Monday, June 7, 2010

Back from the dead: David Ehrenstein presents ... Dorothy Dean Day (orig. 07/28/06)

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(photo: Dorothy Dean's portrait by Robert Mapplethorpe)




(photo: Dorothy Dean and Jackie Curtis)


Let’s begin at the end, shall we?


----"Dorothy Dean, a former editor for The New Yorker and for such publishers as Times Books and Harry N. Abrams, died of cancer Friday at the Hospice of St. John in Denver. She was 54 years old and lived in Boulder, Colo.
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Ms. Dean had also held editorial positions at Vogue magazine and at Harper & Row. From 1963 to 1964, she was a member of The New Yorker's research department - then called the fact-checking department. At her death, she was a proofreader for The Daily Camera newspaper, published in Boulder.
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Ms. Dean was born in White Plains. She was a graduate of Radcliffe College, and earned a master's degree in fine arts at Harvard University. She also studied art history on a Fulbright scholarship in Amsterdam.”

As these things go, fairly accurate. But not accurate enough for Dorothy, the ultimate “stickler for details.” So let’s turn the floor over to my long-time saddle pal Bill Reed who writes of her in his matchless memoir Early Plastic (o.o.p., but available on eBay):


----The following definition of the genus fag hag (you won't find the term in Webster's) appears in The Queen's Vernacular: A Gay Lexicon, by Bruce Rogers:
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"Some are plain janes who prefer the honest affection of homoerotic boy friends; others are on a determined crusade to show gay boys that normal coitus is not to be overlooked. A few are simply women in love with homosexual men; others discover to their chagrin that their male friends are charming but not interested sexually."
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All of which-and much more. except for the chagrin part-was true of my friend Dorothy Dean. The Mother of All Fag-Hags, she felt the term had an ugly ring to it, and much preferred "Fruit Fly." I didn't get to know her until some time after her mid-1950s glory years during which she was the Queen Bee of a Harvard set that operated out of the Casablanca bar (where Edie Sedgewick later came to shine). And where the men that she hung with ---none of whom had any notion that there was anything coming down the line called gay lib---looked to her as a kind of ultimate arbiter of style, attitude and taste. She was an outrageous woman who would say things that no one they had ever met before would dare utter. She would tell people to their face exactly what she thought of them and continued to play this role later on in a number of different contexts. It was almost inevitable that Dorothy would become part of Andy Warhol's Factory circle, where it was demanded that people be outrageous and try to top one another. But that scene had pretty much disappeared by the time my boyfriend David and I met her in the Seventies. Her breakup with longtime closest friend Arthur Loeb was indicative of a lot of dissolutions and changes that were going on within the social scene. Gay militancy had to some degree turned the fag-hag into a symbol of the past, both in its traditional cheer-leader style and even in Dorothy's overwhelming she-who-must-be-obeyed approach. In addition, unlike your garden variety fag-hag who fears sex, Dorothy wanted to get it on with her boys-she wasn't afraid of anything-and was equally inclined toward heterosexual inamorata.
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Complex to a fault, Dorothy was the sweetest, brightest, and most frightening woman I have ever known. I met her in 1970 while working at a bookstore owned by her friend Arthur, the inspiration for the Dudley Moore movie of the same name (or so it has always seemed to me) and a member of a prominent New York family long perched in the more vertiginous heights of New York's 400. In exchange for their son's pledge to put aside his legendarily dissolute lifestyle, Arthur was being backed to the hilt by his parents in this literary emporium that advertised itself as "a carriage trade" operation in the classified ad that I answered for a job. I was on staff when the place opened, and although Dorothy wasn't an employee, she was so omnipresent a fixture that she seemed like staff. My boyfriend David was dazzled when he found out she hung out at the place.
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Working for Arthur was not at all like work. A past master of the zippy comeback department, one day an East Side matron came into the store and with a totally straight face asked him what might he suggest for "a man who has everything and is going on safari." Without missing a beat, he replied: "Have you considered giving him Deborah Kerr?" An avid reader of the New York Times, who always first read the bridge column and obituaries each day before getting on to the day's less important news, Arthur said that his memoirs were going to be called (in a play on the Rocky Graziano autobiography), Somebody Down There Likes Me. I was surely as good an "audience" as Arthur was ever likely to get.
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While she may have been black and a woman, in the final analysis, she wasn't black and she wasn't a woman: she was Dorothy Dean. Slight, ferret-like, and possessing coffee-with-cream skin, Dorothy wore horn-rimmed coke bottle lens glasses, usually dressed in a simple, tasteful shift dress; and was, without question, New York's most incurable diseuse. Nearly every time I was with Dorothy, she happened to be drinking; she would invariably ask me the same question: “Did I ever tell you about the time I once danced the 'Tennessee Waltz' in Tennessee with Tennessee Williams?" (Which was true.) She claimed that it was one of her proudest accomplishments in life. I don't think she was joking.





(photo: Henry Geldzahler and Dorothy Dean)


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In 1995 the New Yorker ran a lengthy profile of Dorothy, entitled "Friends of Dorothy," by which time she had been dead for nearly a decade. Fifteen years earlier the Soho Weekly News had run a picture of her at a party with "living legend" underneath it, and the New York Times contained a brief obit of her in 1987 when she died; but until the New Yorker, that was just about the only public acknowledgement of the unique part Dorothy had played in at least a half-dozen overlapping social and professional "scenes" in New York in the Sixties.
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Hilton Als wrote in the New Yorker profile [which can be found in his collection of essays called The Women } that years after her passing, people are still "dining out on Dorothy stories." One of the many tales not included by Als was related to me by Dorothy herself shortly after I met her. In her usual nasal drawl, which bore a remarkable resemblance to Mae West if she had gone to Radcliffe (which in fact Dorothy had), Dorothy asked me, "Have you ever heard of this person, Kris Kristofferson?" An odd question, because of course I had heard of the hyphenate performer who had just crossed over from recording artist to actor in a series of mildly interesting films such as Cisco Pike and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Dorothy then went on to tell me about a brief and intense relationship (were there any other kind for Dorothy?) with the entertainer that had taken place in Italy fifteen years earlier. She was on a Fulbright and Kristofferson was (hard to believe) a Rhodes scholar, fully one hundred eighty degrees away from the public shit-kicker image he began cultivating in the 1960’s.When it came to pass that Kristofferson resurfaced in this entirely unrecognizable form of movie star-country singer, Dorothy sprang into action. She sent him a letter excoriating him for all the cultural criminalism he was wreaking ("Jesus Was a Capricorn" has to be the all time worst song title ever, she opined) on records and in films. Her missive to him was minus a trace of for-old-times- sake sentimentalism, but instead was a request---more like a pronunciamento---that Kristofferson tithe a reparative ten percent of his considerable earnings to the New York Public Library. She never received a reply.
----Growing up, Dorothy was felt to be exceptional. Born in 1932 to Reverend Elmer Wendell Dean and his wife, Dorothy was the first black valedictorian of White Plains High School. In 1950, she entered the gates of Radcliffe to become one of the few African-Americans on its campus. Four years later she graduated there with a bachelor's degree, with honors in philosophy, and then went on for a masters at Harvard where at some point, Dorothy later told me, she had become pregnant by a wealthy student there. The boy, fearful of the consequences of his blue-blooded parents learning that he had impregnated a girl-and an African-American at that!-washed his hands entirely of the matter. Dorothy, even then possessing a fair share of temerity, proceeded to blow the whistle on the cad to his fraternity brothers. Forthwith they, in an act of honor, broke into the boy's dorm room, stole a small Matisse from his wall, gave it to Dorothy, who sold it for enough to pay for an abortion-and then some. In 1956 Dorothy became pregnant once again; this time, though, she went full term before giving the child up for adoption. Some people believed the father was a Dutch student she met while on a Fulbright; others thought him a certain M.I.T professor.
----In 1963 Dorothy, her extensive formal studies finally concluded, arrived in New York, where she was immediately taken up by a set of sad young men and bright young things, many of them relocated from Cambridge. Once again, they became seminal to her reputation as the mother of all fruit flies. Now Dorothy also found herself becoming acquainted with the world of Sixties New York debs, druggies and drag queens.
----Some believed that Dorothy harbored toward fellow blacks an aversion bordering on loathing, as perhaps evidenced by the fact that she ofttimes referred to James Baldwin as Martin Luther Queen, and was not at all adverse to using "watermelon" and "jigaboo" rhetoric when writing or talking about blacks. While this might indicate that even Dorothy found it hard to avoid the tradition of red, white and blue racial self-loathing, it never seemed to bother her that my friend David was African-American.
----A stickler for grammar, even in the most casual of conversations, one nearly always felt the presence of a giant red pen in Dorothy's hand ready to strike you down and mark you up for incorrect usage. Thus, it isn't surprising that her passion for lingual concision led to one job after another in various copy editing and proofreading capacities at such publications as Vogue, Show, the New Yorker and Essence, "the magazine that proves black is pathetic," she once said. She was fired from the latter after suggesting that the magazine run a picture on its cover of her friend Andy Warhol in blackface.
----As with most people of slight build, it didn't take much in the way of intake to get Dorothy drunk. Like my mother, one drink and Dorothy was well on her way to Blotto City. One evening she came to have dinner with David and me at our apartment on West 85th Street and was as charming as ever. . .at first. But it only took a couple of glasses of wine to put her in her cups. She ended up staying the night, and was more or less a royal pain-waking David and me up, tickling us, crashing crockery to the floor, etc., until finally passing out in the wee small hours. A couple of days later we received from her a pluperfect "Miss Finch's Day School for Young Ladies" bread and butter letter thanking us for our hospitality, except for the postscript in which she profusely apologized for her besotted behavior. We were scarcely the first to be sent such a note. These thank you/apology missives, we later learned, were a part of Dorothy's dinner going modus operandi.
----Dorothy often referred to herself as the Black Barbarella, but reminded me more of Dennis the Menace's prissy friend Margaret, who wanted your friendship and was willing to lose it at any cost. In the last analysis, she was an unreconstructed hipster, cut from much the same cloth as those I had known at Stanley's Bar on the Lower East Side.
----At one point Dorothy was hired to guard the portals of a somewhat trendier, slightly more uptown version of Stanley's, known as Max's Kansas City. It was home away from home to the conglomeration of failed hippies, artist manques and Euro-trash who satellited around Andy Warhol, and had the back room of the trendy spot pretty much all to themselves. No bigger than a minute, Dorothy Dean may have been the only bouncer ever hired strictly for the brute force of her vicious tongue.




(photo: The Sugar Plum Fairy (Joe Campbell) in My Hustler)


----Be they straight or gay, Dorothy specifically had a "thing" for men with high cheekbones-in fact, she could be said to have elevated such a taste to the veritable level of sexual fetish. Her small Greenwich Village apartment was dominated with the famous Personality Poster of a very handsome, young and shirtless Herb Alpert who, say what you will about his corny music, had cheekbones like the White Cliffs of Dover! The same could be said of Clint Eastwood - another Dorothy passion. But the most devastating cheekbones of all belonged to one Joe Campbell, aka the Sugar Plum Fairy who, despite that moniker, was one legendarily tough little number. A co-star of Warhol's classic comedy of manners, My Hustler, where he does his butcher-than-thou act to the max, this demi-mondaine was the lover of Harvey Milk, when the gay-politico- martyr-to-be was a closeted New York investment banker. He was also, along with Dorothy, a major "character" in Warhol's taped "novel" A. I never met him, but my friend David certainly did. One afternoon in the basement of the Museum of Modem Art, while waiting for the doors of the film auditorium to open for a screening of something foreign and obscure, Joe spied David (sitting demurely, leafing through a copy of the latest "Sight and Sound"), and made his move. Terrified by Joe's ability to move from a quick hello to an even quicker "let's go back to my apartment," David politely declined. "You turned down The Plum!," a horrified Dorothy exclaimed when told of the incident many years later, "How could you?" Still for all his cheekboned perfection, Joe didn't mean as much to Dorothy as her longtime running buddy Arthur did.
----For a couple who were not married or even sexually involved, Dorothy and Arthur were an extraordinarily famous twosome. For years they had been nearly inseparable, with their main base of operations being Andy Warhol's inner circle; one so inner that it is unknown to all but the most well-versed in Warholian lore. In A Dorothy appears as "Dodo Mae Doom," she's "Gwen," a central character in Lynne Tillman's Cast in Doubt (Tillman also features Dorothy stories in her book about the Warhol Factory The Velvet Years); and in James McCourt's novel, Time Remaining, she appears as herself. Additionally, she pops up as nearly herself in several Andy Warhol films, including My Hustler (a very funny walk-on in the last reel), the original cut of Chelsea Girls (her section, "Afternoon" also featured Arthur, was shot in his apartment, and somehow disappeared during the second week of the films' initial run), and in several sequences of Warhol's legendary 25-hour-long Four Stars. The truly Dorothy dedicated can also find her playing a secretary in Jean-Claude Van ltalie's gay porn classic American Cream.
----In what Dorothy later described to me as “an act of systematic sobriety," Arthur began-shortly after opening up the rehabilitationaI therapy/retail establishment where I worked and initially met Dorothy-to slowly chop away from his life all the people and things that he felt had reduced him to his previous, pitiable alcoholic estate. Almost like he was going down a list ticking off people, influences and controlled substances one by one. Just like a tornado which first appears to be miles in front of you and then suddenly is right on top of you, Dorothy never saw her own de-annexation coming. Finally one day Arthur came to her on his mental list and, without provocation, never spoke to her again: she would come in the store, he would leave; she would phone, he would hang up. Previously thought to be as invulnerable as Margaret Thatcher crossed with Loretta Young, suddenly Dorothy was a bundle of raw nerve ends-crying like a seventh grader who had just been terminally dis-ed by someone they had been friends with for a lifetime. Dorothy begged me to intervene with Arthur, but I wouldn't have known how to even begin, and so I spent a lot of supportive time with her in her cups, while she just sobbed over and over again. . ."Why?" She was willing to do anything, even Alcoholics Anonymous, to regain Arthur's friendship. But the door of fraternity was inexorably slammed shut. Here was the toughest woman in New York, and she had met her Waterloo. I have never known one human being be so hurt by another's actions. And yes, as far as I know, the once notoriously wet Arthur is still sober twenty-five years later-a feat comparable to crossing the Rubicon. Shortly after Arthur fired Dorothy from his life, he also gave me, without explanation, my walking papers as an employee. I never saw him after that.
----Dorothy was a long time member of the National Board of Review, the fuddy duddy quasi-official film board. This was indicative of her station in life as a frustrated film critic. She once told me an hilarious story about viewing, in her capacity as a NBR member, a particularly racy foreign film, Louis Malle's Les Amants, in which the heroine and hero are both horizontal in bed nearly naked. When the former, going down on her lover, disappeared frame left, the woman next to her began to question hysterically, "Where did she go? Where did she go?" "To the bathroom," Dorothy answered. Which seemed to have satisfied her fellow Board member.




(photo: All Lavendar Courier cover)


----Dorothy, David and I had dinner the last night before he and I moved from New York to California in 1975; but it was not the final time I heard from the "Queen of Spades" as she sometimes called herself-along with the "Spade of Queens." In what was clearly a working out of her long suppressed desire to be a film reviewer. Dorothy began putting out her own rather wild manuscript reply to the NBR's long-running. But exceeding unimaginative publication Films in Review. Calling her publication the All-Lavender Cinema Courier. we began receiving copies of it shortly after moving to California, starting in July 1976 with issue number 3. Knowing Dorothy there may not have even been a 1 or 2, or else these might have been issued sometime during the Sixties. Enclosed with the issue was a form letter which was a request for money to keep her venture going. In it she wrote:
----"We are all aware, I fear, that most practicing movie critics are pragmatically useless. They consistently lose sight of the point that the cinema's prime function is entertainment; they are misleading, pretentious. and needlessly longwinded." In the letter Dorothy never explains how she intends to avoid such pitfalls. but in the "Courier" proper she cuts right to the chase, heaping praise upon well-crafted commercial crowd pleasers and damning almost all other films, domestic or otherwise, which fell outside these rigidly constructed critical boundaries. Much of the "Courier" is Wonderful Stuff. Here is one entry chosen at random:
----"The Last Tycoon. Not very good and who is to say precisely why. Let us not forget that F. Scott Fitzgerald, it is said, by definition can never be successfully translated into the movie medium. But given the long string of flash names attached to this latest attempt---Elia Kazan. Harold Pinter. Tony Curtis. Rbl De Niro. Robert Mitchum (gone, sadly to fat). Jeanne Moreau. Jack Nicholson, Donald Pleasence. Ray Milland. Dana Andrews, etc.---one had hoped for much better. However. all is most humdrum and drab. inane and vacant, constituting a movie without a personality. The dialogue comes mostly from FSF. as I remember. except of course for the pitifully false ending; and so it is really difficult to imagine how Harold Pinter. as has been claimed. consumed an entire year in 'crafting' a script from what survived of the original MS. It is disheartening to learn that someone brilliant enough to describe scotch whiskey as the 'great malt that wounds' (Pinter. No Man's Land) could fail so markedly at patching together extant Fitzgerald. Perhaps if some of the planes and trains and what have you in the original had been retained, the results would have been perkier. The spectacle of De Niro stalking about in expectation of conveying a commanding presence as the high panjandrum of a big-time Hollywood movie studio is ludicrous; Robert Allen could easily get away with this kind of thing but not the aforementioned mealy-mouthed invertebrate."
----Doubtlessly Dorothy's ad hominem characterization of DiNiro was based on actual experience, for she was definitely not of the school that believed that revenge is a dish best served cold, as evidenced by her remarks re: the film The Other Side of Midnight in issue no. 8 (14 July 1977) of the "Courier":
----"[Marie-France Pisier] is eventually in a most enviable position, indeed as regards implementing the revenge of one's dreams- the very best kind, whereby the revengee is made to hopelessly writhe and squirm and agonize, fully cognizant of the source of his suffering."
----As for the film itself, Dorothy deemed it, "Quality trash on a high level, and a stunning paean to [you guessed it] revenge."
----Below the "Tycoon" review is one for Brian De Palma's Carrie (a wish fulfillment fantasy for Dorothy if ever there was one!) which begins: DO NOT MISS!!!! Eight to ten such squibs were included in each issue of the "Courier" which, at the bottom of number three, Dorothy scrawled a personal note to me:
----"I am dismayed at myself that it's taken so long to get the ALCC going again. Will answer your letter properly in a few days (I hope)---glad to hear you have settled in, as it were."
----But Dorothy never did answer my letter, and then after issue number 8 of the "Courier" dated July 14, 1977, I stopped hearing from Dorothy altogether. Radio silence.




(photo: Dorothy Dean and the gang on Fire Island)


----I began to inquire after her; but Dorothy had been on her last legs as a scenemaker, and no one I contacted seemed to know or care much about what might have happened to her. My first trip to New York after moving to California I devoted much of my time toward a search for her, but unlike Thompson in Citizen Kane I couldn't gain a clue. I went to her apartment, but her name was not on the mailbox and no one answered when I rang the bell. A few weeks later, after I had returned to L.A., David got in touch with a seemingly reliable source, someone from Dorothy's old Warhol days, now a successful movie publicist, who told him the following story: an extraordinary tale, but one not so far out, considering its subject was Dorothy, that it couldn't conceivably have happened. It seems that she had attended a cocktail party at the penthouse of a well-known Broadway composer, the gathering composed of the usual witty, brittle people who congregate at such affairs; the kind of event to which Dorothy had probably been to hundreds of times. At one point in the evening, her usual two sheets to the wind, she found herself in the middle of a particularly bothersome conversation with a musician friend of the host. Finally when Dorothy could take no more, she allegedly leveled at the offending party just the sort of attack that she'd launched on hundreds of such boors in the past:
----"You are a boring, insensitive lout who has misused and mangled the English language exactly 20 times in the last five minutes while in my presence" she said, "and if you had any feelings of regard toward the human race, you would march over to the edge of this terrace and throw yourself off."
----Which, according to David's informant, is exactly what the man did, killing himself and in the process causing Dorothy to have a total nervous collapse, resulting in weeks spent in a mental hospital. Afterwards, she had gone to Boulder, Colorado, to stay in a commune run by Off-Broadway playwright, Jean-Claude Van Itallie.
----In truth, I was to soon learn, there was not much veracity to the story (the part about Colorado, though, was accurate). Apparently an individual who happened to have been at a party with Dorothy a few days earlier, had killed himself; then somehow the two unrelated incidents had become conflated. An seemingly apocryphal tale, but Dorothy would have loved the idea of someone killing themselves over bad grammar.
----All the years of drinking had finally caught up with Dorothy both physically and mentally. Thrown out of her longtime Morton Street apartment, she was rescued by sympathetic friends who began the process of trying to help Dorothy put her life back in order.
----After obtaining Dorothy's address in Boulder, I wrote her a simple chatty letter, making no reference to the recent unpleasantness. I received no reply from her. Then in February 1987, the same week that Andy Warhol died, I opened up the paper to the Death Notices to learn that Dorothy had succumbed to cancer. She had long been associated, the notice informed, with the likes of Vogue and Harper and Row and at the time of her death was a proofreader for the Boulder newspaper, The Daily Camera (what fun Dorothy would have had with inept Boulder cops and the Jon Benet Ramsey case!). Otherwise, the obituary---the only such New York Tunes unpaid obit ever accorded a mere proofreader?---was short and perfunctory and with no hint of the "real" Dorothy. Such as that---as I later learned----after moving to Colorado she had not only joined a bible study group (!), but Alcoholics Anonymous as well. Joining AA, regardless of her sincerity or lack thereof, must have finally given her what she had been looking for all her life: complete and total command of a room full of people. Just like the old joke (one that the old Dorothy would have loved) about the comic who tells a friend he has to go to an AA meeting. His pal replies:
----"But you're not an alcoholic."
----"Yes, I know, but I need the floor time."

To quote James McCourt in Queer Street quoting Joseph L. Mankiewicz via Bette Davis, “Slow Curtain. The End.”





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p.s. RIP: David Markson. Death really needs to take a holiday starting yesterday. Hey. Today I've unearthed one of David Ehrenstein's great guest-posts from my old, hacked ghost town of a blog. Enjoy, and thank you again years later, David. Okay, there are no headline news items or alerts from me this morning, so ... ** David, A piece in Thieves Jargon? Cool, fingers crossed, and say the word. Yeah, I guess I should try to enjoy these last peaceful months before I'm the French film world's new sensation. Happy John Cale day! His Island years are easily one of his peaks. ** Chris (British), Well, at least in the States, those bands were tagged shoegazer from the start. That's the term my friends and I bandied about, and I would pretty much buy the album by any band labeled showgazer during that era. Maybe it's because I'm from the West Coast, but grunge and shoegazer seem like entirely different things. Grunge was an American phenom -- passionate, expressive, emotionally tied to punk, Neil Young, Husker Du, etc. Shoegazer was, with the exception of a few international bands who joined up, a British phenom -- noisy, reticent, aesthetically tied to Cocteau Twins, Jesus & Mary Chain, Spaceman 3, etc. In any case, shoegazer is an authentic, period term. ** Alan, Really? Yeah, I can see that. I did so love that staircase that opened like a hatch. ** David Ehrenstein, Surprise! A post that needed a second life, definitely. Very nice, very well done EM Forster centric FaBlog entry, sir. Everyone, use that link. ** Pascal, Mmmmmmh, indeed. On the cake front. How do these emotionally bad periods sit with writing? I know I've sometimes written my best stuff when I was most down. Like, pen and paper are only true friend kind of thing. But then there's the paralysis aspect too sometimes. ** Nb, Howdy, pardner. I ... don't think I know Mint Julep. I'm on it. Thanks. Oh, I know Helios. Okay, I know who you mean. How did you like 'Motorman'? Oe's great, imho. How is the reading affecting your writing or your interest in and focus on your writing? ** Marcus Whale, A novella, awesome. Yeah, Zac German's book might well be of particular interest 'cos of its careful, relentless interplay with pop culture's surface. Anyway, your novella in progress is very cool news. Can't wait for it, and know I'm curious to hear anything if talking it through or anything would be of help. ** Ken Baumann, 'Witz' is pretty killer so far. Oh, Tillman's 'American Genius,' excellent. She's a wonder. No, I've been meaning and meaning to read Maggie Nelson, but I haven't yet. I'm going to order 'Bluets' today before I space out again. Thanks, Ken! You've gotten me most intrigued about the new No Colony. Cool, when will it hit the airwaves? All else going great? ** L'├ętranger, Hey. Disagree with you 100+ % on the shoegazer bands. I saw most of them live a lot as well. I'm sure glad I didn't have to deal with them in the context of all that London scene judgement stuff you talk about. In LA at least, they and early Black Dog, B12, etc. and whatever else was going on weren't seen as being in some kind of competition re: doing the correct new, next musical thing, and bands weren't judged based on the supposed gutlessness or lack of supposed coolness of their gig attendees. I'm sure all that bullying and holier than thou stuff is fun in the hothouse of a scene, but it tends to travel as mere snobbery and closed-mindedness. Anyway, I actually learned quite a bit as a fiction writer from studying the music of some of the shoegazer bands, and I still listen to them, and I could even quote quite a few Ride lyrics, ha ha, although I see the lyrics as basically just an emotional texture in the sound, which is something that happens to be very interesting to me. That said and aside, very cool about the possible Recollets residency. Whether I'll still be living at the Recollets itself then is a big question. My time here is up in December. I'm hoping they might bend the rules and let me stay longer, but I don't know. In any case, I'll likely still be living in Paris one way or another. ** Rigby, We've probably talked shoegazer before, yeah. JAMC, Cocteau Twins, Spacemen 3 are the first foreparents that spring to my mind. The debut? Do you mean the Avignon shows of our new piece? Mm, I think there are still tickets left, I'm not sure. I think so. I guess check the festival's website? The gigs will sell out at some point. That's pretty much a guarantee. Yeah, on the free Godard film. Just watched it the other day in fact. A first? Yeah, seemingly. ** 730A_ngelinaRabideau0, Fancy new name there. ** Steevee, I like the Emeralds new turn too. No, 'Splice' hasn't opened here yet. I'm pretty psyched to see it. ** Dorna, Hey, Dorna! Welcome back! So awesome to see you! What's going on with you at the moment? Are you into the translating? Is Paris still vaguely on your agenda? ** Chris Goode, Hey, Chris. Poetry post(s), slurp. Please do have at this place. We're sorely in need. Really, a piece deriving in some way from the slave posts? Fantastic! Such a great idea, I think. There's so much and so much potential in those posts, if you ask me. I'm still thinking I'll gather the text portions of those posts together into a book at some point. Hope the tour knocks heads together (yours not included), blows brains, and flies by simultaneously. I don't know what happened to 'beatease', no. Strange. ** JW Veldhoen, So, is the new Coney Island cool? Couldn't tell from the photos and press reports. I didn't see a spooky house/ dark ride in the blueprint, which made me uneasy. The old Coney Island's dark ride was crappy genius. ** Killer Luka, We don't get Netflix streaming over here, suckily. Still, I'll see if I can find that Russian film around here somewhere. I asked Yury. He'd never heard of it. Thanks, buddy. ** You-x, Hey! What's up, man? You going to slide away again without catching me up? So good to see you, J! ** Schlix, Like the new name. I'm really glad to see you and to know your last weeks were spent in an upward moving direction. Good news about the job and security there in Berlin. What's the online art magazine? Is it in German? I want to peruse it and 'read' your writing there in any case. That's a fantastic development: you writing for it. Very nice. I peeked at that linked site, and, yeah, it looks cool and helpful, thanks. Everyone, Schlix formerly Uli passes along this blog/site as an adjunct and place of further investigation re: Shoegazer, and it looks real good. ** Bollo, Sailors? Irish sailors? Do they wear cool uniforms? As cool as those white American ones? ** Kier, Dude, that's crazily great news about your new, very own, solo apartment! And it's a loft. Lofts are the shit (in the positive American sense of the slang word) of living situations. As long as they have decent heating, I guess. Anyway, fuckin A! Cool! I want a pictorial intro and tour of the place when you've gotten it fixed up to your specifications. That sucks about the canceled Oslo trip, but can you go again soon? 'Smiley Face' ... sounds familiar. What is it again? ** Pisycaca, Hi, Montse! Always an honor to appear in your dreams. I'm okay, working my ass off right now between the novel and the theater piece and a couple of other things. Going to Mallorca is surely a really good idea right now. If you can let it restore you, I bet it will to some degree. Yeah, missing your dad ... the missing is a weird thing, rises and falls, comes and goes, so unpredictable, so strange. Great you got to Primavera. I saw the report/pix on Pitchfork. Bradford/AS were here last week, and I completely spaced out in my overworked state and missed not only seeing them live but also didn't see an email from him offering to meet up until after he was gone. Ugh. The theater piece is between work spurts at the moment, but I think it's going to go well when we go into the final rehearsals. Gisele and I discussed what we think needs to be done to improve and finalize the piece, and we agree 100%. Still, we'll see. Love to you too, and some to Xet, of course. ** _Black_Acrylic, Can't say I'm too surprised that Chicks on Speed weren't much. I've never thought they were anyway, and if they just did their usual thing instead of fleecing the gallery context in some way, meh. Glad your computer is mere days away from you. ** JoeM, I don't remember The Ramones looking at their shoes much at all. Staring into space, glaring at 'us', watching their instruments carefully so they didn't make mistakes, but not their shoes, as I recall. ** Casey McKinney, We saw that monumental MBV/Ride gig at the Palace together. Tangentially, do you remember that outdoor concert we attended up in the San Fernando Valley someplace where I think the line-up was Sonic Youth, Pavement, and The Melvins? Best Pavement set I ever saw. I was just thinking about it the other day. Wow, I didn't know about that Wigleaf thing. Thats so cool. Being bested by the great Brian Evenson is pretty fucking cool. Wow, thanks for mentioning that, and congrats to your guy who made the list. ** Oscar B, I had a quiet Paris weekend too, sans the shopping, thank God, although I think Yury is determined to drag me to Galleries Lafayette today and make me buy a summer coat. Yeah, we need to figure out our Recollets show as soon as you get back. I'll do some talking about it with Kiddiepunk in the meantime. He's back, a little more tan but otherwise Mikey-like. ** Tomkendall, Hi, Tom! Missed you, man. The 'this is shit' sentiment is ... well, shit. Perish the poisonous, untrue thought. It's 'the shit' more like. Add a 'the' and you'll be just fine. What's the hectic-ness about? I'm cool, a bit hectic myself, but in a not bad sense. ** Empty Frame, You made it. You're there. You're settling in and taking over. I'd expect no less. Yeah, I like Bellmer a bunch, and he's one of Gisele's very, very favorite artists and one of her huge influences. Excellent about your working on the Congress for Performance Art. What is that exactly? Sounds fancy. Welcome back! ** Wolf, There is indeed. ** Brendan, Hey. Not just looking up but dramatically even? Sweet! Clarification as and when you see fit. Yury likes A Place to Bury Stranger. I sort of liked their album. But we saw them live, and they were a tiresome, derivative drag in concert, so I urge you to avoid their live incarnation should you hope to preserve your current fandom. ** Justin, Hm, so text unleashes some inner version of you that your voice and face don't or can't? Sounds like me, actually. Sounds like a writer's defining thing. When you say e-stalking, I mean, how stalky do you get, or why do you call it that? ** Sypha, Seeing your therapist might not be a very smart and easy move if you're getting depression-generated sickness. Like, it seems like the obvious thing to do. I pretty much don't like Pink Floyd at all beginning with 'Dark Side of the Moon' onwards. I wouldn't say they sold out at that point, they just gentrified, curtailed their earlier horizons, got too into filling arenas for my taste. ** Joseph, Ah, shit, about the apartment falling through. There'll be another. It's not your fault. Managing money is for dorks. ** Chris, Oh, good, yeah, let me know what happened. ** Tigersare, Lovely paean to and defense of shoegazer, man. Did my heart good. I never bailed on those bands, not sure why. Found their sound really instructive, and that's why I stuck around, I guess. Bark Psychosis is cool, yeah. I need to re-listen to them. Anyway, thanks, Guy! Any progress on your new album or anything? ** Misanthrope, I addressed you as Justin? Sorry. I'm amazed I don't do shit like that more often given the eye-frying nature of the p.s. That son question is weird. I mean, I've seen you guys together, and that's really a stretch. Oh, given that 90% or more of my closest friends are at least twenty years younger than me, I'm sure I get tagged as father or uncle or grandfather all the time, but in France people are too polite and reserved to pose such a question. ** Bill, Hey. I should definitely be in Avignon for the entire run of shows, yes. The 15th should be fine for hanging out. A couple of friends of mine from LA might be there that day, and I'll be seeing them too, if so, but, yeah, that should work. I imagine I'll head back to Paris first thing on the 16th. The Festival isn't going to spring for me to stay there a second longer than necessary. ** Inthemostpeculiarway, Hey. I saw some clips from the new Araki film on TV here when it was Cannes. I'm not a good person to ask because it's apparently a return to his 'Nowhere', 'Doom Generation' phase, and I'm not smitten with those movies like a lot of you guys are. People over here who liked those movies seem to like the new one. You're still dealing with that throbbing ear? Man, I'm sorry. Go decongestants! The only one of those films you watched that I've seen is 'The Addiction', and I liked it too. Score re: the big TV. As I think I've mentioned, the Recollets' loaner TV we watch has a screen that's about the size of a piece of paper, and not even an A4 piece of paper. My weekend: Uh, well, the main goal was to get through the rewrite of the third section of my novel that's been giving me hell for weeks and weeks, and I spent most of the weekend working on that, trying to polish it into a middle-level draft, and I didn't make it, but I might today if I'm lucky. Other than that, mm, I met up with Gisele, and we had a big talk about the new theater piece, and about what we think needs to be done to make it work properly, and we basically agreed on every point, so that was good. I again didn't get the haircut I desperately need, but Yury is under the gun to cut my hair today. I did some walking around since Paris was in tip-top shape weather-wise for most of the time, and everything had a nice glowey sheen. I found out that my favorite French TV program, 'Interville', a stupid summer show that I nonetheless love, and which has been a staple of French TV since 1962, was cancelled and won't be on this summer, and that really put a crimp into my positive feelings about the next couple of months. I read parts of a few books: 'Witz', 'There Is No Year' (Blake Butler's forthcoming novel), and the new Ben Brooks novel, and they're all genius so far. I had a headache all day on Saturday, but it died overnight thankfully. I don't remember what else happened. Not much, apparently. Your turn to hit me up with your day. I hope it rules, ROOLS! ** 'Stoopid Slapped Puppies', Thanks, Nick. Yeah, it's so boring and everything, but time does this amazing trick of refreshing and even restoring the important things. It's such a standard parental thing to say, and patience is just about the least fun option possible, but time really does take care of a lot of things. Strangeness. And your new locale will too, clearly. A new locale can cut down the amount of time needs to change things. In that sense, you're in a very good spot right now to get your confidence and innocence and so on back. Just try to hang in there and survive the immediate toll. Lots of love for you and your day, man. ** Changeling, Hey! You've been missed, but I'm glad you were off having your way with London. I was going to say someone should invent a TiVO equivalent for blogs, but that doesn't make any sense, and a TiVO for reality is so far-fetched of an idea that it'll make me weep if I keep wishing such a thing existed for even one more second. Very happy to hear the Phosphorescent show was that amazing. In general, I don't dance at shows. It takes a lot. I think it's happened maybe three or four times in a full-on, uncontrollable way. I'm one of those boring types whose head nods rhythmically. Sometimes with a bit of shoe shuffling, a twist of the hip or two, a shoulder shake. A muffled 'whoo' on occasion. Sad for me. Welcome back, man! ** Slatted Light, Hey, D! Real nice phrasing on the shoegazer plusses. You like the cover? I guess I do too. No news on the pub date of the expanded 'Weaklings'. It seems to be a low priority for the publisher, and, it being a non-income generating poetry book, I guess that's understandable. Gosh, thanks about my thoughts to Nick. 'Innocence generally is the Real of our lives': that's beautiful, man, and that's so true. ** Okay, this is showing up really late, sorry. Mondays are ... Mondays. Gorge yourselves on Dorothy Dean and David E. today, please. See you tomorrow by hook or crook.

39 comments:

Chris said...

(British)

It would make sense that you had the name for it... I grew up around where the Boos and The Verve were, and went to a few early gigs. Never heard shoegazing, though.

Or it might be me, and my general suspicions of genre labels. I still do it. I don't think a lot of things needs the labels they're given. Shoegazing might be a label too far, or a label I never got to hear until twenty years after I first heard it.

Oscar B. said...

Wow, this is instructive, thanks David Ehrenstein!

I'm the first!

Dennis, I've been told is really warm there in Paris? It's warm enough here,but not like boiling hot, it's bearable.
I'll write you an email about the show later.
Kiddiepunk's tanned? How did he get tanned in two days?And He was fifteen minutes by car from my hometown...must be fake tan.
I'm paler than ever : )

Au revoir

Oscar B. said...

Shit, I wasn't the first after all

DavidEhrenstein said...

Merci, Dennis -- Dorothy Lives!

And for those who want more of the great Bill Reed, "Early Palstic" is also avilable at Amazon.

Tonyoneill said...

hey dennis-

i'm a day behind, just catching up wit this weekends shoegazer extravaganza. you actually introduced me to some new bands here - i hadnt listened to the cranes before, but i enjoyed the clip you posted and i just ordered a copy of 'wings of joy'. but shoegaze is one of my favorite of all rocks sounds, and goes particularly well i suppose with the kind of intoxicants i enjoy.

do you know the lily's at all? they recorded two albums that sounded very much like my bloody valentine,and then turned into a totally different kind of band (a kind of Kinks-ey thing), although they seem to have dropped off the map now. they werent terribly original, but 'in the presence of nothing' was a good enough MBV tribute that it's hard not to enjoy it. here's a track....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWGhnJufmks

hope you are well, sir.... t

Casey McKinney said...

Hey man, yeah, we did see a fair amount of shows that first year we met. The one out in the Valley was amazing, because Slanted and Enchanted had just come out, and that tape, which you gave me, never left my car that all of '92 pretty much. The lineup there was Pavement, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth And I remember Cobain did a little acoustic thing solo. The original Pavement drummer got drunk and fell off his drumset, cause it was birthday or something or maybe that was just their schtick with him. But as fucked up is it may have seemed later in their career I fell in love with Malkmus and crew that night.

The other show was actually, I'm pretty sure, My Bloody Valentine, preceded by Lush, preceded by Yo La Tengo. I remember being happy that they did Daniel Johnston's 'Speedy Motorcycle,' but the shoe gazers Lush and MBV, which were totally amazing, had me shoe gazing, nodding out to a bit of the set, so... I apologize on that part. :( did see MBV at a recent Coachella and the first time around was better.

Melvins? Fun but different concert. Some people started a fight with us, and we all got kicked out, then we got back in. Cause we did never the started the BS. LOL

Lots of other great shows backs then, Neil Young solo.

And later of course, years later, Celia and I flew out and we went to see GBV. I believe that was the same time as the Freed Weed show, but maybe not. Pretty sure though...tell me if I am wrong cause I gotta fix an old blog about it if so.

One of my big regrets is losing all the mixed tapes you made me back in those days... Shit. And in general losing the mixed tape format (and hand written letters). I think I still have a few, but I have, doh, a few times lost everything I've owned. As you know.

A second big regret was that I never photographed my old room that I'd painted in Atlanta. I never used canvasses and so have no documentation of that period when I probably made art more than wrote. Mom came in and totally remade the place at one point without warning me before. Well I gotta let go of that grudge (she's on her way over right now I guess)...

Good to see the weekend post as I popped back in, now gotta catch up on the rest, David, nice old post, and seems I missed some of the workshop, will go back and catch up, when I have a day online again. Yeah too many good people dying, argghh... Love Case

Casey McKinney said...

Good I can't type on this thing yet, the comments thing is a little hard on the iPad in case anyone is wondering. Can't scroll back to fix your typos... Of well that pretty much made sense huh? Few words missing, or punctuation marks. Hmmm.

alan said...

David Ehrenstein, Fascinating portrait. She looks really cool in the photos, too.

Dennis, Re you and “The Munsters,” I was thinking especially of the doomed utopia of a little world inside the world where monsters can think of themselves as normal. Also the Halloween aspect, which I guess amounts to the same thing.

alan said...

Oh, how was the new Godard?

'Stoopid Slapped Puppies' said...

Dennis
hahahahaha....I read what you had written to me yesterday and thought, 'yeah that's right' and then later as if smacked by a brick on the head, I realised in saying that I was trusting and believing you and my nasty side said 'thats pretty stoopid' and my normal side 'no way is that stoopid, it's right' and then I realised yes indeed innocence is still there, it lurks...you just have to trust it, so hey well done you man....nice one.
I've also realised I didn't ask for any of this, cause any of this or deserve any of this, so why deal with it, I can choose not too and just say 'hey you bust it, so now fix it' and that's the position I am going to take or try too, I think it maybe healthier to do that. Millions of thanks and kisses to you Dennis.

slatted light - thanks so much for your words yesterday, I really liked your phrase 'what you are trying to do' somehow I had never thought I was trying to do something but rather doing something but you are right trying too, better sums it up, I often feel as if I am shooting fish in the dark but adopting a 'trying too position' feels like less pressure and gives a bigger area for mistake-maybe I dont need to put myself under such pressure as I thought..cool stuff, so many, many thanks for that.

David - Lovely post, I really like to read about American society types but actually loath them here in the UK, I think because here it always comes with class and position whereas there it seems more creative and soemhow more eccentric as well. So thank you.

L&TR to you all
Nick

Kiddiepunk said...

Umm... "OSCAR B" - it is NOT fake tan! haha!
Can you believe this, Dennis?
What next?

hehe

jose said...

Dennis, so it's summer and between working and reading books I'm made a list of video games I'm going to play this month, I hardly ever get to play video games so I'm really going to try an squeeze in as muany of these as I can. Also I'm recording the games on my computer so I can use them as material for my art practise. I've got a liitle show coming up in october!

Here's my list:

(Games already played)
Bioshock
Half life 2, ep1, ep2
Portal
Silent hill Homecoming
Clock tower 3

(Games to play)
Silent hill 2
Silent hill 3
Silent hill 4
Silent hill shattered memories
Dooms 3
Fatal Frame 3
Resident evil 4
Rule of Rose

Thats alot of survival horror. Also I'm reading 'Recollections of the Golden Triangle', I remember you said you really liked this one...to me its a total clinic on how I'd like to write.

Ken Baumann said...

David! Thanks for the really compelling day, here.

Dennis! NC should be extant in a month(ish). It's a great, great collection.

Just watched this, and was thoroughly amused. The hair and ham are magnificent.

All else is great! Best to you, until tomorrow.

hedi said...

Wow, David, that was fascinating. I don't know how I missed it the first time around. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you so much for it.

I'd love to read more of these Lavender reviews. How many did she make?

Sypha said...

Had the day off today (as is usual for me on Monday) so I caught two movies I've been meaning to see for awhile: "The Fountain" and "The Darjeeling Limited" (both of which I very much enjoyed).

I also abandoned a project I've been working on since mid-May. It was what was supposed to be a novel, but over the last few days I became jaded with it. A lot of it revolved around my failed attempts to become friends with that old crush of mine from college, but this morning I thought to myself, "Maybe she's not worth the trouble after all." It felt kind of good to admit that, actually. Well, I was only about 40 pages into it so it wasn't like I had done all that much work. As usual with my abandoned projects, I'll salvage the best bits for future projects.

Pisycaca said...

David Ehrenstein,

Thanks for introducing me to Dorothy Dean. I totally dig her! Plus I've learned a useful phrase: fag hag.

Dennis,

Oh no, you missed Bradford again, that's so unlucky! But it's just a matter of time, next time they (AS or Deerhunter) are in Paris or LA you definitely have to meet up. Yeah, I'm sure TIHYWD will be perfect after the final rehearsals, I guess it's something you've experienced before with other pieces even though this one is more complex to stage than others. It's great that you and Gisele agree, that must make everything easier. Can't wait to see the piece (hopefully in March).
We're so looking forward to this little vacation in Mallorca that we won't care that much if the weather is not very summery. I'll let you know how it goes.

Love from Xet and M.

Oscar B. said...

"Kiddiepunk"....ma per favore, smettila di dire bugie, porca miseria!!!
Tanned in 2 days in Salice Terme? I'll be waiting for some evidence of that when I get back,because I obviously don't believe you...

Dennis, tell him to stop faking it!

Pascal said...

Hey, Dennis, I considered deleting my last comment (on sat) because it seemed so lazy and self-pitying. I didn't because I think the part of me that gets miserable in that despairing way IS, I suppose, lazy and self-pitying. Uncomfortable but true.

As for writing, and how it sits with that depressive stuff, well, I think maybe it comes when I'm NOT writing (often when I'm working a lot on my money-making 9-5 stuff, which I need to do at the moment for cash reasons). Also, when I'm waiting to hear if some writing I've sent off is to be rejected/accepted (still waiting to hear about my novel).

On a more cheerful note, similar periods, in the past, have been a precursor to big outbursts of writing. Probably because I tend to write my way out of them.

By the way, I've often imagined that TRY must have been your most emotionally difficult book to write. Maybe because I found it such an emotionally demanding read. I found MLT very demanding too, but something about TRY, coming as it does in the sequence, maybe, or perhaps because Ziggy is so...I don't know... lovable/vulnerable? Would it be weird to say that it's your least intellectual book. Actually, I think I heard you say something like that already in an interview somewhere.


Anyway I feel good today, better than I have for a while. The cake was delicious, by the way. The filling was half double cream and half cream cheese.

Cloverfield is on TV as I write. I love that movie. It's why I was so disappointed in the star trek movie.

Hope you have a good day.

And, DAVID E, thanks for today. It looks absolutely fantastic.

Schlix said...

Dennis, mmh, yes the art magazine... "artiberlin.de"
how to say... it is not (yet) on the top of what could be.
and it is just in german. i write for the film section. they cover all aspects, music, literature and so on. most of the writers are very young and it is all in the making.
haha, i am beating around the bush, some articles are really bad! but i think it is a chance for me to write and learn. the people there are young and nice.
it is the "underground" divison of a berlin city magazine.

Kiddiepunk said...

OSCAR B- Mannaggia la miseria! Tu mi fai star male!
hehe!

Dorna said...

Hi Dennis. Did you get a haircut yet? Isn't that always the best feeling? Right after a haircut? (Well, other than the disastrous ones, I guess). Thanks DE for the Dorothy Dean Day for posting Bill's brilliant piece that introducing me to so many people and places I didn't know all in the one post. Another revelation at les Weaklings salon. LA is sunny and there's a breeze in the palm trees. Sending you all love, D

Koes said...

hey dennisss, sorry I was in Berlin. Ehm it was pretty intense. Show had technical problems and was kinda fucked, I think they played about 5 songs but holy fuck, pretty amazing still. After I went up to say hi and hugged jamie, it was great. x

the Dreadful Flying Glove said...

Man, I'm going to have to dig around for 'Early Plastic'. I loved reading this, really loved it, and I loved reading the typescript of Dorothy's reviews too. Super-entertaining, stuff. Thank you, gentlemen.

Dennis, hey there. Sorry I blipped over the weekend. I got deep in some college stuff over the weekend and my programming textbooks. Got to give this brain some technical exercises and stuff. Ouch! Hurts. But in a good way.

I think you made a grand showing for the oft-maligned shoegazers. Nicely done. On a personal level, it's nice to be coming out of that ugly mode of thought where not connecting with a type of art-process obliges one to demonstrate a formal system for dismissing it. As entertaining or caustic as that stream of invective I scrawled on MBV might have been, a while back, it's all the same sort of sophomoric bullshit. Which doesn't make it (in and of itself) wrong, but acknowledging those limits seems urgently necessary.

One band I really connected with, then, and still now, is Bark Psychosis. I'm unaware if their record 'Hex' made it out of the Greater London area, let alone across the Atlantic, but that and their early work is cor wow etc, mostly recorded under a church and with plentiful drift into stuff that resembles the Art Ensemble of Chicago doing a show from the bottom of Lake Tahoe.

JW Veldhoen said...

It is cool, maybe because it is so minimal and only reminiscent of the glory-years... Kinda ghostly but there is something else too, some erasure of the past, some orgiastic newness (a new appellation given to me lately, orgiastic... I like it, like finally someone gets it). Fucking great music, Cubans on the pier singing, sound system on the boardwalk doing solid reggae. Now, despite Robert Moses and Fred/Donald Trump + other assorted real-estate slime, it remains what it was, a respite for the hot and poor, and as such, is stamped in an inimitable New York way, with a bright red don't you fuckin' touch. I didn't go to the spooky house but there is one, still. Maybe next time... Didn't find the freaks, if they're still allowed. It was really open and relatively quiet in a strange way (strange like how Melville opens 'Pierre', say), even with all the people. Some kind of democratic cool on it all, yeah, something like a disregard for the weight of memory and the "Coney Island of the mind" bullshit, with all that the Ocean breaths in and out, with the disinterestedness of eternity, more like Fitzgerald than anything else... Rode the Cyclone. Not made for people over 6'0. Fast as hell, had to hold my organs in to sit in the damn thing, felt horrible after, plus the cum in my shorts, horrible food, etc, etc. Not optimal. Subway ride takes forever.

All in italics, goddammit.

kier said...

dennis, in regards to pascal's question about try, i'm wondering if period was perhaps the most difficult book to write? since re-reading it (i'm reading it at a snail's pace, because i want to get everything and feel everything, but also to keep me in there while i'm still building my cabin) it strikes me as so endlessly sad and horrific. knowing the history, of having read the rest of the cycle just now, and your personal history, makes it a pretty tough read sometimes. anyway, it's way way up there as a favourite of your books (and all books), the book is the black cabin. either that, or i'm sad, and projecting.

glad you got my mail by the by, it sounds good, and i'm happy to help you out. i forgot, as is my trademark way about me, to say that yeah i'd be incredibly grateful if you could show me some particular fecteaus that inpired you at that time. as frustating as it is to work on something at this maddeningly slow pace (45 minutes a week, if i'm lucky), it's really exciting just to think about it and spin it in my mind. it reminds me of what you've said about when you're working on a book you constantly think about it and work on it in your head wherever you are or what you're doing. and the specific construction of this is pretty ideal to that kind of mind work. i do sketch some too, but that's more of a side-thing.

smiley face is the araki film that came after mysterious skin. something kinda bad is happening tomorrow, but i'll tell you about that later. love.

Chris said...

so hey - Ish and I met and feel we might be able to cut the budget. The one way could do this in a significant way would be to have you come just for the auditions and the new museum segment and not the PS show? what are you thoughts - I'd be really disappointed, but we may be able to cut almost $3000 if not a little off if that were the case. It is all a little weird, but were trying to figure it out and think we can.

Thoughts - questions.

Justin said...

Um... well what I call e-stalking is technically just sending messages. Stalking is really hard to define though, Bertie Marshall used to leave love notes on the car window of the guy who played Rocky in Rocky Horror, so maybe it's a Virgo thing. It's not like I send them bodily waste in the mail, to me that's crossing a line, oh by the way Dennis what's your address? Mwhahahaha.
Well, I hate my voice, people say it's cute, but to me it sounds like, do you remember the campy 80's club film Liquid Sky where the lead actress played the lead female and male roles? It sounds like the voice she used as a man with an accent attached, or the big bull dyke Sailor Scout from the dubbed version of Sailor Moon.
Today I got to do some official sewing, I mean I didn't get paid or anything, but it's being seen by a gymnasium full of Grade Schoolers. My Aunt works for the school system and needed some curtains worked on for some puppet so, so I did that for her, and they turned out pretty good.
Misanthrope, you saw my doppleganger? Or the other Justin who comes here? It could be my brother for all I know, my Dad was in the military, and was kind of a man-slut, but it definitely wasn't me because Holocaust Museums aren't how I roll. The Holocaust was absolutely horrible, but America has a lot of it's own sins to own up to.

Brendan said...

Thanks for the APTBS tip. They are playing in LA on June 26, but that is the night of my birthday bash so I can't see them anyway.

Speaking of bands, Melt Banana just played the Sydney Opera House. Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson had some kind of event there and they invited MxBx to play. I'm so happy for them. That is an amazing gig.

I'm still thinking about a book for the DCs book club. The pressure is on to pick a good one.

I'm interested in how pop music or shoegaze specifically has informed your writing. I've heard you talk about it before with regard to Guided By Voices of course but I'd love to hear more about it. Is it the lyrics, song structure or overall feeling of a song? All three? I often find myself making work that comes directly from a different form - music, film, book. But you'd never be able to tell from the my finished piece. It just serves as a map of sorts for the structure or feeling of a piece. I wonder how directly you are influenced by music. This answer may require more space and time than the ps allows you. I understand.

steevee said...

Have you heard the new Oneohtrix Point Never album? Aquarius already stocks it on vinyl, and I think the CD comes out on the 18th.

I've been having a lot of extreme mood swings the past few days. I wonder if this is a side effect of Lexapro.

DavidEhrenstein said...

I'm not exactly sure how many copies of the "All-Lavender Cinema Courier" Dorothy churned out, but they're highly prized amoung the (sadly ever-dwindling) faithful.

Dorothy is like a tune I can't get out of my head. She had such a definite (highly refined) "take" on the world that whenever anything truly important happens I always think of what Dorothy might have said about it. I am sure she would have had TONS to say about Barack Obama, absolutely none of which has been voiced by anyone else to date. Being a "piss-elegant Negro" she doubtless would have admired Obama's piss-elegance, even while reading him like the goddamned telephone directory -- just for form's sake.

Gay Liberation confused her, but I know she'd find Gay Republicans a Big Juicy Target of her peerlessly refined wrath.

nb said...

Dennis, I do love Helios and anything Keith Kenniff does. Very much. So far, of Ohle, I have read Camp, Motorman and Age of Sinatra. I like Motorman the best, if only for its sparseness. I like that Sinatra has this greater plot element that is never fully exposed and always cut short. It's also more developed, which, I'm on the fence about. I do like the writing better in Motorman. I also have The Pisstown Chaos, which I have yet to read. This week, I am devoting to poetry. Reading always affects my writing in that it is the greatest source of inspiration to write (next to film). I've been reading a lot lately (as it's summer) and getting a lot out of forms, et cetera. I'm writing this novella thing and I haven't really figured out the best way to start it or what I want to write (which is a bigger thing, I know I can write okay, I suppose, but I don't know what to write). The only ideas I have I'm pulling from various things: Ohle and the lack of explanations, Lutz and Williams for rhythm and brevity. As of now I'm think really short pieces without any driving thing happening and about (mostly) normal life. I don't know if it'll be interesting. They can pull it off. If I can come up with an idea (and I started a new one tonight), then I'll see if I can. How is the novel work for you? What helps you get your ideas down? (Jeez, this is the most I've written on here in a long time. My apologies). To the moon, N.

inthemostpeculiarway said...

Hey Dennis,

I don't know if the decongestants are working or not. I keep taking them, though. The guy probably thought I was stocking up for my meth lab.

Well that TV sounds awful. My friend has a small TV like that too. She watches a lot of things over here.

Well hopefully you made the third of your novel good enough today. Anybody get eaten yet or is that still a secret/undecided at the moment?

I'm glad that you and Gisele agree on the piece.

I need a haircut, probably far worse than you. I'm just a lazy fuck. But hopefully he managed to give you one today.

What is/was Interville? And maybe they'll replace it with something even dumber. Wouldn't that be nice summer fun?

Oh, I can't wait for Blake Butler's newest one. I loved Scorch Atlas.

My Monday:

Woke up and took a shower and found out that I had a missed call, so I called him back (my guy, who we will call...I don't know yet, I'll think of a name later) had apparently fallen and done a splits of sorts, and basically he landed on his balls on some concrete slab. Due to this intensely painful injury, he needed me to be his bitch and come over and do things for him, to which I told him to call his girlfriend and he said he likes me more, and I said that he knew I'd have nothing else to do, but yeah I went over there and was a bit of a prick to him, like putting things he asked for just out of reach. Then we just watched various things on TV and talked, which included having a long conversation on Mary Louise Parker and how we both love her but for different reasons. It was okay, I guess. He got sort of upset whenever I would laugh at him for his injury, though.

Came back, read, watched the season finales of Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara. Nurse Jackie was better, of course, but that's to be expected.

Well my day sort of sucked. For once it's not my fault, though, so I feel sort of relieved.

Yours?

david said...

Alan - the Munsters were a nuclear family. The Addamses were a dandy commune.

Dennis - I'll never forget dancing to I'm Eighteen with you outside Cooper Union.

DavidE - I had a friend in Norfolk, a middlescent would be dancer who used to get arrested for stalking Marvin Gaye. I was always interested in her unique take on anything.

That Araki movie looks wonderful ..

postitbreakup said...

DENNIS,

The Lipsky thing is in a book called Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself from a DFW quote. He did a profile for Rolling Stone. The book is mostly a transcript.

You might have seen these already, but just in case, I hope you like them:

one

two

have a good day!

Misanthrope said...

DavidE, I think this was posted right before I started coming round here, so it's new to me. Thanks!

Justin, Oh, no, I was talking to you. Dude looked just like you. Or what I imagine you look like in person from your pics.

Dennis, Haha, well, to be fair, two of the people were and 9 and 10 years old and had asked our ages first. But the security guard just assumed we were father and son.

What's kind of worrying me, though, is that my cousin thought Justin was older than 20. So what if other people are thinking he's 25 or 26 and that I'm, like, 50?! Jesus, no!

So Justin's leaving in about two hours. Kind of sad and depressing, you know? I just had a lot of fun with him here. But there's nothing for him really, except for my great companionship. Hehe.

See you on the other side. Of the new post, that is.

Oscar B. said...

KIDDIEPUNK, falla finita, RED ROVER!

Bollo said...

Hi Dennis
the sailors were from europe mostly. slightly different uniform looks more dated with a kind of flat hat with a bobble on top. think there was one american boat in tho.
read Parrino's No Texts the bits i liked were mostly quotes he'd taken from other people theres little other fun bits. but mostly i sounds like 3rd rate 'im a punk and cool' talk.

* Kier
congrats on the new place! im like you, i stopped telling people about things that might happen as few big things fell threw and i looked dumb.

syreearmwellion said...

quick question. you wrote a story about this heroin addicted spacemen 3 t-shirt wearing record store employee in an old book. and i've been trying to remember what book it was from. the shoegaze feature finally just put me over the edge as far as asking about it.

also, on the subject have you checked out any bands on the ghost box label? i've been listening to advisory circle and belbury poly a lot lately.

privatelibrary said...

Dear David,
Serendipity happened me upon your blog this evening and thought I'd thank you for amusing me. It seems I replaced you at the Madison Avenue Bookshop, where I managed to stay for 17 years - 15 in a part-time capacity - during which time I took and deflected several calls from Dorothy for Arthur. Fran Lebowitz is the only friend I've left who knew both. Fred Hughes, with whom I worked, knew both. Loeb and Vreeland were his role models and he hired me because the other two had. We agreed Arthur much more interesting.
So I was amused to read your memoir. I'm working on one myself. Arthur titled a chapter on the bookshop titled "Principles of Retail" regards our reading and working together all those years.
My journals of the better part of those years were destroyed by an angry loved one but I've still quite a bit recounting the scene at the bookshop and environs. In retrospect, it's nuts.
I have only seen him once since I left the store in 1992, then only in passing on Madison Avenue, where he still lives at Carlton House. A friend with a jewelry store there at 61st Street with whom he has occasional pleasantries merely comments on ages's advance.
Like you, I was over him and he haunts as one of those most unforgetablenesses of all time. It would be interesting to compare notes some time.
All amities,
Kurt Thometz