On Apr 21, 2019, at 7:04 AM, Steve Berg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Steve my Dearest and loveliest,
I want to begin by telling you HOW GRATEFUL I am for this correspondence with you.
It’s so damn difficult to communicate in this era of “virtual friends and applauders”.
So, again: THANK YOU.
Thank you for Dilúvio and the short! I hope to see them ainda esse fim de semana. Easter eggs! OBA!
SB- Spent the day doing every manner of work-related errand – I am beat.
GT- I imagine. Those days before a trip are in itself “a trip” J. A bad trip. I’m clearing the apartment here and trying to find the stamina to travel on to Copenhagen, Berlin etc. I’m just dying to return to NYC.
SB – Yes, Hélio hated Paris and the French in general, I think. And I understand why. Completely. There’s something exhibitionistic,
GT- ok okay but some of the greatest minds were French. Undeniable, no? For Hélio, for you (undoubtedly) and me: Duchamp….
…..Rimbaud, Artaud and Godard (ok, Swiss but…actually French) and the entire Nouvelle Vague – without which the Cinema Novo wouldn’t have existed. I mean, I could start name dropping but why should I (rs) ? Danton ? How much of their Constitution and Parliamentary values leaked on to our Founding Fathers? Debatable at best but Justice Scalia (sem comentários, por favor (rs), or Ruth Ginsburg both argued that the French had more of an influence than did the Magna Carta and the entire UK ….
But…. I’m defending the indefensible (rs)
SB…old tart-ish and overly geometrical about it that I’ve grown weary of – or the old time magic wore off – I get a lot of that these days. To be sure, if you have Samuel Beckett to look forward to, that casts an entirely different light on things. Even Paris. De ma part, it strikes me, considering the number of times I’ve been there, how little passion of any sort it arouses in my traveller’s soul.
GT- Oui, chacun avec sa propre experience.
SB- I sure as hell don’t think now is a great time to be doing anything at all what with the whole planet suddenly careering off to the extreme right. Then again, maybe that’s exactly the kind of time we need to be in to do our stuff. Look at Genet in Paris during the Occupation, for example. Bitter hatred of one’s own country can be a terrific motor.
GT- But Genet himself went back and forth (and I think Sartre mentioned this quite often in ST Genet), on his statements, his views of the world, himself, his country, politics and so on. Which is a GREAT thing. Thank GOD for flexibility and volatility ! The ONLY rigid thing should be the PENIS !!!!
SB- I’m trying as hard as I can to take things really easy just now, what with our upcoming trip to Yourup because my sense is that a good 90% of the people I know here are middling to severely depressed, on medication (GUILTY sans the depressed part) and just generally fucked. By which I mean arts-related people. Broke, prospectless, riled.
GT- Even in Prospect Park they are: prospectless. In Europe, Brazil, US. I think that just about everywhere where information runs in overload and….that ‘man’ transformed news into fake news and….. well, we’re all fucked BUT our lights are still on.
Our lights are still on.
When in WAR, lights go out.
No food, no nothing.
We’re enjoying the freedom of this ! And the freedom to moan and groan from the cradle to the grave.
I’ll argue: have the arts ever been different ? Some (me, sometimes) would say: the deeper in the gutter, the better.
SB – Sim sim Helena foi musa do Cinema Novo mas muito mais do que isso – foi o cimento da Belair e hoje está recebendo um merecidíssimo reconhecimento nacional e fazendo um cinema autoral bem bonito. Mostrando muito em festival fora do país.Tá uma coisa maravilhosa.
I ADORE Venice and Istambul.
GT- Venice is my favorite place on earth ! But there’s also the not so ideal places which mark one’s life and that 300 yard stretch on 2nd Avenue (between St Mark’s Place and East 4th Street – where La MaMa happens to be)…and…(of course), Hélio lived in 1970
SB- I didn’t meet him until I had a letter of introduction from Waly in hand and we got along like the proverbial house on fire from minute one. By then, I had fled Brazil and he was living on Christopher Street, likewise packed with ninhos and – joy of joys – every nook and cranny NAMED! “Esse é o corredor de Hendrix”
GT- So, I lived with him at his 2nd Avenue loft (actually just an enlarged railroad apartment – but “ninhos” where in there!). At that time 2nd Ave was horrible: it was a two-way avenue, cobblestoned with more trucks losing their tires, mufflers, garbage flying off and all over the damn street… the noise was excruciating. And under that noise he fucked me. Imagine that !!!! happening today !!!! I guess that this factNINHO didn’t make into my autobio: The “H2O Estate” ! He used to introduce me as “essa é a boneca que esteve com Andy Warhol” (“Menino, Voce esteve com ele?”) – a chapter in my 1st book curated by Haroldo de Campos. Not true. I had just been to the Factory because it was the thing to do. I studied under Ivan Serpa. I saw Warhol from the “coroner” – from the morgue of my right eye.
Then, after a trip to London, I stayed with Hélio at his Christopher Street apartment in the white building / house. Lá a barra ficou pesada MESMO.
PS: from a different email:
SB – LOVE always, DOLLing (como dizia Hélio em suas cartas de NYK)
YOU ARE MOST WELCOME> agradeço aos orixás por nossa correspondência! There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever about the immense contributions of ANY of the ones you mention. Tudo santo de devoção (not by chance SAINT Genet, as you so aptly recall). Artaudoido, Godard (my fictional production company named after him: JUSTE UNE IMAGE) – that comes from VENT D’EST – one of the films JLG made with Jean-Pierre Gorin (a friend I haven’t seen in God knows how long) with ALLEN MIDGETTE (formerly of Warhol and Bertolucci), another friend from days of Roman adventures and living in Sperlonga after I went into exile in 74. And Genet undoubtedly.
Again as you list them Duchamp, Duchamp, Duchamp – before and after. For better or for worse, he and Warhol are the two crucial artists of the last century.
Rimbaud Go Johnny Go (Good Lord, and it’s not even 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday! Horses girando na vitrola sem parar) Rio psmith loves ARTHUR ela também tem sua PÁSCOA (EASTER)
Temos muito que conversar. I really want to meet you.
Stories and more stories about Oswald and this little experiment of a film. It led to about five more and I stopped for a while to breathe.
I’d forgotten to warn you how dry much of it was – way beyond the days of Antropofagia. Esse é o Oswald do “sarampão comunista”, o Oswald filósofo do fim, que propõe a crise da filosofia messiânica I have a great fondness for the later writing that NOBODY touches.
GT- Venice is my favorite place on earth ! I’m just imagining the ideal place: a city called Venice in a country called Steve Berg. That would be the ultimate dream.
Gerald Thomas and Steve Berg in conversation
An excerpt from my Autobiography “BETWEEN TWO LINES” (Book within the BOOK): I feel strangled, suffocated, erotically aroused and attracted, disgusted.
BETWEEN TWO LINES
A child divided up into loving days
By being of a small stature, you’re closer to the asphalt and notice the texture caused by car tires’ sudden breaks and little defects, such as tiny holes and imperfections. You are simply fascinated by the fragility of things, all things, things in general, by the weight of buildings, by the alignment of lampposts and all lights at all and, even, by trees. Yes, this immenseness of things does frighten you while you’re cross- ing the street. You’re frightened of the universe and how huge it is, how organized it is and how you might lose it all. But how? What’s worse, you don’t have “how to say it.” You simply feel all of this, but don’t know “how to say it.” And as you’re about the rehearse a ques- tion, you receive no answer that satisfies you, it does seem as though you don’t feel well, or at least not as well as the others seem to feel.
Maybe this has to do with the paleness or whiteness of your skin or the language spoken at home which makes you feel different from all other. Yes, people pass you by, while crossing the street and, seem happily talkative, singing, even screaming at times – all these to which you aspire but have no idea how, or even understand why. So, you take all this in, as if it were smoke from Pluto or some other world, swallow or inhale as if it were some vegetation from Jupiter. Yes, of course: you do understand every word they say. But you cannot put them together as you can in your own language, so you listen but it all seems as if these words are understood as symbolic sounds of a distant music which creates shapes in you mind.
Does this make any sense? Does it?
All of them seem to know the tapping to the dance, the beat, but you look at it all geometrically and float. Yes, they seem to fracture even further who you are by the eyeglasses they planted on your face. They don’t understand what you saw. They all look at you and tell you something in a language you simply cannot follow. Yes, and the glasses fracturing the images of what is seen in this torrid cli- mate! Sometimes ice cold inside to the shiver of a bone chill. It’s all so clear that you fail to see, such is the incidence and the intensity of LIGHT, or SUCH is the DARKNESS that not even merely using your touch or touching the walls would help, since all the angles are right angles, all degree angles, all done with such improbable perfection that…! You’re still halfway through crossing the street holding your mother by the hand.
And continuing the walk across you notice a tiny bird, a tiny dead bird, already dry, all bones and feathers, probably run over by a car and imprinted into the asphalt, smashed right into the asphalt with the tire marks quite visible still. You get the chills in your belly, a spooky image that was. One of those chills that climbs up your leg all the way to an area you cannot describe but all you feel upon seeing all that is the need to SCREAM. No, what you feel is not normal. It’s as if the spirit of that bird was still alive waiting to jump right into you or onto you. And kill you over and over with a sensation of terror. Its tiny little dry face is somewhat still recognizable and your eyes are fixed on his. Finally, you reach the other side of the street (the side- walk seems a relief to you), and you see a scene that you’ve been see- ing and longing to see again: it’s a scene which leaves you confused, a mess: people lining up, queuing up in order to buy pastries which are not within their reach. Divided by a glass partition, you see these people exchanging money for these pastries, which are put in paper bags by uniformed maids. Yet, whilst looking through the store win- dow, you make an incredible discovery! A discovery that frightens you terribly. You notice an old bag lady, a homeless lady, an old bum, with her breast showing and her son on her lap.
You feel strangled, suffocated, erotically aroused and attracted, disgusted… because you’ve realized that you were able to see her without her seeing you. She lives in some kind of soliloquy, a repeti- tive and endless monologue and longings, like all crazy people laugh while sitting in the street, in the filth, in their stench, away from our world of perfection. Dirty and with a crust built around her, her son hanging by her neck, the only thing you notice is her breast, her huge black breast, her nipple, her son – your age – the chill in your stomach, the comfort of holding your mother’s hand and a sense of profound sadness. This may have been the first day in your life when sadness has played such a role, coming from the outside world, no relation- ship to your toys, your vegetable soup or a scolding from your parents.
You and your mother adopt a faster pace but still the images don’t disappear from your head. You have questions; yet, have no way of asking them. You walk for another two or three blocks, but as of that moment you don’t notice the street and its details any longer and nothing distracts you – no people, their expressions, nothing, you’ve suddenly become an introvert and look hypnotically at the same of street textures without giving a damn. All you can think about is that old woman with her breast apparent and apparent nipple and hanging son and the little corner of the world she has found for her- self right in the middle of the crosswalk – where she is invisible and ignored right there, by the footstep of where people line up to stuff themselves with fat and sugar and creamy pastries, she sits in a pool of filth, erotically ignored.
And that huge breast, that extraordinary breast, juicy, wrinkled but with a firm hard nipple! Something has happened to you. You’ve become a ball of fire. To call it fear would be to undermine it. To call it repugnant would be to subvert it. You were feeling blinded by the extraordinary noise of the emotional cards playing in your imagina- tion and the scorching heat of the sun, the sweat, your loneliness. What would all that be in your solitude? Your solitude, yes. There was no doubt.
You were falling in … LOVE.