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December 1998 Archives

December 28, 1998
Kenneth Anger (Filmmaker)- 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

Kenneth Anger stands at the portal of the American avant-garde filmmaking enterprise. A child of Hollywood he made his first film in 1940 at the age of 11. Eight of his films are included in the Anthology Film Archives list of essential works of film art, including Fireworks , Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (which includes Anais Nin in the cast of characters) and Scorpio Rising.

Anger uses filmmaking like a magician uses a wand. His preoccupation with the occult and sexuality give his films a very psychodramatic quality. The astute film historian P. Adams Sitney writes that "the recurrent theme of the American avant-gade film is the triumph of the imagination. Nowhere is this clearer than in the films of Anger."

Anger has been playing cosmic baseball since 1985 and has a career batting average of .246 with 239 homeruns. He was an original member of the Visionville Beasts.

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Kenneth Anger's 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

December 9, 1998
New Cosmic Team- 1999 Numidia Journals

The NUMIDIA JOURNALS, a new cosmic team, is made up of individuals associated with the field of journalism. From pictures on a cave, to smoke signals and drum beats, to newsprint, radio, television and the internet, the desire for news and information has been part of the human condition.

The late 20th century has been called the "information age." Journalism is the work of gathering and disseminating "news," a particular kind of information. In the United States the history of journalism begins with the postmaster James Campbell and his newspaper the Boston News-Letter first published in 1704.

It is claimed that for a democracy to work, informed citizens are necessary. The appearance of the "penny" newspapers in the 19th century made news widely available to citizens and encouraged literacy. By the 20th century the "mass media" was providing so much "news" the condition of "information overload" became a reality. And, of course, the distinction between news and propaganda, always a fine line, has become even less clear as information has become a valuable commodity with pecuniary importance.

The JOURNALS replace the thematically similar Newshole Muckrakers in the cosmic Underlreague beginning with the 1999 season.

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1999 Numidia Journals Roster

December 19, 1998
New Cosmic Team- 1999 Sweepland Curveballs

The SWEEPLAND CURVEBALLS, a new cosmic team, is made up of famous mathematical curves. Since ancient times, mathematicians have been fascinated by curves. A curve can be defined as a one-dimensional continuum of points in a space of two or more dimensions. Included on the team are such famous curves as Fermat's Spiral, the Spiral of Archimedes and the Witch of Agnesi. The CURVEBALLS will compete in the cosmic Underleague.

The shape of a curveball in baseball can be described by a parabola, itself a famous curve. Arthur "Candy" Cummings is credited by official baseball's Hall of Fame as being the originator of the curveball pitch. He developed it in 1864 and used it in a baseball game for the first time in 1866. According to sports journalist and historian Martin Quigley, it is the "honest curveball and its crooked cousins [that] are the most important equalizers of the magical differences, in inches and fractions of inches and of seconds and milliseconds, between safe or out, win or lose."

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1999 Sweepland Curveballs Roster

December 17, 1998
New Cosmic Team- 1999 Mindland Brains

The MINDLAND BRAINS, a new cosmic baseball team, honors individuals who in some way have contributed to our understanding of the brain. The team includes physiologists, neurologists and psychologists, each looking at the brain from a different perspective and at different times in history. The BRAINS will compete in CBA's Underleague beginning with the 1999 cosmic season.

The three or so pounds of gray and white matter that sits inside our skull and presumably generates what we call our minds and personalites has been the source of wonder and perplexity at least since the time of Hippocrates. Plato called the brain "the divinest part of us and lord over all the rest." (Timaeus). We call computers "electronic brains" because we think such machines resemble the function of the brain. The brain, it seems, is the heart of our consciousness, personality, our innate self.

The neurophysiologist Sir Charles Scott Sherrington offers perhaps the most poetic metaphor for the brain when he calls it an "enchanted loom."

Click Here for the 1999 Mindland Brains Roster

December 9, 1998
Maya Deren (Filmmaker)- 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

Born Eleanora Derenkowsky in Kiev, Russia in 1917, Maya Deren arrived in the United States with her family at the age of five. After attending secondary school in Geneva, Switzerland she attended Syracuse University (1933-1935). In 1935 she got married to labor organizer Gregory Bardacke and together they moved to New York City. In New York she attended New York University. She was the national student secretary for the Young People's Socialist League (1936). She divorced Bardacke in 1938 and began to pursue her interest in dance. In 1940-41 she toured with the Katherine Dunham's dance company, not as a dancer, but as Ms. Dunham's personal secretary. While in Los Angeles Deren met Alexander Hammid, a Czech-born filmmaker. Deren married Hammid in 1942 and through his influence she began her interest in filmmaking.

In 1943, in collaboration with Hammid, Deren made Meshes of the Afternoon. A taut psychodrama about dreams and suicidal violence, Meshes is considered one of the first American avant-garde films made. Deren would complete five more films before she died on October 13, 1961, three of which are included in the Anthology Film Archives group of "essential film art.".

In addition to her interest in film and dance, Deren traveled to Haiti (1947) to study its culture and the voudoun religion. In 1953 she published Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti. In 1955 she founded the Creative Film Foundation designed to support independent (non-Hollywood) film-makers. She was a tireless promoter of the personal experimental film giving lectures and screenings throughout the 1950s.

Deren's 1999 Cosmic Player Plate includes a complete filmography, selected bibliography, external links to other sites, her official cosmic playing record and a commentary section. Deren joined the Cosmic Baseball Association in 1983 as a rookie pitcher for the Vestal Virgins. She played with the Virgins until 1988 when she took a nine year hiatus and returned in 1997 to play for the Bolex Poetics.

Click Here for Maya Deren's 1999 Cosmic Player Plate

December 8, 1998
1999 Bolex Poetics- Same Old New American Cinema

The Bolex Poetics cosmic baseball team has its origins in the defunct Visionville Beasts team. The Beasts were derived from avant-garde filmmakers mostly associated with the New American Cinema movement that emerged in the 1960s.

New American Cinema had its roots in the avant-garde films of the 1940s and 1950s. The film historian and theoretician P. Adams Sitney is credited with establishing the beginnings of American avant-garde film practice with the work of Maya Deren. Deren and her husband made Meshes of the Afternoon in 1943. It is a psychodrama about a young woman's apparent suicide. From Deren through Kenneth Anger, Harry Smith, Stan Brakhage, among others, the thread of experimental film activity unwinds until observers like Jonas Mekas recognize a coalescing of ideas and then finds the right label. Of course, the historian's need to classify things does an injustice to work, events and ideas that are remarkably individualistic. Nevertheless, some thirty years later we find the New American Cinema, its filmmakers, its documents, its films ensconced within the academy, bronzed like an old artifact in a museum.

This could very well be the last season that the concept of the New American Cinema dominates the Bolex Poetics. The team was founded to honor an avant-garde movement that can only be considered avant-garde in retrospect. Despite the addition of a rookie, Brian Frye, to the team, it is clear that Frye's work is in the mainstream tradition of the old New American Cinema and not something new under the sun.

While the tensions between the film and video artists continue to exist, the synthesis that will emerge from that debate should help promote a plunging forward with new ideas and new recognitions. It is reasonable to assume that the synthesis is happening right now. It is a question of looking for it, not looking back at it.

Click Here for the 1999 Bolex Poetics Roster

December 1, 1998
Ayn Rand to Lead Capitalists

It should come as no surprise to fans of the Heartland Capitalists that Team Owner Peter Drucker has fired Field Manager Karl Marx. Despite piloting the team to a winning season in 1998 (89-74) and just missing a chance to play in the Subleague Series, Marx was a marked man. The tensions between the two men were obvious.

Drucker immediately announced the hiring of Ayn Rand as the new Capitalists Field Manager. Rand, who played outfield for two seasons with the Alphatown Ionians, had expressed an interest in managing Drucker's team when the Ionians released her at the end of the 1998 season.

Drucker had also let it be known during the past season that he planned to purge the team of its academic economists. He was quoted as saying that, "Economists have always suffered from one big inherent defect. They love humanity but they hate human beings." (in John J. Tarant, Drucker: The Man Who Invented the Corporate Society. 1976.)

So, goodbye to Keynes, Ricardo and Veblen and hello to a number of CEOs of the Fortune 500. The 1999 Capitalists have eleven rookies and nine of them are chief executive officers of U.S. or multinational corporations. The other two are directly related to Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy.

Does Drucker know something the rest of us don't? Or is he just another team owner gone mad?

Click Here for the 1999 Heartland Capitalists Team Roster

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Archived: January 1, 1999
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