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Music for Kenneth Anger

Real-time film performances chapter 1

Music for Kenneth Anger is the first chapter in a trilogy of performances dedicated to the American avant-garde cinema.
The performance was held at Milan’s LOFT 21 on February 26th 2011 and hosted by the Inlandempire Project.

During the performance the movie “Inaguration of the Pleasure Dome” was screened.

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer; February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author of two controversial Hollywood Babylon books. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the “Magick Lantern Cycle”, and form the basis of Anger’s reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing “elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle.” Anger himself has been described as “one of America’s first openly gay filmmakers, and certainly the first whose work addressed homosexuality in an undisguised, self-implicating manner”, and his “role in rendering gay culture visible within American cinema, commercial or otherwise, is impossible to overestimate”, with several being released prior to the legalisation of homosexuality in the United States. He has also focused upon occult themes in many of his films, being fascinated by the notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley, and is a follower of Crowley’s religion, Thelema.

Born to a middle-class family in Santa Monica, California, Anger would later claim to have been a child actor who appeared in the film A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935); the accuracy of this claim has come under dispute. He began making short films when he was ten years old, although his first film to gain any recognition, the homoerotic Fireworks (1947), would only be produced a decade later. The controversial nature of the work led to him being put on trial on obscenity charges, but he was acquitted. A friendship and working relationship began subsequently with pioneering sexologist Alfred Kinsey. Moving to Europe, Anger produced a number of other shorts inspired by the artistic avant-garde scene on the continent, such as Rabbit’s Moon (released 1970) and Eaux d’Artifice (1953).

Returning to the United States in 1953, he set about working on several new projects, including the films Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Scorpio Rising (1964), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965), and the gossip book Hollywood Babylon (1965). Getting to know several notable countercultural figures of the time, including Tennessee Williams, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull and Anton LaVey, Anger involved them in his subsequent Thelemite-themed works, Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) and Lucifer Rising (1972). Following his failure to produce a sequel to Lucifer Rising, Anger retired from filmmaking in the early 1980s, instead publishing the book Hollywood Babylon II (1982). At the dawn of the 21st century he once more returned to filmmaking, producing shorts for various film festivals and events.

Anger has described filmmakers such as Auguste and Louis Lumière, Georges Méliès, and Maya Deren as influences,[4] and has been cited as an important influence on later film directors like Martin Scorsese, David Lynch
and John Waters. He has also been described as having “a profound impact on the work of many other filmmakers and artists, as well as on music video as an emergent art form using dream sequence, dance, fantasy, and narrative.

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
Anger created two other versions of this film in 1966 and the late 1970s. According to Anger, the film takes the name “pleasure dome” from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s atmospheric poem Kubla Khan. Anger was inspired to make the film after attending a Halloween party called “Come as your Madness.”
Early prints of the film had sequences that were meant to be projected on three different screens. Anger subsequently re-edited the film to layer the images. The film – primarily the 2nd and 3rd revisions – was often shown in American universities and art galleries during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
The film reflects Anger’s deep interest in Thelema, the philosophy of Aleister Crowley and his followers, as indicated by Cameron’s role as “The Scarlet Woman” (an honorific Crowley bestowed on certain of his important magical partners).
The film uses some footage of the Hell sequence from the 1911 Italian silent film L’Inferno. Near the end, scenes from Anger’s earlier film Puce Moment are interpolated into the layered images and faces.

Cast

  • Samson de Brier as Shiva, Osiris, Nero, Cagliostro, and Aleister Crowley (credited as “The Great Beast 666”)
  • Marjorie Cameron as The Scarlet Woman and Kali
  • Joan Whitney as Aphrodite
  • Katy Kadell as Isis
  • Renate Druks as Lilith
  • Anaïs Nin as Astarte
  • Curtis Harrington as Cesare the sleepwalker
  • Kenneth Anger as Hecate
  • Paul Mathison as Pan
  • Peter Loome as Ganymede

Begin again

A brand new website and domain

BuchlaSome of you know it, I like to change. Just like starting a new patch on a synthesizer.
My website gleetchplug.com had been restyled often during the last six years, at least two times a year. The fact is I am never satisfied with my web skills and after a few months I feel that my website already looks old and dusty, but one of my most persistent complaints was the lack of ease of update and multimedia features that the web-life of today requires. I’m not an hardcore blogger, but I like to keep my listeners, users and friends updated as much as I can, so I slowly came to the idea of a WordPress based solution to enhance navigation, graphics, updating method and arrange more logically my contents.

Changing domain is another huge step, somehow risky.
During the last two years I’ve experienced a certain unease in using a domain name that less and less represent my artistic career. At the time of the birth of gleetchplug I was only thinking at having a web-space to let the people to download my softwares. The domain name was strange and hard to spell by phone (my name is no less, but at least is my name) and eventually it turned to be a potential problem from when my artistic career started to be more and more present in the website and in media. Finally it has my name. I know it’s long and forgettable, but this is what I am, and I’ve promised to myself not to use aliases again to look more international (a perverse but not entirely blameworthy attitude, Italians tend to hate being Italians, today).

So here we are, I must say that I love the way WordPress works, it’s easy and super fast, and finally gives me that kind of interactivity and ease I was looking for.
I’m not a Facebook fan, I have a small Fb page for the disco experience project which I use rarely for important updates, but honestly I feel unconfortable in Fb as well as g+ and other social media, so if you want to interact with me this site is the best way to do it and I will update it often.

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An important note about emails and the older domain:
Changing the domain meant changing email addresses. To contact me about my softwares please use softwares (at) giorgiosancristoforo [d0t] net from now on.
For booking or other general inquiries please use the form in the contacts page. Other than this, feel free to post comments and thoughts in the comments sections of the site, your feedback is of course appreciated and valuable. The old domain will remain online with a URL redirect for six to eight months.

Thank you for being here, I hope you will enjoy the change and the new adventure.

Giorgio