wfmu "curiosities" catalog

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#1 Thu, 1995-07-13 12:03
Andrew Bartlett
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wfmu "curiosities" catalog

i know the postmod world is full of "curiosities," and i know it sounds horribly "modernist" (or worse) to insist on someone(something) to be "above" the peripheral status or novelty of a "curio" but Sun Ra's inclusion in WFMU's new "curiosities" catalog strikes me as at least curious, itself. Sun Ra wasn't, to my knowledge attempting "curiosity" status but was introducing a well-developed, historically routed, performative critique of culture as he engaged culture on anumber of levels. Placed in a catalog next to Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner LPs seems on one level fitting but on another a bit of an underselling or, worse, a cheapening. A "close reading" of Sun Ra's page in the catalog does, indeed, reveal a generous respect for his work from the catalog's compilers. I'm further pleased to see Sun Ra offered to the public outside his sometimes painfully marginal status as a dilletante, afrocentrist stranger. Maybe I'm mucking up this catalog for no good reason. There are numerous "serious" musics advertised within the text. But Sun Ra as "curiosity" makes me at least a bit uneasy. They're offering, though, "VIsits Planet Earth," Other Planes of There, "Space is the Place (vid and CD)", and "Cosmic Tones," all re-issued by Evidence and for the price of $15 (CD) or $25 (vid). Incidentally, the catalog remarks that critics of "starched-collar" claim Sun Ra was from Kansas City(?). their web site is http://wfmu.org. andy bartlett