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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

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p.s. Hey. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! I guess I’m lucky in that sense, yeah. I don’t think I get grey. I get stressed out, which seems kind of too rattly or something to feel grey but maybe it is. Hm. How did the interview go? Are the interviews long and in depth? Do you have rules or something about what you’re supposed to ask, or can you improvise based on what each person is like and how they interest you, or both? My day was, as expected, full of auditions. It didn’t go so well yesterday, meaning we didn’t end up thinking any of the prospects were right. But it was okay. One quite annoying this is that … I’ve had this thing, condition (?) since I was a kid called impetigo. It’s this contagious skin condition, and, when you get it once, you’ll always keep getting it all your life. And you always get it in the same place on your body, which, in my case, is on my right arm near my elbow. It’s red, very itchy bumps, usually in kind of a circle. I used to get it every couple of years for a long time, but I haven’t had it happen for, like, twenty years, but yesterday my arm felt itchy, and, bang, there it was. It’s no big deal, but it’s a drag, and lasts usually a week or two, so now my arm is ugly and itchy. Other than that, yesterday was unsuccessful on the film work front, but okay. Today we’re seeing two prospects, including the guy we really want for the main role, so — fingers very crossed — we’ll offer him the role, and he’ll say yes. How was your day? What’d you do? ** Jamie, Salut, Jamie! Oh, wow, you can bet I would have been extremely interested to hear Hannah’s lecture. I think you know I’m a huge Nouveau Roman buff. Did she talk about Robert Pinget, do you remember? He’s less widely celebrated than some of the others, but he’s probably my favorite. Man, how awesome is Hannah! I hope I get to meet her (and you, obviously) sometime. Cool, yeah, his films are pretty special. Gary Lutz: He’s extremely not prolific. He’s known to work on single sentences for months. He’s the epitome of the ‘writer’s writer’. He does things with sentences that make the heads of sentence-fetishists like me explode. Anyway, if you can get ahold of them, probably the best way in would be one his two longer — not that they’re long — books: ‘I Looked Alive’ and ‘Stories in the Worst Way.’ but you can’t go wrong. The new book is really tiny, four stories, but it’s fantastic. I also highly recommend, if you’re sufficiently interested, a great essay by him called ‘The Sentence Is a Lonely Place’ that you can read here. Shit, I was going to think up three questions for you, and I was excited to do so, but, as I told Dora, I came down this obnoxious skin condition thing, and it’s very itchy, and it fucked with my concentration. Ouch, the dentist. I hope he or she declared your mouth an oasis. Today Zac and I are seeing a possible film performer, a cool 15 year-old girl, and then the guy we really want for the lead role to whom we will be offering the role in desperate hope that he’ll accept. Fingers crossed. And some apartment figuring out. And a lot of forcing myself not to itch my extremely itchy right arm. How did everything turn out for you today? Love avalanche, Dennis. ** Raymond, Hi! Oh, thank you again! Cool, well more than cool, that you’re imminently with a child. Close friends of mine here in Paris just had a kid in December, and they’re very happy about that and very exhausted by that. Be prepared. DIY is definitely a very mixed bag. Jesus, me too about the strength and growth and perseverance and so on of the rising left where you are, and here in France too where that’s happening as well. Not to mention in the US, duh. I have hope about it. It feels real and deep and not just trendy so far. Great that you’re finding the poetry scene there interesting and are smoothly involving yourself. I was saddened by Tom Raworth’s death the other day. When I was a starting poet, I was really into this long ago anthology called ‘Children of Albion’ which collected what I guess was the UK’s avant-poets of that era, the 60s, 70s, and his poems were the most lightning bolt-like. No, I don’t know Keston Sutherland or that book. I will definitely seek it out. Thank you! You know, it’s very strange to realize upon you mentioning it that I don’t think I’ve done a full Coil post before, which is kind of inexplicable. I totally will do that, and if you want to help and contribute anything to it, that would be very awesome and incredibly welcome. Thank you very much for the jog and for the great offer. Let know. And have a great day! ** Sypha, Hi. I think they put out, yeah, maybe four or five books. ‘The Sluts’, two or three of Peter’s books, and I think another book maybe too that I’m blanking on. ** David Ehrenstein, Thanks, D, and, yes, interesting points of comparison. ** Steevee, Hi. Yes, all the Trump leakage is pretty suspicious and as possibly actual leakage as it is deliberate fishing. I think it’s extremely important to stay diligent and not allow ourselves to become too confused or overwhelmed or numb. The hatefulness of all of it is real, and I think we’ll learn how to play the game and win as long as we stay very attentive and maintain as much reason and logic as we can. Something on that order. Bewildering. I’ll read that article, thanks. I have very low tolerance of those accusations against Linklater, which seem like PC-squared-off control freakery to me, and I’m curious to see the writer’s take. Thanks! ** New Juche, Hey, Joe. I can’t figure out why the French ‘Sluts’ would be so pricey since it’s in print and easily available, at least over here. No, we’re far from finished with the auditions. Assuming/hoping that the guy we want to play the lead says yes to us today, that’s the only role will have cast, and there are four more main roles and maybe 10 smaller roles that aren’t filled yet. We have a ways to go. This weekend? Auditions, apartment hunting, itching my arm, and on Sunday there’s a rare-ish performance of Gisele’s and my very first collaborative piece ‘I Apologize’ here in Paris, so that’ll be involving. Other than that, the weekend is a crapshoot. So, for me, work and coffee. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Happy his films caught your eye and intrigued you, Ben. ** Kier, Kier! It was so, so great to get to ‘see’ you and talk with you yesterday! Zac was thrilled to get to meet you. He’s been a massive fan of yours forever. And we’re both over the moon that you want to collaborate with us on the film! Thank you so much! I promise the film will be worthy. I really think it’s going to be great, I really do. No, the auditions were kind of a bust yesterday, but that’s okay. You’re doing your writing thing, cool! How is it going/did it go? I hope you had a great sleep, and we’ll be in touch really soon about the film shebang. Hooray! Love, me. ** Statictick, Hi, N. Lipsett’s stuff is pretty unknown outside of the experimental film buff crowd, so no worries. The emailing plan is A-okay. Good ice sculptures are few and far between, or, well, really good ones. ** Misanthrope, I like to think anyone would have done it. I suppose it’s partly animal instinct or something, But still: hero = you. The really interesting thing about language, and this is really true in English, is how you’ll use one word, ‘love’, ‘great’, etc., to cover so many variations of meaning, partly out of laziness, but it results in those basic words becoming kind of nuclear and poetic, and it’s all about the detailed inflection in how you say the word. The French do that too, and it’s hell if you’re trying to understand what a person is saying when you barely know the basic shit about the language. I say ‘great’ about almost everything, and I just kind of alter my tone or expression slightly to add the needed nuance, and I forget all the time that French people only hear the dictionary definition of ‘great’ when I do that. Weird and really interesting stuff, no, nerdy or not? ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Cool, so you know Lipsett’s work. Generally whenever I meet someone who knows of him, it’s almost always just an awareness on their part that his stuff influenced George Lucas. Good question about Bruce Conner’s films. I did a big Bruce Conner film post here a few years ago, as you might remember, and it had a fair number of embeds of his films and excerpts, and the next day I got an email from the handlers of his work asking me to take it down because Conner didn’t want his work to be viewed online, and of course I immediately took the post offline. Now that he’s deceased, I wonder if the rules will be relaxed or not. Plus, given the retrosective that’s traveling around and the greater attention it has drawn to his work, you would think there’d be a call for his films to be made more widely available. It’s a crime that his films are so hard to see. We will know at approximately 2:30 pm today Paris time if the guy has agreed to play the role. We feel like he will, but, still, given his perfectness for the part, gulp. Thanks for the finger crossing. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. My total pleasure. Yes, I devoured the new Gary Lutz, which doesn’t take long since it’s tiny, and, duh, highly recommended. I hope you find a pot of gold in those salt mines. Or, wait, the pot of gold is at the end of rainbow, so I guess I mean nuggets, many many nuggets. ** Okay. Do you like watching things revolve in a straight line and at various speeds? Apparently I do. See you tomorrow.

18 Comments

  1. @ DC, sorry to hear of your impetigo woes. As a boy I had some bad eczema on my left hand, which thankfully cleared as I blossomed into adulthood. I do know how agonisingly hard it is not to itch. Scratching would be a few seconds of endorphin rush followed by weeks of regret, true of so much in life haha.

  2. 1. Dennis, that was really, really, really lovely. One of my all-time favorites. And it didn’t give me hours of homework to do, like the Arthur Lipsett Day.

    2. Revolve: http://www.revolveavl.org On my way to Asheville Monday to work with Colby on this online arts thing. BENEFIT / LAUNCH PARTY Wednesday Feb 8 if there’s anyone here in the Asheville area: http://www.revolveavl.org/launchlistening-party/
    “REVOLVE, in the River Arts District’s Cotton Mill Studios, is quickly becoming known as the reigning spot in town for bringing the Asheville art world into conversations happening in the global art and academic world.”
    Will be hosting musicians and performances; I’ll be contributing reviews, essays.

    3. One thing about getting older: decades can pass by when you don’t think about something or someone you used to. I guess the synapses get crusty then. Cause I remember Lipsett and Very Nice, Very Nice, but I’m almost sure I was interested before there was the Lucas connection, and I don’t think the link was Conner, whom I didn’t get at till later. I’m pretty sure someone randomly turned me on to Lipsett, and back when it was really hard to see films, with no web or even DVDs. Could I have seen it at a museum or even rep house? I saw a ton of my favorite movies between ages 15-24 or so at a great art theater in DC where things played on double bills 1-3 nights: 8 1/2, Wild Strawberries, Week End, Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

    4. I’ve been following a few exchanges about Tom Raworth, since he was at one time a frequent visitor DC, and he’s a very close friend of Doug Lang. From what I understand, Tom posted that he had inoperable cancer about ten days ago, but has not died; his death isn’t listed anywhere like Wikipedia yet, and a few people have apologized for circulating the news without a reliable source, including Marjorie Perloff.

    5. That Gary Lutz talk/essay. Yes. I remember throwing it at some students who asked why I’d found some writers they liked unreadable. I feel I actually know what I’m doing most of the time when I write, but guided by intuition, and then I go back and polish and some of what he talks about becomes conscious. But a lot of times, I like to think that writing is like singing, or making up little tunes in my head: It’s not hard to know whether it sounds and feels good (though I suspect I’m not very sophisticated and am more of a natural).

    6. Coming to Paris for the month of June. So I sure hope you’re there. Récollets, for which I am as always very grateful to you for getting me in the door. I have this project starting for which I’d like to get to know some Paris galleries and artists, which I hope you can help with?

    7. Did you have to put purple stuff on your skin for impetigo (as I did)? Have you used aloe gel? Come to think of it, do you want to tell us if you take/swear by any supplements, especially as a non-carnivore?

    That’s enough.

  3. Hi!

    Yesterday’s interview was a really pleasant experience. My interviewee was a very intelligent woman and I had a great time. It lasted for about an hour, a little more and that’s the usual duration of these interviews. I have these basic questions or more like titles or main themes I ask them about but then I’m just following them with my questions so it’s very different with everyone. I love it this way because I think it’s way more personal than discussing all the subjects in the very same manner.
    Oh shit. I’m really sorry about your arm! I guess it can never come in a good time but it’s especially bad timing on its part with all the work you have to do now! I hope today is/was way-way better and more successful than yesterday! I keep my fingers crossed for you! How did everything go? Did the guy say yes to the main role??
    I made another interview today which turned out to be quite long but nice nonetheless. Not so much else just yet.
    I hope everything’s the best on your end!

  4. Dennis,

    I’m still here! Sending you lots of love from the backwoods of the United States of Dissolution! It’s been a weird few days. Well, you know. I wish you a speedy recovery from your itchiness. You say ‘great’ all the time? One of my favorite words is ‘beautiful’ — I probably say it too often. Life is beautiful, then it’s over.

    I hope your main lead accepts the Role he was born to play.

    *Steevee (and Dennis) – Richard Linklater is not a racist! He’s too brilliant and giving, caring, to be reduced to such small-minded inanity. He thinks in continents, not cities. Shame on whoever is spreading such evil bullshit!

    Much love Dennis, and to all my fellow DC’ers.

  5. I very recently transferred all of my “Tea With Tosh” shows (from the 80s) from vintage video to digital. And one of the shows is a 30-minute interview with Bruce Conners. I sent it to the estate to let them know something like that exists. Very little interview footage of him is available. It also includes one of his films, “Vivian.”

    Wonderful eye-candy today. There is something meditative about seeing a spinning object going round and round.

  6. Hi Dennis, nice post again! I have to watch it properly on my computer and not on my phone. I just saw something on TV I thought you might like. It blew my mind: an hour long documentary about robot cameras made to look like crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, etc, all the better to observe them in the wild. It ended with an almost Werner Herzog scene of an orangutan idly using a saw to cut a branch – followed by a reveal that the robot orangutan camera had been programmed to use a saw too, to provoke the competitive instinct. Wild. Yes – Tom Raworth. What a guy. Rest in power. X

  7. I’m sorry about your skin problem and I too am wondering if you’re taking anything for it.

    I wasn’t trying to say that Linklater is a racist, and neither does the article I linked to, but there are scenes in his films involving people of color I do find patronizing, like the one with the Latino man and Patricia Arquette in BOYHOOD. On the other hand, it bothers me when people blow up an interaction that takes up about 90 seconds of a 160-minute film and treat it as though it was the key of BOYHOOD’s meaning – an Al Jazeera website editorialist said she won the Oscar for playing a white savior.

    • steevee,

      the actress Angela Rawna, who played the weird middle-aged woman who was sexually interested in Mason (BOYHOOD) was also the medical deputy in A Scanner Darkly (2006) … she was excellent in both films and wasn’t a tertiary character at all …. DID YOU BUY HER THE FLOWERS?!!

  8. Hey Dennis – Like Tosh, I found this very meditative and hypnotic. As it was loading, the page kept toggling down in jerky waves, making the spinning objects appear and disappear, as if they were spinning out of sight or something.

    I remember the Bruce Connor day you did and how it was yanked so quickly. Wasn’t there also some story about him trying to acquire old prints of his films and destroy them?

    Hope there’s good news on the casting front. Are there other large parts beside the lead that you’re particularly keen to find the right person?

    I saw Parquet Courts last night – they put on a good show, really exciting in parts, reminded me a bit of rave-ups from the Feelies, Pavement, and Television but with their own spin. Super taut band. You a fan of their music at all? I wasn’t big into their records but glad I caught the concert.

  9. hey denducken, really really nice day, i especially liked the toxic sign and the lana del rey and the smoke coming off the burger when i thought it was a separate gif. scrolling down this post had a nice calming effect, like a therapeutic watch. i’ll trade you another therapeutic watch in a silly video:
    http://diamondguls.tumblr.com/post/150295802322/he-bobbin
    it’s pretty short, u just have to like let yourself zone out a little. haha, it does it for me. let him into your heart. sorry i can’t remember enough html anymore to make a real link. dude, i think you’re incapable of non-worthy work, but working with you has been a dream of mine for years so i’m already pleased as can be! the writing went well! i listened to the song on repeat for 30 minutes and wrote. first i read through the lyrics while listening to it, the structure of it is so cool and made my mind sparky. then i just wrote whatever triggered by the song and tried not to stop and scrutinize too much. and it was hardly painful at all! it was almost even a little bit fun. so total success. i’m doing it again on monday, so shoot me my next thingy maestro, pretty please? that itchy thing sounds like the worst. i had an allergic reaction once to an antidepressant and it made my whole body itch horribly, i barely slept for a week, and the only thing that helped was tiger balm cause the burning sensation it gives overwhelmed the itching, but that’s maybe not good on sores huh? does it last long? obviously hoping you bagged your main guy for the film today and will have a good less itchy day tomorrow. x k

  10. Hey Dennis!
    I like too many bits of this post to name them. I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at photos of tornadoes in the past couple of days, so it feels nicely coincidental. Plus, I said the word ‘bacon’ to Hannah this morning and just as I said it I scrolled down to see that revolving rasher. Spooky. The Dorito and the gold shoe are pretty amazing.
    Man, I feel for you with the impetigo. I’m a fellow sufferer, except I get it on my face. It’s well annoying, eh? It gets me down a lot and I find it tires me out too. I hope it’s the smallest of outbreaks you got there.
    I guess by this time in the p.s. we’ll know if you got the guy for your film? I’ve had my fingers tightly crossed for you all day, for what that’s worth. And I hope that things went well with your other potential performer.
    How awesome is Hannah, indeed? I think that every day. She did mention Robert Pinget, but only in passing. She concentrated mostly on Alain Robbe-Grillet and Nathalie Sarraute. It was nice seeing all the students present taking notes and thinking that it might have been the first time that they were hearing some of the ideas presented. And you may well get to meet Hannah…we’re considering a trip to Paris for her 30th in August. If you’re around, I think she’d love to meet you too (I’m wondering if it’d be possible to fit in Euro Disney….).
    Thanks for the Lutz recommendations. I’m going to read that essay tomorrow, hopefully. How’s your weekend looking? We’ve got Writing Gang on Saturday night, which is always great.
    I hope your skin clears up fast and your weekend is like a magic carpet ride.
    And I do still want the three questions, but whenever you’ve got the time and the inclination is good!
    Overwhelming love,
    Jamie

  11. Have you heard the singer Nadine Khouri? Her debut album is one of my favorites of 2017, not that this statement means much on Feb. 3rd. But she takes the mood (and some of the sound – she has a very rich, warm voice) of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday and filters it through indie rock and neo-soul. I have a feeling much of this album would sound too close to Adele or Amy Winehouse for your taste – at its best, it’s more akin to Erykah Badu – but it’s worth a listen on Spotify or YouTube.

    I’m currently having an allergic reaction to deodorant, so I understand the temptation of itching right now. Fortunately, it’s still the dead of winter, and I’m wearing too many layers to make it easy to scratch under my arms.

  12. Dennis, I hope your lead said ‘YES’

  13. Dennis,

    Very nice post — wonder what a revolving post itself would look like.

    So sorry about your skin problem. I see you’re very busy in auditioning your potential actors — hope all goes really well with your quick recovery.

    Nothing much here — just very busy. I started a new essay (small one) project on Jesse (Collins)’s collage and relevant literary work. Do you like Jesse’s work? I feel like you mentioned this before, but I forgot. I *love* his work. I have other unfinished projects (ugh), but just decided to jump in this one as well.

  14. Thanks for all the blasts from the past, Dennis! I’m listening and waxing nostalgic.

    Not sure I came across any nuggets in the mines. But I think we avoided the worst scenarios, which I’m thankful for.

    Congratulations on getting your lead guy. And sorry to hear about the impetigo. A few years ago, some of my students were working in a group project, and couldn’t think of a name; so I named them… Impetigo. Sorry.

    Bill

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