DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Holly Woodlawn Day *

* (restored/expanded)

 

‘I meet Woodlawn at her apartment in West Hollywood, Los Angeles’ gay village or ghetto, on a sweltering hot day. In a few weeks she’ll be in the UK to promote an exhibition of paintings of herself by the British artist Sadie Lee, showing her in a less glamorous guise than usual. “I said, ‘Why don’t you paint me as everyday me for a change, instead of all peaches and cream?’” she says.

‘As we sit on her balcony talking, we’re favoured with an ambient soundtrack that, appropriately, seems more redolent of Manhattan than of sleepy California: a fire nearby means that we’re constantly interrupted by screaming sirens. “All right, already,” howls Woodlawn. “Find the fucking fire and shut up. I swear, West Hollywood is breeding pyromaniacs today.”

‘The Holly Woodlawn of 2007 is a far cry from the sweet-voiced cross-dresser who made her first splash in the film Trash in 1970, fake-masturbating with a Miller beer bottle to considerable acclaim. Back then – during what we must inevitably call her 15 minutes of fame – she was one of the many drag queens and hustlers at the lower end of the Warhol social scene, congregating around his Factory studio and at hangouts like the bar Max’s Kansas City. “The mole people,” Factory manager Billy Name called them. “The amphetamine people.” At the other end were the rich, famous and powerful: Jim Morrison, Yoko Ono, Janis Joplin, author George Plimpton.

‘The 61-year-old man who answers the door today is out of drag, bent and frail, though indefatigably cheerful, using a Zimmer frame because of various slowly fusing discs in his spine that, he says, are unimaginably painful and incurable. “Oh no, this is IT, honey, downhill all the way from here on!”

‘He rises at six; by 11 his painkillers have slurred his speech a little and fogged his memory. The outrageous spark is still there and the stories are as funny as ever, but delivered with a weariness and frustration he blames on the pills. I play nursemaid a little, fetching coffee and cigarettes from the nearby market, and getting the phone for him when it rings, treading carefully around his untidy, sparsely furnished apartment, with its bed and carpets covered in fag ash, and its one shrine-like photo of Andy, Candy, Holly and others in its most visible corner.

‘I ask him about his alter ego, the boy born Haroldo Santiago Franceschi Rodriguez Danhakl. “I don’t even know who he was,” he says. “When I was younger, I was extremely shy and living in what’s now Miami Beach. My father had a nice job. I guess we were middle income. I had good schools. I just was unhappy because I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t associate with the other kids in school, the suburban-minded ones. Plus I came out very young. I was raised in Puerto Rico for the first few years of my life, where the culture is more Caribbean. Everyone’s naked, it’s hotter, you come out earlier. I was having sex when I was seven and eight in the bushes with my uncles and cousins – of course, they were only 11 or 12 themselves. I was raised in a house full of women and my uncle was gay. We lived in a little tiny town, so those were my role models. Then Miami Beach. All the Cubans arrived after Castro took over, and that’s where I really came out, on 21st Street in Miami Beach.”

‘The same month that Woodlawn hitchhiked north, July 1962, Warhol had his first major art show not 10 blocks from where we’re talking, at Irving Blum’s Ferus Gallery. Although the Campbell’s Soup paintings didn’t sell well at the time, Warhol had arrived. The night the show closed, Marilyn Monroe died three miles away in Brentwood, causing Warhol to work a poster image of her from the 1953 movie Niagara into his famous Marilyn screenprints – which in time turned him into, in the words of the American critic Wayne Koestenbaum, “our greatest philosopher of stardom”.

‘To some extent, Woodlawn was a product – or an exemplar – of his ideas. Although she didn’t become a full-fledged Factory insider until 1969, she was very much on the same scene. She’d decided against the sex-change by this point, though: “Honey, once they cut it off, it’s OFF!” And she didn’t get to know Lou Reed until after A Walk on the Wild Side came out, but nonetheless saw many early shows by the Velvet Underground and Nico.

‘”I was just one of the audience,” he says. “I used to go to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable at the Dome, with all that colour and insanity, with Gerard Malanga [Warhol’s assistant] brandishing a whip and Mary Woronov from Chelsea Girls dancing. So I was very happy when I gradually became a Warhol superstar. I felt like Elizabeth Taylor! Little did I realise that not only would there be no money, but that your star would flicker for two seconds and that was it. But it was worth it, the drugs, the parties, it was fabulous. You live in a hovel, walk up five flights, scraping the rent. And then at night you go to Max’s Kansas City where Mick Jagger and Fellini and everyone’s there in the back room. And when you walked in that room, you were a STAR!”

Trash, a film improvised and shot in 1969 in the basement apartment of its director, Warhol’s manager Paul Morrissey, was the nearest Woodlawn came to broader fame. A kindly, soothing presence on screen, Woodlawn certainly had acting ability: her horny, drug-happy character is the film’s highlight. “That beer bottle scene is to my career what eating dogshit was for Divine in Pink Flamingos!” The gay director George Cukor is said to have tried to get Woodlawn nominated for an Academy award, but the issue floundered, perhaps predictably, on whether Woodlawn belonged in the Best Supporting Actor or Actress category.

‘Since then, Woodlawn has published her autobiography – the toothsome and scandalous A Low Life in High Heels – and made a cult career in drag. Although based in New York until a couple of years after Warhol died in 1987, Woodlawn has lived on the west coast ever since. And she’ll be in London shortly. “It’s all blossomed into this week of Holly Woodlawn. I’ll be busy every day, at parties and shows. Who knows? Hopefully I’ll come home with a whole bra-full of money!”‘ — The Guardian

 

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Stills




















































 

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Further

Bring Holly Woodlawn Home
Holly Woodlawn Website
Holly Woodlawn @ imdB
Holly Woodlawn @ warholstars.org
Holly Woodlawn @ Facebook
Book: ‘A Low Life in High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story’
‘warhol superstar holly woodlawn came from miami, fla…’
‘TRASHING ‘TRASH’ WITH HOLLY WOODLAWN’
HW interviewed @ Powder Zine
Holly Woodlawn @ mubi
‘Trash’ re-reviewed @ Slant Magazine
Podcast: ‘A Low Life in High Heels, part 1’

 

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Sings, etc.


Holly Woodlawn sings, “You Can’t Be Friends with Me”


Holly Woodlawn – “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music – production number


Holly Woodlawn in Berlin


Holly Woodlawn – “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music


Holly Woodlawn “Walk Right Up To Him”

 

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Talks, etc.


Holly Woodlawn Interview


Holly Woodlawn “Low Life in High Heels” Stephen Holt Show -Xmas ’91


Holly Woodlawn Nervous Breakdown on the Set


Holly Woodlawn & Jackie Curtis Party 1970 (Holly passes out!)


Holly Woodlawn vs. Madonna

 

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Interview
from Bright Lights Film Journal

 

Holly Woodlawn: Gary, I’m smoking a cigarette and having a glass of wine and watching Sabrina. So the rest of the world will know I don’t have emphysema. My lungs — god only knows what color they are. And my liver? Forget it. I don’t think I even have one anymore. I’m 57. I’m a kreplach. That’s Jewish for, you know, you’re an old douche bag! My face is still flawless. You know why? Because I hang upside down, from my bed.

I have a wonderful apartment in West Hollywood with a little balcony so I can scream “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina!” I have my dog — a little tarantula. A Chihuahua-terrier mix. She looks like a tarantula. She’s black. Colored. But I digress. When I first heard about The Color Purple, I thought they meant “The Colored People” — my biggest faux pas. I will never live that one down. Oprah, forgive me!

I picked the name Holly from Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And then my friends were up on speed one night and I had met Andy Warhol at a party, and he said what’s your name, and I said Holly, and I didn’t have a last name. So we went home that night and we were watching Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy where she had this thing, this trophy, stuck on her head. And it said Woodlawn Cemetery. So my friends and I decided on Holly Woodlawn, and I would be the heiress to the Woodlawn Cemetery fortune!

I was at Max’s Kansas City, and Fred Hughes came up to me and said Paul Morrissey is doing a movie and he wants you to call him. I called him up and Paul said, I’m doing a movie with Joe Dallesandro, are you going to be available on Saturday? And I said sure! I’m going to be a movie star! Lana Turner. Elizabeth Taylor. Cleopatra! And I showed up and he said, You play this trash person, you pick up trash. And you’re supporting this junkie. I said gee, that’s a stretch. I don’t know if I can do it! So I showed up with my boyfriend, little Johnny, who I shot up in the movie. When I went to the set, which was Paul Morrissey’s basement, I was terrified. I had never been on screen. But I knew that I was the next Elizabeth Taylor.

When I saw Joe Dallesandro, so fucking gorgeous. I said, Johnny, get outta here. Go buy something! I was at the Cannes Film Festival with Joe. He’s still such a gentleman. He’s like Greta Garbo, he wants to be alone, but if you call him up, he’ll speak to you. He’s like me — shut her up! He’s a guy’s guy — he likes to hang out and watch ball games and drink beer and smoke cigarettes. He’s very bisexual. That’s why he’s such a gentleman. He’s got a very soft side, he loves giving, and hanging out.

That was not a Coke bottle, it was a beer bottle! I would have preferred Dr. Pepper.

George Cukor wanted to nominate me for an Academy Award. And all these people signed a petition — Paula Prentiss and her husband, Richard Benjamin, Robert De Niro. They didn’t know what category to put me in. They had no clue. Is this a man being a woman, or a woman being a man? I preferred Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Actor — because I didn’t have a pussy. So I’m an actor. I still don’t have a pussy. It [the operation] hurts too much!

As far as pioneer is concerned, I don’t know. I did what I had to do because I had to do it! If you can make sense of that. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew what I had to be. When I was 16 years old, living in Brooklyn with this guy who wanted me to have a sex change, I thought that was what I wanted. We had the money, and I was at Johns Hopkins Hospital and they said I had to wait a year, so I said honey, I’ve been living as a woman for the past eight years — don’t tell me! So I took the money and I went shopping. My boyfriend was very disappointed. I blew $3,500 at Saks Fifth Avenue. Fabulous gowns but no pussy! Once you cut it off, it’s off. I like me having a hard-on. I love having sex. I like what I have.

I’m going to make a complete idiot of myself. Heklina said I could just stand up there and blow kisses. The hell with that. I plan to do an entire concert. I plan to do “Hello San Francisco.” Then I’m going to do songs that nobody ever fucking heard in their life. Like “Princess Poopooly Has Plenty Papayas.” Yes, I’m going to take you around the world. And I’m going to sing a little French song called “Once Upon a Summertime.” That’s the only ballad. It’s a pretty song. It’s going to be Marlena, Barbra, Bette, Beulah, Mona, Lola, and Falana! And Holly. All the girls.

My future? Gary, don’t laugh. I have a dream. My dream is to open up a bed and breakfast in of all places the Pacific Islands, Pago-Pago or somewhere, and have everybody just run around half naked, in grass skirts, run amok with no clothes. I’ll call it Holly’s Whorehouse. And I will feed them, and make sure they have a bed, or a straw mattress to sleep on and fuck on. I just wanna watch!

 

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14 of Holly Woodlawn’s 23 roles

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Paul Morrissey Trash (1970)
‘The wonderfully tawdry ‘plot’ of Trash sees Holly Woodlawn playing long-suffering girlfriend to super-hunk Joe Dallesandro. They live in a grubby cellar on the Lower East Side: Holly sustains them by selling garbage she finds in and around the local streets. Alas, Joe can rarely satisfy her rampant lust due to impotence caused by his heroin addiction. In one particularly memorable scene, Holly gets ‘intimate’ with a beer bottle, after Joe yet again fails to get a stiffy. Despite having no formal drama training, she dazzles with an improvised performance throughout the film. So much so, in fact, that the prominent Hollywood director George Cukor petitioned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Holly to be nominated for an Academy Award. Unfortunately, there was no category into which a man playing a female role could be slotted. Furthermore, Holly was unable to attend the film’s glitzy premiere, as she was in prison at the time, banged-up for embezzling money from the bank account of the wife of the United Nations’ French Ambassador!’ — Ponystep


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Paul Morrissey Women in Revolt (1971)
‘The film went through various name changes. Documents found in Andy Warhol’s Time Capsule No. 40 indicate almost 80 possible names including Pearls Before Swine, Make Date and Andy Warhol’s Earthwomen. On June 25, 1971, a payment of $1,000 was made by Warhol’s company for the rights to use a song titled Give Me the Man in a film titled Sisters, apparently another name for Women in Revolt. Paul Morrissey was filming Heat in Los Angeles when this payment was made, while Warhol stayed in New York. On July 22, 1971 Variety reported that the film was ready for release – now titled Sex, the same name that was used when it premiered at the first Los Angeles Filmex film festival in November 1971. However, when it later opened on December 17, 1971 at the Cinema Theater in Los Angeles, it was called Andy Warhol’s Women. It was first shown in New York on February 16, 1972 at the Cine Malibu which Warhol had rented because no distributor was interested in taking the film. In 1978, author Patrick S. Smith separately interviewed Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis for a book he was writing on Warhol’s art and films. Jackie said that it took two and a half years to make Women in Revolt whereas Holly told Smith that it took approximately a year to film with “about three weeks of filming days,” but “months in between.”‘ — warholstars.org


Excerpt


the entire film


Holly Woodlawn talks about WOMEN IN REVOLT

 

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Dallas Broken Goddess (1973)
Broken Goddess is a revival of silent cinema – silent in that there are no spoken words; rather the story is told in title cards drawn from the lyrics of Laura Nyro’s songs against a soundtrack of Debussy’s music. The project was conceived around a then-fledgling starlet named Better Midler. And it would have worked. But one night while I was photographing Tally Brown’s act at the Continental Baths, a strange thing happened. Tally introduced me to her then co-star in a film Scarecrow in a Garden of Cuncumbers (which willl be forever remembered if only for the fact that its title song was performed by Bette Midler and there was a fleeting cameo by Lily Tomlin as a telphone operator) – one Holly Woodlawn. La Woodlawn, you will remember, was riding high on the smashing success of Warhol’s Trash [directed by Paul Morrissey] and an unprecendented write-in ballot to secure this new film personality an Oscar nomination. We had all seen that bizarre snaggled-toothed creature’s poignant performance. And when the thundering applause that night subsided, the number one Warhol star of then and now rose in the presence of a shy, curly haired boy in farmer overalls. I, like everyone else present that night, was floored. The flash was instant. I would turn Holly Woodlawn into a silent film siren – the new Gloria Swanson/Theda Bara.’ — Dallas


Excerpt

 

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Bobby Woods Madonna’s Deeper and Deeper (1992)
‘Woodlawn’s iconic early roles didn’t lead to a sustainable film career, and so she established herself as a cabaret performer before experiencing something of a career renaissance in the ’90s, when she appeared in the video for Madonna’s “Deeper And Deeper”.’ — AV Club

 

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Jeffrey Arsenault & Matthew Patrick Night Owl (1993)
‘This odd, independently produced horror film features performances by Warhol-era legend Holly Woodlawn and the versatile performer John Leguizamo. In the story, the handsome young man (James Raftery) who picks up women at a disreputable neighborhood bar is a real lady-killer; in fact, he’s a vampire. When his sister doesn’t come home one day, Angel (Leguizamo) tries to find out why. Meanwhile, the vampire is having a love relationship with a young woman he would rather not kill.’ — collaged


the entire film

 

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Tommy O’Haver Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998)
‘Director O’Haver tries to flesh out his otherwise lightweight story with numerous subplots and familiar queer icons. Paul Bartel weighs in as a jolly, sinister underwear photographer, and the glorious Holly Woodlawn is wasted in a party scene where for some unknown reason we barely see her face. There’s a sexy but annoyingly stereotyped Latin hunk named Fernando, no doubt inspired, to use the filmmakers’ analogy, by Fernando Lamas or Ricardo Montalban in any number of 1950sMGM tropical melodramas. And while Sean P. Hayes and especially Brad Rowe are easy on the eyes, the film’s inability to breathe life into them beyond the snappy dialogue and campy narrative intrusions eventually capsizes the film. Using Sandra Dee and Doris Day comedies as blueprints for a 1998 comedy can be diverting but has one fatal drawback; you may end up with characters as foolish and forgettable as they were.’ — Bright Lights Film Journal


Trailer

 

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Michael Polish Twin Falls Idaho (1999)
‘Although Michael Polish is credited as the sole director here, it’s fairly obvious that he made this picture in tandem with his identical twin, Mark Polish. The two, in fact, play a pair of reclusive conjoined (or so-called “Siamese”) twins, renting a room in a shabby hotel as they try to track down the birth mother who abandoned them years earlier. They soon befriend a young prostitute who starts falling for the healthier of the two brothers (played by Mark, who does most of the heavy actor lifting in the film), even as the sicklier brother (Michael) grows more and more ill. (The oddball cast, from cult icon Holly Woodlawn to once-famous leading lady Lesley Ann Warren to long-forgotten Saturday Night Live alumnus Garrett Morris, suggests that either the Polishes were having a laugh or simply desperate to increase their low-budget film’s marketability with a handful of recognizable names.) A tender spin on sibling responsibility, Twin Falls Idaho is what all American indies should aspire to be: original, well-crafted, sophisticated, and heartfelt.’ — Cassava Films


Excerpt

 

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Allan Mindel Milwaukee, Minnesota (2003)
‘Having lived his entire life under the watchful eye of his overbearing mother, Albert must fend for himself when an unidentified automobile suddenly kills her. Free for the first time, Albert quickly responds to the bait dangling in front of him, putting his aggressors against one another in a race for his trust. Using his skills that make him a gifted fisherman, Albert turns the tables on his seemingly doomed fate, capturing the heart of the woman most eager to deceive him, and fooling the man most intent on destroying him.’ — imdB


Trailer

 

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Robert Feinberg Heaven Wants Out (2009)
‘Once a hot spot, the Bowery Follies Cabaret is now just another broken down New York City nightclub populated with the last vestiges of vaudeville entertainers, misfits and a headliner known as Heaven. She, like the club, has been there too long. In a drunken reverie, she wanders through the lives of the men who watch her sing night after night, looking for love …trying to make sense of how she got there in the first place, hoping, for a ticket out. The film stars a bevy of Warhol Superstars including Holly Woodlawn, Mary Woronov, Ondine, and photographer Francesco Scavullo.’ — collaged


Documentary about the finishing of the film ‘Heaven Wants Out’

 

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Joshua Leonard The Lie (2011)
‘When they first met, Lonnie and Clover were young idealists, but an unplanned baby forced them to flip the script. Lonnie put his music on hold and got a shitty job. And now Clover is abandoning her activism for an “opportunity” in the corporate world. Drowning in disappointments, Lonnie decides he needs some time off work to reexamine his life. He calls in sick, but his abusive boss demands he sh…ow up or get fired. Lonnie panics and tells a shocking lie to justify his absence – and once the lie is out, there’s no going back. Now, it’s only a matter of time before the grenade he’s thrown on his life explodes and Lonnie is suddenly pushed to figure out who he is, what he wants, and just maybe, what it means to be a father.’ — collaged


Trailer

 

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Richard Carroll The Ghosts of Los Angeles (2011)
‘A series of monologues written by Godfrey Hamilton. The overlooked and forgotten souls consider missed opportunities and what might have been. Holly Woodlawn plays herself.’ — Carroll Film


Excerpt


Trailer

 

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Gary LeGault East of the Tar Pits (2012)
‘Two months ago, I ran a post about a movie I’d seen on DVD—Gary Legault’s East of the Tarpits, starring drag icon Holly Woodlawn as a chanteuse who worships Streisand—and was outraged that in all its fruity glory, the film had been rejected by every single film festival in the world. I mean it’s an “intoxicatingly funny Douglas Sirk-ian campathon” and there were no takers, not even at Cannes, which will show anything, even that Norah Jones flick! Well, someone from the illustrious New York Underground Film Festival read that item and instantly booked the kitchen-sink comedy for tonight at 1030pm at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue). They’re promoting it so heavily they’ve even gotten someone very special to introduce it onstage—the same person who said it’s an “intoxicatingly etc etc.” You’re reading him! See you there!’ — Michael Musto


Excerpt

 

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Zachary Drucker She Gone Rogue (2012)
‘“Darling” (played by Zackary Drucker) attempts to visit her “Auntie Holly” but instead falls down a rabbit hole, encountering trans-feminine archetypes (legendary performers Holly Woodlawn, Vaginal Davis, and Flawless Sabrina) who are in turn confounding, nebulous, complicated and contradictory. Engaging a world of dream-like magical realism, SHE GONE ROGUE references Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, utilizing a space where singular selves multiply and expand, offering windows into parallel dimensions, with time and space collapsing into a whirlpool of divergent possibilities. When Drucker finally finds the white rabbit, the process of identity construction completes a full circle, offering more questions than answers.’ — ZD


Titles


Excerpt

 

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Adam Dugas & Casey Spooner Dust (2012)
‘“I have a spa fetish, and this scene is based on a honey treatment I did at Liquidrom, an amazing coed naked spa in Berlin,” gushes Casey Spooner of today’s clip of Dust, the feature-length that he wrote and directed with his creative and romantic partner of 13 years, Adam Dugas. Spooner, frontman for electro-pop duo Fischerspooner, and Dugas, co-founder of performance troupe The Citizens Band, envisioned their debut film as a Skype-age re-telling of Chekov’s Three Sisters, with cohabiting dysfunctional siblings colluding and colliding as they wrestle with their individual dramas. The cast includes Ssion’s Cody Critcheloe, artist and photographer Jaimie Warren, and fashion designer Peggy Noland, plus Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn as the family matriarch. “In the tradition of early John Waters and the films Warhol made at the Factory with Paul Morrissey, Dust defines its own era by reveling in and rolling around in the 21st century’s sadness, audacity and flashpoint laugh-out-loud directness,” says R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, who produced the tragi-comic collaborative effort.’ — Nowness


Trailer #1


Trailer #2

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** JM, Hi, man. Thanks, yeah, that was kind of my thinking. I would obviously love it if you tried your hand at some kind of gif-based work. The way I make my works is super oriented to me and to my interests/skills, so my way is definitely not the only way to go. ‘Mason & Dixon’ is one of my very favorite Pynchons, cool. Is acquiring rights for a play difficult in general, or does it entirely depend? I’ve read Beckett’s ‘Breath’: wow, what a nice idea: you doing it. Mm, I’ve never crossed streams with Von Trier unless intensely disliking his work creates a stream. Oh, I did stand next to him in a patisserie here in Paris last Xmas when we were both buying a buche de noel, but we didn’t crease each other’s air space. Panting heavily to get onto Kiarostami’s ’24 Frames’, believe me. Hm, well, I am curious to see ‘Baby Driver’, but maybe only mildly curious now. One of these days. Thanks! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. One way or another ‘PGL’ will show in LA, just not sure how or when yet. Zac and I really want people to see it projected if at all possible. It was meant to be. John watched the screener only because there’s a reason why him seeing the film now could be advantageous to the film that I can’t discuss publicly yet. Please don’t watch the film on Festival Scope. We have zero control over that or its quality or anything, and we’re very unhappy that it’s on that site. Fingers crossed about the Gilliam. You never know with him. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Can I ask you a favour to please not watch the film via Festival Scope or recommend that possibility to anyone? Thanks. I’ll hit up your review if … yes, it’s available to me! Everyone, Here’s Mr. Erickson: ‘Here’s my review of Titus Andronicus’ forthcoming album A PRODUCTIVE COUGH’. Hm, your take on the Ozon makes it sound very Ozon-like. I’ll look for my chance, although it’s long gone here, theatre release-wise. So sorry to hear about your mom, ouch. I hope she recovers as smoothly and rapidly as possible. ** Ferdinand, Hi. Yeah, that book happening is strange and interesting and, yeah, a cool compliment or something. I’ll get over to your booktube today, or maybe I’ll wait until the weekend so I can see the totality at once! Hm. Thanks for the alert. ** Chris Cochrane, Chris! Dude, what a total dream you’re living there. Angkor Wat, holy moly! Man, that is just nuts. Have you come across any interesting music there, or has that not been on your radar? Have infinite fun and enlightenment and all of that sublime stuff. ** Jeff J, Hey, Jeff. Thanks and thanks again. Well, I assume Diarmuid will want to ask me questions and stuff, but I don’t know if I’ll be any more involved than that. I’ll be at his disposal, whatever he needs. And more thanks for sharing the Spackman post on FB. Mm, if I chose a fave Spackman, it would likely be ‘A Presence with Secrets’, but they’re all pretty swell. If you want to read as far as three books, I’d recommend ‘A Difference of Design’. Jeremy Davies wrote a good piece on Spackman that was linked to in the post, which I guess you probably saw. Ben (_B_A) just reminded me that he did a Kippenberger post, so, assuming it’s findable, I’ll restore that one first. Great about the copyedit finalising, and most of all about the new work space. Great, man. Is your health back to tip top? Has the world outside just your door quieted down? ** Bernard, Good old Luis. No, Spackman is very readable unless you’re allergic to mannered writing as a totality, and I know you’re not. I just don’t like Poe’s prose, I don’t know why. When I try to read him, it just lies there like a dead dog. Just some quirk of my particular interest in prose, no doubt. Ha ha, people who smoke weed proselytize about its creative values in such a funny way. I liked it way back when I liked it, but it was no LSD. Yeah, alcohol doesn’t interest me. I too, as you know, lived through living hell with a heavy drinker, and I’m sure that didn’t help. Extremely interesting about the poetry book, what it’s delegating to you and bringing up. If it matters, especially in poetry. I very often go back to unfinished things from when I wasn’t equipped to make them work and go ahead and make them work now and call them new. So I think that’s a fine modus operandi. I’m pretty sure I remember John Ashbery telling me once that he did that all the time. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Yeah, thanks, Zac and I are very, very happy that John is so enthusiastic about the film. I respect his tastes a lot. Yay, you’re still twisted where it matters! I was really interested in the Steven Stayner case at one point, did a bunch of research on it and stuff, and of course I read that book. You surely know he died tragically quite young in a motorcycle accident. Poor guy. My day was all right. Got some work done. And met with Gisele and Zac. Yeah, I would explain the contract thing if it didn’t take too long to explain and if it wouldn’t be so boring. Basically, our producer on the project has turned out to be a major pain in the ass. We’re down to one last point of disagreement where she’s demanding something that’s delusional and completely unreasonable, and we refuse to agree. Ultimately, I think she’s going to have too give in, and we’re just hoping she does asap because we’re sick to death of this nonsense, and we’ve been working on the project without any payment or any guarantee for way, way, way too long. It’s very boring. Anyway, the meeting was fine. Not much else happened. How and what did Friday place before you? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. I’ll go see if I can find and restore your Kippenberger post. No, I personally don’t think Spackman’s work has anything to do with ‘Gatsby’. I think that was just that critic’s quirky decision of how to approach his review. Well, I certainly hope her new venture will afford YnY space and support. Keep me informed. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. I mean, considering how incredibly tough LPS’s upbringing was, it’s kind of amazing that he does as well as he does now, but, obviously, you can’t be parented like he was and not have damage. I just hope he learns from this and that he escapes having his life and future harmed. Cool, you’re a novel monster. Keep striking while that iron is hot, buddy. ** Nik, Hi, Nik. Yeah, you could start with the Spackman book I spotlit or ‘Presence with Secrets’, which might be my fave. You might be able to find his novels cheap/used. I think the only book of his that’s actually in print is the ‘Complete Works’ book that Dalkey Archive published. I’m finishing a new gif book that consists of 7 short gif fictions. I’m legally disallowed from describing the mysterious project until the contract as signed. Maybe as soon as next week. It’s not that the project is some giant, earth-shattering thing, it’s just in an area that’s new to us (Gisele, Zac, me) and involves a lot of rules and things that we’re not used to dealing with. Yeah, I think you can easily make the video private. I don’t think that could possibly be a problem. Where are you applying, schools-wise, if that’s interesting or possible to share? Just curious. Obviously, it seems like the thing to do is make the applications, see who says yes, and then consolidate what you really want, right? I love ‘The Last Man’. It is unusual for him, but, yeah, so great. I’m always happy when people I know read Blanchot. He’s my dude. ** Okay. I decided to restore and slightly expand the old Holly Woodlawn Day from my murdered blog. Seems like a good, no-brainer idea, right? See you tomorrow.

14 Comments

  1. Hi Dennis. Thanks for the Woodlawn day, I had no idea Morrissey had worked with her which must have been one of her major roles? Cool. With regards to acquiring the rights to a play, uh, yeah, I guess it totally depends? Costs vary greatly too. I’ve been struggling to find any way to purchase the rights to ‘White Rabbit, Red Rabbit’ which I want to perform sometime later this year (an advantageous play to perform because of the fact it has no director and no rehearsal process), or to find anywhere willing to put up the money for it. Other things, like Waiting For Godot, are pretty easy to get the rights to. As a rule, most things you’ve heard of should be pretty easy to come across and get the rights to perform, though might be expensive. I’m away for a night tomorrow so will miss out on the DennisCooperBlog-Bedtime-Post session, but on the up-side the Pynchon will be awaiting me when I return, and I’ll have the final third of your poetry collection to keep me company on the plane. I think my favorite in the collection so far is “Late Friends,” though for a long time I have considered “After School, Street Football, Eighth Grade” and “Yuck” two of my favorite poems of all time so there’s some stiff competition there in AS,SF,EG (unless I’m mistaken, Yuck hasn’t appeared in here).

    I think the Von Trier connection I was thinking of was the patisserie story! How bizarre… have you seen ‘The Five Obstructions’? It might not do much to make you like the man any more, but the work Jorgen Leth does in that film is pretty astounding and maybe transgressive (formally. not narratively).

    Instead of seeing Baby Driver – or as well as seeking Baby Driver – you should totally check out Paddington 2. I was dragged along to it somewhat reluctantly and came out with one of my fav films of the year. Go figure.

    Anyways, outside of the PGL spectrum, is there anything else on the horizon for you other than this mysterious project and the new gif-short collection? You seem super busy, which is always the best way to be…. take care

    J

  2. Hey Dennis! Ah cool. Nice to see Holly’s day restored. I love how she kind of made her own fantasy world a reality, right? There’s something kind of beautiful and wonderful about that.

    My new book came out today, which I guess you heard about. Maybe I could put together a post for it?

    How’s everything going with you?

    Thomas xoxo

  3. David Ehrenstein

    February 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Lovely Holly-Day!

    You’ve got the wrong Morrissey, JM.

    Nice stuff in here though it’s disconcerting to see her referred to a “he.” Holly’s nightclub act was quite something. Saw it several times. Really delightful.

    She was very close to Joe Dallesandro. He adored her and in point of fact she died in his arms, as he came by to comfort her as she approached the end. Joe is SUCH a Great Guy.

  4. OK, I’ll stay mum about the availability of PGL on Festival Scope. I don’t have a subscription to the site right now, but I’m still on their mailing list and get updates when new films are added. I haven’t seen it there (or any other way.) I wasn’t recommending it, just pointing out the fact that it’s up and I assumed that Waters probably saw it there.

    It’s a funny irony that Paul Morrissey is an avowed conservative, yet he was willing to direct films with transgender actors back in 1970 while Hollywood still tends to make films with cis actors playing trans characters to the present day. On that front at least, he was quite progressive and well ahead of his time.

    Have you heard the band Tengger Cavalry? Their new album CLAN BI comes out today. They’re a group of Chinese-Americans who met in New York, and their music mixes metal with Chinese and Mongolian folk music. They have done a series of “unplugged” covers of classic ’70s and ’80s metal songs using Chinese folk instruments. I watched one of their videos, which alternated between thrash metal passages and beautiful use of an instrument that sounds like a cello but looks much smaller. The “world music” elements of their sound seem to have gotten them entry to many places that would never book a straightforward metal band, like the Public Theater-attached club Joe’s Pub, where someone filmed a live show and posted clips to YouTube.

    The Mehrdad Oskouei series begins tonight. I will be reading a brief intro before the 7:00 screening of STARLESS DREAMS this evening. I really hope we get a large audience. I will also be around for the screenings on Sunday. I would encourage any DLs in New York who might be interested to check this program out. At the moment, none of his films are available on DVD or Blu-Ray in the U.S.

  5. Hi!

    I had the feeling that you might be interested in this case too! Yes, fuck, it’s just almost unbelievably cruel or unfair that he had to live through those 7 years to finally be free or himself again (as much as it’s possible, anyway – I would’ve been very, very interested in his psychological state and recovery after everything and I was surprised how little the book dealt with this subject after being so extremely detailed about his captive years) and then he just… dies in an accident. Not to mention that his brother turned out to be a serial killer years later. Just what the fuck?
    Jesus, this hassle around the contract really is terrible! I’m so sorry your producer turned out to be so extremely difficult! I really hope it gets settled ASAP!

    I spent half of today in IKEA because I still need a few stuff for my room. It was okay and I found almost everything I was looking for but I was glad when I finished and could finally leave, haha. I don’t like shopping even if I really need stuff. And in the evening I’ll go to a little theater with Anita. I feel a bit tired but I’m sure it’ll be great! I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.
    How was the day on your end? I hope you have/had a great one!

  6. Here’s my interview with EL MAR LA MAR directors Joshua Bonnetta and J. P. Sniadecki: Their film begins a week-long run at MOMA today. http://www.studiodaily.com/2018/02/directors-joshua-bonnetta-j-p-sniadecki-challenging-non-fiction-el-mar-la-mar/

  7. I caught her in Women in Revolt. Very enjoyable. Yeah the new booktube video on Downtown literature is up, and turns out you take up some space in it : )
    https://youtu.be/kkxgkv_rdUU
    You wont miss anything by skipping the other two in the series. They are embarassing. Now im ready to take a break from making video – get back to the books. i dont have the zeal of a real booktuber! Enjoy the weekend.

  8. Happy your trip was good. The blogs been great. Growing up near Pittsburg, Andy is a staple. I am still floored by reading his Warhol: From A to B. It is a riot. He was very witty and clamorous. Totally cannot stand to think of that critic, the English bloke who said he didn’t like him because, he had nothing to say. He never shut up. Funny ancedote, he would always think when he was on TV, “Am I gonna pass out?” “Am I gonna pass out?” There were stars and super-stars and hyper-stars. The hyper-stars would work in the office etc. as they didn’t quite “fit”. Anyway, blah blah blah. Been eating a bunch of Mexican, thinking of you. Going on my banana and milk diet tomorrow. Gotta slim down a bit for the gladiators and les printemps. As soon as this third character fills out, I’ll be writing the Mars story. Family visiting this week. “I was raped and shot and was a teenage werewolf.” Burning alive, yours.

  9. I should spring for A Low Life in High Heels as these Superstar memoirs are always a rip-roaring read. Never knew she had such a long and storied career.

    @ DC, I’d defo welcome a rerun of the Kippenberger post, it’s up there with my all time fave artworks.

    The demise of Dundee’s Fleet Collective will hopefully not affect Yuck ‘n Yum matters too much, as I found out today that the Vision building will continue functioning as normal regardless. Meanwhile I spoke to Good Press and they’re happy to stock our compendium, although the bad news is they no longer really do any distribution at their end.

    The guy did point me in the direction of this cool Tumblr of international art bookshops. Dunno, maybe I just need to shift this thing myself?

  10. Dennis, Holly has a really interesting face!

    Oh, yeah, I take all that into consideration. I doubt the courts will, though.

    Frankly, I had a great upbringing, and I did much worse shit than he ever has and got in much more trouble. I was a spoiled little fuck. We weren’t rich or anything, just decidedly middle class with some extenuating circumstances, but we were spoiled shitless. I don’t think the spoiling made me do any of the bad shit I did. My parents were good people, they never encouraged us to do anything but good, however…well, you know, haha.

    Ha! I am trying to grind this fucking novel out all right. I’ve just got to keep taking my notes when I get my ideas. So far, I’m okay with what I’ve done. I did actually come up with this one idea that is either going to be the bomb.com or the stupidest thing ever in the history of literature. 😛

  11. Hey Dennis – Nice to see this Holly Woodlawn day back on its high-heeled feet.

    I went to buy Dalkey’s “Collected Spackman” and it turns out to be out of print and selling for mega-bucks! Not only that, but Dalkey deleted the title from their website and catalog. JD tells me that the current powers-that-be there dislike Spackman’s work and probably disappeared it for that reason when it came time for a reprint. A huge shame. Though maybe if the rights are still available, somebody else will scoop it up?

    My health is much improved, thanks for asking. Things are not much quieter outside my door though – construction on the houses across the street continues at a loud snail’s pace, reliably hammering the seemingly same fucking pieces of wood siding every morning at 6:30 am sharp. It’s now seeming like they’re actively trying to annoy everyone in the area. It’s eerily been in the mid-80s here the past few days. Everything is in bloom. Anything similar in Paris?

    Been very surprised and impressed by the new Superchunk, their best since… Foolish, maybe? Political without being remotely didactic and full of urgency, two tunes under 1:30 even. Worth a spin or two, at least. What new albums have been grabbing you lately?

  12. Holly Woodlawn was always one of my big heroes, and Trash is still one of my favorite movies ever. Taught it a bunch of times, too. I take those movies, and her performances, very seriously, and I’m very glad you’re getting word out to your … followers who may not have seen them. There’s a lot of movies here I haven’t seen; but there’s so much else she could have done. It’d have been great if some theater company had had her
    I met her at the DC premiere of Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers and we hung out a bit and danced together–like, I’m swirling you around in my arms kind of dancing. (I was friends with the people who brought her to DC.)
    Thank you for the support on the whole cannibalizing your own work thing.
    I started today on this piece I’m writing for a John Cage celebration at Black Mountain next month; makes me happy to do that.

  13. I agree with Jeff about the new Superchunk. One more music recommendation: the dark ambient/doom metal duo Insect Ark have just released a new album, which is both extremely atmospheric (everyone who’s commented on it says they should write horror film scores) and notable for using distorted acoustic lap steel as the main instrument, with zero electric guitar.

    There have been some snags in the Mehrdad Oskouei retrospective that I can’t talk about it in detail in public. I will know more on Sunday, and hopefully everything will go fine then. I read my intro tonight before the 7:00 STARLESS DREAMS screening to an audience of about 40 people. Two of them came up to me afterwards. One was a 60-ish woman who said “I was startled by how frank the film is about drug addiction and sexual abuse in Iran. Was it banned there, and did it get any distribution?” I replied that it wasn’t banned, but it got minimal distribution. (I went on to add that it got minimal distribution in the US too; as far as I know, New York, Chicago and Seattle are the only American cities where it got week-long runs and none of his films are out on DVD/Blu here.) A Chinese NYU student told me he loved the film and wanted to screen it in China when he returns there next summer. I wish I could be more helpful, but I don’t know how to book a DCP for that country or how to get a copy with Chinese subtitles. I gave him the website URL for STARLESS DREAMS’ US distributor and suggested he E-mail them.

  14. I saw Holly perform live twice – once at Paradise Lounge in SF in the early 90s. Holly, accompanied by a keyboardist, rolled on the stage on the first song. That must have been before the back troubles. Then another time I saw her at Trannyshack at the Stud, when she was somewhat less mobile and had to be helped to the stage.

    Someone please locate the lost Holly Woodlawn film Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers, with script by Sandra Scoppettone!

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