Sunday, July 31, 2005
p.s. I'm a bit of an addictee of those paranormal investigation tv shows, I don't know why. Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't those 'floating balls of light' in the top photo qualify as what paranormal experts calls 'orbs,' i.e. spirit traces or whatever of dead people? Not that I believe in that stuff.
james, You're very right about the ending of The Sluts. It's a built in problem I had to contextualize and work around/with in building that novel as well as Frisk, which also aims to create a meaningful disappointment that implicates the reader in terms of his/her expectation and tries to inspire an investigation of that disappointment means, if that makes sense. It's a weird, tricky effect and results in a novel that is inherently flawed (or rather 'flawed,' I hope), but neither of those novels could function without it, for better or worse.
p.p.s. Coming soon: more scrapbook pages, and a serialization of 'The Ashgray Proclamation,' the fiction component of the apparently star-crossed 'Dennis' CD/book project.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
alex, Thanks for the beautiful poem. Really nice shifts from stanza to stanza, and that 'tipsy ... tiny ... jewerly' thing is awesome.
andrew gallix, I'm heading over to look at the interview with Hell as soon as I'm finished posting. Thanks for the support. 3ammagazine.com is a great site, if you other guys don't already know it.
steve. Well, I meant the rise of the new independent presses is creating a new kind of boom in adventurous literature, although it's kind of in its infancy so far. Still, there are presses with enough nerve and taste to make the books they publish worth checking out. Not all of their books are going to be great, though nuggets are assured. So I think it's a good idea to keep your eyes on the output from Suspect Thoughts, Clear Cut, Soft Skull, Turtle Point, and others that aren't at the tip of my tongue. Obviously, I hope what I'm doing with Little House on the Bowery/Akashic Press qualifies. McSweeneys isn't always my cup of tea, but they're publishing William Vollman and Lydia Davis and other really good people too. I'll try to think of some specific recent books I'd recommend and post them soon.
aaron, I think you're right that 'Wigger' is out of print. Braithwaite's 'Ratz are Nice,' also from Alyson Press, is really terrific, and I think that's still in circulation. Another slightly later than mid-90s queer fiction book well worth checking out is R. Zamora Linmark's 'Rolling the R's' from Kaya Press.
lux, I'm glad to hear you like 'God Jr.,' naturally, especially now during teeth gnashing time. The conference on my work isn't cancelled, I don't think, just delayed until next spring. I queried the guy doing it to ask if or how people could submit ideas/art/performances/papers/ whatever to the conference. When he tells me, I'll pass the info along in case any of you have something appropriate and feel like participating in the event.
james, Not having read Bret's new novel yet, I'm curious to hear why you think the novel loses steam or loses your interest at least? Is it a failure of the style, the plot, an overextension of some sort, or something else? I guess I have to read that new Safran Foer, right? I started but never finished 'Everything is Illuminated,' but then I rarely seem to finish novels I start. It's a bad habit of reading fiction to understand what the writer is doing with his/her prose and then deciding at a certain point that I understand their thing whereupon I get impatient. Do you know what I mean? Do other people read books like that -- looking for a hit of something new and fresh rather than looking to get absorbed in a story?
nikolas, I haven't heard the 'Drawing Restraint 9' soundtrack yet. Johansson described it as all instrumentals using mostly non-electronic instruments Bjork doesn't normally worth with. He said he thought it was her most adventurous work in a while, but then he also said he thinks she relies too much on her voice and that he'd prefer if she gave her voice no more weight or dominance than the other instruments she uses in her songs.
mapman 7, Wow, nice (the link).
no direction, I'll check out the new stuff on your blog in the next days. About 'White Noise,' you know I'm not a huge DeLillo fan and never really have been. This might sound heretical, but he's always seemed a bit like a middlebrow knock-off of better, more serious writers to me, less difficult than the greats and hence more popular and favored by mainstream critics, but I bet you disagree. You really like DeLillo? Feel like convincing me? I'm open to changing my mind.
D. Travers Scott, Thanks, man. You're definitely one of the writers I see fighting the great fight in an inimitable way.
joey, There's a Sade rock (well, pebble) in my pocket for you.
Dave, Christos Tsiolkas is a totally new name to me. I like that he's Australian. I have this feeling that there's much really great going on down under in writing that doesn't often make it overseas. I'll check it out. I'm too busy to read anything right now, but I'm staying two minutes walk from Shakespeare and Company, the famous English language literary bookstore that all the ex-pat writers used to congregate around, so I'm heading there soon to check out its stock.
chilly jay chill, I know the Peter Brook film of Marat/Sade, but I haven't seen since I was a wee lad. I remember thinking it was kind of self-conscious and arty-farty. Am I remembering it wrong? You like the play/film?
teenagekicks, I really want to read the new AL Kennedy. Speaking of the Scots, do you like Alan Warner? I'm quite crazy about a number of his books -- Morvern Callar, These Demented Lands, The Sopranos, etc.
Okay, I'm sorry if I missed anyone. Otherwise, things are good here. Gisele Vienne's theater company is going to hire my boyfriend Yury to work for them and apply for a 'work experience' visa on his behalf. If the visa is approved, he could be allowed to stay in France for quite a while. Also, it looks like he might be performing in one of the pieces, since Jonathan (see photos yesterday) is unavailable for two upcoming gigs in Marseilles and somewhere else, and Yury seems perfect for the part. So on that visa front, things are looking up at the moment. Me, I'm enjoying this unbelievably great city, writing a little, doing some interviews about the theater pieces and my books, etc. And I'll tell you more in the immediate future. Take care, you guys.
Friday, July 29, 2005
A further quickie from Paris
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Term, list, howdy
1. Kevin Killian SHY (The Crossing Press, o.o.p.; to be reprinted by Suspect Thoughts in 2006)
2. Robert Gluck JACK THE MODERNIST (Serpents Tail)
3. Sam D’allesandro THE WILD CREATURES (Suspect Thoughts, August 2006 – an expansion of the book ‘The Zombie Pit, The Crossing Press)
4. Bo Huston THE DREAM LIFE (St. Martin Press)
5. Scott Heim MYSTERIOUS SKIN (Harper Collins)
6. Gary Indiana HORSE CRAZY (Grove Press, o.o.p.)
7. Lawrence Braithwaite WIGGER (Alyson Press)
8. Matthew Stadler THE SEX OFFENDER (originally Harper Collins, currently Grove Press)
9. Brad Gooch JAILBAIT AND OTHER STORIES (The SeaHorse Press, o.o.p.)
10. Bruce Benderson USER (St. Martins Press, o.o.p.)
11. Steve Abbott THE LIZARD CLUB (Semiotexte)
12. Bruce Boone MY WALK WITH BOB (Black Star Series, o.o.p.)
13. Dale Peck MARTIN AND JOHN (Farrar Straus Giroux)
14. James McCourt TIME REMAINING (Knopf, o.o.p.)
P.S.: Hey. Thanks for the reading lists. Very interesting stuff across the board, or at least the stuff I know. (I've noted the rest so I can check them out.) I haven't had time to read here, but tomorrow I go to Paris where there are English language bookstores, and your readings will give me some shopping ideas, so thanks for that. Peter Sotos seems to be on minds these days. I have his new one from Void Books with me, so that'll be my first read. Uh, no, I haven't seen Mysterious Skin yet, which is ridiculous, but it's playing over here, so all hope is not lost. I've heard nothing but great things about it, from you guys, from everyone. Van Sant's 'Last Days' is playing here, and I'm curious, though everyone I know and respect over here thought it was awful for whatever reasons (a lot of dislike of Mike Pitt's performance), apart from Gus's use of music, which everyone I know here has loved. Speaking of music, do you guys know the Icelandic artist Johan Johansson? Pitchfork picked his last CD as one of last year's best. I haven't heard it, but I hung out with him yesterday and he's terrific. He's also Bjork's next door neighbor, so he had some wacky stories about her. Anyway, today is the last day in Avignon, and my boyfriend and I go to Paris tomorrow, which is where we'll figure out the visa stuff hopefully a.s.a.p.. I'll be hunting down an internet cafe so I can post here until I get internet here full time or come back to LA, i.e. should my boyfriend ha\ve to return to Russia for a while between visas (hopefully not). Thanks a lot for keeping up with the blog. I'm sorry for it being kind of scattered and spaced out at the moment. (Doing the blog under the gun in wired cafes is weird.) I wish you guys were here, and I wish you all the best until next time.
Monday, July 25, 2005
PS: This is one of the two castles where Sade lived during his life. He grew up in this one, and it's widely believed to be the castle upon which the castle in '120 Days of Sodom' was modeled. It's closed to the public, locked tight, sans electricity, but we kind of snuck inside. Well, no 'kind of,' we did. (There's a broken window near the coach house by the gate if you're ever in the area and want to follow our lead.) Parts are still unchanged/authentic, and parts have been revised.
cricket, Yeah, it's the fashion designer with an 'l'. Shows you how much I know about such things.
garrison, I think the new theater piece 'A young beautiful blond girl' is being filmed for French television, so, if that happens, there'll be a record. 'I apologize' was filmed last year in Lyon, but the director doesn't like the result and wants to reshoot it.
Are all you guys doing okay? I'm still in a haze, but it's getting a little thinner. More text, less pictures soon. What are you guys reading these days?
Sunday, July 24, 2005
The final bow. Jean Paul Gauthier came, which was a big deal to everyone except me. One of the performers -- Jonathan -- who's in the androgynous goth outfit if you can see it -- broke his foot right before the show, so the performance was delayed a half hour while doctors taped him up and shot him full of pain killers. I think if JPG wasn't in the house, he would have refused to go on. Anyway, JPG liked the piece. While you watch them bow, imagine a noisy battle between enthusiastic cheers and loud booing. That was our work's fate most performances, which was very cool, I thought.
This is the central square in Avignon full of festival attendees. Avignon is one of three towns in France where ex-cons can come when they're released from prison and they'll be given jobs and places to live with no questions asked. So there's a tenably strange disconnect between the local population, which is heavy on alchoholics and the homeless, and all these aesthetes, sout- of-France-living big moneyed types, and wandering musicians/performers who have jammed the place. And some relative freaks like our theater group and a few others. Tonight we're going to see a piece that uses Kathy Acker's writings. It's the other 'controversial' entry in the festival. Anyway, yeah.
PS: All is okay. The lag is slowly subsiding. Tomorrow we're going to see the Marquis de Sade's castle which is 40 kilometers away. If it's interesting, I'll let you know next time. Thanks for all the hellos. Hopefully, I'll get this blog less postcardy soon. Take care.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
A quick hello
Hey, everybody. I'm here in Avignon, and very jet lagged but generally pretty good. i only have a few minutes online at the moment, so this is mainly a heads up. The photo shows two of the dolls/props from one of the theater pieces, the last performances of which are tonight. They're going really well, big hits withb the audiences, and the reviews have either been super raves or super negative. There's been sufficient outrage at the pieces that people have complained the French Culture Minister that our pieces are revolting and a misuse of French taxpayers' money, so he's personally coming to Avignon today to see the shows for himself. Weird. Anyway, all is well so far, and it's great to be with my boyfriend, and we'll see what the future holds once we get to Paris in a few days. I'll post a less jet lagged and chatty post as soon as I get to the next internet cafe. For now, greetings to you all, and I hope you're all doing great, and more soon.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Watch this space
Well, today my boyfriend and I had our first instance of good luck in as long as I can remember -- he was granted a six week French tourist visa. We'd hoped for longer, but it's a start, and we'll see if we can keep him in France for a lengthier time once we're there. So I'll be in France with my beloved for at least six weeks, which feels pretty good. Also, I found out that the two theater pieces I wrote in the Festival d'Avignon got great reviews and that all the performances of both pieces sold out in under an hour. So, nice. Now I'm off to the airport. I should be able to post something new here in the blog within a few days, and, with any luck, I'll be back on track and posting regularly before long. Thanks a lot for your good wishes, and I wish all of you the very same. See you again after a very short hiatus. Take care of yourselves until then.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
An art show, a fragile poem, a star, a bit of blab
Last night I went to the gala opening of the Jean Michel Basquiat retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Los Angeles. First of all, the opening was such a blast. I've never seen so many cool people at an art event before, and, in a moment of inspiration, someone had hired the great Grandmaster Flash to spin records/dj at the event so it was like seeing Basquiat's work in the context in which he made them. The show itself is just incredible. There are a lot of paintings and drawings on display, and every single one of them just rampages with inspiration and energy and his particular genius. It's one of the most exciting and emboldening things I've seen in a long time. If any of you are in LA or are thinking of being in LA over the next few months, I highly, highly recommend you see the show.
For all I know he’s not a wolf
that’s watching me in hopes
of a familiar thought he’d had
until it fucked him up so much
he couldn’t say a word again.
Or I’m anything he knew before
the wolf fogged up his thoughts
and built obscure ideas in him,
a secret milky way so dense no
words competed with its score.
A pumpkin carved
out with a candle
lit inside hides his
A face blackening
inside can’t see the
life flicker out in his
eyes once I’ve lit it.
A hole chiseled into
his head slides my
scary mask over its
An empty head can’t
blow my brains out
if there was nothing
in his to begin with.
I’m there in case
he’s still my friend
but know he’s not
or there’s no way.
When I say his
name his bean
flat eyes sharp-
en like pencils.
Sometimes I think
he knows his name
but he’s so faint it
could be anything
This is Catherine Robbe-Grillet, a legendary figure/writer in France, and the wife of the very great French novelist Alain Robbe-Grillet. She's the main performer in 'Un belle enfant blonde,' the theater piece written by me that premiered tonight at the Festival d'Avignon. This is a shot of her onstage during a rehearsal of the theater piece holding a copy of my text.
-- rabbit, You know, I think I've only read one Dahl book a long time ago, but I really liked it. In a weird way, 'God Jr.' has a bit of a children's book quality, especially in the second half. One of the reasons I wrote it was so my nephew could read a book by me. Of course by the time I finished it and it comes out next month, he'll be 13 years old and not a little kid anymore. Still, it is the only book of mine that he can read without freaking out my sister (his mother). And thanks a lot for the sweet things you said.
-- frankie p, I didn't know Ryan Donowho, but, based on those pictures you posted, I can definitely feel a character developing in my head. I'll add him to my pantheon with Vincent Kartheiser and Lukas Haas. Thanks for the tip.
-- you, Anyone who programs Robert Pollard on the main stage in their 'ideal music festival' is ace with me. And performing with Tobin Sprout, doubly ace. Do you like the Airport 5 records? Oh, and I like the new artworks on your blog a lot.
-- paradigm, I hardly have any pierced/tattooed characters in my work for the same reason that I have hardly any S&M leather scene guys. In the context of my work, those things are too formal and full of answers in and of themselves. I tend to want my characters to approach the body in a more chaotic and anarchistic way -- closer to an overly sophisticated child dismantling a toy that he or she loves to understand how it works. Also, bringing in those things would imply a kind of acquiesence to established modes of social interraction and the notion of the community, and I'm more interested in isolating the characters and their interests both to make them less identifiable and more universal in a strange way. I don't know if that answers your question, but there you go.
I can't believe I'm leaving in two days. Yikes. But such is my fate for the moment.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Friday, July 15, 2005
I sent all the prize winners their books on Wednesday, including ttrentham's copy of 'my Mark' from Contest #2. (Sorry to be slow. Things are crazed around here.) So hopefully you'll be receiving your packages soon.
I should have figured my Grateful Dead comment would be a little controversial. Let me clarify myself. I started going to rock shows when I was 12, and I saw the Dead a number of times in their early incarnation. At that time I saw the Dead as one of the major psychedelic bands who were trying to reinvent rock music, and one of the most ambitious of all those bands. For me, there was a shift in their aim after the 'Live Dead' album such that they seemed to be more about providing a certain kind of expansive pleasure than pushing the rock form towards something, well, transcendent and constantly innovative. I could be wrong and merely overly romantic about what they were doing initially as well as about psychedelic rock in general. I could completely believe that their later work is their best work, but, for me, what they were doing post-60s just didn't hold a lot of interest or useful information, and the culture that grew up around them reminded me too much of the things I'd disliked about the hippie era, stylistically and philiopsophically. It lay in opposition to the cultures I was interested in during that time, whether it was Glam's collective attempt to manipulate preconceived notions of glamour and sexual identity in a progressive way, or Punk's promotion of anarchy, stylistic economy, and emotional honesty as a viable alternative to conventional notions of pleasure equally comfort. So for me 'Aoxomoxoa' was the pinnacle of the Dead's early goals as a band, and an example of what could have happened to their music should they stayed the course that had greatly interested me.
Great you mentioned Ghost. I like them a whole lot. I don't know the work of Comus and David Kilgore, but I will definitely search them out. Thanks.
I'm going to see 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' in a couple of hours. Here's hoping. Otherwise, I'm just scrambling. An interesting possibility arose today which would involve getting my boyfriend a tourist visa to Canada for the express purpose of he and I getting married. Apparently, that's considered a very good reason to issue such a visa by the Canadian government. Wow, what a different world up there. Following up on that, if my boyfriend and I were married in Canada, this would create a strong case for our being allowed to immigrate to Canada, which is something we're thinking about as a future possible route should the fight to get him in the US fail. In any case, my boyfriend having gone to Canada on a tourist visa and returning to France or Russia on time would help a lot in getting him an American visa, as that is considered proof of his responsible nature by the Us immigration service. So there's just more and more to think about.
Okay, that's it. Take care. See you tomorrow.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
My 20 most notable 60s psychedelic rock moments
1. (album) Pink Floyd PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN -- most inspired
2. (album) Jefferson Airplane AFTER BATHING AT BAXTERS -- the highest and most stoned
3. (album) The Byrds NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS -- most mature
4. (45) The Rolling Stones 'We Love you' / 'Dandelion' -- best appropriation by a major band
5. (song) The Collectors 'Howard Chrisman's Older' (from the album THE COLLECTORS) -- best Canadian example
6. (album) Mad River MAD RIVER -- the darkest and most paranoid
7. (album) The Seeds FUTURE -- most wrongheaded yet charming
8. (song) The Incredible String Band 'A Very Cellular Song' (from the album THE HANGMAN'S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER) -- best folk version
9. (45) Flaming Groovies 'Slow Death' -- best anti-psychedelia song of the period
10. (album) Ultimate Spinach ULTIMATE SPINACH -- most ludicrous band name and collection of music
11. (album) Spirit THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER -- best infusion of mysticism
12. (45) Roky Erickson 'Two Headed Dog' -- best post-60s song by a psychedelic rock veteran
13. (album) Iron Butterfly THE BEAT GOES ON -- the final straw
14. (album) Quicksilver Messenger Service HAPPY TRAILS -- best guitarist (John Cippolina)
15. (album) Grateful Dead AOXOMOXOA -- the greatest example of squandered promise
16. (album) Kaleidoscope KALEIDOSCOPE -- most dated sounding formerly interesting album
17. (album) Rod McKuen TAKES A HIPPIE SCENE TRIP -- funniest
18. (45) Love '7 and 7 Is' -- most aggressive
19. (album) Clear Light CLEAR LIGHT -- best attempt to cash in
20. (45) Electric Prunes 'I Had Too Much to Dream' -- best psychedelic song embraced by millions
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Scrapbook p. 6 (more from the Cannibal's photo album)
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The Winners (and whatever else)
1st place: 'james' (guess: 22)
2nd place: (tie) 'mike' (guess: 18) and 'ron decker'(guess: 24)
3rd place: 'vojtech' (guess: 25)
Stupid me hadn't realized there could be a tie, but there is. So, luckily, I found another copy of the second prize book 'Idols.' It's not my personal copy, but it's in excellent condition. So the first second place winner who sends their mailing address will get the personal copy, and the latecomer will get the other copy. (I'll sign both copies, if you want me to.) So the winners should send their mailing addresses to me c/o the Dennis Cooper website, mention whether you want me to sign the books to you or not, and the prizes will be sent off to you. Congrats and condolences, as the case may be. Since you guys seem to like these contests, maybe when I get settled in Paris and can continue the blog as usual, I'll hold a Parisian contest. Anyway, thanks for entering the contest to all of you who did.
-- Thanks for the interesting thoughts re. my musical dilemma. I guess I did way overthink it, but overthinking is kind of fun, you know? For me anyway. Ultimately, it's probably as simple as 'jose' said, 'cos his reasons why The Faint and Darkness songs are cool ring completely true to me. And, yeah, nothing wrong with a little inexcusable fun. Listen, I rushed out to see 'War of the Worlds' and 'Revenge of the Sith' and 'Batman Begins' on opening night and had a blast. Life's short, and a really fun ride is a blessing, at least in the continually stressed out state that forms the definition of my life at the moment.
'Favourite Slayer album?' 'Reign in Blood' Obvious answer, but it's true.
'Have you ever sat through an episode of Dawson’s Creek or The OC?' I tried both series. I think I sat through two or three full episodes of each looking for something that interested me. No go. They just seemed like uninspired product to me. You disagree?
'Favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer Character?' Spike or Andrew.
'Favourite Simpson’s Character?' Barney.
'Do you think Gus Van Sant is a sell out?' I'd say Gus is the opposite of a sell out. After 'Finding Forrester,' he's pretty much made the films he wanted to make regardless of their potential for success, it seems to me. I haven't liked some of those films, but I think he's trying to forge his own path.
'Favourite David Lynch film?' Hm, I guess Mullholland Dtive. I'd say 'Lost Highway,' but, as amazing as I think that film is, I think if he'd cut about five not-that-great scenes out of it, it would have been his masterpiece.
'What do you think of Avril Lavigne?' I don't really have an opinion on her, honestly. She doesn't bother me. My nephew really likes her, though I think he just has the hots for her.
-- 'adynaton', Okay, that question about French poststructuralists deserves a long answer, but I'll give you a short one. I read a lot of poststructuralist theory at one point when I was working on the cycle. In general, it was highly interesting and helpful in ways -- instructive on the level of constructing multiplicitous narratives and forms -- but it also seemed examples of an anti-intuitive approach that I wanted to avoid adhering to. The language theorist/philosopher/writer who had the greatest impact on my work and whom I love is Maurice Blanchot, and if the 'language failing' thing in my work -- which is a very, very important part of it -- comes from a theorist, it's most likely Blanchot. But then I tend to greatly prefer theory when it's also literature in and of itself, a la Blanchot, Bataille, Leiris, Barthes, Robbe-Grillet. And as to that question of who would win a fight -- Coldplay, Travis, or the Darkness -- it depends on the nature of the fight. If it was was fist fight, I think Travis would win. Other kinds of fights, I thiink it's a toss up.
-- 'garrison', I know Hidden Cameras, including that song, and I'd say I'm intrigued by them so far. I don't know Patrick Wolf. I know Sufjan Stevens from a CD a friend burned for me. I like it. I don't know if that song is on it because my friend didn't give me track listing.
-- 'teenagekicks', Yeah, The Hold Steady. I've donated a number of brain cells to 'Separation Sunday.'
-- 'sypha_69', I'm definitely very interested to read the new Peter Sotos book from Void. I'm always very interested in his work.
-- 'rusty', I found the term 'death dance' on a bareback sex site I was using for research when I was writing The Sluts. It didn't seem a very common term, but I think it's just a vriation on dancing with the devil, with unsafe sex as the dance and the chance of being infected with a fatal virus being death. It's just one of the multitude of 'fun' terms the barebacking crowd uses to glamorize the danger in what they're doing.
-- 'steve', Thanks for that link to snuff/suicide site. I didn't know it. Trippy.
-- 'frankie p', That short film you linked to really hit the spot. Very nice. Is it your film? If so, kudos.
-- 'renaenosurname', There's some talk of publishing the texts of those theater pieces in France. Neither text is in traditional play form at all. 'I Apologize' is a series of linked, poetic texts: poems, dialogues, prose pieces, etc. 'A Young Beautiful Blond Girl' is a monologue telling the story of my real life from birth to finishing the George Miles Cycle, albeit in a highly edited, selective version.
-- 'try me', No, I haven't read Zombie, but I mean to. I'd be pretty shocked if she's read my work, but you never know.
As always, I hope I didn't miss someone's question or comment. Until tomorrow, you all take very good care.
Monday, July 11, 2005
I currently have this fixation on the song 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman' by The Darkness. It's almost like a temporary erotic attachment or something. My question is: does this constitute a guilty pleasure or is my pleasure justifiable? For some reason, I can't decide. About two months ago I had the same kind of fixation on on 'Agenda Suicide' by The Faint. Same dilemma there, although The Faint are far less successful/popular than The Darkness, which made me feel less surprised by my obsession with the song. Is pleasure its own justification? Is nailing and refreshing and putting quotation marks around a dated style and notion of form without reinventing it -- unless affection or irony constitutes a reinvention -- a wholly admirable achievement? As a point of comparison, the New Pornographers is a band with a jawdropping genius for crafting songs that display every possible virtue in the classic 1960s idea of the hit single, but their songs also display a brilliant, almost scholarly understanding of how far the rock song has evolved since then. I could explain my adoration for their new album at length with no qualms or insecurity whatsoever. Maybe the difference is that I'm in love with 'Twin Cinema' whereas 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman' makes me aesthetically horny, as it were. But am I horny for the band's well timed and somewhat clever calculation, i.e. Crotch Rock would sound really fun and funny within the current wave of bland, 'serious' British bands (Coldplay, Travis, Snow Patrol, etc. etc.)? That might justify my attraction. Or is their low wattage cleverness just an excuse/filter for me to turn off my intellect and enjoy a musical style I used to think (and would still argue) was lunk-headed crap? Am I making sense? Do I need to take a chill pill?
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Personal Photo Day #2
This is a photo of the stage/set of 'Un belle enfant blonde,' one of the two theater pieces I wrote that will premiere at the Festival D'Avignon next week. The figures you see are dolls/robots that director Gisele Vienne uses in her work. They move around, breathe, and, at one point, spurt a lot of blood. There are also three living performers in the piece who aren't shown.
My great friends Erin Cassidy (left) and Lecia Dole Recio. Erin is an amazing filmmaker who'll be shooting her first feature film 'We are the Mods' this fall. Lecia is a great LA artist whose work was featured in the last Whitney Biennial. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at LA's Museum of Contemporary Art.
This is my favorite hotel in Paris -- Hotel Eugenie. It's where I always stay, and it's where my boyfriend and I will be based when we first meet up in Paris. It's located on the Left Bank near the Place St, Michel in the neighborhood where the great French writers used to live and hang out. It's a relatively inexpensive, modest little hotel and highly recommended.
Friday, July 08, 2005
-- Things are chaotic for me personally at the moment, but here's the latest. I'm hoping to go to France on the 19th of this month and meet up with my boyfriend there and then. That's very soon, but I'm due at the Festival D'Avignon where two theater pieces I wrote are being performed. That's a big deal, sort like the theater equivalent of having two films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. So I'd like to be there, plus my flight and lodging are paid for if I attend the festival, and I definitely need all the freebies I can get. All this is dependent on my boyfriend getting a French tourist visa, which hopefully won't be a problem since he's been to France three times already. We're hoping to get him a six week tourist visa, which will give us time to find a place to live and use my connections in the literary and theater worlds to get some him some support that we can use to extend his visa. It's going to be a struggle to keep him in France, but at least we'll be together during the battle this time. Meanwhile I'll hire a lawyer to begin the process of applying for a future (about five months from now is the soonest he can reapply) US visa for him, and we'll be working on that from Paris. I'm hoping to come back and forth between France and US occasionally, but that'll depend on money as we'll be living pretty pauper-like there. There are a lot of questions and uncertainties to all of it, but we really deserve some luck after all this, and maybe we'll get some. How long we'll have to be in France is a question. It'll be months, maybe as long as six if we can keep my boyfriend in France that long. Anyway, I'm crazily trying to arrange the move and hoping everything will go as hoped, and very much looking forward to being united with my boyfriend again. I'll give you updates in future days. And, yeah, I really mean this: your kindess and concern about all of this is incredibly heartening.
-- james, I'm so glad to hear you like God Jr. I'm really proud of the novel, but I'm very nervous about what people will think, as it doesn't have a lot of my 'signature' content. Still, I think it's very me in the most important ways. I'm anxious for it come out and discover its fate. Your liking it a lot is a real boost. Thanks a lot.
-- maximum etc, Wow about you reading the Silverchair poem. Very cool. If it killed some drunken radicals, what more could I ask for. Thanks.
-- dodeckahedron, No, I didn't know Duracell, but the video and stuff you linked to by him was amazing. He lives in Lyon? As in Lyon, France? Maybe I'll get to see him over there. I missed Mu's last LA show unfortunately, but I agree they/she are awesome. And Deerhoof for sure. I'll hunt down Panda Bear.
-- vivisalive, I hope Bret Ellis doesn't read my blog. Your comparing the dinner guest in that cannibal photo to him made me laugh so hard. Thanks for that.
-- garrison, 'The Devil, Probably' is scheduled to be released on DVD in the UK this month from a company called Artificial Eye. But it's been announced and then delayed several times already, so I don't know if it'll actually appear. It is on VHS in the US, though in a non-letterboxed version that kind of drives me crazy. Still, unless the DVD comes out, it's all there is and worth watching as long as you remember that it's missing Bresson's careful and very important framing. Oh, and I think maybe you're the guy who runs the message board on myspace about my work, right? If so, I'm really humbled and blown away by your doing that. It made me feel really self-conscious to look at it, but I did, and it's great. Just thanks, man. Oh, and if you are the same guy, you look really familiar. Did I meet you at a reading recently, or is that my imagination?
-- aaron, The videogame is imaginary, but of course a number of real games influenced it. The biggest influences are Banjo-Kazooie and -Tooie, but I think there's some Conker in there too.
-- chilly jay chill, My favorite Spirit album and the one I'd recommend is 'The Family that Plays Together.' If you want to spend just a little more, there's a two disc set called 'Time Circle' that collects all four of their seminal early albums. If I can clear my head, I'll try to do a psychedelic album top ten. I do love classic psychedelia. And, yeah, Frank Black's 'Honeycomb' is not great at all. What a shame.
-- lux, Thanks for all the input/suggestions you're posting here. Really great. I got stalled on the 10 genius moments in film list, but I'll try to complete it. Post yours.
-- robert-nyc, You know I'm thinking seriously about writing a book about this whole visa nightmare. It's a real love story against all the odds, that's for sure. The other day a friend of mine was saying that all the people who read my books and think I'm such an amoral nihilist would be shocked by what a total, crazy romantic I really am. I guess so. I've always thought my books were really in some deep way about love and the consequences of its absence, but then what do I know?
If I missed somebody's question or comment, I'm sorry. Next time. Okay, I'll give you breather and see you tomorrow.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
The Third and Final Blog Contest
First Prize: THE MISSING MEN (Am Here Books/Immediate Editions, 1981). This is one my rarest books. It was published in an edition of 700, and it has been o.o.p. and very hard to find for two decades. It includes fiction, poetry, and collages by me. A little more than half of the contents have never been republished anywhere. The book was one of a brief series of books edited by the poet Tom Clark, and the cover is a drawing of me by Clark.
Second Prize: IDOLS (The SeaHorse Press, 1979). This was my first real, official, full length book. It launched my so-called notorious career, and it's been quite rare for a very long time. It's a book of poems, a number of which were never republished. This is my personal copy that I used at readings and events for years, and it includes my handwritten corrections and notes to myself.
Third Prize: JERK (Artspace Books, 1995). This book isn't quite as rare as the others, but it's o.o.p. and has been unavailable for about five years. It includes a fiction piece by me and lots of art by the well known contemporary artist Nayland Blake. It's a beautifully designed package made to resemble a mock-children's fairytale book. I think it's one of my best works of fiction, and it's never been published in any other form.
The Rules & Deadline: I was going to try to think up new rules this time, but I'm so fucked up right now that we're going to have to go with the same old rules: I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 100. What is it? Obviously, the person who nails it or comes closest wins First Prize, and the next best two guessers win the Second and Third Prizes. Of course I'll sign the books to you if you want. The deadline is Monday, July 11th at midnight in your time zone, and I'll announce the winners on Tuesday. The winners should then send their mailing addresses to me c/o the Dennis Cooper Website, and I'll send the books off to you. Post your guesses here (below). Good luck.
p.s. Tomorrow I'll catch up, interract with the comments, and give you more details on my impending move to France. Things are pretty rough right now, as you can imagine. Until tomorrow, take care.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Where I live
This is my apartment. It looks like a small house, but it's actually the caboose of a train of similar looking apartments that heads off to the left, makes a J-turn, and culminates in a largish house. When I first moved here in 1990, the house was occupied by the owner, an old Italian man whose claim to fame was being the first person to import olives to Los Angeles. He built the apartment complex himself, and it's quite eccentric as well as kind of crappily constructed. My place is falling apart, but I stay here because, since I moved in, my neighborhood (Los Feliz) has become the most desireable area in Los Angeles. Rents have quadrupled, and I can barely affford the rent as it is. I've written Try, Guide, Period, My Loose Thread, The Sluts, and God Jr. here, for whatever that's worth. The neighborhood is heavily populated by celebrities, and there's rarely a day when I don't see at least one famous person on the street. For instance, yesterday I saw Spike from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'), Kiefer Sutherland, and Gwen Stefani all within the course of half an hour. Cheap thrills. You enter the apartment under that blob of bougenvilla. The windows on the far left are my bedroom. As I type this, I'm sitting somewhere in the middle listening to the forthcoming New Pornographers' album 'Twin Cinema,' which is genius by the way. Enjoy your Tuesday.
Monday, July 04, 2005
My top 10 videogames of all time
1. Conker's Bad Fur Day (Nintendo 64)
2. The Legend of Zelda: Majorca's Mask (Nintendo 64)
3. Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)
4. Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube)
5. Banjo Tooie (Nintendo 64)
6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
7. Banjo Kazooie (Nintendo 64)
8. Pikmin (Gamecube)
9. Resident Evil Zero (Gamecube)
10. (tie) Yoshi's Story (Nintendo 64), Animal Crossing (Gamecube), Skies of Arcadia: Legends (Gamecube)
Any related lists out there?
p.s. aaron, Yeah, I loved 'Paper Mario.' d travers scott, I didn't know that book you mentioned, but I've ordered it from amazon. Thanks for the tip.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
I thought this might be useful to some of you out there. It's a contest called 'Project Queerlit' that's run by the very interesting queer/lebian/gay-oriented independent publisher Suspect Thoughts, whose authors include some the best 'queer' fiction writers: Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Stephen Beachy, Sam D'Allesandro, D. Travers Scott, and others. The contest is for first time 'queer' novelists, and the winner(s) -- last year there were two -- will have their novels published by Suspect Thoughts. I put a link to the site with all the information below. If it applies to you, it's worth submitting your novel, and, if you enter, feel free to tell them I sent you.
My boyfriend is very interested in esoteric philosophies, belief systems, and the cults that form around them. Apparently, Russia, with its godless past and uncertain future, is a real hot bed for esoteric beliefs, most of which are completely unknown outside of Russia. The other day he was telling me about his latest discover. It's called Reality Transurfing, and it's a belief system founded by a renegade Russian psychologist named Vadim Zeland. It's one of the very few such things that has a related website in English, and if you want to check it out, the link is below.
As you'll see if you read my forthcoming novel 'God Jr.,' about half of which takes place inside a videogame, I'm a real addict and admirer of games, especially games developed for Nintendo, which I consider to be by far the most innovative and artistic producer of games. I've gotten a lot of ideas about narrative structure from these games that played out in my novels. Anyway, like a lot of people who take such things seriously, I think the crowning games are the Zelda series. Nintendo is releasing the next Zelda title 'The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess' for Gamecube this November 14th, and I for one am living for that day. Take a look at its newly released trailer, and see what you think.
If you're interested in avant-garde and serious film past and present, and you don't know the website Master of Cinema, I recommend you check it out. Its focus is on the release of films on DVD., and is an incredible resource for finding out how to see great hard-to-see films. It also has a comprehensive list of links to the official websites for most of the interesting film drectors, from relatively obscure directors to the obvious ones.