometimes sincerely) on the visual proceedings.

Painter and multi-media artist Jack Goldstein lived and worked in New York City. His airbrushed paintings of lightning and night skies are shown here accompanied by synthetic music, which the artist also composed. Goldstein committed suicide in 2003.

Interviewed by Jim Johnson.

With an all-female cast, featuring Suzie Bright as John Lennon, Cecilia Dougherty's Grapefruit plays with the romanticized history of the iconic Fab Four, gently mocking John and Yoko’s banal squabbles and obsessive rituals of self-display. Based obliquely on Yoko Ono’s book, the piece works on many levels to reposition this mythic tale of the Beatles by casting '80s women in mod drag—effectively mapping the lesbian sub-culture onto heterosexual mass culture.