Listen to Patti Smith’s Glorious Three Hour Farewell to CBGB’s on Its Final Night

CBGB is a state of mind — Pat­ti Smith

All good things must come to an end, but it hurt when CBGB’s, New York City’s cel­e­brat­ed — and famous­ly filthy — music club shut­tered for good on Octo­ber 15th, 2006, a vic­tim of sky­rock­et­ing Low­er East Side rents.

While plen­ty of punk and New Wave lumi­nar­ies cut their teeth on the leg­endary venue’s stage — Talk­ing Heads, The RamonesBlondie — final hon­ors went to Pat­ti Smith, a CBGB’s habitué, whose sev­en-week res­i­den­cy in 1975 earned her a major record deal.

In her Nation­al Book Award-win­ning mem­oir, Just Kids, Smith described her first impres­sions of the place, when she and her gui­tarist Lenny Kaye head­ed down­town to catch their friend Richard Hell’s band, Tele­vi­sion, fol­low­ing the pre­miere of the con­cert film, Ladies & Gen­tle­men, the Rolling Stones at the Ziegfeld:

CBGB was a deep and nar­row room along the right side, lit by over­hang­ing neon signs adver­tis­ing var­i­ous brands of beer. The stage was low, on the left-hand side, flanked by pho­to­graph­ic murals of turn-of-the-cen­tu­ry bathing belles. Past the stage was a pool table, and in back was a greasy kitchen and a room where the own­er, Hilly Krys­tal, worked and slept with his salu­ki, Jonathan…

It was a world away from the Ziegfeld. The absence of glam­our made it seem all the more famil­iar, a place that we could call our own. As the band played on, you could hear the whack of the pool cue hit­ting the balls, the salu­ki bark­ing, bot­tles clink­ing, the sounds of a scene emerg­ing. Though no one knew it, the stars were align­ing, the angels were call­ing.

Some 30 years lat­er, Kaye pre­pared to bid CBGB good­bye, telling the New York Times, “It’s like it’s grown its own bar­na­cles:”

 You couldn’t repli­cate the décor in a mil­lion years, and dis­man­tling all those lay­ers of archae­ol­o­gy of music in the club is a daunt­ing task.

The Vil­lage Voice observed that it was “a crazy, emo­tion­al night for every­one in the crowd and for every­one on the stage,” and the New York Times report­ed how Smith doc­u­ment­ed the club’s awning with a Polaroid, explain­ing, “I’m sen­ti­men­tal…”

But Smith, who active­ly encour­aged young fans to resist wor­ship­ing at the altar of the club’s rep­u­ta­tion when they could be start­ing scenes of their own, also pushed back against sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty, telling the crowd, “It’s not a fuck­ing tem­ple — it is what it is.”

That may be, but her three-and-a-half-hour per­for­mance, above, was still one for the his­to­ry books, from the open­ing read­ing of Piss Fac­to­ry (I’m gonna be some­body, I’m gonna get on that train, go to New York City /I’m gonna be so bad I’m gonna be a big star and I will nev­er return) to the clos­ing in memo­ri­am recita­tion (Joe Strum­merJohn­ny Thun­dersStiv BatorsJohn­ny, Joey, and Dee Dee Ramone…)

Smith took care that oth­er artists who helped make the scene were rep­re­sent­ed in her below set lists, from Blondie and Lou Reed to Tele­vi­sion and the Dead Boys:

Piss Fac­to­ry  0:22

Kimberly/Tide is High 12:40

Pale Blue Eyes 20:30

Lou (Reed) had a gift of tak­ing very sim­ple lines, ‘Linger on, your pale blue eyes,’ and make it so they mag­ni­fy on their own. That song has always haunt­ed me. (The Asso­ci­at­ed Press)

Mar­quee Moon/We Three 29:02

Tele­vi­sion will help wipe out media. They are not the­atre. Nei­ther were the ear­ly Stones or the Yard­birds. They are strong images proc­duce from pain and speed and the fanat­ic desire to make it. They are also inspired enough below the belt to prove that SEX is not dead in rock ’n’ roll. (Rock Scene)

Dis­tant Fin­gers 38:48

With­out Chains 47:50

We had emo­tion­al duties, and I respect­ed that. But I also thought it was impor­tant to do a song like that. (Rolling Stone)

Ghost Dance 55:30

Bird­land 1:00:08

Son­ic Reduc­er 1:11:52

Redon­do Beach 1:16:00

Free Mon­ey 1:20:44

Piss­ing in a Riv­er 1:28:27

Gimme Shel­ter 1:33:50

I was think­ing about the words to that: “War, chil­dren, it’s just a shot away.” To me, a song like that is more mean­ing­ful than ever. (Rolling Stone)

Space Mon­key 1:43

Blitzkrieg Bop / Beat on the Brat / Do You Remem­ber Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? / Sheena Is a Punk Rocker 1:48:30

Ain’t It Strange 1:55:20

So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star 2:02:11

Babelogue/Rock n Roll N — - — - — - 2:10:17 

Hap­py Birth­day to Flea 2:21:38

For Your Love 2:22:15

My Gen­er­a­tion 2:27:22

Land/Gloria 2:36:51

Even though I wrote the poem at the begin­ning of “Glo­ria” in 1970, it took all those years to evolve, to merge into “Glo­ria.” And that was pret­ty much done at CBGB. We record­ed Hors­es in 1975, and did all the ground­work at CBGB. (Rolling Stone)

Elegie 2:55:57

As I was read­ing that lit­tle list, those peo­ple seemed in that moment — because of the intense emo­tion­al ener­gy in that room — to be alive. Every­one in the room knew or heard of or loved one of those peo­ple. That col­lec­tive love and sor­row and recog­ni­tion made those peo­ple seem as alive as any of us. (Rolling Stone)

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Pat­ti Smith Plays at CBGB In One of Her First Record­ed Con­certs, Joined by Sem­i­nal Punk Band Tele­vi­sion (1975)

NYC’s Icon­ic Punk Club CBG­Bs Comes Alive in a Bril­liant Short Ani­ma­tion, Using David Godlis’ Pho­tos of Pat­ti Smith, The Ramones & More

Beau­ti­ful New Pho­to Book Doc­u­ments Pat­ti Smith’s Break­through Years in Music: Fea­tures Hun­dreds of Unseen Pho­tographs

Pat­ti Smith’s 40 Favorite Books

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

The Life & Art of Gustav Klimt: A Short Art History Lesson on the Austrian Symbolist Painter and His Work

The Aus­tri­an sym­bol­ist painter, Gus­tav Klimt, a dri­ving force of the Vien­na Seces­sion, has joined the ranks of famous, dead artists being served up as pricey, super-sized, Insta­gram-friend­ly immer­sive expe­ri­ences.

Jane Kallir, author of Gus­tav Klimt: 25 Mas­ter­works and co-founder of the Kallir Research Insti­tute, a foun­da­tion ded­i­cat­ed to fur­ther­ing the study of Aus­tri­an and Ger­man Mod­ernists, is not buy­ing into this approach.

Hav­ing vis­it­ed the Gold in Motion immer­sive Klimt exhib­it at New York City’s recent­ly inau­gu­rat­ed Hall des Lumières with Art­net’s Ben Davis, she def­i­nite­ly has some notes:

They take lib­er­ties with the orig­i­nals. If you know the orig­i­nals well, which I do, it’s some­times hard to fig­ure out what they were work­ing from. The col­or is some­times way off. And some of the images are not by Klimt at all. They seem like pas­tich­es of Klimt or pieces of Klimts that they’ve past­ed togeth­er in dif­fer­ent ways…these images are blown up to a height of, what, 20 feet? It real­ly doesn’t work, aes­thet­i­cal­ly. Klimt’s draw­ings are espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult because they’re so del­i­cate, at times almost invis­i­ble.

But mustn’t some young vis­i­tors, after post­ing the pletho­ra of self­ies that moti­vate many a pil­grim­age to this “mul­ti-sen­so­ry cel­e­bra­tion,” be moved to learn more about the artist it’s cash­ing in on?

That’d be a good thing, right?

Of course it would, and Paul Priest­ley pro­vides a great intro­duc­tion to Klimt’s life and work in the above episode of his Art His­to­ry School web series.

We grant that spend­ing 13 min­utes with a mid­dle-aged arts edu­ca­tor in a fes­tive vest is a less sexy-see­ing prospect than “step(ping) into a won­der­land of mov­ing paint­ings” to be “amazed by the gold­en era of mod­ernism.”

But Priest­ley offers some­thing you can’t real­ly focus on while gawk­ing at enor­mous 360º pro­jec­tions of The Kiss dur­ing a $35 timed entry  — his­tor­i­cal con­text and a gen­er­ous por­tion of art world dish on a “life­long bach­e­lor who had count­less liaisons dur­ing his life­time, usu­al­ly with his mod­els, and is rumored to have fathered more than a dozen chil­dren.”

Priest­ley makes clear how the young Klimt’s career took a fate­ful turn with Phi­los­o­phy (below), part of a mas­sive com­mis­sion for the ceil­ing of Vien­na University’s Great Hall, that was ulti­mate­ly destroyed by the Nazis, but has since been res­ur­rect­ed after a fash­ion using AI, black and white pho­tos, and eye­wit­ness descrip­tions.

When Klimt’s first go at it was dis­played, it was sav­aged by crit­ics as “chaot­ic, non­sen­si­cal and out of keep­ing with the intend­ed set­ting.”

Philosophy’s drub­bing put an end to Klimt’s offi­cial com­mis­sions, but pri­vate ones flour­ished due to the bohemi­an painter’s “beau­ti­ful women in ele­gant­ly lan­guid and flat­ter­ing pos­es.”

Imag­ine how those sta­tus con­scious soci­ety matrons would have react­ed to see­ing their like­ness­es tapped as immer­sive art, which Vice’s Alex Flem­ing-Brown pegs as “the lat­est lazy lovechild of Tik­Tok and enter­pris­ing ware­house land­lords.”

Sure­ly they would have rel­ished the atten­tion!

Well, every­one, that is, except Mar­garet Ston­bor­ough-Wittgen­stein, sis­ter of Lud­wig, who chafed at her appear­ance in Klimt’s 1905 bridal por­trait as  “too inno­cent, timid and girl­ish…” and stuck the pic­ture in the attic.

C’mon, they can’t all be The Kiss.

It’s an aston­ish­ing paint­ing, but there’s so much more to dis­cov­er about Klimt and his four decades worth of work.

But first, with apolo­gies to any read­ers who gen­uine­ly enjoy immer­sive art exhibits — many do — here are Jane Kallir’s not entire­ly con­cil­ia­to­ry thoughts on Beethoven Frieze, Klimt’s volup­tuous vision of lust, love and dis­ease, which was delib­er­ate­ly enhanced by accom­pa­ny­ing sculp­ture and live music when it made its pub­lic debut in 1902, and is cur­rent­ly being parceled out and writ large in dig­i­tal form in the build­ing for­mer­ly known as New York’s Emi­grant Indus­tri­al Sav­ings Bank:

I asked myself whether Klimt would have approved of the Beethoven Frieze pro­jec­tions. I believe most artists embrace cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy, what­ev­er it may be in their day and age. The Beethoven Frieze seg­ment is a Gesamtkunst­werk on a scale that Klimt might have dreamed of—might have. This is the one part of the pre­sen­ta­tion that could be faith­ful to his inten­tions.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

136 Paint­ings by Gus­tav Klimt Now Online (Includ­ing 63 Paint­ings in an Immer­sive Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty Gallery)

Vienna’s Alberti­na Muse­um Puts 150,000 Dig­i­tized Art­works Into the Pub­lic Domain: Klimt, Munch, Dür­er, and More

Gus­tav Klimt’s Mas­ter­pieces Destroyed Dur­ing World War II Get Recre­at­ed with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Watch You Suck at Cooking, a Hilarious Source for Tasty Recipes and Food Hacks of Questionable Veracity

Is it just us, or did half of Gen Z teach them­selves how to cook on Tik­Tok dur­ing the height of the pan­dem­ic?

The recipes that go viral have more in com­mon with gonzo sci­ence exper­i­ments than Julia Child’s Coq au Vin.

Hacks are gold­en in this forum — whether or not they actu­al­ly work — and run­ning time is of the essence.

There’s an unmis­tak­able visu­al vocab­u­lary, too — from the god shots of man­i­cured hands dump­ing pre-mea­sured ingre­di­ents into mix­ing bowls to the reveal of the com­plet­ed dish just sec­onds lat­er.

One has to be con­ver­sant in these tropes to sub­vert them as glee­ful­ly as the anony­mous cre­ator of the sev­en year old online series You Suck at Cook­ing.

Unlike such Tik­Tok heavy hit­ters as cloud bread or whipped cof­fee, most of You Suck at Cook­ing’s dish­es are things you might con­sid­er prepar­ing on a reg­u­lar basis, how­ev­er trendy they may be at the moment.

The respon­si­ble par­ty’s cook­ing and edit­ing skills are sol­id, but his writ­ing is the real star here. We also appre­ci­ate the mas­sive amount of plan­ning and care that goes into every five minute episode.

He’s an unabashed coin­er of vocab­u­lary and elab­o­rate ways to refer to straight­for­ward appli­ances and ingre­di­ents. His deliv­ery is mild man­nered, but he doesn’t mince words when it comes to culi­nary bias­es — e.g., condi­ment­ing only one side of the bun is a cer­ti­fi­able burg­er crime and if you don’t like pick­les, one thing you can do is seek help.

Sim­ple dish­es such as overnight oats require so lit­tle instruc­tion, he’s freed up to skew­er the ques­tion­able claims of food-focused well­ness “experts” by lean­ing all the way in.

The spir­it of the project car­ries over into his writ­ten step-by-steps on the rare occa­sions when mere video demon­stra­tion will not suf­fice.

(His cook­book, You Suck at Cook­ing: The Absurd­ly Prac­ti­cal Guide to Suck­ing Slight­ly Less at Mak­ing Food, was pub­lished anony­mous­ly in 2019.)

To get the most from your expe­ri­ence, we rec­om­mend you first watch his deep fried Kore­an-style corn­dog How To, then fol­low the writ­ten recipe:

1. Go to the store 

2. Buy corn dogs 

3. Enjoy 

If you insist on mak­ing corn dogs your­self, first read these fry­ing safe­ty tips

The rea­son home fry­ers are safer than doing it on the stove­top is because they lim­it the heat of your oil so it won’t catch fire. It’s easy to let it get too hot which is very bad news. 


    • 1 ¼ cups flour 
    • 2 table­spoon sug­ar 
    • ½ tea­spoon salt 
    • 1.3 tea­spoon yeast 
    • 1 egg 
    • 100 ml warm water

Wang­jan­gle until your wrist is furi­ous (I did it for a few min­utes tops)

Let it sit for half an hour 

Dry off any­thing you’re rolling in it 

Peg your dogs 

Roll ‘em 

Roll them in arti­san Ital­ian bread crumbs (okay seri­ous­ly this is a fla­vor game chang­er and I can’t rec­om­mend them enough. Kor­tal­ian food just has such depth. 

Fry for 3 min­utes 

Cool for a few min­utes 

I think any­thing else is pret­ty straight for­ward

When it comes to cook­ing hacks, our hero is a cham­pi­on fab­u­list.

It’s safe to assume that the first tip is legit, after which… well, let’s just say that some of his orange peel­ing meth­ods remind us in the best pos­si­ble way of our old pal Shel Silverstein’s Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book.

Enjoy a playlist of all 150 episodes of You Suck at Cook­ing here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Michael Pol­lan Explains How Cook­ing Can Change Your Life; Rec­om­mends Cook­ing Books, Videos & Recipes

10,000 Vin­tage Recipe Books Are Now Dig­i­tized in The Inter­net Archive’s Cook­book & Home Eco­nom­ics Col­lec­tion

The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Avail­able Online: Japan­ese, Ital­ian, Thai & Much More

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Celebrate Kurt Vonnegut’s 100 Birthday with a Collection of Songs Based on His Work

There’s a pas­sage from Kurt Vonnegut’s Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons that cross­es our desk a lot at this time of year. It’s the one in which he declares Armistice Day, which coin­ci­den­tal­ly falls on his birth­day, sacred:

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juli­et, for instance.

And all music is.

Here, here!

Hope­ful­ly Shake­speare won’t take umbrage if we skip over his doomed teenaged lovers to cel­e­brate Kurt Vonnegut’s 11/11 Cen­ten­ni­al with songs inspired by his work.

Take the Kil­go­re Trout Expe­ri­ence’s trib­ute to Sirens of Titan, above.

The dri­ving force behind the KTE Tim Langs­ford, a drum­mer who men­tors Autis­tic stu­dents at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ply­mouth, was look­ing for ways to help his “fog­gy mind remem­ber the key con­cepts, char­ac­ters, and mem­o­rable lines that occur in each” of Vonnegut’s 14 books.

The solu­tion? Com­mu­ni­ty and account­abil­i­ty to an ongo­ing assign­ment. Langs­ford launched the Ply­mouth Von­negut Col­lec­tive in 2019 with a type­writ­ten man­i­festo, invit­ing inter­est­ed par­ties to read (or re-read) the nov­els in pub­li­ca­tion order, then gath­er for month­ly dis­cus­sions.

His lofti­er goal was for book club mem­bers to work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly on a 14-track con­cept album informed by their read­ing.

They stuck to it, with efforts span­ning a vari­ety of gen­res.

Moth­er Night might make your ears bleed.

The psy­che­del­ic God Bless You, Mis­ter Rose­wa­ter mix­es quotes from the book with edit­ed clips of the col­lec­tive’s dis­cus­sion of the nov­el.

The project pushed Langs­ford out from behind the drum kit, as well as his com­fort zone:

It has tak­en an awful lot to be com­fort­able with the songs on which I sing. How­ev­er, I have tried to invoke KV’s sense of cre­ation as if no one is watch­ing. It doesn’t mat­ter so do it for your­self…. Although do I con­tra­dict that by shar­ing these things to the inter­net rather than trash­ing them unseen or unheard?!  

Ah, but isn’t one of the most beau­ti­ful uses of the Inter­net as a tool for find­ing out what we have in com­mon with our fel­low humans?

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our fel­low Von­negut fans in Ply­mouth, who will be cel­e­brat­ing their achieve­ment and the leg­endary author’s 100th birth­day with an event fea­tur­ing poet­ry, art, music and film inspired by the birth­day boy’s nov­els.

Folk rock­er Al Stew­art is anoth­er who “was drawn by the Sirens of Titan.”  The lyrics make per­fect sense if the nov­el is fresh in your mind:

But here in the yel­low and blue of my days

I wan­der the end­less Mer­cu­ri­an caves

Watch­ing for the signs the Har­mo­ni­ans make

The words on the walls

The lyrics to Nice, Nice, Very Nice by Stewart’s peers in Ambrosia are pulled straight from the holy scrip­ture of Bokonon­ism, the reli­gion Von­negut invent­ed in Cat’s Cra­dle.

The band gave the author a writ­ing cred­it. He repaid the com­pli­ment with a fan let­ter:

I was at my daughter’s house last night, and the radio was on. By God if the DJ didn’t play our song, and say it was num­ber ten in New York, and say how good you guys are in gen­er­al. You can imag­ine the plea­sure that gave me. Luck has played an enor­mous part in my life. Those who know pop music keep telling me how lucky I am to be tied in with you. And I myself am crazy about our song, of course, but what do I know and why wouldn’t I be?  This much I have always known, any­way: Music is the only art that’s real­ly worth a damn. I envy you guys.

If that isn’t nice, we don’t know what is.

Vonnegut’s best known work, the time-trav­el­ing, peren­ni­al­ly banned anti-war nov­el, Slaugh­ter­house-Five, presents an irre­sistible song­writ­ing chal­lenge, judg­ing from the num­ber of tunes that have sprout­ed from its fer­tile soil.

Susan Hwang is unique­ly immersed in all things Von­negut, as founder of the Bush­wick Book Club, a loose col­lec­tive of musi­cians who con­vene month­ly to present songs inspired by a pre-select­ed title — includ­ing almost every nov­el in the Von­negut oeu­vre, as well as the short sto­ries in Wel­come to the Mon­key House and the essays com­pris­ing A Man With­out a Coun­try.

She was a Kurt Von­negut Muse­um & Library 2022 Banned Books Week artist-in-res­i­dence.

She titled her recent EP of five Von­negut-inspired songs, Every­thing is Sateen, a nod to the Sateen Dura-Luxe house paint Vonnegut’s abstract expres­sion­ist, Rabo Karabekian, favors in Blue­beard.

We’re fair­ly con­fi­dent that Hwang’s No Answer, offered above as a thank you to crowd­fun­ders of a recent tour, will be the boun­ci­est adap­ta­tion of Slaugh­ter­house-Five you’ll hear all day.

Keep lis­ten­ing.

Sweet Soubrette, aka Ellia Bisker, anoth­er Bush­wick Book Club fix­ture and one half of the goth-folk duo Charm­ing Dis­as­ter, leaned into the hor­rors of Dres­den for her Slaugh­ter­house-Five con­tri­bu­tion, namecheck­ing rub­ble, barbed wire, and the “mus­tard gas and ros­es” breath born of a night’s heavy drink­ing.

Song­writ­ing musi­col­o­gist Gail Spar­lin’s My Blue Heav­en: The Love Song of Mon­tana Wild­hack — seen here in a library per­for­mance — is as girl­ish and sweet as Valerie Perrine’s take on the char­ac­ter in George Roy Hill’s 1972 film of Slaugh­ter­house-Five

Back in 1988, Hawk­wind’s The War I Sur­vived suf­fused Slaugh­ter­house-Five with some very New Wave synths…

The cho­rus of Sam Ford’s wist­ful So It Goes taps into the nov­el­’s time trav­el­ing aspect, and touch­es on the chal­lenges many sol­diers expe­ri­ence when attempt­ing to rein­te­grate into their pre-com­bat lives :

That ain’t the way home

Who says I wan­na go home?
I’m always home
I’m always home.

Hav­ing invoked Vonnegut’s ever­green phrase, there’s no get­ting away with­out men­tion­ing Nick Lowe’s 1976 pow­er pop hit, though it may make for a ten­u­ous con­nec­tion.

Hi ho!

Still, ten­u­ous con­nec­tions can count as con­nec­tions, espe­cial­ly when you tal­ly up all the ref­er­ences to Cat’s Cra­dle’s secret gov­ern­ment weapon, Ice Nine, in lyrics and band names.

Then there are the sub­merged ref­er­ences. We may not pick up on them, but we’re will­ing to believe they’re there.

Pearl Jam’s front man Eddie Ved­der wrote that “books like Cat’s Cra­dle, God Bless You, Mr. Rose­wa­ter, Play­er Piano…they’ve had as much influ­ence on me as any record I’ve ever owned.”

He also earned a per­ma­nent spot in the karass by pass­ing out copies of Blue­beard to atten­dees at the 4th Annu­al Kokua Fes­ti­val to ben­e­fit envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion in Hawaii.

A mem­o­rable Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons illus­tra­tion is said to have lit a flame with New Order, pro­pelling Von­negut out onto the dance floor.

And Ringo Starr edged his way to favorite Bea­t­le sta­tus when he tipped his hat to Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons, ded­i­cat­ing his 1973 solo album to “Kil­go­re Trout and all the beavers.”

There are dozens more we could men­tion — you’ll find some of them in the playlist below — but with­out fur­ther ado, let’s wel­come to the stage Spe­cial K and His Crew!

Yes, that’s Phish drum­mer (and major Von­negut fan) Jon Fish­man on vac­u­um.

But who’s that mys­tery front man, spit­ting Chaucer’s Can­ter­bury Tales?

Hap­py 100th, Kurt Von­negut! We’re glad you were born.

 Relat­ed Con­tent 

Kurt Von­negut Dia­grams the Shape of All Sto­ries in a Master’s The­sis Reject­ed by U. Chica­go

Kurt Von­negut Offers 8 Tips on How to Write Good Short Sto­ries (and Amus­ing­ly Graphs the Shapes Those Sto­ries Can Take)

Kurt Von­negut Gives Advice to Aspir­ing Writ­ers in a 1991 TV Inter­view

Kurt Von­negut: Where Do I Get My Ideas From? My Dis­gust with Civ­i­liza­tion


- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Join her for a free Von­negut Cen­ten­ni­al Fanzine Work­shop at the Kurt Von­negut Muse­um & Library on Novem­ber 19.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Behold a 21st-Century Medieval Castle Being Built with Only Tools & Materials from the Middle Ages

Con­struc­tion sites are hives of spe­cial­ized activ­i­ty, but there’s no par­tic­u­lar train­ing need­ed to fer­ry 500 lbs of stone sev­er­al sto­ries to the masons wait­ing above. All you need is the sta­mi­na for a few steep flights and a medieval tread­wheel crane or “squir­rel cage.”

The tech­nol­o­gy, which uses sim­ple geom­e­try and human exer­tion to hoist heavy loads, dates to ancient Roman times.

Retired in the Vic­to­ri­an era, it has been res­ur­rect­ed and is being put to good use on the site of a for­mer sand­stone quar­ry two hours south of Paris, where the cas­tle of an imag­i­nary, low rank­ing 13th-cen­tu­ry noble­man began tak­ing shape in 1997.

There’s no typo in that time­line.

Château de Guéde­lon is an immer­sive edu­ca­tion­al project, an open air exper­i­men­tal arche­ol­o­gy lab, and a high­ly unusu­al work­ing con­struc­tion site.

With a project time­line of 35 years, some 40 quar­rypeo­ple, stone­ma­sons, wood­cut­ters, car­pen­ters, tilers, black­smiths, rope mak­ers and carters can expect anoth­er ten years on the job.

That’s longer than a medieval con­struc­tion crew would have tak­en, but unlike their 21st-cen­tu­ry coun­ter­parts, they did­n’t have to take fre­quent breaks to explain their labors to the vis­it­ing pub­lic.

A team of arche­ol­o­gists, art his­to­ri­ans and castel­lol­o­gists strive for authen­tic­i­ty, eschew­ing elec­tric­i­ty and any vehi­cle that does­n’t have hooves.

Research mate­ri­als include illu­mi­nat­ed man­u­scripts, stained glass win­dows, finan­cial records, and exist­ing cas­tles.

The 1425-year-old Can­ter­bury Cathe­dral has a non-repro­duc­tion tread­mill crane stored in its rafters, as well as a levers and pul­leys activ­i­ty sheet for young vis­i­tors that notes that oper­at­ing a “human tread­mill” was both gru­el­ing and dan­ger­ous:

Philoso­pher John Stu­art Mill wrote that they were “unequalled in the mod­ern annals of legal­ized tor­ture.”

Good call, then, on the part of Guédelon’s lead­er­ship to allow a few anachro­nisms in the name of safe­ty.

Guédelon’s tread­mill cranes, includ­ing a dou­ble drum mod­el that piv­ots 360º to deposit loads of up to 1000 lbs wher­ev­er the stone­ma­sons have need of them, have been out­fit­ted with brakes. The walk­ers inside the wood­en wheels wear hard hats, as are the over­seer and those mon­i­tor­ing the brakes and the cra­dle hold­ing the stones.

The onsite work­er-edu­ca­tors may be garbed in peri­od-appro­pri­ate loose-fit­ting nat­ur­al fibers, but rest assured that their toes are steel-rein­forced.

Château de Guéde­lon guide Sarah Pre­ston explains the rea­son­ing:

Obvi­ous­ly, we’re not try­ing to dis­cov­er how many peo­ple were killed or injured in the 13th-cen­tu­ry.

Learn more about Château de Guéde­lon, includ­ing how you can arrange a vis­it, here.

Explore the his­to­ry of tread­mill cranes here.

And see how the Château de Guéde­lon has housed Ukrain­ian refugees here.

via The Kids Should See This

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Medieval City Plan Gen­er­a­tor: A Fun Way to Cre­ate Your Own Imag­i­nary Medieval Cities

A Medieval Book That Opens Six Dif­fer­ent Ways, Reveal­ing Six Dif­fer­ent Books in One

Behold the Medieval Wound Man: The Poor Soul Who Illus­trat­ed the Injuries a Per­son Might Receive Through War, Acci­dent or Dis­ease

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Artist Makes Astonishing Armor for Cats & Mice

As a child, Jeff De Boer, the son of a sheet met­al fab­ri­ca­tor, was fas­ci­nat­ed by the Euro­pean plate armor col­lec­tion in Calgary’s Glen­bow Muse­um:

There was some­thing mag­i­cal or mys­ti­cal about that emp­ty form, that con­tained some­thing. So what would it con­tain? A hero? Do we all con­tain that in our­selves?

After grad­u­at­ing from high school wear­ing a par­tial suit of armor he con­struct­ed for the occa­sion, De Boer com­plet­ed sev­en full suits, while major­ing in jew­el­ry design at the Alber­ta Col­lege of Art and Design.

A sculp­ture class assign­ment pro­vid­ed him with an excuse to make a suit of armor for a cat. The artist had found his niche.

Using steel, sil­ver, brass, bronze, nick­el, cop­per, leather, fiber, wood, and his del­i­cate jew­el­ry mak­ing tools, DeBoer became the cats’ armor­er, spend­ing any­where from 50 to 200 hours pro­duc­ing each increas­ing­ly intri­cate suit of feline armor.  A noble pur­suit, but one that inad­ver­tent­ly cre­at­ed an “imbal­ance in the uni­verse”:

The only way to fix it was to do the same for the mouse.

“The suit of armor is a trans­for­ma­tion vehi­cle. It’s some­thing that only the hero would wear,” De Boer notes.

Fans of David Petersen’s Mouse Guard series will need no con­vinc­ing, though no real mouse has had the mis­for­tune to find its way inside one of his aston­ish­ing, cus­tom-made cre­ations.

Not even a taxi­dermy spec­i­men, he revealed on the Mak­ing, Our Way pod­cast:

It’s not an alto­geth­er bad idea. The only rea­son I don’t do it is that hol­low suit of armor like you might see in a muse­um, your imag­i­na­tion will make it do a mil­lion things more than if you stick a mouse in it will ever do. I have put armor on cats. I can tell you, it’s noth­ing like what you think it’s going to be. It’s not a very good expe­ri­ence for the cat. It does not ful­fill any fan­tasies about a cat wear­ing a suit of armor.

Though cats were his entry point, De Boer’s sym­pa­thies seem aligned with the under­dog — er, mice. Equip­ping hum­ble, hypo­thet­i­cal crea­tures with exquis­ite­ly wrought, his­tor­i­cal pro­tec­tive gear is a way of push­ing back against being per­ceived dif­fer­ent­ly than one wish­es to be.

Accept­ing an Hon­orary MFA from his alma mater ear­li­er this year, he described an armored mouse as a metaphor for his “ongo­ing cat and mouse rela­tion­ship with the world of fine art…a mis­chie­vous, rebel­lious being who dares to com­pete on his own terms in a world ruled by the cool cats.”

Each tiny piece is pre­ced­ed by painstak­ing research and many ref­er­ence draw­ings, and may incor­po­rate spe­cial mate­ri­als like the Japan­ese silk haori-himo cord lac­ing the shoul­der plates to the body armor of a Samu­rai mouse fam­i­ly.

Addi­tion­al cre­ations have ref­er­enced Mon­go­lian, glad­i­a­tor, cru­sad­er, and Sara­cen styles — this last per­fect for a Per­sian cat.

“I mean, “Why not?” he asks in his TED‑x Talk,Village Idiots & Inno­va­tion, below.

His lat­est work com­bines ele­ments of Maratha and Hus­sar armor in a ver­i­ta­ble puz­zle of minus­cule pieces.

See more of Jeff De Boer’s cat and mouse armor on his Insta­gram.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

What’s It Like to Fight in 15th Cen­tu­ry Armor?: A Sur­pris­ing Demon­stra­tion

Cats in Medieval Man­u­scripts & Paint­ings

A Record Store Designed for Mice in Swe­den, Fea­tur­ing Albums by Mouse Davis, Destiny’s Cheese, Dol­ly Pars­ley & More

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Cats in Medieval Manuscripts & Paintings

Renais­sance artist Albrecht Dür­er  (1471–1528) nev­er saw a rhi­no him­self, but by rely­ing on eye­wit­ness descrip­tions of the one King Manuel I of Por­tu­gal intend­ed as a gift to the Pope, he man­aged to ren­der a fair­ly real­is­tic one, all things con­sid­ered.

Medieval artists’ ren­der­ings of cats so often fell short of the mark, Youtu­ber Art Deco won­ders if any of them had seen a cat before.

Point tak­en, but cats were well inte­grat­ed into medieval soci­ety.

Roy­al 12 C xix f. 36v/37r (13th cen­tu­ry)

Cats pro­vid­ed medieval cit­i­zens with the same pest con­trol ser­vices they’d been per­form­ing since the ancient Egyp­tians first domes­ti­cat­ed them.

Ancient Egyp­tians con­veyed their grat­i­tude and respect by regard­ing cats as sym­bols of divin­i­ty, pro­tec­tion, and strength.

Cer­tain Egypt­ian god­dess­es, like Bastet, were imbued with unmis­tak­ably feline char­ac­ter­is­tics.

The Vin­tage News reports that harm­ing a cat in those days was pun­ish­able by death, export­ing them was ille­gal, and, much like today, the death of a cat was an occa­sion for pub­lic sor­row:

When a cat died, it was buried with hon­ors, mum­mi­fied and mourned by the humans. The body of the cat would be wrapped in the finest mate­ri­als and then embalmed in order to pre­serve the body for a longer time. Ancient Egyp­tians went so far that they shaved their eye­brows as a sign of their deep sor­row for the deceased pet.

Aberdeen Uni­ver­si­ty Library, MS 24  f. 23v (Eng­land, c 1200)

The medieval church took a much dark­er view of our feline friends.

Their close ties to pagan­ism and ear­ly reli­gions were enough for cats to be judged guilty of witch­craft, sin­ful sex­u­al­i­ty, and frat­er­niz­ing with Satan.

In the late 12th-cen­tu­ry, writer Wal­ter Map, a soon-to-be archdea­con of Oxford, declared that the dev­il appeared before his devo­tees in feline form:

… hang­ing by a rope, a black cat of great size. As soon as they see this cat, the lights are turned out. They do not sing or recite hymns in a dis­tinct way, but they mut­ter them with their teeth closed and they feel in the dark towards where they saw their lord], and when they find it, they kiss it, the more humbly depend­ing on their fol­ly, some on the paws, some under the tail, some on the gen­i­tals. And as if they have, in this way, received a license for pas­sion, each one takes the near­est man or woman and they join them­selves with the oth­er for as long as they choose to draw out their game.

Pope Inno­cent VIII issued a papal bull in 1484 con­demn­ing the “devil’s favorite ani­mal and idol of all witch­es” to death, along with their human com­pan­ions to death.

13th-cen­tu­ry Fran­cis­can monk Bartholo­maeus Angli­cus refrained from demon­ic tat­tle, but nei­ther did he paint cats as angels:

He is a full lech­er­ous beast in youth, swift, pli­ant, and mer­ry, and leapeth and reseth on every­thing that is to fore him: and is led by a straw, and playeth there­with: and is a right heavy beast in age and full sleepy, and lieth sly­ly in wait for mice: and is aware where they be more by smell than by sight, and hunteth and reseth on them in privy places: and when he taketh a mouse, he playeth there­with, and eateth him after the play. In time of love is hard fight­ing for wives, and one scratch­eth and ren­deth the oth­er griev­ous­ly with bit­ing and with claws. And he maketh a ruth­ful noise and ghast­ful, when one prof­fer­eth to fight with anoth­er: and unneth is hurt when he is thrown down off an high place. And when he hath a fair skin, he is as it were proud there­of, and goeth fast about: and when his skin is burnt, then he bideth at home; and is oft for his fair skin tak­en of the skin­ner, and slain and flayed.

Pigs and rats also had a bad rep, and like cats, were tor­tured and exe­cut­ed in great num­bers by pious humans.

The Work­sop Bes­tiary Mor­gan Library, MS M.81 f. 47r (Eng­land, c 1185)

Not every medieval city was anti-cat. As the Aca­d­e­m­ic Cat Lady Johan­na Feen­stra writes of the above illus­tra­tion from The Work­sop Bes­tiary, one of the ear­li­est Eng­lish bes­tiaries:

Some would have inter­pret­ed the image of a cat pounc­ing on a rodent as a sym­bol for the dev­il going after the human soul. Oth­ers might have seen the cat in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent light. For instance, as Eucharis­tic guardians, mak­ing sure rodents could not steal and eat the Eucharis­tic wafers.

Bodleian Library Bod­ley 764 f. 51r (Eng­land, c 1225–50)

St John’s Col­lege Library, MS. 61 (Eng­land (York), 13th cen­tu­ry)

It took cat lover Leonar­do DaVin­ci to turn the sit­u­a­tion around, with eleven sketch­es from life por­tray­ing cats in char­ac­ter­is­tic pos­es, much as we see them today. We’ll delve more into that in a future post.

Con­rad of Megen­berg, ‘Das Buch der Natur’, Ger­many ca. 1434. Stras­bourg, Bib­lio­thèque nationale et uni­ver­si­taire, Ms.2.264, fol. 85r

Relat­ed Con­tent

Medieval Cats Behav­ing Bad­ly: Kit­ties That Left Paw Prints … and Peed … on 15th Cen­tu­ry Man­u­scripts

An Ani­mat­ed His­to­ry of Cats: How Over 10,000 Years the Cat Went from Wild Preda­tor to Sofa Side­kick

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Winnie the Pooh Went Into the Public Domain, and Someone Already Turned the Story Into a Slasher Film: Watch the Trailer for Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood and Honey

Deep in the Hun­dred Acre Wood

Where Christo­pher Robin plays

You’ll find the enchant­ed neigh­bor­hood

Of Christo­pher’s child­hood days…

Those sweet­ly sen­ti­men­tal lyrics were penned not by A.A. Milne, cre­ator of Win­nie-The-Pooh but rather the Acad­e­my-Award win­ning song­writ­ing team of broth­ers Robert and Richard Sher­man, who also penned the scores of Mary Pop­pins, Chit­ty Chit­ty Bang Bang, and The Jun­gle Book.

If you are under the age of 60, chances are your con­cept of Pooh, Eey­ore, Piglet, Kan­ga, Roo, Owl, Rab­bit and Tig­ger is informed by Win­nie the Pooh and Hon­ey Tree, the 1966 Dis­ney car­toon that launched a suc­cess­ful fran­chise, not E.H. Shepherd’s charm­ing illus­tra­tions for the 1926 book, Win­nie the Pooh, which entered the pub­lic domain this year.

This means that Milne’s work can be freely repro­duced or reworked, though Dis­ney retains the copy­right to their ani­mat­ed char­ac­ter designs.

Jen­nifer Jenk­ins, direc­tor of the Cen­ter for the Study of the Pub­lic Domain at Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, told the Wash­ing­ton Post that the bulk of the inquiries she field­ed in the lead up to 2022’s pub­lic domain titles becom­ing avail­able had to do with Win­nie the Pooh:

I can’t get over how peo­ple are freak­ing out about Win­nie-the-Pooh in a good way. Every­one has a very spe­cif­ic sto­ry of the first time they read it or their par­ents gave them a doll or they [have] sto­ries about their kids…It’s the Ted Las­so effect.We need a win­dow into a world where peo­ple or ani­mals behave with decen­cy to one anoth­er.”


Judg­ing by the trail­er for their upcom­ing live action, low bud­get fea­ture, Win­nie the Pooh: Blood and Hon­ey, Jagged Edge, a Lon­don-based hor­ror pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, is not much inter­est­ed in Ted Las­so good vibes, though they do man­age to stay with­in the lim­its of the law, equip­ping a black clad Piglet with threat­en­ing tusks, and dress­ing the tit­u­lar “sil­ly old bear” in a red shirt that doesn’t exact­ly scream Tum­my Song.

More like Texas Chain­saw Mas­sacre.

Pro­duc­er-Direc­tor Rhys Frake-Water­field whose as-yet-unre­leased cred­its include Peter Pan’s Nev­er­land Night­mare and Spi­ders on a Plane told Vari­ety that “we did as much as we could to make sure [the film] was only based on the 1926 ver­sion:”

When you see the cov­er for this and you see the trail­ers and the stills and all that, there’s no way any­one is going to think this is a child’s ver­sion of it.

Here’s hop­ing he’s right.

The trail­er traf­fics freely in slash­er flick tropes:

A biki­ni clad young woman relax­ing, obliv­i­ous­ly, in a hot tub.

A hand held cam­era track­ing a des­per­ate, and prob­a­bly doomed, escape attempt through the woods.

Unnerv­ing warn­ings writ­ten in blood (or pos­si­bly hon­ey?)

The child­ish scrawl on the sign demar­cat­ing the 100 Acre Wood is both faith­ful to the orig­i­nal, and unmis­tak­ably sin­is­ter.

Equal­ly dis­turb­ing is the let­ter­ing on Eeyore’s home­made grave mark­er. (SPOILER: as per Vari­ety, a starv­ing Pooh and Piglet ate him…and appar­ent­ly dis­card­ed a human skull near­by.)

The “enchant­ed neigh­bor­hood of Christo­pher’s child­hood days” has gone decid­ed­ly down­hill.

Direc­tor Frake-Water­field paints Pooh and Piglet as the pri­ma­ry vil­lains, but sure­ly the col­lege-bound Christo­pher Robin deserves some of the blame for aban­don­ing his old friends.

On the oth­er hand, when a col­lege-bound Andy tossed his beloved child­hood play­things in a give­away box at the begin­ning of Toy Sto­ry 3, Buzz and Woody did not go on a mur­der­ous ram­page.

As Frake-Water­field described Pooh and Piglet’s devo­lu­tion to Huff­Post:

Because they’ve had to fend for them­selves so much, they’ve essen­tial­ly become fer­al. So they’ve gone back to their ani­mal roots. They’re no longer tame: they’re like a vicious bear and pig who want to go around and try and find prey.

An inter­view with Dread Cen­tral offers a graph­ic taste of the vio­lent may­hem they inflict, even as Christo­pher Robin, as clue­less as a biki­ni clad inno­cent in a hot tub, bleats, “We used to be friends, why are you doing this!?”

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the film’s tagline is “This Ain’t No Bed­time Sto­ry.”

View pro­duc­tion pho­tos, if you dare, here.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo Her alle­giance has long been with the 1926 ver­sion. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

What’s Enter­ing the Pub­lic Domain in 2022: The Sun Also Ris­es, Win­nie-the-Pooh, Buster Keaton Come­dies & More

Hear the Clas­sic Win­nie-the-Pooh Read by Author A.A. Milne in 1929

The Orig­i­nal Stuffed Ani­mals That Inspired Win­nie the Pooh

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