the flog

Beeps & Boops

Experimental musician Mark Hosler comes to Sun-Ray

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People love to claim that they gravitate toward the weird, but rarely do they really take things to the next level. Most are content to kick back, drink a couple of cool, Coors 16-ouncers, and enjoy an evening of television in which a famous singer dons a mask and we plebs have the pleasure of guessing his/her identity. (While this description may sound weird, the show itself is banal.)

Fortunately, Sun-Ray Cinema does weird right. And, to prove it, they've invited Mark Hosler of the celebrated San Francisco avant-noise collective Negativland, along with the legendary zine author and cartoonist Dame Darcy to liven up what would be an otherwise dull Thursday evening.

Hosler has been making strange music for many years. He helped found Negativland in 1979 and, throughout the years, Mark and his culture-jamming comrades have worked hard to change the way people think of music and media. They are most famous for lampooning advertisements (as heard on their 1997 album, Dispepsi), giving the FUs to the big boys (read more about the infamous U2 incident), and challenging the laws regarding copyrights (see/hear their 2005 album, No Business is a great start). While the group has lost founding members Richard Lyons and Don Joyce over the last decade, they are still going strong.

But this isn't a Negativland show. No, this is something completely different. For his recent performances, Hosler has been using Boopers to create musical soundscapes. Spawned from the tinkering of fellow Negativland member David Willis, the Booper is an electronic noise-making device that creates unstable feedback using multiple transistors and an FM radio receiver. The resulting sounds are different each time they are played but are sure to excite the ears and engage the mind.

Dame Darcy doesn't boop, but you are sure to enjoy her performance as well. This incredible artist has a long list of credits to her name. She has worked as an alternative cartoonist, musician, filmmaker and cabaret performer. She has also been known as a sea captain, a mermaid queen and a doll-crafting witch. One of her best-known works is the comic book series Meat Cake, a "neo-Victorian" book published by Fantagraphics from 1993 to 2008.

For this performance, Dame Darcy reads from her autobiographical graphic novel, Hi Jax & Hi Jinx, and plays songs from her newest album, ElectRococo.

If that wasn’t enough, local weirdo musician and record spelunker Jay Peele (aka DJ Shatter Wax) shares his latest vinyl discoveries between sets.

Are you ready to take this challenge? Are you prepared to watch the new episode on Friday afternoon, after you get out of work? Are you abnormal? Then you may be on the right track. Take a trip down to Sun-Ray Cinema this Thursday, Jan. 17. You won’t regret it.

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