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Pirate Nightmare Vice Explosion - found remnants of an amateur dadaist’s library

Pirate Nightmare Vice Explosion
edited by Michael Kupperman
Four Corners Books
2014, 148 pages, 12.4 x 9.4 x 0.5 inches, softcover
$29 Buy a copy on Amazon

In 1998 cartoonist Michael Kupperman was poking around in one of the few seedy bookstores that was still in business in the recently sanitized Times Square section of New York. It was there that he found a decaying collection of lurid men’s magazines from the 1950s and 1960s that had been “taken apart and reassembled with pages from different magazines put together.” The pages themselves were often marked up – someone had scratched out certain headlines and added cryptic codes. It was apparently the work of one person – he’d rubber stamped his signature on the pages. The name is impossible to make out – is it C.J. Buechtel? Brockel? Buschol?

Equally puzzling is why C.J. created a custom magazine out of these sleazy periodicals. In Kupperman’s introduction to this anthology of the unknown artist’s work he writes, “The articles that are intact are mostly about sin. Where it’s taking place, who’s doing it, how police are powerless to stop it. It seems like he was building a weird library of sin. Maybe to stop it, maybe to join it.” – Mark Frauenfelder

June 16, 2014

The only film ever directed by author/poet/playwright/activist Jean Genet, 1950s legendary Un chant d’amour was long suppressed by censors for its explicit homosexual content. In 1964, filmmaker Jonas Mekas was arrested on obscenity charges after a screening of the film alongside Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures. Mekas recalls how he smuggled the film into the U.S. in the first place:

"The film was in 35mm and it was bulky. I was afraid that if I went from Paris to New York the film would be confiscated. Customs was very strict. Twice when I came to New York from Paris I had some Olympia publications in my pocket and they were seized. So I said, ‘If I go to New York with this, I have no chance. I have to go first to London.’ And that’s what I did. I cut the film into three pieces and put them in my raincoat pockets, and went to London. When you come from Paris, [US] Customs says, ‘Oh, Paris, hum, Paris.’ If you come from London, well that’s more conservative and you have a chance to pass through.

"I was on the plane to New York from London and I was talking with my neighbor, who happened to be the playwright [Harold] Pinter. When I told him what I had in my pockets, he said, ‘Maybe you should let me go first. You come after me.’ So I followed him and we got to Customs and they opened Pinter’s suitcase. It was full of plays, copies of the same play. They said, ‘What’s this?’ ‘Oh, it’s my play’, he said. ‘It’s opening on Broadway.’ ‘Play! On Broadway!’ The Customs man got so gaga, so excited, that he motioned his neighbors [fellow officers]. They all converged and were so yapping with excitement that I just passed through. And that’s how the film got in the country. If I had been by myself, I don’t know what would have happened. So, thanks Pinter!"

(Source: strangewood)

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