Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

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another
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Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by another » 23 Dec 2017 23:24

I'm a long time lurker of this forum but haven't bothered to register until now. I'm a native of Hamilton, Ontario, and for years I've tried to find out any additional info on the EPI show that took place here at McMaster University on November 12, 1966, but have never encountered anything beyond Ian MacEachern's well known photographs: http://www.ianmaceachern.com/velvetunderground.html

I had taken a cursory look at some old newspaper microfilm before but must have missed it, cause today I found both an announcement and a review. Thanks to the latter we can confirm a partial setlist thanks to the review. For whatever reason the reviewer structured the article like notes in a log with times, but it points to them opening with a long improv, much like the Valleydale tape. Nico sang two songs, the latter with the 'pianist' playing "clink clink one note jazz that reverberates electronically through the amplifiers". Sounds like All Tomorrow's Parties, though he also says he spys a violinist on stage. Black Angel's Death Song was next, afterwhich the reviewer stepped out for a long while before he came back in and heard Nico singing another song.

Overall it's the kind of vaguely dismissive review you'd expect from a traditional newspaper columnist in 1966 - he remarks how Gerard was thought to be an ugly woman before they realized it was just a long haired man, and at the end he throws in the off-hand remark that it would probably be "pretty wild if you'd just swallowed some LSD, but I don't know much about that. Still, it's nice to see how the other half lives sometimes."

https://i.imgur.com/QVmeFOr.png

https://i.imgur.com/aCejU5I.png

Clutch
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by Clutch » 13 Jan 2018 09:37

This is great, thanks for posting! Maybe we should create a thread on press clipping?

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mangue
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by mangue » 13 Jan 2018 15:40

About the EPI performance in Hamilton, there are two mentions in books:

Hamilton Babylon: A History of the McMaster Film Board (2016, by Stephen Broomer)
preview available at https://books.google.com/books?id=_3qMCwAAQBAJ
EPI and the Velvets are mentioned on pgs 29-31 / 35-37 / 223-225 (notes)

In the notes of above book:
(65) A more extensive and colourful account of this experience [about smuggling Nico without passport into Canada] is given in Peter Rowe's memoir 'Adventures in Filmmaking' (2013, Pinewood, Toronto)

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pineappleaftermath
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by pineappleaftermath » 14 Jan 2018 00:06

Hey that's my hometown too! So I've also been interested in that show. When I visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh a couple years ago I was tickled to see a review of the Hamilton concert on display in the VU section. The concert and review is covered in the book White Light/White Heat and just by googling the source and date (Artscanada magazine) I managed to find the full text:

https://archive.org/stream/ArtscanadaFe ... 7_djvu.txt

Velvet Underground
in Hamilton

Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable

by Barry Lord

Arts/canada attends McMaster University's
multi-screen audio-visual psychedelic eve-
ning.

Back in 1960 Andy Warhol was painting
works like Dick Tracy, using casein on
canvas to represent the comic strip char-
acter with pertinent smudges, smears and
drips. By 1962 he was painting in liquitex,
and had replaced the brush strokes and
drips with the subtle distortions of an un-
evenly screened reproduction process. He
had also collaborated with Campbell's
packaging department to produce his fa-
mous soup cans, and with Raymond Loewy
Associates to paint Coca-Cola bottles. His
interest in the repetition of an image
screened at different values of detail and
intensity led naturally to the newspaper
photograph, and thereby to the motion
picture: the successive frames of a film
are a vertical correlate of the still photo
reproduced with varying screens, and a
Warhol film like the one of the Empire
State building with its lights going on and
off over a period of many hours is a logi-
cal extension of works like the Jackie
Kennedy series, where the uneven screen
sets up a comparable play of light values
on an immediately recognizable image.

These characteristics - significant dis-
tortion of the image, interest in the visual
and psychological results of its repetition,
collaboration with others, the maintenance
of a single environmental effect through
experienced time, and a concern with
mechanically produced light effects - are
evident in Warhol's latest work, The Ex-
ploding Plastic Inevitable. The Inevitable
is neither painting, nor sculpture, nor cine-
ma; it cannot be called a happening, since
it recurs at regular intervals on schedule
(nightly in New York). Nor is it an environ-
ment limited to one place, as McMaster
University in Hamilton proved by inviting
it up to open an arts festival in November.

At centre screen, faces of the members of
The Velvet Underground are superimposed
over the film. Here, Nico materializes,
sometimes in colour.

The evening began in McMaster's new
gymnasium, before a quiet seated
audience; though the Inevitable prefers
the response of dancers, McMaster de-
cided to sit everyone down, pleading a
new plastic floor.

After about thirty minutes of sight and
sound, during which spotlights and slide
projectors add to the spectacle, The Velvet
Underground musicians, one by one,
quietly take the stage, and begin to impro-
vise to the recorded sound of their own
music. Thus Warhol continues in the pop
art tradition of concern with levels of rep-
resentation, the reproduction and the
original. Nico, whose face is on the screen,
suddenly appears in a spotlight.

On a wide screen behind the stage, Vinyl,
a film by Gerard Malanga. Warhol's fore-
man in his New York art factory, was
projected from two machines: to the right,
the first part of the film, in which Malanga
dances, exercises, sits watching a man
and girl, and finally becomes aggressive;
to the left, shown in the same time period,
the second part, in which Malanga is
beaten, stripped to the waist, and bound to
a chair with his head encased in a black
vinyl hood covered with metal studs. The
same persons remain or re-appear in both
halves, so that we are watching two images
similar in general character, but signifi-
cantly different in specific detail -a cine-
matic equivalent to the repeated faces of

Marilyn and Liz in Warhol's silk-screened
paintings of several years ago. Two loud-
speakers provided sound, the film dialogue
purposely distorted on one track, and on
the other the recorded sound of The Velvet
Underground, the group which Warhol
chose to play with the Inevitable.

Nico, with striking features and a driving
voice with a rich chromatic range, is the
singer with The Velvet Underground. Some
of the lyrics, which must be heard while
the speakers, the slides, the films and the
spotlights continue, are about psychedelic
experiences; most are not as explicit.

The Velvet Underground’s electronic in-
struments include amplified guitars, violin,
cello, piano and drums. The sound is
harmonic, insistent, pulsing and sustained
-suggesting comparisons with Indian ra-
gas, and usually called simply psychedelic.

Gerard Malanga, Warhol's art foreman
and film-maker, is also the group's dancer.
Before a constantly flickering battery of
strobe lights. Malanga uses a variety of
props - a Marlon Brando shirt, a variety of
sashes and ropes, and spoon and gear for
a "fix" in the set piece Heroin. Sometimes
he used the strobes directly, sometimes a
candle-suggesting again the Warhol in-
terest in light values. The final half-hour
song created an environment in time as
well as place, so that it began to seem to
at least some of the McMaster audience as
if life had always been this way. To others,
it had been a confusing, noisy, probably
frightening experience, and when the lights
went up it was found that a good number
had left. The ones who stayed had been a
little more than an audience; like the news-
paper photographs and Brillo boxes that
Andy formerly used, they had become part
of a Warhol art work.


It's actually an interesting review that takes the whole thing seriously, though it's more about the visuals and Warhol's art than the music itself. I particularly like the detail about insisting the audience sits down to protect the new gym floor...
The only other thing mentioned in White Light/White Heat is that on the way home Nico had to be smuggled across the border because she 'forgot' her passport, possibly so no one would find out her real age, but from the info in one of the links above it seems she had trouble crossing the border due to visa/immigration/arrest issues.

peppergomez
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by peppergomez » 14 Jan 2018 05:09

big thanks to everyone for sharing this

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alfredovu
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by alfredovu » 14 Jan 2018 09:00

Hi “another”, this is a really great finding!! Could you pls help me to get a high resolution copies of these two article?

Pm me if this is the case

Thanks
Alfredo

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taxine
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by taxine » 15 Jan 2018 18:04

the ones who stayed had been a little more than an audience; like the news-paper photographs and Brillo boxes that Andy formerly used, they had become part of a Warhol art work.

Loved it,what great artice,this part is simply brilliant,Looked a pretty cool gig,thanks for sharing !!


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But there are no stars in New York sky, they're all on the ground.
This is the place where she lay her head when she went to bed at night....

another
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Re: Unearthed EPI Review - Hamilton, Nov 12 66

Post by another » 21 Jan 2018 01:31

pineappleaftermath wrote:
14 Jan 2018 00:06
Hey that's my hometown too! So I've also been interested in that show. When I visited the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh a couple years ago I was tickled to see a review of the Hamilton concert on display in the VU section. The concert and review is covered in the book White Light/White Heat and just by googling the source and date (Artscanada magazine) I managed to find the full text:
What are the odds, haha. I should've mentioned I was already familiar with that Artscanada article and the mention in the White/Light book, but thanks for putting up here alongside the Spectator one. Interesting how different people can experience the same thing in different ways, particular the EPI shows which could be pretty polarizing. There's a recent book all about the McMaster Film Board of this era called 'Hamilton Babylon' by Stephen Broomer that goes into some detail:

Image

The author notes a review in the Silhouette, which was, and still is, the McMaster student paper, so sometime soon I'll go down to McMaster and try to get a copy to view and I can scan/re-photograph it.

About the film mentioned, I had heard about connections between 'Buffalo Airport Visions' and the EPI show for years but like most student films of that era they're just not circulating at all. Back in 2016 though the Art Gallery of Hamilton put on a little festival showing of a handful of these films to promote the release of the 'Hamilton Babylon' book. The film was great, but there wasn't any footage or audio of the show unfortunately. Another film called 'The Pleasure Dome' had some 1st album songs in its soundtrack, with the visuals mirroring the two-screen effect that Warhol did in 'Chelsea Girls', which was pretty cool.

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