Amsterdam-based Ins & Outs Press sprang into being in 1980 as a natural extension of Ins & Outs magazine, the first three issues of which were edited by Eddie Woods and Jane Harvey in 1978 (as was a fourth bonanza issue in 1980). Until mid-1992, Eddie and Jane ran the press from a centuries-old monument building located on the quiet fringe of Amsterdam’s red-light district. During the first two years the press was also home to an alternative bookstore, and thereafter to a gallery plus performance space.
Through their numerous international contacts, Ins & Outs developed into a hotbed of poetry and radical cultural activity in the heart of a town that at the time was going through a rowdy and violent phase in its legendary anti-authoritarian history. Among others, Ins & Outs published Allen Ginsberg, Ira Cohen, Paul Bowles, William Levy, Gregory Corso, and Gerard Malanga, et al. And also staged live readings by Jack Micheline, Harold Norse, and Herbert Huncke.
Sea Urchin salutes Ins & Outs and is proud to distribute the remaining stock of this uncompromising literary press, that in 2005 resurfaced from a long hiatus with the publication of Eddie Woods’ classic poetry collection Tsunami of Love: A Poems Cycle.
Natural Jewboy – subtitled ‘an epic wonder tale composed of stories, chants & rhapsodies, or an evening with the author’ – is a collection of prose and verse by William Levy published by Ins & Outs Press, Amsterdam in 1981.
William Levy (1939) developed into a spearhead of the European underground soon after he had left the US in 1966. As co-editor (with John Michell) of the controversial “Souvenir Programme for the Official Lynching of Michael Abdul Malik” and as chief-editor of the subversive European magazines International Times, The Fanatic and Suck, Levy soon found himself refused entry to England as a “thoroughly undesirable character” and a “dealer in pornography”. A journal of his five-day stay in a detention centre before being deported from Harwich is included in Natural Jewboy. It was first published in Oz magazine in 1970. Other chapters of Natural Jewboy also saw their first publication in European underground magazines, the most notorious being “Dupes of Passion”, a caustic piece on Burroughs’ ex-lover Ian Sommerville that happened to be published in The Fanatic in 1976 on the very day that Sommerville was killed in a car crash. Part of Natural Jewboy deals with the aftermath of this tragic coincidence, in which Levy was accused by several fellow-writers of “scripto-kinesis”: of having killed Sommerville with his words. Another chapter of Natural Jewboy describes Levy’s disappointing visit to the Universal Sufi Centre in Katwijk aan Zee. Yet another one – tellingly called “Greed in Neon” – is an account of Levy meeting Jerry Rubin.
Throughout the book Levy observes, takes apart and demystifies exponents of the counterculture that he himself helped shape and forms part of. Levy doesn’t mince words and spares no one, least of all himself. But there’s more to Natural Jewboy than these cool, ironic and elegant observations: every now and then chants flare up in the book, wild invocations, hot sexual fantasies and memories, which Levy describes candidly and in great detail. “History without gossip is a dry biscuit’, Levy explains and adds: “Natural Jewboy? And why Natural Jewboy?” Because the Jews are a perpetual thorn in the Christian consciousness, hostile witnesses whose testimony is necessary to one half of the creed, and contradictory to the other. As it is said, He who bends his knee to nothing in this world, is called Jew. By their very nature, for Christ’s sake!’
Actor, filmmaker, publisher and poet Piero Heliczer (1937-1993) published his compilation ‘you coul hear the snow melting and falling into the deers mouth’ (printed ‘coul’ instead of ‘could’ on the cover of the book due to insufficient letters d in the typecase) through his own Dead Language Press in 1958 in Paris, where he had recently moved with his friend and fellow-poet Angus McLise. To be able to print his limited editions Heliczer would use whatever paper stock and letterpress typecase he could lay his hands on. In that sense alone Dead Language Press was a true underground press but, of course, in the first place through the publication of works by controversial artists and poets such as Jack Smith, Gregory Corso and Anselm Hollo. Before moving back to the US in 1962 Heliczer crossed The Channel to London, where he produced his first 8-mm film ‘The Autumn Feast’ together with Jeff Keen in 1961. The recording of Heliczer reading all the poems of ‘you coul hear the snow melting and falling into the deers mouth’ stems from these London days. It appears to be the only surviving recording of Heliczer reading poetry.
On the C-30 cassette that Bart De Paepe’s Sloow Tapes dedicated to this unique recording we hear Heliczer’s gentle and dreamy voice wander through his poems, now slowing down, then speeding up again, giving wings to the words and evoking fleeting visions in a seemingly detached manner: the angel smells of wood / don’t take any wooden strangers / the angel says / he smells of skirts / his waistcoat of otter fur / with heron beak buttons / it is chilly in the clear air / above the fog / the angel finally enters heaven
Lee Rockey (1926-2002) was a swinging jazz drummer in the 1940s and 50s, who played with Herbie Mann and Neal Hefti among others. In the late 1960s – after he had moved from New York to Portland, Oregon – Rockey started playing a modified flat bridge violin, cello, oscillators, combined them with free drumming and used a Teac 2340 4-channel tape deck (as soon as those were available) to layer tracks in his own studio.
‘Brass Ring’ is one of the very rare finished and named compositions from that period. Smegma’s Ju Suk Reet Meate released this unique piece from the late 1970s on Pigface Records. All instruments are played by Lee Rockey on this intense, multi-layered composition of avant-garde electronics, free jazz, and psychedelia. Rockey takes you on a trip across constantly shifting planes while being bombarded by an array of electronic sounds. The ride ends with the contrasting ‘natural’ sounds of a spoken outro and a recording of backyard birds.
This informal and improvised studio jam session of The Tenses (Ju Suk Reet Meate and Rock and Roll Jackie) and MSHR (Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper) was recorded in 2012 at Smegma’s studio in the Planet Purple Room, Portland. Ju Suk Reet Meate edited and mixed the recording and released it as Pigface 019 in 2013. MSHR’s sculptural use of electronic sounds and The Tenses’ deconstructionist and psychedelic approach of music blend perfectly into a strange, at times disconcerting but always otherworldly soundscape. Your machetes are no good in this colourful jungle. The only way out is to welcome the jaguar’s teeth into your skull.
This bilingual edition contains the transcript of an interview of Mike Kelley by Thomas Kellein, then director of Kunsthalle Basel, before an audience at Centre d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, 1992. The English conversation is printed in black, its German translation in red. Several landmark works and installations that Kelley put together in the late 1980s/early 1990s (e.g. Lumpenprole, Pay For Your Pleasure, From My Institution To Yours) are discussed and clarified in this meandering discussion, so are briefly Kelley’s performances: “Because my work started in conceptualism and was based on systems of logic, the best way of ending a work was to present it live, as theater”, explains Kelley, “The theater is the traditional way of presenting a false belief system live. At the end of a project, I would do a performance where I would perform the system of logic to the best of my abilities, to convince people that it was true. Then it was over, I could get rid of that system of beliefs and work on another one.”