Prophecy 2014

everyone will get everything out of their system.

human sensitivity decreases relative to sugar consumption.

photos of ice cream rally the internet

the subcutaneous becomes mucilaginous; soft particles dominate the periphery.

everyone sleeps soundly.

love becomes a distant concept; will is overcome by sets of mysterious actions; pointless, aimless, directionless, and lovely.

cat videos continue streaming.

women in California amputate their toes.

everyone is famous, no one is famous

migraines, panic attacks, and hypersexuality are on the rise, as is a distant hum enshrouding all human affairs, a delicate promise that all will resolve as it should.

outrage outgrows itself and becomes submissive.

bubble wrap is on the decline.

everyone will forget your birthday.

everyone meaning everyone.

the slogan, “all for one and one for all” regains popularity.

plastic knives are banned

simultaneously, no one asks questions.

packing peanuts are banned.

peanuts are banned.

no one talks about peanuts, anymore.

average consumption of salt increases.

almond sales skyrocket.

the taxation of macadamia nuts, or Maca-Tax.  .

Arachibutyrophobia, or fear of butter.

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The Truth is Penniless

Please feature me in your documentary.

I am a performance artist and cellist living mostly in Brooklyn, NY.  I attempt to live outside an economic system that has screwed me every time I got too close to it.  Live an artistic life and you’ll experience a degree of financial hardship that falls above average.  It’s the nature of the work.  We don’t get rich because we create; we just make money if we’re lucky.  In the meantime, we find ourselves locked into cycles of debt, disenfranchisement, and overall systemic distrust.

Around the time I hit puberty I developed a philosophical conscience.  I began to obsessively search for an alternative means of living in American society.  Something snapped and I no longer cared about material possessions.   Whereas before I had shared in the collective excitement of purchasing anything from toilet paper to mulch as a journey that whisked me beyond being, the newness emanating off an imported Scandinavian recliner now meant nothing to me.  I felt, for the first time, at odds with humanity.  There was something missing in every person, place, and thing I encountered.  I set out to find it.

I searched in places that by now seem familiar to both me and the literate public.  I sought the immaterial:  drugs, flesh, transgression, sleeplessness.  I sought material alternatives:  veganism, filth, poetry, thrift stores.  These ventures were shrouded in newness; they were the opposite of Hechts.  I had no name for consumerism at the time.  I simply viewed it as something that would eternally be more of the Same Thing.

The more I explored, the more my convictions deepened.  Fear of succumbing to a vague Sameness blossomed into something both bigger and more specific:  This Was Life.  In my skepticism of the modern American Way I’d discovered disconnection between self and survival that equated to absurdity.  I hadn’t a fucking clue what the world was up to, but it had nothing to do with life as I understood it.

As I grew older my search for an alternative became incomprehensibly nuanced.  I moved to NYC to study Continental Philosophy.  I played the cello for everyone I met in exchange for dinner, conversation, and admittedly, cash.  I moved into a homemade closet in a renovated garage and began booking performance artists to “do their thing” in exchange for beer, conversation, and occasionally, cash.  I commenced touring the United States in a groveling Camry, ranting metaphorical absurdity in exchange for an audience, couch, and just enough cash to make it to Johnson City.

By the time you realize you’ll never cash in doing art or philosophy, cash no longer has any meaning.   Absurdity is no longer a lack of existential answers; it is a direct result of common welfare.  Nobody knows what they need to survive beyond sleep, food, water, and possibly sex, but they know that something else is needed, and so forsaken do they swarm.

Indeed, I had taken an unconventional turn after developing tits.   For this I’ve paid with having absolutely no insurance.   If I screw it all up, cease to make art, destroy the relationships I’d built with likeminded folk (and there are many, so very many of us), I have NO WAY of bailing myself out.  I’m vulnerable.  I have to trust the risks I take for what I believe to be Real Life.  I must convince you of this Reality.  Otherwise, I die.

My story of how it came to pass that I have no functioning bank account and haven’t for years is by no means unique as concerns artistic 20/30-somethings growing up in the liver of Post-Capitalism.  Likewise, I must acknowledge that I chose a lot of this.  My desperation is Philosophical in nature, Spiritual, even, but not purely economic.  I had food, love, and a lot of clothing growing up.  I could have simply not thought about it.  Interesting, how the system bears down on us in the same way for questioning it through action as it does sheer economic misfortune.

I’ve sought desperate measures to fund artistic ventures and/or feed myself.  I did porn.  I dismantled computers.  I babysat.  It turns out such experiences have less to do with how you make your money than they do how you live your life.  I have to live with myself, first. So I must conceive, and go for broke, until the Good Lord strikes me down.

Maybe this would be a different story if the government funded the Arts and Humanities, who knows.  In a different time, country, brain, I might be drowned in luxury.  As it stands, creativity and inquiry, as truth, curl oddly outside the visible spectrum of financial success. As artists, we opt out where we can, but still face the reality of living paycheck to paycheck, borrowing money, paying higher and higher fees to do so.  We struggle to live vibrantly; we struggle to sustain our physical existence.  It comes to pass that on both ends the cost of living is higher than we’ll ever understand.

Thank you for considering casting me in your film.

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I may have guzzled your hemlock.

You’ve reached the bitter end if you’re considering whether or not you should return to ranting about skin disorders and the apocalypse on a stage, in front of just enough people to warrant doing so, but not quite enough to garner major publicity or ever go on vacation and/or buy candles.

The short answer is that if you don’t want something to exist, don’t do it.  The long answer is longer.

It also involves synecdoche.  If you are not familiar with American Rhetoric or Charlie Kaufman’s filmography, synecdoche is a figure of speech in which the part is substituted for the whole or vice versa.  So for example: ‘take thy face hence” (Shakespeare), as opposed to “take thyself (body, mind, soul) hence” or “let’s get the hell out” as opposed to “let’s get our endangered bodies (as agents of absolute destruction and imminent demise) out.”

As a figure of speech, this appears a subtle and slightly antiquated means of abbreviation (see “I will BRB” or “I am FUBAR” as slightly twisted modern counterparts).  Meaning requires less and less space.  The smaller it is, the bigger it gets.  Take it or leave it, relative to your proximity to poetic justice as concerns clarity in communication.

However, taken as reality of the mind as it synthesizes and decides, synecdoche outgrows its rhetorical self.  It also grows to include some big ideas well beyond the scope of this writing.  Like Time.

At any given moment, there are options.  Sometimes, these options are discrete. We employ a turn signal, in order to signify a greater direction and means of directing, or we don’t.  We feed the cat in order to keep it breathing, or we don’t.  We grasp a smaller part of living as a means of representing life.  We do this on a daily basis; subconsciously, or with minimal thought.

Likewise, as we exit the theatre pursued by a bear we calculate the time it takes to manually unlock the ‘98 Toyota Camry we’ve enlisted as our tour vehicle, within which our cello, merch case (thrifted), and kitten hologram are packed.  We need these articles (to survive?) and by a not particularly subtle twist of fate the City of New York is simultaneously about to tow said car (‘bearly’ conscious of the ensuing mayhem) and we are broke, flat broke, we need said articles to perform and potentially make enough money to potentially retrieve said car if potentially impounded.  However, there is a bus not 6 feet from where we run.  The door to said bus is open.  We are currently carrying a metrocard with precisely enough balance for a single fare in our purse, and we think “despite our better judgement” and realize that we are not sure which option “despite our better judgement” refers back to.  Perhaps we keep running.  There is a chance the bear will get hit by oncoming traffic.  We may need the metrocard to travel uptown to borrow money from someone who by now is most assuredly sick of us and our incessant need to borrow money because these types of scenarios “just keep happening.”

Which survival do we choose?  Which representation of survival is accurate?  The part not only serves as a representation of the whole, it veritably is the whole, insofar as the alternative is a whole lot of you on Canal st. represented by a series of parts.

If this isn’t enough, consider the consequences when survival itself is unclear.

(Let’s say I stole one or more of the following drugs from your medicine cabinet:  Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, Tramadol, Codeine, Xanax, Valium, Lorazepam, and as a last resort, Ibuprofen.  The long answer might be that I didn’t know how to survive.  I substituted short-term function, a temporary means to get by, for life as a whole.  I was unable to comprehend survival apart from myself, divorced from living.  I cultivated a life devoid of options.  I consistently misconstrued escaping for surviving.  I created suffering in order to create life.  My suffering outgrew my own means to survive, and so I inflicted it upon you.

The short answer would be that I am extremely sorry.  I was sick.  I was too intent on murdering my life to comprehend that survival, outside the perimeters of certain death, is defined by levels of honesty, generosity, and respect towards other human beings, for one is dehumanized without another).

Life can be confusing.  While living necessitates survival, survival does not necessitate living.  We find a source of life mired in the complications of merely surviving, and it is negligible whether or not the part may be separated from the whole without dragging the whole thing down.  We might superimpose the fact that motivation and intention are only made visible through the passage of time and reach the very counter-intuitive conclusion that survival requires inaction.  A pause, a break.  A slowing down of time, really.  Which is precisely what takes place while you are performing on stage.  It’s also what takes place when you are high.  So maybe there you have it.

Remove all the parts and you’re left with this:  You live by surviving yourself.  The whole of the part is made whole in parting.

Maybe you can relate to part of this.  Maybe you are able to see the missing part with which this writing might catapult into wholeness, surviving itself and thereby becoming livable.  And yet, maybe not.  Maybe what’s missed was never there to begin with.  Maybe what’s missing was already there and lived; a figment, hallucination, cataract.

With that I bid the part of you reading this farewell.

At least for the moment.

My sincerest apologies.

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On living as an artist in Brooklyn circa 2013 (and why I currently am not)

At the best of times you are absolutely part of something.  This something is a thing on the tip of your tongue, a thing that any moment you risk swallowing and no longer tasting.  It is a kind of living that becomes terrified of itself, lest one day it may become the only thing worth remembering.

I wanted to drag everyone along with me in this life.  On a good day this meant picking you up in a ‘98 Toyota with a busted door handle and chauffeuring you from underground show to underground performance to the diner in almost daylight.  We would bash souls like heads and share in this proverbial something like goats chewing the memory of food.  On a bad day this meant spending weeks recovering from a night or two or 6 weeks of chemical bliss.  I probably fucked you.  You were the proprietor of an underground gallery or mentally ill or nine-times-out-of-ten another cold blooded musician eager to succumb as much as I.  This really only happened in order to create pain.  Create the pain in order to extinguish it, and again.  If this applies to you I shouldn’t have to tell you.

Despite this, it was good, all of it.  That’s the thing about life.  Even in ridiculous displays of self injury and homicidal lasciviousness it sounds perfectly great, afterwards, as long as you lived it.  Really lived it.  And I really, really lived it.  If for nothing else, I lived my life in complete denial of any alternative.

What’s bizarre is that at a certain point, lacking alternative, life begins to turn papery.  I’m not sure I can explain it better than this.  You just start finding yourself in inexplicable corners in dimensions which probably do not exist.  On a Sunday you find yourself unable to stop researching the early 20th century medical phenomenon Phossy Jaw, a condition that developed due to exposure to white phosphorous, thus almost exclusively affecting workers in match factories.  The jaw bone begins to abscess, causing necrosis of the surrounding flesh, brain damage, organ failure, death.  This doesn’t really exist anymore but it did, and this blunt fact is really all that you get out of anything if you’re not living it.

You start seeing your life as a creation, or perhaps more accurately, a fabrication, that’s the thing.  Then you start searching for the thing that’s been fabricated; you realize it isn’t there.  At all.  It’s not a question of wishing it was something else, or somewhere else, it just isn’t.  And the alternative becomes researching the Krokodil phenomenon in Siberia on a Friday, another form of necrotic death, the drug that eats junkies, and you wonder if it isn’t so much that your life that simply is isn’t, but that you managed to kill it by exposure.

Hi.  I’m Valerie.  I’m a living, breathing art experiment.  I will tell you point blank that experience is the only proof of life.  Surprise!  The problem is that in experiencing you cease to exist.  The problem is I still have a jaw bone.

I’m not going so far as to say that I’m walking away from everything at the age of 29, it never goes down that simply anyway.  I will say that when you really, really love something, or someone for that matter, (probably yourself included), you must be able to walk away from it in order to preserve it.  Otherwise it doesn’t really exist anymore but it did.  Experience becomes meaningless through experimentation.  Blind faith is a dangerous thing without knowing grief.  Don’t bother asking what any of this means.  Art makes about as much sense as limbs falling off, on a Saturday, at dusk.  This is simply a means to write about what happens, afterwards.

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Thursday Nights at Ange Noir Cafe

Every non-holiday Thursday night, beginning Sept 19th, 3 acts will perform at Bushwick cafe/event space, Ange Noir (yes, formerly Cafe Orwell, time is a mighty non-linear mistress).
Each week will feature one sound artist, one performance artist, and one songwriter, working within their respective communities to push the boundaries defined by their “genre” and therefore potentially creating something new entirely.

Spread the WORD!
all shows begin at 8p, a $10 donation for the performers will be collected.

Ange Noir is located at 247 Varet St. in Brooklyn.

L to Morgan ave.

Schedule of Weekly Events:

9/19: performance artist Joseph Keckler, Silver Process (Joe Merolla, cello/ Chuck Bettis, electronics/ Brandon Seabrook, guitar/banjo), songwriter/cellist Meaghan Burke

9/26: performance artists Melissa Tolve and Zach Gates, violinist/sound artist Jonathan Chen, neo-classical/cabaret songmaster Jonathan Wood Vincent.

10/3: performance artist Lee Todd Lacks (Maine) w/Tom Swafford, David First’s The Western Enisphere presents drones in just intonation, songstress Elisa Flynn

10/10: curated by Sean Ali
double bass duo PascAli
solo performance by David Grollman

10/17: curated by Ryan Krause

10/24: legendary performance artist Borts Minorts, Valerie Kuehne and Yps Mael (Munich) perform sounds, songwriter/accordionist An Historic (New Haven)

11/7: performance artist Marie Christine Katz presents “What’s My Worth?”, Mara Mayer (bass clarinet) and Jason Anastasoff (upright bass) are Feral Children, songwriter Steve Espinola

11/14: performance artist/comic Lorelei Ramierz, sonic hijinks by Lathan Hardy and Carlo Costa, songwriting legend Jason Trachtenberg w/ Matt Dallow

11/21: a performance by the Cocoon Project, bassist Holly Ann Cordero.

12/5: songwriter Ember Shrag, a performance by Dave Ruder and Aliza Simons (euphonium),

12/12: pianist/songwriter/virtuoso Leo Svirsky (the Hague), Robert Pepper/Snakeyhunt Duo.

12/19: songwriter Gelsey Bell, Andrew Drury/Jack Wright, Ben Syversen.

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The Super Coda will be hosting 4 events for the first annual Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (bipaf) on July 6th, 10th, 15th, and 21st, 2p-2a at Goodbye Blue Monday, 1087 Broadway. These events will feature the Performance Music you’ve grown to know and love over the years. This is a magical festival that will potentially only happen once. This July. Check the website for a full listing of participating artists, spaces, curators.

230 – Felix Morelo (NYC) –
315 – anaze izqueirdo (Peru) –
4 – geraldo mercado (NYC) –
445 – adrienne anemone (NYC) –
530 – Katelyn Hales (NYC)
615 – autumn hays (NYC) –
730 – pendulum swings (NYC) –
815 – Myk Henry (NYC/Ireland)
9 – theodore robinson (NYC) –
945 – lee todd lacks (maine) –
1030 – charmaine’s names (philadelphia) –
1115 – the georges (NYC) –
12 – elana katz (NYC) –
1245 – adult content (philadelphia)

w/ durational performances in the back by:
sneaky mister – beginning at 9 –
Wild Torus – durational at 11 –

2:30 – mariana luna (NYC/Montreal) (durational) –
3:15 – Matti Havens (Netherlands/NYC) –
4:30 – kalan sherrard (everywhere) (durational) –
5:15 – dr lisa levy (NYC) –
6 – anya liftig (NYC) –
6:45 – baxton alexander (NYC)
7:30 – Tess Miller (Detroit) (durational) (want to participate? email
8:15 – Virgina Warwick (Baltimore)
8:30: Coralee Lynn Rose (NYC) (durational) –
9 – jonathan wood vincent (NYC) –
10:45 – boxing dreams with… (sean noonan) (NYC) –
11:30 – mr transylvania (NYC)
12 – dennis sullivan/radical 2 (NYC)

Macklen Mayse – durational in back starting at 11

2-6p: BIPAF 10 minute marathon, featuring back to back 10 minute performances by:
Halona Hilbertz –
David Moscovich –
Alex Berry
Raquel du Toit –
Louis King
Carisa Bledsoe –
Lorelei Ramirez –
Karla Stingerstein –
Katya Grokhovsky –
Jenna Kline –
David LaGaccia –
Erik Hokanson –
Rae Goodwin –
Thomas Albrecht –
Amy Finkbeiner –
Benjamin Lundberg –
Kristin Mitchell –

6 – thomas bell (call in) (Detroit) –
6:15 – Matthew Silver (NYC) –
6:30 – ross moreno (NYC) –
7 – hiroshi shafer (NYC) –
7:45 – elinor thompson
8:00 Marie Christine Katz (Switzerland) –
w/ Ruth Phaneuf and Robert James Anderson.
8:30 – Upholstery (Philadelphia) –
9:15 – ryan krause (NYC)
10 – animal tropical (Miami/NYC) –
10:45 – alejandro acierto (Chicago) –
11:30 – jill burton (Gainsville) –
12:15 – christen clifford (NYC) –
12:45 – ivy castellanos (NYC) –
1 – Andrew Drury/Dan Peck

Scott Hawkins (UK) (durational beginning at 9 through end) –

2:30 – arianna ferrari/albert behar (durational throughout day) –
4:30 – egg, eggs (Northampton, MA) –
5:15 – middle children (Pittsburgh) –
6 – alison brianard (NYC) –
6:45 – robert pepper (NYC) –
7:30 – i’d m/walter/andrea (Portland/Lowell/Salem) –
8:15 – sean ali (NYC) –
9 – Joseph Keckler –
9:45 – crank sturgeon (Maine) –
10:30 – borts minorts (LA) –
11:15 – birdorgan (Manchester, NH/Lowell) –
12 – rebecca patek (NYC) –
12:45 – Valerie Kuehne (NYC) –

Christhian Diaz – durational –

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The Super Coda Returns this Friday at Panoply

Join us at Panoply this Friday, June 14th. There will be a music professor from outer space. Jason Ajemian is in town for a limited time and will play bass. Jeremy Gustin and Booker Stardrum will have a drum off. Tommy Wallach will replace the Bflat soul of our old Wurlitzer (I love what this man does).

Panoply Performance Laboratory

104 Meserole st. in Williamsburg


Professor Musikmacher –
w/ Max Johnson, bass –
Jason Ajemian –
Jeremy Gustin, Booker Stardrum, drums
Tommy Wallach –

Brooklyn Brewery available for consumption.
Suggested Donation for Artists.

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Variety Night Experiment No. 6 – 4/12

Spectrum – 121 Ludlow st., buzz 2
Friday, April 12th, 7:30-11

HOUSE BAND – ZAVODNIKS. A large, large group of improvising brains led by Hans Tammen, sure to please.

Jeffrey Shurdut/Valerie Kuehne -

Courtney Leigh Novak w/ Karyim A Carreia, Jeffrey Allan Hinshaw, and Ceelo Green

Yaman Palak -

Charlie Rauh/Concetta Abatte – guitar and violin duo yes oh yes.

The Georges -

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Ron Leach Art Opening/Variety Night Experiment no. 5 – 4/5

Ron Leach will be showing his paintings at Spectrum on April 5th.
Spectrum is located at 121 Ludlow st. buzz 2

This event will also be the next installment of the Super Coda Variety Night Experiment.
Ron’s work –

Opening at 7p. Food and Drinks will be available.
w/classical music and performances by Coco Karol and Valerie Kuehne

House Band at 8
Performances at 8:30

House Band – Beninghove’s Hangmen – Creeptastic Noir for the Masses –

Sonic Experiments in Intensity and Brevity:

Sean Ali/Koh Otera (Japan)

Kid Millions/Spreaders

Andrea Parkins/Dominic Lash

David Grollman/Valerie Kuehne/Emile Mouchous/Floria Nica

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14 Minutes of Fame or This is Not a Cockfight

Thursday, March 14th at The Panoply Performance Laboratory
104 Meserole st. Brooklyn, NY
L to Montrose, J to Lorimer, G to Broadway
5-15$ Suggested Donation
Beer lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery, available by donation

Experimental Music * Performance * Dance: Face to Face, Facing off, Face Lifting

Nick Gianni and Chizuru Tanaka (Japan) – music/dance

Joseph Mygan (Boston) -

Anthony Lamitina –

Miguel Morte Valentine – creepy folk songs

Harp/Violin duo by Lucia Helen Stavros and Joanna Mattrey

A special performance by David Vilayleck –

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