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For More Reviews of the Film SOMNILOQUIES . . .

27 Feb

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There are a lot of excellent articles appearing about SOMNILOQUIES, the Verena Paravel/Lucien Castaing-Taylor film featuring Michael Barr’s dream recordings of Dion McGregor (eg, Patrick Gamble’s review at CineVue). To read more, follow @TorporVigil on Twitter.

Hollywood Reporter on Dion McGregor’s “Madcap Dreams” in the Paravel/Castaing-Taylor Film SOMNILOQUIES

27 Feb

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In his THR review of somniloquies, Jordan Mintzer refers to Dion McGregor’s slumbrous vocalizations as “a cross between the somnambulist poems of Robert Desnos and the standup of Lenny Bruce,” while invoking movie director David Lynch and painter Francis Bacon in reference to the film’s imagery. Nicely done.
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/somniloquies-review-975922

Another fine review of the Dion McGregor film somniloquies by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel

27 Feb

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Bert Rebhandl at Frieze Magazine offers insights into two Berlinale films by directors from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab—”probably the most influential ‘school’ in contemporary world cinema.” Somniloquies is “brilliant” and “haunting.”
https://frieze.com/article/desert-sleeps

Dion McGregor film somniloquies “BREATHTAKING” and “SPELLBINDING”

26 Feb

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Using a soundtrack that is pure vintage Dion McGregor—somnolent orations recorded in the 1960s by his roommate Michael Barr—Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor have created a film that has critics talking (and not just in their sleep). More reviews will be posted soon, but for now here’s David Jenkins article at Little White Lies.
http://lwlies.com/festivals/somniloquies-first-look-review/

DION McGREGOR FILM PREMIERE!

12 Feb

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Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor are premiering their Dion McGregor movie somniloqiuies today at the prestigious Berlinale international film festival in … where was it again … oh yes, Berlin! This project—featuring an all-Dion soundtrack—has been in the works for some time and it’s very exciting to see it emerge into the world. A glimpse can be had through the link in the photo above, along with a nicely synthesized account of Dion McGregor’s sleeptalking history (download “additional information” at the bottom of the page) .

WOMAN FOR PRESIDENT! Dion McGregor’s Somnolent Prediction—from the 1960s

3 Nov

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An unreleased Dion McGregor somniloquy, recorded a half-century before Hillary Clinton’s run for the USA’s top office. (Click on image for audio.)

Terrific BBC Article on “Epic Sleep-Talker” Dion McGregor and His “Dark Tales”

23 Feb

Thanks to David Robson for doing a splendid job sharing the story of legendary sleeptalker (and Torpor Vigil recording star) Dion McGregor!

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The Dark Tales of the World’s Most Epic Sleep-Talker (BBC article by David Robson)

HaPpY BiRtHdAy, KERRY ZENTNER!

19 Jan

TVR Artist Kerry Zentner is 30 Today!

19 Jan

Try Your Wings – in memory of Mr. Michael Barr (1927-2009)

2 Jan

Michael Preston Barr would have been 89 today. Here’s a fine version (by Blossom Dearie) of a wonderful song he wrote with Dion McGregor.
Try Your Wings

Noisey interview about Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor

12 Feb

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Dan Wilkinson interviewed me about Dion and the new album. Here it is on Noisey (Music by Vice).
—Steve

Last Summer

11 Feb

This post from the great Richard Kirk makes me very happy. In the midst of his fascinating career, Rick made time to create two wonderful covers for Torpor Vigil releases—Songs of Elsewhere by Samuel Andreyev, and The Further Somniloquies of Dion McGregor. Thanks, Rick!
Steve

Richard A. Kirk

rickandsteveLast summer, my friend Steve Venright, and a car load of his wonderful family, came through for a visit. I’ve known Steve since we were teenagers (gasp). I just found this photo, which I had quite forgotten about, in my camera. It’s a good one don’t you think? Besides being an amazing poet, Steve is also the producer of Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor. That beautiful art work is by Kerry Zentner. Check out Steve’s website at TVR.

– Richard.

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Dion McGregor’s Love Scene — Strange Holiday (1945)

27 Jan

Dion McGregor (aka David Bradford) in Strange Holiday
Dion McGregor’s film career was brief, and (what would you expect) odd. Here he is, under the pseudonym David Bradford, as “Boy Friend” in the 1945 film Strange Holiday. In the scene, he is called “Joe”—but I suspect it was cheaper to bill him generically in the credits. (He’s not seen again, by the way, after 1:36.)

Dion Awakening from a Dream

26 Jan

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Among the hundreds of recordings in the Torpor Vigil Records McGregor-Barr Somniloquy Tape Archive, there are only a few in which Dion can be heard to awaken at the end. Here’s the ending of one of the few dreams that doesn’t have a known original title. I’ll call it “The Storm” for convenience. At the dramatic conclusion of the dream, Dion is heard waking up, at which moment Mike Barr’s footsteps approach and a conversation ensues. Note the rather poignant ennui in Dion’s voice as he responds to Mike’s question about what he dreamt.

A Fine Year for the Sounds of Vigilant Torpor!

31 Dec

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Thanks to all friends, fans, and supporters of TVR for what has been a fantastic year. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights.

Samuel Andreyev’s Tubular West turned one year old and continued to get prime airplay on shows such as Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone (BBC6). Jazzology’s Jean Daniel called it “Un magnifique album de pop contemporaine”—took the world’s right out of my mouth!
The Tubular West: https://samuelandreyev.bandcamp.com/album/the-tubular-west

A successful Kickstarter campaign drew funds towards the CD release of Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor, and drew the attention of NPR’s All Things Considered and USA Today’s Pop Candy. Kickstarter’s Sam Hockley-Smith interviewed me about the project: http://kickstarter.tumblr.com/post/80276920042/sleeptalking-will-never-not-be-weird-its-the

The audio version of Christian Bök’s deservedly famous Eunoia, recorded by TVR and released by Coach House Books, was uploaded for streaming on the Torpor Vigil Soundcloud site: https://soundcloud.com/torporvigil/sets/eunoia-by-christian-b-k-1

Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor was released on July 20th, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first McGregor album from Decca: https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/album/dreaming-like-mad-with-dion-mcgregor

The TVR remastering of that original 1964 album—The Dream World of Dion McGregor—was subsequently released as a free download: https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/album/the-dream-world-of-dion-mcgregor-he-talks-in-his-sleep-remastered-free

The Torporwear department of Torpor Vigil Industries was revived with the release of new t-shirt and tank top designs featuring art by Kerry Zentner and Richard A. Kirk: http://www.torporvigil.com/012TVR/SectorPages/Store.html

Some of the first signs that Dreaming Like Mad would be well-received came in the form of spirited endorsements by Gotye on Twitter and Facebook:

Enthusiastic reviews from USA Today, The Equal Ground, Media Funhouse, Bang the Bore, and The Sound Projector followed.

With all that’s been happening at the label this year, I didn’t really begin flogging the manuscript of my book about Dion’s dream world until this past month. I’m going about it the old-fashioned way: one publisher at a time. After a brief search for an agent, I decided just to push the work (which will include, depending on the edit, up to 200 new transcripts of Dion’s dreams) all by myself. I suspect its future in print will depend on my finding that particular publisher—out there somewhere—who will get a supreme charge off the subject matter (where most might simply raise an eyebrow and/or scratch a noggin). Meanwhile, those of you wishing to find Mr. McGregor in print will have to dish out for rare copies of the 1964 book from Bernard Geis Associates:
http://www.amazon.ca/The-Dream-World-Dion-McGregor/dp/B0007ES8BC
My own copy of the Dream World book (to bring these year-end observations full circle) was a gift received long ago from Samuel Andreyev. When Pippa Lambert and I visited Michael Barr at his modest Hollywood apartment in 2005, I got Mike to sign it. Though he hadn’t spoken or transcribed the words, they would never have been captured without him and his tape recorder.

Mike would have been ecstatic to see all the attention this anniversary year has yielded those recordings he made of his old roommate and songwriting partner Dion McGregor. With those two fine gents in mind, and with much gratitude for all the interest and support lavished on my little label these past twelve months, I wish you all a wonderful 2015!

Tubular Dreams,
Steve Venright
Torpor Vigil Records
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The Great Mustard Fight

31 Dec
Great Mustard Fight passage from Moss Hart's autobiography

Great Mustard Fight passage from Moss Hart’s autobiography

Dion McGregor fan David Rolfe happened to be reading the autobiography of playwright/screenwriter Moss Hart when the remastered Dream World album was released. Listening to “The Mustard Battle,” David was struck by how its theme resonated with a passage from Hart’s book. It seems likely to me that lyricist and film buff Dion would have read this critically praised memoir by his fellow New Yorker, published around the time Michael Barr began taping Dion’s somniloquies. As to whether his spoken dream was inspired by the antics Hart recounts . . . well, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but it’s fun to speculate.
“The Mustard Battle” can be streamed or downloaded here:
https://dionmcgregor.bandcamp.com/track/the-mustard-battle-remastered

Media Funhouse on the Remastered Dream World Album

28 Dec
Edward Gorey's original cover of the 1964 Decca LP release

Edward Gorey’s original cover of the 1964 Decca LP release

Ed Grant of Media Funhouse has pulled through again with another fine blog entry on Dion–this time about the remastered Dream World album.
http://mediafunhouse.blogspot.ca/