NEW AL ACKERMAN ANTHOLOGY published by Luna Bisonte Prods

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Artists Stamps, book review, collaboration, family, poetry, travel
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Published by Luna Bisonte Prods 2013

Published by Luna Bisonte Prods 2013

Luna Bisonte Prods is proud to offer (alas, posthumously) a vast testament of humorous ramblings and scramblings by none other than one of the 14 Secret Masters of the World!, Blaster Al Ackerman, as well as works he wrote under eighteen different pseudonyms. Click on the title to preview a small selection from the beginning and end of the book.

THE COMPLETE WORKS from LOST&FOUND TIMES 1979-2005 Introduction by Jack A. Withers Smote – Compilation and Afterword by C. Mehrl Bennett

By Blaster Al Ackerman

“This anthology includes the complete works of Blaster Al from Lost & Found Times 6/7 through 54, 1979-2005.  It includes every appearance of his inimitable column, Ack’s Wacks, and all of the Ack’s Hacks published in the magazine, in which he created poems and other works using as source material poems by John M. Bennett and many others. His processes for doing these works were lunatic, wonderful, and constantly varying and unpredictable. Many of these accounts are included as they are often as interesting and hair-brained as the results.  The anthology also contains many drawings, paintings, poems, texts, and wide swaths of other material from an acknowledged master artist, mail artist, writer, and prankster; one of the great minds of our times,” …description by LBP editor, John M. Bennett.

My husband (JMB) and I had been part of Blaster’s mailart network since the late 70’s, but never met Blaster Al in person until he stopped by sometime in the 90’s while touring with Catherine Pancake. Below is a photo with The Blaster inside a Catherine sandwich.

C. Mehrl Bennett, Blaster Al Ackerman, and Catherine Pancake

C. Mehrl Bennett, Blaster Al Ackerman, and Catherine Pancake

Around and after 2000, we’d travel to Baltimore MD and visit Al when he worked at Normal’s Books & Records. Later in the evening, John and Al would perform with others at a “Shattered Wig Night”, a monthly venue organized by Rupert Wondolowski. After Al moved to Austin TX to live with his daughter Stephanie and her family (his health was becoming more frail), we visited him for a few days in 2011. Al returned the favor a year ago in May 2012, spending a week with us in Columbus. When not socializing or collaborating via art/words, we watched THE THREE STOOGES on video – as this was Al’s favorite pastime. (Note that “Ngg-Ngg-Ngg” and “Woo-Woo-Woo!” gags were used by Eel Leonard, one of Al’s pseudonyms, in a two of his poems.) We took him to a theatre to see The Three Stooges: The Movie (2012), which he enjoyed but he regretted all the walking he had to do. We never saw Al in person again after leaving him at the Columbus airport, though he’d hoped to visit us again to see  “The70Project” mailart exhibit and a performance event at a gallery when John turned seventy in October. He was moved into hospice care in an Austin nursing home in the autumn of 2012 with terminal brain cancer. Stephanie (“Stevie”) obtained his verbal permission for LBP to republish his L&FT contributions in this anthology. Today, the official wikipedia spiel begins, “Blaster Al Ackerman was the most commonly used name by an American mail artist and writer born as William Hogg Greathouse. Ackerman had been active in various subcultures since the early 1970s. He died on March 17, 2013, in Austin,Texas.”

Blaster, you were the king. We’ll miss you.

The following three paragraphs are from an online post by John Berndt of Baltimore, which precedes the schedule for the latter two weekends of the June 2013 BLASTERTHON memorial events in Baltimore, for which John Berndt and Rupert Wondowloski were hosts extraordinaire:
“Blaster” Al Ackerman (C.A.S.F.C.) was one of the greatest absurdist and black humor writers of the 20th century (not to mention being a great, inscrutable visual artist) and one of our very own here in Baltimore. His medium, MAIL ART was one of the least respectable art forms–which entirely suited him. After living in Baltimore (and working at Normals books and Records in Waverly with us) for about 15 years, he passed away from a brain tumor while convalescing with his family in Texas on March 17th, 2013.

To say that Blaster had a huge impact on the lives of creative people throughout the world, and especially in Baltimore’s avant-garde demi-mode doesn’t begin to cover it. He was a living, breathing fountain of ineffable inspiration. Despite his announced pessimistic philosophy that “we are all ghoulish fools,” his extraordinary imagination, literary ability, ability to love, and sense of humor were utterly transcendent of his situation and perhaps of any artform he engaged in.

Hardly a follower of anything (except perhaps Ray Palmers sci-fi pulps), Blaster was an utterly unique person, he was a huge influence on extreme characters as diverse as Genisis P. Orridge, Andre Stitt, Istvan Kantor, John M. Bennett, Rupert Wondowloski, and myself (John Berndt)–not to mention the founding of the NEOIST movement and mail art in general. Some of his writings have been compared to language centered writing, only, in his words, “to a bad end.” — John Berndt

GO TO: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmehrlbennett/sets/72157634311937782 AND to view as slideshow, go to tool bar to click a little box with arrow (left of little speech balloon) — These are my photos from our trip to Baltimore in June 2013 for the first weekend of THE BLASTERTHON; More specifically from June 21st through the day we drove back to Ohio, Sunday, June 23rd, at a rest stop. Regretfully, during the first half of the 14 KT Cabaret Blasterthon on Saturday, I could’t find my camera (it was in my pocket the entire time I frantically searched my purse!). But during that time Rupert Wondolowski (MC), Francis Poole, Megan McShea, John Eaton, and Courtney McCullough performed readings (Courtney sang a song about THE KING). Laure Drogoul did a participatory performance which I did not photograph, as we were blindfolded the majority of the time. It was an auditory and olfactory piece, with candles for lighting and it resulted in a wonderful feedback soundtrack slowly developing. I did short readings on Friday & Saturday from a little book I’d made (and passed out to audience) with Al’s BAWA hacks of my fluxus scores.

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