Friday, December 15, 2006

No McFly Zone


My internet's temporarily disabled, so I'll only be able to post occasionally for the next week or so. Artist Georganne Deen snuck me into the LA premiere of Crispin Glover's remarkable film "What Is It?" at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The screening was preceeded by a slideshow/reading from several of Glover's darkly humorous book projects, created by modifying Victorian novels and how-to books with inspired edits, ink drawing and collage. The image above is the author's shadow during this performance.

The film itself is beautiful and moving, with a surprising psychological/mythological structure. I had expected something deliberately offensive due to the fact that word-of-mouth has always emphasized the Down's Syndrome cast, Adam Parfrey in minstrel blackface, Charlie Manson music, and Shirley Temple in Nazi leather. Instead, "What Is It?" is something like a B-movie Matthew Barney film, only funnier.

"It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine!" -- the second part of the planned trilogy -- was written by Steven C. Stewart, who appears naked on the half shell in "What Is It?" as "Dueling Demi-God Auteur and the Young Man's Uber Ego." Stewart, who was institutionalized for many years because his severe cerebral palsy made him unable to communicate well despite his normal intelligence, died a month after initial shooting in Salt Lake City. Glover used his earnings from "Charlie's Angels" to finance the film, which will debut at Sundance in January.

Mr. Glover is not planning a DVD release of "What Is It?" Instead, he's going to tour iit around to independent repertory theaters over the next several years, so if you want to see it keep an eye peeled and check his website.

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