ValBar, 1985, price €1863.53 Valbar production, by Valerie Haller [grafik artist] and the author, which boldly and blindly leaped out into abstraction as a valid weapon with which to do battle against the forces of commerce, of in-your-face, the production of which preceded ill-fated mega-mile search across America for meaning. The imminent collapse of Valbar as a creative and bodily unit meant instant obscurity for the 500 copies. No marketing stomach after heartbreak. Influenced by advertising and Charles Burchfield, by shadow puppets and military puppets, by children’s stories and Dada, by French artist Ferdinand Leger and the disillusionment with linear reading and logical discourse.
Before It Gets Lost Back Cover
The glory was however tarnished by fact that bart found review copy sent to some big critic in the Strand Bookstore less than 2 weeks after having sent it. With personal note still enclosed. Cold-heartedness. Obscurity is further proof of your being misunderstood. The only positive aspect of all this was that the Strand had even bother to purchase the thing to resell. Obscurity has its own double-edged revenge. Includes poems “sideways mystery of the babaloo torso”, "The Illegitimate Music of Laughter", "a compelling need to behead rimbaud", "voom voom. bad bed bug bite" and the classic "Radio Hypnosis in the USofA". Front cover: Valerie Haller, Back cover photos: Lisa Genet.
Culture of Narcolepsy
ValBar, 1984, price €1250.69 Produced by Valbar, employing the philosophy of “creative leisure combats work” and sponsored by the “New Jersey Zen Housewives” we get the collaborative romantic contentiousness of Valerie Haller & bart plantenga, taking on the world to “fight paralysis” and join a real “Marxist Computer Slimdown Kamp” read a “real” marriage announcement for the New York Times, the confessional “The Making of a Misanthrope” and celebrate as “5 New Countries Join the Capitalist Bloc” inc. Lacosterica and Playbowana.
Personal / Dialectical / International: 3 Books
ValBar, 1982, price €8093.12 euros 3 books produced by Valerie Haller & bart plantenga offering 3 views of the world. Very limited edition of 20±. Was featured in "Group Sculpture" at the Sculpture Center in NYC, 6.29 - 7.20 1982. The show also featured works by Blair Seagram, Kenny Scharf & 5 others. The books were housed in a unique wooden sculpture bookcase designed by Haller called "Nervous Crib / Veinous Shoe Rack." The books themselves were a unique visual-word collaboration between Haller & Plantenga. The books were at the forefront of the avant-DIY movement, which emphasized chance, imperfection, the human touch in bookmaking.
Was mainly a project that erupted spontaenously from the needs and minds of bart plantenga and Theo Dorian and, in the beginning, poet Su Byron, along with a cute and cuddly cadre of assistants-friends-lovers, in our HQ-cum-oversized-broom-closet at Bleecker and McDougal [back when rents did not go for 2 arms and 2 legs]. Among this cadre were some who worked in copyshops and were able to clandestinely slip our zine into gratis production – drastically cutting production costs. We sold our zines at various indie bookstores including Sohozat, Eastside Books, St. Marks, Gotham Bookmart and Printed Matter [But also in Amsterdam, London, Paris, San Francisco and Albany]. When some of these local outlets steadfastly "neglected" to pay us for actual sales, we turned to that age-old DIY trick of stealing back your own magazines to up sales and render some measure of revenge, the revenge of the powerless DIYer. As of today, I still have a receipt somewhere for issues sold at Gotham Bookmart and I always meant to go back and collect our $40+. Nice #4 was also sold in some record stores like 99 Records on McDougal Street in NY [best sales and Ed Bahlman always paid].
Bardor Prod., NYC 1980, price €7000.23 Highly conceptual 4-clear-flexi-disc art zine - the zine you could play on your turntable! the 1st & only ever! Audio-visual cornucopia. Underground treasure chest. Includes work by Standing Offer, John M. Bennett, The Party’s Over, Lou Horvath, Sartre’s Pupils, Peggy’s Draperies, Potential Propaganda, etc.
Plus visual/literary work by Lydia Tomkiw, Joachim Frank, Ruggero Maggi, etc. Design and directed insanity by bart plantenga & Theo Dorian. Photo of Lizzy Mercier Descloux by Lisa Genet. One of the mostly highly coveted printed matter products of the 1980s. Form/format, however, overwhelmed content to some extent. Ed B. at 99 Records reported that he once sold 10 copies to Japanese businessmen. Presumably they were going to take them back to a lab to dismantle and discover NICE magic... A true object to behold. Unique binding allowed the entire mag to be folded open and placed flat on a turntable to the size of a standard 45 sleeve.
The mag launch was at the inimitable and ill-fated Club 57 [on St. Marks Place] in late February 1982. The Nice Anarchy party included hostess Bikini Girl, noise-meisters Solomonoff & Vonhoffmanstahl [who make Sonic Youth sound like the Carpenters], Pop Decay, Dislokate Klammer, Scarlatina Lust and others. The place was so packed that it led to a spontaneous and kinder version of body-slamming. The post-hysteria gossip was that we had produced the single most successful night in the club’s history, so successful that it accelerated the demise of Club 57 [yes, the Catch-22 of quality of life legislation already existed back then].
The flexi-discs were also featured on WFMU, especially Irwin's show as well as the Vanilla Bean's and others. The hosts of "Stormy Monday" on WBAI devoted an entire show to Nice #4, if memory serves... Listen WFMU or Listen Blog.
Bardor Prod., NYC 1981, price €112.75 An obsessional, inexcusable, triple-view cut-n-paste magazine of nice fanaticism via frantic/obsessive collecting of documented use of "nice/niceness" in print. Design/idea/execution: Theo Dorian & bart plantenga with assistance from Daniel Jackson & Kristin Armstrong.
Land of the Missing Girls
Bardor Prod., NYC 1983, price €269.69 Multi-media poetics going somewhere unexplained. Discourse with ambient violence of living area. Eroticism sublimated through delicate cutting around sublime edges. Poetics and graphics flirts with the ineffable feelings of frivolity and utter worthlessness.
Map of Glowing Toys
Bardor Prod., NYC 1982, price €240.02 Coupon size and style visual poetics. Includes original version of the infamous “Conspicuous Pig” sticker, which later served as an inadequate weapon against conspicuous consumption, largesse, status, bank machines, limos…
Bardor Prod., NYC 1981, price €808.09 A sustained meditation on nice[ness] [as in long I but also extended to include Nice as in long E, the city] in literature from Mao to Salinger, from Joyce to Joe Strummer, from LBJ to Aram Saroyan with a broad collection of emerging local and international writers and poets such as mail-artist Lon Spiegelman, the Mechanical Servants, Lydia Tomkiw, Brad-Lay & other miscreants. Included a fold-out map of Nice, somewhere all of us want to escape to. That this was done in a pre-computer age makes it all the more amazing and troubling. That this book created no significant paradigm shift in reading behavior was seen at the time as its most significant contribution to reading behavior.
Book of Values [Nice #1.5]
Bardor Prod., NYC 1981, price €1940.08 Includes “ludic” critique of consumerism as quasi-religion. Cut-n-paste terror to upset almost no one with its incisive look at the misuses of science and the preoccupation with the logic applied to the hypnotizing irrational that leads to the forlorn conclusions of venture capital and the almost accepted notion that all existence is somehow "naturally" determined by the workings of the marketplace. Includes poems “St. Pat’s Day in NYC 3/17/80” and “n.y. single bullet theory”, collages, bad photos taken with a real vintage box camera and more [or less].
Bardor Productions, NYC 1980, price €2803.49 Semi-official meta-clinical pseudo-pharmaco-literary studies of the effects of collage and LSD on narrative structure. Produced under not-so-strict clinical conditions by poet Su Byron, producers Theo Dorian and bart plantenga. Resulted in verification of the phenomenon known as "zeitgeist absorption." Exuded niceness & in its own serendipitous way mirrored exquisite deliriousness, naive romanticism via maximized cut-n-paste strategies in the best [worst] post-surrealist tradition. Included surprise packet of found objects and recycled toys, info snippets, candy, and fortuitous surprises. Big hit at NYU Small Press Fair, 1981.
Pressed for Time Press, Ann Arbor 1978, price €586.22 Seminal legal-size limited edition mag. of bart plantenga poetry including “9x9 Divine,” “never meaning much in salvation army store,” “half life,” “deep in a breathless car” and others. Many of these poems were free for the taking when I established a tearsheet poetry display that hung from the back seat of my cab so that riders could read some poetry as I took them to their destinations. Being a late-nite cab driver in Ann Arbor Michigan was a little like being a priest, counsellor and grand prix driver all in one. You absorbed a lot of human frustration and learned the uselessness and the value of perseverence. The poems were collected and the magazine was later sold in my cab.
PfTP, Ann Arbor 1978, €1958.36 Homage to Patti Smith with plenty of photos by Jim Kruz and Andy Freeberg plus poetics, lit and visuals by bart plantenga, Hank Tepper, Hendrik Meijer, Nels Johnson, Diane Piepol, David Duer, Karen Reinheimer, Steve Balmer, among others. PS seemed to be in town a lot during that period, playing at the Second Chance [Chances Are] and just being around in rumor and spirit… There were alliances crafted from those who loved her and those who did not. PS [and jazz and Tom Waits among others] was our ticket to escape mass hysterical addiction to sports at the university. Jockdom as oppressive regime, punk as liberational theology…
PfTP, Ann Arbor 1977, price €977.20 Travel, movement, cab driving, nocturnal wandering, vagabonds, aimlessness, zen, valuable insights into the Michigander soul with numerous poems by bart plantenga inc. “on u.s. 1” but also work by Ellen Zweig, Hank Tepper, Don Zirulnik, Simone Davis, James Prchlick, Elizabeth Crawford, Gail Offen, Hank Meijer…
Pressed for Time Press, Ann Arbor 1977, price €384.40 Poetics and more mental stress: bart plantenga including “nite lites,” “deshabille,” “notes under my breath” among others. Also includes work by Nels Johnson, Simone Davis, Connie Ennis, Sandra Schpoont, Debra Schwartz, Aida Luberto.
Pressed for Time Press, Ann Arbor 1976, price€1853.12 Poetry produced employing unique technique called calculated spontaneity, crumpled meter, insomnia and mnemonic devices. Forlorn quality often compared to the paintings of Edward Hopper. Includes “nite move,” “inside & outside waiting for you,” “house of leaves” and more.