Monday, May 25, 2009

Gristle for DeMille

"Throbbing Gristle’s ties to California are deep. The last time they played L.A. was May 1981 — their first-ever gig in the U.S. and their penultimate gig before dissolving the band for more than two decades. But they had, in fact, made quite a “splash” in the L.A. art community several years earlier. In fall 1976 Cosey and P-Orridge appeared as COUM at the experimentally minded artist-run space LAICA, just weeks after having caused a media frenzy in the U.K. tabloids with a state-sponsored gallery exhibit, including used tampons and framed porn-magazine spreads featuring Cosey — a feminist Situationist intervention and welcome source of income

Their L.A. performance of “Cease to Exist No. 4” (named after a Charles Manson composition recorded by roommate Dennis Wilson’s band, the Beach Boys) is local legend. As P-Orridge later recounted, the event was dripping with integrity — as in the sequence where he “takes a hypodermic and stabs it into a testicle, fills it with blood, picks a black egg off thee floor, stabs thee syringe into it ... injecting a total of seven black eggs with his own blood.” P-Orridge later “pisses into a large glass. As he squeezes out the last drop, he farts, and blood mingled with milk shoots out of his arse.”

From this unholy exchange of fluids (and we’re only scratching the surface here, people) were birthed the persona of Marilyn Manson and the cinema of David Lynch, among other important cultural treasures — not to mention electronica, acid house, Survivalist Chic, the Lounge Revival and about three-quarters of the inventory at Hot Topic. Thanks, Throbbing Gristle! Seriously, though, David Lynch rules. I often think of Lynch as an artist who has managed to deal convincingly and creatively with the exigencies of commercial success. Like TG."

Read the rest of Throbbing Gristle's 33rd Annual Report here.

I'm still a little bummed that I didn't get to catch them in the act - no way Coachella, and I was teaching the night they played the live ST to Derek Jarman's Shadow of the Sun at the Ricardo Montalban Theater. But hey, next time, right?

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