Genesis P-Orridge Hosts "You Are Being Lied To" at Tonic
Genesis P-Orridge is one strange and interesting dude. Our paths have crossed on numerous occasions since his days with Throbbing Gristle, in dreams and in waking life. He's that kind of guy, he gets into your dreams. Old Bill Burroughs was sui generis and an irreplaceable human being, but it's entirely plausible that Gen sprang full-blown from his head, like Athena. Last week I saw him down at Tonic hosting an event presented by the Disinformation Company Ltd. & Soft Skull/Shortwave entitled "You Are Being Lied To." He was celebrating the release of a book by the same name, described as "The Disinformation guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes, and cultural myths." Gen's got metal teeth now: a mouthful of bright, shining metal, like that guy "Jaws" from the James Bond movies.
I went into this thing with low expectations. I've been following the conspiracy crowd for 30-odd years now, and the fact is, nobody cares. Nobody cares about aspartame or how it got into the grocery store, nobody cares that the CIA deals drugs, nobody cares who killed JFK and nobody cares to know who really runs things. The ones who get fixated on this shit tend to be a little smarter than most people and a whole lot stranger. Most people just want to go to work and watch tv or something. Tracing the conspiracies battling it out for global domination and keeping track of their status is a leisure activity pursued by the Weird Elite, and they are a very tiny group.
Sitting at a table off to the side, Gen opened the festivities with a brief soliloquy exhorting the three dozen or so people in attendance to bear in mind that "nothing is solid" and that we should strive to apprehend reality "in present time." These are worthy sentiments, however impractical. Solidity has a way of landing on one's head from time to time, like when the landlord comes knocking on your door or the cops kick it in. That's solid, as solid as it gets.
He introduced a guy named Michael Zezima, aka "Mickey Z," author of something called Saving Private Power. Zezima got up and made a lame attempt at deconstructing World War II, consisting of an apologia for the Japanese and a litany of the "atrocities" Zezima thinks we Americans perpetrated on the poor innocent lambs of Nippon. He managed to get through this rant, and it was a long one, without once mentioning Nanking or Bataan, or any of the unbelievably gruesome atrocities that the Japanese forces performed with noteworthy zeal in the Pacific theater of operations. Zezima seemed particularly appalled by an account of an American GI pissing into the mouth of a Japanese corpse on a battlefield. What he was doing was empty-headed America-bashing, and when he asked if anyone in the audience had ever pissed into the mouth of a corpse, I simply had to raise my hand. Zezima should spend more time with combat veterans; it would do him good.
I ran into Chris Simunek from High Times and we burned one as we watched a video of Brice Taylor, a demented bimbo from California who claims that the CIA brainwashed her and turned her into Bob Hope's sex slave. Taylor rambled on about dogfucking and sex with lobsters as her handler, a brain-dead ex-Fed named Ted Gunderson, explained how the "four million practicing Satanists" he claims are running around loose control the government.
Gen read a beautiful poem of his and told a great story about his childhood infatuation with Liberace. There is a nascent Cult of Liberace growing tumescent on the fringe, and as usual Gen is a bit ahead of the curve. Liberace was a god, and the impending Liberace revival should be interesting to watch.
He next introduced Preston Peet, who delivered an outstanding narrative describing the interior landscape of a lunatic street punk doing way too much cocaine and setting off from Tompkins Square to dwell in Central Park. This kid has obviously been there and lived to tell the tale, and he tells it damned well. Simunek told me Peet's working for High Times now, which is good: they need more edgy stuff, and this Peet kid is about as edgy as they come. He's twitchy.
There was a crazy video on Satanism in America featuring this obese guy who calls himself "Magister Knowles" and purports to be a member of the Church of Satan. They've obviously come a long way from their "Might Is Right!" days, because this guy is too fat to wipe his own ass, unless he uses some kind of an extension appliance. He works as a DJ in a local rollerskating rink somewhere in California, spinning Britney Spears and NSYNC for the teenybopper set. They also interviewed a fat stripper. I wonder why all the people in the Church of Satan are so damn fat.
Nick Mamatas, occasionally of the Village Voice, got up and made a rambling presentation on the valuable contributions made to the cause of free speech in this country by the Communist Party and the KKK. He seemed sincere but begged for heckling owing to his Alzheimer's-influenced timing and speech patterns and the fact that he was just plain wrong. Gen looked exceedingly bored and read his poem, "The Grotesque," by request after Nick finished. "Don't take it personally, Nick," he said, by way of preface, "It's about politicians."
The best video was Rocketboy: Space Mercenary of the Universe, which purports to be a profile of a wacko who thinks he crashed here from outer space, lives in a basement and runs around in a goofy outfit consisting of a helmet and cape like some brain-damaged Tyrone Slothrop. My instinct tells me that the whole thing is a put-on, but it's well-executed and pretty funny, and if it actually is true, this guy is crazier than a snake's armpit.
I got distracted by this skinny little punkette who started coming on to me at the end of the bar and wound up missing the last video, where some schizo artiste-type was rambling on about a painting he'd done that he claims is actually alive. I knew it was time to leave when Reverend Billy took the stage with his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir. I was raised a Baptist and I had enough of that shit in my youth, thank you. It might be funny on 42nd St. but frankly it makes me claustrophobic in a small venue like Tonic. I scooped up the punkette and we split. All in all, the evening turned out to be much more amusing than I'd anticipated. Any night that concludes with getting my dick sucked as I hurtle up FDR Dr. at 70 mph in the rain has to be considered a good night out.
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