MY WEEKEND WITH CRISPIN GLOVER
TWO NIGHTS OF FILMS, SLIDES & SNAILS
"What Is It?" (2005)Directed by Crispin Hellion Glover
"It is Fine! Everything is Fine" (2007)
Directed by Crispin Hellion Glover and David Brothers
There are certain actors that inspire me to watch a film just because they are in it. Crispin Glover is one of those actors. I enjoy how delicately creepy he is. He is excellent at playing eccentric characters that most people would call a weirdo. Crispin Glover is my favorite creepy weirdo.
In addition to acting, Crispin Glover is also a filmmaker, an author, musician and publisher. I recently had the privilege to attend an evening with Crispin Hellion Glover: An event that actually spanned two nights, featuring: screenings of films directed by Crispin Glover, as well as a narrated slide show, Q & A session and a meet & greet.
The two night event took place at an artsy club called "Nextdoor" on Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th, 2015 in Hawaii.
This is not your typical film screening. I will do my best to explain this unique event in the order that things happened.
When I walked into the club, I headed straight to the merch table to see what Crispin had to offer. Three of his self-published books were available. Those books were: "Concrete Inspection", "Oak Mot" and "Rat Catching". I bought all three. After making the purchase, the woman who collected my money said to me, "The books will make more sense after you see the slide show."
I went to my seat.
I took my seat facing a small stage, with a large screen on the wall behind it. As the lights dimmed, old-timey French music played and a red spotlight appeared in the corner of the screen. When the music stopped, Crispin walked on stage into the spotlight, wearing a black suit and tie. He announced that he would be reading from 8 of his books. He began both evenings of the event the same way, but some of the 8 books that Crispin read from were different on the second night. Having not looked inside, after I bought them, it was at this moment that I saw what the books that I had just purchased were like. Photos of the covers and the pages within, appeared next to him on the screen as a slide show.
Each book was made from a previously published older one. Some passages were blacked out while pieces of the original text were left in tact. Crispin had added hand written passages in black ink, in sections, thus creating an original story. These stories were whimsically strange. Random old photos and works of art were inserted with captions, complementing each story and adding to their weirdness.
Sometimes, while speaking he would point to the image on the screen, making it feel more powerful. When he spoke, he displayed passion as though he were performing a play or a film. His energy changed throughout stories from being wildly intense to soft and gentle. One of the books: "Land of Sunshine" was written and read entirely in German.
A highlight for me was his book, "An Egg Farm" which read: "I'm at an egg farm or maybe I'm at home. NO! I'm at an egg farm."
These were the only words in the book, repeated on each page. Some people may have found themselves thinking at this moment, "I payed money to see this?" I find that thought hilarious. Personally, I felt jealous. I wanted to be on that stage yelling: "NO! I'm at an egg farm!". I get it. There's nothing to get. It felt like a bizarre comedy.
My favorite book quote of the night was hearing Crispin say the line: "I think my penis fell off."
Each night, after the hour long slide show, Crispin showed a film that he directed. These films were the first two parts of an unfinished trilogy. Of course, he showed the films out of order because hey, if you're going to give the people a big weird show, you need to do it right.
On the first night, he screened Part 2 of his "It" film trilogy, titled: "It is Fine! Everything is Fine". On the second night, he screened Part 1 of his "It" film trilogy, titled: "What Is It?" According to Crispin, the final part of the trilogy, which will be titled: "It is Mine", has yet to be made and will be completed sometime in the future.
In the mean time, Crispin is currently directing a different stand alone feature. A trailer was shown to us of this currently untitled film, using footage he had already finished. From the looks of the trailer, this new film looks like a period piece for people who don't like period pieces. Crispin has a beard in it.
FILM TWO (Shown on Night One):
"It is Fine! Everything is Fine"
A man in a wheel chair, with cerebral palsy is attracted to women with long hair. Despite his disability and his impossible to understand speech, he can still get these long haired women to date him, let him brush their hair and have sex with them. Then he kills them.
Everything about the film looked and felt like it was made in the 1970s. Combine awkward graphic sex scenes with sets and costumes that have the look of a high school stage play and it felt like an un-erotic 70s porno that is uncomfortable to sit through.
For me, it was kind of an artsy horror film. It was violent, sexual and darkly funny. After all, ya gotta love a killer in a wheel chair. Well...I do.
FILM ONE (Shown on Night Two):
"What Is It?"
This film feels like two different films, going back and forth between them. The first part featured people with downs syndrome hanging out in graveyards with Walkie-talkies, killing snails and arguing over whether or not a man they met in black face was Michael Jackson. Fairuza Balk provided the voice of a snail.
The second part took place in a surreal underworld where Crispin Glover was a racist Demi-God. There, he lords over naked ladies wearing animal masks, women with downs syndrome fighting over his love and the star of the first film (the man with cerebral palsy) nude in an over-sized clam shell. All of this while Crispin listened to old racist country records, watched weird puppet shows and admired his swastika Christmas ornament, while sitting on his Shirley Temple throne. According to the closing credits, Crispin played the Id of one of the downs syndrome characters in the first part.
This film was Avant-garde. I think it may be impossible for most people to describe or even understand it. I feel there is nothing to understand. You are meant to simply experience it and deal with however it makes you feel. No feeling would be the wrong one.
I enjoyed it as an eccentric art film.
Each night, after the film there was a Q & A session. Crispin answered every question thoroughly. Even a question that could be answered briefly was provided a long detailed answer that was not only insightful, but also went down multiple paths, full of information. Crispin is an intelligent artist who is very dedicated to his beliefs. During his talk with the audience, he explained why all corporate funded films were propaganda. Although, I don't agree with him, after hearing his explanation, it made a lot of sense. I love the idea that "Kung-Fu Panda" is propaganda.
During the Q & A session of Night Two, I asked Crispin: "What is your favorite film?"
Crispin answered, "I don't really have one favorite film. I have many. Sometimes I make lists of my favorite films and there are hundreds of titles on those lists.
I do have some favorite directors. I love the films of Fassbinder, Herzog, Bunuel, Kubrick, Fellini, Browning. I would say definitely watch their films."
Although the evening came to a close with the Q & A session, Crispin stuck around to sign his books, and pose for photos. I got my books signed on the first night. During this time, I asked him more questions which he kindly answered. For a creepy weirdo, Crispin is polite and easy to talk to.
Here is what we talked about: (I apologize that I may not be quoting his answers verbatim.)
Me: "It occurred to me that the film,"It is Fine!" may be considered a horror film. Do you consider it a horror film?"
Crispin: "No. I would consider it more of a psychological thriller."
Me: "Do you like horror films?"
Crispin: "It's not a genre that I particularly like, but I do like some horror films."
Me: "Which ones?"
Crispin: "Frankenstein. I really like Boris Karloff. I also like Dwight Frye. I like the films of Todd Browning. I really like "Freaks".
I also really like "Videodrome". Do you consider "Videodrome" a horror film?"
Me: "I think so. It definitely appeals to horror fans. I like it."
Crispin: "I also like Polanski's "Repulsion".
Me: "I love horror films. Your dance scene in "Friday the 13th the Final Chapter" is my all-time favorite dance scene in a film. It's so spontaneous."
Crispin (smiling): "I'm happy that scene seems to bring people so much joy after all these years."
This scene and many other weird moments in Crispin's films bring me joy after all these years.
Crispin Hellion Glover showed me things I never dreamed of and made me feel excited and inspired as an artist in the process.
|Isaac Keith Martinez and Crispin Hellion Glover|
It is like nothing I have ever seen.