The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Dunce Codex (Yellow) (for Zac)










































































































































p.s. Hey. ** Steevee, I hope your birthday filled the bill. Vegan Mexican food sounds dreamy. Oh, I forgot to ask you yesterday. How is the Chris Burden documentary? I’m a massive fan of Burden’s and knew him personally a little, and I’m very, very curious about that film. The sentence/disclaimer you suggest sounds good to me. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Why would Keyframe shut down its archive and make it unavailable? That makes no sense on any level at all, and it’s a bit vicious-seeming of them if anything. ** Jamie, Hey, hey! Yes, the Emitt Rhodes story is a strange, sad one. I was a big fan of his at the time, and I (and many others) couldn’t figure out why he didn’t become a big star. He wrote excellent, very catchy pop songs; he was cute; his earlier band The Merry Go Round had had two sizable hits. Even his story doesn’t fully explain it, to me at least. Mm, it would be hard to explain the sound layout we intend for the film except to say we want it to be noticeable and dynamic, and we want the sound of the film to contribute as much to what we hope will be the film’s strange, modulating, energetic energy as the edit and the story and the other elements do. Like I said, we’re thinking of it as a kind of composition where very quiet scenes will combine/clash with scenes that are noisier to different degrees, either from the quality of the music tracks used in them or due to their natural sounds, whether that’s the sound of the rooms the scenes take place in or, say, the ambient loudness of the scenes set at a rushing river, a very noisy fun fair, etc. We start editing on Monday. Well, on Monday a technician will refresh Zac on the use of the studio’s editing equipment, which he hasn’t worked with in a few years, and then on Tuesday we’ll start the initial marathon of editing daily except weekends for the following five weeks. I hope you can sort out what you think is missing from the cartoon. Well, I know you will, but soon, I hope. Enjoy Brussels, man. What were the art things? How was everything? I look forward to seeing you as soon as you have the time to visit again. Bon love voyage, Dennis. ** S., Hi. I’m very sorry for your loss, man. RIP Chris Cornell. I watched a squib of Tyler Henry, and, yeah, he has a nerdy twink thing. Alligator? Eat? Oh, yeah, I guess I know that people eat them, right. I’m excited that you’re writing again too. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I’m glad you found him and his music interesting. My great pleasure. Cool about you scoring the new shirts you like. I desperately need new clothes as I hardly have anything to wear that doesn’t have big holes in it. But because of my stupid allergy to fabrics and dyes, and my need to wear only fully organic clothing, clothes shopping is a bad combination of boring and very unfun, so I always procrastinate. My day was okay. Yes, Gisele and I met, and that was great. She caught me up on the Japan ‘TVC’ tour, which went gangbusters, and I caught her up on the shooting of Zac’s and my new film, and we talked about the TV series — which is still, still waiting to get a green light, mega-ugh — and about the opera project, which seems to be getting ready to progress, and about our new dance piece ‘Crowd’ which we’re getting ready to finish since it premieres soon (this fall), and so on. All good. Otherwise, I mostly worked towards preparing to write the documentary proposal and wandered around. I need to use this weekend wisely because it’ll be my last semi-free time for the next two months at least. How did your Friday turn out? ** H, Hi. Ugh, sorry about the heat in NYC. You know my great dislike of hot weather. I am the least worthy person perhaps in the world to give advice about fashion and dressing. I’m an ignoramus about such things. My other work is going okay. Yes, Monday is the beginning of the editing. I’m very, very excited to start. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Glad you found his story interesting. You might actually like his songs. I can definitely see that you might. Mm, I can’t recall an instance of telling someone I was gay and them not believing me, or at least a situation where someone told me to my face that they didn’t believe me. In the early 80s, I went through a phase where I decided I was bisexual, and I had a serious girlfriend for about a year, and it was interesting that pretty much everyone who knew me and knew me as gay didn’t think the fact that I had a girlfriend was strange at all. It was kind if interesting though that when I broke up with her and got a boyfriend, certain people I knew were quite bent out of shape about that whereas they never blinked when my boyfriends and I broke up. Strange stuff. Well, you know how I am. I don’t think my being gay is interesting at all or provides especially important information about who I am to others or to myself. It just is, and it’s not something I think about almost ever or a thing that means much of anything to me. Bon weekend, man. ** Okay. Today I am using the blog space to present my new short literary GIF work. Of course I am doing that partly in hopes that people will either like it and tell me why in some way or just find something interesting or even not interesting about it and vocalize said reaction. However, if you decide to pretend that it isn’t there, you have every right to do that too. Whatever works. See you tomorrow.


  1. Amphibiouspeter

    Hey DC, so glad to see this after coming across Zac’s haunted house and control panel a year or so ago. I’ve followed your blog for a while but so far stayed off the comments. My fav section is probably the jumping dog above the beige square thing, also think there’s something humorous about the pikachus once you start introducing other colours into the mix – kinda like how the different versions of the game come in different colours.

    I’ve been trying to write something for a year or so now and just put it all together in a draft a couple days ago and thought ‘fuck, a whole year just for this, seriously?’ What do you do when you feel like that? Does it get easier when you’ve got more work under your belt?

    Good luck with filming!!!

  2. David Ehrenstein

    whereas I think about being gay all the time and the multifarious things it means to me. It’s a rich and varied state encompassing everything from Frank O’Hara to Michel Foucault, Patrice Chereau and You.

    Regarding Keyframe, I wrote and got the following reply: "Keyframe isn't going away exactly but rather we're merging all the content to one destination – simply (so instead of having 2 sites: for movies and for news). So all past content will eventually be migrated over to the new site.
    We appreciate your patience while we transition."

    "Transition"? Sounds like a sex-change, doesn't it? In any event I'll be able to recover links to my articles soon-ish

    As for today it wouldn't be complete without Donovan

  3. steevee

    The Burden doc is a bit too formally conventional for its own good, considering mostly of video footage of his famous ’70s performances and more recent work and interviews with Burden and friends, but it’s quite informative, especially since I didn’t know that much about his work after the ’70s (despite seeing a museum show at Boston’s ICA in the late ’80s). It talks a lot about a period when he walked around with an Uzi, hoping to get into dangerous situations, but never explains how he managed to mellow out into the rather jovial figure we see in the last years of his life.

  4. Damien Ark

    Yellow is simply red for me since I’m colorblind. 😛 My favorite part in this one is with the boy underneath the leafs and staring up at them with an indifferent expression. Reminds me of something that I wrote yesterday. <3

  5. Tosh Berman

    Your work today is a total delight. Witty, funny even. Is this your first piece to focus on a color? Yellow has a psychological/emotional pull for me. For instance, my coffee cup in the morning is yellow, and if it was any other color, it would have a different meaning for me. Black coffee in a yellow cup. It’s a nice visual for me – especially the first thing I do in the morning. So drinking my cup of coffee in a yellow cup, and viewing your yellow blog today – very nice!

    Rhodes is a mystery. I never liked a whole album by him. For me, it’s song-by-song. He’s one of the ‘sons’ or little brother to Beatle Paul, especially when he made his first solo album “McCartney.” A lot of genius musicians at least made an album all by themselves after the Paul album. Overall, I think I like the Merry-go-Round songs the best.

  6. Nick Toti

    Hi Dennis. I love this piece. It’s very similar (in spirit anyway) to a sort of cinematic problem/experiment I’ve kicked around, which is: how do you tell a story through color? I spent three years working with infants and became fascinated with how children’s books can just be about colors (or shapes or numbers, etc.). In a book about colors, the only thing propelling the “narrative” forward is the fact that there are more colors to get through. I see a lot of possibility in applying this sort of logic to a medium like movies. This yellow-themed GIF piece is a step in that direction, so it obviously resonates for me! Thanks!!

  7. Dóra Grőber


    Congratulations for this new GIF piece and thank you so much for it! I really enjoyed it!

    Oh fuck, yes, this allergy must make clothes-shopping even more tedious! It’s quite understandable that you tend to procrastinate… Even I do that and I guess I have it easy…
    Wow, so many things and so much progress! It must be so exciting about Crowd and the opera project! But like… the situation with the TV series is unbelievable. I’m so sorry. Oh yes, it’ll be the last weekend before the editing starts! Do you have any special plans? Or you’ll just try to rest as much as possible?
    My day was once more quite… uneventful. I did listen to Kasabian’s new album though which I liked but not as much as some of their previous ones. They are one of my favorite bands. Do you know/like them?
    How was your Friday? I hope it was very lovely!

  8. S.

    i adore yellow. my favorite things are yellow. blonds, pee, beer, the sun, gold. i have a new friend that likes green it boggles my mind. my one friend recently got some sapphire earrings i was almost jealous. yellow t shirts are awesome. tampa is great for ghost business. haunted as fuck. going on a haunted tour. theres a huge deposit of iron under the bay lots of history. lol im trying to rewrite a couple twilight zone episodes and a classic wandering ghost story. like joe perry said rock n roll

    just caught the gay thread, i refuse to id as gay its just a mess to me totally uninteresting as a culture and sex is just sex to me ive never seen so many hysterics it drives me crazy homosexual works i guess

  9. Jeff Coleman

    Hey Dennis,

    I was looking at Wakefield Press’ website yesterday, and noticed they have a couple of Tony Duvert translations slated for release later this year, ‘District’ and ‘Odd Jobs.’

    Anyway, just popped in to let you know that. Hope you’re well!

  10. rewritedept


    ohemgee i love this! feel like i need a computer though. it would probably read better than on my phone.

    how’s tricks?

    stuff’s cool on my end. lots of work. not much writing, sadly. i need to change that.

    my grandfather died on tuesday. i have to go to niagara falls for the funeral next week or the week after. we weren’t incredibly close, but i’m still a little bummed. he was 90, though, so he had a damn good run.

    my dad is trying to act normal like he’s not bothered by it, and i guess my aunt is doing the same. my dad and brother went up to lake tahoe to go skiing this weekend.

    death. weird.

    i saw the filming wrapped too. do you guys just have like all the editing in the world now to get it finished? i don’t recall if i mentioned it, but i got LCTG a few months ago. i don’t have anything to watch it on, though. so i still haven’t seen it. isn’t that the worst?

    well, i just wanted to pop in and say hey. hope things are lovely on yr end. talk soon. love.


    • David Ehrenstein

      Death is indeed weird. I’ve written apiece about it for “Gay City News.” I’ll be sure to link it when it runs.

      • rewritedept

        please do post the link! lookingforward to it.

  11. chris dankland

    i googled dunce codex and i really like that pollard song !! why did u choose that as the title for this piece?

    i get inspired when u drop new gif posts b/c the form is so radically new — it’s an exciting time to be alive. writers can do all these things that are unprecedented in literature, and sometimes i feel like not enough writers are taking full advantage of that, including me. anyway it’s inspiring b/c it keeps me looking forward

    this one started out feeling very lighthearted and friendly to me, and then as i descended (i like using that word to talk about reading these gif works, haha) the cheerful feeling became more manic and unhinged and darker

    some of my favorite bits:

    i like the two people at the top, the laughing person and the bald guy — paired with the bright yellow, they seem like they just stepped out of a getty images stock photograph

    i like the blonde singer paired with the dancing anime guys on stripper poles, that bit also made me smile

    i feel like the cheerful mood of it started changing for me with the smiling blonde woman who looks like lady gaga wedged between the flashing NEW and the epileptically flickering box below it, she looks in distress and the bright friendly sunshine yellow started seeming more assaultive to me

    ditto with the bright light from the torn open curtain, a yellow that was sort of attacking

    the dangling tied up woman is definitely in the no longer friendly realm

    the picachu paired with the mouth made me laugh but also seems really manic, sort of like something from Tim and Eric or something

    the golden skull exploding into being is really acid-trippy to me

    i like how the otherwise cutesy (but worried looking) yellow duckie becomes sad and creepy when paired with the dissected yolk

    the last ‘flying to hawaii’ gif threw me off slightly — at first glance i couldn’t quite figure out what it was doing there, although i connected it with the blonde woman — i googled the phrase and saw that it’s a sentence which shows how emphasis can change the meaning of a sentence, which is interesting. it got my mind churning. if i thought about it more deeply i’d probably work out how the ending fits in with the rest of the set.

    anyway that’s my reaction fwiw — i enjoy pouring over these gif works a lot — the more i do it, the more familiar and textured they become. please keep making them !!

    hope u have a great weekend !! ttyl

    (p.s. i love the new alex g album)

  12. steevee

    What inspired the color yellow? To me, it has connotations of both the cheerful and potentially dangerous side of childhood – candy, but also poison warnings – and you captured both very well today.

  13. h

    Oh, great GIF work — thank you for sharing. Yellow. Love it. So strange and young.

    That’s okay about no tip re fashion. I like though the way you dress.

    Have a fine and restful weekend, and all the best to your film editing. Will be back with my portion of gift to you. But should be very busy for a while…hopefully, the heat in NYC will go away tonight.

  14. Kyler

    Hi Dennis, you know I always enjoy these. Yellow seems to be the color of the moment, and has been on my mind. The new Actor’s Equity card came in the mail…and it’s yellow! Don’t think it’s ever been yellow before. (I keep current with Equity cause it gives me a free tax appointment at tax time.) And of course, for me, yellow is the sun, the happiest of colors, and Tipheret, Beauty, on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.

    Such weird and perhaps exciting complications on the publishing front. Can’t really reveal it, but either I’ve done something very bold or totally put my foot in it. Time will tell. I was advised by a wonderful agent (who’s not taking on any fiction) to do some things – and got a response from another agent who liked my first two chapters. But he asked for some strange things in his response and I just don’t know yet. That’s all I can say for now…thanks for the yellow….helps my mood (which has been in much need of a boost!)

  15. Bill

    Hey Dennis, the preponderance of white/yellow space gives this a slower pace than usual. A relaxing kind of glowing start to the weekend.

    Will try to catch the big Lynn Hershmann show before it closes…


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