MinXus Mail Bag: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Store (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Front and back covers of Suggestion Box Residue #2 zine (2011) by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Last summer we sent a mail-art package to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE thanking the legendary performance artist profusely for participating in the MinXus-Lynxus Who Has The Best Hair Contest. He brought our performance to a new level and fulfilled our dream (at long last) of working with him. Also a veteran mail-artist who has communicated thoughtfully with thousands who have sought him out, tENTATIVELY, a cCONVENIENCE sent us a characteristically wonderful package, which we are thrilled to share with you.

He sent us his 36-page Suggestion Box Residue #2 zine, and we are presenting excerpts here. While tENTATIVELY, a CONVENIENCE might wish to characterize himself as a “mad scientist,” his longtime fans know him as performance artist, musician, writer, supreme Neoist, saint in the Church of the Subgenius, social and political activist as well as literary critic and philosopher among, certainly, other categorizations.

You can learn more about specifics here http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/

Still a presence on avant trending cultural scenes, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has the aura these days of a seasoned, thoughtful intellectual immersed in avant history whose art is built meticulously upon well-conceived ideas. Newer audiences seem unaware of his former, outlaw reputation (authentic radicalism is exceedingly rare in the kultur industry); he has probably been arrested and detained as much, if not more, than any other living performance artist. His kind letter to us reflects his wide-ranging interests:

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And the reverse side of the letter:

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Now back to the Suggestion Box Residue excerpts:

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Pages measure approximately 2 X 3 inches, so the publication is remarkably compact. We are including a section of the introduction, which describes the zine’s concept.

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Here are two examples of pages from the zine with suggestion box material:

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Many thanks to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE for sending Suggestion Box Residue. Here is the cd mentioned in the letter:

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Youtube has a lot of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE material:

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Again, many thanks to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amir-ul Kafirs
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 19:35:38

    tHANK yOU! aGAIN! Strictly speaking, “he has probably been arrested and detained as much, if not more, than any other living performance artist” isn’t accurate. Reading that got me to reminiscing about how many times I HAVE been arrested, put in jail, stopped for questioning, etc.. I can only think of 9 times that I’ve been in jail – the longest of the stays being, fortunately, only a weekend.

    The 1st time I was ever questioned by the police was when I was falsely accused of breaking windows when I was about 10. I was let go. MANY false accusations have followed (apparently I’m a ‘suspicious character’) but few have resulted in actual arrest. Most recently, I was stopped by the police for ‘driving while white with black passengers’ this past August. I wasn’t speeding or in any way driving poorly but my being the only ‘white’ person in the car was apparently ’cause for alarm’ & I was pulled over. I had to give my driver’s license, a check was run on the police computer, I was told to get out of the car & interrogated.

    The funniest charge I ever faced was for “Occupying Space”. I was hitch-hiking on an interstate – probably around 1971. The full charge for that was “Occupying space on an interstate highway” or some such but there wasn’t room for all that on the ticket.

    The only time I was ever arrested for political activities was in 1986 at the Chicago Haymarket Centennial, a gathering of anarchists. I tried to free another anarchist who’d just been arrested & got thrown in the paddywagon myself. I was freed from the wagon under pressure from the crowd – who greatly outnumbered the police. The police tried to rearrest me but I managed to get away.

    The only time I went to jail for a performance was for “T he Poop & Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony” in 1983 during the 3rd Church & Foundation of the SubGenius Convention. One could say that my guerrilla action at the Boston Bobalon 4 years later was a performance which I was nabbed by the police for – but they released me in confusion when people came to my defense.

    Amazingly enough, one of the times when I was thrown in jail on false charges (& threatened with death by the police) the charges were thrown out in court by a judge who had the sense to see that the police were abusing their power. It was astonishing to witness the judge actually admonish the prosecutor!

    Monty Cantsin (Istvan Kantor) has been arrested for performances far more often than I have & in multiple countries. In fact, a look at the histories of many neoists would reveal multiple arrests &, sadly, more significant jail time than I’ve ever had to endure. David Zack, eg, would never have died so young if he hadn’t been incarcerated in a Mexican prison without health care.

    One of Gordon W. Zealot’s tales of arrest can be read in an interview I conducted with him: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/InterviewZealot.html . Gyorgy Ladanyi’s story of being jailed in Hungary for forging papers is somewhat covered in another interview I conducted: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/InterviewLadanyi.html . (Anti-)Neoist Reinhardt U. Sevol explains the legal consequences of smashing up a car whose alarm had been going off continuously for days near where he lived – in a magazine I coedited called “Street Ratbag” issue 5 (November 2001). A neoist named Otto, who farmed rattlesnakes for medicinal purposes, spent a couple of years in jail in Hungary after I met him. I’m not sure what the story is about that.

    In short, I’m glad I haven’t been arrested any more than I have. Being in jail isn’t in the least bit romantic & I highly recommend avoiding it – even for just a weekend.


  2. amirulkuffar
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 02:07:16

    FURTHERMORE, “Newer audiences seem unaware of his former, outlaw reputation”: people who’re one-trick-ponies are a bore. When I did “T he Poop & Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony” people essentially wanted me to do variations on the same thing.. over.. & over.. How uninteresting. Even in those days, I did sensational visceral things & hyperintellectual ones. The shallow hypocrites lambasted me for the sensational ones, complaining that I didn’t do anything intellectual – the point is I was being intellectual at the same time but they WEREN’T intellectual enuf to ‘get it’ so they acted like it wasn’t there. These days, as a lonely ‘old’ man, I’ve ‘reverted’ to a type of introverted hall-of-mirrors existence in full knowledge that the ability to appreciate dense pattern recognition for the sake of the cross-referential analytical mindset is just about as unpopular as it gets. So be it. Even the Perverse Number Theorist in me is an outlaw.


  3. minkrancher
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 00:32:21

    Mr amirulkuffar (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE we must assume) thanks ever so much for visiting our humble blog and, as ever, correcting and clarifying the record. Your performance documentation is among the best we’ve ever seen, and we do enjoy perusing it. Our faithful Tenderfoots might enjoy it as well if they have not already visited:
    Our conclusions concerning arrests and detainments are admittedly subjective. Readers might want to draw their own conclusions, and we defer to your clarifications. We want to make that clear.

    Perhaps a comparison to Monty Cantsin is a “slippery slope,” as we understand there is more than one (more than one Monty Cantsin that is). Unfortunately, and we are guilty with many others in perpetuating the myth, Stewart Home has made your name synonymous with “The Poop & Pee Dog Copyright Violation Ceremony.” It is only one facet of your canon, we know, but a dramatic one.

    Some of the meandering in the blog involves reconciling your current work in a number of areas (we’re partial to the piano compositions BTW) with your days as a Neoist and with the Church of the Subgenius. To a great extent (might you agree?) you were an extremist even in the outer avant rings. Many of the Neoists, let’s face it, were viewed simply as animals in the Reagan Era and during the rise of monolithic capitalism and “the spectacle.”

    This is not unusual. This is the dilemma, the trajectory of many avant garde artists: associated in early career with decadent movements characterized as symptoms of decline or collapse of The West (the way critics and detractors see them). Then, as the smoke clears, we discover that these so-called degenerate morons were actually intellectuals who have brought something of lasting value to the culture and society. Evidence of your intellect is everywhere on the internet. If we made a mistake, it was an attempt to reconcile the contradictions. It’s probably a matter of evolution, society catching up with you.

    Here is a comparison that might help explain the dilemma about you we were attempting to resolve: Herman Melville’s first two books were bestsellers. He shared his experiences being shipwrecked in the South Pacific among cannibalistic tribes. That was the high point during his lifetime. Moby Dick destroyed his career. It sold about 300 copies and received a few mixed reviews. Of course, he thought it was his masterpiece. But he lost his audience and publishers in the meantime doing the work we remember now.

    Melville embarked on a lecture tour later in life, frankly, to make money. He lectured on European art. The audience frequently interrupted the lectures and were rude because they wanted to hear stories about the South Pacific from “the man who lived with cannibals.” Melville was deeply offended and hurt that he was only remembered as “the man who lived with cannibals.”


  4. amirulkuffar
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 01:58:15

    Thanks for the “Mere Outline” plug. That particular version of it is about 19 years out-of-date so I recommend checking out the one that I’ve added significantly to: http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/MereOutlineIndex.html – that version is almost up-to-date & has pictures & links to vaudeo documentation on my “onesownthoughts” YouTube channel.

    Yes, I was (& probably still am) the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe. People in the Church of the SubGenius, in particular, were not enthused about having any connection to me. Notable exceptions were Rev. Ivan Stang (a paragon of open-mindedness) & Rev. Sterno (ditto). Sterno, especially, had reason to be mad at me but we’re too much like peas-in-a-pod to stay estranged forever. Last year I even performed as part of a SubGenius Devival for the 1st time since 1987 (or, arguably, 1983). A good time was had by most. My abridged YouTube version of it is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfDCnTR03dg .

    I’m glad you like my piano (d) compositions – which you’ve perhaps mainly encountered as part of my “Piano Illiterature” series on the Internet Archive. I’m far from a great pianist but I think I have enough (d) compositional ideas to keep things lively.

    I like the story about Melville. I also think of the bad reception that Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto got – now possibly the epitome of Romantic classical music. Some people think it’s a cliche that there are lone people who set new standards of excellence in intellectual matters who aren’t appreciated in their lifetime. I still think it’s a valid description.

    Thanks again for setting this dialog in motion. I have so few conversations about things that interest me anymore that anything like this is like water in a desert!


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