Archive for the ‘an accordion’ Category

RIP, Bruno Schleinstein (Bruno S.)

August 11, 2010

Nobody expects an accordion.

R.I.P. to Bruno S., aka Bruno Schleinstein. June 2, 1932 – August 11, 2010. May you never descend to a loch der vergessenheit.

Mr. S. was most famously featured in the Werner Herzog film Stroszek (1977), which was written expressly for him after his turn as the titular character in Herzog’s The Enigma of Kasper Hauser (1974). Herzog insisted on Schleinstein for both roles despite his total lack of acting experience. The character of Bruno Stroszek was broadly based on the real-life Bruno Schleinstein, insomuchas he was able to convey himself to Mr. Herzog, though Herzog reports he was suspicious and uncomfortable beneath the focus of the director’s attention.

An unbelievably accomplished accordion player with a love of classic performance, Mr. Schleinstein was an abused child who spent much of his young life in mental institutions. When Herzog knew him, he was an weekend accordion player and forklift driver at a car manufacturers’. Mr. S. had recently quit smoking and drinking for health reasons.

via chainedandperfumed right here on the wordpress.

“Do you know who that is?” my friend Ingrid had asked me when she came by my family’s apartment one day late last spring. An old musician was seated before a rickety cardboard box below the window. He sang in a croaking voice on the empty sidewalk in the afternoon sunshine, his back toward the brick church across the street.

“That’s Bruno S.,” Ingrid said excitedly. She looked as if she had come across Marlene Dietrich, returned from the dead.

(“From Berlin’s Hole of Forgottenness, a Spell of Songs.” Kimmelmann, Michael. The New York Times. December 24, 2008.)

Recently, with Christmas coming, we dropped in to ask how he was doing. This is not a good season for people who are alone. He said he hated the Christmas markets around town, where “the gentlemen who go in come out like plucked chickens with all their feathers flying, and such beautiful colored feathers.” That’s how Bruno tends to talk. He makes up words and phrases or borrows them from old songs and gives them a twist. Liederbann: a spell of songs. Das Loch der vergessenheit: the hole of forgottenness. He says he transmits (durchgeben) his songs, he doesn’t sing them.

When the conversation turns to Mr. Herzog or to his mother or brother and sister, words tend to fail him, and he becomes distraught. Otherwise he’s mischievous, puckish, remote but always glad for the company.


Schleinstein says he transmits (German: durchgeben) his songs, he doesn’t sing them.

(the wiki)

What a lovely and expressive thought in terms of art and our relationship with the universe. When I write my nonfiction work, I like to describe the process as an archaelogist brushing and digging gently away at a vast skeleton, a fossil buried in the earth which only resembles sense as it takes shape. Once, I read in a philosophy book that a particular german philosopher’s translation of “this is the chair” was better expressed as “The chair gives itself to us.” Is this so and can anyone recall which philosopher? Because that blew my mind.

R.I.P. again to a true individual. Many happy returns to this earth, Mr. S.

Special thanks to @SashaGrey for bringing Bruno Schleinstein’s death today to my attention, ahead of news and wiki alerts. She’d heard it from Chris Campion. Please do give her a follow on the twitter: like the Transformers and all truly good things in life, there is more to the admirable, lovely and talented Ms. Grey than meets the eye.

edit: This was my original source for this entry. I came online this morning expecting to find more official notices, obits, etc, and none have turned up yet, so if it turns out to be a case of mistaken identity and Mr. S has not yet shuffled off the mortal coil, I will be the first to toast the fact that he’s still with us. Now I’m really looking forward to the chance he’s not yet passed. I’ll keep searching periodically and keep you posted.

edit, 8-12-10, around 5 pm PDT: Fuck, dudes. It looks like Bruno Schleinstein definitely is dead. The German Press Agency is reporting that he died of heart failure. Sorry for the king-sized cuss but I’d got my hopes up earlier today that it was one of those “rumors of my blah have been greatly blah” situations. R.I.P. to Mr. S. again. God bless him and everyone who is always themself no matter what.

William Blake Month: Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: “The Tigers of Wrath”

June 23, 2010

Berlin, Germany

The quote comes from “Proverbs of Hell,” a chapter in William Blake’s gnostic text The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

The book has been interpreted as an anticipation of Freudian and Jungian models of the mind, illustrating a struggle between a repressive superego and an amoral id. It has also been interpreted as an anticipation of Nietzsche’s theories* about the difference between slave morality and master morality.

(the wiki)

*cf: in particular Nietzsche’s camel – lion – child model of human thought and behavior as outlined in Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen / Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (1883-1885).

Portions of this post appeared originally on December 5, 2009.

William Blake Month: Binding with briars my joys and desires

June 19, 2010


I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

In the ruins of St. Ebba’s Lunatic Asylum. Epsom, Surrey, England.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore,

Photographed by Ellen von Unwerth for her book Revenge.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

(William Blake, “The Garden of Love.”)

Binding with briars my joys and desires.

Who will take your dreams away?

Music Moment: The Tom Fun Orchestra

October 20, 2009

Today I am all about dark, quirky, folksy Nova Scotia indie rockers The Tom Fun Orchestra. Don’t they look cute? And like real people.

The Tom Fun Orchestra – Tar Pond Tango

If you are in a mood for monotonous, predictable music that you can have on in the background while you do something mindless like drive in a large group of chatting people, or if you do not care with what music you fill your mind whatsoever, and despise creativity and creepiness and roots-style swampy fun, then this band is not for you at all. Skip this post, scroll down the page to BDSM Catwoman pics and keep listening to some godawful derivative unimaginative all-alike tripe like Coldplay. They’re your ears. But if you are a One for quirk and high times, read on!

Here is the UK MVA Best Animation-nominated video for the track “Bottom of the River,” directed by Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney. Other nominees were Coldplay, Prodigy, Hauscha and Röyksopp. (For the unhappy record, Shynola won for Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing,” which basically swept all categories. This is the explanation for my earlier left-field tall glass of Coldplay-haterade, although I admit I do most of the time generally dislike them.)

The video is entirely animated, very creative, spooky, and fun and well-suited for just-before-Halloween.

The Tom Fun Orchestra – Watchmaker
At first you think it’s a creepy stalker song, which I am not opposed to, but then it ends up being kind of a metaphor for God. I think, anyway. I mean, it’s a pretty obvious and heavyhanded symbolism right out of the gate just from choosing the loaded term “watchmaker,” in the opening lyrics so for once I can honestly say that I doubt I’m misinterpreting it.

The Tom Fun Orchestra – Last of the Curious Thieves

I’m going to try to let the wiki handle this one because I’m still not feeling totally my tippy toppy bestest. The Tom Fun Orchestra “combines elements of folk, roots, blues, rock and punk to create a sound that is at once familiar yet entirely unique” (wiki). I don’t know about the punk part but I am in no kind of mood to get in to that debate today.

To me, sounds like: the Pogues, Creedence, Tom Waits, Billy Childish, Dan Melchior, the Holmes Bros, Firewater, the Pierces, Blackbird Raum, Gogol Bordello, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the JOU, Flat Duo Jets, Nick Cave, Dropkick Murphys, Charlie Daniels Band. But not at all Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene. I honestly don’t see where the wiki got that. Explain if it is something you hear and understand, I’m lost.

Getting long again. Happens so fast! Okay. So. Pretty much the rest of the album is streamed after the jumpy-jump, along with buying advice and more pics of the members of the band. Click here for pictures, music, and more from The Tom Fun Orchestra!

May you live in interesting times: a.m. accordion edition

September 30, 2009

Interesting day on my hands, lots of irons in the fire, pleasure and business both to be tended to. Picking out flowers with Miss D now that some of the wedding details are settled down a bit, have to go to DMV later to register my car and get Californny plates now that Oregon is looking to be forever and firmly in the past (stomach lurch, eye twitch; ah, psychosoma, how I’ve missed you! but not). However, whatever happiness, anxieties, and mix therein the day brings me, I have the comfort of knowing it’s started out right: with an accordion.

I dropped kidlet off for kindergarten to find a little concert going on, complete with a bucket for change (seriously, could we please get a better budget for education in this country; we are teaching our children to busk for their hot lunches at this point) sitting at the feet of the smallest ones. They were playing “Hot Cross Buns” and I’m not afraid to say it, they seriously picked up some funk in there. Thanks, chitlins!

Let’s make this day happen!

It happens: accordion covers, they are a thing.

September 17, 2009

All-accordion cover, because why not, of Marianne Faithfull’s “Who Will Take My Dreams Away?,” composed by Angelo Badalamenti (may his death be delayed ten thousand years) and featured in City of Lost Children, starring Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sin City). Pretty much amazing.

L’oncle Irvin: Then the poor masterpiece became so crazed he believed a single tear drop could save him. And after committing many cruel deeds he died, never knowing what it was to dream. — La cité des enfants perdus.