“Everything these days is filmed by imbeciles with mobile phones, later to be uploaded onto YouTube……As concerned citizens we worry ourselves stupid about the intrusion into our lives of the security services—the extent to which they spy on us all—and yet we have no qualms about the fact that our fellow citizens are pointing their iPhones at us almost every moment of the day and night…”
—Rod Liddle in the Spectator
TWENTY THREE YEARS AFTER the largest art theft in history, the famous heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the 13 paintings (worth $600m) are still missing. Somewhere two Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a Manet, five Degas and other works are in hiding despite thousands of tips and reported sightings in dozens of countries. “There is no part of the globe we haven’t scoured following up on credible leads”, the FBI’s Geoffrey J. Kelly told Art News publisher Milton Esterow whose rarely-seen byline led a recent story in the magazine. The story popped back into the news with the current trial of former mob boss Whitey Bulger although law enforcement thinks the connection with him is unlikely,
and even less with such unlikely names as Dick Cheney, Jackie Kennedy and Brad Pitt, who have all been mentioned. “This is a typical whodunit” muses Kelly. “The case is unique because there is no shortage of suspects. It’s like the Agatha Christie novel in which everyone confesses to the crime. In this case a number of people have claimed knowledge or involvement”.
It was 1:24 in the morning of March 18, 1990, when a pair of thugs entered the museum, surprised and handcuffed the two guards and left with the pricey loot. After the announcement of a $5million reward, tips began to pour in: that the Vermeer was in a mobile home traveling around the country; the Rembrandt was for sale in a Florida carpet store; that one painting was displayed on the wall of a Tokyo apartment; even that the IRA had sold the art to raise funds. None of the tips has checked out.
THE BEST WAY to begin, in view of what’s to come, is probably with a quote from Melbourne’s daily paper, The Age
“A Sydney University painting lecturer (Mikala) Dwyer calls a spade a spade—or, in this case, a shit a shit. Not poo, crap, feces, stool, excrement, night soil, number twos, or plop. All are coy, while shit, she says, is about truth and universality, a base material. Such euphemisms either medicalise or infantilise (a subject) we all deal with”.
What on earth are they talking about? Well, art of course, or what some call art. To each his own. It’s all about a recent show “It’s a wonderful, powerful work” exclaims the Australian Center for Contemporary Art which recently staged the group defecation, featuring six Balletlab dancers—masked but naked beneath sheer garments. They wandered around the room before sitting on transparent stools and emptying their bowels.
Previous “artworks” by Dwyer, 54, have included installations created from cigarette butts, gaudy panty hose, band aids, and domestic objects, but this is her first show about the base material we all deal with. “We might know about other planets, nanotechnology and incredibly complex philosophies” she blusters, “but when it comes down to it, we don’t know anything about shit…There is a lot of shame attached to it but when you can actually do it (communally) it is quite liberating and empowering”.
National Review columnist James Lileks complains that the world’s contemporary museums already “are stuffed with forgettable truckloads of junk-shop agglomerations and conceptual ciphers” but couldn’t resist adding (NR is a rightwing mag, after all) “Bowel-moving…Finally some elimination rhetoric the Left can get behind!”
“Ted Cruz’s surpassing arrogance, his refusal to hold his tongue or abide by Senate decorum and his devotion to the Tea Party platform—the qualities that led many to dismiss his chances in national politics—are precisely the qualities that make Tea Party activists go weak at the knees at the thought of a President Cruz. These folks don’t expect their politicians to get things done; they send them to Washington and to state capitals to prevent things from being done.”
—Abby Rapoport writing in The American Prospect about the “baffling notoriety” of the Texas senator
DESPITE ITS NEW GOVERNMENT, which of course is no longer new, South Africa has the same growing disparity between rich and poor as most Western countries. The World Bank reports that the top 10% of the population receives 58% of the country’s income while the bottom 50% receives less than 8 percent. “Despite an extensive welfare state and an established demographic system, the majority of South Africans have been left behind in the new nation, reveals Current History. “In response, popular discontent is swelling...Critics have repeatedly accused the ANC (the ruling party since 1994) of talking left and walking right.” The magazine says that although the African National Congress remains firmly in power, that internal factionalism, corruption and an increasing distance from ordinary people “undermine its ability to deliver on its promises.”
As a result protests are spreading after local authorities repeatedly fail to meet with residents or address their concerns. The protests turn violent and are met with police crackdowns leaving the problems unsolved.
“The continuing racial profile of inequality led former president Thabo Mbaki to describe the country as composed of two nations: a white, relatively prosperous one, and a larger black, poor one.” But this is only a practical picture of inequality, explains the magazine. “It fails to acknowledge a growing black elite that has joined the wealthiest quintile.”
BRITAIN vs CHINA in the 19th century Opium Wars were conflicts fought
“to balance the books” for the huge amount of tea that the Brits were then consuming, according to historians. And victory enslaved the Chinese in a much more insidious way than most Colonial policies. The narcotic “dulled pain, quelled appetites, blurred time and relaxed muscles”, writes Peter Watts, making it desirable for coolies and manual laborers who spent long, desperate hours engaged in back-breaking work with minimal food. It was
popular with other classes, too, often dissolved in sherry and served as laudanum, offering a psychedelic, almost religious experience. “Opium was the LSD of its time” Carl Williams told the Independent on Sunday, which publicized a show of opium paraphernalia at his Mayfair bookstore, Maggs, in Berkeley Square. The exhibition, which runs until the end of this month, displays an array of pipes made from ebony, ivory, jade, porcelain, and buffalo horn, often with bowls resembling crabs, shells, or poppy heads. “The elite made opium smoking fashionable, while the lower classes made its consequences undesirable” noted Zheng Yangwen in The Social Life of Opium in China. (2005).
THE WILCOCK WEB: The sobering thought that Chief Justice John G. Roberts will still be heading the Supreme Court twenty years from now, should be enough to activate those who seek to end lifetime tenure for judges……It would be beneficial for those supreme overlords, and certainly for the country at large, if they were obliged to live for a year on the minimum wage. It’s a world they ought to know about but never will…..Term limits should mean getting out of politics, not continuing on the public teat in some other office ….“Civilizations” declared Arnold Toynbee, “die from suicide, not murder”...Maybe it’s reassuring to learn that Chinese banks are crooked, too….The US subsidizes its sugar producers with $3.7bn a year, writes George Will in the Washington Post, a gift that keeps prices higher than they need be for consumers, but one that Congress declines to remove despite the fact that it was introduced as a “temporary” measure in the Great Depression….…If the value of Bitcoins varies as much as has been noted, why would they be a safe investment for anybody?....…The New York Hilton is the latest in a growing number of hotels that have eliminated room service because, despite the exorbitant prices, it rarely pays for itself, according to Trip Advisor. ….Even dumber than she looks, Jennifer Lopez tripped to Turkmenistan to sing happy birthday to its murderous dictator, claiming she didn’t know anything about him….The distinctive red soles on Christian Louboutin shoes will soon have a companion: running shoes with a green sole made of kale that the world-famous designer has created in collaboration with Whole Foods….
Following the recent lifting of long-standing restrictions, Mexican distillers now hope to flood China with high-class tequila….“Man of Steel. Feet of Clay. Waste of Time.” was one review of the 1960s movie quoted by London columnist Charles Moore… What huge salary must a vp of Tiffany’s have been making? And yet she still had to steal from the company....The Vatican, building on its first exhibition at the Venice Bienniale in centuries, says the Holy See will “reclaim” its role as a patron of the arts by investing millions on building new churches and hiring contemporary artists to furnish them…..“It’s okay to date a nun once in while”, warns Phil Proctor, “just don't get in the habit”…..Jay-Z’s pretensions will make him history sooner than he thinks….....Apparently the ASPCA has so much money to piss away that members happily paid its president a preposterous $566,000 a year. No word on whether his successor is taking a pay cut….“I have no intention of retiring anytime soon”, declares Martha Stewart, 72. “I still feel that there are many things to be done, that my creativity hasn’t waned, and to be sent out to the pasture prematurely for me and many others would be the worst death.”…..Built upon thousands of KFC and Taco Bell minimum wage workers, YUM Brands has a president who makes $1.3m a year and “helped lead the battle against sick days” reports the New York Times…“There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”—Frank Buchman (1878-1961)
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen (continued)--Theory & Practice of Travel Writing;
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eighteen--The Quest for Magic: Around Europe by VW bus;
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Sixteen--JW'S Secret Diary (continued)
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— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part two, Soho Saturday
– Week of February 6, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Thirteen--Figaro Diary, part one, Soho Saturday
– Week of January 30, 2016
— John Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve (continued)--Traveling with Nomad; SoHo Confidential
– Week of January 23, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Twelve--Andy Gets Shot: Max's Kansas City;
Jane Fonda's gesture;
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
– Week of January 16, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven (continued)-- We go to Rutgers, Ann Arbor ...
What people say about Andy
– Week of January 9, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eleven -- Andy Warhol First encounter....People talk about him....His movies...
– Week of January 2, 2016
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten (continued)--The 'Movement' splits: Eldridge Cleaver
Year of the Great Hoax…The OZ trial
– Week of December 26, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Ten--Tom Forcade's smuggling funds High Times;
Rolling Stone's underground sabotage
– Week of December 19, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine (continued)--Rip Torn on stardom… Robert Mitchum's gift; London: Julian Beck’s critique; Emmett Grogan and the Diggers; Greece: The Junta, Charlotte Rampling, and art hero Daniel Spoerri
– Week of December 12, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Chapter Nine--Bob Dylan in the Village, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Richard Neville and OZ, What Does London Need Most?, The International Times
– Week of December 5, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight (continued)--Japan: a working honeymoon;
The Shinjuku Sutra
– Week of November 28, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Eight--Art Kunkin's LA Free Press; In LA with Hunter Thompson, Lenny Bruce; Visit by Warhol; Hakim Jamal plays god; The San Francisco 'Be-In'; Underground papers meet
– Week of November 21, 2015
— John-Wilcock ... Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven (continued)--The Underground Press; Army revolt: fragging officers; Bowart goes to Millbrook
– Week of November 14, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Seven--The singing Tit-o-Gram; The East Village Other; Art & Forgery; Birth of Black Power; The Underground Press
– Week of November 7, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six (continued)--Tom Forcade: smuggler supreme; That pathetic drug czar
– Week of October 31, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Six—The weed that changed the world--Confessions of a pot smoker
– Week of October 24, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness (continued)--Jan and Stan change my life; The man who turned on the world
– Week of October 17, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Five—Reefer Madness--The man who turned on the world; Tested by Harvard professors; Jan and Stan change my life
– Week of October 10, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--London's underground press; Jean-Jacques Lebel burns US flag; Everybody's friend: Jim Haynes; Lenny Bruce and the kitchen tapes
– Week of October 3, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Four—Into the '60s--More Working at The New York Times; Mexico On $5 a Day; What Richard Condon taught me; Henry Miller's wise words
– Week of September 26, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--The Village Voice (continued) --Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column, ECHO and Larry Adler, Woody Allen plays classic nerd, A sample Village Square column
– Week of September 19, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Three--More trouble with our star novelist; Lasting insignificance: the 3-dot column; Jean Shepherd’s phantom novel
– Week of September 12, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Steve Allen derides TV columnist; Marlene Dietrich--glamorous grandmother
– Week of September 5, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter Two--Gilbert Seldes' The Lively Arts; Norman Mailer’s Voice column; Giving parties to meet strangers
– Week of August 29, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Chatting with Marilyn Monroe
– Week of August 22, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Chapter One--Jack Kent Cooke tells me to stay in Canada; Becoming a New Yorker ;A new Village newspaper; The casual wisdom of Steve Allen
– Week of August 15, 2015
— Manhattan Memories: Introduction.
– Week of August 8, 2015
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May 2, 2013
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Budget Travel Pioneer on a Time When $5 a Day Was Real (Frugal) Money
nytimes.com: Frugal Traveler
by Seth Kugel
It was the first handwritten letter I'd received in 5 years. Or maybe 10. Signed by John Wilcock, a man I'd never heard of, and postmarked Ojai, Calif., it was waiting for me when I returned from my São Paulo-to-New York summer trip. Mr. Wilcock wrote that he had been an assistant editor at The Times Travel section back in the 1950s, and had written the first editions of “Mexico on $5 a Day,” “Greece on $5 a Day” and “Japan on $5 a Day” for Arthur Frommer in the 1960s.
By George, I thought. This man was the original Frugal Traveler.
Forty years ago the second of my three books about magic was published, A Guide to Occult Britain (Sidgwick & Jackson) covering a wide range of sites from Stonehenge to Loch Ness and King Arthur country to the witches of Pendle Hill. It is now available as an eBook on amazon.com.
by John Wilcock
"A GOOD WAY to describe John Wilcock is to say that he is a talented bohemian counter-culture journalist who once played a major role in the emergence of America’s underground press. Born 1927 in Sheffield, England, he left school aged 16 to work on various newspapers in England, and on Toronto periodicals before moving to New York City. There in 1955 he became one of the five founders of the Village Voice in which he and co-founder Norman Mailer wrote weekly columns. Wilcock called his column “The Village Square”, an intended pun. He and young Mailer were not quite friends, although Wilcock was at times annoyed, but always amused, by Mailer’s monstrous ego."
-From the preface of Manhattan Memories, by Martin Gardner
The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol
by John Wilcock
Edited by Christopher Trela
Photographs by Shunk-Kender
Village Voice and Interview cofounder John Wilcock was first drawn into the
milieu of Andy Warhol through film-maker Jonas Mekas, assisting on some
of Warhol's early films, hanging out at his parties and quickly becoming a
regular at the Factory. “About six months after I started hanging out at the
old, silvery Factory on West 47th Street,” he recalls, “[Gerard] Malanga came
up to me and asked, ‘When are you going to write something about us?’”
Already fascinated by Warhol's persona, Wilcock went to work, interviewing
the artist's closest associates, supporters and superstars. Among these were
Malanga, Naomi Levine, Taylor Mead and Ultra Violet, all of whom had been
in the earliest films; scriptwriter Ronnie Tavel, and photographer Gretchen
Berg; art dealers Sam Green, Ivan Karp, Eleanor Ward and Leo Castelli, and
the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Henry Geldzahler; the poets Charles Henri
Ford and Taylor Mead, and the artist Marisol; and the musicians Lou Reed and Nico. Paul Morrisey supplied the title: The Autobiography and Sex Life of
Andy Warhol was the first oral biography of the artist. First published in 1971,
and pitched against the colorful backdrop of the 1960s, it assembles a prismatic
portrait of one of modern art's least knowable artists during the early
years of his fame. The Autobiography and Sex Life is likely the most revealing
portrait of Warhol, being composite instead of singular; each of its interviewees
offers a piece of the puzzle that was Andy Warhol. This new edition
corrects the many errors of the first, and is beautifully designed in a bright,
Warholian palette with numerous illustrations.
The British-born writer John Wilcock co-founded The Village Voice in 1955,
and went on to edit seminal publications such as The East Village Other, Los
Angeles Free Press, Other Scenes and (in 1970) Interview, with Andy Warhol.