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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Spotlight on … The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, edited by Ron Padgett (2012)

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‘Joe Brainard is one of those unclassifiable artists . . . who do several things well. In his case this resulted not in separate compartments but a unified whole . . . . The same qualities shine forth in all that he produced: clarity, bold simplicity, accuracy of execution and feeling, humor, casual elegance, a charm that invites his audience in rather than keeping them at arm’s length, and something grander but determinedly low key and offhand, a sense of the ordinary as sacramental.’ — Ron Padgett

‘[Brainard] seems to have been drawn to forms of containment, in which the unruly or rupturing experiences of life are brought into the kind of reductive clarity that we often associate with classical modalities . . . . Not surprisingly, along with this gift for distillation, Brainard had an uncanny eye for essential, revelatory detail; these contribute to the vivid immediacy and spontaneity of his work. In essence, such specific distillations can be understood as a form of abstraction, not the abstraction we affiliate with non-representational art, but something perhaps closer to the poetics we have come to associate with the New York School of poetry: an “aesthetics of attention” as critic Marjorie Perloff has said about its most important avatar, Frank O’Hara . . . . Distillation, specificity, and a keen sense of intimate scale allowed Brainard to locate the extraordinary in the ordinary and, curiously, something like the reverse.’ — Ann Lauterbach

‘Joe was a creature of incredible tact and generosity. He often gave his work to his friends, but before you could feel obliged to him he was already there, having anticipated the problem several moments or paragraphs earlier, and remedying it while somehow managing to deflect your attention from it. Into something else: a compassionate atmosphere, where looking at his pictures and recognizing their references and modest autobiographical aspirations would somehow make you a nicer person without realizing it and having to be grateful. It’s for this, I think, that his work is so radical, that we keep returning to it, again and again finding something that is new, bathing in its curative newness. Joe seems to have taken extraordinary pains for us not to know about his work. Either he would create 3,000 tiny works for a show, far too many to take in, or he would abandon art altogether, as he did for the last decade of his life, consecrating his time to his two favorite hobbies, smoking and reading Victorian novels. It’s as though in an ultimate gesture of niceness he didn’t wasn’t us to have the bother of bothering with him. Maybe that’s why the work today hits us so hard, sweeping all before it, our hesitations and his, putting us back in the place where we always wanted to be, the delicious chromatic center of the Parcheesi board.’ — John Ashbery

‘Joe Brainard was both a collector and an antimaterialist. He loved beautiful objects and bought them, but he loved emptiness more and was always giving away his collections and restoring his loft to its primordial spareness. As one of his closest friends told me, “He was like a teenager. It was difficult for him to live in the real world. He’d get rid of everything. His loft was Spartan-too much so. I remember at the end, when he was so ill, the nurse would have to kneel next to his mattress on the floor-it broke my heart.”‘ — Edmund White

 

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Listening

Joe Brainard reads from ‘I Remember’
JB reads ‘Van Gogh’
JB reads ‘Worry Wart’
JB reads ‘Today (Monday, February 23, 1981)’
JB reads ‘Scope’
JB reads ‘Breakfast Out’
JB reads ‘Sick Art’
JB reads ‘Tuesday, February 18th, 1971’
JB reads ‘The Fourth of July’
JB reads ‘Bird Life in Vermont’
JB reads ‘Minute Observation’
JB reads from ‘I Remember’

 

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Watching


I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard – trailer


Joe Brainard episode of ‘Public Secrets’


‘Bruno Lalonde, lectures dans ma bibliothèque: Joe Brainard’


A celebration of ‘White Dove Review’, co-edited by Joe Brainard


‘Nancy Is Happy’


A Tribute to Joe Brainard | The New School for Public Engagement

 

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Further

Joe Brainard Official Website
Re: ‘I Remember: A Film About Joe Brainard’
Bruce Hainley on Joe Brainard @ Frieze
‘Homage to Joe’ by Keith McDermott
Book: Ron Padgett ‘Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard’
Joe Brainard’s Comix Collabs @ Els
ewhere

Book: Andy Fitch ‘Pop Poetics: Reframing Joe Brainard’
‘Joe Brainard’s Queer Seriousness’
‘Poetry and the artful presence of materials: Joe Brainard at P.S. 1’
Rachel Youens on the Joe Brainard Retrospective @ PS1
JOE / BRAINS / LAMAR
John Ashbery on Joe Brainard
‘He Fancied Nancy’ by Jordan Davis

 

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Ron Padgett interviewed about Joe Brainard

 

Even though you and Joe Brainard are often associated with the “New York School” of poetry and painting, respectively, your friendship dates back to your adolescence in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Can you talk a little bit about how you came to know one another and how you ended up in New York City?

RON PADGETT: I met Joe in 1948. We were in the same first grade class. The next year I went to another school, and we didn’t reconnect until high school. He was the school artist and I was the school poet, therefore we were both “different.” We even published a little avant-garde magazine together, The White Dove Review. When I came to New York City in 1960 for college, Joe accompanied me, on a visit, before his art school started in Dayton, Ohio. But after a few months in Dayton he quit school and moved to New York for good. We remained good friends for the rest of his life. He was like a brother to me.

Talk a little about how you know Kenward Elmslie, and how he fits into the whole New York School scene. What was his relationship to Joe Brainard?

RP: I was already a big admirer of Kenward’s poetry when I met him in the spring of 1964. He was a friend of Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery and James Schuyler. Kenward had come to poetry by way of writing lyrics for songs and Broadway shows. I believe he met the New York School poets through John Latouche, who not only wrote Broadway shows himself but also held a glittering salon frequented by a variety of writers and performers, such as Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Paul and Jane Bowles, and Lena Horne. Latouche introduced Kenward to John Meyers, the Tibor de Nagy Gallery director who knew Kenneth, Frank, John and Jimmy. Kenward’s poetry readings, which include his singing, always make me feel that I’ve been to a mysterious, witty, moving show with big production values. Joe Brainard and Kenward were companions and collaborators for 30 years.

Joe Brainard collaborated on works with many of the New York School poets, including yourself, Kenward, John Ashbery, and Ted Berrigan. I wonder if you can talk about collaboration as an element in your work and as a means of working collectively with your peers. Is collaboration still an important part of what you do now that you’re a bit older?

RP: I’d say quite a bit older! I’m still doing collaborative works, after more than 40 years, now mainly with the painter George Schneeman. It’s as exciting and scary as ever, because we never quite know what we’re going to do until we do it, and then we can never figure out how we did it. It’s as if a hybrid of us forms a third person, the one who actually does the work. Having to work with an unpredictable collaborator has rubbed off on to the solo work I do. It has made me more open, more willing to take a risk, more trusting in whatever it is that makes us write poetry and make art.

Humor is another pronounced characteristic of a lot of New York School writing, especially in your work and Kenneth Koch’s, but also in O’Hara’s and Berrigan’s and Ashbery’s—and in Joe Brainard’s writing as well. Why do you think humor is such a crucial part of your work? Where does your sense of humor come from? Have you ever found it difficult to be taken seriously because there is so much humor in your work?

RP: I like to laugh, and I also like the kind of wit that makes my mind laugh. Humor is the nephew of happiness and optimism, without which life would be unbearable. My penchant for comedy probably started with my Ozark hillbilly grandparents, who had a spunky sense of humor. My dad, who was a bootlegger, was quite a prankster. And when I was a child I was crazy about comic books. There are some literary people who think that for poetry to be valuable and meaningful it must be utterly serious at all times. I don’t see why poetry can’t be as big and various as life itself, and that includes humor. And of course comedy can be serious in its own way, too.

I have two images of Joe Brainard in my mind. One is the Joe Brainard of his book I Remember, which is an image of a very lively, intelligent, sensitive person with a breezy sense of humor he deploys even when talking about the most difficult and trying events in his life. I see some of this person in his more pop-arty kind of visual work. But then his paintings and portraits and collages strike me as quite serious, almost despairing at times. I don’t know if you see it the same way, but I guess I am asking if you saw Joe as a person who tried his best to put on a pleasant face that may or may not have masked a kind of suffering he didn’t or couldn’t show to the world?

RP: At the age of 19, Joe wrote a diary entry in which he talked about this very question, concluding that he had “so much undressing to do.” (In my book Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard I quote from his diary.) By “undressing” he meant stripping down to one’s basic self and being honest, a mission he was true to for the rest of his life. Both his visual art and his writing range from the very funny to the very serious, but in all instances I think he tried to make beautiful art that was personal and even intimate. It’s a very friendly art that reflects Joe’s own sweetness and generosity, a generosity that led him to give the world all the beautiful works he made.

 

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20 artworks

 

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Book

Ron Padgett, ed. The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard
The Library of America

‘In New York’s vibrant art and poetry scenes of the 1960s and 70s, Joe Brainard occupied a special place. An artist of diverse and extraordinary gifts, he worked prolifically in a dazzling range of media, creating cover designs and interior art for some of the most significant books of the period and experimenting with the mixing of poetry and comic strips. The publication in 1970 of his one-of-a-kind autobiographical work I Remember showed that Brainard was also a writer of originality, grace, depth, and distinctive humor. I Remember has become a contemporary classic, of which the poet James Schuyler said: “It’s a great work that will last and last—in other words, it is literature.”

‘Here in one volume is the full range of Joe Brainard’s writing in all its deadpan wit, effortless inventiveness, personal candor, and generosity of spirit: the complete text of I Remember, along with an unprecedented gathering of intimate journals, stories, poems, travel diaries, one-liners, comic strips, mini-essays, and short plays, many of them until now available only in expensive, rare editions. Using apparently simple means to achieve complex and surprising effects, these works turn the most everyday experiences into occasions for startled contemplation. “Brainard disarms us with the seemingly tossed-off, spontaneous nature of his writing, and his stubborn refusal to accede to the pieties of self-importance,” writes Paul Auster in his introduction to this collection. “These little works … are not really about anything so much as what it means to be young, that hopeful, anarchic time when all horizons are open to us and the future appears to be without limits.”

‘Assembled by the author’s longtime friend and biographer Ron Padgett and presenting for the first time fourteen previously unpublished works, The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard provides long overdue recognition of a singular literary talent and a terrific person whom readers will come to love.’ — TLoA

 

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Excerpts

Death

Death is a funny thing. Most people are afraid of it, and yet
they don’t even know what it is.

Perhaps we can clear this up.

What is death?

Death is it. That’s it. Finished. “Finito.” Over and out. No
more.

Death is many different things to many different people. I
think it is safe to say, however, that most people don’t like it.

Why?

Because they are afraid of it.

Why are they afraid of it?

Because they don’t understand it.

I think that the best way to try to understand death is to
think about it a lot. Try to come to terms with it. Try to really
understand it. Give it a chance!

Sometimes it helps if we try to visualize things.

Try to visualize, for example, someone sneaking up behind
your back and hitting you over the head with a giant hammer.

Some people prefer to think of death as a more spiritual
thing. Where the soul somehow separates itself from the mess
and goes on living forever somewhere else. Heaven and hell being
the most traditional choices.

Death has a very black reputation but, actually, to die is a
perfectly normal thing to do.

And it’s so wholesome: being a very important part of
nature’s big picture. Trees die, don’t they? And flowers?

I think it’s always nice to know that you are not alone. Even
in death.

Let’s think about ants for a minute. Millions of ants die
every day, and do we care? No. And I’m sure that ants feel the
same way about us.

But suppose—just suppose—that we didn’t have to die.
That wouldn’t be so great either. If a 90-year-old man can hardly
stand up, can you imagine what it would be like to be 500 years
old?

Another comforting thought about death is that 80 years or
so after you die nobody who knew you will still be alive to miss
you.

And after you’re dead, you won’t even know it.

 

30 One-Liners

WINTER
More time is spent at the window.

SUMMER
You go along from day to day with summer all around you.

STORES
Stores tell all about people who live in the area.

WRITING
Others have already written what I would like to write.

TODAY
Today the sky is so blue it burns.

IN THE COUNTRY
In the country one can almost hear the silence.

THE FOUR SEASONS
The four seasons of the year permit us to enjoy things.

RECIPE
Smear each side of a pork chop with mustard and dredge in
flour.

BOOK WORM
Have always had nose stuck in book from little on.

THAT FEELING
What defines that feeling one has when gazing at a rock?

COSTA RICA
It was in Costa Rica I saw my first coffee plantation.

HAPPINESS
Happiness is nothing more than a state of mind.

MONEY
Money will buy a fine dog.

OUR GOVERNMENT
A new program is being introduced by our government.

EDWARD
On the whole he is a beautiful human being.

LAKE
A lake attracts a man and wife and members of a family.

THE SKY
We see so many different things when we look at the sky.

A SEXY THOUGHT
Male early in the day.

POTATOES
One can only go so far without potatoes in the kitchen.

MOTHER
A mother is something we have all had.

MODERN TIMES
Every four minutes a car comes off the assembly line they say.

THE OCEAN
Foamy waves wash to shore “treasures” as a sacrifice to damp
sand.

TODAY
High density housing is going on all around us.

REAL LIFE
I could have screamed the day John proposed winterizing
the cottage and living there permanently.

ALASKA
I am a very cold person here.

THE YEAR OF THE WHITE MAN
The year of the white man was a year of many beads.

LOYALTY
Loyalty, I feel, is a very big word.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Perhaps in our mad scramble to keep our heads above water
we miss the point.

HUMAN NATURE
Why must we be so intent on destroying everything we
touch?

COMPANY
Winifred was a little relieved when they were gone.

 

Picnic or Yonder Comes the Blue

“After a white reception in the crystal room of the Hotel
Kenmore, Mrs. George Eustic (Patricia Hays) and her husband
left on a wedding trip to the Pocono Mountains, Pa. They will
live in good old Noodleville.” (Home.)

Where the friendly purple heart is.

I like to do things. I like to eat, and things like that. I like
the things that go on around me. People are nice. And, really, I
like this place I live in. However, some people don’t.

Sally doesn’t.

Sick at heart, the trembling girl shuddered at the words
that delivered her to this terrible horrible fate of the East.
“Nasty!” How could she escape from this oriental monster
into whose hands she had fallen—this strange man whose face
none had seen.

Smile!

It is only a little picture,
In a little silver frame,
And across the back is written
My darling mother’s name.
(Valentine)

Pink and purple and orange ones with Venetian rose buds
Imported from Venetian
In eleven thrilling volumes

I heard a shot—I saw him run—then I saw her fall—the
woman I love. My leg was broken—and my gun was gone! I had
only one thought—(tee! hee!)—his strange, astounding plots
must be avenged—he must die for a coward at my hands! He had
the courage of a lion and the cunning of a rat. He came running
towards me when—suddenly, I—

Ran.
Forgetting the ripped lace, $35, green violence, & free samples.

“I always run when I hear 3 rings!”

. . . and remember those swell picnics in Birch Grove?

 

29 Mini-Essays

PEOPLE

People are the most interesting books in the world.

THE BEACH BOYS

“The Beach Boys” are worth feeling old about liking.

AMBER

What few people seem to realize is that amber is just petrified tree sap.

T.V. DINNERS

Sometimes progress takes too big a bite and ends up with indigestion.

VAN GOGH

He dared look the sun in its face and steal its radiance.

OPTIMISM

Perhaps it is enough to know that nothing will ever be as it was before.

AMERICA

That a giant economy-sized box of “Supreme—Three Ply—Extra Soft—De Luxe” cleansing tissues only costs 39¢ ought, it would seem, to restore one’s faith in something.

MOTHER

A mother is something we have all had.

GIRL SCOUTS

Girl Scouts is more than selling cookies.

IMAGINATION

Imagination is the mother of reality.

PRIDE

Pride creates its own banana peels.

BREAD

Bread is the greatest loaf story in the world.

RECIPE

When in doubt, sprinkle with cheese and bake.

GARDEN

When in doubt, mulch.

FREUD

From Freud we learn that when a wife smashes a vase to the floor, it is really her husband’s head that lies there broken into many pieces.

THE ERA OF MIND

Geology, which is the story of the rocks, finds its climax in the history, which is the story of man… if you get my drift.

AUTUMN

Autumn gets the red out.

WOMEN’S LIB

A woman can do anything she puts her pants to.

PEOPLE

People who need people are the peopleish people in the world.

GARBAGE

As I was saying to my garbage on the way out the door the other night—“Why should I carry you down three flights of stairs? I don’t even like you!”

ON THE OTHER HAND

If you go to bed with your shoes on, you’ll save time in the morning.

EARLY ATHLETE’S FOOT

There is an old saying not to judge a man until you have walked in his moccasins for two moons.

YOU CAN’T LOSE FOR WINNING

He who would give his right arm to be a free man is a free man with one arm.

REMEMBRANCE OF WOMAN PAST

The echo of an interesting woman can be an ordinary scarf.

MOTIVATION

“Some day my prince will come…”

THE TRUTH

It may just be—you know—that “the truth” is far too obvious to risk any comprehension of.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Would you believe a new Revlon fingernail polish called “Burnt Toast”!

HISTORY

What with history piling up so fast, almost every day is the anniversary of something awful.

PEOPLE

If I’m as normal as I think I am, we’re all a bunch of weirdos.
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*

p.s. Hey. ** Bill, Hi, B. Jonas Burgett … new to me, I think. I’ll go start my discovery. Wow, it seems like you just got to Berlin, and now you’re outta there? But my sense of time is a little skewed. Enjoy your last days (hours?). You go back to SF? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yeah, pretty interesting, I agree, obviously, and about ‘PIAIL’. ** Steevee, Yeah, I don’t you linked us to that before. Everyone, Steevee’s got a new review of a new film (Kôji Fukada’s ‘Harmonium’) up for your delectation. The thing is, we don’t need a professional editor. Zac is very good editor who had a job at one time editing commercials, music videos, and short films. The only reason we would need a pro editor was if we had no editing skills and didn’t know what we wanted or what we were doing, which is definitely not the case. So we don’t need a different editor, and I don’t think we would be given a new one in any case unless things go haywire. We just have to play the game with ours to some degree and then make her do what we want, explaining our reasoning as clearly as we can, ideally helped by her dexterity. I think, at this very moment at least, that it’ll ultimately work out okay. Thank you for the suggestion and thoughts. ** Tosh Berman, I was weirdly haunted in ways I couldn’t quite figure out by ‘The Swimmer’ too. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Well, the first day with the editor wasn’t as violent as I had feared. She rewatched the film over the weekend and sort of got it. Still, her ideas are all about normalizing and editing to emphasize the story when we want to the story to be no more important than the film’s style, structure, rhythm, etc. Basically, the only way to work smoothly with her to initially go along with some of her less disturbing proposals and make a new cut of the film. We should have one finished today. Then we’re going to explain why that isn’t what we want and how her cut is undercutting our intentions and push the film back towards being the stranger thing we want. She seems nice, so I think/hope that will work. In any case, I feel fairly confident that we can get the film to where we want it to be, and it’s just kind of a drag that we have to prove ourselves in this time-consuming way. But we’ll see. Yes, you definitely shouldn’t to be a victim of the organization’s disorganization again. It seems theoretically that it should be simple to rectify and will end up being a one time problem? Great about your great progress on the work that counts. And I hope the job hunting gets de-obstacle-ized. My yesterday was just editing, editing. The heatwave here is pretty awful, and it’s worse today, and our editing room turns into an oven very quickly, so ugh. More editing today. How was Tuesday for you? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. ‘Mommie Dearest’ is the way outlier in Perry’s work, for better or worse. It isn’t very indicative of what he does generally. Sounds like big fun is imminent in Dundee. You wreaking havoc is such a lovely idea. Please do. ** Misanthrope, Hi. ‘In the round’. Revolving stage? Or will they arrange themselves onstage like spokes on a wheel. I’ve been to concerts with that set up. They usually just seem gimmicky, but AF probably has some clever idea. Try to enjoy your very busy sounding day off, man. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff! I was very happy to see that the FSG news is public and that everyone (on FB and undoubtedly off) are so happy for you. Peckinpah doing Didion is a strangely exciting, simultaneously strange/inspired and kind of weird/awful idea. Huh. Unbelievable that even Malick has to deal with that shit. I think, fingers crossed, that it’ll ultimately work out okay with ours. But really we don’t need a pro editor. That’s already clear. Technically, she’s just quicker than Zac, but no better. The insistence on having a pro help with the edit reminds me of the contingent that thinks you need to get a degree in a writing program to successfully write novels. It’s a weird conservatism. ** Florian-Ayala, Hi, Florian. Underground venues in the US? Mm, I’m pretty out of it. having been over here for a while. I’ll give it some thought and will ask others when I can. I don’t think galleries dislike small talk necessarily. It’s always wrong to generalize about things, you know? Take care. ** Right. The ultra-great Joe Brainard is under our spotlight today. I hope the fruits prove very enjoyable. See you tomorrow.

13 Comments

  1. Hello neighbor (almost, I mean, compared to when I’m in the US). Rick and I are making an intense art-related day of it because he leaves tomorrow (at 8 am followed by Diarmuid’s arrival at 1 pm), and I probably won’t be back here today. But of course you know there is maybe no one but Tim whose sensibility I ever felt closer to than Joe, whom I did not know well, for all the times we were in the same room. I know he thought i was one of those guys whose adoration made him uncomfortable. I adored his smile and his chest hair and way of displaying it; I was just telling Rick about that yesterday. I think it’s no wonder he’s been singled out as an extraordinary artist because everything he did was so original, unique, and genuine–and of course, imitable, which has somehow sometimes made it hard for me and others to bring out our own plain-spoken talk-to-myself aphoristic writing when we really want to. It feels like his name tells you exactly who he is: Good ol’ Joe–midwesty twangy surname–and with a big “Brain” a little hidden in there so it surprises you sometimes how sharp and smart he is. You might remember that one of my life’s high points was me and Tim reading our play to him and Kenward in the gazebo of the house formerly occupied by John LaTouche (see blog like a week ago or so): We made Joe Brainard smile!
    I am glad you sound more upbeat after meeting the editor, who may have to feel her way into your approach, after being entirely charmed by you both.
    See you Friday, I hope, when I expect you and Z will find yourselves busy; maybe Diar. and I can check with you about meeting after your long day on Wednesday or Thursday? little hugs, B

  2. How could this article possibly fail to even mention Joe Brainard’s drawings for Jonathan Williams book gAy BC’s?

  3. Joe Brainard de mon coeur! As I trust y’all recall Joe was having this three minte film portrait taken by Andy on the day I did my big Silver Factory interview. Tere was a bar on the west side (forget the name) where joe could always be found in the same place with a beer in one hand and ahalf-smoked cigarette in the other. LONGED to get his attention but I guess I just wasn’t his “type.”

  4. Things sound better now that you’ve spent a day with the editor, but it still seems like you’re going to waste a bit of time letting her have her way with the film and then sort of manipulate her back towards your vision of it. Why wouldn’t the producer let Zac edit the film himself in the first place? With the proliferation of relatively easy-to-use editing software, it seems increasingly common for directors to edit their own films.

    I’m very happy that Jeff’s book is coming out through FSG, especially that it’ll probably make it into Barnes & Noble and whatever chain stores are left. I remember how I had to talk St. Mark’s Books, when they were still around, into ordering a copy of his first novel, and despite their supposed dedication to indie presses, they had no idea what it was.

  5. I’ve long been a fan of Joe Brainard’s artworks, especially his adorable Nancy series, but I’m new to his writing so will take today as the springboard.

    I got some major bad news today in that the Bank of Scotland are axing the entire Dundee call centre operation, meaning 252 jobs will go including my own. From December 8th everyone there will need to find something else. I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity, and maybe by then I’ll be driving and will therefore be able to get out and find work. Right now I’m putting together a DJ playlist for this weekend’s wedding, an ideal bit of displacement activity if ever there was one.

  6. Hey Dennis, I really enjoyed “I Remember”, always waffling about my commitment to handle “Collected Writings”.

    Yup, back in San Francisco, so no more squatting in the first spot. (Good for you, Bernard!) I have a day of work meetings ahead already, eek.

    Hope the new cut of the film works out.

    Will attempt to stay awake for “My Friend Dahmer” tonight.

    Bill

  7. All “Joe” books are incredible. I have the Modern Library of America edition, and it’s a fantastic piece of work. One of the great American writers, just for his “I Remember” series. And beyond of course.

    “The Swimmer” had/has a profound affect on me because it’s a guy losing it in front of his associates/friends. It is sort of like having a dream where you are walking somewhere in the public with no pants on. You realize you have no pants but do others? I think how the story evolves from just a guy swimming in a pool, then goes off to another, then another – and then the reader/viewer finally but kind of slowly gets it. The pacing is excellent on the page and film. It’s a tough piece of work. And very emotional.

  8. Dennis, I really like the one-liners and mini-essays. I’m wondering if our own Mr. Dankland wasn’t inspired a bit by these.

    Yeah, it’s a very small square stage in the center of the venue. Looks like they hardly have any room to move. The size of the stage might depend on the size of the venue of course. Actually, here’s what it looks like:

    http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/images/localworld/ugc-images/276413/Article/images/30378405/16035114-large.jpg

    Should be interesting. They seem pretty basic in their setup and just down to playing the fuck out of music. Which is as it should be, I think (because I love that shit).

    $400.00 later and LPS is signed up for two month-long summer school courses…and all because he didn’t turn in the work. I added up and figured all the assignments he did turn in: would’ve had As and Bs in all the courses. Just refused to turn shit in. Goofball.

    Oh, and I got my medical records. The only issue is that they don’t specify which mesh was used. ARGH. Now I’ll have to contact the surgeon. I’d just like to know.

    Ah, man, all those pesky suits who just know better than everyone else how things SHOULD be done. Ugh. Fucking annoying. But like I said, you guys’ll be fine.

  9. Hi!

    Thank you for this precious post! I love Joe Brainard’s works. I’ll definitely go after this collection!

    For one, I’m glad your first day with the editor didn’t prove to be as horrid as you expected but this “new cut and then back to your initial plan” route sounds pretty time-consuming and frustrating. Though if you manage to show her what the original idea is and why ‘normalizing’ would kill it like this, I think it’ll ultimately be very much worth it!
    The heatwave is strong and alive here, too, so I empathize!
    I started reading this manhwa (Korean comic), Killing Stalking. I used to read tons of manga/manhwa but I don’t anymore or hardly ever so it’s a special occasion now. I just saw a few panels from it somewhere and I looked it up and now I’m hooked. I absolutely adore its style and character design.

    How was today in the oven? I hope everything’s as good as possible!!

  10. Here’s my interview with Bertrand Tavernier for RogerEbert.com. This was originally destined to be published in Fandor, before they decided to get rid of written criticism and interviews, and you can actually see where my editor forgot to get rid of a reference to Fandor in the RE.com piece. http://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/the-passenger-bertrand-tavernier-on-my-journey-through-french-cinema

  11. Hi Dennis,

    I thought I’d share a haunting experience I had at an art exhibit temporarily in Los Angeles. It’s unrelated to today’s post, but fits in pretty well with some recurring interests of your blog: http://www.hammertonail.com/editorial/14th-factory/

    I’ve been silently following your editorial dramas the past few days. I’m good friends with a couple of pro editors and my experiences with them make me hopeful that things will go well for you/Zac. The general sense I get from editors is that they genuinely want to help realize the vision of the filmmaker. Typically, they make less money than sexier positions like cinematographer, even though they might spend twice as many hours working on it (or more!). This being the case, I’ve never met an editor with a massive ego. Here’s hoping that my good experiences bode well for yours!

  12. Oh, this “Collected Writing of Joe Brainard” is amazing! Wonderful day you’ve put together to celebrate it, too. I heard that Kenward Elmslie helped make it possible for Library of America to put this out. A treasure trove.

    Do you know if there’s any significant Brainard that isn’t included in this? I seem to recall on the old blog there was a post that featured rare and OOP writings by him and I was never sure if they made it into the later LoA edition.

    Hope things with the editor are going better and you’re moving in the right direction with her. BTW, your earlier description of the film as a combo of early Garrel (the best Garrel!) and Rohmer sounds mind-boggling and wonderful. So many of those very early Garrel films like ‘Marie Pour Memoire’ are hard to see. Do you know if they’ve become more available in France?

    • Have you seen LES HAUTES SOLITUDES? I was astonished that it got a week-long run at the Metrograph in New York earlier this year and got a substantial audience (at least when I went), so I’d expect a DVD/Blu-Ray is on the way.

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