WTM #1050: Barbie vs John Cage


wReck thiS meSS

Radio Patapoe 88.3

Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
02 March 2009 // 17.00-19.00
“You know you’ve made it when you’ve been molded in miniature plastic. But you know what children do with Barbie dolls – it’s a bit scary, actually.”
• Cate blanchett
* For more about the acorn photo and how it relates to John Cage. the Barbies were made over by Pal Jet.
PhotosOuverture > Taxonomy [10 Taxonomical Movements / Ambiences Magentiques ]
Sosenuto – Sospeso > Taxonomy [10 Taxonomical Movements / Ambiences Magentiques ]
Les 12 – Levend Spans > Neder Talen Instituut [N.T.I. / I.S.]
Andante con Moto > Taxonomy [10 Taxonomical Movements / Ambiences Magentiques ]
Crescendo – Maestoso > Taxonomy [10 Taxonomical Movements / Ambiences Magentiques ]
+ Barbie & Her Perilous Anatomy Remix [Plantenga] > b/art vs Black Sifichi 
Works of Calder 1 [Cage] > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
+ Les 12 – Levend Spans > Neder Talen Instituut [N.T.I. / I.S.]
+ Massive Scratch Disc
Visions on the Verge > Arklight [Villain Got Uzis / Cloud Valley]
The City Wears a Slouch Hat > John Cage & Paul Schmidt [text by Kenneth Patchen]
Debbie [in style of Barbie] > Black Sifichi
What You Waiting For > Kodi [Hark Too! / WORM ]
The City Wears a Slouch Hat > John Cage & Paul Schmidt [text by Kenneth Patchen]
Life is So Surprising > Bertini [Hark Too! / WORM ]
Works of Calder 2 [Cage] > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
Barbie for Bart Plantenga > Black Sifichi
Barbie Girl > Aqua [wonderful single especially compared to some of the bubblegum I heard when a pre-teen]
Roots of Unfocus (Cage) > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
Barbie toxic toy > Our Future
Barbie’s 5oth > Blinx
Sudden Fury / Death of a Loafer > Arklight [Villain Got Uzis / Cloud Valley]
Spontaneous Earth > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
Writ on the Steps of Puerto Rican Harlem [G. Corso] > William Marsh [Beat Poets /
Tripled Paced > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
There is the Distance Between Me and What I Say [P. Lamantia] > Laurel Lefkow [Beat Poets / Abm, 2002]
A Valentine out of Season > Giancarlo Simonacci [Complete Music for Prepared Piano / Brilliant ]
Barbie Single > B/art vs Black Sifichi
Hearing Aid Danger > Radio Blab
Superfan > Superstoned [Superman/fan]
Barbie turned 50 [or was it 52 and she’s lying?] on 16 March and it was time to celebrate. It is seen by many as potent a symbol of American-ness as the American flag although probably no Barbie’s have been “born” in the US in probably 40 years. But on other levels of cultural product hegemony it probably is the Ur-product in “projecting” Americanness outward as a strange ideal considering current American [and Western and actually ALL developed nation] obesity rates but then again bland anorexic good looks are a kind of parallel body image.
Mattel recently introduced “Totally Stylin Tattoo Barbie” in the form of “Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Nikki,” Barbie’s brunette version.She comes with a set of tattoo stickers, which can be placed anywhere on her body. “The set also has a tattoo gun that’s similar to a water gun, so kids can stamp tattoos on her clothes and themselves. Mattel has just released Mattel says the tattoos for kids are temporary and wash off.
One in 3 toys is toxic, By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com: “One in three toys tested was found to contain toxic chemicals such as lead, flame retardants and arsenic, according to a report issued Wednesday by an environmental group. Researchers for the Michigan-based Ecology Center tested more than 1,500 popular toys for lead, cadmium, arsenic, PVC and other harmful chemicals. They said they found that one-third of the toys contain “medium” or “high” levels of chemicals of concern.”
 Since Blonde Barbie #1 appeared in her premiere black-striped bathing suit she has remained  the same – you haven’t aged a bit! – since she was conceived in 1957 when Ruth Hanler “discovered” her in Switzerland when she found Barbie’s duppelganger, a doll named Lili in a store window. Lili was a kind of softcore porn doll that had already become a bit of a celebrity in a German magazine. Handler brought Lili home and eradicated Lili’s racy-shady past and gave birth to a squeaky clean version of Lili. So we could say that Barbie is the daughter of a whore… And the rest is the history of money: “The early Barbies are today, not surprisingly, collector’s items — costing in the thousands of dollars when you can find them in their original, mint condition. Much has been made of how Barbie has become a fetish, a quasi-religious icon for a kind of unattainable, female perfection; the styrene catalyst for obsessions about body image. She is forever young America, shopping, clueless, ready to pageant.”
The original text for the much reprinted “BARBIE & HER PERILOUS ANATOMY” appeared in Instant Classics
” I. Homage / Damage: I already knew back then that to relate to the world meant somehow being able to relate to Barbie. Barbie as plural & plenteous, aerodynamic & market omniverous, perfect & ever young, tear-free & stringless. Moans of prurience tucked ever so snug into her subtle, yet universally recognizable, curvaciousness. Barbie as that pliant statuette sculpted from the demograph spec sheets at Mattel who dove so deeply  into our collective memory like a handsome forefinger into the heart of our  wallets. Barbie as sleek, smug & Ultra-EZ-Wipe-Clean amulet afflicted with muffled desire….”
r-150-912286-1172095559For the story behind John Cage’s The City Wears a Slouch Hat [Cortical Foundation, 2000] see James Pritchett’s liner notes  for the Mode Music release. Commissioned in 1941 and recorded in May 1942, in Chicago, the line-up included “The Voice” [Paul Schmidt and I am unclear as to why Patchen didn’t just read it himself] as Narrator and 6 percussion players inc. Cage’s wife Xenia. It premiered on CBS radio station WBBM in Chicago and received very negative reviews. It was subtitled as “Incidental music for the radio play by Kenneth Patchen”. Text by Kenneth Patchen. The instruments inc. tin cans, muted gongs, woodblocks, alarm bells, tam tam, bass drum, Chinese tom tom, bongos, cowbells, maracas, claves, ratchet, pod rattle, foghorn, thundersheet, pre-recorded sound-effects, etc. Patchen’s surreal story is narrated by ‘The Voice’ a kind of ethereal bumbling god-like figure who wanders around a big city, meeting various absurd characters and falling into crazy situations. According to reviewer simon hopkins, “With typical far-sightedness, Cage composed a huge 250 page score which would incorporate the sounds of the city as part of the ‘music’ – a revolutionary notion then, and scarcely less so over half a century later. Unfortunately, with only a week to go before the live broadcast, engineers at CBS informed Cage that his score was impractical on every level, and he had to perform an entirely new piece in only seven days. He decided to put together a piece for percussion group and sound effects. … City really is quite extraordinary, a frenetic collage-like summation of mid 20th Century urban life, with all its chaos, anger, exhilaration, illogic and speed.”
The text was by American proto-beat and word-jazz pioneer Kenneth Patchen www.connectotel.com/patchen/ (December 13 1911 – January 8 1972) who produced a broad range of work that often led to comparisons to the Dadaists and Surrealists. Some of his most nocturnal and beatnik-like works are a tremendous fusion of down and out living, leftism and beatnik inflection = word jazz.  He was also a pioneer in the area of visual poetry, his “picture poems” are both concrete and emotive.
for other spoken word check out Word Salad

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