The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Susan Tyrrell Day


‘“Actor often cast in sleazy, raunchy roles.” That was the headline for The Guardian’s obituary of the maverick cult movie actress Susan Tyrrell (18 March 1945 – 16 June 2012), who died last month aged 67 after a very tough life. Seriously: what greater career summary could an actress possibly hope for?

‘Since her death I’ve devoured all Tyrrell’s obituaries and found the outrageous anecdotes about this tempestuous outlaw / outsider actress so fascinating, it prompted me to do my own (belated) tribute. I hadn’t thought of Susan Tyrrell much since reading the tragic news of her losing both her legs in 2000 (they had to be amputated when she was stricken with a rare blood disease; considering her health problems, Tyrrell’s death wasn’t entirely unexpected) or kept abreast of her subsequent film appearances. It’s sad when it takes death for someone to be reappraised, but there’s been a genuine outpouring of affection for Tyrrell online in the past month – a recognition we’ve lost a true original. I hope I can do justice to Tyrrell’s weird charisma.

‘Prior to her death, I mainly knew Tyrrell from just two films. Like many people of my generation, she made a vivid impression as raspy-voiced, gum-snapping hillbilly matriarch Ramona Ricketts in the John Waters juvenile delinquent rockabilly musical Cry-baby (1990). Many years later, I saw her as Carroll Baker’s mousey, tremulous and down-trodden daughter-in-law in Andy Warhol’s BAD (1977). (I know I’ve seen Big Top Pee Wee (1988) at some point, but it’s been so long I need to re-visit it to refresh my memory of Tyrrell in that).

‘Since then, I’ve loaded my LOVEFiLM request list with Susan Tyrrell films (not many of which are available on DVD in the UK, sadly) and seen Forbidden Zone (1982). But what all of Tyrrell’s obituary writers unanimously agree on is that her crowning achievement was her performance as the volatile alcoholic Oma in Fat City (1972).

‘When people lament wistfully about the golden age of gritty, small-scale 1970s character-driven American films, they mean films precisely like Fat City, John Huston’s downbeat and soulful study of melancholy losers. Set in a peeling, shabby vision of skid row Stockton, California, Huston’s tone is hard-boiled but sensitive and compassionate if ultimately pessimistic (“Life is a beeline for the drain,” one of the characters despairs towards the end). The action mostly shuttles between boxing gyms, derelict welfare hotels and dark dive bars where the characters chain-smoke and drink away their troubles while mournful Country & Western music emanates from a Wurlitzer jukebox. (The Kris Kristofferson ballad “Help Me Make It through the Night” plays under the opening credits and sets the mood for the ensuing film).

Fat City contrasts the stories of two couples: Jeff Bridges as a promising teenage boxer on the ascent and his naive girlfriend Candy Clark, and the stoical, battered Stacy Keach as a past-his-prime boxer and Tyrrell as his booze-sodden love interest Oma. (The older pair is far more interesting).

‘The role of juicehead Oma was originally intended for Faye Dunaway, then at her zenith. No doubt Dunaway would have been fascinating in the part, but Tyrrell invests it with a totally idiosyncratic frowsy, bleary-eyed kewpie doll strangeness. (Dunaway would eventually get to interpret a similar role much later in her career, as the drunken Wanda Wilcox in the 1987 film Barfly).

‘It’s jarring to realise Tyrrell was only 26-years old in Fat City: with her matted rat’s nest hair, face screwed into a mask of misery and slumped, defeated body language she could pass for someone a good fifteen years older. (Tyrrell always looks vaguely forty-something in all of her films, regardless of her actual age). Her performance is the quintessential study of the jaundiced bar stool mama, the kind of drunk you pray doesn’t spark up a conversation with you at a bar while you’re waiting for someone (and they always do). She’s such a hardened barfly that when Oma makes a rare sojourn outside in daytime, the jolting unfamiliarity of sunlight makes her blink and turn unsteady. Tyrrell nails the stormy mood swings of an alcoholic: sherry-swilling Oma is alternately tearful, petulant, maudlin, raucous, self-pitying and needy. When angered she turns shrewish, a harridan. “Screw everybody!” she slurs. She and Keach have a piquant argument at one stage (Him: “Screw you!” Her: “Up yours, cowboy!”). She’s also prone to drunken philosophising: “The white race has been in decline since 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered syphilis!”

‘Once Keach’s initial infatuation with Oma wears off, he realises what exactly he’s lumbered with. “Every time she opens her mouth, I think I’m going to go crazy!” he despairs. Yes, Oma is a nightmare, but Tyrrell scalds the screen every time she appears. While the rest of the cast give low-key naturalistic performances, Tyrrell is on an entirely different register – out-sized, bravura, Bette Davis-ish intensity. She’s an actress out on a limb, risking embarrassment. Tyrrell was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance, but rather than herald greater things Fat City sealed her fate and set a bar she’d never be able to reach again for various complex reasons — perhaps her own tumultuous personality, or maybe Tyrrell was so convincing as an unstable drunk it scared off producers?

Fat City certainly guaranteed Tyrrell would never be a conventional leading lady (probably not her destiny anyway). Luckily she saw herself as primarily a character actress: she was beautiful enough to be a mainstream star (sculpted cheekbones, feline eyes, heart-shaped mouth), but instead opted to embrace her inner freak. (One of the defining characteristics of Tyrrell’s career was her willingness to look grotesque).

‘But looking back at Tyrrell’s wayward, erratic filmography, she deserved better films. Tyrrell probably belongs to the elite tradition of actresses too uncompromising, eccentric, decadent and individual for Hollywood to know what to do with: think of loose cannons / trouble makers like Louise Brooks or Tallulah Bankhead (and more recently, Sandra Bernhard). In fact, in Barry Paris’s essential 1989 biography of silent cinema’s wild child Louise Brooks he quotes a friend of hers recalling asking Brooks how – when she was almost overburdened with beauty, potential and star quality – she wound up exiled from Hollywood and unemployable. Brooks admitted, “I like to fuck and drink too much.” I suspect that’s equally true of Tyrrell (who could swear like a truck stop prostitute). And it clearly rankled her: in interviews Tyrrell repeatedly bewails the quality of her films. In 1992 she starred in an avant-garde one-woman performance art stage piece about her career disappointments entitled My Rotten Life: A Bitter Operetta. It’s like David Lynch meets Kurt Weill and Tyrrell is on scathing form.

‘The other Tyrrell film I’ve seen since her death is Forbidden Zone. Very deliberately striving for cult movie status, this zany musical looks great and has some amazing moments (it’s remarkable what was achieved on a clearly small budget) – but it’s also frequently shrill and annoying, and the music of Oingo Boingo is pretty much nails on a blackboard for me. As the vicious Queen Doris of the Sixth Dimension, Tyrrell walks off with the film. Boiling with sexual energy and fury, gleefully luxuriating in her own evil (Eartha Kitt’s Catwoman in the 1960s Batman TV series would appear to be her template), Tyrrell demonstrates (for a heterosexual woman) a profound understanding of camp in this performance. In fact her only potential threat in the film is the superbly deadpan former Warhol superstar Viva, who makes a cameo appearance and delivers with peerless nonchalance the killer line, “See you guys later – I need to change a Tampax.” (In a climactic moment, Tyrrell and Viva roll around on the ground in a cat fight. It needs to be seen to be believed).

‘In Forbidden Zone, the sadistic Queen Doris is married to King Fausto of the Sixth Dimension, played by dwarf French actor Herve Villechaize (yes, Tattoo from Fantasy Island). In one of the extra features on the Forbidden Zone DVD, Tyrrell is interviewed and discusses her relationship with Villechaize (they’d been romantically involved, but split by the time they co-starred in the film). She reminisces about the first time she ever saw Villechaize, onstage in a play. As the play progressed, Tyrrell found herself drawn to him and it gradually dawned on her: “I want to fuck a midget!” When the interviewer splutters with nervous laughter, Tyrrell clarifies, “In a very loving way!”

‘As a nice postscript, this is Tyrrell interviewed in Lee Server’s excellent 2006 biography of Ava Gardner, recalling her encounter with the ailing veteran actress in Spain in 1984. It reveals much about Tyrrell’s warmth, generosity, hedonism and ribald sense of humour.

‘“I was in Spain doing a film … had two fabulous lunches with (Gardner). She had saddlebags of vodka on the sides of her eyes. But what a beauty. You’re just in awe, it’s like taking in the Taj Mahal of beauty. But she was a real girl. “Honey honey” and smoking smoking and the beauty of this face and drinking and laughing our asses off. She was trying to get me out of Madrid. She said I had to get out of there – get the fuck out of the country. And she leaned over the table, and she said, “You need to get the fuck out of Spain, because the guys all have little dicks and they’ll fuck you in the ass before you can get your panties off.” I loved her so much. We laughed so hard … What a genius. She had a lot of vodka in her, boy, that’s for sure.”

‘I think I want to go to for a boozy, debauched lunch with Susan Tyrrell and Ava Gardner …

‘Tyrrell is survived by her mother, but sadly they were estranged and hadn’t reconciled by the time of her death. In 2000 Tyrrell recalled, “The last thing my mother said to me was, ‘SuSu, your life is a celebration of everything that is cheap and tawdry.’ I’ve always liked that, and I’ve always tried to live up to it.” “A celebration of everything that is cheap and tawdry”: talk about words to live by. RIP Susan Tyrrell.’ — bitter69uk





Susan Tyrrell @ IMDb
A life of blows and disappointments can’t bow Susan Tyrrell
A Delicate Fucking Flower
Susan Tyrrell – 3 Character Images | Behind The Voice Actors
‘Far From Home’ Features the Hollywood Scene-Stealer, Susan Tyrrell
Audio: Panagiotis A. Stathis – Elegy for Susan Tyrrell
R.I.P. Susan Tyrrell
Stacy Keach on Susan Tyrrell
Reflections on Susan Tyrrell (18 March 1945 – 16 June 2012)
Theme From ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ At Susan Tyrrell’s Memorial Service
A Wasted Life: R.I.P.: Susan Tyrrell



Susan Tyrrell–Rare 1992 TV Interview, Fat City

SUSAN TYRRELL reads from ‘Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary’ by Lydia Lunch

Sandra Dahdah of Austin Daze interviews Susan Tyrrell


by Michael Musto


I just found the very first interview I did with late, great actress Susan Tyrrell. It was in 1981, for Soho Weekly News (two years before the Details one I’ve been running excerpts from.)

Tyrrell had just gone into the off-Broadway play A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking. She spoke of the play with her usual fiery candor, and as a result, all her other interviews promoting the show were promptly canceled. Well, I’m thrilled I got this one.

Some highlights:

”I’ve become incredibly antisocial. I spend all my time alone. I have this one friend who comes around. I think I have two friends in L.A., last time I looked. I’m disillusioned with the whole fuckin’ world. I’m having my tubes tied next week. I just want to ensure that no actors come out of me.”

”To me, this play is sitcom. This is as close to TV as I think I’ll ever get. It’s exhausting. I’m the lay-in-bed-and-eat-bonbons type. It hurts. I start to resent the theater because it breaks into my sleeping time. It cramps my style. At least on a bad movie you make a hell of a lot of money and it’s very fast, and you’ve got a handsome crew to play with.”

”I hate success. I have the ambition of a slug. I work when I need the money, which is about once a year. Success freaks me out. If it wasn’t for that, I’d like to work more, but the more successful you are, the more crap you’re offered. So it seems like the less I work, the more I get the special things. Most of the people that are successful really suck to me. I don’t think success is a judge of talent at all, not these days.”

*She liked White Chicks‘ director Dorothy Lyman, but otherwise hated women directors.

“They all suck. They all belong in the kitchen. These lousy women directors want me to have my period on stage and bleed and gush and just bleah, you know? So of course you’re gonna get bad reviews. You’re trying to serve a director and a playwright, with the director’s lousy ideas and the playwright’s lousy ideas, so I’ve learned to just do it for myself and hope and pray that I find some people with some taste along the way.”

”I don’t win personality contests. I’m an actor, and who I am offstage is nobody’s business. I don’t get jobs over the desk. Maybe under the desk.”

“Andy Warhol‘s Bad was “one of my favorite movies, even though I looked like dogshit in it.” About Tom Waits, she said, “You can’t even hear what he’s saying anymore. It’s like flushing a toilet.” As for Edward Albee, when Susan tried out for the mother in the Broadway version of Lolita, Albee came up to the stage and asked her if she could try being “a little less low.” She said no.

*Susan told me about her group, Bertha DaBlues and the Hard Livers, which was all set to sing songs she wrote like “Eat Me at Eight,” “Smegma Skies,” and “But The Pussy Purrs On.” But two of the Hard Livers lived a little too hard and ended up in jail, so the act was put on hold.

*And finally: “I either have lots of money or I’m penniless. I’m basically a cunt either way, so it doesn’t mean much to my friends.”


19 of Susan Tyrrell’s 78 roles

Jeffrey Young Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1971)
Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me is anAmerican drama film directed by Jeffrey Young and written by Robert Schlitt and adapted from the Richard Farina novel. Free-thinking student tries to put up with life at a straight-laced college in 1958. The film stars Barry Primus, David Downing, Susan Tyrrell, Philip Shafer, Bruce Davison and Zack Norman.’ — collaged



John Huston Fat City (1972)
‘After a string of box office flops, John Huston rebounded with this film, which opened to tremendous praise and good business, and he was soon in demand for more work. Vincent Canby, film critic for The New York Times, liked the film and Huston’s direction. He wrote, “This is grim material but Fat City is too full of life to be as truly dire as it sounds. Ernie and Tully, along with Oma (Susan Tyrrell), the sherry-drinking barfly Tully shacks up with for a while, the small-time fight managers, the other boxers and assorted countermen, upholsterers, and lettuce pickers whom the film encounters en route, are presented with such stunning and sometimes comic accuracy that Fat City transcends its own apparent gloom.” Tyrrell received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as the alcoholic, world-weary Oma.’ — collaged



Burt Kennedy The Killer Inside Me (1976)
‘One of the great joys of Jim Thompson’s hard-boiled 1952 crime thriller The Killer Inside Me is its unflinching Freudianism. It’s a disturbing portrait of a true sociopath, a small-town deputy with a psychosexual disturbance so big you could hang your 10-gallon hat on it. As the puerile pun of the book’s title will attest to, Thompson’s novel is also gleefully immature. It is, after all, a pulp novel, and must necessarily cater to the audience’s expectation for mass-produced sexual deviance. Beyond that, however, it is a novel about some very broken people who positively wallow in their own dark hearts. Thompson lays their souls out in front of you, complete and unadulterated, with no attempt to make their lives more palatable. Thompson never feared the repulsive. He didn’t hide from it in his own life, and he certainly won’t let you hide from it either. It’s a shame, then, that Burt Kennedy’s 1976 film adaptation of The Killer Inside Me is so willing to diminish the severity of psychosexual threat that deputy Lou Ford embodies.’ — Spectrum Culture

the entire film


Jed Johnson Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977)
‘First released in May, 1977 Andy Warhol’s Bad is either one of those films that’s so bad it’s good or, alternatively, it’s an underrated masterpiece of experimental cinema. The film did pick up a Saturn Award for Susan Tyrrell as Best Supporting Actress and became an even bigger hit in Europe than it did in the United States. The $1.5 million film, no small sum now but a semi-decent budget back in 1977, is about a kick-ass Queens housewife named Hazel (Carroll Baker) who operates a home-based electrolysis business in a rather crowded home she shares with her ailing mother, unemployed husband and his perpetually whiny wife (the aforementioned Susan Tyrrell) and a grandson. Oh, and there’s one other thing she runs out of the home – an all-girl hit squad.’ — The Independent Critic

the entire film


Anthony Page I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1977)
‘Good intentions and sensationalism compete for viewer interest in this filmization of Hanna Green’s novel about the tentative recovery of a psychotic young woman. Unfortunately, both lose. Good intentions resolve into highminded tedium.’ — Variety



James Bridges September 30, 1955 (1977)
‘In a film as explosive as the famed rebel, September 30, 1955 follows the effect James Dean’s death has on a circle of friends in a small Arkansas town. Their leader Jimmy J. (Richard Thomas) is a college undergrad who, like his cinematic hero, feels alienated and misunderstood. At the news of Dean’s death, Jimmy J. gathers his friends, including fellow spirit Billie Jean (Lisa Blount), girlfriend Charlotte (Deborah Benson), roommate Hanley (Tom Hulce), sidekick Eugene (Dennis Christopher) and jock Frank (Dennis Quaid), for an emotional vigil. What begins, however, as a soul-searching assemblage gives way to youthful revelry, drinking binges, police chases, midnight séances, graveyard mischief and ultimately, tragedy.’ — AZ



Richard Elfman Forbidden Zone (1980)
‘A vibrant, bizarre hybrid of sci-fi and fantasy with avant-garde, jazz-inflected music by the composer, Forbidden Zone still remains unique decades after its inception. Suburbanites venture into a “Sixth Dimension” where, in addition to Lucifer, they encounter the domain’s diminutive king (Fantasy Island’s Tattoo, Hervé Villechaize), his domineering queen (Cry-Baby’s Susan Tyrrell) and an exiled monarch (Warhol superstar Viva). An anthropomorphic frog servant assists the royal couple; nightmarish Busby Berkeley–like dance sequences pop up out of nowhere. It’s even weirder than it sounds — and thanks to an extras-packed “ultimate edition” DVD reissue that’s being released on November, a whole new generation is about to discover why this movie became a midnight-movie must-see in the Reagan era.’ — Rolling Stone




Amos Poe Subway Riders (1981)
‘The best plotless, abrasive, unintelligible slog I’ve seen all week. This is a movie that begins with the director presenting his script Subway Riders to a Hollywood exec who suggests that it be rewritten by Paul Schrader, and ends with the camera pointed at a television screen displaying the credits scrolling by, complete with shutter speed misalignment. Robbie Coltrane is in it. Watched on YouTube with burnt-in German subtitles, which is the only way anyone should ever watch it, really.’ — Luke Fowler

the entire film


William Asher Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981)
‘An orphaned teen (Jimmy McNichol) becomes fearful of his aunt (Susan Tyrrell) after she kills a man in their home. But that just scrapes the surface of Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker. Add in that the aunt has incestuous desire for the boy and plans to keep him with her forever — full athletic college scholarship be damned. She even starts poisoning him. Also add in that the local sheriff (Bo Svenson) is trying to pin the murder on the boy because he thinks the boy is gay. Add in that the boy’s basketball coach (Steve Eastin) really is gay, and the only character who believes the teen or tries to help him… even though the victim was one of the coach’s old lovers. Yeah. In case you haven’t gathered, this movie is most certainly not your typical formulaic horror flick — and I loved it!’ — Scott Schirmer



Marco Ferreri Conte de la folie ordinaire (1981)
Tales of Ordinary Madness, loosely based on Bukowski’s book Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness, was written and directed by the late Marco Ferreri, the great Italian master of black comedy. While it was widely reported that Bukowski hated the film, it nevertheless finds that unique balance between melancholia and despair that fuels Bukowksi’s work. Ben Gazzara, who is absolutely magnificent here, stars as Charles Serking (read Charles Bukowski), a hard-drinking poet living in the depths of Hollywood among the “doomed, demented and the damned – the real people.” The film begins episodically, as we see Serking meet a teenage runaway dwarf backstage of a theater where he is reciting. He lulls the young woman to sleep, but in the morning she has vanished, having stolen bus tickets from Serking. He meets a middle-aged blonde at the beach (played with incredibly believable mania by Susan Tyrrell in an unforgettable performance) who lures Serking to her apartment for a few bouts of rough sex and rape fantasies before calling the police on him and having him arrested for “carnal violence.”’ — pif magazine



Craig Mitchell, Robert Clarke What’s Up, Hideous Sun Demon (1983)
‘Z-grade horror flick “The Hideous Sun Demon” re-dubbed and re-edited into monster-movie spoof about a suntan lotion that works from the inside out (it also has a certain side effect). Bernard Behrens, Zachary Berger, Bill Capizzi, Cam Clarke, Robert Clarke, Del Courtney, Pearl Driggs, Paul Frees, Robert Garry, Barbara Goodson, Googy Gress, Mark Holton, Ron Honthaner, Robin C. Kirkman, Jay Leno, Tony Lorea, Melanie MacQueen, Tom Miller, Tony Plana, Adam Silbar, David Sloan, Alan Stock, Cynthia Szigeti, April Tatro, Susan Tyrrell, William White.’ — dailymotion



Paul Verhoeven Flesh+Blood (1985)
‘Named for the Roxy Music record1 that informs its romantic decadence, Flesh + Blood marks a turning point in Verhoeven’s career: it was his first English-language work, and one that anticipates his delirious Hollywood ascent. Despite this, it remains relatively overlooked in his filmography, trailing his Dutch successes and eclipsed by a dynamite run of American classics spanning RoboCop (1987) through Starship Troopers (1997). Yet Flesh + Blood is as aggressively potent as any of them, with many of Verhoeven’s key concerns front and centre: satire of religion and authority, troubling sexual politics, an interrogation of flawed heroism. There’s even a twisted hint of 2016’s Elle, his critically lauded return to the international stage.’ — Luke Goodsell



Randal Kleiser Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
‘The story finds Pee-wee living near a mean-minded small town where everybody is grumpy and selfish all day. Pee-wee’s farm is out on the edge of town, where he has trained his horses and cows to sleep under the covers at night, and make their beds in the morning. And he has gone into partnership with Vance, the talking pig, to develop several new species of plants, including a giant cantaloupe and a tree that grows hot dogs. One day a giant storm comes along and blows a circus into town – a circus led by ringmaster Kris Kristofferson and his miniature wife (Susan Tyrrell, photographed to look 2 inches high). The circus has spirit but not much luck, and engagements are so hard to come by that Kristofferson decides to settle his people on Pee-wee’s farm while he searches for a new idea.’ — Roger Ebert



John Waters Cry-Baby (1990)
Cry-Baby is in a league of its own. As anybody who loves John Waters will know, he is the unequivocal master of bad taste (which sounds like a “buzzword-y” thing to say, but it’s true). From Pink Flamingos—in which our thin-eyebrowed protagonist literally eats dog shit—to my lowkey favorite Serial Mom, where a friendly suburban housewife decides to go on a rampage and murder everyone that pisses her off, Waters has built a career out of holding a mirror up to society’s absurdities and making you laugh and gasp at the same time. This works particularly well in musical format because musicals are already fucking absurd (I’m sorry, but I cannot cry at Les Miserables because they are singing. They are singing). And that’s why Cry-Baby is a musical at it’s most artful. In taking something that is often consumed by families gathered around the television at Christmas, or children visiting the theatre on school trips, and then making it as openly weird and trashy as the format truly is deep down, Waters adds a heady dose of self-awareness to something that often requires it, while also teaching kids how to French kiss and break out of jail in the process.’ — Daisy Jones




Barry Shils Motorama (1991)
Motorama is pure fever dream cinema and the kind of film that just doesn’t get made anymore: A medium budget David Lynchian road adventure that is equally cock-eyed dark comedy and R rated metaphorical journey that happens to star a kid. It could only exist at a time when producers heard a log line and went “Yea! That sounds fine! Here’s a few million to go do it. Deliver whateverthehellyoumake and we can make up our money on home video afterwards!”’ — Justin Decloux



Rocky Schenck Susan Tyrrell: My Rotten Life, a Bitter Operetta (1992)
‘In the late 1980s Susan Tyrrell appeared on stage in her own one-woman autobiographical play, My Rotten Life: A Bitter Operetta, which portrayed a life every bit as rackety as those of the characters she played.’ — telegraph




Victor Salva Powder (1995)
‘Victor Salva’s somewhat controversial science fiction film Powder comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. An English soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Surround. There are no subtitles, but the English soundtrack is closed-captioned. There are no supplemental materials of any consequence, which is both understandable and disappointing considering some of the concerns raised to the film’s studio, Disney.’ — b&n



P. J. Castellaneta Relax… It’s Just Sex (1998)
‘A mixed group of individuals – lesbian, gays, and heterosexuals who all frequent a local bar struggle to accept each others lifestyles. However when the two gays are attacked and fight back and ultimately rape one of their attackers, the group becomes strongly divided on their actions. Jennifer Tilly is the mother hen of the group who tries to hold everyone together. The lesbian lovers break up when one admits to having an affair with a man.’ — John Sacksteder



Larry Charles Masked and Anonymous (2003)
‘This pointless, droning, pretentious, pompous, and incredibly self-indulgent piece of philosophical dribble is that rare indie film that makes me say “Oh, that’s why it was never widely distributed”. Being released in only 17 theatres, the writer and director for this film do a really ingenious thing, throughout the film. There are about fifty cameos from some really good actors. It not only gives the audience something to look at, but when surrounded around people who can really act, the producers attempt to make us forget how much of a one note simply awful actor Bob Dylan is. I mean he’s Bob Dylan, this man is like a bad-ass in my eyes with some incredible music, but come on, did he really need to do this film?’ — Felix Velasquez





p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. There are actually conflicting, knowledged-up and equally plausible accounts of Walt Disney’s character, behavior, etc. re: the people he worked with that have him as benevolent and generous and as not at all, so retroactive judgements on him as a person are multiple choice. I’ve met and spoken with a number of people in my life who worked closely with him, and they all speak glowingly about him. ** Sypha, Yes, I remember putting your mini-golf course in a post not so long ago. You literally threw the first version away? Like disappeared it? Wow, I keep even the shittiest, failed drafts of my stuff because you just never know. Wow, cool, thanks for all the ‘Guide’ readings and for its rating. I do think it’s one my best novels. Awesome about the mix CD! That’s a very ace idea. I can’t find my copy of ‘Guide’ at the moment, but Zac has the book, so I can answer your question about the Tinselstool song on p. 168 tomorrow. The lyric on p. 87 is from a Superchunk song, ‘Mower’. I don’t remember which Black Dog track I was thinking about, but I can tell you that it was on their album ‘Spanners’, if that helps. No problem on the questions. That book is very detail-y and full of ‘clues’, so it interests me to get into the specifics. Thanks again, James. ** Dominik, Hi, D! I’m doing okay. Re: the new film, our plan is to have the French script polished and delivered to our producer in the next couple of days. And tomorrow we’re doing a Skype meeting with Puce Mary who will be doing the sound/noises/score of the film. So things are at last progressing! Cool, I thought ‘I Transgress’ might interest you. I just got my copy in the mail yesterday. Obviously really glad your anxiety about the performance is sinking under the weight and power of almighty excitement! So you guys can start seriously working on Friday. Very soon. I’m sure curious to hear any reports on how it develops. So great! Oh, yes, I like ‘ O Fantasma’. I like João Pedro Rodrigues’s films very much. ‘L’ornithologue’ (The Ornithologist) is great too and might be my favorite of his. Let me boomerang that ton of love right back at you. *whoosh* It’s on its way. ** Bill, Ha ha, you’re welcome. Yeah, there was some troll on one escort site when I was gathering the guys who commented that on virtually every German escort’s profile. Seemed like kind of a Far Right thing, but I don’t know? I want a horror weekend, or, well, week. I think I’ll have to settle for ‘Crawl’. ** Steve Erickson, I thought so too about that exchange. Tender. ‘Crawl’ sounds as I would expect. Basically, to my mind, with low budget horror, disaster films, etc., one always has to put up with the director or producers’ idea that it needs to be anchored by a rote ‘love interest’ narrative or mini-narrative. Anyway, I’ll see it for sure now. Efficient and brisk are the bywords. Wow, Hoberman’s 71! Well, yeah, I guess he would have to be, but still, weird. Super interested to read that. So is your Buttigieg essay in any way a response to that embarrassing Dale Peck screed? I’ve heard and like Kokoko!, but I … don’t think I’ve heard that new one. Thanks for tipping me off. Yeah, they’re pretty interesting. ** _Black_Acrylic, Ha ha. Oh, my pleasure, B! It’s so great! ** KK, Astronomy class! I’m honored. Oh, I see re: the touring. Well, he’ll never get over here to France. That seems pretty assured, unless the Paris Pitchfork Festival offers him big bucks, and that seems unlikely. Yes, report on ‘Crawl’. If I see it first, ditto. Isn’t that fascinating what happens to your poems when you start organising them and juxtaposing them to become things of a piece? I kind of love(d) doing that. Cool. No, I haven’t read ‘Austerity Brunch’. Huh. That looks very interesting. I see it’s out of stock at Printed Matter. I’ll see if it’s anywhere. Nice to have a trusted, talented cohort to help with the collection finessing. I used to always show every future book of mine, poetry or fiction, to my friend the great poet Amy Gerstler first to get her ideas and thoughts before I let anyone else see it. That’s fantastic. Monday might be happy on my end, and it had better be joyous on yours. ** Misanthrope. I know. As I said to Bill, my guess is he was some kind of nationalist Far Right German troll type, but who knows. ‘S2’ sounds like it was born for plane watching. Gotcha on ‘AS,TB’. I just have no tolerance for that kind of stuff. There’s no food in that stuff for me. I need book food. ** Okay. Why not celebrate the odd and interesting career of the late and charm-blessed actress Susan Tyrrell today. Sound like a plan? See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Ask Tommy Kirk about Ol’ Walt. He made him a star, shit-canned him for being gay and then when he discovered he was still “marketable” as a teen idol took him back — and then shit-canned him again

    My favorite of João Pedro Rodrigues’s films is still “O Fantasma”

    LOVE this tribute to Susu! Try and find a good copy of Marco Ferreri’s “Tales of Ordinary Madness” She’s great in it as are Ben Gazzara and Ornella Muti

    “Relax It’s Just Sex” is P.J. Castellaneta’s follow-up to “Together Alone” which we were discussing in here just last week.

  2. Sypha

    Dennis, yeah, when my projects go south I tend to just destroy/delete them, ha ha. That’s what happened with my Warhol book years back. It’s just I know I’ll be tempted to go back to some of them so it’s a way to resist temptation. Don’t do that as much as I used to, though. Probably because I don’t start as many projects as I did back in the day.

    Thanks for the GUIDE info, I’m happy to see that you rank it as well. Okay, I’ll add that Superchunck song to the tracklisting. I think I might need to burn 2 CDs for this thing as I’ve got like 30 songs listed for it, and I tried to arrange them by the order they appear in the book. So right now it’s:

    I Am A Scientist (GBV)
    Awful Bliss (GBV)
    Motor Away (GBV)
    She’s So High (Blur)
    Cut Your Hair (Pavement)
    Epistle To Dippy (Donovan)
    Do The Earth (GBV)
    O.D. Catastrophe (Spacemen 3)
    Sunshine Superman (Donovan)
    Lime Kiln (Sebadoh)
    Got It (Sebadoh)
    Charmless Man (Blur)
    The Universal (Blur)
    Far Out (Blur)
    The Turnpike Down (Lemonheads)
    Striped White Jets (GBV)
    Blimps Go 90 (GBV)
    Shallow End (Superchunk)
    Mower (Superchunck)
    Shit Soup (Sebadoh)
    Fade Away (Blur)
    Starshaped (Blur)
    Brand New Love (Sebadoh)
    Acorns & Orioles (GBV)
    Bright Paper Werewolf (GBV)
    Tomorrow (Silverchair)
    High & Dry (Radiohead)
    One Of Us (Joan Osbourne)
    ???? (Silverchair)

    I actually got most of those songs off Amazon last night, though a small handful I had already (such as Blur’s “The Universal”). It’s funny, I’ve been reading this book for like 12 years now but this will be the first time I hear many of these songs, so naturally I’m pretty excited about it. Incidentally, on the way home from Maine one of the songs we heard on the car radio was “Epistle to Dippy.”

  3. Steve Erickson

    The first draft of my Buttigieg essay was written well before Peck’s piece was published. Peck’s essay was so stupid and crass and the negative response to it so immediate and strong (I’m sorry that I’ve seen calls for him to get fired from the New School on Twitter and, reportedly, he’s received death threats) that the one sentence I added to the second draft dismissing it suffices. But that essay is a symptom of the fact that while the #instagay/Grindr/circuit party version of “gay culture” is really alienating, a lot of versions of “queer radicalism” seem just as exclusionary and limited and don’t appeal to me at all either. (I’m thinking of the death threat you received from Queer Nation members in 1991 – “cancel culture” before its time!)

  4. Bill

    Hey Dennis, that’s a good theory regarding the Far Right German troll. (Hmm, I guess that could be a bad horror movie too! With a big hairy one.)

    I’ve seen the obvious Susan Tyrell movies, but what a fabulously bizarre body of work. Now I have to hunt down copies of Forbidden Zone and September 30.

    Am having an unhappy week battling software setup. I’m sure Midsommar tonight will be a good distraction.


  5. _Black_Acrylic

    I never knew of Susan Tyrrell until today but I must have seen her in a bunch of stuff, and I’ve now added Flesh + Blood to my DVD rental list. Speaking of renting DVDs, there’s a new crowdfunded film called Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story that’s newly available all about the genius creator of Frank Sidebottom and I’ll be sure to report back on what it’s like. Word is this film is really great so I’m very excited to see it.

  6. KK

    Saw ‘Crawl’. Has the efficiency of a survival-horror video game where the player has infinite lives and keeps making mistakes, but somehow is able to progress. I liked it. A lot of creature features these days don’t take themselves seriously enough i.e. sharknado, but this at least tries to balance itself. This, along with ‘Child’s Play’, does efficient horror well, with enough flaws to give it charm.
    Here’s a more direct purchasing link if still interested
    There’s a great pic somewhere of Matt with Eileen Myles holding his book, who I presumed liked it.
    He’s a good editor, for sure. The type where I don’t have to explain what I’m trying to do because he already knows me.
    What you said about what happens to the poems. Shapes and all. I’m hoping to have a fully completed book by the end of the year, then it’ll be shopping season.
    OH, Thursday’s my birthday and I’m seeing ‘Flaming Creatures’ live scored by Thor and Friends! That’ll be fucking insane, I’m sure. And since it’s my birthday I wanna get as close to dying without the commitment, hopefully Thor can take me there.
    Glory to tuesday, here’s to encroaching wednesday

  7. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Hahaha, yeah, you know me…maybe I’m totally missing the genius of O’Neill’s work. Maybe it is Joycean and I’m missing it. What’s funny is that a lot of that stuff goes away and becomes just straight narrative as the novel wears on, as if he couldn’t keep it up. The parts with the two boys are kind of sweet and sappy and cute, though.

    So here’s something fucked up. I’m at this one part and I was confused. So I look the book up and find a plot summary -seems I wasn’t as confused as I thought- but then I read on about what happens…and lo and behold, the end is not that far off from my long-abandoned novel that I want to get back to. I mean, different circumstances and all, and of course, I’ve never read this book till right now or known what was in it and I did write the final paragraph of my novel before this one was ever even published…but still…argh.

    Totally different novels, of course. I’d just hate to get mine published some day and somebody says, “Hmm, the ending isn’t that different from the ending of AS, TB.” You know what I’m saying? I should’ve finished mine at the time and gotten it published somehow, hahaha.

    LPS got a job! He’s working at Kayla’s place, the pizza joint. The manager seems to really like him, even took a picture of the pizza LPS made and sent it to the owner, he was so impressed. He’ll be cooking. Fingers crossed he stays with it.

  8. KK

    hey fyi I talked to Matt and he said he’d be happy to send you a copy.

  9. Graham Russell

    I am honored for my Susan Tyrrell tribute to be quoted / referenced in this post! I didn’t see this at the time. (I am bitter69uk of Bitterness Personified blog). Just stumbled across this now! Thanks so much. Graham Russell x

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