New Monsters: First Appearance

Dan Plonsey

Harvey Pekar died just before we went into the studio to record these pieces. Harvey and I had recently collaborated on an opera, “Leave Me Alone!” He wouldn’t make anything up, so my idea of a story of a fictional Cleveland musician had to be about me instead. Unfortunately, there’s not much to my story…. Read more »

Double Indemnity—A Review

Franklin Mount

As the film starts, we hear ominous music and see a man’s silhouette, a tall, broad-shouldered man, walking toward us on crutches. A car careens through the dark streets of sunny Los Angeles. Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) an insurance salesman, casually stops by to see a prospect, a man whose automobile insurance needs renewing, hoping… Read more »

You Can Win: An Interview with Díre McCain

Edward S. Robinson

Díre McCain is a survivor. Editor in Chief at the internationally-renowned Paraphilia Magazine, which has, since its inception in 2009, built a reputation for writing and art of outstanding quality while existing far beyond the realms of the mainstream, she’s liked and respected in many underground circles. While she’s contributed writing to a number of… Read more »

Memory – New Translation of Pushkin’s Poem

Alexander Pushkin & Jenny Wade

“Memory,” a poem by Alexander Pushkin, greatest of the Russian poets and founder of modern Russian literature, translated by Jenny Wade. Includes an audio version as read by Vladimir Samoilov.

Tambourine Man: Gene Clark/No Other Memoir Project 1

Drew Hubner

I asked Dylan once, Did you make Gene Clark famous? And he said, No, Gene Clark made me famous. -Bobby Neuwirth On the night of January 16, 1991, Gene Clark and the four other original Byrds got together one last time to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Eagle Don… Read more »


Can You Hear Me God, It’s Me, Godzilla

Marc Olmsted

One wishes the director had been left alone to make a more focused and emotionally present film. Instead, humans have nothing to do but watch, which is how the general public apparently feels about our current End Times anyway.

America as Afterimage in True Detective

Marian St. Laurent

The moral righteousness of the Western genre with its clear definitions of good vs. evil looks quaint from where we find ourselves in 2014. If heroes are symbols of evolving cultural values, the fact that our pantheon is a line up of likeable “terrorists,” criminals and sleeper agents indicates a national identity in crisis. In… Read more »

Super Size Me – 10th Anniversary Soundtrack

Steve Horowitz

Now available on Amazon and iTunes, the new release from Sensitive Skin Music: Steve Horowitz’s Super Size Me 10th Anniversary soundtrack. It’s been ten years since Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me came out and was nominated for an Academy Award. Spurlock’s descent into three months of a McDonald’s-only diet is depressing in its revelations…. Read more »


Kali’s Day By Bonny Finberg – A Review

Kevin Riordan

Kali’s Day By Bonny Finberg An Autonomedia/Unbearable Book, 2014 Bonny Finberg’s Kali’s Day is an odd combination, a melancholy, picaresque spinning prayer wheel of a novel, almost contemporary and nearly timeless. It has echoes both of the druggy sojourns of William S. Burroughs and the Himalayan visits of the early Theosophists and their putative encounters… Read more »


Kraftwerk 3D, in concert at the United Palace Theatre

Franklin Mount

Kraftwerk. A band whose name, in English, means “power plant,” but, since it’s German, the name is somehow more elemental in the band’s native language. Basically: power+work. I’m still, this afternoon at least, luxuriating in the memory of their concert last night at the United Palace Theatre, and I’m at work. Kraftwerk actually lifts the… Read more »

Venice Is a Fish

Theresa Wong

Theresa Wong’s Venice Is a Fish,the new release from Sensitive Skin MusicN, now available on Amazon and iTunes and available here for free listening. Theresa Wong’s Venice Is A Fish is a diary manifest in songs. And more, it’s lovely music that will challenge you on emotional and intellectual levels as it weaves its way… Read more »

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Suicide Tour

Marty Thau

Marty Thau, one-time manager of the New York Dolls, producer of the Ramones and founder of Red Star Records, recalls his time touring with Suicide during their first European tour, in 1978. With an illustration by David West.

Excerpt From Lollapalooza Tour Diaries

Maggie Estep

Wed. August 24th, 1994, Phoenix, AZ. It’s 120 degrees here and the sky is huge. In spite of the heat they seem to be big on poetry in Phoenix. I read 4 poems then almost passed out from the heat. My t shirt was soaked with sweat and some weird fan boy started following me… Read more »


Mother’s Worry by Chris D. – Review

Marc Olmsted

Chris D. (aka Desjardins) first came to my attention as a published poet in the obscure but excellent zine Birthstone and with his own anthology Bongo Chalice, both in 1977, minutes away from starting his Flesh Eaters band in L.A. I had already seen some of his film work, including the intriguing 16mm short Rocket… Read more »


Gary Indiana

(from Gristle Springs, a novel of intrigue) In a detention cell at Gizmo, Umma Obikhan Khan, supposedly blind as the proverbial bat (having dwelt in many caves, the Umma knew well that bats are not at all blind, but simply prefer the efficacy of echolocation), darted his Blue Eye at one of the simpleton guards… Read more »

William S. Burroughs: Interview

Allen Ginsberg

A Sensitive Skin web exclusive! Allen Ginsberg interviews William S. Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas in 1992. With photographs by Ruby Ray, from the original REsearch magazine sessions, and drawings by David West. With an intro by B. Kold.

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John Lurie – New Paintings

John Lurie

John Lurie’s drawings and paintings express a disarming mixture of corrosive wit, raw emotion and unblemished sensitivity. His works bear the mark of an outsider, a quality present throughout his idiosyncratic career. To quote the artist: “I like to draw and paint. It is a river to me. I am not an Indian.”

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Chapter 90 – Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders

Samuel R. Delany

Inadvertently, Chapter 90 of Samuel R. Delany’s recent novel, “Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders,” was deleted from the book by the printer. A Sensitive Skin exclusive, here’s the “missing” chapter from Chip’s latest book…

Wall Street – Charles Gatewood Photographs

Charles Gatewood

In early 1972, I spent a week with William Burroughs in London, photographing a cover story for Rolling Stone. Burroughs’ radical ideas about power, control, and money touched me deeply. When I returned to New York, I began photographing the financial district in a whole new style. I’d never taken photographs like this before–but I… Read more »

Mayakovsky – New Translations

Vladimir Mayakovsky & Jenny Wade

In 1913, at the age of 19, Vladimir Mayakovsky hit the Russian art scene like a tornado. Within a year, he published his first poems and lithographs; went on a 17-city lecture tour; published articles on Russian theater; wrote, produced and starred in his first play; and, along with his gang of friends, launched a new art movement—Futurism…

Fred Frith – An Interview

Fred Frith & The Editors

Three Sensitive Skin editors had a chat with legendary musician and composer Fred Frith. We asked him some good questions, and some (or so he apparently thought) pedantic ones. But that’s how we roll. Fred’s answers were always interesting…


Jody Weiner, Prisoners of Truth – Review

Jim Feast

Jody Weiner, Prisoners of Truth (San Francisco: Council Oak Books, 2012) Jody Weiner’s Prisoners of Truth follows a pattern found in much American writing and, perhaps even more, in classical Hollywood cinema. Two men were childhood friends or were close in college; circumstances separated them, and, then, decades later, they meet again. Each has taken… Read more »


The Extremist Manifesto

Nick Zedd

Now that contemporary art, a system that stands for privilege, nepotism and political connections is finally dying, get out of the fucking way. We who have been locked out of your galleries, museums and art holes… ignored, reviled and cast aside for having convictions (and belonging to the wrong class) are the voice of the… Read more »

Time Now and Everything

Michael Randall

“Time Now and Everything,” a poem by Michael Randall, with a photograph by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, Fisher Body Plant 21, from “Ruins of Detroit.”

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The Dark Side of the North Pole

Darius James

The further adventures of Froggy Chocolates, as he’s abducted by aliens, learns firsthand the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, gets a valuable life lesson from Sammy Davis Jr. and gets to sing everybody’s favorite Jimi Hendrix song. Sort of.

Memory is Narrative; Narrative is Memory

Ronald B. Richardson

The narrative demand for something unusual keeps us wanting more, even while existing narratives are still valid and effective. Fashions once developed across centuries; now we expect each decade to distinguish itself in terms of music, style, and idea. In spite of the bewildering range of content available in every field, we require innovation. Filmmakers, musicians, writers, scholars and scientists are all trying to come up with something original. Nothing wrong with that. The madness is that we think that only new ideas are good ideas.

Purple Heron of the Night

Raúl Serrano Sánchez

Claudio was only trying to make up for all the years he’d spent yearning for those legs, the ones he was always telling you about over coffee in the newly restored center of the old city, in one of those bars that’s supposed to promise you spiritual enlightenment. I remember him talking about how if… Read more »


The Good Shit & Presence: Rue Girardon

Pete Simonelli

The Good Shit We were told the bubbles should look like little pebbles you could pour clean into your hand. “Go on, shake it,” said Peanut, junk dealer, mechanic, and feral-cat wrangler by day, shiner by night. “Shake ’er up and pour some in the cap.” We shook our samples, twisted off the caps and… Read more »

Peter Shear – Paintings

Peter Shear

What really sends me is artwork containing a spaciousness of address which allows for our looking to become consuming and urgent. In these moments the relationship between object and audience can be truly generative, a partnership. The gulf of meaning present in an artwork separating artist from viewer remains mysterious and it feels good operating… Read more »

The Cherub

E.A. Fow

On the way to rehearsal, Amy thought she saw something flit away. An afterimage lingered in her eye, pink and faintly glowing, but she couldn’t make out what it was. She didn’t think about it again until the next day, when she was crossing the street on her way to work. Out of the corner… Read more »


Breyten Breytenbach

Breyten Breytenbach was a committed opponent of the policy of apartheid. In France he was a founding member of Okhela, a resistance group fighting apartheid in exile. On an illegal trip to South Africa in 1975 he was betrayed (by the ANC who mistrusted him), arrested and sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for high treason: his work The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist describes aspects of his imprisonment. Released in 1982 as a result of massive international protest he returned to Paris and obtained French citizenship. He currently divides his time between Europe, Africa, and the United States.


Tenth Between Fear & Trembling

Max Blagg

We lived one floor up from a woodworking shop from which the tools had long since been stolen. It was on East Tenth Street, way over almost to the river, a view of the smokestacks of Con Edison’s 14th Street plant painted that year in patriotic shades of red white and blue. Every night Sherillee… Read more »

Maria Yudina

Maria Yudina

Jenny Wade

The concert pianist Maria Veniaminovna Yudina – Stalin and Shostakovich’s favorite – died this day, November 19, in 1970.

Evil Polish Boners & Other Flarf Poems

Sharon Mesmer

Evil Polish Boners I don’t know what it is about spandex suits for wrestling and rowing, but they always seem to create the most evil Polish boners. The Polish boner is a boner that the Polish boner team created using Erasmus’ Erotic Tales of Defiant Men mucus mud baths and a bunny rabbit missing one… Read more »

Looking Back: Anxiety’s Greatest Hits

Patrick O'Neil

San Francisco, June 24, 1997 I’m in a dark, trash-filled alley between tall brick buildings. Two men stand in shadows. I can’t see their faces. I hand one of them money and he gives me a balloon of dope. I look up, there’s a light coming from an open window. I hear music, someone is… Read more »


The Hurricane

Ron Kolm

My Sister is a pastor For a hospice In New Jersey— She’s part of a team That drives up and down The length of the state Helping the dying die. She spends her nights In motels and keeps her files In her car; her office On wheels. Years ago she fought With the Bishop Turning… Read more »

Road Kill

Drew Hubner

In an alley on the fringes of the march, Glory stuffed toilet paper bits in her ears and got out of danger, whispering to the baby in her tummy, running deeper into the alley for safety. Text me, she’d said to the father of her child Smith and his friend Archibald melted into the crowds… Read more »


Kill Your Darlings – a film review

Marc Olmsted

The conceit that the stabbing death of David Kammerer at the hands of Lucian Carr would birth the Beat Generation was a premise audacious enough to make me interested.

What follows in the film Kill Your Darlings is beyond the “dollar book Freud” of the Rosebud sled ending Citizen Kane (to quote Orson Welles himself). It is the fabrication of people that seemed to do research based on what they overheard at a cocktail party.

Saddy, painting by David West

Dear Satan

Tony DuShane

My prayer was answered. I found a Hustler magazine. I often prayed to Satan for a Playboy to appear under my mattress. When the urge was strong and the need to see a naked woman was important for a decent pubescent session of masturbation, I would ask the Devil himself to make pornography magically appear… Read more »

We Are All Alice B. Toklas

James Reich

Toklasization, being the condition of failing to materialize in one’s autobiography, or of being ghostwritten out by a biographer with more vanity than ours, has become the most significant cause of suicide and psychopathology in North America. Toklasization is the condition of fame failed or failing. Toklasization occurs at the moment when one surrenders aspiration… Read more »

Steve Adams – Triskotronica

The Editors

Steve Adams’ (Rova Saxophone Quartet) “Triskotronica” is an homage to jazz innovators Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz and their tradition of improvisation. In a world that values the familiar, Steve Adams’ Triskotronica should be on another planet. It’s a good thing that it’s not, because that means the world would miss this challenging yet listenable music. Fusing electronic soundscapes with his alto and tenor saxophones and bass flute, Adams’ creates his own genre of ambient electronic jazz. Triskotronica brings a whole new musical experience that brings back the past while exploring the future.

Sensitive Skin #10

The Editors

Sensitive Skin #10 features out-takes from the Wall Street collection by famed photographer Charles Gatewood (Sidetripping, Forbidden Photographs), fiction by downtown legends Gary Indiana (Scar Tissue and Other Stories, White Trash, Horse Crazy, Gone Tomorrow), Max Blagg (Ticket Out) and Drew Hubner (East of Bowery) plus work by junky bankrobber Patrick O’Neil (The Hold-Up), radio host Tony DuShane (Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk) newcomer E.A. Fow and South American novelist Raul Serrano Sanchez (Catálogo de ilusiones) Plus work by Sharon Mesmer, Ron Kolm, Pete Simonelli, Michael Randall, James Reich, Ronald B. Richardson, Nick Zedd and Breyten Breytenback.

We also have a portfolio of paintings by rising art star Peter Shear, and music by Steve Adams (ROVA Saxophone Quartet), with additional art, illustrations and photographs by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre (The Ruins of Detroit), Ruby Ray (From the Edge of the World: California Punk, 1977-1981), Chris Bava, Megan Baker, David West (Music: Drawing Down the Muse), Jeff Spirer, Charlie Homo, Ted Barron, Justine Frischmann, Julie Torres and Tom McGlynn.

The full-color print version is now available via Amazon and select bookstores.


In Memory of Dmitri Shostakovich

Jenny Wade

Today is the anniversary of the death of the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (Sept 29, 1906 – April 9, 1975). Shostakovich struggled under a hostile and perilous political environment for his entire working life. After a promising start with his First and Second Symphonies, his career went up in flames when Stalin attended a performance… Read more »


Zoning, by Spencer Kansa – review by Marc Olmsted

Marc Olmsted

Spencer Kansa’s debut novella Zoning is terrifying, page-turning fun. If this seems contradictory, consider that he was an acolyte of William Burroughs, so gallows humor grotesque enough to rival the Master himself is no stranger here in Kansa’s printscape.

Missing Foundation and Mike Taibbi’s "Cult of Rage"

Sir Andre Bemler

In 1988, “ace” reporter Mike Taibbi (yes, the father of Matt Taibbi, whom we hold in great esteem) produced and aired a 3-part expose on the satanic cult masquerading as a rock band – Missing Foundation.

Taylor Mead, RIP

Nick Zedd

I met Taylor Mead in 1989 when we both acted together in a science fiction movie shot in the Hall of Science at the World’s Fair Grounds in Queens. I’d seen his acting in the seventies when I moved to NYC and saw Nude Restaurant, Lonesome Cowboys, Queen of Sheba Meets the Atom Man and… Read more »

Hunter S. Thompson

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved

Hunter S. Thompson

Welcome to Derbytown I got off the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal. The air was thick and hot, like wandering into a steam bath. Inside, people hugged each other and shook hands … big grins and a whoop here and there: “By God! You… Read more »


Happy Birthday Terry Southern

Sir Andre Bemler

A few choice photographs of Terry Southern, one of the great writers of the ’60s, with the Beatles, the Stones, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Dennis Hopper and Jean Genet.

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The United States of Hoodoo

Darius James & Ghazi Barakat

Ghazi Barakat discusses “The United States of Hoodoo” with long-time friend Darius James, who stars in the documentary film. They cover everything from Sammy Davis and the Church of Satan to the murder of Robert Johnson to Maya Deren and Eartha Kitt.


Georges Bataille : Literature And Evil

This is a fascinating interview with Georges Batailles from 1958, regarding his essay, La Littérature et le Mal (hat tip, Rob Hardin). Some of the high points include the statements that all literature is essentially evil, or else it’s boring. Literature has to deal with anguish…therefore any good writer is guilty of something when writing… Read more »


New Monsters – Live at 55

The Editors

Presenting the first release from Sensitive Skin Music, The New Monsters Live at 55 Sensitive Skin’s inaugural release, New Monsters Live at Studio 55, highlights the role of jazz in the 21st century. Captured live at Studio 55 in Marin and featuring the compositions of saxophonist Dan Plonsey, this album echoes the ensemble’s roots in… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 13

Drew Hubner

When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself. We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit. The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 12

Drew Hubner

photograph by Ted Barron A true Operatic, Gene Clark could have sung stage, and his natural style was that of the Elizabethan ballad, songs that he had traded verses with his father since a bare lad. He learned to keep perfect natural time with his foot and add orchestra with his harmonica. Though again with… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 11

Drew Hubner

That night in the dark van, as the stark winter night trees made shadows on the old winding and cracked highway, Gene told us of how writing songs and singing them, sometimes performing even made him feel something like he did as a child when he played Indian in the woods from his friends. He… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 10

Drew Hubner

When I awoke at dawn Gene Clark was driving and humming to himself. We’re going to take a side trip to see the folks, he said and then we have a show at Wayne State in Detroit. The car broke down; it would not go over thirty and the snow started again. Gene turned off… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 9

Drew Hubner

Roger White showed up in Champaign on his motorcycle, a good thing. Gene played all the new songs in a semi-fugue state. Like he was all alone up there, singing, testifying before God. photograph by Ted Barron Gene said, I wrote some new songs just recently. Lessee if they have the strength of strings. Well… Read more »


“Burning Bush”, directed by Agnieszka Holland – Review

Franklin Mount

I saw this movie (originally a three part Czech television miniseries directed by the Polish director, Agnieszka Holland, now being shown in two parts at Film Forum) on Sunday. I bought my ticket in advance, not that there was any chance of it selling out. But I have a deep affinity for films of tragedies… Read more »


Tambourine Man: Gene Clark – Part 8

Drew Hubner

For the rest of the show, Gene Clark pitched in with the others. They just had their guitars and used whatever PA was available. They sang to one mike like some old fashioned country round up. They had to go back to their hotel and Candace that was her name took me back to the… Read more »