The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Mine for yours: My favorite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2020

Fiction
(in no order)

Derek McCormack CASTLE FAGGOT (Semiotext(e))

Blake Butler ALICE KNOTT (Riverhead Books)

Mark Gluth COME DOWN TO US (Kiddiepunk Press)

Cassandra Troyan FREEDOM & PROSTITUTION (The Elephants)

Gary Lutz THE COMPLETE GARY LUTZ (Tyrant Books)

Nathalie Léger THE WHITE DRESS (Dorothy, a publishing project)

Maryse Meijer THE SEVENTH MANSION (FSG Originals)

Meghan Lamb ALL OF YOUR MOST PRIVATE PLACES (Spork Press)

anon I’m us TEXTILOMA OR, THE POSTMODERN EPIMETHEUS (Calamari Press)

Ashleigh Bryant Phillip SLEEPOVERS (Hub City Writers Project)

B.R. Yeager NEGATIVE SPACE (Apocalypse Party)

Lidia Yuknavitch VERGE  (Riverhead Books)

Estelle Hoy PISTI, 80, RUE DE BELLEVILLE  (After 8 Books)

Robert Glück MARGERY KEMPE  (NYRB Classics)

Ken Baumann A TASK  (gumroad)

Golnoosh Nour THE MINISTRY OF GUIDANCE  (Muswell Press)

Josh Peterson SPRING RAIN, SUMMER HEAT  (Amphetamine Sulphate)

Chris Kelso THE DREGS TRILOGY  (Black Shucks Books)

Damien Ark FUCKED UP (Expat Press)

Christopher Zeischegg THE MAGICIAN  (Amphetamine Sulphate)

Lucy Ives LOUDERMILK, OR, THE REAL POET; OR, THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD  (Soft Skull)

A W W Bremont HEY BOY  (Rebel Satori Press)

Karolina Zapal NOTES FOR MID-BIRTH  (Inside the Castle)

Thomas Moore ALONE  (Amphetamine Sulphate)

Breka Blakeslee PROBABLY IT WILL NOT BE OKAY  (Publication Studio)

Elisa Taber AN ARCHIPELAGO IN A LANDLOCKED COUNTRY  (11:11 Press)

Pierre Klossowski THE SUSPENDED VOCATION  (Small Press)

Edwin Stevens SEAGULLS  (Very Bon Books)

Audrey Szasz INVISIBILITY: A MANIFESTO  (Amphetamine Sulfate)

Never Angeline Nørth SEA WITCH (Inside the Castle)

Lee Rourke VANTABLACK  (Dostoyevsky Wannabe)

Brad Fox TO REMAIN NAMELESS  (Rescue Press)

Ariana Harwicz FEEBLEMINDED  (Charco Press)

Douglas A. Martin WOLF  (Nightboat Books)

Douglas Payne IF YOU HAVE GHOSTS  (Amphetamine Sulphate)

Joanna Koch THE WINGSPAN OF SEVERED HANDS  (Weirdpunkt Books)

Andrew Durbin SKYLAND  (Nightboat Books)

Michael Seidlinger DREAMS OF BEING  (Maudlin House)

 

 

Poetry
(in no order)

Joyelle McSweeney TOXICON AND ARACHNE (Nightboat Books)

Elaine Equi THE INTANGIBLES (Coffee House Press)

Lonely Christopher IN A JANUARY WOULD (Roof Books)

Paul Cunningham THE HOUSE OF THE TREE OF SORES (Schism 2 Press)

No One 4IER X-FORMS (Calamari Press)

Sun Ra SOMEWHERE AND NOWHERE: POEMS (Arts Libris)

Bernadette Mayer MEMORY (siglio)

Matthew Rohrer THE SKY CONTAINS THE PLANS (Wave Books)

Bob Kaufman COLLECTED POEMS (City Lights)

Big Bruiser Dope Boy AFTER DENVER (11:11 Press)

Valerie Hsiung YOU + ME FOREVER (Action Books)

Joseph Goosey PARADE OF MALFEASANCE (EMP Books)

Tony Towle MY FIRST THREE BOOKS (Vehicle Editions)

Fanny Howe NIGHT PHILOSOPHY (Divided Publishing Ltd)

Ted Rees THANKSGIVING: A POEM (Golias Books)

Peter Dube THE HEADLESS MAN (Anvil Press)

David Grubbs THE VOICE IN THE HEADPHONES (Duke University Press)

Laura Theobald KOKOMO (Disorder Press)

Rachel Levitsky NEIGHBOR (Ugly Duckling Presse)

SJ Fowler I WILL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND (ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS) (Dostoyevsky Wannabe)

 

 

Nonfiction
(in no order)

Bruce Boone DISMEMBERED (Nightboat Books)

Johannes Göransson POETRY AGAINST ALL (Tarpaulin Sky)

Steve Abbott BEAUTIFUL ALIENS (Nightboat Books)

Danny Plotnick SUPER 8: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY (Rare Bird Books)

McKenzie Wark REVERSE COWGIRL (Semiotext(e))

Julia Bell RADICAL ATTENTION (Peninsula Press)

John Wieners YOURS PRESENTLY: THE SELECTED LETTERS (University of New Mexico Press)

Yetta Howard RATED RX: SHEREE ROSE WITH AND AFTER BOB FLANAGAN (Ohio State University Press)

Maurice Sachs WITCHES’ SABBATH (Spurl Editions)

Madeleine Gins THE SADDEST THING IS THAT I HAVE HAD TO USE WORDS: A MADELEINE GINS READER (siglio)

Jared Pappas-Kelley TO BUILD A HOUSE THAT NEVER CEASED (Sweat Drenched Press)

Jay Slayton-Joslin SEQUELLAND: A STORY OF DREAMS AND SCREAMS (Clash Books)

Laura Mulvey AFTERIMAGES (Reaktion Books)

Jeanne Gerrity & Anthony Huberman DODIE BELLAMY IS ON OUR MINDS (Semiotext(e))

Joanne Robertson & Byron Coley 1979 SONGBOOK (Tenderbooks/Bad Taste Press)

Wayne Koestenbaum FIGURE IT OUT (Soft Skull)

David Sudnow BREAKOUT: PILGRIM IN THE MICROWORLD (Boss Fight Books)

Zak Ferguson INTERIORS FOR ? (independently published)

Bett Williams THE WILD KINDNESS: A PSILOCYBIN ODYSSEY (Dottir Press)

Harry Dodge MY METEORITE (Penguin)

Gary J. Shipley STRATGEM OF THE CORPSE (Anthem Press)

Momus NICHE (FSG)

Justin Taylor RIDING WITH THE GHOST (Random House)

Johnny Ray Huston + Bradford Nordeen + Hedi El Kholti BECAUSE HORROR (Semiotext(e))

Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E: THE COMPLETE FACSIMILE (University of New Mexico Press)

Antonin Artaud SUCCUBATIONS & INCUBATIONS: SELECTED LETTERS (1945-1947) (Infinity Land Press)

 

 

Music
(in no order)

Yves Tumor HEAVEN TO A TORTURED MIND (Warp)

Destroyer HAVE WE MET (Merge)

Villaelvin GHOTT ZILLAH (Hakuna Kulala)

Tobin Sprout EMPTY HORSES (Fire Records)

Carl Stone STOLEN CAR (Unseen Worlds)

OTTO CLAM DAY (PLZ Make It Ruins)

Concrete Mascara PERENNIAL DISAPPOINTMENT (Malignant Records)

Aki Onda NAM JUNE’S SPIRIT WAS SPEAKING TO ME (Recital)

Vladislav Delay RAKKA (Cosmo Rhythmatic)

Ewa Justka UPSIDE DOWN SMILE (Editions Mego)

Thurston Moore BY THE FIRE (Daydream Library)

Oliver Coates SKINS N SLIME (Rvng Intl)

Zeroh BLQLYTE (Leaving Records)

Chris Cochrane THE INVENTION OF SHOES – VOLS. 1 & 2 (bandcamp)

Guided by Voices MIRRORED AZTEC (Rockathon)

Guided by Voices SURRENDER YOU POPPY FIELDS (Rockathon)

Tashi Dorji STATELESS (Drag City)

serpentwithfeet APPARITION (Secretly Canadian)

Irma Vep EMBARRASSED LANDSCAPE (Gringo Records )

Wire 10:20 (Pink Flag)

Sparks A STEADY DRIP DRIP DRIP (BMG)

KTL VII (Editions Mego)

Soft Pink Truth SHALL WE GO ON SINNING SO THAT GRACE MAY INCREASE? (Thrill Jockey)

Klara Lewis INGRID (Editions Mego)

Moor Mother CLEPSYDRA (no label)

William Basinski LAMENTATIONS (Temporary Residence)

Julian Calendar CRIMSON STATIC #4 (Julian Calendar)

Ai Aso THE FAINTEST HINT (SOMA)

Judith Hamann DAYS COLLAPSE (Another Timbre)

 

 

Film
(in no order)

Tzuan Wu THIS SHORE – A FAMILY STORY

Charlie Kaufman I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

Guy Maddin STUMP THE GUESSER

Mark Rappaport L’ANNÉE DERNIÈRE À DACHAU

O.B. De Alessi MUDMONSTER

Daniel and Clara NOTES FROM A JOURNEY

Pedro Costa VITALINA VARELA

Leslie Thornton GROUND

James Benning MAGGIE’S FARM

Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt RAW POWER

Jean-Marie Straub LA FRANCE CONTRE LES ROBOTS

Patric Chiha SI C’ETAIT DE L’AMOUR

Margaret Honda EQUINOX

Dietrich de Velsa EQUATION TO AN UNKNOWN

Richard Stanley COLOR OUT OF SPACE

Noel Lawrence SAMMY-GATE

Roy Andersson ABOUT ENDLESSNESS

Nick Toti KILL, KOBEK… KILL!

 

 

Art
(in no order)

Torbjorn Vejvi (Pio Pico Gallery, Los Angeles

Cindy Sherman (Fondation Louis Vuitton)

Vincent Fecteau (Galerie Buchholz, Berlin)

Jacob Kassay (Galerie Art Concept, Paris)

Ed & Nancy Kienholz (Galerie Templon, Paris)

SUPERMARKET OF IMAGES (Jeu de Paume)

Lionel Soukaz RACE D’EP – THE HOMOSEXUAL CENTURY, 1979 (Manifesta 13, Marseille)

Lecia Dole-Recio BOSSY BOTTOM (Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles)

Peter Saul ART HISTORY IS WRONG (Almine Rech Gallery, Paris)

Estelle Hanania IT’S ALIVE (Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris)

Keith Sonnier FILES, SHIELDS AND NEONS (Galerie Mitterand, Paris)

YOU (Musee d’Art Moderne, Paris)

Gregory Crewdson AN ECLIPSE OF MOTHS (Templon, Paris)

Robert Smithson PRIMORDIAL BEGINNINGS (Marian Goodman, Paris)

Penny Goring ESCAPE FROM BLOOD CASTLE (Campoli Presti, Paris)

Allen Ruppersberg THE MYSTERY OF NABOKOV… (Michele Didier, Paris)

 

 

Internet
(in no order)

SCAB
Profound Experience
Small Press Distribution
X-R-A-Y
{ feuilleton }
SELFFUCK
Invert/Extant

Please Kill Me
Wake Island
PlayTherapy/Tik Tent Radio
Rhizome
Theme Park Review
Evergreen Review
The Call
TOWARDS CYCLOBE
Musique Machine
Original Cinemaniac
Fanzine
Volume 1 Brooklyn
Queen Mob’s Teahouse
zoran rosko vacuum player
TL;DR
The Chiseler
Experimental Cinema
The Los Angeles Review of Books
3:AM Magazine
Alienist
largehearted boy
pantaloons
Harriet
Open Culture
Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets
giphy
The Wonderful World of Tam Tam Books
Hobart
Entropy

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. It’s that annual day where I lay out my faves of this past year and invite/encourage you to share some of your faves, if you feel like it. Would be cool. As always, I’m sure there are things I liked a lot but forgot when I was making the lists as well as things I’m sure would be there if I’d read/heard/seen them in time. Thanks! ** Conrad, Hi, Conrad! How good to see you! How are you doing? it’s interesting how forgotten he is considering how seemingly famous he was. He had his own postage stamps, for goodness sake. It’s interesting too to me because, as an outsider, it sometimes seems like every past French star who had even one success or two ends up being considered ‘legendary’ here. Anyway, curious, yes. And, yes, that Jean Rhys translation is an absolute must, isn’t it? Wow. I need to find that. And thank you for the link to the Agnes Martin doc. I’ll watch it straight away. Everyone, Conrad has a scoop for anyone interested: ‘Here’s a great documentary about Agnes Martin. I think it’s available for free only for a few days.’ I hope you’re doing great. An early Merry Xmas! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Hm, I’ll see what if anything I can find. ** _Black_Acrylic, Cool that he intersects with your zeitgeist. I love when that happens. ** Tosh Berman, I’d had a memory of you being a fan of Carco from somewhere, and then the review sorted that. He’s so forgotten here that it’s hard to imagine more of his stuff getting translated, but maybe he’ll get a cult following in the outer realms. Happy happy, Tosh! ** James, My total pleasure, obviously. Hm, well, I didn’t see that exchange since I’m not on Twitter, but is the person raising issues with you contributing to that site really ‘cancelling’? I feel like that term is getting pretty loosely thrown around. I mean if someone objecting to something automatically tags them as a censor, a whole lot of us are going to get bitten in the ass. Anyway, what is her objection to Terror House? Is the site anti-trans, or does it have troubling politics or something? What was her exact problem with you doing something for them? I know relatively little about the site. I got your email, as you know, and we’ve changed emails, as you know, and thank you. Try not to worry about the criticism. It can happen anytime to anyone for almost any reason. Bon Friday! ** Danielle, Hi, D! You guys definitely deserve an award. If I had an ‘in’ with any of biggie award givers, I’d sharpen my elbows and use them. How cool and very interesting that the class is vis-a-vis Iranians. Iran seems like a place where I imagine all kinds of really innovative and exciting culture stuff is happening that we have little access to. The new music coming out of there can be pretty great. Ha ha, yeah, I wouldn’t risk hell by trying to get my work into the prison. I have this feeling that Capedevielle would jump at the chance, and not just because he has a soft spot for rough trade. Coolest Friday in the world to ya! ** Maryse, Hi, Maryse! You’re welcome, and thank you for your great novel (see: above). As virtually always, I will have to wait for the event’s archiving since Paris time never lines up with 90% of the best Zoom events, or at least when you’re an early riser like me. Everyone, the mighty Maryse Meijer tips all and sundry among us that a special Zoom event wherein she will moderate a conversation between  author and recent DC’s star Damien Ark and Manuel Marrero re: Damien’s new novel ‘Fucked Up’ will take place on Dec. 17th @ 7 pm. You can find the details here, and find the Zoom link here. Thanks, M! See you soon! ** Nick Toti, Well, that is good news! Everyone, Mr. Nick Toti has a generous announcement, i.e. ‘We got the release issues worked out with David Shields’s publisher, so my new movie can come out without issue. It’s an adaptation of David’s forthcoming book “The Very Last Interview,” set during Covid Christmas. If you or anyone else would like to watch it, here it is.’ Look forward to it! ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Everyone, here’s Mr. Erickson. Listen up: ‘Xiu Xiu have released some bass and drum loops with the intent of producers remixing and sampling them. I’ve done my best with one of their basslines on this song, “Hog on a Walk”.’ ** Bill, Oh, yes, yes, I remember now. I should really find and restore that post, shouldn’t I? Yes, I should. ‘Done’ is in the works. Hang in there. We just got our new restrictions here. Basically, a freeze in place as-is order with a, yikes, new 8 pm nightly curfew starting on the 15th. 8 pm!?! ** Derek McCormack, That was such an amazing answer, Derek. Thank you, thank you! ** Corey Heiferman, Hi, Corey. Well, you certainly sound very fired up to make that post. Sounds like it’s going to be a killer. Uh, well, it was in the mid-80s, so let me force my memory to wander back there. I don’t remember throwing those notebooks away as being any big whoop. I vaguely remember regretting that I had wasted perfectly good notebooks because I was pretty broke at the time. I think I did pull out some phrases from them that I thought were okay. I was writing my novel ‘Closer’ at the time, and it’s possible some tidbits ended up there. No, it wasn’t cathartic. It was just like ‘oh well, that wasn’t very useful.’ I have at other times found myself on an intense roll where writing pours out, and in a few cases I ended up writing things I liked a lot and ended up using, albeit with a lot of subsequent refinement. One of my favorite things I’ve written, a short fiction piece called ‘The Ash Gray Proclamation’ that’s in my book ‘Ugly Man’ initially came barreling out of me. So, have you discovered whether that company is indeed excellent yet? ** Right. The post is introduced up north. Have a look. Add your input, if you so desire. See you tomorrow.

30 Comments

  1. Shane Christmass

    The list!!!

    * starts ordering books *

  2. JM

    What a wonderful, wonderful list Dennis! I am such a huge fan of Josh Peterson, as you know. I ordered Damien’s book after it’s welcome to the world here, I don’t think it’s shipped yet but need to talk to Manny. Notes For Mid Birth did not do it for me personally but I see the appeal – I found it a little didactic.

    The Gari Lutz makes my list too; and MJ Gette’s “Majority Reef,” and perhaps Finbow’s “Mindshaft” – I didn’t read too much mainstream fiction this year unfortunately but would really like to try Utopia Avenue sometime soon.

    My fav film of the year was Ferrara’s Tommaso, I think my fav art of the year was a digital performance piece I saw here called ONCE MORE WITH FEELING which was a theatre show that you were forced to watch three times in different ways.

  3. JM

    P.s. just saw your note in the P.S. about throwing away non useful notebooks and yes I’ve recently thrown all mine away just because it was too much material and not enough of it was good and it was Holding me back. I’ve found recently that I’m doing better writing when I don’t do it by hand, which is interesting because I’ve always found it the other way.

  4. Maryse

    OOooooooooooooohhh YASSS!!!!!! :big gaspy inhale:

    I feel like all the DC-listers need to have a secret club tshirt or keychain or championship ring. And then when some editor tries to reject our stuff we can whip our swag and and boom, our literary street cred explodes and all of our work gets instantly published and massive advances are cashed on the spot and vegan donuts hop directly into our tummies.

    But actually, wait, a DC blog tshirt or fanny pack or decoder ring sounds kind of amazing, does something like this already exist?? If not, someone, please, design some merch!! The world needs more tote bags!

    My fav of your favs was definitely Feebleminded, I was just blown away by that book. Supposedly a sequel of sorts is coming out from Charco in 2021/22…can’t wait.

    I haven’t seen ANY of the films, insert crying emoji face, how will I ever catch up if I don’t learn to read and watch movies at the same time??

    Some fav books:
    My Mother Laughs, Chantal Ackerman
    Wretchedness, Andrej Tichy
    Scar, Sara Mesa
    Termin, Henrik Nor-Hansen
    Exquisite Corpse, Alfred Chester
    To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life, Herve Guibert
    Permafrost, Eva Baltasar
    Include Me Out, Maria Sonia Cristoff
    Bandoneon, Raimund Hoghe

    Long live the list! Thanks, Dennis!
    xM

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Excellent list as always! Thank you for including Play Therapy in here too.

    Right now I’m working on expanding my Dead Cat Bounce bit of Flash into a short horror. We’ll see how that goes, but I think it might be getting somewhere hopefully. Anyway, here’s my own list from what’s been a strangely curtailed year:

    FICTION:
    David Keenan – Xstabeth (White Rabbit)
    Nina Power – Platforms (Morbid)
    Thomas Moore – Alone (Amphetamine Sulphate)

    FILM:
    Color Out of Space (Richard Stanley)

    TV:
    Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics And Men (Showtime)

    ART:
    Seized by the Left Hand (DCA, Dundee)

    MUSIC:
    Actress – Karma & Desire (Ninja Tune)
    Regis – Hidden In This Is The Light That You Miss (Downwards)
    Various – Join The Future (UK Bleep & Bass 1988-91) (Cease & Desist)

  6. wolf

    Dennis, woopwhoop! I was just yesterday muttering those very words – “Has Dennis done his fave music of the year yet? I wonder when he will”. WELL. Great minds, my friend.
    As per usual, the amount of stuff you manage to stay aware and on top of is awe-inspiring.

    I’ve been reading a lot this year but nothing recent – I intend to rectify this pronto.
    Art-wise, well… things have been a little weird have they not? Steve McQueen’s Tate show was a highlight and would have been even in a year packed with other things.
    Here’s my music best-of-2020, in no particular order:

    Algiers – There Is No Year
    Bill Callahan – Gold Record
    Speaker Music – Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
    Guided by Voices – Surrender Your Poppy Field [WTF – did they put a third 2020 one out (Styles We Paid For) yesterday??]
    Squarepusher – Be Up A Hello
    Keeley Forsyth – Debris
    Code Orange – Underneath
    Owen Pallett – Island
    clipping. – Visions of Bodies Being Burned
    Boris & Merzbow – 2R0I2P0 [still warm from the oven! get yours now!]
    UKAEA – Energy Is Forever
    Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals
    Metz – Atlas Vending
    Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s death
    Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You?
    Dylan – Rough & Ready Ways
    Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease
    Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – May Our Chambers Be Full
    Sightless Pit – Grave of a Dog [also wins prize for saddest album title in the history of music]
    Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
    Hey Colossus – Dances/Curses
    Katie Gately – Loom

  7. David Ehrenstein

    Gadzooks what a voracious reader you are? I’m awash in half-read booksStill haven’t completed “The Arcades Proect” which I bought years ago, and I’ve been re-reading “Wings of the Dove” — which eery sentient being MUST read.

  8. Danielle

    No one will believe me but “7th Mansion” was indeed one of my favorite books of the year (the skeleton boyfriend was my character to begin with, so of course I’m partial). I also can say a favorite book was Maryse’s new collection of short stories but that won’t be released until 2 years at least…so I’m basically reading in the future.

    I also thought Exquisite Corpse was insane/amazing, and while the subject matter of Kay Boyle’s “My Next bride” is not in itself brilliant, her writing is utterly original and super interesting. Can’t say I can compare her to anyone else.

    Also, I have a book zoom club with my 9 year old niece and we revisited one of my favorite books as a kid, “The Headless Cupid” by Zilpha Snyder–it holds up!

    Capdavielle at Stateville prison=minds blown. Everyone who has done theatre there has loved the experience because the men don’t take art for granted and they are up for even very experimental stuff and love to engage and discuss. And if Cap wants some rough trade, I can introduce him to some folks who wouldn’t mind sampling a little French pastry. Ooh la la!

    @Wolf–McQueen Tate exhibit yasssssss you lucky dog!! (I’m wearing some pre-death McQueen as I type for my very important outing later today to the post office).

    And Hi @Corey Heiferman–I am the teacher of said anarchism class. 🙂 And that particular class I mentioned is just a free thing for fellow philosophers/political scientists in Iran I was asked to do– it’s not attached to a university program. I do teach at a university here in Chicago though and I allow my students to grade themselves and to turn in whatever assignments they’d like (so if they hate writing papers, they can do music, art, vlogs, audio discussions, just come chat with me, make CD mixes of songs they think relate to the material, sketches…literally anything). I also tell them to quit school because it’s really dumb to pay 40k a year for something they can learn on their own/reading/talking to people–unless they have a specific goal such as becoming a doctor or lawyer or anything that absolutely requires a degree. I’m still “the man” though, for sure & no way around that in an institution but I’ve found people will do a ton of work voluntarily if they aren’t stressed about grades. I am 100% anti- compulsory education and my niece is being “unschooled”– although she comes to my classes every quarter to talk about youth liberation and has an incredible attention span for lectures. Are you in school Corey?

    • Danielle

      Haha @Wolf you did not mean Alexander McQueen’s Tate show…whoops. 🙂

  9. Sypha

    Hey Dennis, as is my want I’ll refrain from sharing my list until the year’s end as there are still a few last minute books/albums and what not that I need to consider first… but thanks for sharing your lists…

  10. Ian

    favs from my 2020 reading/watch list
    non fiction:
    The Boys of Summer – Roger Kahn
    William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible – Barry Miles
    fiction:
    Berg – Ann Quin
    I Hate the Internet – Jarret Kobek
    God Jr./The Sluts – Dennis Cooper
    The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
    Myra Breckenridge – Gore Vidal
    plays:
    The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
    An Enemy of the People – Henrik Ibsen
    movies:
    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
    Spies in Disguise (i only watched the second half but it was hilarious)
    tv:
    The Pandemic Speical (when Randy fucks the bat, and then when Randy fucks the pangolin)

  11. Tosh Berman

    I LOVE reading your best-of lists at the end of the year. For me, it is a consumer’s delight to look at your list and go “ah ha.” I love making lists myself, but my problem is that my new discoveries are usually from the distant past or 2019 or something like that. I rarely listen to brand new recordings. And worse, I rarely buy new albums. Or I buy reissues. Just recently I purchased “From the Grave Vol. 8” of an anthology of vintage garage rock bands and their songs – that were all recorded in small studios or even smaller labels. Pretty awesome stuff. What I’m strict about is what I listened or read in the year 2020.

    Books:
    “Scoundrels and Spitballers: Writers and Hollywood in the 1930s” by Philippe Garnier

    “A Sound Mind” by Paul Morley
    “Peter and the Wolves” by Adele Bertei
    “Suppose a Sentence” by Brian Dillon
    “William N. Copley” by William N. Copley
    “Wagnerism” by Alex Ross
    “No Room at the Morgue” by Jean-Patrick Manchette
    “Written in Invisible Ink” by Hervé Guibert
    “Niche” by Momus (this book disappeared from the marketplace)
    “Wrong” by Diamuid Hester
    “Figure It Out” by Wayne Kosentbaum
    “The Kinks” by Mark Doyle
    “All for a Perfect Waves” by David Rensin
    “Stockhausen Serves Imperialism” by Cornelius Cardew
    “Gidget” by Frederick Kohner
    “It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track” by Ian Penman

    Music:
    “Zeros” by Declan McKenna
    “All Hash and Cock” by The Bachelor Pad
    “Jack Nitzsche” by Jack Nitzsche
    “Untold Rock Stories” by The Quick
    “Beyond the Pale” by Jarv Is
    Sparks – A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip
    “Vibe” by Extended Organ
    And there’s more. And more!

  12. Jack Skelley

    GREAT! I didn’t know our dear friend Elaine Equi had a book this year. I just ordered it. I also love Golnoosh’s story collection. It’s like a queer Dubliners or something. Thank you!

  13. Steve Erickson

    Our restaurants are finally shutting down for indoor dining next Monday.

    Your books list really makes me feel inadequate in that dept. I lost the habit when my vision started deteriorating last year and haven’t gone back nearly to the extent that I used to (although I have 3 unread E-books out from the library now.)

    I am still watching and listening before my music and film lists are finalized on the 24th, but here are the top contenders:

    MUSIC:
    Gaika-SEGURIDAD
    Rina Sawayama-SAWAYAMA
    Taylor Swift-FOLKLORE (I haven’t heard her new album, EVERMORE, yet.)
    Julianna Barwick-MUSIC IS A HEALING MIRACLE
    Backxwash-GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT LEAVE HIM OUT OF IT
    Yves Tumor-HEAVEN FOR THE TORMENTED
    Phoebe Bridgers-PUNISHER & COPYCAT KILLER
    Polo G-THE GOAT
    Menzi-IMPAZAMO
    Fiona Apple-FETCH THE BOLT CUTTERS
    Denzel Curry-13LOOD IN + 13LOOD OUT
    Carla Bley-LIFE GOES ON
    Dezron Douglas & Brandee Younger-FORCE MAJEURE
    U.S. Girls-HEAVY LIGHT
    Paul Marmota-ZONA II
    Perfume Genius-SET MY HEART ON FIRE IMMEDIATELY
    Juice WRLD-LEGENDS NEVER DIE
    Black Dresses-PEACEFUL AS HELL
    Oliver Coates-SKINS N SLIME
    Scuru Fitchadu-UN KUZA RUNHU

    TV;
    SMALL AXE
    HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
    NATE
    I MAY DESTROY YOU

    FILMS:
    VITALINA VARELA (Pedro Costa)
    SHE DIES TOMORROW (Amy Seimetz)
    POSSESSOR (Brandon Cronenberg)
    STILL PROCESSING (Sophy Romvari) and SOME OTHER CONNECTION (Sophy Romvari & Mike Thorn)
    FIRST COW (Kelly Reichardt)
    NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (Eliza Hittman)
    -force- and HAPPY VALLEY (Simon Liu)
    FOURTEEN (Dan Sallitt)
    LABYRINTH OF CINEMA (Nobuhiko Obayashi)
    FRANCE AGAINST THE ROBOTS (Jean-Marie Straub)
    TIME (Garrett Bradley)
    I WAS BORN, BUT… (Angela Schanelec)
    MAYOR (David Osit)
    THE ASSISTANT (Kitty Green)

  14. Nick Toti

    Hi Dennis,

    I’m honored to have made the list! Hopefully my new one is also up your alley. (Thanks again for sharing my work–I always appreciate it.)

    I agree with some of your choices (especially the books Alone and Breakout). I’d also add Gabe Durham’s new book on Majora’s Mask, Seb Deken’s forthcoming book on Final Fantasy VI (Seb is an old friend and I read an early draft), and David Shields’s new book I adapted (a great experimental autobiography in the spirit of Edouard Leve). I didn’t read much else that was new this year.

    For movies, I’d add the absolutely great work Jacob Graham and company have been doing with Creatures of Yes on youtube. If you aren’t familiar, it’s worth starting from the beginning, but the new stuff he’s been posting since Halloween has been brilliant. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFb2j23UTe8

    I haven’t gotten into much new music this year except for this guy called Sematary who makes horror themed emo rap. He’s sort of terrible but also amazing and great. I can’t stop listening to him!

  15. Max B

    Hi Dennis. Thanks so much for including Clam Day, it really means a lot. Otto sends his thanks as well. Carl Stone’s record is definitely one of my favorites from this year too. I also loved the album Exeter by Bladee which surprised me, never liked any of his stuff before. The artist Andrew Norman Wilson has a movie archive project called thislight.org that I have spent loads of time on this year, and it includes some of his work which I really enjoy. I recommend to anyone/everyone.

    I sent you an email with some new music in it, feel free to check it out whenever you are able. Much love and thanks again.

  16. Damien Ark

    Woah. Being featured with other artists I admire, that’s crazy. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured on here. It looks like I’ve read most of those, too. As always, my eyes go straight your music selections. Would be cool if Jon could hear that new Sparks. Among other things. Hannukkah without him.
    Haven’t listened to as much as usual, and the list wasn’t ever finished, but here’s my draft for music.

    20. “Baphomet” John Zorn 19. “Thoughts or Feelings?” Celer 18. “Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel” 36 & 扎克 17. “Cocoon” Rod Modell 16. “Preludio” Fabiano do Nascimento 15. “Auflösung der Zeit” by Stephen O’Malley 14. “Everyday After” Celer 13. “Pretty Sneaky” Pretty Sneaky 12. “Godofredo” Godofredo 11. “Ultraclub4k” Døves 10. “NTS Radio 24th March 2020” Kali Malone 9. “Ghosts V” NIN 8. “Ghosts VI” NIN 7. “Stare Into Death and Be Still” Ulcerate. 6. “Made in Abyss: Soundtrack 2” Kevin Penkin 5. “The Deluge” Sutcliffe Jugend 4. “Planktos” Lionel Marchetti 3. “Inlet” Hum 2. “Ohms” Deftones 1. “Terminal Aggressor II” Dragged Into Sunlight.

  17. Damien Ark

    P.S. NTS has been a great find this year, too. Especially when you’re just exhausted and have no energy to deep search for music. It’s always there, 24/7. Probably my favorite website of 2020.

  18. Toniok

    Hello Dennis!

    Thank you for your list!! Awesome as always. I’m afraid mine is full of old things as usual. The other day I saw your movie PGL in a public library, that’s cool. Greetings!

    Movies
    – Night Tide – Curtis Harrington
    – The True History of the Kelly Gang – Justin Kurzel
    – Angelitos empantanados – Andrés Caicedo y La Rata (Eduardo Carvajal)
    – Color Out of Space – Richard Stanley
    – Jennie -William Dieterle
    – McQueen – Ian Bonhôte
    – This lynchian commercial => https://youtu.be/28raec1mgqA
    – Jugando al veo he visto => https://youtu.be/un26Y7gnY40

    Books
    – The Foolish Children – Ana María Matute
    – Eloísa está debajo de un almendro – Enrique Jardiel Poncela
    – Zac’s Drug Binge – Dennis Cooper
    – Empire of the Sun – J.G. Ballard
    – Reflections in a Golden Eye/The Ballad of the Sad Café – Carson McCullers
    – Zothique – Clark Ashton Smith
    – The Sundial – Shirley Jackson
    – The Criminal Child – Jean Genet
    – Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
    – Things We Lost in the Fire – Mariana Enriquez
    – On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
    – Leonora – Elena Poniatowska

    Comics
    – My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
    – My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris (translated by the great Montse Meneses)
    – Garage Band – Gipi

    Art
    If online counts, I choose these
    David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night
    Tetsuya Ishida: Self-portrait of Other

  19. Jeff J

    This is always the best list. It’s great to see everyone’s contributions in the comments as well.

    Dennis – Thank you for your incredible kindness including Julian Calendar on the list and in such incredible company. Thrilled that you dug the last EP in the series, which was my favorite as well.

    I need to pick up that new Carl Stone. I loved his two albums from last year, esp. BAROO. The new Thurston Moore flew under my radar. Is it song oriented or more sprawling?

    On the music front, the only things I’d include that you don’t have are Pere Ubu’s mighty BY ORDER OF MAYOR PAWLICKI, Horse Lords THE COMMON TASK, Thiago Nasif MENTE (Brazilian no wave electronica), Matthew Shipp THE PIANO EQUATION, and Patois Counselors THE OPTIMAL SEAT (worth seeking out on Bandcamp).

    I had no idea Mark Rappaport had a new movie. Just last night we watched his amazing MOZART IN LOVE from the mid ’70s, which reminded of somewhat of Rohmer’s PERCEVAL in how it deals with historical material, with a bit of The Wooster Group thrown in the mix.

    What is the Madeline Gins book like, if it’s possible to say quickly? I saw Jeremy Davies also recommend it in his year end wrap-up.

    In the homestretch of teaching and finally starting to have a little more time. November ended with one last bit of crap – someone broke into our house at 2 a.m. The alarm fortunately scared them away, but it was really unnerving. December has proven better so far.

    I’m guessing you saw Blake Butler’s recent essay about Molly, yeah? In case not, it’s shattering in ways that are hard to even put into language.

  20. Ted Rees

    Thanks for including me, Dennis! Great lists all around.

  21. Derek McCormack

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Love, Derek

  22. Mark Gluth

    Dennis, mon ami! Thank you so much for including CDTU with such stunning works. I’m honored. Some how I had no idea Tobin Sprout put out an album this year, thanks for alerting me.

    How are you? Things are goodish here. The election was a real line of demarcation. Things are getting better, I swear. My best friend killed himself in August so Erin and I have been dealing with that as this omnipresent thing. Sorry if I already told you that, I forget. It’s something I have a hard time saying, that Dave killed himself, so I’m trying to be more comfortable saying it. Anyway, I’ve been working on my new book quite a bit. It feels like I’ve gotten some traction. It’s a vague thing, the book, but I think I have a map of the vagueness, which for me is a big thing. Does that kind of thing ever happen for you?

    Take Care,
    Mark

    Here’s my favorite music of 20
    Noumen, Obscurium
    Boduf Songs, Abyss Versions
    Bvdub, Explosions In Slow Motion
    Eluvium, Virga I
    Square Pusher, Be Up A Hello
    The Innocence Mission, See You Tomorrow
    Dan Deacon, Mystic Familiar
    Jozef Van Wisseman, Ex Mortis
    Medhane, Full Circle
    Vladislav Delay, Rakka
    Roger and Brian Eno, Mixing Colours
    Ocoeur, Everything
    Clarice Jensen, The Experience of Repetition As Death
    36 and Zake, Stasis Sounds For Long Distance Space Travel
    US Girls, Heavy Light
    Golden Retirever, Rain Shadow
    Speaker Music, Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
    Anna Von Haussoff, All Thoughts Fluy
    Sarah Devachi, Cantus Descant
    Jordan Reyes, Sand Like Stardust
    Olivier Coates, skins n slime
    William Basinski, Lamentations
    Autechre, Sign
    John Frusciante, Maya

    • Damien Ark

      ah, a fellow ambient and drone fan. 🙂 <3

  23. Brian O’Connell

    Hi, Dennis,

    Oh man, what a list. And I must profess unfamiliarity with most of it, shamefully. More to explore. The books all look wonderful, especially “Castle Faggot”, which I really must get around to reading. Also Damien Ark’s novel and Thomas Moore’s “Alone”. As for the movies, I’ve only seen “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”, which was really something, especially that incredible last act; I’ve been meaning to see Richard Stanley’s Lovecraft movie too. The one on your list I’m most curious about is “Equation to an Unknown”, though: from what I’ve read, that sounds absolutely amazing. I will have to find time to watch it soon.

    For my own part, I did a lot of reading and viewing this year—some of it really important, even formative—but almost all of the books and most of the movies weren’t 2020 releases. So I have a lot to catch up with, but at the moment my favorite “new” film was “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”, which really took me by surprise. A very delicate, subdued handling of the unfortunately ever more grotesque situation young girls are faced with in this country. And beautifully shot and performed. But I still have tons I need to see.

    May your Friday have brought the best tidings. I hope your weekend is wonderful.

  24. Chris Kelso

    Thank you, Dennis – appearing on your website always makes me feel legitimate, like a real writer or something. I hope you have a great festive period.

    I can’t believe I had overlooked Smothered in Hugs. The DiCaprio and Clive Barker interviews were particularly enjoyable 💚

  25. Anna Polibina-Polansky

    Dennis, there is a catering of poetic reels by one author, they have gained popularity among pan-European viewers. Those screen essays are self-drawn, and the poetic scripts belong to one author. The wintry theme sounds articulately enough, so it may serve an electronic present in lyrics. Warm welcoming, estimators and amateurs equally. The arthouse genre is held in a popular, accessible formate. The spectrum of themes is yet to be fully discovered, sometimes it suffices to browse for the name of the film director-essayist. The films received a crop of awards in the US, Switzerland, Malta, Russia, Portugal, Poland. facebook.com/anna.polibina; filmfestivals.com/blog/anna_polibina_polansky

  26. BBDB

    Thanks for the support, Dennis, with After Denver, and Foghorn Leghorn, too. George Miles cycle is legendary.

    Favorite book I read this year was The Ice Cream Man & Other Stories by Sam Pink.

  27. _

    2020 HEAR WORMS BENDING MY YEAR (1.1—12.31) https://open.spotify.com/playlist/48tpK6Dx0ZvxGBD6HQC6i0?si=75evIQ5TSP6bz650HjCBbA

  28. Ashton Barrett Lemus

    Hi Dennis,
    I’m Ash Barrett Lemus, a 17 year old queer teen from the void Phoenix, Arizona. Your work has kept me at ease and helped me feel like I am part of something. I was sexually abused starting a really young age which then grew into very young sexual relationships starting at five. I relate so heavily to your books, specifically Closer. Closer is my favorite book of all time. When I was sixteen I made an album “Faux Head Image” which is like a collage of scenes regarding being abused and having a sexual and one sided romantic relationship with my best friend Sean, who I’ve known since I was eight. Upon reading Closer, the similarities between my love for this boy and yours for George are uncanny. The fantasy versus reality aspects are also quite similar. I’ve moved in and out of houses for months and I was living with my aunt and uncle about thirty minutes away from Seattle for about four months. I was quarantined for five months prior to this instance, which led me to the move. Sean, who I hadn’t seen for nine months at this point, stayed in Eugene, Oregon for a brief period of time because he tried to kill himself and was sent to a mental hospital. Upon visiting him, I felt the love I’d always had for him, but he seemed so empty. At this point I was really into acid, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my perspective on others was (and still is) heavily altered due to this. He was so emotionless and bland and it was overwhelming. I remember that he was constantly high though. I was high the entire time I was up there, to the point of being unable to function. Maybe this affected the experience as well, but it was reality shattering seeing this boy I’ve always loved, my best friend, change so drastically. I wanted to break down. Now we hang out in Phoenix and he’s more so himself, but there’s still a sliver of this uneasiness regarding his emotional well being. Regardless, this is too much context but here is the link to the album I was talking about. Thank you very much for your time. You saved my life and gave me some identity and comfort in the fucked up.

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