The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … 86 Frankenstein Masks (for Derek McCormack)
























































































p.s. Hey. ** Armando, Look, John Waters is a very dear, old friend of mine. He’s also the kindest, most generous and wonderful person you could ever meet or know. And, in my opinion, he’s a great artist. If you had said ‘I don’t like John Waters, his films, etc.’, fine. If you launch a string of abusive epithets that attack him personally when you obviously don’t have a clue about who he is personally or what his morality, motives, actions, beliefs, and level of integrity are, and you clearly don’t, yeah, you sound foolish to me. If you are going to say things like you think they are, so am I. If you don’t like blowback, don’t use your comments to explode your hatred of people I know and/or admire in my direction. The comments/p.s. on this blog are conversational medium. If your side of the conversation is a bunch of violent, hotheaded rhetoric against someone I care about, then my side of the conversation is predetermined. Btw, if John owning a Gacy painting makes him horrible, I can only imagine the shit you’d say about me if you saw what’s in my archives. I said that you would like the Museum of Death because it was obvious from your comment yesterday that you would. But now your little anti-provocateur rant yesterday gives me pause because the MoD is quite probably the most blatant, self-consciously ‘in your face’ attempt to be provocative currently in existence. Lots and lots of sexual killer art. ** Chaim Hender, Hi. Interesting: Berlin vis-a-vis Babitz. With Berlin, you also get exciting, absolutely killer prose. Yeah, this place is curious that way. Pivate-ish for us and yet read by tons of silent people so totally not too. Very nice about the desert trip. One thing I miss about LA is the desert being 90 minutes away. And the electronic music workshop, ooh. Some envy from me right there. Awesome, obviously, that all kinds of your senses are being tweaked and heightened by being there. Sounds more and more utopian. Best of luck with those fellas. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. I have seen Ahwesh’s ‘She Puppet’. I had a Day devoted to her her late last year, but I cannot remember if there was any online evidence of that film that allowed me to include it. I agree that it’s something of a masterpiece. She’s a very good and unfairly overlooked director. I don’t know about Red Vs. Blue. I’ll investigate. Thank you for the link to Bonello’s list. Wow, what a curious list. Many excellent picks, and then ‘Death Proof’? Hm, I might have try that one again. I just didn’t see anything, not a single aspect of ‘Good Time’ that seemed out of the ordinary at all. I love top 10 lists as you know, so your listage will get at least one passionate reader. ** Sypha, Hi. I don’t know ‘Deus X’. I’m limited by being a 85% or thereabouts Nintendo-tethered player. I’ll look for evidence. I love the Delany quote. It’s very sparkly-eyed and sweet. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! I’m not totally sure that it’s bilingual. I’ll let you know. Apparently there are yet more questions on their way to me, so I guess the magazine/book won’t be published for a while. Having had an insistent cold myself recently, much Vitamin C-shaped best wishes to Anita. No, ha ha, luckily I had begged off doing the Q&A when he first asked me. That would have been a little awkward. Will you be working at the actual Christmas fair itself as part of your job? Will your mom have a booth there? My day turned out to be busy, but it was good. The meeting with the producer went well. We’ve made some inroads into the worrying festival submission process, and we’re less worried now although still biting our nails. We won’t get an answer from the festival probably until early-mid December at the earliest. Oh, my poor fingernails. You’re working today, I imagine. I hope it goes well and that you survive it with flying colors. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Berlin is really excellent. Highly recommended. You won’t be sorry. Zac has never heard of Pierre Michon either. I haven’t had time to look into him yet. I’ll just go ahead and try to pick up ‘Rimbaud the Son’. Yesterday got away from me, but I think I can finally and happily indulge in your music today. Zac is still going over my draft of the partial film script. I wound up drafting up a fairly substantial proposed section of the film, so it’s taking time for him to go over it carefully. I think we’ll meet and talk and work with it in the next couple of days. I’m very interested to see what his thoughts on the visualisation will result in. He’s said what I proposed is very challenging in that sense, but that he’s excited to try to suss out how it can possibly work. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. It’s a really excellent book. The next DCA show does look very interesting. Huh.I’d like to hear what and how that is, if you feel like it. ** Misanthrope, Hi, George. She is awfully good and really pleasurable to read too. Yeah, RIP David Cassidy. That’s very sad. Manson’s thing was pretty singularly ‘rich’ as serial killings go. It had rock music, famous victims, evil, deification, self-conscious theatricality, dastardly black humor, a cult, slogans, etc, etc. I can’t think of another serial killer whose murders also put on such a big show. Your Thanksgiving sounds potentially alright. I always forget about the football connection. The last time I did the whole family feast thing, I don’t think football was on its menu yet, which shows you how long it’s been since I did that deed. It’s tomorrow, isn’t it? Isn’t it always on a Thursday for some weird reason? ** Bill, I can see why a stressful state wouldn’t welcome Berlin’s stuff, yeah. ‘Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is on my list. Yes, people seem to be all over the place about it. Usually I can guess which side I’ll wind up on when the happens, but I’m strangely still a blank about that film. Have the finest Wednesday. ** Right. Had an idea, gave it a shot, was surprised to find that the internet was very happy to illustrate my idea, and today’s post was born. See you tomorrow.


  1. Will VanDenBerg

    Was always a fan of this one as well:

    Used to work in a costume store for about 10 years, and a good Frankenstein mask was tough to come by. The black and white one you posted from Rubies ( was quite good. The latex was super thick, which made it not very comfortable, but the brow stayed nice and rigid. Thanks for posting these!

  2. Armando


    I truly didn’t know you two are close friends. Had I known, I would’ve kept my opinion about him to myself, obviously.

    I’m sorry for having insulted a good friend of yours. I truly regret saying all those things here in your blog.

    I’m really sorry and ashamed and just would like to know if there would be some way for me to make things better.

    Once again, had I known how close you are and how you hold him in such a high regard as a human being; I would’ve never said everything I said here in your blog/to you.

    I apologize sincerely. My actions and decisions were very wrong. I take full responsibility, obviously. I’m extremely sorry for all the pain/anger/disappointment I may have caused you. And, again, you; and obviously not me; are the one who’s actually known him personally for years as a friend.

    I hope you can forgive me.


  3. David Ehrenstein

    Eve Babitz coined my favorite mot juste : “Death is the last word in other people having fun without you.”

  4. Sypha

    I think I’ve said on this blog before how the vampire is my favorite of the classic monsters. And yet, I enjoyed the book “Frankenstein” way more than “Dracula.” H’mm…

    Dennis, “Deus Ex” was a computer game that came out on June 17, 2000 (though it was later ported to the Playstation as well). It’s widely considered one of the best games ever made, and is extremely critically acclaimed. Essentially a first-person shooter with stealth and RPG aspects, a cyberpunk dystopia set in the future and dealing with vast, elaborate conspiracy theories. It’s also considered one of the first games to employ what is now known as “emergent gaming” (in that your choices and actions can often make the game go in unexpected directions, or off-script). One of the reasons I like it is that there’s a lot of reading to do in the game itself, much of it optional: e-mails, newspapers, books, and so on, and in this reading material there are often literary references that are fun to spot (Pynchon, William Gibson, and so forth). For a game that’s set in the 2050’s, there are also some fun anachronisms to spot… like public pay phones!

    One thing I found especially charming about Delany’s younger journals was that he would often write blurbs for his own (unpublished) books in the 3rd person, as if they actually had been published. I used to do the same thing when I was a teenager.

  5. Tosh Berman

    The whole Universal monster thing is such a big thing in my life as a child/teenager. I used to read the Monster magazines like they were the everyday newspaper. And in a funny way that ties in with David Cassidy’s sad passing yesterday. Is he important in my life, no, but his presence was very much felt in my everyday life, just because he was there in front of me in his various forms – lunch boxes, fan mags, coffee cups, and so forth. It’s interesting how a teen idol can map one’s past existence, even if you were not a fan of that artist/star. On the other hand, “I Think I Love You” is an amazing song and recording. I enjoyed the last few days of your blog Dennis. As usual, they are exceptional work in design and desire.

  6. David Ehrenstein

    Alan Bennett’s Massive Diary Drop

  7. Steve Erickson

    My hard drive is very difficult to search, but right now the collection of lists runs 1997-1998, 2001-2010 and 2016. Since I am at my parents’ house with not a lot to do for the next few days, I hope I can find the complete collection. There are some artists I don’t recall at all. My 2001 top 10 list includes an album by Pilote. I have no clue who they were or even what style of music they played, although I’m guessing some kind of electronic music. I plan to google them today. The lists also trigger some interesting memories – back in 2001, my cable package included a Canadian music video channel, Much Music, and I saw and really liked the band Live On Release’s “I’m Afraid of Britney Spears.” They were a group of teenage girls who obviously wanted to be L7 but sounded more like the Go-Gos, but did it in a rather charming way. I couldn’t find their album, which came out on Warner Bros. Canada but didn’t get a U.S. release, till I went to the Vancouver Film Festival in October 2001 and went to the Virgin Megastore there. I remember that I bought Outkast’s ATLIENS on the same trip to the store. Anyway, “I’m Afraid of Britney Spears” made my list of 2001’s best singles.

    I really love the variety of Frankenstein masks, as well as the photo of the baby wearing one. You wouldn’t think this simple concept could run such a huge gamut.

    I looked up METAL GEAR SOLID fan films on YouTube, and there are tons, one being feature length. However, some are painfully amateurish – I understand the need for CGI muzzle flash and blood spray, but surely it’s possible to hire a makeup artist to make someone getting punched in the face look realistic – and the “best” look like mediocre Hollywood action movies.

    Ahwesh is Syrian-American, but this aspect of her identity only pops up in one film I’ve seen. I can’t recall its title, but it’s an animated depiction of Israel’s last war on Gaza.

    • Steve Erickson

      I looked up Pilote on YouTube, and they are still recording. They released an album earlier this year. I have listened to about 5 songs, and they are chilled-out dance music, often with blues or folk elements. (Their latest single features vocals by blues singer Charles Parr.)

      • Steve Erickson

        One other funny memory of the trip to Vancouver: my return to America was almost exactly a month after 9/11, and US customs was amazingly paranoid. They made me play a CD in my portable Discman to prove that it wasn’t really a disguised explosive. I put in ATLIENS, but that was a bad choice because it begins with about 20 seconds of silence and the customs agents gave me a dirty look. Then the funk began.

  8. Dóra Grőber


    These masks display quite a huge variety of quality, haha!

    Thank you! Whenever it comes out, I’ll be ready to buy it. Actually, I think I’ll do so even if it’s not bilingual. At least I’ll have the motivation to start reviving my French, haha.
    I’ll let her know about your Vitamin C-shaped best wishes! Thank you!
    Oh, yeah, that’s good. I mean, reading about the situation I felt like it would’ve been very awkward…
    No, thank God I won’t be working at the actual Christmas fair. Thank God because it’s an outdoor event and it only ends on the 31st of December. The owner hired a girl who’ll be there for a few days a week and on the remaining ones the owner himself will be there. I’ll be needed in the gallery especially when he’s out there. My mom won’t have a booth at this exact fair but she’ll be attending another one, taking place on every Sunday up ’til Christmas.
    I’m glad to hear the meeting with your producer went well! But… shit about the early-mid December date. It sounds like an excruciatingly long time when you’re so anxious for a reply. May the Force be with you, Dennis!
    Yes. I was working again today and truly, nothing exciting happened. My days have been a tad bit monotonous lately, haha…
    I hope you had a lovely one, though! What happened?

  9. Derek McCormack

    I love it! Love the scars and staples. Some of those scars are lightning-bolt big, à la Aladdin Sane. Which are my faves? Nobody asked but I’m going to say 16 and 19. I like the kiddie masks a lot – the Frankensteins that look like they’re from the Flintstones. Thanks for this, Dennis. Love, Derek

  10. Steve Erickson

    Here is my review of NOVITIATE in the Nashville Scene:, The film had a chance to explore religion in an interesting and unusual way, but I think that for the most part, it blew the opportunity.

  11. _Black_Acrylic

    That monster is a veritable design classic. The estate of Universal Studios makeup artist Jack Pierce should really be due some royalties for every lurid reproduction that gets made.

  12. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Stellar display of masks. I thought the last one was a nice punctuation to the stack, the slight eye roll/ecstatic expression. Liked how the final few flowed together in particular, maybe that stood out more (in a good way) since it was at the end.

    Definitely let me know if you have any reactions whenever you have a chance to check out the music.

    Be curious to hear more of Zac’s thoughts on the script as that develops. I’m excited the new film is taking shape so quickly!

    Have you ever read Danilo Kis’s “Hourglass”? Reading it now and realizing it’s his homage to (or version of?) the Nouveau Roman. Parts are very definitely inspired by Robbe-Grillet and others by Pinget’s The Inquisitory. There’s of course his own spin on things too. The novel is very slow to reveal what it’s about but I can feel it really cohering as I reach the final 80 pages. If you haven’t read it, I kind of suspect you’d flip out for it.

  13. MANCY

    Love the Frankensteins! I don’t like using exclamation marks but they deserve one.

    Need to go back and look at the Lucia Berlin day, I was given that book by a family member about a year ago and thought it was good. I knew it must be when there was a blurb from Joy Williams on there.

    Things okay here, kinda consumed by the daily grind lately. Working on a few things though, excited about a zine collaboration with a Norwegian cohort that is just beginning to take shape. I probably told you Mark and I were doing a book together? That’s finished, awaiting word from publisher.

    Hope you are doing great, psychic army-of-frankensteins hugs.

  14. Armando

    “Btw, if John owning a Gacy painting makes him horrible, I can only imagine the shit you’d say about me if you saw what’s in my archives.”

    I would *NEVER* say or think anything negative about/to you or judge negatively. *NEVER*. I’m extremely sorry you think I *EVER* would/could, but I guess I deserve it. You’re the only person from whom I’ve ever received any kind of “encouragement”, “approval”, “acceptance”, “appreciation” and even “praise”. I thought you knew I am and will be extremely grateful towards you till the moment I die. I know that maybe all that doesn’t mean shit to you, and I wouldn’t blame you at all, because, again, I’d have only myself to blame.

    But, why, what do you have? I’d like to know. Just a few examples. *Please?* You mean your archives at NYU or ones kept privately?

    “I said that you would like the Museum of Death because it was obvious from your comment yesterday that you would. But now your little anti-provocateur rant yesterday gives me pause because the MoD is quite probably the most blatant, self-consciously ‘in your face’ attempt to be provocative currently in existence. Lots and lots of sexual killer art.”

    You know I tend to use hyperbole quite frequently. I don’t mean literally absolutely everything I say.

    You think I’m a very nasty, unpleasant, hate-filled, petty person, don’t you?

    I honestly didn’t know what the museum or its collection are like at all. I just became aware of its existence like four months ago or so. I didn’t know they have stuff like that at all. I don’t think I’d like to visit it now.

  15. Steve Erickson

    I got in 3 separate political arguments on social media today. I swore a few weeks ago that I would avoid discussing politics on social media, especially Facebook. Why is this so hard? What I particularly hate is that I’m generally not arguing – and some of the time, getting called names by – with Trump supporters but people whose basic convictions I agree with but whom I’m not leftist enough for (or less often, I’m too leftist for.)

  16. Chaim Hender

    Wow what a huge amount of work from all of the people who made the masks and put them online, and of course from you to find them all and lay them out. A compare and contrast with the original frontispiece is fun:

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall for a chat between Mary Shelley and George Lucas. I doubt either of them had any idea that their art would come to be regarded as primordial myth.

    I decided to skip the desert trip at the last minute. I feel kind of bad to have let down the organizers and to be missing out on a free vacation, but I really needed rest, solitude, and time to catch up on work. Plus the trip follows a Zionist youth group style itinerary that would’ve been emotionally and physically uncomfortable for me at times. If I hadn’t had renewed confidence in my artistic vocation I probably would’ve sucked it up and had fun with my fellow young immigrants, which is leading me to revisit the artist=selfish asshole hypothesis. Then again, there can only be so much FOMO in such a tiny country.

    You really really should’ve been there for this week’s electronic music class. Turns out it’s not just music. We learned how to get into the source code of a picture or video and deliberately create glitches. We did this either by choosing a random substitution (i.e. 0C for 5A in hex code) or, and this really blew my mind, running the image data through music editing software, adding effects, and converting back to an image. I’d never been so far into the guts of a computer program before. It’s such a cliché but I was eerily reminded of DNA. Do you ever go down to the (literally) granular level in your GIF making? I glitched a video I made a few years ago.

    Here’s the original:

    And the glitched remix:

    I hope you have a marvelous Parisian Thanksgiving. I miss the holiday more than I thought I would. It’s always been a great time in my family. The Norman Rockwell vision of tolerance and plenty resonates especially well with non-Christians who celebrate. Every day is (cold cut because home ovens are small) turkey day in this country where you have to go out of your way to find a grocery store that sells pork. If the rabbis hadn’t had the whimsy to declare turkeys big chickens and therefore kosher I don’t know where we’d be.

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