In this introductory essay Luca Zanchi explores the origins of poetic musician Greek-American Diamanda Galás, taking us on an exciting journey that from the archaic rituals of ancient Greece will lead us to investigate the reasons for the expressive power and dissident art of one of the most significant artists in the contemporary art scene.

When the curse shifts from the secret and individual domain of magic to the artistic and literary plane of poetry, when women’s archaic funeral lamentations become performance, then a structural change is produced, that provides an interdisciplinary field of study for the theory of art. It is therefore the purpose of this research to look into the aesthetic consequences of this transition.

By Luca Zanchi
Introduction by Fernando Castro Flórez
Foreword by Renato Miracco
Afterword by Viviana Meschesi

Available for purchase at Aracne Books
Book 9 €
PDF 5.4 €

Read an English excerpt here

 Read an Italian excerpt here

by Diamanda Galás September 13 2013

Spanish translation by Yaxkin García, here.
French translation by Aurore U, here.

The “Naïve” Solution

I am begging rich women who care: Please have bail money and cars ready to take this woman out of Mexico when she is captured. I guarantee the authorities will torture Diana beyond recognition. I guarantee they will make an example of her and she will be found suicided in her cell. You will hear no background history from her as to what catalyzed her actions.

Or she will simply be murdered: her tongue will be pulled out for all to see, arms cut off one over the other on the torso. A warning to future vengadoras. A curse upon the women of Juarez. And she will be found in a very visible place. Or she will be taken to trial and forced, under torture, to say that she used the Juarez tragedies as an excuse to act out a self-serving scenario.

Please have the money ready. Have protection with you and a team that will know how to get out of  the city or the country. This can only be done if you have a team of absolute professionals, preferably men and women with military experience. There is little point in allowing the authorities to further alarm the population by advertising her corpse as public warning Numero Uno. It will demoralize the people entirely and no progress will be made in bringing the Good Ole Boy’s Club to Justice.

Diana is the one who has stood up for all of us, primarily the women of Juarez, but all Mexican women,including all women from Baja California, who think of Juarez with supreme terror… The 3,000 factories, which have installed video cameras to select their prey, should be shut down and would be if the owners were not involved in what is happening to the women there in conjunction with their North American, Central and South American “business colleagues.” The women are perks to the businessmen who are “special friends.” What could be a better gift than a woman in the back of a truck to terrorize?

Coming from very poor, very strict families, with brothers and sisters to feed, or children, the workers in the 3000 maquiladoras of Juarez are primarily women … working for five dollars a day*, riding the bus to work in the morning, and coming back on the bus at evening.

The bus. The Bus — the jaws of the Devil taking them to Hell…

Please get the bail money ready and go to a city outside Juarez and wait with your team. Or wait with your team in Juarez if you will not be spotted.

You better have a lot of money because they want to keep her as an example.

And you must hire lawyers from Mexico and California who have power. Do not think that a local lawyer is anything but an employee of the authorities.

Call the agencies that have been working for years to save these women, not the frauds, and, again, find out who to hire and how to proceed NOW… Surround yourselves with these people and NOT local protection, because you will get killed immediately afterwards by the assassins they pay.

This is not conjecture. You may think that this is a waste of money, but have you actually seen or read all the reports from Juarez? Do you actually believe the government propaganda that says “DIANA ES UN VIEJA PUTA”?

Do you want to be part of the solution or is this sheer titillation for you?

It is a matter of hours till Diana is caught. She is our representative. She is the the most vocal force for justice women have ever had in Juarez.

Imagine HER life…

Imagine 300 women bringing the GOOD OLE BOYS’ CLUB to justice. Yes, I am writing from Baja California, ALTA Baja California, where I can write this. This is why I want her HERE. So we can hear the truth, if she knows it. But even if she does not, we must institute a policy of rescuing vengadoras so the END of this crap can be initiated.

The “Sophisticated” Objection to the Solution

Although Diana gives hope to the people, it must be understood that nothing is known of this woman. She could be a serial killer of men, of bus drivers! Maybe she was never tortured by the persons responsible for all the murders of female factory workers. After all, she is ALIVE. Doesn’t that smell like a liar to you?

She is probably a psychopath, an ex-prostitute who is not getting paid anymore, so she is taking out her anger on the way Aileen Wounos did.

Anyway, these were poor women, and the poor always need extra change, so they were probably hooking, and got robbed and  killed. Good riddance. Juarez has enough whores, anyway.

But the bus drivers? These are probably men who go to church every Sunday with their children! Que degracio.

We, the leaders and journalists of Juarez urge you to bring this woman to justice. Vigilante justice is not justice at all.

While it is true that we have not been able to find the serial killer of all these women these many years, we are doing our best, and our people understand that life in Mexico is hard. We are tough.

We can handle this. But the citizens should let the PROFESSIONALS handle it, not an older woman with a mental problem.

Please do not treat her as a Saint, as the incarnation of your anger. Idealism is juvenile.

After all, she said in street language, ” You think you’re so bad?”

Now, what kind of woman talks like that?

 

My Solution

I want the” naïve” solution. I will not get the naïve solution because the rich will not risk their fortunes on a “freak,” who, after all, is a “criminal”. It does not matter that in this situation one must fight fire with fire. It does not matter that after all these years, finally someone, for whatever reasons, and with any past history one can imagine, has laid down her life to shock the lazy men who RULE Juarez.

Legal proceedings are just THAT, “proceedings:” a room of talking heads leading up to WHAT?

NOTHING but the following: “You must not do any one of one thousand things because none of them are allowed in this city.”

This is what one MUST expect of the law, it dictates what is permitted: NOTHING.

The law was made for men. The Book of Laws, from Leviticus, the Old Testament, is the fundament of the laws that are mandated in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish countries, and women are the animals whose method of punishment is obsessively discussed, by ALL the different writers of these laws, and those who have and do now enforce them.

The only hope for the victims of the law are OUTLAWS. LET US BLESS OUR VIGILANTES.

Praise Diana, First Lady of Juarez.

*NOTE THE INACCURACY PROPAGATED by the REDCO – El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation, who claim here that their minimum hourly wage is $64.76 pesos (approximately $5.18 USD), whereas everyone knows the minimum wage is $64.76 pesos DAILY, not hourly.

Diamanda Galas
Intravenal Sound Operations
September 11, 2013

 

Re: The Capture of Diana of Juarez

Spanish translation by Ben Almeida, here.

I am begging rich women who care: Please have bail money and cars ready to take this woman out of Mexico when she is captured. I guarantee they will torture Diana beyond recognition. I guarantee they will make an example of her and she will be found suicided in her cell. You will hear no background history from her or who tortured and raped her. She will simply disappear and her tongue will be pulled out for all to see, arms cut off one over the other on the torso. A warning. A curse upon the women of Juarez.

Please have the money ready. Have protection from this side with you, hire a team that will know how to get out of there. This can only be done if you have a team of absolute professionals, preferably men and women with military experience.

Diana is the one who has stood up for all of us, primarily the women of Juarez, but all Mexican women, and those from Baja California, who think of Juarez with supreme terror. How many women go there?

MANY. To pick up immigration papers, isn’t that true? WHY do the authorities insist that an endangered species go to an animal trap to pick up their papers? Isn’t this just a bit like saying, “Go fuck yourself, bitch, if you want to get out of here so bad, we take no more responsibility for you.” (Which is better, actually?)

My friends who must go there, go there in fear. But they must. NO ONE should have to go there.

The 3,000 factories, who have installed video cameras to select their prey, should be shut down (but will never be) until this stops, and would be if the owners were not involved in what is happening to the women there in conjunction with their American, Central and South American “colleagues.”
The women are perks to the businessmen who are “special friends.” What could be better than a trapped virgin? Coming from very poor, very strict families, do that many of them have wild social lives?
Not really.

To live in terror every night coming back from the maquiladora is not conducive to partying. Besides, with the breaks they get at their “job,” they are probably too tired to think after the first five hours. Being paid $2.50 an hour, and working harder than the men, whom they outnumber by a huge percentage, is only physically possible for a young girl. And this goes for ALL THE FACTORIES. THE FACTORIES OF THE VIRGIN. AND DIANA THE HUNTRESS DEFENDS THE VIRGIN; SHE IS SACRED.

Please get the bail money ready and go to a city outside Juarez and wait with your team. Or wait with your team IN Juarez if you will not be spotted.
You better have a lot of money because they want to keep her as an example.
And you must hire lawyers from Mexico and California who have power. Do not think that a local lawyer is anything but an ashtray. Call the agencies that have been working for years to save these women and find out who to hire and how to proceed NOW.. .Surround yourselves with these people and NOT local protection because you will get killed after you pay them.

This is not conjecture. You may think that this is a waste of money, but have you actually seen or read all the reports from Juarez? Do you actually believe the government propaganda that says “DIANA ES UN VIEJA PUTA!”


A VICTIM OF RAPE IS NOT A WHORE. SHE IS TREATED WORSE THAN AN ANIMAL.

Do you want to be part of the solution or do you want to sit around moaning about
something that is sheer titillation for you? Be honest.

It is a matter of hours till Diana is caught. She is our representative. She is the only force for justice we have had.

Let this be the beginning.
Diamanda Galás

The new Aleppo Genocide: Reverberation from 1914-1923: SYRIA

Spanish translation

Hail all of those persons who have known that there would be an anniversary in Aleppo to commemorate the Turkish Muslim Genocides during 1914-23 of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians–with a NEW and UPGRADED Genocide against the Greek Arabs of Syria. We have always known that the Syrians were in large part ethnically Greek and religiously Greek Orthodox. But now the Muslims of Syria in collaboration with the United States have determined our extinction in the area, along with that of our Armenian and Assyrian brothers.To the diaspora of the Syrian Greeks, including “MAINLAND” Greece: It is now time to stop separating yourselves from your own race through the elitism that has forced upon you the status of Third World Citizens, that declared Kavafis and Kaztzanzakis “xenoi” until after their deaths, and the same elitism that branded the Greek refugees of the Turkish Genocide of 1922 (the population “exchange”) “Turkospori.”

To the Greek Orthodox churches worldwide: stop spending money on gold, you bastards, while your Syrian priests are again being nailed to their chairs and circumcised by the unholy liaison between Islamic fundamentalism and the US military…

Have you forgotten our history?

To the peeping Toms of British journalism: stop interviewing Orthodox priests who are only remaining in Syria through , like Chrysotomos. Stop asking them if it is Al Queda or isn’t it? Do your own research. You are embedded anyway, so your participation, as in Smryna and Cyprus, just guarantees our murder…

 

Diamanda Galás
INTRAVENAL SOUND OPERATIONS
in support of OPERATION ANTIOCH

READ MORE HERE:
http://www.newsnow.gr/article/493729/Ethnic-Greeks-Slaughtered-Greek-Diaspora-Silent.html

 

In the Mouth of the Crocodile

Presented at the WEAVING POLITICS SYMPOSIUM
December 16, 2012 / Stockholm, Sweden

In English, here
In Spanish, here

by Diamanda Galás, London, August 3, 2012
Delivered at the PURCELL ROOM, THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE, after the showing of SCHREI 27

Spanish translation
Slovakian translation

I was commissioned in 1994 by the American New Radio series to compose a piece about bedlam. American New Radio is located in Staten Island, close to the WiIlowbrook Asylum, albeit it was called the Willowbrook School. It was closed down after an exposé by THE STATE ISLAND which substantiated the cry of “snake pit” by Robert Kennedy; and afterwards was the subject of several exposés on national television by Geraldo Rivera. The institution had been official opened in 1930 and was not closed down until 1987. In the 50’s and earlier, doctors generally recommended that the mentally-infirm (choose your definition) be sent to institutions that would “help” them get adjusted to the real world.

Their real world consisted of eating off of floors covered with feces, sleeping naked in restrooms, being raped by staff workers, and being injected with Hep C, since they were discarded humans available for research. Family visits would range, after the first four months of mandatory separation, from every week to every five years.

(Please click here for videoclip.)

The entire population had Hepatitis A, contracted within one week after each member arrived. The videos I have seen of this place resemble those of Leros, an Eastern island of Greece, that used to be a prison camp. Leros employed former camp guards and completely untrained, albeit well-meaning, volunteers as nurses. The volunteers were terrified and there was at one point only one doctor for up to 4000 people. Many of the patients were unclothed and many regressed to complete nakedness regardless of the climate, at some point kneeling on their haunches like chimpanzees. They arrived in handcuffs and chains, and had their heads shaved immediately upon arrival.

Any “patient” who was not insane, rapidly became insane.

Greece has a massively corrupt medical system and for years the prison camps El Daba (1944), Makronisos (Devil’s Island 1946), Yaros and Trikeri (1947-1958) among others, were actually inhabited by doctors supervising the interrogation of dissenters, dissenters such as the great Yiannis Ritsos, who was repeatedly incarcerated in the camps until, when let out, he died of cancer.  (Videoclip of Trikeri here.)

These camps were subsidized by America and by Britain since perceived insurgency was contrary to their interest in Yiorgos Papadopoulos, CIA agent and Nazi collaborator, who ran the Greek Junta.

Greece recently has opened thirty more asylum/prison camps for insurgents, immigrants who are involved in any activity they dislike, or immigrants if they feel like it.

Many sources say it is becoming a great asylum. This smells of a Junta in progress. And massive corruption from the very rich and the government, who caused the gigantic national debt, leads to juntas.

The Mediterranean Quarterly wrote, in its review of Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State by the outstanding scholar Neni Panourgia, “Prison camp El Daba was established at the end of 1944 by the British in the wake of the Battle of Athens for as many as 12,000 Greeks suspected of supporting the Left (including children.) And massive funding authorized by Harry Truman from 1947 onward helped to fund the establishment and maintenance of the concentration camps and the containment of Communism.”

“At its height, Makronisos, the largest of the island prisons, held 10,500 in its five separate camps.”

There are many other American camps like this throughout the world, fronting, for example, as artists’ colonies, or as guesthouses open to government bureaucrats. I believe many are fronts for “debriefing,” or “interrogation” centers.

I was invited to one such colony in Tuscany, Civitella Ranieri, which the Counts Ranieri generously rented to an American organisation. I had not done recent homework, and when I saw the evading eyes of the ambassador from Washington who now ran this colony, I felt something major had changed. He did not want to meet me or be alone with me, which was attractive, but odd.

He had that unctuous closeted manner I despise—of a spy in the house of love.

I was soon certain of my suspicions. The colony housed the artists in horrific rooms with no heat, the cold being so extreme that, fully-clothed, I cried through the night; there were scorpions and enormous spiders, and upon my possession of a strange, heated, sunny room which I discovered during the maid’s cleaning hours, I was met with disgust and loathing by the director.

Nonetheless, I moved in, and that was that. I then had my studio removed from me as a kind of punishment, so I sang in the toilet, most especially Mozart, as the room had that great hard reverb I adore. There was a fine library with all books under lock and key, but I used it to lay out my libretti for Nekropolis.

The crimes committed upon the artists were the kind that are hard to prove. But one thing is certain: excepting myself, no one fought for any rights whatsoever. The feeling was that, as artists, we were lucky to even be there, and if abuse were part of the invitation, there must be a reason for it.

But I did not come to fight, I came only to work. I get to fight every other day of my career, such that it is called; so I was quite annoyed that this could not be a creative time exclusively.

Accusations.

Deprivations.

Military food.

A vagina walking across the table masquerading as a calamari.

I make my living in Italy and I know Italian food and this was not Italian food, but military food. Dishtowels for bath towels, mandatory requisition by artists for a roll of toilet paper.

Nauseating, partly-cooked lunches in boxes … I got the key to the requisition room and stole towels and toilet paper for many and confronted the the director, this ambassador from Washington, DC who would not allow anyone to speak his native tongue at the table, only English, since he was too pigro (lazy), an acquaintance of the staff informed me, to learn Italian.

“Listen, buddy, this might be your ranch, but I am famous, honey, famous in Italy and I will FUCK you real good, so just keep it up.”

He threatened to evict me and I informed him that only the artist could make the decision to leave, so he better just get used to me. He took off for London and parts unknown.

That was good.

When he returned he made a rule that there must be no homosexuals on the “campus” since they could prove dangerous to the artists; we had already been accused of keeping the kitchen filthy, etc, etc.

Now how could that be possible with two Germans and two homosexuals living in my part of the castle?

I invited him over to prove this point and he refused to accept my challenge.

Back to Willowbrook.

My good friend Carl saw a woman raped with a knife while he was interning there, and his life was threatened when he told the director.

All the ex-cons I have known have told me, from mouths with fifty percent of teeth missing, that their teeth were pulled to save money for a prison system that does not want to waste its income by filling teeth. And about the torture there. And some thought it was funny because what they had experienced was so much worse. At least abuse was a break from hours of isolation.

It is no mystery that these subjects are part and parcel of my work. My father’s gospel choir sang in prisons. I performed in mental hospitals for a few years. But also I was, like many Anatolian Greek girls, forbidden to venture into the outside world for years, except for school, and so I created a world inside the house that made extreme focus very easy, and I can relate to people who are loners, because now I like this state. If I must see someone, I do, but in general, I avoid it. I am trying to change this behavior, but it is very difficult. So I am at home with Theodore Roethke, Paul Celan, Cesar Vallejo, and an arsenal of poets.

Each writer that I adore becomes a great and secret friend.

Any biography written in my dotage could be called, “Stockholm, mon amour.”

After I received the invitation to compose a precisely 27-minute piece about bedlam and institutionalization, I went to Minnesota with my engineer Blaise Dupuy, and composed the work in a few days using ring-modulators and delay units. There was also much singing that was unprocessed, the multiphonics in particular, which have a way of affecting the inner ear, I am told, even without amplification. This is one of the reasons the work is problematic for some listeners.

I had additional trouble with the radio version, because I wanted several sections to be punctuated by 30 second intervals of silence and was surprised to hear that silence is not permitted on the radio.

This is interesting.

Old radio plays used to employ silence—why was I not allowed the silence of 30 seconds? I enjoyed arguing with them in a philosophical way, knowing that I would, of course, lose the battle.

To be clear, the fault is not with the commissioning organisation, but with the current state of affairs in radio, on which we hear ten pieces of information, including short songs, in quick succession.

After this, I was asked to perform the work, and I did this in blackness. It is extremely difficult to perform this work live, but I did so in Prague, where members of the audience continued to yell at me because the piece is performance in blackness WITH the silences I recommended. They had just heard my record with John Paul Jones and were seriously annoyed that they had been swindled into coming to see this kind of work. The experimental filmmakers loved it, and we spent a great deal of time talking about the production of SQUIRM, whose soundtrack vouches for sounds created from the electrocution of rather gigantic worms in the Bayou.

The hatred for me by many members of the music world comes from my complete disinterest in promoting one product and sticking to it. I like one-offs—and so does John, for that matter.

So following up “The Sporting Life” with “Schrei 27” was great fun for me.

The next incarnation of the work came at the request of the great Basque curator, Madame/Monsieur Xabier Arakistain, who presented its quadrophonic installation in darkness with the doors locked from the outside, in the Canary Islands and in Victoria, Spain.

Then I saw Davide Pepe’s “Little Boy.” He asked me to do some Italian vocals for the film and, although he had documented my performances, I had never seen his films.

I was astonished. The sound of the camera, of any technology used in filming, was a large part of the sound of the film. The film was terrifying and pure. The propulsion of the sound and the imagery together and the counterpoint between them, the rawness, was frightening. I saw my film collaborator in front of me and asked about Schrei and Davide said, “Of course! I have been TELLING you about my work but you watch nothing for years, Diamanda!”

I then told him what I wanted from a film of Schrei 27, which at the time, was imagery appearing only rather rarely from complete blackness. With part of the human body appearing in isolation from the other parts, the vocal cords illustrating what could be a scream, a rib cage, the skull, etc.

He began working and after two years I began sending him x-rays, and a Portuguese video of my vocal cords in phonation, and he compiled more x-rays from Italian doctors and technicians. He began working in the early stages with Salvatore Bevilacqua in Bologna. I then came to his studio and we recorded my performance.

We had very little funding so we had to come up with what we could, and no more.
I made about fifty drawings which I wanted to come up as a gambling machine. The images were as if autobiographical from the point of view of the tortured, and remind me now of the fact that so many incarcerated poets and writers left writings on their cell or on toilet paper that was then hidden in a hole in the wall and taken with them upon their release, such as Yiannis Ritsos.

Working with Davide was a joy. Of course we had mild disagreements, but it is because we are Greek and Italian, and we both have our own opinions of how things should be done. I love him and I like that kind of atmosphere. We probably lose five years of our lives at these times, but who is counting.

I want us to do Vena Cava next, but of course we must look for the funding and this is very difficult. I personally am a bit tired of low budgets for all my projects. One has to live. And most presenters entirely forget that.

I would like next to discuss a recent poem I have set to voice and piano, “A Man and A Woman Go Through The Cancer Ward.” The poem was written by Dr. Gottfried Benn, who was both a doctor and a forensic pathologist. I shall read the poem:*

The man:
Here in this row are wombs that have decayed,
and in this row are breasts that have decayed.
Bed beside stinking bed. Hourly the sisters change.

Come, quietly lift up this coverlet.
Look, this great mass and ugly humours
was precious to a man once, and
meant ecstasy and home.

Come, now look at the scars upon this breast.
Do you feel the rosary of small soft knots?
Feel it, no fear. The flesh yields and is numb.

Here’s one who bleeds as though from thirty bodies.
No one has so much blood.
They had to cut
a child from this one, from her cancerous womb.

They let them sleep. All day, all night. – They tell
the newcomers: here sleep will make you well. – But Sundays
one rouses them up a bit for visitors. –

They take a little nourishment. Their backs
are sore. You see the flies. Sometimes
the sisters wash them. As one washes benches.

Here the grave rises up about each bed.
And flesh is leveled down to earth. The fire
burns out. And sap prepares to flow. Earth calls.

To the eye and ear the poem seems cold and detached, but the man who refused to leave his patients during the Nazi Occupation, by whom he was later accused of being “an obscene, decadent writer,” was a man who felt horror because he could not save them. His practice of treating dying cancer patients in 1920 must have been a torture, without the medicines available then, just some sort of morphine, perhaps for all of them, so as to not feel anything. And Benn would not stop his work.

So his coldness is not towards the patients, but towards himself, who could do nothing to alter their progress, which the last three lines describe:

Here the grave rises up about each bed.
And flesh is leveled down to earth. The fire
burns out. And sap prepares to flow. Earth calls.

Every forensic description of the corpse of the living dead is Benn flinging himself against the wall. The sinking of the bed into the soil of waiting worms, scorpions and spiders is the ultimate wail of agony and it is important to make that clear in the poem.

At the first 50 reads the poem seems impossible to set, but after another 50 a rhythm can be found that does not simplify the text but merely places it into a different context.

The German language is always best for this poem, as, with few exceptions, the original language has no peer in the musical interpretation of poetry. Repeated words like “zerfallene,” are self-condemnations which are domesticated by virtually all of the major translators, who want to take a forensic poem and make it more artful, more universal. But it is the peculiarity of this kind of suffering that Benn is addressing, and to refuse to use even the translated German to English words, is hardly medical.

It is vaguely unethical to walk off diddling oneself into the woods whilst conjecturing more poetical lines of verse … Benn does not beg “artful” translation.

The composer has a great job to do with Benn. He must come to terms with the complexities of a doctor who is also a poet, but who does not treat them as separate disciplines. He cuts both the flesh and the paper with the same scalpel.

It is not a mystery that he published a little book of poetry himself and gave it to friends.

It is a mystery, or not, that soon afterwards it made him notorious.

Why does a person do this kind of work?

A person who thinks too much generally finds resolution to the questions he asks himself upon the discovery of a filial soul. The end of terminal individuality is a great thing. One always returns to it, but then the music or the words of kindred souls can sooth the pain of maniacs or the depressed.

And the number of those persons is not small.

 

 

 

* English translation of “A Man And A Woman Go Through A Cancer Ward” by Babette Deutsch

 

 

 

Published in: The Quietus (London, UK), August 10, 2012

 

I have known Hal Willner since 1989. He is one of the three reasons I moved to NYC, after having lived in Paris, Berlin and London. One morning in NYC, after two shows of The Masque Of The Red Death, I got a call from a Mr. Hal Willner from NBC.

 

He was selecting the artists for a show called Night Music, the most radical music series on television, and in order to freak him out and get him to quit, some executive producer sent him my music. Unfortunately for them, he liked it, and he invited me to play on the show. Of course the show had already presented, with Hal’s direction, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Carla Bley, Bootsy Collins, Pharoah Sanders, Leonard Cohen, Henry Rollins, Al Green, Sun Ra, and Mary Margaret O’Hara, so Hal and Dave showed the kind of range I could appreciate in any case, although I knew nothing about the show.

 

For years Hal has worked in the sound department providing bizarre soundtracks for Saturday Night Live, with an available archive that no one else has. That is his mainstay work while otherwise traveling the world producing shows and artists.

 

He has produced WIlliam Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Marianne Faithfull, Jeff Buckley, Macy Gray, and I have asked him to produce an album soon. His first major tribute record to Nino Rota won a Grammy, I am told. Having heard it, I am not surprised.

 

I am crazy about Willner. He is a MOTHERFUCKER and is one of the stars of the radical music scene in NYC and Hollywood. If you do not catch him you are missing out on one of the greatest shamanistic figures in music today. The man produces records by looking at the artist, and all he or she has done, and suddenly he knows the songs, the people to call for the arrangements, the musicians from his mammoth selection of musical geniuses, including Leon Theremin’s invention, which he discussed beforehand with the man himself, the Harry Partch instruments, and so on, and he does not censor his radar because some conventional fool does not understand him. He is a visionary.

 

For the record, I appeared on the Mingus tribute recording Weird Nightmare: Meditations On Mingus (1992, Eclipse) along with Art Barron, who is also the arranger for much of the recording, Leonard Cohen, Charlie Watts, Geri Allen, Robbie Robertson, Gary Lucas, and many others.

 

And I have performed and recorded Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ on his Poe recording, which featured Abel Ferrara, Ken Nordine, Iggy Pop, Ed Sanders, Eric Mingus and Keith Richards.

 

He did a De Sade evening in the late 90s, in which I appeared solo along with the great Lili Taylor, Eric Mingus, and Michael Flanagan, who was the sickest looking creature there, with white eyeballs and half naked (and lovely), and many others. Michael was also the editor of all the texts chosen for the performers.

 

Hal is my brother and he is talking about the Black Man being shut out from the world, the way so many of us have talked about the homosexual and every other exile shut out at home, in the street, in another city, another country – like a person whose forehead says, “INFECTIOUS.”

You may think you have heard this music. You have NOT. You have NOT heard it before. If you are homosexual, remember the man who sat at the back of the bus – and how much we all learned from his experience – how to mobilize, male and female, lest some forget the past in the West and the present everywhere else. The enemy is strong and the war against personal freedom will never end. Fighting is a privilege. I know that.

 

And Hal knows that, CHECK HIM OUT.

 

DIAMANDA GALÁS

Press release for Freedom Rides 

 

Spanish Translation of press release for Freedom Rides

Spanish Translation
Slovakian Translation

The piece Schrei 27 is a very violent piece psychologically. If a person is isolated too long from society with false promises of release which constantly are presented to demoralize her/him, a suicidal impulse starts and builds that becomes so strong that the day may be spent looking for ways to kill oneself, anything, a wire, string, anything.

But the torturers say and sincerely believe that suicide is a way of tormenting the AUTHORITIES by escaping a fate due the victim, and it is blasphemous to the government. It is heretical.

“A fate worse than Death” could be seen at the death camps in Greece for traitors to the state, in the camps of Dachau, which institutionalized prisoners before the institutionalization of the Jews, in Makronisos, and in EL NTAMPA (El DABA) , which was designed for the worst criminals. Never discussed are the horrific boat rides which took the prisoners from their homes to these islands of torture, wherein the prisoners are smashed together for hours with dysentery. The giant rodents are not discussed in the desert islands which used the  hot Sun to torture during the day and the cold Moon at night.

It is much like the Mexican escapees into America who are put on death walks by  Mal coyotes who have taken their money to take them to a better place but could care less what happens to them. No, a man who has not experienced this torture does NOT know what it is like. I write about these things because I have experienced torture of a different sort but close enough to know this subject. I could sign this statement in blood.

Yes, we who can speak must speak for those who have been so traumatized that even recalling an event of torture dissolves them into seizures, nightmares, vomiting, and a run of  terror that can be so easily triggered that most no longer live on the same floors as the families to whom they return IF they return at all–because they are ruined mentally and physically. OF COURSE they get cancer OF COURSE they develop incurable diseases afterwards.

There IS NO SEPARATION OF THE MIND FROM THE BODY. WHY DO PEOPLE PERSIST IN BELIEVING SUCH NONSENSE. WHY DOES THE WORLD DEPEND FOR ITS SURVIVAL ON PAINKILLING MEDICATIONS. THEY ARE NOT JUST FOR THE BODY. HOW MUCH TRAUMATIC MEMORY CAN THE BRAIN CONTAIN WITHOUT EXPLODING.

And the poor go to jail for this. A travesty. A mockery of humanity.

There is a naive idea that making a film on this subject that is not a documentary is an ” artistic approximation” of a far worse pain. REALLY? WHO DARES TO WRITE THIS SAYS HE KNOWS THE HISTORY OF THE COMPOSER.

WHO WROTE THE WORK THE INITIAL PIECE.  I will not speak for the life of the gentleman who held the camera, a person of unending empathy, whose life is filled with unending trauma. Because I have not written in a list of footnotes  of my life, that is because it is no one’s business. If I am seen screaming back the questions of the interrogator into his face it is because there are no answers to his questions  and he and I know this, and rage can only last so long until fainting or death comes. Extreme situations produce extreme physical manifestations: freezing, stammering, seizures, obsessive behavior rituals, creative rituals which, like the overall obsessive behavior, allow the prisoner to stay alive, even if it is a daily dialogue with a spider in the cell.

Jimenez died suddenly, and shocked the world activist community. His memorial took place in Los Angeles and was organized by his longtime partner Jeff Schuerholz.

Click here to see video

Click here for Spanish translation

I did not know Pete Jimenez, but of course I did. Jeff tells me that we met after a show of mine, and there is something extraordinarily familiar about those eyes. I am not inclined towards purple prose, so let me state factually that what I see from his photos is — great intuition, kindness, humor, humility, and a kind of “watch yourself, mister, or I will fuck you up REAL good,
and love every second of it. Cry for me, baby.”

Sorry to be so sentimental, but I like sistergirls like that.

I had a gay husband from the Faeries who was an activist, and every year I feel robbed. His name was Carl Valentino, and we lived in NYC. His death was a robbery. I am not going to be philosophical about a death that was catalyzed by hate, indifference, stupidity, denial, terror and rage. Dear me, did I forget the effects of the virus, too?

I hear him singing in every restaurant I enter, answering a managerial complaint with, “I am just showing you that I love your taste, even if I AM louder and more entertaining than YOUR singer.”

He was Arthur Brown singing fire. I am going to record it. Just for him. That and, of course, Aquarius, which he sang no matter WHAT the music was playing.

“Hi baby? How are you? Remember me? You DON’T? Oh my, I guess dementia really HAS set in,” he would say in 1990 to past trade sitting with a new acquaintance. He would return to my table, laughing.

Or, in one of those towel stores, catching a girlfriend looking at a fuchsia collection, “QUEER!” loudly. I would howl and bless him for being my friend.

I like this kind of faggot. Correct me if I’m wrong, but activists like this are the ones who, not being sanctimonious, are able to push issues in the face of resistance by infecting the enemy with a kind of charisma that embraces them like a little lake of piranha fish.

“Oh he was a bother at first, but then “poof!” He just disappeared! Wow!”

They are the brave ones who go singing into battle — the JOKER and the HEALER, who can read you like a book, so chingados cringe with uncertainty. “WHAT _IS_ THIS MARICON, I mean this is NOT a normal faggot, OR it is the MOST TOXIC JOTO WE HAVE EVER SEEN AND MAYBE HE WILL BITE US. Yo me voy. Olvidate, hombre.”

My husband Carl had a fishbowl with one fish only, a lone piranha. One day when he came home from teaching his elementary students covertly about the Epidemic, he decided to stroke the fish and it bit him. The next morning he found it dead and told me, “My god, my fish was a PWA for one night only. Piranha Fish with AIDS, and it happened so quickly. A need to know basis, sister. My only friend, what a pity,” he looked at me snidely.

Am I wrong that Pete had this quality?

A survivor for 20 years of a disease like AIDS which is a surround-attack virus must be a chingando, a true warrior. A warrior who is attacked by ten parasites at the same time, sucking on his flesh, head to toe. His brain. His heart. His lungs. His instestines. His bones. His liver. His bowels.

I don’t believe in God. THE LORD WON’T MIND was my favorite book, growing up, so we cool, me and the, um, Godhead.

But JOB without the truly pernicious brainfuck at the end of the chapter, might be a useful way of describing Pete’s suffering.

Oh sure, the young queers sneer, we got them protein inhibitors, I mean protease, um……whatever, we GOT ’em. It’s the old fags that die, so we cool.

Nope baby, not really. But the immune system at 40 and 50 is weaker than it was and bad things happen after years of poison.

Albeit after twenty years of taking the stuff, is it the blood-brain barrier that allows the brain to rot, the curious new lipid redistribution and high cholesterol that kill with heart attacks and strokes, and/or NHL hanging out waiting for a weak moment – but returning to the overall toxicity of the what Pete correctly called “NO COCKTAIL”, I too remember the cocktail for HEP C. It was so delicious that I woke up wanting to throw myself from my top floor on East 12 street. A suicide cocktail, the reason people preferred KS lesions to interferon. We all remember that time in the early 90’s.

The nightmare made flesh. The twilight zone.

I did not get the right therapy until the right nurse practitioner, the great Karen Weisz, gave it to me in 2002, with the help of David Pieribone and Doug Diettrich. This was NOT A COCKTAIL, tail of a horsecock pounding into my brain and my guts. On tour in Russia I thought I might actually die when he were detained at the border. I had to work, since the landlord was not giving me time out for blank checks.

Of course Pete went through this gruesome nauseating pain and worry. When the guts are bad, nothing is nice. When the brain AND the guts are bad, a loaded gun is a sure bet.

I hid mine at Carl’s until he died before me. Bastard, how could he leave me?

How Pete could have survived, lovely eyes still glimmering in all these recent photos I now see…… hell if _I_ know. With a cane, but a constant need to communicate with and console friends and other activists … how? LIVING HELL, if I know right.

I had the right genotype, although who knows what will happen to those of us who have been “cured?”

But Pete, HE was not cured. He never WOULD be cured. He KNEW that, presumably, whilst fighting for it for everyone else.

He would be condigned to a life of taking the ongoing cortado of zyclone B, or chemo every day (!!!!!) with the promise that missed doses might amount to a “failure to communicate” with the virus when he resumed.

Not to mention the horror of the co-infections that most people with AIDS have, HCV and HBV, whose treatments are contraindicated for HIV treatment. What to do? I hear “kill the Heps first.” But there are doctors and/or sufferers of ALL THREE, as we know, who say and hear the opposite. Don’t worry, the serum aminase alone is very low, say the dumb of the dumb doctors, so we don’t have to worry yet. Oh sure, your fucking liver looks like swiss cheese, but the serum aminase is low, so the progress is slow. LIKE BLOODY FUCKING HELL it is. That crap was revealed to me in 1996 and I almost passed out. By 2000 I almost had cirrhosis and of course a buddy with cirrhosis died of a heart attack after repeated interferon treatments.

The human body is still just composed of what it was composed of hundreds of years ago. It has not become an uber-mass — just because we have more things to kill more things wrong with it. And with AIDS, it once had you singing in the aviary with THAT infection.

Postcards of parakeets floating between my friends Michael and Don in the late 80’s.

So I sing praises to Pete Jimenez. What I have read of him brings tears to my eyes because I know I would have loved him. While I am moved that Jeff said he liked my music, to hell with my music. I am not here for that. I am here to praise a fighter, who used every means necessary to survive, including, most importantly, giving his mind and body towards saving any and every person he could. I cry for the loss of a truly magnificent man.

Diamanda Galás
May 25, 2012

 

Spanish Translation
Greek Translation
Italian Translation

 

“Is she a virgin? I want a virgin.”

 

“Of course. Just fuck her in the ass first.”

 

“What if she screams?”

 

“Just slap her. She needs to learn how to behave.
You need to educate her.
But it costs extra for a virgin. She is new
here from Soviet Republic. 17 years old.
Nice.”

 

“Nice.”

 

“And the kolo. That will cost you extra.”

 

“Of course. And this is her first time.
I want her with no condom.”

 

“You what? That is very expensive.”

 

“I want to feel her. No condom.”

 

“It will cost you extra.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Okay let me write this down…here is your figure.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Stay here. Someone will come for you.
When you fuck her in her kolo, fuck her
hard. You have to show her what a real man likes.”

 

“Okay.”

 

(“Koutamares. Of course she will bleed
and he will think she’s a virgin. Vlakos.“)

 

Lipon. Here it goes. Was she kidnapped by a car, was she offered a job as a fitting-model or a waitress in a five star hotel that “likes Russian girls oh YES!”? “But you must give me a letter from your father.” So come forged letters from the three best friends who are going to make it in Athens. “Beautiful girls, let me see your passports. I need to make sure you are not from Hungary. Greece is having trouble right now with Hungarians. Okay, thank you.”

 

The truck goes through the night and the ferry and the truck and when they wake up they are parked in front of a building with no sign except for a “no trespassing sign” in Greek. “Where we are?” “You are at the hotel, the kitchen entrance.”

 

They come into the building and see a dark room, and up the stairs there are more dark rooms, but now there are sounds of other girls. Men’s voices and girls’. And that is where Hell begins.

 

No papers. No exit.

 

Here we are again with the HIV stigma in Greece;  I remember when boys coming to study art or theatre in Greece were sometimes subjected to HIV testing. If you were coming into Greece to play soccer, you were likely not a dirty pustis.

 

The question is: is Greece more homophobic than HIV-phobic, or more HIV-phobic than homophobic?
Were they clamping down on homos by testing them, or threatening them with testing, or were they clamping down on HIV by scaring homos?

 

Hard to tell.

 

Are they more afraid of immigrant whores and immigrant dopefiends or HIV itself? Hard to tell. I would say they could give a fuck about either. But election time is here and the hate is wild, so this is a good way to call off the accusers of the thousands of wrongs done to the citizens of Greece—the highest offense being the misappropriation (read ‘stealing’) of their money.

 

Come on, Never on Sunday was the most popular film of the day.

 

Greece and whores? Greece and the Spartan warriors.
WHORES AND FAGGOTS.

 

Visionary and educated whores were man’s best companion (female AND male).
And the Spartan warrior kidnapped a young boy when he was not given one by the family, in order to train the lover who would take an arrow for him. Lovers on the front lines was a very workable solution to fear. Let’s not rewrite history.

 

Let’s return again to the devastation of Greece and its people by the rich.
We can count upon second-class methods to raise government economy—burning down the property of the old to place more tourist hotels, targeting immigrants to distract attention from bigger issues—government stealing from its own people, as mentioned. Every third world country understands this about Greece.

 

Evey third world country has always understood this about Greece. After all, Greece is part of the third world; it is NOT a European country by ANY stretch of the imagination. It is the fault of the rich Greeks that they tried to play Greece off as a wealthy country during the Olympics. All those last-minute loans!

 

Who did they think they were kidding? Certainly not America nor the European Union, who have always treated Greece as a toilet and a brothel.

 

In any case, Greece is a child of Asia Minor, infinitely more fascinating than any European city. Greece is too ancient to be Europe; and the domestic and European Union “crack down” on the ancient tradition of prostitution, is the biggest front imaginable. Corinth, and its transvestite prostitute hotels?

 

I stayed in one in 1981, for Christ’s sake. And there certainly was no attempt to cover it up!
Oh, am I to understand that, although prostitution is legal in Greece this whole scandal has to do with brothels that have been unlicensed for years?

 

Let us not confuse the populace of Greece with the police, the government, or the supremely wealthy. Poor Greeks never wanted an Olympics; they knew they would have to move out of town during the Olympics, along with the putanes and the gataki, the first removed to Cyprus, and the second killed. (Funny how when women laugh the men say they sound like gatakis. Laughter must mean they are plotting against the men like our ancient sisters did when we were in charge.)

 

Who should know better than a Greek born in America?

 

Only the supremely wealthy are ever mentioned by most American Greeks; and the Greek Orthodox church prides itself on the fact that it will not need Greeks in the membership years from now.

 

The  Greek genocide scholars, the scientists, Greek radical activists, the artists who  are not painting oktopodi for the Onaissis foundation (which is the equivalent of a Greek tourist organization) are detested.

 

So now we have something so obvious that it should be embarrassing to rich Greek male citizenry, many of whom have a mistress and or a whore somewhere.
Big deal. Who cares?

 

Not me.

 

Except when the man, not using condoms, brings home STDs to his wife
He should be punished for that.

 

The trick should be punished who, not wearing condoms, gets and passes on any one of an endless number of STDs, and points the finger at the prostitute with whom he did not wear a condom and says “She gave me HIV!” Oh sure, baby; you probably got the clap and gave it to your wife and now want to square it by pointing to the whore and giving her a life sentence for murder. You sure aren’t going to mention the man who said that if she said ‘no’ she would be beaten severely. You sure don’t care that she was probably raped and infected by a trafficker who brought her to Greece and is probably already an addict because an addict is easy to control. Your flaccid penis cannot get it up in a condom, so you PAY MORE not to use one. This is an international reason for the spreading of the disease.

 

So an immigrant whore with HIV?

 

Holy mackerel. Finally we can point our finger at someone TRULY GUILTY. A witch who is the scapegoat we need for the chaos Greece has become, a profiteer stealing from the jobless. Oh sure, what a myth. Nobody wants that job.

 

My god, KILL HER.

 

THE BITCH SHOULD BE PUNISHED for infecting a member of the POLIS.

 

Sure, buddy: who does the dirtiest work in ANY country?
It is ALWAYS the immigrants, just as it was the refugees from Smyrna in 1922, who could not speak Greek: TURKOSPOROI!!!!! Living in open sewers and teaching the Greeks new music that became forever known as rembetika.

 

Sure, buddy.

 

He cleaned your toilets, having not one of his own, and then if he did anything you wanted to convict him for, you made him eat your shit, too, or else.

 

STOP GREECE STOP THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE UPON YOU
YOU TRIED TO SAVE FACE BY DOING THE OLYMPICS AND YOU
CHEATED AND BORROWED AND STOLE MONEY TO SAVE FACE
AT THE LAST MINUTE AND NOW HAVE TO LIE AND STEAL TO
YOUR OWN PEOPLE, BETTER LEFT DEAD LIKE THE GATAKI.

 

Dead Cat on the Line, man.

 

Cats scream like laughing bitches.
Better watch out!
THE CATS ARE ON THEIR WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

by Diamanda Galás
May 13 2012 USA