Winter/SPRING 2015: Richard was contacted by Pussy Riot's U.S. representative last December (2014). She said they wanted to meet him. After ascertaining that he wasn't being pranked, his eyes went moist and he started neatening his apartment. A gang of the Russians tumbled by for gumbo and whiskey (Nadya posted a picture of her and Masha with Richard from the visit), and then everybody ended up in the studio that night (till 7:00 AM). Pussy Riot had been participating in Eric Garner protests and wanted to make a song about the Garner horror. Also in the studio were musicians Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (check the control room snapshot he posted), Andrew Wyatt (of Miike Snow), and Shahzad Ismaily (of Mark Ribot's Ceramic Dog). The spectacular Sasha Klokova (of Jack Wood) sang, and the basic composition was by Matt Kulakov (of Scofferlane), both of which Russians had been enlisted by Pussy Riot for this visit to the U.S. Masha asked Richard to speak on the recording and he did. The track was created in the studio on two nights that December week, but wasn't released until late February, 2015, once Nadya and Masha completed a video for it in Moscow. Read the original announcement of the song's release and see the two separate videos created for it. The videos were viewed over a half million times in the first two weeks of their release ...Former leader of the now defunct The Virgins, solo artist Donald Cumming was a knockout in his appearance at the most recent installment of Symphony Space's "Night Out With Richard Hell" series. See one, first,
two, second, and three, altogether, audience pictures posted from that hot, sweet night. Now, at the Symphony Space website, you can hear all the audio--Richard's interview as well as the performance set of each artist--from the first three bookings: astonishing "cowpunk" singer/songwriter Lydia Loveless, brilliant poet Ariana Reines, and stunning filmmaker Kelly Reichardt. There's one more event scheduled in the series. On Friday, April 3, Richard will interview the artist Jayson Musson, who originally broke through to an adoring public in the guise of "Hennessy Youngman," an hilarious as well as surgically incisive commentor on the art world (check a Hennessy Youngman YouTube clip). Musson's history and career will be discussed as well as displayed in multimedia (see shots of his most recent show at Salon 94). Here's where to reserve Richard Hell/Jayson Musson tickets. The Village Voice published an interview with Richard about the series ...In the February Teen Vogue, Miley Cyrusreiterated her love for Richard's autobiography I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp ...There's a pretty extensive interview with Richard beginning on p. 74 of the new San Francisco Arts Quarterly
FALL 2014: Richard's NEW PERFORMANCE SERIES, "Night Out with Richard Hell"--this coming season Richard will curate and host a series of evenings of performances for Symphony Space in NYC, each of which will be accompanied by Hell's live onstage interview of the artist he's presenting that night. You can view the program listings and buy tickets here. First off will be Lydia Loveless, 17 Oct, 2014 (Lydia is the only singer/songwriter the power of whose music and voice consistently makes Richard cry); Ariana Reines, 14 Nov, 2014 (Ariana is an ever fresh through-and-through true poet who rivets from the stage as well--Richard wrote about her at Bookforum); Kelly Reichardt, 4 Dec, 2014 (Kelly will be presenting her filmmaking apotheosis to date, the astonishing 2011 Meek's Cutoff, about which Richard wrote for the DVD release package, "Over and over this movie does things differently than other movies. Kelly Reichardt is brave and stubborn. Like the characters in her film, she's determined to find her way to [...] new territories and she knows she can only rely on her own instincts and judgement to figure out, moment by moment, how to get there. Regardless of the fate of her westward wagoning pioneers, in this movie Reichardt arrives."); Donald Cumming, 12 Feb, 2015 (along with Karen O. and Julian Casablancas, D. is one of the most innately talented NYC rock and roll/pop musician/singer/songwriters to come up in the oughts--he founded and led the Virgins 2007-2013, and will have a new solo album out just about the time of the "Night Out" event). The interviews will last 20-30 minutes and the performances 40-50 (except the film, which is feature length and will be projected through 35mm celluloid). The room is the Thalia Theater, which seats only 168, so these are intimate evenings. Expect bonuses. Once again, for tickets go here and click on the events of your choice. ...Speaking of Richard interviewing artists, we never posted Hell's funny 2013 talk with the middle school metal band Unlocking the Truth that just signed a major contract with Sony ...Continuing catch-up--for you poetry loving bibliophiles, Serpentine Gallery in London commemorated its 2009 Poetry Marathon with one of the coolest-designed book sets we've ever seen, a two volume, illustrated, physically interlocking set that includes every text presented by the dozens of poets and artists, including Richard as well as Tracey Emin, Brian Eno, Eileen Myles, Jeremy Reed, Barry Schwabsky, Kenneth Goldsmith, Sean Bonney, etc.; at Serpentine and at Amazon ...There's a well-done radio podcast interview by Sean Cannon of Richard about Hell's autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp ...Chris Stein and Debby Harry have always been salt and pepper of the CBGB earth. Chris has now published a book of his photos, called Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie, and the Advent of Punk, mostly of Debby but with plenty of pictures of other players from the '70s and later, including a number of Hell (in fact, in the NY Times Chris called Hell, "after Debbie, probably my favorite person to photograph"), such as this and this...
Early April 2014 ACTION:Watch and hear Sheelagh Bevan, Richard's wife, describe for PBS (channel 13 in New York) the current show on woodcuts and the modern book she curated for the Morgan Library and Museum... Hell has a little piece on the Velvet Underground in the current New York Magazine... The 33 1/3 book on Hell's Blank Generation LP drops this week and its author, Pete Astor, has created an odd--sometimes inaccurate--abecedary of "the blank generation" at the publisher's website... There's a new enlarged edition of Christopher Makos's early "punk" glamour nightlife photo book (featuring some of the best pictures of Hell taken by anyone 1974-1976), White Trash, now retitled White Trash Uncut out May 1 (discount copies already available at Amazon)...
MARCH 2014 R. HELL APPEARANCES: Except for the evening at the Art Institute in Chicago, these events all celebrate the publication February 18 of the paperback edition of Richard's autobiography I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp. Three of them are public interviews. The bookstore appearances all also include book signings for customers...
Tue, 4 Mar: B'klyn, NY
^--powerHouse Arena interv. by Robt. Christgau, w/ signing
Thu, 13 Mar: Chicago, IL
^--Art Institute on bill with James Nares film Street (w/ live Thurston Moore guitar), and Joe McPhee/Milford Graves live jazz
Fri, 14 Mar: Chicago, IL
^--Seminary Co-op/57th St. Books reading/signing
Thu, 20 Mar: New York, NY
^--Strand Book Store interv. by Bryan Waterman, w/ signing
Sat, 22 Mar: New York, NY
^--Cooper Union Great Hall interv. by Brandon Stosuy in a program that also includes a panel of Vivien Goldman, Kathleen Hanna, and Tamar-kali, moderated by Avital Ronell, on occasion of "Punk Turns 40" [attendees of sponsoring NYU conference will be admitted at 6:30, general public at 7:10]
LANDMARK Good News (at least to us): As of November 19 Warner/Rhino has been replacing the online audio files of Hell's 2005 "best of" compilation, Spurts, with incomparably better-sounding newly remastered versions. The difference is that the 2005 masters were degraded, due to a miscommunication in the last stages of preparing the album, by being extremely compressed/limited, so that they were loud but all dynamics were gone and they sounded like a blare. This fall Richard went into the mastering studios at Sterling sound with the brilliant Greg Calbi (who mastered the original Blank Generation album in 1977) and, helped by a third set of great ears on the person of Mr. Don Fleming, Greg restored the whole CD to optimum condition. The new kick-ass tracks are up at most merchandisers, including iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. So far the song titles are not individually described as new masters--though at most sites the album title states "(Remastered)"--but you can be sure it's the full 21 newly remastered cuts when you see that the song "Downtown at Dawn" runs 5:59 or so; on the original Spurts it's 4:07. Eventually the jewel-boxed CD at Amazon will be replaced too, but we don't know how long that will take. This is already a long entry here, but we'll explain further what happened within a few weeks... MORE good news: Richard's wife, Sheelagh Bevan, a curator at the world-class Morgan Museum and Library, has up her first full-scale show, an examination of the Booker Prize. Her investigations are recounted at The Millions... Richard was video interviewed by curator Katherine Brinson for the Guggenheim museum about Richard's friend and idol, Christopher Wool, whose magnificent restrospective is now on view at the museum. There's an audio snippet of the interview up, and you can download the app for the videos there. Here are some pictures of Hell reading at the recent performance event Wool curated for the museum... The issue of New Savage featuring a Hell story and pix is online (p. 27), as well as at newsstands... The knockout Lydia Loveless has a great new streamable EP out... A video interview with Richard by Dazed and Confused magazine on the subject of NYC and music was edited to provide voiceover for a short film. It features an amazing schoolkid band called Unlocking the Truth.
This is nice: Happy Birthday, Richard Hell. (Play it--it's free for streaming.) Sixty-four today, October 2.
UPCOMING R. HELL APPEARANCES
(They're all readings except for FL--where he'll introduce two favorite movies--and Richard will take questions and sign books at each, except for the Guggenheim, NY. Details in the venue links below...): Fri, 13 Sept: Hudson, NY
^--Basilica Wed, 9 Oct: Columbus, OH
^--Wexner Center Thu, 17 Oct: Memphis, TN
^--Brooks Museum Sat, 16 Nov: Jacksonville, FL
^--Sun-Ray Cinema Wed, 20 Nov: NYC, NY
^--Guggenheim Museum Sat, 7 Dec: Tokyo, Japan
^--Shinjuku Harmonic Hall
UNIQUE NEW INTERVIEW+: The sensitivities of interviewer Amy Rose Spiegel make this one at BuzzFeed weirdly poignant. It's also the first where Richard makes blanket comments on the Metropolitan Museum's "punk" costume exhibit, though he's also quoted criticizing the museum in a New York Times article for representing CBGB in the show with facsimiles of its toilets. Richard's preface to the exhibit's catalogue is good. The catalogue, with all its text and added photos, is better than the show itself. In other zone twilight news, Richard Lloyd of Television responds to the show with some warped reminiscencing about the 1974-75 beginnings of the band, although he's soberingly generous, in ways, to Hell, considering how Hell is not so kind to him in Tramp. Speaking of Hell's autobiography, there's an excellent bit of background recently posted by Britain's Uncut magazine, comprising interviews with band members and the original producers discussing the process of recording Richard's song "Blank Generation." Another blog report on Richard's reading at Powell's in Portland has surfaced.
CHICAGO READINGS, AND MORE MEDIA: Richard will appear twice in Chicago in the coming few days--a full-scale reading at Harper College on Wednesday, May 1, a half hour from the city, in Palatine, IL, and then in Chicago proper on Thursday, May 2 at the Book Cellar. A new favorite Tramp review: this, by Bryan Waterman, author of the book on Marquee Moon in the 33 1/3 series. The New York Times has just published two pieces about the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute show about punk and couture (opening May 9), in which Hell is included: here and here. There are further confidences, repectively regarding Proust, blowjobs, and "breasts like twin Eeyores," in new interviews with Richard at the local weekly in Vancouver, Canada, at Nerve, and at MTV's Hive. There's also online an hourlong audio interview conducted by WFMU's Benjamin Walker. To close out, for the tireless among you, there's also another blog review of Richard's recent San Francisco reading, as well as an unbelievably sweet audio account by a young woman named Jaime Fountain of her encounters with Richard.
ADDED READING/SIGNING IN BROOKLYN: Richard will appear at BookCourt in Brooklyn on Wednesday, May 15th. See details. More media: "I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp fearlessly recounts the social, musical and narcotic history of downtown culture and punk rock: poverty, ennui, safety pins, foreign films, misanthropes and a dead turtle Hell kept in a glass jar..." relates Playboy in its "Sex and Music" issue. There's a long and stubbornly interesting Hell interview, despite its weirdly awful editing and editorial inaccuracies and mis-transcriptions, at the blog of Bomb magazine.
ADDED READING/SIGNING AND MORE MEDIA: On Wednesday, April 3, at 6:30 Richard will read from TRAMP for 20 minutes or so, followed by a book-signing, and a reception, with beverages, at Fales Library, NYU, all free. Details at HarperCollins page. The media coverage of the book in reviews and interviews has become too much for us to keep up with, but here are some highlights... Dwight Garner is a bit square in the New York Times, but he quotes Richard so much, he made us want to buy the book immediately. Cool reviews were written by Legs McNeil at The Daily Beast, and by Dean Wareham at an interesting new site called TheTalkhouse. There's a more literarily oriented review at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and a review/interview at Canada's biggest paper, The Globe and Mail. Last but pretty interesting, see video of Richard's entire 50 minute interview from his NYC Barnes & Noble event.
TRAMP IS NOW IN STORES (Would somebody please counter those fool bush-league headbanged customer-reviewers at Amazon???)... The eminent Robert Christgau logs in with the most thoughtful of the early reviews, and, so far, the best-done print Hell-book interview is at Artinfo. Important reviews were published by USA Today and the Boston Globe. "Hell has the remarkable ability to impart the cultural and personal significance of those years without sounding sanctimonious or bloated with nostalgia. Whether fondly recalling his derelict peers and the songs they wrote together, or describing the adult feeling heroin gave him, Hell makes the grit gleam," writes Newsday. See an interview with pictures at Interview magazine, and hear a second WNYC public radio Hell conversation--this with John Schaefer at "Soundcheck."
HELL BOOK T-SHIRT: Richard is reading/signing at Bookmarc in NYC (400 Bleecker St.), Tuesday 19 March at 6:00 PM. The shop was created by clothing designer Marc Jacobs, and the good people at that company have designed and printed a t-shirt (in a limited edition of 300) honoring Hell and the book. It will be available at the reading.
BROWSE TRAMP ONLINE: HarperCollins has now put up a searchable browsing version of (substantial portions of) Richard's new autobiography.
"PUNK" AT THE MET: In May, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art--one of the great museums of the world--will present a massive show at its Costume Institute treating punk's influence on highest fashion. Richard contributed a preface to its catalog (a second preface was provided by John Lydon). You can read a discussion of the show's intentions at this blog (scroll down at the page to find the Met's press release).
READ CHAPTER ONE: an exact PDF reproduction, including photographs, from Hell's Tramp autobio book. (Hang in there, it's 17 mb and takes a minute to load.)
RICHARD'S UPCOMING BOOK SIGNINGS: readings of I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, include (all free): --Mar 14: NYC Barnes & Noble, Union Sq. (hosted interview) --Mar 15: Huntington (LI) NY Book Revue --Mar 19: NYC Bookmarc --Mar 21: Seattle WA Rendezvous Bar (hosted interv.) --Mar 23: Portland OR Powell's Books --Mar 25: San Francisco CA City Lights --Mar 27: Los Angeles CA Skylight Books --Mar 30: Minneapolis, MN The Soap Factory --Apr 3: NYC Fales Library, NYU (Washington Sq.) --May 2: Chicago, IL The Book Cellar --May 15: Brooklyn, NY BookCourt...
For more details, see HarperCollins page.
1978 HELL FEATURE FILM STREAMED FREE: you can now watch online the entire execrable but tempting Blank Generation, starring Carole Bouquet and Richard. Fast-forward to the Hell & the Voidoids performance footage. Read Richard's take on the film
Richard was romantically involved for about two years, from when he was 19 and she was 34, with Patty Oldenburg,
at the time she was getting divorced from pop artist Claes Oldenburg. She recently offered for sale her personal archive (scroll down on that page to a wild 1970 photo
of Richard and Patty). She discusses it at Gallerist. Richard is represented in the collection by hundreds of letters as well as poems and drawings, and the archive was bought by the same library, the NYU Fales, where Richard's papers are kept. Fales has up their guide to Patty's papers.
In Austin, TX, Richard hosts and introduces his choice of a double feature--Kiss Me Deadly and Touch of Evil--on Sunday, May 27, and then does same for a new restored print of King Kong the following evening. This is at the Alamo Roadhouse, astounding theater where you are unobtrusively served food and cocktails while the classic celluloid motion picture is projected before you on a giant screen. All three of these shows are now sold out.
On Thursday, April 26, Richard will introduce a screening of Robert Bresson's bad-ass masterpiece The Devil, Probably for The Brooklyn Academy of Music's Bresson retrospective. See details.
Last year Supreme, the skateboard/apparel company, posted at their website a video they'd had made of Terry Richardson photographing Lady Gaga for a Supreme ad campaign, and used for the soundtrack to it Hell & the Voidoids' "Blank Generation." They used the song without permission and Warner's threatened suit and Supreme settled out of court. We think the video is actually kind of brilliant and it has now surfaced again, so check it out.
We'd like to belatedly announce the publication by Chronicle Books of ART WORK: Seeing Inside the Creative Process (2011), a collection, edited by Ivan Vartanian, of selections from the notebooks of various artists. It contains an interesting selection of pages by Richard, as well as Will Self, Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra, Merce Cunningham, and others. We have up a draft of the Hell contribution to the anthology.
Amazing variety and quantity, though some are repeated, of pictures of Richard at Tumblr. Click on pictures to enlarge them...
If you read the below review from Austin, you'll know there was an inadvertent early leak a couple of weeks ago, but now it's official -- Hell's autobiography (to age 34), entitled I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, which he's spent much of the last five years writing, has been bought by Ecco/HarperCollins. The most accurate report of the book deal is in the New York Observer. We're really thrilled. Here are the details in the press release at the HarperCollins site. [11 Oct 2011]
Hell wrote the "liner notes" essay for Oscilloscope's release of the DVD of Kelly Reichardt's mesmerizing movie, Meek's Cutoff. It's a great movie. Read about it and then buy a DVD with Richard's essay. The Blu-Ray is spectacular.
The bassist Frank Bello, from the band Anthrax, plays Richard in a movie-in-progress about Jeff Buckley that's built around a 1991 concert tribute to Tim Buckley during which Jeff was more or less first publicly introduced as a performer in New York. Wack but true.
Richard donated an artwork to be auctioned this Friday, June 17 to benefit a writer's retreat program created by Michele Tea's Radar Productions in San Francisco. More info and an interview by Michelle of Richard are at the Radar site...
A chapter of Richard's auto-bio-in-progress has been published by the important alternative book review magazine Rain Taxi as a pamphlet. Chapter 28 is a mind-boggling meditation on the author's sex life in the punk 1970's, and is only available from the Rain Taxi chapbook list, as it is published as a benefit for the magazine.
At 4:00 PM on Fri, Nov. 5th, 2010, Richard will take part in a discussion about (artists') books with Josh Smith and Christopher Wool (both of whom Richard has worked with on the production of books that are available on site). The event is the keynote presentation of this year's New York Art Book Fair Conference at the Museum of Modern Art's PS1 in Queens.
Now up online: Richard reviews, in current Bookforum, Dear Sandy, Hello, a collection of Ted Berrigan's 1962 letters to his bride.