The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Galerie Dennis Cooper presents … Banks Violette


‘Like the rumblings of black metal, the work of Banks Violette resonates with the darker dreams of rock and roll. His sculptures of musical paraphernalia – drum sets, speakers, scaffolding – reverberate like a wall of sound: austere, impassive, nearly abstract. Yet a dark romanticism runs throughout; almost subsonic, it emerges in intricate graphite drawings of assorted rock imagery. Ranging from band logos to portraits, these pieces evoke not only the nihilism of black metal, but the blind devotion of fans who lovingly appropriate its icons as so many insignias of allegiance. This tenuous and oftentimes volatile relationship has preoccupied the Brooklyn-based Columbia graduate since his much-lauded splash into the art scene. Violette – like many of his contemporaries (Sue de Beer, Hanna Liden) – continues art’s obsession with the listless angst of adolescent subcultures, the mannered idioms and careful markers that define these private, often inscrutable worlds. But Violette plumbs more sinister registers: disenchantment, aggression, violence – undercurrents that oftentimes move beyond representation to make very real marks in the world.

‘Case in point: his 2002 exhibition for New York’s Team Gallery entitled “Arroyo Grande, 7.22.95” was based on the murder of a young female student by three teenage boys who sought to seal the notoriety of their metal band Hatred. The show traces the various, disparate strands of the gruesome event, presenting renderings of death metal iconography (often cited during the trial), pencil drawings of the crime scene, and details of the girl’s own dream world (unicorns, rainbows, etc.) which contrast starkly with the boys’ own mixture of aggression and burgeoning sexuality. The centerpiece – a large-scale oil painting named after the three culprits – incorporates the Slayer logo into a heraldic crest of sorts that confronts the viewer in mute impassivity. Not quite a memorial, the deliberately scattered installation prompts an intimate engagement with these remnants, but hesitates to attribute blame. Faced with partial links and an unclear causality, we are left only with signs that are both over-leaden and insufficient: is it the result of Slayer lyrics, troubled lives, or some unfortunate combination? Or perhaps more frightening, is it something in excess of these singular possibilities, but still somehow embedded in them? In the end, we can only revisit quasi-causes that never add up to that central act.

‘But therein lies Violette’s fascination, in the power of images to exceed themselves, “to be activated by their audience in a manner that precludes distance; fiction can somehow be rendered real.” Something of this structures his contribution to the 2004 Whitney Biennial, where Violette was received as an up-and-coming art star. The installation presents familiar markers of rock and roll: a destroyed drum set, a glossy black stage, sketches of galloping horses and Kurt Cobain. Rendered obscure in their glossy stands or in the X-ray­–like drawings, these icons aren’t monuments for those who “live fast and die young”; they are an attempt to unravel their mystery and an acknowledgement of their opacity. For ultimately, this work reveals neither an infatuation with rock culture, nor a critique of misguided youth, but a meditation on our investment in social signs. Violette has been criticized for being all surface, but perhaps that’s precisely the point: to explore the uncanny ability of surface details to move us. Here, Violette converges with the work of his most immediate predecessor Robert Longo, who explored similar terrain in the ’80s. In this context, trivial objects (drums, speakers, logos, etc.) take on a larger import, connecting to complex social dynamics.

‘This is perhaps most evident in his 2005 solo debut at the Whitney Museum. The commissioned piece involves the skeletal remains of a burnt-out church made of luminous cast salt and set on a stage of his now-signature glossy, black epoxy. In a darkened room, the whole structure rings to a droning soundtrack by Snorre Ruch, a Norwegian musician sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in a murder. The multimedia piece is an arresting visual and aural experience that immediately evokes the ghostly landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich. But an extensive wall notice sobers up this impression, informing the reader that the piece is based on an album cover and on several church burnings in Norway linked to its militant death metal scene. In light of these cold facts, the spectral apparition flutters, and its delicate tendrils crystallize into weighty traces of history, violence and fear. In its austere beauty, this piece broadens the scope of the work, expanding his practice beyond marginalized, hermetic subcultures. For, as a few drawings of the American flag suggest, Violette inadvertently speaks to a broader social field, to the many icons and signs that inexplicably move us in ardent fervor.’ — Franklin Melendez



Banks Violette @ Thaddaeus Ropac
Banks Violette @ rodolphe janssen
Banks Violette @ Barbara Gladstone
Banks Violette by Jeffrey Kastner
Back with a crash bang: Banks Violette on his wrecked chandelier self-portraits
Banks Violette’s ‘Theatrical Disasters’ Set Celine Alight
Book: ‘Banks Violette: Untitled’
Banks Violette / On the edge
Banks Violette: the Paradoxical Beauty of Mortality
Banks Violette by Christopher Bollen
Banks Violette’s Death into Life Aesthetics
Renouncing the Dark Arts




Reflections: “Banks Violette” by Matt Black

Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O)))’s on Banks Violette

Banks Violette – Interview Magazine




Your colour palette goes for metal, dark and solid colours. What makes you lean towards that?
That’s what I’ve always been drawn to.

As far as I can see, your work could also be seen as those of a rebellious spirit trying to escape established rules, such as creating – in my opinion­ – juxtapositions of what usually are wall embellishments on a different medium. Could you expand on this?
I’m not sure I’d agree with that. I just don’t believe there’s anything like established values to either break or (conversely) be obligated towards. I think what you’re describing as wall embellishments is just a general preoccupation with an idea of sculpture itself: weight, mass, physicality, gravity, and such. I’ve made paintings and still make drawings, but –even with those– I’m still preoccupied with their status as an object.

Your work also often refers to darker aspects of North American culture, in opposition to the image that global media often portrays. Does it come from the idea of wanting to criticise or debate the United States’ culture?
Absolutely. I’m interested in narrative generally; the way belief can exceed the confines of narrative specifically. And the narrative of national identity is just an endless instance of that, especially considering contemporary American domestic politics. It’s all pretty hideous.

Contemporary sculpture tends to focus more on solid and still compositions, yet yours evoke movement and continuity. A conversation between past and present. Could you talk a little bit more about this?
I’m interested in events or moments that charge objects with an almost temporal dimension, like a stage after a performance, is over. Sort of a vague way of explaining it, but that’s something I’ve always been interested in.

I apologise since I’m going to ask you about a topic that may be a little bit dense. Researching for the interview, I read that a lot of the symbolism in your work is related to those who fell victims to suicide. Do you think mental health is a recurring theme in your art?
Well, I wouldn’t say that. Any references I’ve made to suicide in the past have been how it relates to certain tropes or conventions specific to Romanticism, both art historical, and literary. I’m interested in moments where fictions exceed its bounds, and that’s what motivated that work, not anything relative to mental health.

Then, for example, could you tell me a bit more about the 2004 Whitney Biennial installation of Kurt Cobain?
Again, that was more to do with the idea of a story exceeding itself or becoming subsumed within a narrative. Kurt Cobain was obviously a real living person, but he also disappeared into the narrative called Kurt Cobain. First as a rock star, then as a tragedy. I’m describing it poorly but, yet again, it’s locating something that exists in an uneasy slippage between performer and performance.

Is being a rebel now the same it was years ago?
It’s funny but I don’t think of what motivates my attraction to certain images, music, or subculture as rebellious. I’m attracted to the communities that lonely, alienated people manufacture for themselves to avoid the sharp edges of the outside world, which just seems fundamentally human. Not rebellious. And I think that’s as relevant now as when I was younger.

Has fashion and art been related in your life? And if so, how?
That depends on where you personally draw the line around fashion. If you’re considering it in a broad sense, from t-shirt design to the patches and buttons on a backpack, to which subculture gravitates towards what footwear, then absolutely. Art and fashion have always had some relationship with one another for me.



ZODIAC (F.T.U.) / 74 ironhead SXL (2005-2023)


Not yet titled (Budweiser triptych), 2011


Untitled (Church), 2005


Broken Record, 2008


Throne (and over and over again), 2009-10


Patriotic Hymn for Children, 2011


as yet untitled (single screen), 2008


as yet untitled (TriStar horse), 2008


Black Hole (Single Channel), 2004


Sunn)000) / (Repeater) Decay / Coma Mirror, 2006


Poison Idea, 2011


SunnO))) / (black stage/coma mirror), 2006


Not yet titled (Thwarted), 2009


Not Yet Titled (Flag Edition), 2010


Not yet titled (proposal for a burning drum kit), 2007


No Title/(S.C.N.D.), 2018


Hate Them, 2004


Untitled (Broken Beer Bottle), 2005


Negative Creep, 2008


As yet untitled (broken screen), 2008


Not Yet Titled (Bench), 2006


Untitled (Boom Box), 2003


No Title (Throne), 2008


Kill all rock stars, Kurt Cobain , 2002


Burnout, 2000


Portrait 2, 2006


Untitled (Disappear), 2004


Ghost, 2002


Not Yet Titled (Flag Edition), 2010


Untitled (Free Base), 2016


Zombie/Stoner Witch, 2003


Not yet titled (Misfits), 2008


Not Yet Titled (Bergen Chair), 2009


Not yet titled (I’d rather), 2006


Not yet titled (Cobain guitar), 2006




p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Me too. Three times I’ve heard a violent noise outside my apartment door, opened it, and seen my pothead neighbor sprawled on the floor having fallen down a flight of stairs. How was ‘Challengers’? I’m still in ‘avoiding it’ mode. Love doing the same thing your love of yesterday did for you but re: me with ‘Tarot’, G. ** Charalampos, Hi. You can’t go wrong with any Amy Gerstler book. I guess I’ll suggest her newest, ‘Index of Women’, because it might be my favorite. But starting anywhere with her is fine. I’ve seen ‘Out 1’, twice even. Love from my apartment where an injured parrot that was rescued by my roommate sits in a cardboard box waiting to be taken to a clinic. ** Tosh Berman, Happy timing. I haven’t spent as much time in Italy as I’d like. I’ve been to Rome, Milan, Florence, Palermo, Venice and a couple of other spots. Mostly while on book tours or for ‘PGL’ screenings. I love Rome. Have you entered Italy with any frequency? ** Lucas, Howdy. I’ve been living in my apartment for years now, and, when I moved in,  I thought ‘I should put things on the walls’, but they’re still just white blanks, and now, thanks to you, I’m thinking ‘What should I put on them’ again. Okay, I’ll go see what shape the Sono post is in and restore and revive it. Obviously, it’s very great that you like ‘The Devil, Probably’ too. Sucks that your friends are so physically distant. Most of mine are in LA, so it’s something of the same problem, although I do have a few close friends here. Here’s to many deserved and deserving IRL friends ASAP. Is there an easy social situation where you could meet some? Condolences in advance for your upcoming dull week. Mine’s mostly still a question mark. I think the key to liking amusement parks is to just get into how they try to be this perfect, fake world or something. I hope it’s not too crowded. I hope it has some good dark rides (they’re my favorites). If you take pix, I’d love to see them. Hm, I don’t think photos can be uploaded in the comments, which is very strange and primitive, now that I think about it. If you put them somewhere and link to them? Thanks for offering in any case. ** _Black_Acrylic, Me too, obviously, and even big time. When does Leeds’ team find out/create its fate? ** Sypha, I think you might like ‘Ludwig’ or I think it might interest you maybe. I’m a Coen Brothers fan. I think they’re kind of uneven, but I tend to always see their films. I do like the earlier ones the best. I do think ‘Fargo’ is one of those rare absolutely perfect films. ** Tomás, Hi, Tomas! Welcome! It’s super nice to meet you. Thanks a lot, I’m really happy the blog is feeding you things of interest. That’s my hope for this place. Congratulations re: finishing grad school. You studied film: Do you make films or want to or what what was/is the nature of your interest there? I’m sort of passionately into making films these days, so I’m interested. Yeah, I lived in NYC twice, for about two years each time. Do you have any idea what area you’re going to live in? I found that, once settled there, it became less daunting. It’s so physically organised that it becomes kind of like an intense small town after a while. But I did want to get out of there after a couple of years. Culture-wise, it’s so rich, obviously, and packed with opportunities to see almost everything going on in art and film and theatre and so on, so maybe concentrate on that richness? Do you have pre-existing friends there? Again, lovely to meet you. I hope to get talk with you more. Bon day. ** Steve, ‘Ludwig’ is definitely worth seeing. It’s something. I’ll be reading at the Poetry Project with Derek McCormack. No, Producer Fuckhead will continue to be involved in the film in some way forever due to contractual necessity, but hopefully at an ever increasing distance. Yes, again contractually, they will profit. We’re in the thick of a battle right now to determine how much. Thanks for asking. ** Billy, Hi, Billy! Awesome, me too, duh, re: the trilogy. Thanks for wanting my book. I’ll make sure you get one one way or another. xo. ** Huckleberry Shelf, Hey! Yes, that’s my favorite of Scott’s. It’s his only feature length film so far, which might be one reason why. The post on his work will pop up here tomorrow, and I think all of his earlier, shorter films are imbedded in the post in their entirety if you’re curious to test them out. Me too, about Dirk Bogarde. Have you seen Resnais’s ‘Providence’? It’s one of my favorite films, and Bogarde is very and wonderfully Bogarde-ian in it. How’s everything with you? ** Harper, Hi. Yeah, Diggerland seemed ultra-British to me, and charmed I was. Parc Asterix is quite an excellent park. I’ve been a bunch. But, yes, no snorting, stomping boar, although I do recall seeng at least animatronic boar there somewhere. I like that overdubbed thing with Italian films too. It’s always a little off or awkward, which I like. Everyone talks like a ventriloquist dummy, which is kind of mesmerising. The French do that too sometimes, but they try way too hard to make it look real and smooth, which, you know, it never does. That documentary about Tadzio/Bjorn Andresen is worth a watch if you’re interested in the whole backstory. ** Bernard Welt, Mr. Welt. I presumed you were here (with the help of Facebook). Welcome, obvs. Just get in touch whenever you feel awake enough and feel like it. I’m here and looking forward to you in 3D. ** Jamie Fi, Hey, hey. I don’t know what an ‘MBTI type’ is. I’ll go look it up when I finished I’m weirdly almost never cynical about anything. I’m kind of a wide-eyed eternal optimist, strangely enough. So I’m curious. Thanks. You probably would have liked Paris Ass, but I think you would have been similarly tired out by the sameyness. I only vaguely knew that about Thorpe Park, but I do remember being extremely excited at the thought of going there because of those vaguely understood restrictions. I went to the Diggerland in Kent. I don’t think it’s the biggest one. It definitely wasn’t big. Awesome about Harper’s work, and of course I’m not surprised that it’s stellar. Best week to you! ** Kyler, Hi, Kyler, buddy. Back pain has been my nemesis since my early teens. I grew tall suddenly when very young, and my spine did not fully cooperate with the growth spurt, and I’ve paid for that off and on ever since. Good luck with beating your issue. Mine is basically unbeatable apart from walking and sleeping on a hard mattress and trying to have good posture. ** Dev, Hey! Oh, cool, about the Visconti love. When I was outed, my mom freaked out and made me see a psychiatrist. Fortunately the psychiatrist was very cool and told me to just tell my parents it was a phase, and that being discovered had made me realise that, and that I should just continue on being who I was and my parents would eventually get used to it. Which they did, although they never liked it. They never had any gay/queer friends, so it was very foreign to them. And my mother was a very closeted lesbian, which just made it more difficult for her to deal with. Strange times. But, yes, you’re nearly a New Orlean-sian. Or maybe there’s a term for N.O. people like Angeleno for us LA people. Enjoy the actual move if that’s possible. Congrats! ** Darby🐼, Hi. Oh, gotcha, about your friend. I didn’t mean weird in a pejorative way. I was just being loosely goosey with my language. Wow, how was your first school day? What art have you appreciated so far? I like reading memoirs. I don’t do it that often. I did read ‘Go Ask Alice’. I think I used it when I experimenting with cutting up existing texts when I was a wee, aspiring writer. Thank you for the links! Helpful! I’ll hit them up. Enjoy school today. I hope the school offers online recess. ** Uday, I hope our film will quell and satisfy your excitement. That’s a lot of moving. Why, if I may be so bold? Oh gosh, I don’t … know about my favorite post. There have been, like, millions of them. I’d need to think. I will. Fun exercise. I’m all about favorites, I have lots of favorites. Favorites are emotional decisions, so that’s cool. I just don’t like ‘best’. That seems like a very presumptuous thing to decide. ** Barkley, Hi, Barkley! You’re brave. Spoken/written as someone who has heard Mr. Andresen’s Japanese pop releases. Peter Sotos reads his work aloud, like, in an audio book way? I had no idea. Wow. Me too, massive time, about people caring more about what’s in kids’ heads. I mean, seriously. Truly, the vast, vast majority of the homoerotic zines, books, etc. at that fair could have been made by the exact same unimaginative, ‘edgy’ photographer/ designer. It’s a plague. I’m absolutely certain that your ideas aren’t completely stupid just from knowing you to the degree that I do, but, yes, of course, bounce any ideas off me by whatever means. I’d be very happy to be bouncable for your ideas. ** Oscar 🌀, I’m dying to go to Alton Towers. Zac and I are just trying to work out when. Slurp. No, this is the first I’ve heard of Character.AI, but of course that sounds extremely interesting. I’m going to find there and go there. Yeah, that sounds potentially quite inspiring. I’m actually working with the premise of people speaking with made-up people in the new film script I’m working on. Thank you, my friend. And for the wishes for my morning. Clouds, here I come. There’s this kind of charming Facebook group I follow called ‘Clouds that Don’t Look like Anything Else’ where people post shots of clouds that they think can’t possibly suggest other imagery. And once in an extremely rare while, they manage. Maybe I’ll wish for you to spot something on the floor or sidewalk or ground that has the same ‘huh! cool’ effect on you today. ** Right. Today my galerie offers you a show of works by the particular and, I think, very interesting artist Banks Violette, and the rest is up to you. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dominik


    Oh, shit. Your neighbor. I used to find my upstairs neighbor in a similar state in the stairwell pretty often, but his thing was booze.

    I’d say “Challengers” was enjoyable due to the probably both natural and very consciously edited chemistry between the actors/characters, but it wasn’t what I’d call a good movie. I enjoyed the same cinema-version teenage boy tension I did about “Call Me by Your Name” – which I know you’re not into. So, maybe “Challengers” wouldn’t be your favorite either. But, you know… let me know if you do decide to watch it!

    How was “Tarot”?

    Love offering you one of the pieces from above, Od. (It feels weird not to instantly go for a Kurt Cobain one, but I’d choose “Patriotic Hymn for Children.” This is an amazing post again!)

  2. _Black_Acrylic

    I graduated from Dundee Art School in 2004 and, like many others in Scotland, I went through a major Black Metal phase in my work at that time. Banks Violette was always on my radar back then. You ever heard of Eva Rothschild? She’s a Glasgow-based sculptor whose work I was very much into.

    Leeds United’s entire season all boils down to 1 more game this coming Sunday at 3pm. The playoff final with Southampton will happen at Wembley Stadium in London, and if we play anything like we did last week in our 4-0 win over Norwich then our success is assured. I will keep you posted!

  3. Lucas

    hi dennis,

    hope you find something you like to put on your walls. I’m a pretty strong believer that your physical surroundings can influence you, so hopefully whatever you eventually put up inspires you or cheers you up at least.

    and thank you for restoring the sion sono post! regarding social situations where I could meet new friends, probably only at my new school after the summer. I tried attending a theater club and then an art one over the last year, but neither of those things panned out. in both cases there were already established group dynamics and navigating that has always been hard for me, whereas it’s not impossible for me to socialize with someone one to one.

    I forgot I have an imgur account, so I’ll upload the amusement park pics there and share the link. the amusement parks as perfect fake worlds thing sounds really interesting. I’m too exhausted today to try to explain it or go into detail, but I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of artifice since I was very little, so yeah, it’s appealing.
    on that note, I’m also fascinated by character ai, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. from what I’ve gathered, people mostly use it as a solo roleplaying tool to talk to fictional characters etc. but I’ve seen people admit that they’ve made AI copies of their crushes or just people they actually know on it (because you can ‘code’ the characters you talk to yourself). it seems creepy to me but also weirdly intriguing? I could see why someone would do that, though for me, it’s difficult to understand how someone could feel like they’re really talking to the real living person they’re thinking of. it’s obviously different if someone wants to talk to, for example, a fictional character with a 2d personality that’s extremely easy for a bot to copy. with a real person there’s only so much complexity it can emulate. then again, if someone’s so obsessed with a person to make an AI bot of them (presumably against their wishes? not sure why anyone would agree to that), how much complexity are they really seeing in that person?

    I hope I made enough sense. again, I’m feeling pretty drained today. my cat too, it seems like; she’s been sleeping next to me the entire time I typed this out. she looks really peaceful

    • Lucas

      and sorry for going on and on, but I’d love to hear about your premise for your new film script if there’s anything more you can/want to share. talking to made up people is something I’ve done an embarrassing amount of throughout my entire life and it just sounds like something I’d be super interested in

  4. James Bennett

    Hey Dennis,

    Hope you’re doing ok. I was wondering if there are any music critics/writers you have enjoyed over the years?

    Also, have you ever seen “ABC with Gilles Deleuze”? I’ve just watched what’s available of it on YouTube for what must be the 4th or 5th time… its so rich and dense and life affirming.

    I’ve been thinking lots about integrity and truthfulness… how rare these qualities seem right now in the broader art/cultural/critical landscape. I take solace knowing things move in cycles… I’m still reading Flaubert’s letters and the 1850s weren’t so hot either.

    Sending encouragement and gratefulness to you for this outpost of integrity from rainy London.


  5. Tosh Berman

    In 1986, I took the big European trip and stayed there for months. I visited Rome, Florence, and Venice. Venice seemed like a movie set to me, and the juxtaposition of huge banners announcing a Futurist exhibition was really something. I remembered that the Futurists wanted to fill Venice with concrete. Before I visited Rome, my thoughts on it were on only two individuals: Fellini and Pasolini. After spending two or three days there, it is clearly more Pasolini-like. The police in Rome were dandies. The motorcycle cops had knee-length leather boots and carried small machine guns. It was the height of terrorism in Europe. And I saw one Italian police officer with a large feather on his hat. That was elegant. And in Florance, I heard nothing but Style Council at various cafes and ice cream shops. With touches of Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners” here and there.

  6. Tomás

    Hi Dennis! Hope you’re doing great.

    Funny thing is that I studied architecture as an undergrad before getting into film, which I think has given everything I do a very design-look which I kinda like. Very good for organizational skills as well when working on projects. I’m very passionate about making films and have been doing shorts and video installations for a while and currently working on a feature screenplay (those are a stretch!). I was always curious as to how you personally tackle scripts coming from literature, it is such a different language. Ever thought about publishing your screenplays?

    I do know some people in NYC and will be living in Brooklyn, probably below Bedford-Stuyvesant (I’m very bad with geography and locations).

    Tackling the city based on its cultural richness is a great advice. Approaching it like a situationist is something I’m thinking about. Thank you for your response and I wish you a delightful day filled with nice acts of randomness!

  7. Mark

    How was Paris Ass? We went to see a screening of Joe Gauge’s LA Tool & Die last Friday at Whammy in Silver Lake. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the film before, but had never seen it in its entirety. In other news… we are going to see Kraftwerk next week at Disney Concert Hall. They are doing five nights there, a different album each night. We are going to Tour de France. We are also going to seen a screening of Bullitt at the Los Angeles Theater – yay Bill Hickman!!!

  8. Huckleberry Shelf


    Providence wasn’t even on my radar, it seems amazing. Resnais’ filmography is so weird and deep. I’ll watch for sure. My favorite Bogarde is Victim, really intense movie and intense performance.

    I’m doing well, I think. About to start grad school and having some difficulty with financial aid which I’m trying not to stress about–it’s frustrating enough to have to go into thousands of dollars of debt, it’s horrible how hard they’re making me work for it. But otherwise I’m great, summer here in Chicago is super beautiful, my friends and I have been at the beach a lot. I just started reading Madame Bovary, which is one of those classics that I’ve always put off, and it’s been as good advertised so far. How are things for you?

    Best, Huckleberry

  9. Sypha

    Trying to recall why the two girls in “Patriotic Hymn for Children, 2011” looked so familiar, and then I remembered, “Oh yeah, Prussian Blue.”

    I was really into the Coen Brothers in the late 90s, shortly after I discovered Tarantino and became interested in the whole indie film thing. But for the longest time, the only films of theirs I watched were the first 7, from BLOOD SIMPLE to BIG LEBOWSKI. Every now and then over the years I would occasionally see one I had missed, like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN or TRUE GRIT, but it’s only been this year that I’ve consciously made an effort to go back and watch the ones I haven’t seen. I’m not exactly sure why I trailed off… there was a point I suppose in the late 90s/early 2000s where they were becoming very commercial, and perhaps that turned me off at the time, so maybe I was just a snob ha ha. FARGO was the very first Coen film I ever saw, but of those first 7 I think my Big 3 were BARTON FINK (probably still my favorite by them), MILLER’S CROSSING, and THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (less for the story and more for the production design). Of their post-2000 films, I do very much like A SERIOUS MAN, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and BURN AFTER READING (though that latter one is I suppose a bit lightweight).

  10. Charalampos

    Hey. Tell please if the parrot is ok?? Let’s hope everything went well. Love from zzzz Crete as I fall further into the depths of my couch

  11. Steve

    Here’s my May music roundup for Gay City News, covering Billie Eilish and Adeem the Artist:

    Too bad you can’t distance yourself from the producer and that, if there are any profits, they will share in them.

    Did you read about Criterion getting bought by the Indian Paintbrush production company? That was a huge surprise. In the last 2 years, they’ve really being trying to put back Janus Films back on the map as a theatrical distributor, so it seems like they’ve been looking for a change of direction. I hope it’s not enshittification.

  12. HaRpEr //

    Hey Dennis. Yeah I did see the Bjorn Anderson doc. Visconti was definitely a bit of a creep. I think that’s one of the reasons why ‘Death in Venice’ is so interesting to me, because the objectification in that film was perhaps also Visconti’s voyeurism. I’m not someone who cares about the morals of an artist who’s work I’m consuming, but I do wonder what interested him about Mann’s book. Mann himself had uh… well there’s no easy way to say this but he was tormented by sexual attraction to one of his sons. But I guess what’s interesting about it to me is that the story itself is partly about the link between sickness and artistic creation, and there’s a lot of nuance in it. Obviously, the film couldn’t be made with such a large budget today, probably. But then again ‘Cuties’ which I haven’t seen and everyone hated came out a couple of years back. ‘Death in Venice’ to my memory doesn’t actually go as far as actually putting Anderson in sexualised scenarios etc.

    Also, you were mentioning a parrot and I have to add that I live across from an eccentric couple who have a cockatoo called Charlie that screams to no avail throughout the hotter months. It often starts fights with their dog and one time I thought I was listening in on a crime scene. Every time Charlie is bad the woman threatens to put him in ‘parrot prison’ which is what she calls his cage. They get in screaming matches and his owners can be louder than he is. Annoyingly, his cage is directly opposite my window but the whole ordeal can be entertaining from time to time.

  13. Zbornak of the Jackal

    Hi Dennis in spotting the highly evocative ‘COP-OUT’ banner on your facebook page… I decided to follow the link to your blog… ‘dope!’
    it reminded me of when I smoked something I really shouldn’t have just the other day…. and I found myself pursued by two huge spiders… as a result… I immediately set about dealing with the predicament by physically attacking them and problem solved… or so I thought… On awaking the next morning I had inadvertently broken all of my fingers on both hands… I was horrified to find them bent back in all directions…. and it looks like I may never be able to use them again…. Luckily I have acquired some sort of powers perhaps as a result… meaning I can now type by merely looking at the laptop screen…

    yours always Zbornak of the Jackal

  14. Cletus Crow

    I really enjoy this post. I love “Ghost” the unicorn that looks like its face is a melted candle. It also reminds me of an upside down melting glacier.

  15. Jamie F

    Hey Dennis,

    I love the ‘I’d rather be’ sign, I kind of want it. I can definitely relate to Banks’ aesthetic sensibilities. I’m sure I went through a phase of basically just wearing black and white all the time, it’s a solid look.

    Oh, it was Alton Towers that used to have the restrictions, or still does. I’m not sure about Thorpe Park. Maybe it does have some kind of restrictions. I imagine it isn’t easy to build a theme park in the UK, all that historic protection and whatnot!

    I heard recently that ‘Challengers’ is the horniest movie of late, which made me want to watch it, ha.

    Jamie F


    Hi Dennis !

    It’s me ANGUSRAZE !! I hope you’ve been well, I am so sorry I haven’t messaged in so long I have been so busy, I recently finished the edit on my music video for my lead single for my album and as of next week I will be sending it off to some record labels , one of them being Warp! My good friend Richard was in a band on the label for 10 years and knows all the publishing folks there, keep your fingers crossed for me Dennis ! Truly a life changing prospect for me

    I have compiled the album, its artwork and the music video into a linktree website for easy browsing, please have a watch of my music video if you can and let me know what you think ! I would love ur input – don’t share the video here tho yet hahahaha

    Thank you !!

    Lots of love


  17. Justin D

    Hey, Dennis! I like Banks’ work too. ‘Disappear’, ‘Throne’ and ‘Church’ are my favorite pieces. I think you’ll like Alton Towers. I went there when I was 18. Hopefully the line for ‘Oblivion’ is a lot shorter these days. I’d have to psych myself out to do that ride again, though. The drop after hanging at the top for a bit is almost too exhilarating (for me, at least). I watched ‘Challengers’ this weekend. It’s enjoyable, yet shallow. Looks like Luca’s next film is an adaptation of Burroughs’ ‘QUEER’. How has your week been so far?

    • Justin D

      Oh, I wish I had a time machine to go back and be at one of those Powell’s readings you did. I probably would’ve been too shy to ask you to sign one of your novels, though! 🫠

  18. jay

    re: your reply to oscar – i do recommend looking into, particularly the sexual side of it. less for personal interest, more just as a curiosity. it’s a super weird symptom of a lot of weird solo-sexual stuff going on online. one of my close friend’s girlfriend even broke up with him, in order to chat with a virtual ai partner (!?). i found that case particularly compelling, just because it wasn’t some stereotypical lonely permanently single person, but a quite nice-looking, relatively socially competent person.
    it does make me wonder a bit about the slightly weird sexual stuff people do online – it’s been a morbid curiosity of mine for ages, particularly that utterly bizarre “childrens toy in a jar” case. but for some reason, it seems to have fully breached the mainstream recently.
    maybe it’s that erotically talking to a computer is less tangible? or that it requires less time investment? either way. fascinating, i think.
    the one thing that does slightly unnerve me about this computer-generated sexuality is the level of recursion that’s in it, particularly given that these models often learn from what’s sent to them. it does seem likely that these algorithms, particularly ones with very few users, could almost develop sexual fixations of their own, purely just through interaction with users. anyway, all very scifi.
    sorry for the ramble, i am just always fascinated by mentions of this particular subculture. hope your week’s been going okay!

  19. Uday

    Moving is just for research stuff, then I get to go home very briefly (which I’m looking forward to; a year is too long to spend in America), and then I’m back at college. I’m glad you like favourites/liked the question about your favourite post. I think “the best x” can be presumptuous but doesn’t have to be, especially if you acknowledge that it’s fluid. It’s really another way of saying favourite, but delinking it from pleasure. I’ve been listening to Patty Waters lately, which is odd because I’m generally not a huge free/avant garde jazz guy. Also pleased to inform you that today was both fun and (mildly) interesting. My roommate made a friend on Grindr (which I refuse to get, but might cave soon) and the three of us had good conversation. I also found and reread my Paris Review Art of Fiction archive in my downloads. This is the first time I’ve read yours since talking to you I think and I’m struck by how sincere you are. How do you manage that? I hate pretense but still don’t feel like I’m rid of it.

    • James Bennett

      Hey Uday, what you said about struggling with pretense resonated with me. I once read something Gide said about sincerity (can’t remember where) that was like: it’s not simply the dropping of all pretension, but rather a position/capability you have to work yourself into. Some people (e.g. Dennis and others) probably have a natural talent for it. Some people have to work at it. Its’s always stuck with me! Hope you’re well. J

  20. Oscar 🌀

    heyooooooo, dennis!

    After opening the blog to read ‘shoot cops not dope’ I knew that it was gonna be a very pleasant ‘DC’s and morning coffee’ morning coffee.

    Did you end up finding there and going there? I did. Strange place. The more I think about the whole concept (especially after reading Lucas’ and Jay’s responses) the weirder it gets — but in an interesting way. I don’t even want to imagine how much time I’d have sunk into it if it had been around when I was fifteen and obsessively writing fanfiction about Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones.

    Also RE: cool stuff on the floor or on the ground — sadly nothing. But today I’ll keep my eyes peeled for sure. I feel like the likelihood of seeing something that doesn’t look like anything else is lower looking down than looking up, but hey!

    Have an easy-peasy Wednesday :3

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