DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

4 books I read recently & loved: Niven Govinden This Brutal House, Juliet Escoria Juliet the Maniac, Michael Crowe An Attempt At Exhausting a Place in GTA Online, Gary Indiana Vile Days

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‘The morning after a flock of camp-ified celebrities descended upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for Vogue’s annual Met Gala, author Niven Govinden is contemplating whether there is still political power to drag, camp and queer culture. “Drag remains really really subversive,” he says with enthusiasm. “Not even just drag, but gender identity more broadly and how you want to present yourself. It remains subversive because people still fear it. There is a beauty to drag and it has a showbiz element for sure – the queens from Drag Race are pretty much the new pop stars – but underneath that there is still subversion. How you present yourself to the world and how you find community through it is still a powerful tool.”

‘Queer culture as a powerful social tool is what Govinden explores in his new novel, This Brutal House. The title – a wink to the Nitro Deluxe song, “an old vogueing tune back in the day” – also perfectly captures the novel’s tone and subject matter. In This Brutal House, brutality and domesticity, cruelty and safety, aggression exteriority and stable interiority rub against one another as a group of house mothers (the drag queens who preside over their ‘houses’ as mentors and carers) sit in silence on the steps of City Hall, protesting the lack of action by city officials and the police over the deaths and disappearances of members of their community in the 1980s and 90s.

‘Much of the book came from Govinden’s own experience of New York’s drag scene in this time. “It’s very much a product of lived experience and going out and consuming culture,” he explains. “So while the book is set in the present, it’s about a community looking back at what they feel was their era of the 80s and 90s when they felt they had the most power. I primarily wanted to write a novel about protest, and one about queer experience and [people of colour’s] experience. So much has been written and made about the beauty of the ball community and vogueing and the glitter and good times. I wasn’t interested in writing that. I was more interested in what happens afterwards.

‘“So the novel’s not a social primer and it’s not a historical document,” he continues. “The beauty of fiction is that you create your own world and, for me, it feels like it’s rooted in the protest culture of now and the ability of people to drive forward social change and how we need that more than ever. The beauty of writing fiction is that none of it is real and none of it has to be accurate. If I carry you in that world and make everything in it feel believable and credible then I’ve done my job.”’ — The Skinny

 

Niven Govinden @ Twitter
music for reading and posing: a soundtrack guide to this brutal house
Niven Govinden interviewed @ 3:AM
‘Talent’
Buy ‘This Brutal House’

 

Niven Govinden This Brutal House
Little Brown

‘On the steps of New York’s City Hall, five ageing Mothers sit in silent protest. They are the guardians of the vogue ball community – queer men who opened their hearts and homes to countless lost Children, providing safe spaces for them to explore their true selves.

‘Through epochs of city nightlife, from draconian to liberal, the Children have been going missing; their absences ignored by the authorities and uninvestigated by the police. In a final act of dissent the Mothers have come to pray: to expose their personal struggle beneath our age of protest, and commemorate their loss until justice is served.

‘Watching from City Hall’s windows is city clerk, Teddy. Raised by the Mothers, he is now charged with brokering an uneasy truce.’ — Little Brown

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Excerpt




 


Niven Govinden interviewed by Courttia Newland


LDM100 London – 05 – Niven Govinden

 

 

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Bustle: The book is separated into short chapters that read like diary entries written entirely in past tense. Why did you choose to write the book that way?

Juliet Escoria: I’ve had other people comment that the chapters are diaristic, which is funny because I disagree! It makes me wonder if people are responding to the content — a teenager, a girl, a series of events that aren’t appropriate for polite conversation. A fair amount of the book is habitual time, but the majority is written in-scene.

Maybe the other thing is I want the writing to be as short as possible. I don’t see the point in describing things like hand gestures, or having any more dialog than is absolutely necessary. This mostly has to do with stylistic preferences — I find it so boring when books linger over meaningless details in that very “literary” way — but it was also practical.

Adult Juliet tries to separate herself from teenage Juliet at the end of the novel. Yet, in order to do so, she throws herself completely into the story. Why is that?

JE: I guess it’s in the tradition of metafiction, with the traditional concerns of metafiction — a way to highlight the relationship between art and life, and life and memory. Juliet the teenaged narrator is not the same person as Juliet the adult narrator, who is not the same as me, the person, but they are all mirrors of each other. In order to write this book, I had to let this teenaged girl occupy my brain and life for years. It felt like an invasion, which felt similar to the onset of my bipolar disorder, which seemed interesting to me, and therefore like something important to add to the book.

 

Juliet Escoria Site
Juliet Escoria @ Twitter
For ‘Juliet The Maniac,’ Healing Had To Come From Within
Juliet Escoria @ goodreads
Buy ‘Juliet the Maniac’

 

Juliet Escoria Juliet the Maniac
Melville House

‘Voted by both Bustle and Nylon as a most anticipated novel of 2019, this portrait of a young teenager’s fight toward understanding and recovering from mental illness is shockingly honest, funny, and heartfelt.

‘A highly anticipated debut—from a writer hailed as “a combination of Denis Johnson and Joan Didion” (Dazed)—brilliantly captures the intimate triumph of a girl’s struggle to become the woman she knows she can be.

‘Ambitious, talented fourteen-year-old honors student Juliet is poised for success at her Southern California high school. However, she soon finds herself on an increasingly frightening spiral of drug use, self-harm, and mental illness that lands her in a remote therapeutic boarding school, where she must ultimately find the inner strength to survive.’ — Melville House

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Excerpt

WHY I’M SCARED OF BIRDS

I always took a shortcut through a vacant field. It had been undeveloped for years, a blank square behind the mall at the top of the hill, before you got to the stucco apartments. Once the plants in it had been green and pretty, tall grass with bushes and wildflowers. It didn’t look like that anymore. Everything had turned chalky and gray. The dead grass crinkled when I stepped on it. At the far end of the field, there was a whole flock of crows, dozens of black marks like a pox.

I expected them to fly away as I got closer, but they didn’t move. They were black, black, black all over, claws to beak, and I felt their black-bead eyes following me.

I decided to sit down in the dirt, try to get the shadows to go away by willing myself solid and impassive like a tree. But the shadows caught up with me, and there were more of them now, shifting from shapes into pieces of people. Disembodied limbs, screeching mouths, long rotted hair. Ghosts. Wanting something from me, for me to do something, as if I could break their suffering and deliver them to heaven. They were saying something but all talking at once, and I couldn’t make out what they said. The crows were still watching me. They began to caw. They were all trying to tell me something. They were all trying to tell me what to do. The sun shone through the thick clouds, a yellow blob in the sky.

My heart beat faster, faster until it was just one long thrum. The molecules around my head buzzed, the crows cackled, the shadows clung at me, and all of it was cloaked in doom. The poison in me was spreading, burning like bile in my veins, dismantling cells and becoming contagious. It would spread into my parents, into Nicole. The only way to get the evil out, to exorcise the ghosts, was to choke it. To choke myself. It was the only way. I stood up and it began pouring rain.

When I got home, I was soaked. My parents were getting ready to leave for dinner. They seemed surprised to see me, surprised that I was soaking wet. “I didn’t know it was raining,” my dad said.

A new Mexican restaurant had opened up near the gas station. “Do you want to come?” my mom asked. I told her no. “Are you OK? You look sick,” she said. I said I was fine. I was just tired, I was just cold and wet. I said I would take a hot shower. They left.

The Other Thing took over, pushing me into the bathroom. I watched my hand take out my medicine—Tegretol, Wellbutrin. The pills poured onto the counter in a neat pile. It didn’t seem like enough. I walked into the kitchen, the tiny cupboard where my mom kept the vitamins and headache medicine. There was a big bottle of Tylenol from Costco. There was a smaller bottle of Benadryl too. I set both of them down on the counter. I grabbed one of the kitchen chairs. I dragged it in front of the fridge. There was a bunch of liquor bottles on top. I grabbed the gin. I stepped down, got a tall glass. I poured the gin into it until it was full. I didn’t put the bottle back. I took the glass and the pill bottles and went into the bathroom. I poured the Tylenol and Benadryl out next to the other pills, threw all of the bottles in the trash. They looked pretty—the white of the Tylenol and Tegretol mixed with the bright pink and red of the other pills. I grabbed a handful, shoved them in my mouth, swallowed them with the gin, until it was all gone. They went down my throat so easy it was like they belonged there.

I went into my bedroom. The lights were off and the room was very dark. I lay down on the bed. My eyelids grew heavy and I closed them. Everything felt thick and dumb. I think I fell asleep. I dreamt I was tied, my hands behind my back, my feet together. Someone had lit me on fire. The flame that burned me was very white and very hot, but it didn’t hurt. I couldn’t see anything else but flames. I lost place of my body. I became the fire.

And then my dad was shaking me. I opened my eyes and the fire was gone. He was sitting on the bed, over me. It looked like there were three of him. My mother was over his shoulder. There were three of her too. Her face glistened, I think she was crying, and the tears glowed, brilliant as stars.

The next thing I knew, I was in the car. My mother was in the backseat with me. My face was against the window, the glass cool on my cheek. She kept on saying my name over and over, her hand grabbing my arm. It seemed too difficult to answer her and so I didn’t. We were on the freeway and the other car lights went by in streaks and blurs, like lines of fire.

 


Grunion Run


Ghost Stories


The Other Kind of Magic

 

 

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‘>Between the 18th and the 20th October 1974, Oulipo BAE Georges Perec – a Pisces – sits in a Parisian cafe on Place Saint-Sulpice, meticulously recording in his notebook every detail of the busy life of the square. His eyes are alert to ‘what happens when nothing happens’. The more inconsequential the particulars he manages to pick up on, examine, or classify, the more excited he seems to become:

‘Means of locomotion: walking, two-wheeled vehicles (with and without motor), automobiles (private cars, company cars, rented cars, driving school cars), commercial vehicles, public services, public transport, tourist buses.’

‘>The conceptual/obsessive experiment in cataloguing is a response to a writing prompt of his own devising, published about a month before in a collection of essays on public and private spaces (the adorably-named Species of Spaces and Other Pieces). Perec’s practical exercise calls for the reader/writer to carefully observe the street around them and note *everything* down: one must set about it slowly, ‘almost stupidly’; forcing oneself to see the space ‘more flatly’. ‘If nothing strikes you’, says Perec, then ‘you don’t know how to see’. As it turns out, Perec himself is really good at seeing: after 3 days on Place Saint-Sulpice, his notes are over 50 pages long – mainly one-line annotations about buses, passersby, pigeons, gestures, more buses. He calls it An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris.

‘>Perec made of this modality (a dry and neutral encyclopedic gaze at the unnoticed) a manifesto. In both writing and living, he called for a shift of attention from the exceptional to the ordinary, for an abandonment of the charmingly exotic in favour of the invisibly unexceptional – according to a philosophy he labels ‘anthropology of the endotic’. In the essay ‘Approaches to What?’, in a somewhat self-referential aphorism, he remarks that ‘railway trains only begin to exist when they are derailed, and the more passengers are killed, the more the trains exist.’ That the ordinary, in other words, only lives in our attention as soon as it stops being ordinary.

‘>If this statement is true as it sounds, then, the virtual world of Grand Theft Auto Online must without a doubt be more real than the one we live in. The game’s universe is expansive and hyperrealistic to the extent that navigating its space is an experience of an undecidable quality; the abundance of detail is so accurately mimetic and uncannily convincing it that the digital artifice both disappears into an ambient background, and never leaves the centre of the stage. The minutia of IRL city-walking, and of existing in a world that follows its own will (flecks of dust dancing in the wind, catching the sun; overheard fragments of strangers’ phone conversations; the gas station attendant’s body language in between serving customers), are alienated from us, digitally re-engineered, and presented back to us in the guise of a crime-ridden fictional world. In this sense, the GTA series is one of the most Perecquian exercises to ever exist. (Of course, amusingly enough, Perec’s aphorism is also appropriate here on a more literal level: the game franchise is entirely built upon the premise that derailing trains – but also provoking car accidents, and especially murdering innocent pedestrians – is recommended if not required).’ — Denise Bonetti

 

Studio Operative
Tinkering with the Code of Reality
How to Exhaust a Place: Paris, Grand Theft Auto, ???
The Future Perfect: Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today on Urban Possibilities
Buy ‘An Attempt At Exhausting a Place in GTA Online’

 

Michael Crowe An Attempt At Exhausting a Place in GTA Online
Studio Operative

‘Michael Crowe’s An Attempt At Exhausting a Place in GTA Online takes George Perec’s serene 1975 conceptual exercise in Paris as its starting point, reenacting it within the chaotic and excessive virtual world of Grand Theft Auto Online. Giddy murder, Fassbinder lookalike contests and amber lights twinkling in the far distance all dance together as Michael Crowe attempts to exhaust one location in the world’s most popular video game.
With an accompanying essay by Jamie Sutcliffe, this edition playfully explores the discursive spaces of online games and questions their relationship to our current material world and potential immaterial futures. With an accompanying essay by Jamie Sutcliffe.’ — Studio Operative

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Excerpt



 

 

 

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‘After it was announced in August that The Village Voice would cease publication, New York School poet and current New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl reminisced about his years as the paper’s art columnist: in 1966, 1980–1981, and again from 1991–1998, after which Schjeldahl left for his present gig and Jerry Saltz, now at New York magazine, took his place. Schjeldahl had wanted to return to the Voice in the mid-1980s, but, he writes,

the fabulously acerbic Gary Indiana (who ended one column with this direct address to his readers: “Fuck you”) held the art-critic post by then. It seemed like every time I ran into Gary he said he was about to quit, but he didn’t quit — playing dog in the manger, in my exasperated view.

‘Indiana wrote for the Voice weekly from March 1985 through June 1988, a period which spanned the second term of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the expanding onslaught of the AIDS crisis, and the “Black Monday” stock market crash. Against this backdrop, the art world suffered the death of Andy Warhol, alongside countless artists who died during the epidemic; the metastasization of the art market; and with it, the gentrification of downtown Manhattan. Though Indiana never ended a column the way Schjeldahl remembers — the address is included as numbered paragraph three of 16 in his February 2, 1988, column, “Blood and Guts” — Indiana consistently approached his job with the confrontational gusto of the Voice’s co-founder, Norman Mailer, who once defined “freedom,” Indiana recalls, as “being able to say shit in the New Yorker.”

‘For three years, Indiana’s column provided a weekly antidote to bullshit in an era when the business was thriving — in museums and galleries, but also at the Times, where The Art of the Deal topped the “Best Seller” list for 13 weeks. Collected in one volume — as Semiotext(e) has, in its recent publication of Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns, 1985–1988 — the columns could be read as a first-person report from the end of history, a bleak and hysterical “chronicle of life under siege,” as editor Bruce Hainley describes it. It’s true that Indiana’s column documented the demise of New York’s avant-garde and the victory of consumerism, bad taste, and financial speculation, personified by Indiana as “Planet Debby” in homage to the “debutantes” he reviled for opening galleries on his block in the East Village. This history is the raison d’être Semiotext(e) offers for rescuing these Voice columns from the archives. Ironically, it is largely the purveyors of archives — scholars and their ilk — who will find Vile Days engaging as a portrait of the artist as a youngish critic, working a day job he clearly despised, but which provided him with much of the literary material — as well as the practice, discipline, and stability — necessary to become one of contemporary American literature’s most astute if unforgiving prose stylists.’ — Andrew Marzoni, LARB

 

GARY INDIANA COUGHS UP SOME ‘HAIRBALLS OF INSIGHT’ ABOUT NEW YORK CITY’S VILE DAYS
Gary Indiana’s “Vile Days” Makes Me Want To Continue Being An Art Critic
Vile Days @ Riot Material
Chronicling the Last Days of Old New York
Buy ‘Vile Days’

 

Gary Indiana, edited by Bruce Hainley Vile Days: The Village Voice Art Columns, 1985–1988
Semiotext(e)

‘In 1985, the Village Voice offered me a job as senior art critic. This made my life easier and lousy at the same time. I now had to actually enter all those galleries instead of peeking in the windows. At times, the only tangible perk was having the chump for a fifth of vodka whenever twenty more phonies had flattered my ass off in the course of a working week. — from Vile Days

‘From March 1985 through June 1988 in The Village Voice, Gary Indiana reimagined the weekly art column. Thirty years later, Vile Days brings together for the first time all of those vivid dispatches, too long stuck in archival limbo, so that the fire of Indiana’s observations can burn again. In the midst of Reaganism, the grim toll of AIDS, and the frequent jingoism of postmodern theory, Indiana found a way to be the moment’s Baudelaire. He turned the art review into a chronicle of life under siege.

‘As a critic, Indiana combines his novelistic and theatrical gifts with a startling political acumen to assess art and the unruly environments that give it context. No one was better positioned to elucidate the work of key artists at crucial junctures of their early careers, from Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince to Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman, among others. But Indiana also remained alert to the aesthetic consequence of sumo wrestling, flower shows, public art, corporate galleries, and furniture design. Edited and prefaced by Bruce Hainley, Vile Days provides an opportunity to track Indiana’s emergence as one of the most prescient writers of his generation.’ — Semiotext(e)

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Excerpt

Gary Indiana, “Janet Malcom Gets It Wrong—Part I”

When Janet Malcolm commenced research, two years ago, for a New Yorker profile of Artforum editor Ingrid Sischy, she let it be known that she knew nothing about the art world: it was, for Malcolm, exciting new territory. The profile has at last appeared, in two consecutive New Yorker issues, October 20 and 27, and perhaps its most impressive quality is how ingeniously Malcolm has protected her ignorance over such a long period of time.

Ostensibly, Malcolm’s intention in Part I is to show how Artforum has changed under Sischy’s direction. She calls on a number of the “old guard,” by whom she is frankly intimidated. Rosalind Krauss, for example, the Zhdanov of October magazine, is depicted in her home environment, which from Malcolm’s description sounds like a display window in Conran’s, yet “is one of the most beautiful living places in New York.” “No one,” according to Malcolm, “can leave this loft without feeling a little rebuked….” This may be perfectly true. One feels further prepared to believe that Krauss is “fearlessly uncharitable,” though whether her unpleasant characteristics make “one’s own ‘niceness’ seem somehow dreary and anachronistic” surely depends on the degree of submissiveness, or obsequious niceness, one brings to the encounter.

Grumpy Krauss has nothing but disdain for Artforum in its current incarnation. Even back in the glory days when she and Annette Michelson sat on the editorial board, they had to endure the importunate existence of other people and their bothersome opinions: “Lawrence Alloway was forever sneering at me and Annette,” “Max Kozloff…was always very busy being superior,” “Neither Annette nor I would buy into this simplistic opposition that they set up between formal invention and the social mission of art.” After the Lynda Benglis Scandal of 1974, when the magazine accepted a sensational ad distasteful to most of the editorial staff, it seemed clear to Krauss and Michelson that Artforum and its editor, John Coplans, were pandering to the art market, favoring commodity objects like painting and sculpture over the more ephemeral, “advanced” art enjoyed by Krauss and Michelson. “Yes. That’s how we felt.” Krauss and Michelson are full of unanimous sentiments and thoughts about the old Artforum: “one of the things Annette and I have done,” “our theory,” “which was certainly why Annette and I thought,” “various projects of ours.” But Krauss reserves her fiercest lack of charity for the new Artforum and its writers: it, and they, are stupid. This verdict is so unequivocal that it’s surprising Krauss could formulate it without assistance from Michelson, but perhaps in matters of stupidity we can assume they are as one.

For the Westchester County audience the thrillingly Minimal decor of Krauss’s loft is probably enough to establish her credentials as an important thinker and art swami; nothing she actually tells Malcolm rises above petty spite. (“On the one hand, you had Rubin and Varnedoe sounding like complete assholes…McEvilley doing his hideousness…never been able to finish a piece of McEvilley…seems to be another Donald Kuspit.…”) Actually, Malcolm’s technique ensures that anyone with sufficient floor space and a reliable cleaning service will sound more credible, or at least more “intellectual,” than those who live amid the squalid clutter of normal life. Malcolm’s gaze sweeps over the surfaces or people, places, and things, calmly categorizing them according to the inner logic of an intractable bourgeoise. Poor John Coplans—his home “has the look of a place inhabited by a man who no longer lives with a woman.” You know already that Coplans will be an affable old geezer who loves spinning tales about the past, that he will seem less decisive, more conciliatory in his opinions than Krauss, and therefore slightly…well, pathetic. Robert Pincus-Witten, former art buyer for collector Emily Spiegel and professor of art history at Queens College, is spared the trial-by-interior, having been encountered at a cocktail party. He provides pregnantly diplomatic hiatus between Coplans and Malcolm’s next imperious loft dweller, Barbara Rose.

Like Krauss, Rose senses Decline—not just in Artforum, but in the art world generally. Like Krauss, she seems to have made out quite handsomely for one so embattled. Her place “looks more like a Park Avenue co-op than a downtown living space.…” But she is forlorn, haunted by memories of bright laughter and happier times, when people like herself were taken seriously. She wistfully recalls those halcyon days in the ’60s when, with then spouse Frank Stella, she entertained “major intellectuals” like Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt. “There’s nobody like them today,” Rose opines. Today’s art world, well, “it’s middle-class, it’s bourgeois.” Not like it was when it was all about “the agony and the ecstasy.” Which is to say, not like when it was like the title of an Irving Stone novel.

If truth be told, Rose’s rueful blather about the high standards of the past is something of a running joke in the art world. It has only become more vehement each time that Rose has failed to interest her vanishing constituency in “new art.” Here, she attributes the decline of cultural discrimination, and perhaps of Western civilization as a whole, to the influence of Harold Rosenberg and Susan Sontag, of all people—and, with an air of disinterested exasperation, feebly tries to settle scores with Rene Ricard over a few withering sentences about her he published years ago in Artforum. Malcolm doesn’t mention that that’s what Rose is doing. Perhaps Malcom just didn’t know; if she didn’t, she should have.

More to the point, one of the two redeeming presences Rose spots in an otherwise hopeless Sischy-run Artforum, critic John Yau, happens to have lived with Rose’s daughter for years. Since Rose is quick to accuse other people of lowering standards, it might also have been useful for Malcolm’s readers to know that a few years ago, Rose was removed from her job as curator of exhibitions and collections under William Agee at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts after it was disclosed that the museum had recently purchased works from the collection of her then husband, lyricist Jerry Leiber. Malcolm also neglects to mention that Rose’s principal activity in the art world for 20 years has been that of a publicist, sporadic contributions to Partisan Review and her column in Vogue notwithstanding.

This kind of detail interests Janet Malcolm not at all when it pertains to “respectable” people, though she gives the financial murk of the art world a bit of play when describing people with whom she doesn’t identify. But of course, respectable people read the New Yorker. Like Malcolm, they tend to glaze over in the presence of opulent surfaces and pushy individuals, and become assertive only when they sense another person’s disadvantage. The ugliest moments in Malcolm’s article—and there are many—occur when Malcolm’s personal feelings creep into the page; these are inevitably activated by people she feels secure in sneering at. Interestingly, most of them are artists rather than administrators, critics, or editors.

Near the conclusion of Part I, Malcolm describes an unpleasant confrontation between Ingrid Sischy and the sculptor Richard Serra at an opening at the Marian Goodman Gallery. What happened was this: Serra made the assumption that Sischy supported his position in the controversy over his Tilted Arc sculpture. When Sischy felt it her duty to inform him otherwise, Serra became enraged. Before getting down to particulars, Malcolm sets the reader up so that opinion will fall on Sischy’s side—not with reasoned argument, but with a physical description of Serra, which she uses against him much the way she uses other people’s apartments against them.

This was the first time I had seen Richard Serra, and he didn’t fit the image I had formed. From his massive, thrusting sculpture…I had imagined a large, dark, saturnine man—a sort of intellectual conquistador type, emanating an air of vast, heroic indifference. The actual Serra looked like someone from a small American rural community: a short man with a craggy, surly face, receding gray hair, and pale eyes rimmed by light eyelashes.

In other words, Malcolm contrasts her personal fantasies about Serra and his “massive, thrusting” works with the actual person and finds the real thing…“rural” looking. How better to convince the “sophisticated,” cosmopolitan audience of the New Yorker that Serra is wrong-headed?

Malcolm’s reporting is studded with such novelistic details, which twinkle class assurance from reporter to reader: never mind what X thinks, he or she lives alone in an apartment so messy you and I would never dream of living there. So-and-so makes weird looking objects, so naturally I didn’t want to find myself alone with him in his flat. These people are Russian émigrés who serve refreshments in a slobby manner, so I guess you understand how exasperated I felt.

When an “eccentric” person gains Malcolm’s sympathy, she projects upon him every cliché of la vie bohème that springs to her impoverished imagination; thus, to the utter incredulity of anyone who knows him, Rene Ricard is likened to Prince Myshkin, the Christ figure in Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. Malcolm is so oblivious to the world she’s describing that the publicity value of her own activity eludes her: she can’t imagine why Ricard repeatedly prevents her from leaving his table at the Palladium, regaling her with one juicy story after another.

Were Malcolm’s investigations of the Freud Archive similarly tainted by her fascination with appearances? Is it possible that one of the New Yorker’s star reporters is so transfixed by surface impressions that she consistently mistakes them for reality? Does the vulgarity of Malcolm’s article reflect the New Yorker’s transition from the Age of Shawn to the Age of Si Newhouse? The maiden appearance of the word “asshole” is the least distressing infelicity in Malcolm’s article, but in the context of the New Yorker it seems portentous of the shape of things to come.

 


12.4.2018 Gary Indiana on Vile Days


Interview with Gary Indiana


Gary Indiana Reads “Bella is Bella”

 

 

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p.s. Hey. I’m off to a distant French town called Mayenne today to host a screening of PERMANENT GREEN LIGHT there tonight. What this means re: you is you’ll get a p.s.-less restored post tomorrow, and I’ll be back to catch up with you on Wednesday. ** John Fram, Hi, John! Sure, send me the pdf, but, yes, I am heavily swamped with film travels and work right now, so it’ll take me me a bit to start reading it. If that’s okay, cool. And thank you very much about PGL! That’s awesome to hear! ** David Ehrenstein, Oh, that’s curious about Meredith. I miss Meredith. Tina Aumont is strangely underknown even here in France. I mentioned to several film buff friends here that I was making a post about her, and her name didn’t even ring their bells. Really, she’s not in Fellini’s Satyricon? Well, there’s a lot of official seeming misinformation out there then. I’ll do a fix. Everyone, FaBlog has new header called Nastypants!. ** Sypha, Hi. It’s funny that people complaining about the confusing stories of ‘Godzilla’ and other film/TV entities are often the same people who love Japanese anime which is very often (and prized for being) totally wack and incomprehensible on the story front. But oh well. Oh, right, I remember that now. About Travolta’s character reading ‘MB’ in ‘PF’. Huh. ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane! How’s it going? I’ve never seen ‘Lifespan’ and had no idea that Terry Riley did the score. Whoa. Thanks a lot for the link to that score. That’ll come in very handy. ** Misanthrope, Hi. I’ve asked several friends in the States about Real ID and no one there has ever heard of it. Mystery. I literally can not bear hearing even the slightest waft of Elton John’s music, so I am going to steer clear of that film. Wow, I think the last time someone I knew mentioned that they were reading Mary Renault was in 1981 or something. I forgot all about her. Those books were quite popular back before the ‘gay lit’ explosion. I’ve never read a peep of them. ** _Black_Acrylic, She’s cool, and she is very interesting in the Nico/Icon doc. Dude, no way, you’re going to press with the new The Call issue this week? That’s crazy. Crazy awesome. You’re a demon! ** Steve Erickson, That is a question, isn’t it? Odd one, that. No, I haven’t seen ‘Barry’. I literally do not watch TV (other than French stuff or CNN occasionally) or TV shows streaming on my computer or anything. Sounds curious. Maybe someday I’ll take a look. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. As I was saying to David, her name recognition isn’t that high even in France, strangely. Very cool about your Gena Rowlands-ish friend, and yes, lit votive candles, ‘prayers’, and scrunched together fingers galore re: your rascal. I’ll hit on his music when I’m out of here. Thanks for news the about your folks and flying. I’m gonna check it out thoroughly just to be safe because in my current situation I’m always in danger of a world of trouble. You’re not watching ‘Chelsea Girls’ as intended with two episodes playing concurrently? ** Bill, Hi, Bill. That’s cool, I’m speeding today too due to an imminent train trip. Well, your description of your gig makes my ears (and eyes) hungry, and I’ll just enjoy the hunger. Your Sunday sounds to have been nice. It was boiling hot here too, weirdly and ugh-ly. Now it’s happily misty. Safe trip home! See you soon! ** Okay. I haven’t done of these 4 book posts in a while due to ultra-busyness, but I finally got four beloved reads behind me, and off they go to you with my recommendation attached. The blog will see you tomorrow, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.

5 Comments

  1. Right now I’m reading AFTER THE BANQUET by Yukio Mishima and, on a totally different note, THE DREAMS OF CARDINAL VITTORINI & OTHER STRANGE STORIES by Reggie Oliver.

    James Nulick is having surgery for a double hernia this Wednesday, so keep him in your positive thoughts (he told me I could mention this on here if I wanted to).

  2. Dennis, Hope things are going well in the distant town.

    Well, you know me, I get to thinking more about that movie and don’t like it as much. It was enjoyable, flashy, fast, and funny in parts. But I realized today that I just watched another fucking PSA about drug and sex addiction…and how great life has turned out for ol’ Elton once he finally found someone who REALLY loved him. He was the victim throughout, not the asshole he was known to be back then. Bleh. Blech.

    Yeah, Mary’s not bad at all. The woman had confidence. Very well researched -she’s often cited as an authority in discussions of Alexander- and she just puts the shit out there. For example, there’s no definitive evidence that Alexander and Hephaestion actually fucked, but she’s like, “Hmm, there’s enough implied and circumstantial evidence, so they fucked. I’m writing that shit!” (IMO, they most likely fucked and fucked a lot. )

    I liked her novel The Charioteer too. It’s about a gay WWII vet who slowly comes out back in the 50s.

    When you get a chance, check this out:

    https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/realid

    Thing is, with the non-compliant driver’s license, you can’t board a domestic flight with it. However, your passport is Real ID compliant, so you should have no problems boarding flights. IOW, I think you’re okay. Still probably should check just to make sure.

  3. Hey D, thank you so kindly–I’ll put you down on my publisher’s list of folks expecting a PDF and will keep you posted. I can’t wait to share the novel with you. Will talk more soon (enjoy the countryside!)

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