This is the complete transcript of the interview sections of Paul Festa's Messiaen film Apparition of the Eternal Church. This transcript is also found in the book OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, along with an extensive director's commentary, cast and director biographies and an exhaustive index. OH MY GOD is available both in a fully illustrated, full-color edition, with still images from every clip of the film, and in a text-only version.
CLIP 1: ALBERT FULLER
Alright Albert, when youÕre ready, pop those on for us.
What? Oh, I put this on. Oh!
And make sure itÕs comfortable.
CLIP 2: RON GALLMAN
(puts on headphones; smiles)
CLIP 3: JACKIE BEAT
(puts on headphones upside-down to accommodate beehive wig)
CLIP 4: ALBERT FULLER
Why have I got this on?
So that you can hear the music.
Oh! Oh Christ! WhatÕs coming?
Paul Festa presents
CLIP 5: EISA DAVIS
So is this sort of self-explanatory or do you have any questions?
I donÕt think so I just am going to listen to the music, right?
Oh, IÕm going to talk too? Oh!
Yeah, thatÕs why the mike is on theÉ
(laughs) Ha! OK good, IÕm glad you told me because I wouldnÕt have talked, I would have been just like listening.
A Bar Nothing
CLIP 6: MANOEL FELCIANO
Are you going to ask me questions?
No, itÕs all you.
What am I going to do, just say whatever comes to mind?
Say what you hear, say what you seeÑsay whatever comes to mind.
CLIP 7: HAROLD BLOOM
ItÕs rather grim.
CLIP 8: RON GALLMAN
Well I love it already, I can tell you thatÉ
CLIP 9: SANDI DUBOWSKI
(swivels head around in figure-8, fixes manic look on the director) Aaah-haaaaaaaaaaaaa!
CLIP 10: KAREN HARTMAN
ItÕs hard to talk and listen at the same time, because I think that IÕd like to be a good listener. And part of being a good listener involves, when the music is going, I wouldnÕt go. So I would sort of wait like I want to be in conversation with the music. But instead, IÕm going to talk over the music, and try to listen to it, but itÕs as if the music is sort of challenging me to shut up and listen to it. This is not music that wants you to talk over it, in fact I feel like IÕm shouting because the music isÑ (breaks off laughing)
CLIP 11: ALBERT FULLER
Non sento niente. Non sento nÑ(laughs) Oh that big thirty-two-foot. (laughs) Oh this carries me backÑto olÕ Virginny! This carries me back to my childhood of course.
CLIP 12: JACKIE BEAT
Yeah this kind of reminds me of my childhood. This is the kind of music I would listen to just to creep out.
CLIP 13: MANOEL FELCIANO
This is my fatherÉholding my hand.
CLIP 14: RICHARD FELCIANO
My first Sunday, in Paris, as a student, I took off and went to Notre Dame? And before the mass started this thing started up with this, and IÕd never heard the piece before. And it just blew me away.
CLIP 15: ANA MATRONIC
Being that itÕs a pipe organ it is enormousÑin scale and in feeling.
CLIP 16: ALBERT FULLER
I wonder what this is recorded--what organ this is.
Notre Dame in Paris? Oh. Sounds like it. It was either that or Smoky MaryÕs!
CLIP 17: RON GALLMAN
And IÕll have to hear more to see if I specifically know the piece, though it sounds like Messiaen.
CLIP 18: ROBERT MANN
Well it sounds like a mix of MessiaenÉand Bach!
CLIP 19: HAROLD BLOOM
If itÕs Bach it was a bad day, he was having dyspepsia.
CLIP 20: SHANTI CARSON
Someone who has been killed and somehow resurrected from the dead andÑIÕm just going to turn this up a little bit.
CLIP 21: SQUEAKY BLONDE
You know after someone dies and you show up at the funeral, and youÕre in the parking lot and youÕre parking your car and you get out and you see all the people that knowÉyour dear dead girlfriend (laughs) and you wander over to the curb and you say hello and greet everyone and something sad happened but youÕre not sure whether or not you really want to cry. And sometimes you do, sometimes you donÕt.
CLIP 22: EISA DAVIS
OK I got really absorbed for a moment there. And then it gotÉdistressing.
CLIP 23: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
ThereÕs a whole creepy side of CatholicismÑthat I experienced in the South, actuallyÑwhich is really a form of discipline and torture at the same time.
CLIP 24: RON GALLMAN
It evokes, on the one hand, something very earthy, and earthly, yet even as deep as it is, it also in a strange way evokes something celestial.
CLIP 25: EISA DAVIS
And you keepÑsorryÑ
Why stress? (takes off headphones)
Honey why did it sound distressing to you?
Oh! What was the part that I said was distressing?
CLIP 26: MARGA GOMEZ
When I first heard this music, the first thing I thought was TXS Dolby Surround Sound. And then I thought, ohÑchurch, and ghouls.
CLIP 27: EISA DAVIS
ItÕs church, or zombies, or its, or mutant creatures that have gone wild, right? Frankenstein, soÑ
CLIP 28: JUSTIN BOND AS KIKI DURANE
It sounds a little bit like some sort of horror film as well, as if something bad was going to happen to somebody, although, you know, generally that sort of thingÕs just in the movies, people are acting.
CLIP 29: JACKIE BEAT
(silent film scream)
CLIP 30: JUSTIN BOND AS KIKI DURANE
Bad things happen in real life and this sort of music isnÕt playing at all! I know IÕve had terrible things happen to me when I was listening to the polka, maybe I was listening to some sort of a jitterbug, or some sort of really up-tempo music that you should be having fun to Ñ
CLIP 31: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
It also feels a little bitÑthis is obsceneÑlike being fucked by light. (nods enthusiastically) Fucked by light!
CLIP 32: SANDI DUBOWSKI
I tell you this music reminds me of autism. Because when I want to like, I want to like flap my hands, and I want to like, I want to like have repetitive motion, like to protect myself from the demon, like the music is protecting me and IÕm just going to like IÕm just going to like rock, and like no one will hurt me, no one will hurt me, cuz IÕm just going to rock, and no one will hurt me, and no one, andÉ
CLIP 33: RON GALLMAN
The earthly part of it then seems to me very interior. Underneath the crust.
CLIP 34: SARAH SANFORD
Plates of the earth shifting, and waves crashing andÑ
CLIP 35: RICKY IAN GORDON
The ice breaks!
CLIP 36: RON GALLMAN
CLIP 37: RICKY IAN GORDON
His organ music, it always sounds like rocks moving to me.
CLIP 38: RON GALLMAN
All of those kinds of things that have to do with the formation of the earth, and of a world.
CLIP 39: ALBERT FULLER
I was the first person to ever play this piece in Washington DC on the organ at the cathedral.
(turns to the camera and smiles)
CLIP 40: SANDI DUBOWSKI
My mom taught autistic kids. So I wanted to be one.
CLIP 41: ILAN GREENBERG
Everyone should have a soundtrack, I think thatÕs a common thought people have, that everyone should have their own soundtrack? This would be my motherÕs soundtrack.
CLIP 42: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
ItÕs very much like what it was when we were kids and you knew your dad was going toÉexplode in a rage. And it was thrilling!
CLIP 43: EISA DAVIS
Yeah, itÕs those held chordsÑand then it stops and you think, oh, a little fluteÕs going to come in!
CLIP 44: KAREN HARTMAN
CouldnÕt you have a little flute, you know?
CLIP 45: ILAN GREENBERG
A flute, a little light flute?
CLIP 46: EISA DAVIS
But no, youÕre thrown into the pit, youÕre being tortured!
CLIP 47: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
An ecstatic torture chamber?
CLIP 48: ANA MATRONIC
Spiked wheels and St. Cecelia holding you her breasts on a plate.
CLIP 49: JUSTIN BOND AS KIKI DURANE
You expect a nurse to come in with a big long syringe, something just tortureÑwith one of those big needles that comes out and looks like you had a hole punch!
CLIP 50: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
But itÕs kind of comforting too. ItÕs like being in a womb.
CLIP 51: ILAN GREENBERG
They should play this while women give birth, can you imagine? It would really push things along.
CLIP 52: SQUEAKY BLONDE
And then everyone proceeds to get back into their car, and they follow the hearse to the gravesite, and you watch as the cemetery employees pull your belovedÕs body, and the corpse and the coffin from the hearseÑitÕs kind of amazing, but a little bit disturbing thoughÑand when they take it over to the place where theyÕre about to lower it into the ground you just kind of stare and youÕre like, wow (laughs) sheÕs really gone.
CLIP 53: ALBERT FULLER
Tell us more about when you debuted this at Washington Albert.
I canÕt hear you.
Tell us more about when you debuted this at Washington.
I canÕt hear you!
Tell us more about when you debuted this in Washington.
ItÕs in a program up on theÑ1950, on the uhÉoh I remember that spot so well.
CLIP 54: RICKY IAN GORDON
ItÕs like DanteÕs inferno
CLIP 55: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
A kind of Dantean descent.
CLIP 56: HAROLD BLOOM
You know if I were put down in the inferno, and was told that for all eternity I was going to be listening to this, I would repent me of all my sins.
CLIP 57: SHANTI CARSON
ItÕs all veryÉscary (laughs). Oh my god!
CLIP 58: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
The door opens, right? The door opens, and everything youÕve heard about what hell and its orders might be, and then theyÕre there. TheyÕre there right here.
CLIP 59: SHANTI CARSON
ItÕs reallyÑoh my god!Ñthis music is reallyÑoh my god!
CLIP 60: JACKIE BEAT
Oh my gothÉ
CLIP 61: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
What would I guess this is called? It could be St. SebastianÉ
CLIP 62: SARAH SANFORD
Cosmic! Like 2001 Space Odyssey.
CLIP 63: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
ItÕs kind of space age, kind of GothicÉ
CLIP 64: ANA MATRONIC
Crusades and holy grails and invading armies.
CLIP 65: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
Jesus in the desert, seeing God in a cloud.
CLIP 66: ALBERT FULLER
ItÕs like a swarm of bugs in Egypt.
CLIP 67: ANA MATRONIC
ItÕs like the harpies swooshing down to tell you about all the terrible things you did in your life.
CLIP 68: ANGELA BUCHDAHL
I almost fee like itÕs Yom Kippur.
CLIP 69: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
Day of Judgment if youÕve taken Ecstasy.
CLIP 70: SANDI DUBOWSKI
But I still love organ music. In fact, in Trembling, we used organ. John Zorn did the soundtrack, he put organ, which is soÉgoyish instrument! The instrument to terrorize the Jewish people!
CLIP 71: EISA DAVIS
The blood is dripping down ChristÕs chest. DrippingÉ
CLIP 72: MANOEL FELCIANO
ItÕs the fist of God!
CLIP 73: SANDI DUBOWSKI
WeÕre gonna get you! The pogrom will begin! ItÕs like, ring the belfry, the pitchforks! Get the Jews! Get the Jews! Kill them! They killed our savior! Ah ha ha ha! Nyahhhhh! Ah ha ha!É
Of course, I played the organÉ
CLIP 74: RON GALLMAN
I love the chords, themselvesÑ
CLIP 75: ALBERT FULLER
She gets into either a unison or a chord with just a fifth, and then she scares the shit out of you with all of this dissonance. So fucking much dissonance!
CLIP 76: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
Dissonance isnÕtÑdissonance isnÕt really the word for it, itÕs chords stacked on chords.
CLIP 77: ANGELA BUCHDAHL
It feels like someoneÕs playing almost every single note of the organ.
CLIP 78: NANCY ANDERSON
ItÕs too many notes for the ear to hear!
CLIP 79: ALBERT FULLER
The complex of the total resources of this particular organ are soÉcomplex. And when you write music like this the complexity ofÑI mean, Crick and Watson got the DNA, but this isÉfurther out than DNA.
CLIP 80: MANOEL FELCIANO
Density like thisÑand then flatness.
CLIP 81: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
The sense of time in this is very strange, because itÕs not melodic at all, itÕs just these staggered steps.
CLIP 82: ALEXANDRA BELLER
I see a huge stairway, you canÕt see the top of itÑliterally an infinite staircase.
CLIP 83: MANOEL FELCIANO
ItÕs like an acoustic Escher staircase.
CLIP 84: ALEXANDRA BELLER
And the top is like a horizon, keeps moving just beyond you.
CLIP 85: JASPER JAMES
A feeling of fear, anxiety, and stress but it always kind of resolves itself.
CLIP 86: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
Unresolved, itÕs not going to resolve.
CLIP 87: RICHARD FELCIANO
The music is nondirectional, really, that is, yeah, there is an overallÉbut it just floats!
CLIP 88: JASPER JAMES
My body feels like itÕs floating.
CLIP 89: NED STRESEN-REUTER
It just overwhelms your senses for a minute and you can get lost in it.
CLIP 90: DAN BECKER
ItÕs like building up to coming!
CLIP 91: NED STRESEN-REUTER
Every once in a while a chord that comes along and makes me go ahhhhhh!
CLIP 92: MICHAEL WARNER
Euuh. ItÕs so sexy, which I know is not what he means it to be! But thatÕs the way I hear itÉ
CLIP 93: JOHN ROGERS
I feel that some of the chords, not all of themÑsome of the more complicated onesÑare attached to my spinal column in some way.
CLIP 94: MICHAEL WARNER
When those big, complex, irreducible chords just kind of wrench your whole body aroundÉ
CLIP 95: DAN BECKER
ItÕs likeÑit just keeps getting better and better!
CLIP 96: JASPER JAMES
As soon as it starts to make you feel like youÕre going to go crazy (laughs), it stops.
CLIP 97: DAN BECKER
IÕd be going crazy by now!
CLIP 98: HAROLD BLOOM
How long does this go on? ItÕs making me very unhappy.
ItÕs going to be ten minutes of this?
CLIP 99: ILAN GREENBERG
ItÕs going to be ten minutes of this?
CLIP 100: JUSTIN BOND AS KIKI DURANE
How many more minutes, how many more minutes?
CLIP 101: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
Six more minutes?
CLIP 102: HAROLD BLOOM
Its giving me a headache!
CLIP 103: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
ItÕs giving me a headache now.
CLIP 104: ALBERT FULLER
Honey IÕm tired of listening to this!
CLIP 105: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
(picks up paring knife; contemplates)
CLIP 106: MANOEL FELCIANO
ItÕs my father guiding me through this andÉcackling with glee.
CLIP 107: RICHARD FELCIANO
CLIP 108: NANCY ANDERSON
Unmetered expression like this makes me laugh, when itÕs just so balls to the wall.
CLIP 109: DANIEL HANDLER
Gentiles man, they can really lay it on!
CLIP 110: TEXXXAS SAGE
OK now itÕs getting to be a little much, itÕs like, alright!
CLIP 111: JACKIE BEAT
God, just when you think it canÕt get any more dramatic, it justÉbuilds even more, itÕs ridiculous!
CLIP 112: EISA DAVIS
Why is it ridiculous? Because itÕs loud! (laughs) ItÕs bombastic, itÕs literally tortureÑonÑ
CLIP 113: MANOEL FELCIANO
ThatÕs the Sisyphus thingÑitÕs likeÑ(cackles)
CLIP 114: NANCY ANDERSON
TheyÕre getting to the top now!
CLIP 115: EISA DAVIS
Oh my god!
CLIP 116: RON GALLMAN
And even though IÕm hearing it through headphones, IÕm also vicariously experiencing being in the same room where this particular music is actually being produced.
CLIP 117: EISA DAVIS
If I were in a cathedral actually listening to this, I would beÑI know IÕm talking really loud, because this is so loudÑOh my god!ÑOK, if I were in a cathedral listening to this I would be cryingÑhysterically. I would repent all my sins! IÕd be on the floor, writhing! (laughs) God save me, save me! Save me from what IÕve done! Oh! (laughs)
CLIP 118: SANDI DUBOWSKI
CLIP 119: MANOEL FELCIANO
CLIP 120: TEXXXAS SAGE
Euh! OK. Euh!
CLIP 121: EISA DAVIS
(laughs) Oh my god!
CLIP 122: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
That length is what it feels like to be in that moment ofÉabout to beÑabout to be killed, about to open a doorÑ
CLIP 123: SHANTI CARSON
A man with giant horns, and fire licking up around him, greets youÑ
CLIP 124: SANDI DUBOWSKI
ItÕs so emotional, itÕs like somebodyÉwhipping their head back, you know? In anticipation, their hair, like flying off their skull!
CLIP 125: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
(stabs headphones with knife)
CLIP 126: ALBERT FULLER
Enough already! Stop in the name of love!
CLIP 127: JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL
I have to do this.
(removes one heaphone earpiece)
CLIP 128: ALBERT FULLER
I have to have a little painkiller, becauseÉ
CLIP 129: ANA MATRONIC
Put the hair shirt onÑthe flagellation is starting!
CLIP 130: DAN BECKER
This would be great to have for an S&M scene! (laughs) The flogger! (laughs) Mmm.
Or nipple play...
CLIP 131: SQUEAKY BLONDE
But then! When they start lowering your friendÕs body into the uhÑtomb theyÕve dugÉ(mutters)Éis that all there is? Is that all there is? I donÕt think it is. But (takes a bong hit, exhales) some people will beg to differ, and (cackles, drinks beer)
CLIP 132: ILAN GREENBERG
The drama is over, you know? TheÑitÕs gotten a little sad.
CLIP 133: JACKIE BEAT
This has a kind ofÉvictorious sound to it
CLIP 134: NANCY ANDERSON
ItÕs triumphant here, even though itÕs quieter.
CLIP 135: ALBERT FULLER
Oh yes, now itÕs getting quieter, but itÕs still thick and harsh.
Do you remember what this is called?
(tries to retrieve the memory) I canÕt say. ItÕs not lÕEglise Eternelle.
LÕApparition de LÕEglise Eternelle. The Apparition of the Eternal Church. IÕve already come to terms with her. (pause) Well it brings tears to my eyes.
CLIP 136: EISA DAVIS
ItÕs kind of easing down now. And I feel likeÑyeah, itÕs the retreat. The body is being dragged, in the dust, off into the distance.
CLIP 137: ANA MATRONIC
The sun setting on a just totally barren landscape, cracked earth.
CLIP 138: ALBERT FULLER
Why does this bring tears to your eyes?
Oh because of the image! The image that Messiaen had about what church means, and God, and Jesus as the son of God, who was crucifiedÑwhich ainÕt fun. Not when they drive nails through your hands, and your feet, and you choke to death because you canÕt take a breath. And the nails donÕt go though the palms of your hands, they go through this part, under here, so all the Medieval stuff is really wrong. The palms of your hands would rip off through your fingers. But they put it between the two bones under your wrist, and the nail goes in there, and it goes in here, and it goes in the same spot through both legs, and then you gradually lose the ability to breathe. Besides, it doesnÕtÑit hurts. And the fact that Messiaen made the image of the eternal church soÉsingularÑand then so complex! Every phrase began with that. It was clear to me when I played it then of what I felt he might have meant by that.
CLIP 139: EISA DAVIS
CLIP 140: MANOEL FELCIANO
You know one of my earliest memories of my father is him taking me into an enormous Gothic cathedral in France someplace and explaining to me how it was built, and I remember being very small and holding onto his hand. And the sound of a church organ in a place like that, where I can hear the scale, where the instrument fits the scale of the building, is a very early, early memory and having sung in church choirs, and sticking around afterwards to hear what gets played at the postlude, is a very old feeling for me.
CLIP 141: ALBERT FULLER
Being in a cathedral, as a childÑthis grand edifice, with hundred-foot ceilings, and I was an original instrumentÑI only sang music that was written for boys and men. And there was the organ. The organ was my first instrument! And when I hit Messiaen, I went bananas.
CLIP 142: RICKY IAN GORDON
And he clearly did not care what people thought. I mean, what is that? ItÕs literally assaultive.
CLIP 143: HAROLD BLOOM
Has anybody liked it?
CLIP 144: MARGA GOMEZ
I liked it! I didnÕt know what kind of music this was going to be and I was a little worried, you know? That it was going to be acoustic guitar, or fluteÉ
CLIP 145: HAROLD BLOOM
And what is it?
ItÕs the Apparition of the Eternal Church, by Messiaen, which he wroteÑ
CLIP 146: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
I say OK, Messiaen is giving me this religious thing, and IÕm going to have to convert it, through metaphor, into something else. Because IÕm not going to buy the mysticism. The mysticism IÕll buy, but I wonÕt buy the Catholicism.
CLIP 147: MICHAEL WARNER
WhatÕs the relationship between the aesthetic, as a secular idiom, and the sacred. And a lot of people have different takes on that, but in Messiaen, the formal language thatÕs intended to make you reflect on eternity, on the limitations of your own apprehensionÑthereÕs a lot in his harmonics thatÕs designed to make you reflect on the limits of your ability to hear.
CLIP 148: JOHN ROGERS
ThereÕs this sense of the timelessness of eternity, which I think is supposed to be experienced as a really beautiful and uplifting and illuminating kind of thing. But it could easily be given a much darker and more cynical reading, of this is what hell is like.
CLIP 149: MANOEL FELCIANO
It reminds me of a place thatÕs very large and very dark and gives a sense of awe, that I donÕt normally find, or havenÕt found in very many other places other than that. And that was something that I always associated, whatever concept I have of God is one that has to involve a sense of aweÑand by awe I donÕt mean fearÉ
CLIP 150: ANGELA BUCHDAHL
It really makes me feel, there is a wrathful God! There is a judgment coming from on high. And itÕs amazing, because how can you not believe it listening to that music and vibrating underneath all of its resonances? That place where I said I wanted to take some notes out, it was so thick it was smothering meÑ
CLIP 151: HAROLD BLOOM
Yeah, it has a very definite design upon one. It wants one to be very gloomy, and to contemplate oneÕs sins. IÕm too old to contemplate my sins.
CLIP 152: ANGELA BUCHDAHL
ItÕs actually an image of God I have a lot of problems with and I really struggle against it. And itÕs all over our high-holiday liturgy, in particular. How can we read the prayer called the Unetaneh tokef Ñ who will die by water, by fire, by flood, by stranglingÑ
CLIP 153: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
That moment, right before you see yourself in your fate, or in your judgment, is really terrifying, is a really terrifying one. And itÕs not an image I associate with witnessing paradise, or these more beatific scenes. So Kantian, in the real sense of the sublime, which is always touched, I think, by that overwhelming sense of excited dread.
CLIP 154: DAN BECKER
And again I can compare it to bondage. Because bondage isÑwhen I have been mummified, all I can feel is this sensation, of tension, over my whole body. And I have to just completely let go and surrender to not being able to go anywhere, even if I wanted to. And so itÕs tremendously freeing, and just being in the middle of this music was kind of an aspect of that.
CLIP 155: ELIZABETH POVINELLI
And thatÕs what I heard, when I was listening, is that set of overlaps between the moment of determination, the moment of judgment, the inability of your will to do anything, and the way your body will usedÑto torment you, forever. ItÕs beautiful! (laughs)
CLIP 156: JASPER JAMES
It almost felt like I was going out of my body. Because everything started to like spin, so much, and my feet felt light, I felt them almost disappear.
CLIP 157: ANGELA BUCHDAHL
ThatÔs a piece of music that just rips right through you. It just feels like my whole body was vibrating, it kind of started in my head and then it moved through into my chest and I even felt it in my legsÑ
CLIP 158: RICKY IAN GORDON
It did something to my heart and my bowels, and myÑyou know IÕm all shaken up.
CLIP 159: JASPER JAMES
To basically get you to be in a space of surrenderÑwhatever theyÕre asking you to surrender to.
CLIP 160: WAYNE KOESTENBAUM
ThereÕs something profoundly hedonistic about his music and about the way we have to surrender to it, the position weÕre in listening to it, of surrender and ravishment, being ravished. And hisÑnot his playfulness with the keyboard but his sense of Liszt-likeÑFranz Liszt-likeÑdaredevil exploration of what a keyboard can do, and pushing it in really bizarre directions, always feels very of the flesh.
CLIP 161: MICHAEL WARNER
Which makes sense for an organ player, right? Because itÕs so hyper-embodied. And the tension of the piece must be felt in just every fiber of your being, your seat would be rumbling in that piece. But I find that to be true of him in general. Paradoxically, for a musician so associated with theology heÕs one of the most sensual and physical and I think corporeal of musicians.
CLIP 162: ALBERT FULLER
Tell us more about the role that the organ played in your youth
WellÑit was huge! It filled the whole room. It could be loud, it could be soft, it could sing, it could swing. It could have complex sounds, it could have very simple sounds.
CLIP 163: MANOEL FELCIANO
And I used to go to the church where we went, St. Agnes over in the Haight, and the organist would let me get the keys to the organ and go and play. And I would go and play, as badly as I could, the most dramatic pieces of Bach organ literature that IÕd heard my father playing when I grew up. And it was incredibly empowering. ItÕs akin to the first time you first play bar chords on an electric guitar, thereÕs this sense ofÉmy cock is large! IÕm the man! IÕm going to take over the universe!
CLIP 164: ALBERT FULLER
I crawled in the bottom of a thirty-two-foot, open diapason made of wood, and it was big enough for a small kid to get into, and I fucked up the tuning thing at the end of course by doing it. But I always wanted to say that I had and I was there with Jimmy who gave me my first blowjob in a swell box, while Paul Calloway was playing some big French toccata thing. And we were in the middle of this box, and the organ was screaming. But on the outside, because the Venetian blinds were shut, people thought it was soft. But in the box, the sound ricocheted everywhere and it was the loudest thing IÕve ever heard. And in the middle of all this Jimmy bestowed upon me that great blessing, for the first time. And I went crazy! I went crazy. And the organ was my instrument. Oh boyÑwas it ever.
Apparition of the Eternal Church
OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever
Watch and hear the author read from the book.