Other Scenes


Fifth Estate # 6, March 20-April 1, 1966

Skeptics about Happenings—the kind of person who says, “I’ve seen one and I don’t like them”—should visit Al Hansen’s loft at 119 Avenue D. It is like finding yourself In the attic of a childhood you only heard about but never knew. “I had always enjoyed the fact that people visiting me couldn’t tell in many cases whether a thing was a work of art or a useful household object,” writes Hansen in his book, “A Primer of Happenings & Time/Space Art” (Something Else Press, $4.50). “Friends who knew very well what art is and isn’t would even make jokes such as, ‘May I sit in this chair, or Is it by George Brecht?’ or ‘Can I put my cigarette out in this, or is it part of an assemblage?'”

If vicestooge HH had the guts to express his OWN opinions he could be the next president—which, with the polarization of views over Vietnam, will certainly never be his fate as long as he stays a yesman…

Law is what the judges say it is—for those with the cash to find out (Paul Maag)… On sale in Japan is a new language-training device to be installed in the toilet. As soon as the door is opened a tape-recorded voice greets the visitor with “Good morning, how are you?” and continues with phrases in English for three minutes. “The tapes can be changed each day, the lessons becoming progressively more difficult, and the manufacturers guarantee that after a few months the visitor will know enough English to make himself understood abroad,” according to a writer in Tokyo’s “The East” magazine, who speculates on what the linguist answers when asked where he learned to speak English so well….

Fantastic distribution of car-stickers reading “Mary Poppins Is a Junkie” has encouraged W/Coast types to start selling them (50 cents from ‘Bumper Sticker,’ L.A. Free Press, 8226 Sunset, 90046)… If ever an anti-Franco movement gets off the ground in Spain and threatens that country’s Fascist government, don’t assume that the U.S. will support the rebels. As “Spain Today” ($3 from Box 159, Cathedral P.O., NYC 10025) points out, the U.S. has extensive bases In Spain and “military experts are convinced that the U.S. would never voluntarily abandon these bases or allow them to be endangered by revolutionary pressures or turmoil.”…

Reader Henry Ford Allard points out that a fake book jacket can be made for any embarrassing book by ripping off the covers of a Gideon bible, available in any hotel room….

Shortest introduction to contemporary American sculpture is via current abstract art magazine, “It Is” ($4.95 from 5 Great Jones Street, NYC 10012) which contains first-rate photographs of the work of everyone from Peter Agostini, Elaine De Kooning, Louise Nevelson and Noguchi to Oldenburg, George Segal and Zogbaum. (Also included: some banal and boring discussions that sound as though they were left over from the old Waldorf cafeteria days and, indeed, bear the same title.)…

Stockholder pressure, says the Gallagher President’s Report, has caused some big firms to reduce their donations to charity; too often, apparently, the money has been given to “corporate officers’ pet projects.”

The toughest, brightest social-action paper on the West Coast, the Berkeley Barb (10 cents from 2421 Oregon Street, Berkeley, Calif.) has discovered a hot new cartoonist, Joel Beck…

HUAC’s investigation of the KKK—a vivid spectacle of one American anachronism investigating another American anachronism—has failed to explore the larger issues: “the links between the Klan and politics and between the Klan and Southern community leaders—the bankers, judges, merchants,” writes Washington Star reporter Haynes Johnson in the January Progressive (50 cents from 408 W street, Madison, Wisconsin)….

The National Council of Churches is spending $41,000 to sponsor a series of six color television spot announcements to attract more churchgoers. If you believe, as I do, that this is stupid, wasteful and sinful when the money could be better spent alleviating somebody’s poverty or misfortune, I suggest you can tell Rev, William Fore, a National Council of Churches executive, who has described the cost as “quite low”: His telephone number is (212) 870-2567….

“If God hadn’t meant us to integrate he wouldn’t have standardized the parts.” (Godfrey Cambridge)…

Alfred Bester writes in P.S, a new monthly, that because of pressure from SNCC and CORE some TV advertisers agreed to the use of Negroes in commercials—but strictly in accordance with the percentage of Negro population. “Their accountants came down to the agencies and worked it all out on their slide rules.”

Inheritance taxes, or death duties, are obviously a sensible way to redistribute the wealth in any economy. Surely there should be a law prohibiting anybody from starting life with, say, more than a million dollars while so many starve. Article in the BBC’s Listener magazine (Dec. 2) talks about the loopholes in Britain’s inheritance laws. Most common way is to setup an annuity—i.e. give the money away—at least five years before death….

Coming up at Cinematheque: Tony Fox’s color short consisting of 15-second shots of “beautiful” bare asses….

John Lindsay will be President….

“…Prince Charming, who’s been in every fairy’s tail. Listen to this cat’s schedule, man: Monday he balls the Sleeping Beauty; Tuesday, Humpty Dumpty, Friday, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men. He’s the biggest stud In fairyland.” (Comic J.J. Barry at Improvisations)….

A Milanese architect has suggested freezing the entire Leaning Tower of Pisa inside a block of ice “like a chicken in aspic.” Reporting on this (among hundreds of schemes to stop the Tower’s inevitably fatal decline), “The Italian Scene” (free from any local Italian consulate) says that the architect’s exotic brainchild has been accompanied with all the necessary technical details and blueprints. “On paper, at least, it looks foolproof.”