How to Mail a Rooster

In Memory of Al "Blaster" Ackerman

MARCH 18, 2013 NEW YORK CITY--I wrote the article below from the  9th to the 29th of September 1990 on a local bulletin board system I was on in NYC, similar to The WELL in SF. The system was called Echo and I created a section of it that was a text-based performance work in progress called "Panscan". I excerpted this from an item called "I Hate Everything." It recalls a true incident that had occured a few years earlier. It's all true. Then today I found out that the eventual subject of this prank, Dr. Al Blaster Ackerman, C.A.S.F.E. who had written a really good account of this affair from his point of view and published it in a zine by "Banned Productions," has passed away. So I present it now in memory of the late Dr. Ackerman, a great weaver of tales. As I said the story that i recount below is true, Blaster's version may not be as I remembered it.


Here are the three pages of the story by Dr. Al Ackerman aka "The Blaster":
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Rooster Loonies Page 1
Rooster Loonies Page 2
Rooster Loonies Page 3



How to Mail a Rooster
by Mark Bloch

zona bloch and the rooster

Did I ever tell you about the dead rooster carcass I sent someone in the mail?

bloch roosterYeah I mailed this rooster carcass after it had been skinned by Xona (Bernard Banville) of Greenfield Mass. The Hatfield Rooster was mailed to Dr. Al "The Blaster" Ackerman of San Antonio TX.

See, Xona, found a rooster dead in the road in Hatfield, Massachusetts, a beautiful rural town not too far from Amherst. He took it home. My favorite part of the story is that it just so happened the day I came to visit.Xona. He happened to run into a guy who knew about skinning birds at a local coffee shop.

The guy explained some details Xona needed. So the good part is that when we got to his place after their chat, Xona told me to wait a minute, he had to go do something. What hehad to do was go skin this bird! When I found out I thought it was a bit peculiar that he said, 'Just a sec I'll be right back.' As if he was gonna brush his teeth or something. But NO!!!!!!! He had to go skin a rooster......

In fact that's how the whole thing started. Earlier that week he found the rooster that had gotten hit by a car (road kill) and thought it was beautiful and so he took it home. Found it in Hatfield, Mass. (Hence it's nickname the Hatfield Rooster). So he had it sittin' around a few days. bloch rooster

I came to town for a visit and we went to have breakfast and coffee (of course.) On the way out of this diner he runs into a guy he knows, a farmer. He says, HEY I BEEN MEANING TO TALK TO YOU- and blah blah blah. I had no idea but what they were discussing was how to skin the rooster. Apparently this guy knew how ya do it.

So when Ben got home, he proceeded. The point is this guywent off to skin his rooster and I asked what are you gonna do? And he finally told me. So I said well, can I watch? So I did and it was quite funny.

If I remember correctly it was something like break its neck and then pull out the bone so the head is still attached to the skin and feathers and then just make a cut and begin to peel it back. Did you ever skin a cat in biology class?zona bloch and the rooster Well I did and so had Ben. Same thing. Ya just peel the sucker back like takin off a pair of socks.

I didn't do the deed of plucking it and skinning it. I just watched. It was quite clean.

He and his girlfriend did it and I wrote down everything they say. Something about pemican dominated the conversation. Anyone know what pemican is?

So he's still got the feathers and all. It is quite beautiful. But the body got mailed to Blaster.

See we had this beautiful rooster outside- feathers and head, etc.bloch rooster and this atrocious rooster carcass. I remember it's skin was taught and it was dry but still glistening in the sun like a bald man's head would glisten but this one was like a tightly wrapped soft sculpture. We didn't know what to do with the frumpy carcass after it had been removed from its beautiful feathers and head so we decided to send the surreal object to the Blaster, one of the most notorious of all mail artists. He lives down in San Antonio Texas.

We sent quite a large parcel. Why? you ask? I dunno. It's obvious that a mail artist would just do it and not question why. I mean why throw it away when you can mail it?

So we wrapped it up with all kinds of stuff and put it in a sealed plastic bag. Xona had an airtight sealer contraption so we sealed it in there accompanied by other objects found around his studio, including a few rooster feathers. Each object, including the rather large carcass, was locked in its own airtight compartment but all were interconnected. It was quite an elaborate production.

Alas, I think it all must've later exploded en route from lack of oxygen as it fermented during the long cross-country journey from Massachusetts to Texas in this airtight package.

bloch roosterAnyway the end of the story was that the thing arrived

Yes, The Blaster did receive it and claimed in a reply postcard that it stunk real bad. He didn't know what it was. It was he that suggested it may have exploded. He said he went in the house to get a knife to open it up and left it on the porch for a minute when a gang of the neighborhood dogs appeared out of nowhere and carried it away,. He had to ask us what was in it.

So Blaster said the story ended when dogs took off with it but he's been known to embellish a story now and again. At least we know he received it. zona bloch and the roosterBut I promise you the part on my end about the skinning packaging and sending is totally true.

Any other questions? You might say we were winging it.








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