The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Paul Clipson Day


‘How can one translate the experiences offered by Paul Clipson’s films into linear writing? It can’t be impossible, for the films themselves proceed in such a direction: each one has a beginning, a middle and an end. Yet they do not work in that way exclusively—there is more at stake here than simple causality.

‘Clipson’s cinema is one of eternal recurrence. Subjects continually repeat themselves: bridges, buildings, fences, metal gratings, trains, airplanes, trees, suns, leaves, grass, eyes, hands, mouths, silhouetted figures walking on shorelines, puddles in concrete pathways, power lines, neon signage and blinking night-time lights, and water—lots of water. Beads of water on leaves, pools in puddles in concrete, waves crashing against beaches, raindrops falling on glass. These subjects are revisited again and again, sometimes to the exclusion of all else beyond their mirror-like realities. Clipson is unafraid to draw continually upon this basic set of prime subjects, which are linked in their capacity as otherworldly thresholds, their shimmering reflections and dynamic edges transforming material reality into the vibration of light. Such transformations are common to the model of cinema, which takes up the appearances of the world into a dynamic temporal flux of montage, yet Clipson’s primary concern is not alluding to the properties of cinema, but rather to the properties of perception itself. Even within a given film, the same objects reappear, passing into frame, passing out, and passing into frame again—a carousel of attractions. This structure is again repeated at the level of the shot, as the meter of Clipson’s films are set by short bursts, often no more than a few seconds at a time, with the filmstrip then rewound in camera and exposed again, rewound again and exposed again, a process that offers infinite and unending potential for iterations. Each object thus comes into visible presence in a multiple capacity, producing spaces where things are both the same and not-same: in each instance a subject is encountered freshly, made anew through the dynamic force of handheld camera movement, through the rhythm of its execution in temporal montage, and its juxtaposition with other subjects through the layering of superimpositions. Water is water, until it is suddenly melting away the hard edges of buildings and bridges, until it is a texture behind the darkened shadow of a fence, until it is crashing onshore in an explosion of particles of sunlight that sends the outline of a human figure into a vortex. Then, it is no longer mere substance—it becomes process.

‘Clipson’s films are among the clearest articulations since Brakhage of how vision is formed through process—how sight is not a passive and inert function, but equally shapes the world just as it is shaped by it. By probing the universe in its closest detail, often through a macro lens, Clipson shows us again and again how to ‘make it new’ through the act of seeing with one’s own eyes—directed at any ordinary object such as a leaf, a bead of water, a rusted bottle cap, a cigarette butt—each moment an occasion for wonder in how an object’s edges are formed, how it relates to and is produced by its environment, how it comes into and out of presence. He never appears to pre-compose the contents of his frame, choosing instead to follow the traces he finds on his journeys. In Clipson’s films, we begin to understand objects as events operating in slow motion. Things are broken down into their constituent shapes: that light is really an orb, that fence is really a grid whose negative space forms a tesseract, that puddle in the road is really a portal that leaks into another dimension. The camera is a layer of the body, a perceptual apparatus that acts in union with the surfaces of the world, as the body does. It does not separate us from what is external, but instead dissolves boundaries of internal/external by joining inner and outer realms in an act of union forged through sight. Through his lens and constant overwriting of images, Clipson reconstitutes vision in a fashion similar to the Ancient Greek concept of extramission, in which the seer beholds the world through rays that extend from the eye to the object. In this model, the viewer is bound up with the world in a tactile embrace, without the possibility of distance required to be distinct from what is observed, to be a passive spectator. This is a basic reality of quantum mechanics that a metaphysics based on the primacy of substance (a view from which the Western tradition has been built) cannot admit—yet this framework is one that process philosophy has no quarrel with whatsoever. It is a truth that our fragmented modern culture has not fully come to terms with—we live predominantly within mediated relations that promote the passive model of vision, that repress the necessity of our visual labour except through approved forms of consumption that maintain our isolation in order to sell aspects of ourselves back to us—but this truth is as old as time. As the third Mahāvākya of the Upanishads tells us, tat tvam asi—“thou art that” (or, “you’re it”). The answers are simple enough for all to see, the only thing required is to unlearn enough false ideas. …

‘All places are connected, all energy circulates. Clipson’s films give us a cosmology of pure energy; they stem from the realization that within all space is the compressed force of a thousand suns, waiting to be unlocked. In his vision of the world, matter is composed of veils that barely constrain the energy within them; objects interpenetrate one another as liquid forms whose edges are permeable. In COMPOUND EYES #1-5 (2011), a series of short films commissioned by the San Francisco Exploratorium, the possibilities of insect vision are manifested through macro images that open our eyes to the potential for the optical unconscious, which Walter Benjamin posited as among photography’s greatest asset, to wholly transcend the anthropocentric through the defamiliarzing effect of the close-up. In ANOTHER VOID (2012), we are plunged into the realm of quantum vision and the sight capacities of particles of energy. This transformation is continued in OTHER STATES (2013), where water becomes like fire, hands caressing grids of light become empty portals of blackness, forms oscillate between figure and ground as the image plane appears both utterly flat and infinitely deep, and the rising, uncanny atonality of the soundtrack by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma conjures an affective sensibility akin to a dream sequence in a horror film. This alchemical dynamic, a coincidentia oppositorum that produces a delicate balance between terror and beauty, is retained in much of Clipson’s work, which registers in its best moments a sense of the sublime from within the most familiar of landscapes.’ — Dan Browne






Paul Clipson Site
Paul Clipson @ Vimeo
Cinema for the inner eye: On the films of Paul Clipson
Paul Clipson @ IMDb
Interview: Grouper and Paul Clipson Discuss ‘Hypnosis Display’
Paul Clipson @ Experimental Cinema
Forgotten Spaces: Anthony Hernandez and Paul Clipson on L.A.’s 2nd Street Tunnel
A Light Change: Observing Memory Through Sound & Film
OTHER STATES: a program of films selected by Paul Clipson
Paul Clipson @ FANDOR
Paul Clipson @ instagram
Interviste #4 – Paul Clipson
Sognando dai film alla musica. Due mix di Paul Clipson



Paul Clipson explains anamorphic film

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma & Paul Clipson live at Cafe OTO

A Light Change: When Paul Clipson Met Grouper


from MUBI


NOTEBOOK: How do your pictures come to be?

PAUL CLIPSON: The films happen two ways, first as live sound/film collaborations that I make with musicians, which run from 20 to 40 minutes in length or longer, and then later as short films, linked to a specific soundtrack or piece of music.

Frequent live events provide a reason to steadily generate work, to always be out filming, with or without a purpose in mind. Live collaborations with musicians create an indeterminate environment, with music acting as a social architecture into which the films are screened. They’re not definitive works, and this allows me to look at what I’ve shot with an audience without it being “finished.” This is liberating, being able to share something while not completely knowing or understanding what it is. The short films come about as a result of this experience and are crystallizations of particular sections of footage I’ve become close to, that have gravitated towards specific pieces of music I’ve later been invited to work with by musicians.

For Feeler [2016], Sarah Davachi asked me to create a film for her music, which I listened to repeatedly and drew from film rolls that I’d shot in various places and times. I treat film rolls as found footage, as they were conceived without the music in mind. During this process, I’m looking for connections between the music and my images. I found in Sarah’s music a focus on textures that suggested thoughts or memories, and this encouraged images and sequences in my work that reflected these qualities to suggest themselves. A poetic collage slowly grew together of rhyming images and environments shifting in time and space, like a stone skipping across water. None of the footage directly related or was shot with her music in mind, so there’s a resistance between the sound and image, and that tension relates back to the performances, as Sarah and I have presented work together live as well. The cuts in the films are a combination of in-camera editing with superimpositions and then actual cuts to the film. All the superimpositions and layering is done in-camera. I don’t do visual post work after the film is processed at the lab, besides editing.

NOTEBOOK: You’re a projectionist by trade but a filmmaker by calling. What draws you to celluloid?

CLIPSON: I’m drawn to the physical beauty of celluloid, to its grain, texture, tactility, its colors and tones. I find film to be the most challenging and rewarding visual form to work in. Not only celluloid but the mechanisms and optics of film cameras and projectors as well. Zoom lenses, anamorphic and wide angle lenses present all sorts of directions in which to find images. There’s a very intense, emotional charge to shooting on film where there’s rarely a moment when one’s not aware of its fragility, a sense that everything could be for nothing, and certainly the serious cost of film also remains in one’s peripheral awareness. It makes the process feel both exciting and grave. With the mechanics of the camera, whether the trigger of a Super 8mm Nikon R10 or the button of a 16mm Bolex, there’s an instantaneous elation and sense of loss every moment one’s filming that’s unique.

NOTEBOOK: Does generative work, the kind that not only finds its way into a piece but leads to more, tend to emerge from moments of inspiration or through persistent discipline?

CLIPSON: What defines inspiration is subjective. Long periods of difficult and discouraging work can yield dynamic, surprising results. Maybe the discipline comes from not depending on inspiration for work. When inspiration does happen, it’s about being prepared for it.

I once spent a day looking for a certain kind of image in San Francisco. I guess I was projecting expectations onto some area of the city where I imagined I’d find a particular light or shadow. Whether this expectation was from memory or my imagination I’m not sure but I couldn’t find it. After traversing the city for hours, I found myself at dusk on the Third Street bridge by the ballpark, when I suddenly saw a reflection in water of one of the ugliest signs in the city at the time (I think it was AT&T Park or PACBel). This sign undulating in cadmium red on the dull dark blue-green water of a canal was a hypnotic, beautiful sight after hours of frustration, and I would never have looked for it or found it without the toil that led me there.

The path may seem irrational or pointless but inspiration is everywhere. Children unwittingly employ what Debord called the dérive, where their perspective or view of a place changes by the way they play in it. This is a practice I think we all knowingly or unknowingly practice in making work.

NOTEBOOK: Your pictures present a coincidence of structural phenomena, organized by intuition. How improvised are your compositions, or vice versa?

CLIPSON: They’re hyper-composed improvisations. Improvisation is a loaded term, in that the vernacular connotation is that it’s just making shit up as you go along. If I’ve learned anything from watching friends practice music over the years, it’s that improvisation is a kind of live multi-dimensional unspooling of experience, personal philosophy, and subliminal recordings that happens in the moment of a performance. I’m trying to get at this same thing while filming, recording a live performance of wherever I am that’s filtered through layers of superimpositions, in-camera edits and camera movements, with the vague awareness that somewhere in the future, these as yet unseen images will be projected into sound and music.

NOTEBOOK: Do you believe, like Brakhage and Yeats or other artists before you, in a form of poetic dictation?

CLIPSON: Any way one wants to look at something is valid but I prefer not to name, analyze or address where these things come from. Filming is a meditation where there’s a chance for all sorts of things to come into play, all under the eye of the camera and the choices that are made while looking through it. Attenuating this meditation are material influences that suggest places to start and new directions to take. Film stocks point out subjects on which to focus and frame. The trajectory from racking wide to telephoto and back on a zoom lens, can act like shifting thoughts, or a consciousness simultaneously passing through space while not moving. Many mechanical processes used while filming help to remove the practical filters with which one normally sees, allowing unexpected ways of seeing and framing the world. It’s a form of self-effacement or disappearance into the camera’s process, a vacuum where things rush in, where associations and moments begin to appear.


15 of Paul Clipson’s 29 films

Spectral Ascension (Music: Byron Westbrook, 2017)
‘Clipson’s Super 8 and 16mm films aim to bring to light visual preoccupations that reveal themselves while working in a stream of consciousness manner, combining densely layered, in-camera edited studies of figurative and abstract environments, in a process that encourages unplanned-for results, responding to and conversing with the temporal qualities of musical composition and live performance.’ — Echo Park Film Centre

the entire film


Total Fiction (Music: Jeremy Young/Shinya Sugimoto, 2017)
‘Total Fiction is live score performance to a 16mm film reel projection by Paul Clipson that will change night by night in reaction to the properties of each space. Like all of Clipson’s film collage works, this will be frenetic, it will span movements both in stark black and white and bright analog color, and the score will be disbursed in a series of chapters.’ — Koncertkirken



Love’s Refrain (Music: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, 2016)
‘Paul Clipson’s video perfectly summarizes the environmental elements available in the song, swirling deciduous and coastal locales into one disorienting fireworks display.’ — adhoc

the entire film


Headache (Music: Grouper, 2016)
‘Headache is an abstract collage of light and sound, visuals that easily reflect the wild and secluded city of Astoria, Oregon where Liz Harris (Grouper) currently lives.’ — Uproxx

the entire film


Lighthouse (Music: King Midas Sound/Fennesz, 2015)
‘A study of surfaces figurative and metaphysical, with various levels and planes of a city combined and superimposed to become visual echoes, suggesting an animated city surface of grids, graphs, geometries and lines: layers of subterranean streets and shadows evoking multiple levels of consciousness. Filmed in New York, San Francisco and Hong Kong. An unconscious homage to Saul Bass.’ — Northwest Film Forum

the entire film


Made of Air (Music: Grouper, 2014)
‘Blissfully sentimental–bookended by two gorgeous abstractions of movement (into, and later, out of the sea/cover/light) where everything is a blur. The people stand out, because their body parts are never really abstracted, and this prominence works more than it doesn’t. It really makes me feel like I’ve been brought under some layer, emphasized by the drifting repetitions of the song. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like I don’t often see this much earnest emotion in experimental filmmaking (which often feels cynical/cold/angry/distant).’ — Harrison Wade

the entire film


Speaking Corpse (Music: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, 2012)
‘There are moments in time, like the one Paul Clipson gives us: The city at night provides saturated palettes of color. All of these found objects cluster and converge within the duration of a series of overlapping shots, becoming new compositions, and resembling an alternative view of the everyday.’ — IndieLisboa



Another Void (Music: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, 2012)
‘Music by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Orpheus meets the bird with the crystal plumage. Filmed in the Tenderloin night of San Francisco, this study of the eye in vertiginous color and darkness, part drip painting, part contour drawing, part cubist collage, broadens and intensifies an on-going exploration into the various in-camera processes of handheld, small gauge filmmaking in the optic field, and the rhythmic and graphic relationships of multilayered imagery to music-making and dreams. ANOTHER VOID is the result of a continuing practice of working in Super 8mm film, utilizing all of the format’s limitations and benefits to maximum effect. The process of in-camera editing, in this case, the layering of a progression of hundreds of shots over each other, at any moment up to five or six images at a time, yields an array of unexpected, collaged compositions, largely unplanned for specifically, but achieved with a particular design in mind.’ — Light Cone



Ephemeris (Music: Aki Onda, 2011)
‘Ephemeris is a conversation of image and sound, between filmmaker Paul Clipson and electronic musician Aki Onda, rendered as if from a fragmented journey of landscapes and memories. Clipson and Onda each investigate very personal, intuitive spaces, through their favored technologies of Super 8mm film and cassette Walkman. Both artists base a significant emphasis of their work on performance environments, where their visual and sonic field recordings interact to create sensory collages born out of the subjective impressions of the audience.’ — AO

the entire film


Compound Eyes (Music: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, 2011)
‘Compound Eyes shows a macro-menagerie of natural life-forms that are introduced in a forest’s tapestry of earth, water and air: spiders, slugs, flies, bees, and ants navigate their lives in darkness and light.’ — iffr



Chorus (Music: Gregg Kowalsky, 2009)
‘Three cities become one in this unblinking nocturnal collage of images and sounds in which space, color and light move through the eye of the camera to create thoughts visualized before their conception. Shot in San Francisco, New York and Rotterdam.’ — Light Cone



Within Mirrors (Music: Jefre Cantu Ledesma, 2008)
‘It is not uncommon for the current generation of experimental and noise musicians to incorporate film into their performances. Oftentimes, the moving images feel arbitrarily chosen, as if selected merely to give the audience something to look at during performances in which the artists remain static. In rare instances, however, the relationship of abstract music to the film images with which it is paired is a symbiotic one, each informing and complementing the other. Such is the case on “Within Mirrors,” a DVD collection of seven short films, originally released between 2005 and 2008, by Paul Clipson featuring music by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. The result is a stunning example of how successful a collaboration across mediums can be.’ — artblog

the entire film


Corridors (Music: Jefre Cantu Ledesma, 2007)
‘Another gorgeous and sonically blissed out tag team, Clipson’s films, again on Super-8, were shot entirely in NYC, impressionistic shots of cityscapes, rolling hills, the texture of water, sun dappled evening skies, many of the shots textural, extreme close ups, patterns as much as images and shapes, sunspots, shadows, reflections, very active, the world flying past out the window of a train, power lines and bridges slipping out of eyeshot, setting suns and colored clouds, so lovely and dreamy. Cantu-Ledesma offers up the perfect soundtrack, music culled from the same sessions that produced the huge aQ fave Shining Skull Breath, thick and dense, whirring dronescapes, textured and layered, slipping from minimal shimmer to buzzing roar and back again, very much active, the intensity and propulsion of the sounds perfectly matching the motion of the visuals, in some cases, seemingly slowing it down, the drone dragging the landscape flashing by into sudden focus before letting it go again.’ — Tibor Nagy

the entire film


Two Suns (Music: Jefre Cantu Ledesma, 2005)
‘A beautifully abstract and paranoid impression of Southern California, filmed on grainy Super8, with lots of dizzyingly hypnotic footage of telephone wires, helicopters, cityscapes, gorgeously blurred out traffic lights and tail lights and street lights. There’s late afternoon silhouettes, fuzzy smears of neon, rain drops on glass, cranes and docks, abstract streaks of passing cars and slick roadways, hillsides covered in windmills, the sun reflected on the sea, highways and green hills. So lovely. And haunting. As are the accompanying sounds created, an ominous, buzzing, vocal drone, affected to the point that it still sounds organic, but not like a voice, more like streaks of sound, greys and blacks and browns, all smeared into blurred soundscapes of purr and whir and thrum, that perfectly compliment the shaky camera work, the grainy film stock, and the gorgeously and ominously mundane subject matter.’ — Tibor Nagy

the entire film


Black Sun Square (Music: Tarentel, 2004)
‘An expressionistic view of fear within the spinning zoetrope of an industrial labyrinth.’ — Oddball Films





p.s. Hey. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. You already know I think relaunching Yuck ‘n Yum as a business is an awesome idea. I still have yet to gaze upon the new ‘Twin Peaks’. I’m a billion percent sure it would been on my list. Oh, right, the Keenan. I’m still slowly making my way through it. It’s top notch, yeah, I’m there. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I do my best, thank you. Thanks for your films list. I haven’t seen almost all of them, partly due to the often delayed releases over here, but also just meaningless negligence. ** Steve Erickson, Thanks for the sneak peak at your almost final, official top 10. ‘Nocturama’ came out here last year, otherwise it would have been amongst mine. What is ‘I hate myself :.)’? I’m blanking. Take it easy with that abrasive muscle. ** Tosh Berman, Thank you fellow almost survivor of 2017. I loved the Richard Lloyd book, even more than I thought I would. Cool, cool, good morning! ** Toniok, Whoa, hi, man! A rare and wonderful treat! And wonderful, rare lists! The books list is super impeccable. Well, the others too, no doubt, but I know less of what’s on them. And so awesome, thank you, for the best of DC’s list. I often wonder which posts find the best homes inside the blog’s readers. So that was manna. Things good with you? If catching me up seems like a doable prospect, I would love to know. ** Bill, Hi, B! Yep, clockwork and all that. Great lists! I, of course, have just scribbled — well, typed — down the things I don’t know yet. My art list was skimpy too, and if I’d done a live show list, it would be very skimpy, which is shocking to realize. Thank you ever so kindly, sir. ** Jeff J, Hey, Jeff. Thanks, man. I haven’t kept up with Pere Ubu very diligently in recent years, so I can’t compare the new one to recent ones, but I think they’re in fine form. I felt ‘Song to Song’ is a transitional work, and, from all reports, Malick thinks it is as well, and, even so, the film worked extremely interestingly for me. Amazing things in it, very fascinating to see him stretch the new language he has been working with. In-between-ness or not, it was very easily one of the most exciting and inspiring films I saw this year. Dying for the new one. Was ‘Atlantic Island’ from this year? If so, it would have been one of the rulers of the roost. Don’t know why I assumed it was 2016. I haven’t read the new Foy yet, but it’s at my elbow. ‘Baby Driver’ sure seems to have divided people. I haven’t seen it. Thanks, man. ** Amphibiouspeter, Hi. New Juche is great. His online-only fiction/image hybrid books are incredible too. There is definitely a big trend towards statement-making art, not just in the UK. As a rule, I have zero interest in that kind of work. It inevitably generalises up the wazoo, and generalising is my enemy. Though I get why the times seem to ask for that kind of work. And more power to it if it impacts people, which I think it very rarely ever does, but, yeah, the conservatism among cultural arbiters and power holders these days is grim and definitely an obstacle for those of us who are interested in creating a complicated, interactive kind of work that tries to draw attention equally to receivers’ imaginations and its creator’s. Blah blah. Oh, thanks for the link. I just bookmarked it, and I’ll rush over there as soon as I’m capable of rushing away. Everyone, let me recommend to you to click this link and a read a new piece of writing by d.l. Amphibiouspeter aka the artist and author Peter E. Smart entitled SHFTD. Guaranteed great stimulation. ** MyNeighbourJohnTurturro, Hey, man. I’m not in the least surprised that a whole of our favorites from this year align. And the ones I don’t know will be absorbed by my head lickety-split. Ha ha, I’m inly about a 1/4 of the way through the new Prurient opus. Sounding good, but I didn’t want to jump the gun either. You saw ‘Zama’! I’m really dying to see ‘Zama’. Cool, cool, very best to you on this very gray (in these parts) day. ** Mark Gluth, Whoa, Mark! Yesterday was so worth it to get to see so many pals and be read their minds. Your and MANCY’s book has publisher? I think that was still up in the air the last time he reported back. Can not wait! And I’m guessing you’ve seen the current cut of your and Michael’s film, eh? What a sweetheart that is. Excellent music lists, a whole bunch of which I will now chase down. ** H, Hi, h! ‘A place in the sun’ … I’m totally blanking out. I must have forgotten whatever that is. (I seem to be coming down with some horrible bug this morning, and my brain is very fuzzy.) Thank you for your faves! Enjoy your day to the max! ** Misanthrope, I did wonder. You know I would. I hope the nowhere on either end of your absence was and will continue to be a state of grace. You and sleep, man. I would say just break up with it like a bad boyfriend, but that wouldn’t do you any good. Right, no tonsils, I do remember now. Better that way. I keep dimly wondering if mine are going to rebel suddenly. I think get them out at my age would not be fun whatsoever. ‘The Orville’: I’ll see what that is, but I’m sticking to my no TV show-watching regimen for the foreseeable future, because it works. Enjoy ‘Shark’. I can’t imagine reading him again. Woe is me. ** Sypha, Hi, James, I figured you were retail’s slave. Oh, I got your Xmas card the other day! It’s gorgeous and very me-like, I think, and it’s sending me good vibes right now from a shelf behind my desk and, oh, about a foot and a half to the left side. I look forward to your lists, of course. Right, it’s ‘Star Wars’ time again. Time to again decide if I really want to see what it is. Probably. ** Nik, Hi, Nik! Awesome to see you! Me, I’m really good but a bit too overwhelmed with simultaneous things: (a) waiting anxiously for word about ‘PGL’ from the festivals it’s submitted to, (b) writing the script with Zac for our next film, (c) writing (also with Zac) the script for this kind of giant project that I’m sworn to secrecy about, (d) and ushering Gisele Vienne’s (and my) new piece CROWD into Paris. So I’m good but a bit torn asunder. You’re swamped too. High five, or, yeah, low five maybe. Ah, shit, I totally spaced on that Kiddiepunk compilation book re: my lists. Would’ve been there. Thank you for your list. Stuff there I obviously love and lots of stuff that I’ll make my acquaintance with asap. What are you directing? ** Schlix, Hi, Uli! Sweetness to see you, my friend! I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I think I just became ill upon waking up this morning ominously. But you’re tip-top now? I sure hope? No problem about the ‘Crowd’ feedback obviously. It’s doing its Paris run right now. Gisele says it has come a long way since the premiere. I’m pretty happy with it. And thank you for the great lists. Your lists are always like a pirate’s treasure chest without the pirate. And without the chest too, I guess. Take care, man! ** Okay. I don’t know if you noticed but I had a Paul Clipson film in my 2017 faves list yesterday, and now, if you’re curious, you can see how his work fits in with your tastes and interests. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Paul Clipson’s work is beautiful. Very much in the tradition of Marie Menken.

    Gynormous Victory Over Trump in Alabama! A serial child molester has lost to the lawyer who prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan bombers who killed those four little girls in Birmingham back in the day. Steve Bannon is FINISHED. A Very Happy Day that I for one was not expecting.

  2. Steve Erickson

    I just watched SPECTRAL ASCENSION and I don’t have time for any more till much later today, but Clipson’s work is very impressive. In terms of pacing, it’s almost the exact opposite of Nathaniel Dorsky’s very meditative recent films, but there’s something similar coming across despite the density and reliance on music.

    I hate myself :.) is a very personal micro-budget documentary about Joanna Arnow’s relationship with a man who pretty much defines “hipster racism” (his idea of fun is going to Harlem open mic comedy clubs and using the N word in front of black people, and he also makes anti-Semitic remarks in front of her, although she’s Jewish.) But in the end, she finds control as an artist and a sexual being. It took 4 years to get a New York run and then it just played for a week at Anthology.

    I learned about raper Ka5sh from one of your Gig Days. In turn, I recommended his EP on Twitter. He found out and “liked it.” I checked out his Twitter page. Did you know he’s only 15?

    • Steve Erickson

      Oops, Ka5sh is actually not 15. I saw a video of him speaking, and he looks like he’s at least 25. I misinterpreted one of his memes.

      The muscle relaxant helped a great deal with my back pain – I feel so much better compared to just yesterday – but it also knocks me out for half the day, not all of which I can spend asleep. I talked about this with the pharmacist, and she said I should take half a pill tonight two hours before going to bed and see if 1)it has the same extremely sedating effect and 2)it’s just as helpful with my back pain.

      I also chipped a tooth while eating lunch today, so I have to see my dentist Friday. It was really embarrassing to call the general office where he works saying “I know his first name is Chris and he’s Latino, so his last name should be something Spanish.” (As you can probably guess, I haven’t seen him in 2 years.) It was really weird to crunch on something hard and then see part of my tooth fall to my plate. Has that ever happened to you?

      The new Brockhampton album is pretty good, although their publicist is so paranoid about leaks that he asked my editor to E-mail confirmation I really am reviewing it despite the fact that I’ve been on his mailing list for a year. There’s some unexpected touches, like Dre-influenced pseudo-G-funk production. If you like WuTang-meets-Odd Future posse cuts with many lyrics about being gay, this is the album for you.

  3. Sypha

    Hey Dennis, glad to hear that you got my card and that you enjoyed it. It seemed like an interesting thing to try out… the GIF as still-life!

  4. Amphibiouspeter

    Hey DC,

    I think I have to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never be able to go away and look up everything you have on here. If I could choose two superpowers they would be invisibility and the ability to look at a book and instantly absorb all the information (but also somehow that works for art and stuff as well). What would yours be? Back on topic, the stills from this are amazing, and I guess I got the feeling that they could only have been ‘found’ organically/by accident. The thing of just going round taking snippets constantly seems like a good process, that way when you have a concept or project then you already have a total wealth of material to draw on.

    I hear you. I just find myself getting bored after 10 minutes, or thinking that the argument isn’t even consistent, or whatever. I think that’s why playwriting has an important role even in contemporary theatre – there has to be some kind of posterity there, or for the work to be available beyond what’s available at the moment.

    Ah thanks for sharing, that’s so sweet! I was trying to work out what the d.i. could stand for in front of my name and I leave you with my favourite suggestions from Wikipedia:

    Di, a tone in the soflège existing chromatic scale between Do and Re
    Digitally Imported
    Destination ImagiNation, an international creative problem solving organization for children
    Diplomi-Insinööri, a Finnish 6-year engineering degree
    Diabetes Insipidus, a disease
    Di (Wu Hu), an ethnic group that overran northern China during the Sixteen Kingdoms period
    di, an irregular Latin masculine plural of deus (“god”, “deity”)
    Drill instructor, a non-commissioned officer in many military or police forces

    If only it were any of the above. Have a good one x

  5. Toniok

    Hello Dennis.

    I’m good, thank you! I’m afraid I have nothing new or interesting to tell. I keep trying to make art: photographs and drawings; reading books, reading your blog, seeing movies. As always. You look really busy, as always too, that’s great! Good luck with your movie and the festivals, it’s going to be great, I’m looking forward to seeing it!

    I’ve never heard of Paul Clipson, a new thing to see, thank you.

    Take care!!

  6. Misanthrope

    Dennis, What a great name for a filmmaker, no? Clipson. I like that. I’m thinking that his films would be something I’d enjoy as some sort of live event or installation. I do like, too, how the music tends to be the vehicle for the film. His process seems really interesting…and something I could totally never do, hahaha.

    The tonsils often rebel. My niece’s did and she had to have them out. They can be a real pain in ass for a lot of people. But you’ve had yours for a while now…I can’t imagine getting them out would be worth it at this point. I say no blood, no foul. You can always get them out if you get some tonsillitis or something. I wouldn’t worry.

    The Orville is a live-action sci-fi series from the creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane. I like space shows. He’s got his usual sophomoric humor, but he’s also got some really great scripts too. I really enjoy the series. And it’s just one of three I regularly watch.

    Yeah, you and Will Self. I know you’re not a fan, but I really like his stuff. I don’t know if you remember me telling you this, but I “discovered” your work and his work at the same time, and together, it had this really great effect on me regarding my own writing, as well as my appreciation of what can be done in Art. The two of you really opened up universes of infinite possibilities for me. So there’s that. I’d be lying if I pretended the man’s work had no effect on me at all.

    But it’s okay for people not to like the same things all the time. God knows we do indeed agree on a hell of a lot more than we disagree on.

    I lost a friend today. Not in the dying way. She just said she didn’t want to talk to me anymore or me to talk to her. We had become very close over the past 2 years, but I’d noticed in the past few weeks that she was distancing herself. She didn’t really give an explanation…or actually, her explanation was so lame that it must be something more (she was mad that I told her a plumbing bill was much more than it was…though I told her pretty immediately that I was kidding and it wasn’t that bad…seriously, that was the excuse…well, that and that I’m too chatty). It hurt at first, but my closer, truer friends rallied around me, and I’m okay with it all. As immature as I am, I’m adult enough not to want to be around people who don’t want me around. And that’s okay. Shit happens.

    • Mark Gluth

      Hey Dennis, I reread your list and realized I totally missed Ken by Destroyer…major duh on my end. Mancy and I have had a couple collaborations going on, this one started as something that was solicited by Permanent Sleep. I immediately thought of MANCY to fill in the spaces between some work in progress short piece things that I was stringing together for the text. But yeah, thanks for your excitement! I’m glad some of my music list piqued your interest, I’m more into instrumental stuff these days. There’s this new kind of music I keep seeing in different forms, it’s kinda classical, kinda electronic, kinda ambient. It’s hard to pinpoint, but I like it when I find it. Yes, the film looks great. I’ve never had the experience of writing something destined to become some other thing and then seeing that final thing. It’s kinda trippy, ya know?

  7. Schlix

    Dennis, thanks, actually I am back to tip-tip now but it took some time.
    I saw on your lists so many things that I missed last year. So much to explore. Since I am studying (again) my
    (reading) time is absorbed into that. Strange how much my life changed. But that is a long story and not bad at all.
    I forgot the Tobin Sprout on my list. Great album. And I did not manage to keep up with Guided by Voices. Their new one is in sight or already there!?
    Have you heard the new Wolf Parade? What do you think? I am not totally convinced but hand on heart: I can listen to everything with Spencer Krug for hours.

    Paul Clipson is great. I never recognized him before. Great stuff.
    On saturday there is one last chance to see The Ornithologist and
    I hope we manage to go to the theater.

  8. Nik


    Clipsons work is fantastic! I recognized the Love’s Refrain music video from when I got into Cantu-Ledesma earlier this year, but never realized this guy had all sorts of equally mind boggling videos. Also discovered Mike Kelley by checking out the list from yesterday, and I’m going nuts for the Kandors and Day is Done. Lots of fun, thanks for sharing all of it.
    Yeesh to the workload, that’s stress firing on all cylinders. Tell me what happens with PGL, I’m definitely hoping to see it whenever it’s available. How is Crowd developing? Do you know what the new scripts about, if you don’t mind me asking? Good luck with it all.
    I just finished a short play written by a student here, that actually turned out pretty well fortunately. It was my first time working totally independently as a director and I tried to approach it as an experiment. The result was more conventional than I’d hoped, but it taught me a ton about guiding the actors and structuring a rehearsal. Now I’m going to be co-directing the most recent translation of a Max Frisch show that was called “The Fire Raisers” and is now called “The Arsonists”. Have you read it, or any of his other work? It’s a dark comedy thats a parable for Nazism that we’re going to try to integrate into modern American culture somehow, hopefully in a way that isn’t ultra contrived or gimmicky. A lot of people who put it on do it as a goofball comedy, which just seems like a total waste of really dynamic material. Callbacks are tomorrow, so fingers crossed it works out well!!

  9. Armando


    Hope you’re doing good.

    I’m so angry at all the bullshit and *LIES* being said over and over and over about WOODY. I’m fucking fuming. I’m so fucking tired of this motherfucking bullshit created by farrow…

    I sent you an email. It wouldn’t take a long time to check out the things I sent; I swear. I’m not asking you for anything else; just that you please check out what I sent you. It’s extremely important to me. I know you’ll say you’re too busy, but, again, “It wouldn’t take a long time to check out the things I sent; I swear.”



  10. ZodMicrobe

    This is great stuff!! Thank you! I hadn’t known his work.

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