HONK THOSE HORNS! … BRING ON THE NOISES!

photo by Jim McMenamin

The Fourth of July is a noisy holiday, and this year it’s going to be even noisier, as it’s Black Scat’s 10th anniversary. Thus, it’s fitting that we’ve launched Luigi Russolo‘s Italian Futurist classic, THE ART OF NOISES, in a new translation by Doug Skinner. The book includes a seminal introduction by Skinner, as well as his copious notes on the translation. Originally released in Milan by Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia in 1916, this text was a sonic boom that awakened 20th-century avant-garde musical aesthetics and inspired generations of experimental composers.

In the words of Daniel Matei, it was THE ART OF NOISES that “elevated Russolo to the level of Marinetti and Boccioni.”

Artist Norman Conquest has designed our edition and crafted a near facsimile of the original Italian volume, while adding a few obstreperous flourishes of his own. We hope you’ll celebrate Scat’s ten years by ordering a copy of this gem — #44 in our legendary Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

Have a BLAST this summer and make some noise!

THE ART OF NOISES
Luigi Russolo
Translated from the Italian by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents No. 44
A Zang Tumb Tumb Edition
Paperback, illustrated; 134 pp., $15
ISBN: 979-8-9859996-2-4

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was born into a musical family in Portogruaro, Italy. As a child, he studied violin and piano, but decided to switch to painting. When F. T. Marinetti launched Futurism in 1909, Russolo soon became one of its principal members. In 1913, he wrote a manifesto, “L’Arte dei rumori” (“The Art of Noises”), proclaiming a new music based on noises; he spent the next few years building instruments, giving concerts, and expanding his manifesto into a book. A war injury in 1917 slowed him down, but he continued painting and giving concerts throughout the ‘20s, as well as building several “noise harmoniums.” In the ‘30s he became interested in the occult, and wrote a long philosophical dialogue called Al di là della materia (Beyond Matter), arguing for a society based on spirituality. He died in 1947. Although his scores and instruments were lost in World War II, his ideas continue to fascinate and influence many musicians. 

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Doug Skinner  has translated many books from the French and Italian, including works by Alphonse Allais, Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, Caroline Crépiat, Charles Cros, Alfred Jarry, and Giovanni Battista Nazari. Black Scat has published several books of his fiction (Sleepytime Cemetery, The Snowman Three Doors Down), cartoons (The Unknown Adjective, Shorten the Classics), and music (The Doug Skinner Songbook). He has contributed to The Fortean Times, Strange Attractor Journal, Cabinet, Fate, Weirdo, Nickelodeon, Black Scat Review, and other fine periodicals. His musical activities include scores for dance (ODC-San Francisco, Margaret Jenkins), as well as several shows by actor/clown Bill Irwin, including The Regard of Flight, The Courtroom, and The Harlequin Studies; his albums That Regrettable Weekend and It All Went Pfft are available on Bandcamp. 

viva l'italia!

JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER…

photograph: T. Motley


The lovely “Lewd, Nude & Rude” issue of BLACK SCAT REVIEW has stormed the beach!

As you’ve come to expect, the issue is filled with Sublime Art & Literature — innovative fiction, eye-popping graphics, works in translation, and spicy absurdities. Featuring 131 pages packed with an international cast of contributors: Mark Axelrod; Thomas Barrett; Sebastian Bennett; Giacomo Girolamo Casanova; Norman Conquest; R J Dent; Dawn Avril Fitzroy; Eckhard Gerdes; Alexander Krivitskiy; Amy Kurman; Hélène Lavelle; Marc Levy; Olchar E. Lindsann; Clément Marot; Lilianne Milgrom; Alison Miller; T. Motley; Angelo Pastormerlo; Gerard Sarnat; Doug Skinner; Valéry Soers; Jean Donneau de Visé; Gregory Wallace; Tom Whalen; and David Williams.

Have a bang-up Memorial Day!

AMERICAN RADICAL

“As with Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde, Harold Jaffe’s Brando Bleeds is the best kind of biographical fiction — perceptive, inventive, richly thematic, and truer than true. That his concisely rendered composite of Brando gives us such a full portrait of its subject is nothing short of a miracle.”  —Tom Whalen


As BLACK SCAT approaches its 10th anniversary (July 4th), we’re excited to announce the publication of a major new novel by Harold Jaffe—one of America’s most innovative writers and thinkers.

BRANDO BLEEDS is a “docufictional” version of the life of renegade cultural icon Marlon Brando. Harold Jaffe seamlessly weds biographical fact and fiction, breathing new life into Brando as shaman/showman, an anti-Hollywood “movie star” whose radical politics forced him to confront the inevitable contradiction between rebel/activist and capitalist avatar. Drawn from biographical sources and Brando’s films, the author unveils Brando as a unique artist who both witnesses and introjects the world in pain.

BRANDO BLEEDS
A Novel by Harold Jaffe
Paperback; 181 pp., $14.95
ISBN 979-8985999655


CRITICAL PRAISE FOR HAROLD JAFFE

Each of Jaffe’s volumes has been groundbreaking. He has written some of the most innovative fiction of our time.   —Toby Olson

EROS ANTI-EROS is… a wonder of deadpan humor, biting wit and visual beauty. No recent fiction has gripped me with such force and immediacy.   —Marianne Hauser

From the docufictional shards of GOOSESTEP emerges a savage prophetic voice as grief-maddened as Isis picking through the bones on illusion’s killing floor to reassemble a dream that cannot be reanimated.   —Patricia Eakins

As TERROR-DOT-GOV vividly demonstrates: We are spiritually imperiled by illusions masked as “news.” Omissions, slants, pallid editorials all testifying to servitude to a slavish, enslaving “text.” Harold Jaffe knows this by heart.  Everywhere in Terror-dot-Gov, is exemplary skill, faultless tonality, and courage. Don’t forget courage.    Daniel Berrigan, SJ

The bravura essays in Harold Jaffe’s collection, REVOLUTIONARY BRAIN, challenge the conscience and consciousness of their readers. This witty and explosive book is an indictment of injustice and spurious morality and a call to art and enlightened activism as healing alternatives. —Jonathan Baumbach

Harold Jaffe’s SACRIFICE is an omnidirectional cry of alarm and call to action…[his] adept prose is a heart-filled and intellectualized reaction to terrestrial issues, a combination of rage, revulsion, and an implied plea for amelioration—in the fullest form of self-sacrifice.   Sebastian Bennett

“Jaffe’s convincing portraits of the dispossessed are moving, insightful glimpses of the human spirit under stress.” —New York Times Book Review

As always, Jaffe’s writing is moving, comical, marvelously deft.” —Washington Post



Happy May Day, Alphonse Allais!

As the first publisher to bring many books by France’s greatest humorist to America — in sublime translations by Doug Skinner — we are happy to share the exceedingly rare photo below. It was recently unveiled by the Musée Alphonse Allais in Honfleur (Allais’s birthplace) and donated by Nicole et Xavier Artus. It shows Alphonse with his wife, Marguerite, and daughter, Paulette, at “La Ferme de la grande cour” (circa 1896). Of the location, Allais wrote: “I go there often, to this rustic inn, half farm, half hotel; I go there to drink a glass of fresh cider, under the apple trees and even have a bite to eat when the heart tells me…”

Below, we have taken the liberty of colorizing the photograph and improving its exposure. We think it brings the image to life.

Happy May Day to Allais and to all our visitors. Help us celebrate by ordering one of the master’s collections here.

Shocking and Scandalous!

THIS POST WAS UPDATED 4.30.22

Black Scat author Caroline Crépiat poses with her edition of LE CHAT NOIR EXPOSED at the recent exposition of Incohérents art at the l’Olympia in Paris. A true funhouse of exhibits and quite a scandal still, just as the early exposition in 1893 shocked the city. The Incoherents were irrational, satirical, iconoclastic and absurdist, but were they artists asked the public? “Mais oui,” exclaimed Jules Lévy, the founder of the Incoherent Art movement, “but these artists don’t know how to draw.” (haha)

Imagine the gasps of attendees when they spied Alphonse Allais‘s green cab curtain, titled Des souteneurs, encore dans la force de l’âge et le ventre dans l’herbe, boivent de l’absinthe (Pimps still in the prime of life and lying face down in the grass drink absinthe)—one of the earliest monochromes in the history of art!—shocking indeed.

Most of the original Incoherent’s artworks & ephemera did not survive, and could only be seen in 19th century illustrations. But then, in 2021, came a remarkable discovery in France — a large trunk with 17 examples of art by Incoherents, including Allais’s monochrome.

But wait…were these artworks real, or fakes and forgeries? And why was the show limited to only 4 hours of viewing?? (What next? A drive-thru exhibition?)

Experts, such as our friend, artist and critic, Corinne Taunay, have been investigating and discovered that several items (including Allais’s curtain!) aren’t authentic. Mon dieu! — another scandal rocks the Parisienne artworld! This brazen scam appears designed to reap enormous profit (10 million euros, anyone?) off the memory of dead avant-garde rebels.

Meanwhile, here in America where everything is branded “fake” today, we remain respectfully silent on the controversy. However, what we can guarantee is the authenticity of Ms. Crépiat’s LE CHAT NOIR EXPOSED. Indeed, her book is the real deal — translated from the French by the great Doug Skinner — an extraordinary work of scholarship that ‘exposes’ the liveliest fin-de-siècle bohemian cabaret and journal in Paris.

CLICK HERE and see for yourself.

NEW FICTION COLLECTION

SACRIFICE is perhaps Harold Jaffe’s most personal book, while at the same time assaulting the assaulters of an earth in its final throes. As always, the assaults are brilliantly multi-faceted: “unsituated” dialogues, razor-sharp satire, faux-reportage, precisely cadenced rhetoric, and a deep spirit-feeling for the disappeared and dispossessed—human, animal, and plant.

Each of Jaffe’s volumes has been groundbreaking. He has written some of the most innovative fiction of our time.Toby Olson

Harold Jaffe’s latest work, Sacrifice, is an omnidirectional cry of alarm and call to action concerning the multifarious and often extinction-level problems facing our world. In a series of insightful and often ironic short texts, ranging from docufiction tosocio-philosophical commentary and self-examination, beginning with references to Greek philosophers and meandering through the most critical issues of our day, Jaffe’s adept prose is a heart-filled and intellectualized reaction to terrestrial issues, a combination of rage, revulsion, and an implied plea for amelioration—in the fullest form of self-sacrifice, if necessary. Sebastian Bennett

SACRIFICE
Harold Jaffe
A BlackScat Paperback Original
140 pp., 7.13 x 7.25 inches; $12.95
ISBN 979-8-9859996-0-0


CRITICAL PRAISE FOR HAROLD JAFFE:

From the docufictional shards of GOOSESTEP emerges a savage prophetic voice as grief-maddened as Isis picking through the bones on illusion’s killing floor to reassemble a dream that cannot be reanimated.—Patricia Eakins

As TERROR-DOT-GOV vividly demonstrates: We are spiritually imperiled by illusions masked as “news.” Omissions, slants, pallid editorials all testifying to servitude to a slavish, enslaving “text.” Harold Jaffe knows this by heart. Everywhere in Terror-dot-Gov, is exemplary skill, faultless tonality, and courage. Don’t forget courage. —Daniel Berrigan, SJ


“Jaffe’s convincing portraits of the dispossessed are moving, insightful glimpses of the human spirit under stress.” —New York Times Book Review


As always, Jaffe’s writing is moving, comical, marvelously deft.”
Washington Post


Also Available from Black Scat:

This collection of Harold Jaffe’s short, one-act plays is exceptionally diverse. The nine innovative dramas feature Billie Holiday & Lester Young; Antonin Artaud & Georges Bataille; Marilyn Monroe & Marlon Brando; Samuel Beckett; condemned prisoners in Texas making their final statement before execution; Israelis & Palestinians in life-or-death dialogue; Charles Manson unleashed; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & Jim Morrison burning it at both ends; & the potently satirical “Splish Splash,” exploring gender discord.

JARRY LIVES!

Alfred Jarry spent his brief and turbulent life experimenting with genres of fiction. In his last few years, he created a new fictional form: the absurdist speculative essay. R J Dent’s new English translation of Speculations contains 68 of Jarry’s essays, originally printed between 1901 and 1904 as a series, ‘Spéculations’, in the French journal Le Revue Blanche.

In Jarry’s darkly comic collection of surrealist and satirical prose pieces, the renowned author deploys his characteristic satirical eye and dark humor to devastating effect. These essays range in tone from the wildly comic to the deeply tragic and cover a diversity of subjects, ranging from French Trees to Cannibalism. For Jarry, nothing is sacred; everything is worthy material for his surreal satire; the Passion is presented as a sporting event; buses are the prey of big game hunters, and even the Queen is licked from behind.

A series of sly investigations into fin de siècle France that reads like a beautiful & bloody
handful of paper cuts, splintered essays that turn authority on its head in sharp bursts of
wicked logic, R J Dent elegantly capturing Jarry’s iconoclastic spirit, his scandalous heart.

—Matthew Kinlin

Edible contents:

SPECULATIONS
Alfred Jarry
Translated by R J Dent
Paper; 5.06  x 7.81 inches; 235 pp., $15.95
ISBN 13 979-8-9859996-1-7 

AN ‘ANTHUMOUS’ WORK BY ALPHONSE ALLAIS

The master absurdist is back in LOVES, DELIGHTS, & ORGANS (Amours, délices et orgues). This madcap collection of stories, fables, hoaxes and jokes is pataphysical fun for the literate layabout. This first English translation features 47 sublime textual specimens — PLUS six additional stories, a rousing introduction, and enlightening notes on the translation by Allaisian scholar Doug Skinner. If you’ve yet to discover the bizarre world of Alphonse Allais, you’re in for a treat.

“Allais comes across as a very modern writer, and his work as an experimental enterprise which is exemplary in many ways… it is also quite possible to invoke such writers as Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Jorge Luis Borges.”  Jean-Marie Defays


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

   Alphonse Allais was born in the Northern port town of Honfleur, in Calvados, on October 20, 1854. He was, therefore, born in the same town as Erik Satie, and on the same day as Arthur Rimbaud. His father was a pharmacist, and sent young Alphonse to Paris to learn the family trade. Young Alphonse mostly cut his classes, and steeped himself in the absinthe-soaked delights of bohemian Montmartre.

   He joined the hard-drinking literary coterie the Hydropathes, accompanied the celebrated prankster Sapeck (Eugène Bataille) on his misadventures, submitted monochromatic pictures to the proto-Dada exhibitions of the Incohérents, and wrote squibs for various ephemeral papers. He became adept, in both word and deed, at the unique Parisian discipline of fumisme: a heady mix of hoaxing, provocation, and iconoclasm, all delivered with deadpan aplomb. Although he’d abandoned chemistry, his scientific credentials gave him a perspective (and persona) that set him apart from the more febrile poets around him. He was often likened to an English schoolmaster, with a placid demeanor that made his wild ideas all the more startling. [from the introduction by Doug Skinner]