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H.M. Koutoukas, The Butterfly Session



“As to the subject of the butterflies, there were many mysteries of course... ambiguous beings not easily defined.”

This program features an unedited recording session with Off Off Broadway pioneer H.M. Koutoukas reading Chapter 26 of Marguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling. The reading is by no means perfect. Rather, it reveals the habits and inhibitions of both the actor and the writer. Koutoukas' “performance” transposes the original work into something ethereal and redefines Young's efforts to use repetition as a formal device. The choice in chapter is no accident. Some have argued that Young's passages about butterflies are the most captivating in her entire epic. The chapter reflects on the transcendental qualities of butterflies and how the character, Mr. Spitizer, uses them to understand and escape from the scope of his world.

Editor's Note: This recording was not made as part of The Reading Experiment of 1976-77 in which an effort was made to have literary and theater figures read much of the Young epic. We believe Koutoukas recorded this as he was working to produce a stage version of the book, which never happened. We also decided not to edit out-takes and side comments - even though it interrupts the reading a bit - as a contribution to the historical record of this remarkable man.

H.M. Koutoukas (1937-2010), born Haralambos Monroe Koutoukas, was a groundbreaking playwright and actor. A pioneer of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement, Koutoukas aided in the creation of La MaMa ETC, Cafe Cino and other venues. In 1966, Koutoukas was awarded a Village Voice Obie Award for "Assaulting Established Tradition," due to his unique, low budget and absurdist approach to theater.
 

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Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas

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A unparalleled collection of recovered and restored programs from the seventies produced by Charles Ruas for WBAI-FM, New York's Pacifica station. It features reading, lectures, and performances by such cultural and literary icons as Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anaïs Nin, William Boroughs, Buckminster Fuller, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, among numerous others. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. He is also a contributor to ARTNews and Art in America. This series is produced in partnership with Charles Ruas, The Pacifica Radio Archives, The Yale Beinecke Library, The Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Collection, and numerous restorers, archivists and collectors.
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Marguerite Young: Miss Macintosh, My Darling

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In 1976-77, Charles Ruas produced a series of WBAI radio programs focused on literature and radio performance, called "The Reading Experiment". As part of this series, Miss MacIntosh, My Darling was read over a year-long period by Marguerite Young’s contemporaries from the New York City literature, music, and theater communities. All readings are underscored with soundscapes and music by artist Rob Wynne. The readings in the their entirety can be listened to here, as part of the Historic Audio from the Archives of Charles Ruas. This program has been restored by The Clocktower Radio; with the assistance of Charles Ruas; and by agreement with The Yale Beinecke Library, home to the Marguerite Young Papers. Special thanks to Dr. Contance Eichenlaub for her passion and generosity.
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