DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Amy Greenfield Day

 

‘Over her more than four-decade career, New York based filmmaker, performer and writer Amy Greenfield has achieved widespread critical acclaim for her genre-bending films which cross boundaries of experimental film, video art and multimedia performance – from her feature film, Antigone/Rites Of Passion to her major new live multimedia work, Spirit In The Flesh. Exploring the dynamism of human movement and the resiliency of the spirit, Greenfield creates a new visual and kinetic language of cinema. An innovative exploration of an artist whom Cineaste called ‘the most important practitioner of experimental film-dance,’ — R.A. Haller

‘Amy Greenfield has been pushing the boundaries of dance and cinema since the early 1970s. Her work is known for its earthy rawness and proto-feminist point of view. In Greenfield’s 1974 work, Videotape for a Woman and Man, audiences may at first experience utter shock at seeing the two performers Greenfield and her male partner as being completely stark naked. This 33-minute film features the female and male performers in a series of progressive dance-like and often highly acrobatic body movements with pauses in the film that integrate vocal phrases in order to explain some of the emotions and motives that the film maker is intending to express to the audience. The nakedness of the performers ultimately expresses a sense of freedom in their complete exposure in order to communicate the essence of the raw emotions that a man and woman can experience towards one another in a relationship. In doing so, they clearly tell us that they have nothing to hide. Their emotions are real and unhindered because of their nakedness. The movements of these nude performers range from loving to violent to erotic and passionate as they tell their story through uninhibited movement.’ — Missy Briggs

‘In February YouTube censored Amy Greenfield’s films including segments from Club Midnight/Against Censorship. Greenfield was outraged at such censorship of art, placing it mistakenly in the category of “pornography”. The absence of any way to appeal directly to YouTube impelled Greenfield to contact the National Coalition Against Censorship. Supporting her work, and agreeing that the issue is very important for filmmakers, the NCAC, with the leading internet civil rights organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation, went up against the internet giant to help bring to light the issue of YouTube/Google’s censorship of nudity. With an outpouring of press and public support on the internet, You Tube, in an unprecedented and potentially ground-breaking decision, restored Greenfield’s films to their site, unrestricted, recognizing her use of nudity as art.’ — NCAC

 

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Stills


























 

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Further

Amy Greenfield @ The Film-Makers’ Cooperative
Book: ‘Flesh into Light – The Films of Amy Greenfield’
Amy Greenfield @ IMDb
Amy Greenfield @ letterboxd
DVD: ‘Greenfield: Cinema of the Body’
Amy Greenfield reviews ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’
Amy Greenfield, a Critical Essay
Amy Greenfield’s “Dance for the Camera”
Amy Greenfield’s Finely Spun `Antigone’

 

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Extras


CENSORED BY YOUTUBE


Frameform | Rewind: Amy Greenfield

 

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Interview: Making Antigone/Rites of Passion

 

TONY PIPOLO: I thought it would be helpful to divide up the questions into categories. First, I’d like to know what attracted you to this project, and how you think the subject of Antigone bears upon these times. Then, perhaps we could talk about the form the film takes; since you are associated with dance and choreography, it seems relevant to consider how you managed to exploit these talents and place them at the service of this story. Lastly, how filmmaking techniques–especially the framing and editing of shots–affected and were affected by the approach you took. I’m sure they’ll be some overlapping, but let’s begin with the first one. When did the idea of doing Antigone occur to you? Were you always fascinated with Sophocles’ play?

AMY GREENFIELD: Yes. When I read it in college, of all the Greek tragedies, it was the one that most interested me. And when I got into film, I thought, when I do a long film eventually, it will be Antigone. But originally the play didn’t feel personal for me. I just thought, “I know how to do that. Something in me knows how to make that into a film.” And those were the feelings, again, when I said, I think it’s time.

The idea was a little more frightening than I thought, though. Not Antigone so much as a long feature film. But I wanted to make such a film and I felt that I could play Antigone. I had different projects going at the time. That was the time when I tried more practical things like proposing something for cable television with postmodern dance–something I didn’t want to really do, even. Those fell through, but an administrator at Ballet Theater at the time said, “If you can bring something new to Antigone, do that, don’t think of doing a ballet for television.”

Other people encouraged me, too: a wonderful professor of Classics at the University of Southern Illinois, Joan O’Brien, wrote an essay on Antigone and androgyny, which turned out to be one way into the character and a take on the text I’d never been taught, and which led to looking at the sexuality going on in it. She’d been a nun but “quit” (if that’s the right word) because of the Pope’s attitudes toward women. She loved my wild pagan female nude film dances. She felt Antigone/Rites of Passion should be that physical.

But it was when I started to do video rehearsals with Bertram Ross, taking his body and face as material for script, that the film really started. So the way into visualizing the words started with the physical. The opposite process from mainstream dramatic filmmaking.

Then it became clear that I had to find a dramatic structure for the film. I luckily ran into a weekend screenwriting workshop with Frank Daniel, then head of Columbia’s Film Department. That workshop enabled me to begin and go on and on to reconstruct the texts from my own point of view as cinema.

Now, I remember the thing that got me to drop everything else–well, almost everything else–and concentrate on this film was asking myself the question: “if I had only one year to live, what would I do?” The answer was to make this film–and it took five years to make.

TP: So, clearly, your reasons must have been very compelling.

AG: Yes, but I didn’t even think of the reasons.

TP: It strikes me from viewing the film that your reasons were far more personal, as opposed, let’s say, to primarily polemical. Over the last thirty or forty years, people who have revived and produced Antigone seem to approach it almost exclusively as a polemical piece with a special message for our times. One finds it in college anthologies, for example, along with essays by Thoreau and Gandhi on Civil Disobedience. Your film does not strike me as being driven by motives or interests of this kind.

AG: No, I was not driven by those motives at all. I don’t understand them if you’re going to do the drama, not talk about it. The play is taught in most high schools and colleges and made so boring because of such textbooks. My drive was to bring its really very passionate life to the screen, and let the ideas come through that passion. I think my motives were close to why an artist like Cocteau would translate a certain myth or tale into drama, ballet, cinema, because he felt it corresponding to something very essential in himself and transformation of self into a larger sphere. He actually did a version of Antigone which got to his feelings about Charlotte Corday.  Also, I think I was motivated by terror. At the time when I started to conceive of and make the film, I used to wake up every morning experiencing terror. I couldn’t control it. It seemed to have everything and nothing to do with my life. It was real but not attached to something specific. Making the film brought me through it. Greek Tragedy, like a horror film or thriller on a popular level, ultimately brings the audience through terror via the fullness, the seduction of art.

TP: My feeling about the choice of beginning the film with the scene between Oedipus and the two daughters is that it does, as you’ve indicated, deemphasize the straightforward political aspects of the play. Beginnings–and endings, of course–are so important. But it also clarifies the situation for an audience unfamiliar with the story of the trilogy, especially concerning the curse on the family. There is this strong psychological bond with the father and because of the curse on the family, Antigone has no choice but to pursue the path that she does. It is all clearly laid out for her, but not just in cultural and political terms. I was wondering what you thought about how this relates to the political dimension of the play and how the question–which is really a question posed by all of Greek tragedy–of determination and free will fits into this.

AG: Well, I have trouble with such all-encompassing phrases that have been around for centuries. If I’d approached the film from that point of view, it certainly never would have gotten made, and if it had somehow, no one would have wanted to look at it. I was involved with the practical agonizing day to day decisions of getting onto the screen the agonizing choices of the characters in a story that’s so great that part of its greatness is that it makes into truth what in a literal way is really unbelievable at almost every turn.

But let me think. This interview is making me become conscious of stuff that was in there. You’re right. The film starts with the voice of Antigone over a black screen saying, “The story of Antigone began before she was born.” Before she goes into the cave, she says, “My birth imprisons me.” The beginning narration ends with “Antigone chose to go with him (i.e., Oedipus), to lead him in the wilderness.” So there are two extremes for her. A path circumscribed horribly by her birth and gigantic choices no one else would make, and once they’re made, they lead her to a narrower and narrower sphere within which choice can be made.

It’s interesting–the imprisoned birth–Antigone is a character who never changes. Instead, her choices keep her more and more on the track of her own character, and change everyone around her more and more. Then, when she seems to have no choice left, “Antigone takes her death into her own hands.” Creon, so he won’t get blamed for actively executing her, puts her in a cave to starve. Instead of dying passively and slowly, she chooses fast suicide, and it is that suicide which topples Creon.

In cinematic terms, when there seems to be no choice left for her, when she’s locked in the cave, the camera becomes her in an extended point of view shot, and we see only the rock walls, as if there were no space left for her in the world. Therefore, we as audience, are her as she travels through the seemingly endless and claustrophobic and amorphous cave. Then, the camera comes to a dead end wall. We see her feet–she is climbing the wall. A choice. There’s no way out, but she’s found a way up. Then the camera goes wild and out of that frenzied camera movement we see her, like an African death mask, dead, but in a way alive still through the camera’s motion, and her voice: “Antigone takes her death in her own hands.” I actually was holding the rope up myself with one hand, though in the film it looks like she’s actually hanging. I designed the “death” shot. I was totally active. It was an active choice. Her will had to be at the strongest point in her life to do that. It’s a metaphor for taking control of one’s own death, really terrifying to me, but very much an issue in our society now. Her final act of will makes for a release of energy, an explosion of events–Haimon’s suicide, Creon’s madness, and finally Ismene’s heroism as witness. Creon, unlike Antigone, comes in at the point of most choice for himself as new ruler, and he chooses wrongly. Under a misguided kind of patriotism, he chooses to unbury the dead and execute for the necessary act of mourning. Like Antigone, he won’t give in, but her force of will is greater than his. A shot where he seems to have most power–when he pronounces Antigone’s death in a cave, is done as a mug shot–he’s a criminal right up against the wall looking into the camera. The camera humiliates and imprisons him just when it seems like he imprisons Antigone. That’s a twist in the free will vs. determinism game. And unlike a tragic hero, when he relents, it’s forced upon him. And while finally he is vulnerable and cries out, he has seen his mistake much, much too late. His change of heart in burying the dead and unburying the living and his realization of his passion and tenderness as father for his son, both come too late. He is mad, unfit to rule even himself, taken over, unable to choose what he now wants–death. Bertram Ross’ incredible reversal in the way he uses his body, from hard and straight to collapsing in on himself and soft, the seductiveness with which he plays Creon, makes the character fascinating, dimensional, very modern.

But it is only Ismene who, through Antigone’s death, becomes free of that curse. Her choice to stay alive in the play was seen as a cop-out. Ostensibly it is a choice for personal survival, but it’s also choosing to be powerless before unjust law. The film gives her a second chance by developing her character after Antigone’s death. With her choice to wrest power and complete the vow, this time she emerges with dignity and a spiritual balance and calm which give the sense that no matter what happens to her, she’s free of the family curse, though everyone she loves is dead. Her breathing is the ultimate necessity of life, and it’s life which enables choice.

TP: We’re talking about complex ideas that come through, yet there are so few words in the film. The ideas come through a brew of pictures and sounds.

AG: There is something fundamental that we haven’t yet talked about, not only about my own filmmaking, which is very physical and visual, but about cinema in general which stresses these qualities. The text on the page is uncinematic. It had to be taken apart and resynthesized as cinema. The solution was to find some action-through line, for Antigone and Oedipus, then Creon, and branching out to the other characters–taking that as the core. It became clearer and clearer that that had to be the core; you had to move forward all the time through action. I couldn’t have a chorus, not only because of money, but it would have made the film even more artificial. Instead, I used dance, motion, as an in-between area between real action, acting, and metaphor. Once I do that, of course, I’m going to show the two brothers fighting, and once I do that, they are characters who appear and who have weight, and so forth. Then it’s a matter of generosity to the characters–as well as to the actors–I say, “Wait a minute, I just can’t see Polyneices getting knocked off?” and then “Why is she [i.e., Antigone] so passionate about this act?” and so it leads to showing their passion together, when she makes the vow to bury him after Oedipus has cursed him to die, and that brings us back to the family and the curse. In the book, Antigones, by George Steiner, he keeps coming back to this inextricable bond within Sophocles’ language, and to the eros connected with that family.

TP: To put it mildly.

AG: Yes, so there’s always a movement, an impulse, an impulse behind the words. It’s wonderful to deal with that and once you get behind the text and you say, oh, look what’s there–that’s pretty wild. Antigone says of Polyneices’ body, “If I die, I’ll lie with him,” and you think, “Let’s try that desire while she’s alive.” Then, of course, the action takes the film out of the area of abstract ideas and into this primal area. If you take out all of the other material with messengers and so forth, and concentrate on these primal scenes, you discover the strong action of the drama, which is laden with significance.

TP: This does partly explain the fascination of your film, in which we are not distracted by all of the connective tissue experienced through choruses and messengers, and all we are left with are these core scenes. There is no commentary, and no thread but the one woven by the drive to get the primal across.

AG: Which is connected with death. You said that in one sense the film is about the process of mourning, and the counter movement of that is the eros which infuses the drama.

TP: Yes.

AG: It’s built into the action, the choreography. When the brothers fight in violent arm to arm combat, they die, two twins, in an embrace. And we see Antigone attempting to carry out her words, “When I die, I’ll lie with him,” when she kneels over Polyneices’ body and kisses his lips, collapses on him from the attempt to carry him, and turns this action into rolling his body, then lying under him. Then, toward the end of the film, when Haimon falls on Antigone as he dies, that’s real kinky romantic, and Creon over Haimon’s body, gathering him up–here Haimon and Creon are both barechested, so it’s flesh to flesh, both dirty and wet. The tragedy is that the contact should have been in life. I’m not saying “Eros equals death” at all!

TP: Even in these actions, though, there is the political level. Let’s get into that aspect a little. On a low budget, and with the style of the film, how did you get the feeling of the State? I think you do, but it must not have been easy.

AG: Well, the political implications are all offscreen in the Oedipus at Colonus section. Only the voices-off evoke the City and the political power struggles. But once Oedipus leaves, that’s when Antigone makes the decision, or is driven, to go back to the city because that’s where her brothers’ fated battle is going to take place, and she has made her vow to her brother. This places the drama within the city structure and, you are right, to deal with the concept of the state was very difficult. Now, I would be able to deal with scenes of masses or extras. But when I made it, luckily it was inconceivable because I didn’t have the money–I mean it gets down to being so tight that even to have one more person there … it gets so difficult. So the sense of “State” came through the location–the actual State buildings of New York in Albany, plus costume, acting, music, well-chosen words …

TP: But I think the film gains from that forced economy. At least for me it does. There is something pristine about it in the way Greek tragedy is pristine. All the excesses are kept at bay and you get down to the absolute gut feelings and confrontations.

AG: Good, that’s what I wanted.

 

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9 of Amy Greenfield’s 16 films

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Dirt (1971)
‘… has been used in women’s studies classes on rape. Its energy is the energy of protest and of rock music. A woman is dragged and dragged through dirt with increasing violence. As the violence increases, so does the beat and intensity of the harsh, eletronic sound. The audience can identify deeply with the woman’s movements and so experience the depth of this violence.–A. G. “She abandons her body entirely.”–Boston Sunday Herald. DIRT and TRANSPORT are counterparts and are ideally screened together.’ — A. G.

 

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Transport (1971)
‘TRANSPORT came out of many influences in the early 1970s: the dead of Vietnam; the poem by my poetry teacher Anne Sexton, “For God While Sleeping”; the post-modern dance experiments with trust, to give yourself totally while being lifted by another; and the airborne astronauts of moon exploration. In the film, a man, then a woman, are lifted from the ground and are carried through space. Most of the film is seen upside-down against the white sky. The man and woman never meet. Their relationship is made entirely through the film editing. They move between ground and sky, between death (dead weight), through gravity (conflict weight) toward space (floating space). Finally, they break out into space and are borne along as if flying through the white air.’ — A.G.


the entirety

 

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Dervish 2 (1972)
‘For twenty minutes we watch Greenfield, wrapped in a white sheet, simply spin. The ceaseless repetition makes us lose our sense of time and gives the dynamic movement an object-like permanence. And yet, the actual physicality of her body also seems to dissolve. Subtle superimpositions of alternate camera views create delicate image transparencies while the whippings of the sheet across the monitor screen emit luminous stroboscopic flickerings. Rhythmic ambient sounds of shuffling and breathing reinforce the hypnotic effects of optical repetition.’ –- Richerd Lorber

 

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Element (1973)
‘ELEMENT, like TIDES, raises issues of the active image of a woman’s body on film. The two films are counterparts and are ideally screened together. The woman’s body is covered, like a moving sculpture, entirely with black, wet, clay-like mud in an environment of this element. She falls into and rises out of this glistening substance, over and over, until she is seen against the sky and falls one last time, ending with her black body sliding along the mud glittering in the jewel-like sun. The whole film is a human cycle which is both birthlike and deathlike and summons up through visceral imagery a very primal area of female sensuality. “In the well-known ELEMENT, Greenfield rolls and seethes and plunges in a field of mud, her hair, her face, her naked body [are] not just slathered with mud but become a part of it ….’ –- Deborah Jowitt


the entirety

 

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Tides (1982)
‘The literary sources for TIDES came from Isadora Duncan’s “The Dance of the Future,” Maya Deren’s script for the unfilmed passages of Ritual In Transfigured Time, Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. “TIDES is a cinema-dance dealing with the theme and image of woman and ocean. The entire film was shot with a high speed camera, creating action from two to twenty times slower than normal speed. Because of this extreme slow motion, the surge and flow of the woman’s nude body and the waves becomes intensely felt, continually moving cinematic imagery.’ — Film-makers Coop


the entirety

 

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Antigone/Rites of Passion (1990)
‘A feature film starring Bertram Ross, Janet Eilber and Amy Greenfield. Music: Glenn Branca, Diamanda Galas, Paul Lemos, Elliott Sharp and David Van Tieghem. An “emotionally charged feminist take” (The Village Voice) on the daughter of Oedipus. Amy Greenfield takes avant-garde and feminist filmmaking into a new sphere of storytelling. Dazzling, demanding, bold, triumphantly ambitious and successful …. Greenfield wisely decided to shoot her film as a silent, allowing her performers complete freedom of movement. … Greenfield and her cinematographers Hilary Harris (for the natural locations) and Judy Irola (for the architectural settings) keep the camera in perfect, expressive harmony with the performers. … Add to this spare, off-screen narration spoken by the various characters as they reveal their innermost thoughts. … Further add the film’s astonishing score, a great, richly varied hum and roar and shimmer. … Through the flawless fusion of all these elements we’re able to experience an ‘Antigone’ as if we had never seen it performed before, an ‘Antigone’ at once sensual and erotic, timeless and timely, for this film is charged with the tension of viewing Oedipus from his daughters’ point of view. … Inspired.’ –- Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

Watch the film VOD here

 

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Wildfire (2002)
Wildfire is digitally colorized into an intense raibow blaze, building from slow motion then layered, reversed, speeded to create a wildfire explosion of female energy. A beautiful film! A great film!’ — Bruce Baillie


Excerpt

 

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Club Midnight (2008)
‘CLUB MIDNIGHT is an evening of interconnected cutting-edge films, with cabaret stars Andrea Beeman; Bonnie Dunn; Francesca and Selene Savarie revealing themselves, body and soul, in a new nakedness, joined with spirituality and intelligence. The six films that make up CLUB MIDNIGHT, are challenging and exhilaratingly sensual, all inspired by the empowerment and expressiveness of erotic dance (to) the music of Philip Glass, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Lee Hazlewood, Dennis Hopper interpreting a poem by Poet Laureate Charles Simic (from which the film cycle takes its title), and (Amy Greenfield’s) inspired digital and analog manipulation . . . CLUB MIDNIGHT is a postmodern romp through a neo-feminist party.’ — letterboxd


Excerpt

 

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MUSEic Of The BODy (2009)
‘MUSEic Of The BODy, in many ways is not only a tribute to Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik both well known artists and musicians but also a pivotal experience for Greenfield. It was the first time she directed a large scale multi media stage event that would influence her own work for the next decade.

‘Her subjective camera zooms in and out at a dizzying pace on performer Suzanne Gregoire, who is completely nude in a pair of stilettos and a long string of extra large pearls. She is bound and tangled in the expansive string of pearls while she plays Nam June Paik’s interactive piano/video installation Pyramid- Interactive with her convoluted body. She pounds the piano in a desperate physical wail. The audience is given the ultimate impression of internal calamity pulled in a cerebral storm of transgressing emotions. Her image fills the mountain of screens, she hammers and tears at her pearls, her eyes make contact with the audience, her body shakes and quivers. The accompanying soundtrack facilitates and promotes this increasing transgression by mixing the rogue piano notes with the classic sounds of Beethoven’s piano sonata. Her head reaches back, the pearls tighten, she exhales, the piano fades, it is understood this dance continues on in an ethereal sphere now.’ — CTSart


Excerpt

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** Quentin S. Crisp, Hi. Well, thank you for entrusting this place. And for coming in. And for the added information and link, which I will now pass along. Everyone, Quentin S. Crisp, one of the Neo-Decadent authors, gives us some extra information and a gateway to a very intriguing sounding work. In his words, ‘I just wanted to give a shout out (as they say) to two artists, Joe Campbell and Oscar Oldershaw, who did the styling and took the photo of me (Quentin S. Crisp) in polkadot dress and shades. This is a link to one of their collaborative pieces (film) that drew words of praise from Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“I can watch this film over and over. I don’t understand it but it is just fascinating. The camera work invites us into the ritual, we are part of the alienation.”)’. Thanks again, and respect to you. ** Ferdinand, Hi. Well, there isn’t a whole lot else to do in my realm these days other than do the workhorse number. Luckily that’s my bread and butter. Mm, ‘Frisk’ was banned in Canada for a number of years. Otherwise, I can’t think of any instances of actual censorship, although I wouldn’t be surprised. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I’d forgotten all about that Marvin Lee incident until you mentioned LM. So, thanks. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Zac and I met one of the Neo-Decadents — Justin Isis — a few years back when we accidentally bumped into him in a pizza place in … Shibuya! Me too re: the missing, big, biggest time. ** Sypha, Hi. ‘Romance’? Hm, that’s … stretching it. ‘I Wished’ is 134 pages, so it’s roughly ‘Period’ or ‘God Jr.’ sized. Short but packed. ** John Newton, Hi, welcome. My pleasure re: the post. No, I’m not interested in writing a memoir. My upcoming novel is very personal and based in my autobiography, but it’s definitely a novel, not a memoir. That’s probably as close as I’ll ever get. Thanks for asking. Take care. ** Damian Murphy, Hadrian Flyte, Hi, thank you very much for entering and for answering John Newton’s question. I was rather curious myself. I’m pretty new to N-D, but I look forward greatly to getting to know your works ASAP. ** Shane Christmass, Hey, Shane. No, I haven’t read that book you linked to, didn’t know about it, but it definitely looks like a must-get. Thanks, man. ** _Black_Acrylic, Can’t keep a trusty pair of headphones down. Pudding and custard. Now those are good ideas. Not common food stuffs over here unless I’m missing something. Your story! Excited! Everyone, Maestro of multiple mediums and definitely prose Ben ‘_Black_Acrylic’ Robinson has a new short fiction piece up at the Terror House site with the irresistible title ‘Dead Cat Bounce’. Get your eyes, etc. on it here. ** wolf, *distant, lonely, inhuman sound in the distance*! Gotcha, but competence in art of any kind is pretty gross. And that it’s treated as a legitimising requirement of ‘good’ art by so many. Re: literature, the powers that be give competence fancy sounding names like ‘lapidary’ and ‘literary’, but they’re usually just talking about competence that’s acting hoity toity. I would say it’s one of art’s big, eternal enemies, but that’s me. Oops, about Hubert. Poor thing. Tough decision, yeah. My asshole neighbors, who live directly below me on the 3rd etage, are nuts. They’re an elderly hetero couple. For a long time, the male would bang on my door two or three times a week accusing us of using a jack-hammer in the middle of the night. (In the middle of the night, I’m always asleep and Yury is sometimes up watching TV quietly). I even let him come inside and look around to see that I don’t have a jack-hammer. It’s always something bizarre with them. Love, me. ** Dominik, Hi, D! Me too about the lockdown. They just locked down four French cities, luckily not including Paris, so … uh oh. How was your weekend or I guess including Monday? It’s true that that Styles guy kinda makes the bun work. Ha ha, I’d watch that horror movie. Who wouldn’t? Love hiring planes to skywrite Peter Sotos’s ‘Tick’ in its entirety in the sky in Tahoma font above every city, town, and village in the world, G. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. The new Gisele piece is just a promising early kernel of an idea at this point, but I’ll be sure to blab about it here when it coheres. Does Nick Antosca still writes books or has TV eaten his writing? I met him once at a reading. Super nice guy. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Okey-doke … Everyone, Two new sonic constructions by the one, the only Steve Erickson. Let me let him tell you all about them. SE: ‘In the past few days, I’ve written two songs inspired by BLADE RUNNER and its soundtrack. The second one, “Of Course We Know,” began as a remix of the first, reusing some of the same sounds and melodies, but took on a life of its own. Here is the first, “Happy Android”.’ Wow, I’ll find that Takashi Miike film somewhere. Sounds nuts. ** Misanthrope, Another FWB of the Neo-Decadents, or maybe it’s vice versa. Sounds like a fun time you had last night. Annapolis is famous for something specific, but I can’t remember what. A university or something? Good news about your mom. Hope it goes really well today. ** Brian O’Connell, Good morning! ‘Beau Travail’ is terrific, yeah, I agree. One of her very best films, I reckon. Weekend + me: Mm, my editor sent me a pdf of the interior design of ‘I Wished’, and I went through it and okayed it. I spent most of yesterday at my friend/collaborator Gisele’s place talking about the next theater piece we’re going to do and discussing how best to film our piece ‘Jerk’, which we’re doing next month. I watched a documentary about the history of Black representation in Horror movies that was just clips and talking heads but was pretty interesting. And a lot of other forgettable things that, yes, I have forgotten. How and what was your painfully early class? And its aftermath? Happy next 24! ** Okay. I’m thinking that most of you reading this don’t know the films of Amy Greenfield due to how difficult it is to see or even read about experimental films in these blanded-out and corporation commandeered days. Count on DC’s to disrupt that crap whenever possible. So, get to start to know her films. That’s the idea anyway. See you tomorrow.


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11 Comments

  1. Dennis! Deliriously Enchanting Narrating Novelist In, uh… brain’s gone blank. Soup? Haha.
    Ok, I see what you mean about competence. Mh. It’s definitely an interesting concept. I would say that if I were to compare the more experimental, home-grown prose I’ve read against the best-selling, super famous authors… well, it’s pretty shocking how terrible the writing can be from the latter. I mean, “lady, you cannot write your way out of a paper bag, and where the hell is your editor??!” levels. Meanwhile even sometimes-clunky writing from people further on the edge always shows a much more careful and thoughtful engagement with text as a medium. I know who I’d consider the more competent writers there. But I understand that might not be the generally-accepted definition in artistic circles. What I do find scary is the way “sexier” attributes are valued in non-artistic circles, to the often purposeful detriment of competence. See “Hillary is a competent therefore boring candidate, that other guys is a Fun! option” for a recent exhibit you might recall. You do find this in corporate circles, too — and it’s taking on frankly dystopian shapes in the world of tech, let me tell you. It’s completely systemic, and of course any field where technical know-how is hard to acquire breeds its own rabid strains of waffly-bullshit-spouters, since so few will be able to tell that it IS bullshit. The qualities often rewarded in and associated with creative fields are seeping into the jargon of the corporate world in a way that makes it clear those with power have art-envy, if only of the “oh, to be Creative and able to just throw caution in the wind with no regard for consequences, like some genius artist!!” type (not the “how the fuck am I gonna pay my bills” type, of course). Musk, Zuckerberg &co are prime instances of that mutant nightmare. I don’t know how we entangle this mess, I’m afraid. I’ll ask Hubert.

  2. I know ofAmy Greenfield ever-so-sligghtly so thanks for today.

    In case you haven’t seen it already Here’s Marty on Fellini

  3. Amy Greenfield is a new name to me and I’m unable to view her films on this hospital ward, but have enjoyed the interview and appreciate the introduction. Thank you!

  4. Dennis, Nah, I was just invited into the N-D group, and it’s been a good thing, at least for me. A lot of great peeps with interesting ideas. It’s quite dynamic. Be a boring world living in an echo chamber, you know?

    I’m sure I’ve benefited more from my inclusion than they have, hahaha.

    My mom’s sketchy about calling her doc today because the receptionist is one of those abrupt type people. I think she’s nice, it’s just that her manner…isn’t? My mom hates confrontation and is now thinking of excuses not to call. But she’ll call…because I’ll confront her, hehehe. Either that, or I’ll get Hurricane Kayla on the case.

    The Naval Academy is in Annapolis. It’s not a bad city, especially as you get near the water. Very old town like and walkable. Good food. Etc. We were actually on the base or whatever. So funny how 1950s THAT area looks. But yeah, we had fun. 😀

  5. Hi!!

    My weekend was pretty okay. I’ve finished “Milk Fed,” I worked a little, and I spent some time with my SCAB duties too. The next issue is due mid-March, and it’ll be pretty fat and unpleasant in all the best ways, so I’m looking forward to putting it out there. How was yours?

    Oh, fuck, your love! I’d be perfectly happy with any Peter Sotos sky-text, but “Tick” is my favorite book of his. Huh. Now, I find it hard to compete with this awesomeness. Love finding a never-before-seen Robert Bresson piece and gifting it to you along with his undying affection, Od.

  6. Thanks Dennis! I will tell someone I know who teaches classes on women’s studies about Amy Greenfield and her films, she tends to focus in her classes and work on how trauma, violence, the effect of pornography, psychological, and physical aspects-or ‘writing the body’, of women in modern and contemporary literature and in Western society. She has told me how some of her students get super easily “triggered” by literature she has them read and write about, but she does not tell them the literature and fiction has very violent or psychologically traumatic scenes, which is good that she does not coddle them. I told her about the French novel ‘Basie moi’ but I am not sure if she has had her students read it? I find it odd her students are easily “triggered” but I am from the tail end of Generation X and seeing actual violence in the news and in person was more disturbing than reading about it.

    Re: your play Jerk: Did you ever read the book “The man with the candy” by Jack Olson about Dean Corll, Elmer Wayne Henley Jr., and David Brooks?

    I have yet to read your novel the marbled swarm. Your new book you are working on sounds exciting. Will you write about sex, pornography, drug use, and life before the discovery of HIV/AIDS, and when it was first discovered? Did you ever write any gay or bisexual men’s novels that were sold via postal mail and in adult bookstores back in the decades when there were such places, and before porn was easily available on BetaMax, and later VHS? If so which titles did you write? Or did you ever submit a true life experience to Boyd McDonald’s STH? I have old issues of I believe first hand digest or something like it from the 1980s that have a poem of yours in it.

    If you would prefer to correspond about these subjects via email this is my email JRN158@GMAIL.COM

    I am well I have been watching lots of old American noir films.

  7. Greenfield’s work looks intriguing, will check out more.

    Sorry to hear about the jackhammer madness.

    I think Nick Antosca mostly works in TV these days. There was a short story “The Quiet Boy” in 2019, that I thought was a bit disappointing. He’s co-credited on this, about the suicide forest in Japan, but the ratings are not encouraging:
    https://letterboxd.com/film/the-forest-2016/

    I’m looking forward to Antlers, which he worked on and should be coming out soon.

    Also, I watched this last night, funniest thing I’ve seen in ages:
    https://letterboxd.com/film/i-blame-society/

    Antosca has a very brief cameo in it, as himself, and identified in the subtitles! I just about jumped out of my chair.

    Bill

  8. Hello Dennis!

    Very happy to have become acquainted with the works of Amy Greenfield today! I watched ‘Element’ and read the interview today, her aesthetic seems a little similar to the butoh stuff you put on the other month? Was a huge fan of ‘Element’ anyway – the way that both the mud and the camera are fracturing the form of her body was super super transfixing. I’ve bookmarked the rest of your collected links and media to have a look at in the following days, would like especially to check out Antigone after reading the interview text, but wanted to ask whether the VOD link you put for Antigone works for you in France? It doesn’t seem to be appearing for me in the UK, and neither on my pirate site, so might have to set my VPN up to get around that one.

    Anyway, hope your weekend projects came good in the end and that the try-outs and budgeting were swollen with future promise! More to the point, hope that the racedog of your new week has bolted out of the starting gate with uncharacteristic energy, already making a beautiful arc around the track’s first leg. Anyway, speak soon, T 🙂

  9. Dennis, yeah, ever since Barnes & Noble was bought out by a new company (some British guy) there’s been a lot of wonkiness in the chain (like the Bargain section was renamed to “Book Annex” for some bizarre reason… I don’t think a lot of people who shop at our store even know what the word “annex” means!). And so many books have been mis-categorized, like books that are obviously poetry collections are being labeled as “Drama” Sigh. Well, tonight at work I sent in a title correction asking them to change it from “Romance” to “Fiction” so I’ll check to see in a few days if they changed it in the system (yes, any Barnes & Noble employee has the ability to make such requests, ha ha).

  10. Brian O’Connell

    February 23, 2021 at 5:42 am

    Morning right back at you, Dennis,

    I’m new to Amy Greenfield. Pleasure to make her acquaintance, or rather to become acquainted with her work. It’s challenging, beautiful stuff. And man, fuck YouTube, huh? I guess material like this has always faced barriers and struggles, but especially lately online I feel there’s a horrible puritanical climate developing surrounding any kind of sexuality/nudity at all. Bland corporation-commandeered days indeed.

    Glad to hear you also liked “Beau Travail”, yay. I haven’t seen any other Claire Denis films, so there’s another filmmaker to explore. Okay, so your weekend doesn’t sound too bad, pretty productive at any rate. My excitement for “I Wished” builds, ofc. Ah, those must be interesting discussions with Gisele indeed. I read about “Jerk” in Diarmuid Hester’s book, and it seems like something that will pose curious challenges in translation to the screen. It’ll be phenomenal, I’m sure. Is that black horror doc “Horror Noire”? There’s been a lot of talk about it over here. I keep meaning to see it but I’m not sure if I have this streaming service or that subscription or whatever. But I’ll get around to it. Happy to hear it was interesting.

    My early class was on American government. I’m taking it mostly to fulfill a requirement. While I do have some interest in political science and I like the professor a lot, it’s proving to be one of my least favorite courses this semester, in part because of the early time, but also because of the workload and the fact that I just don’t find it as interesting as some of my other courses. Oh well. I hope I’ll get through it okay. Nothing notable in the aftermath. Maddeningly, it snowed again here, although it was a very slushy, insubstantial snow that didn’t stick. Rest of the day was spent, alas, on Twitter, or reading “Eustace Chisholm” (which is shaping up maybe to be an all-timer for me; I’m trying to read it slowly to savor it while it lasts), or in my other class, Intro to Logic, which is much more grueling than American government and makes absolutely zero sense to me. It’s like math, it’s just gibberish to my eyes. That’s concerning. So there’s my collection of trivial experiences for Monday. Let Tuesday be the best, yeah?

  11. Shane Christmass

    February 23, 2021 at 6:53 am

    Hi Dennis.

    It’s a really great read that manifesto book. Just the manifestos with a brief introduction to each one and I mean very brief.

    Found out about it Johnny Marr was being I try and they asked him what he was reading on the tour bus.

    I’m staying in a motel atm so am going to go sit by the pool and read.

    I’m reading ‘Last Words from Montmartre’ – found an article re: authors who killed themselves and then went and bought all their books.

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