Feb 16, 2024, 7pm
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Fattening Frogs for Snakes: John Sinclair + Junko + Cannibal + Lizzi Bougatsos & Marc Edwards


To mark the closing of Mike Kelley: Ghost and Spirit at the Bourse de Commerce | Pinault Collection in Paris, Blank Forms presents Fattening Frogs for Snakes, an evening of performances spanning extreme noise, outer-limit rock, and poetry, inspired by Kelley's adventurous affinities. The Japanese vocalist Junko, long-time member of the legendary group Hijokaidan, will bookend the event with a pair of shrieking incantations. King Buzzo of the Washingtonian sludge metal band Melvins plays solo acoustic, and Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance, I.U.D.) and percussionist Marc Edwards collaborate. Cannibal, a trio composed of Destroy All Monster’s Cary Loren, artist Cameron Jamie, and musician and Ultra Eczema impresario Dennis Tyfus, raise hell. And finally, Kelley's hero John Sinclair—White Panther Party founder, MC5 manager, poet laureate of Detroit—recites selections of his storied countercultural verse.

Jazz poet and political activist John Sinclair has lived many lives: manager of the Motor City ür-punk group MC5, alternative media doyen for publications like Fifth Estate and the Ann Arbor Sun, cofounder of the anti-racist organization the White Panther Party, and all-around countercultural cause célèbre. Since the mid-’60s, he has been a prolific writer and performer of jazz-and-blues-inflected free verse, and an incalculable influence on the Detroit underground—including on one Mike Kelley, who selected the poet to anoint his Mobile Homestead (2011), a replica of the artist’s childhood home on permanent display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). 

Known for her vigorous, unrelenting, high-pitched shrieking, Junko is a Japanese vocalist and a long-time member of the legendary noise outfit Hijokaidan fronted by her husband Jojo Hiroshige. In recent years, her intense and occasionally confrontational performances have garnered Western attention, leading to a spate of collaborations with the likes of industrial guitarist Michel Henritzi, Lea Cummings (Kylie Minoise), Sutcliffe Jügend, and Mattin. 

Cannibal are a supergroup composed of artists Cary Loren, Cameron Jamie, and Dennis Tyfus, whose antic performances have previously explored the pleasures of the “lower forms of music,” ranging from bargain-bin records to erratic electronics to guttural vocal techniques. With Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, and Niagara, Loren was a founding member of the influential Detroit guerrilla unit Destroy All Monsters, as well an artist, author, and co-owner of the premiere Motor City-based used book store the Book Beat. Cameron Jamie is an artist now based in Paris by way of desolate southern California, known for his diverse artistic output including drawings, ceramics, monotypes, and Xerox artist books. The Antwerp-based Dennis Tyfus is similarly polystylistic, known for his wide-ranging drawings, sculptures, performances, radio programs, tattoos, and proprietorship of the superlative noise label Ultra Eczema. 

Lizzi Bougatsos is visual artist, musician, and writer based in New York, known for her decades-long participation in the unclassifiable rock project Gang Gang Dance and as one-half of the hypnotic duo I.U.D. Marc Edwards is a free jazz percussionist who has performed alongside artists such as Cecil Taylor, David S. Ware, and Charles Gayle. His projects include the science-fiction-inflected outré jazz entity Marc Edwards & Slipstream Time Travel and the Weasel Walter-led rock band Cellular Chaos. 

King Buzzo is the solo project of the esteemed Robert “Buzzo” Osborne, frontman of  Melvins. Since their founding in 1983, few bands have so sublimely captured the entire spectrum of American rock music, from the glorious inanity of KISS and T.S.O.L. to chugging, dirge-like doom riffs. In his unplugged performances, Buzzo’s guitar virtuosity is on full display, a striking, licky style all his own that variously channels James Hetfield and Greg Sage. NOTE: Due to illness, King Buzzo can no longer attend.