Saw Crispin Glover and What Is It? again. With ghostgecko. Well, actually, we saw the Warhol museum first, because that’s where it was showing. And the Warhol museum was nice, even if the people who worked there were spectacularly rude.
The John Waters exhibit was fun. I kept feeling like I was the only person in there laughing at it, which puzzled me because it was funny. I mean, John Waters, come on people. And then my snorts of laughter would echo all over the floor, and I’d feel like a big, snorting dork. But I seem to do that a lot… laughing at things that no one else laughs at. I liked the two little stalls with the porn and the glory hole and some guy drawing with his ass while Andy photographed and filmed him. That was hilarious. And it only just occurred to me that I should have nicked Lew’s pen and written “Andy Warhol sucks a big one!” on the wall… since someone had already written “Andy is a douche” on the wall, and “Andy Warhol sucks a big one!” is from Rubin and Ed starring Crispin, of course.
The Warhol museum is echo-y. That is bad. And they play some truly godawful music. To the point of not being able to carry on a conversation. To the point of pain, dammit. That’s just wrong. And their café is all vegetarian-trendy… and then the covering on the booth cushions is either cow or horse hair. Lew and I laughed a lot about that. And we found one of those little local papers down there that had an article mocking John Titor, the time-traveler. Hee. But Andy is awesome, I love his art, he’s so cute. The pretentious things people write about his art tends to put me off, but I still like him and the visual aesthetic of his stuff. They have this earlier, half-finished, gigantic painting of a typewriter that I suppose he started at some point… and just left it about halfway through. I saw that and exclaimed, “Oh, god, that’s going to be all my work some day!” Well, heh, it already is.
And then, um, we got in line for Crispin. Bought the books we were missing. When we first got to the museum, Lew saw a guy with a suit in a dry-cleaning bag go into the theatre and we’d sort of giggled at that… then, while we were standing in line, a lady unlocked the door and let Crispin into the theatre. I don’t know why seeing that amused me, but it did. Anyway, we ended up standing next to this guy in line who was sort of… out of it, I guess. But we were mentioning the fact that there was also a baseball game that evening, and he sort of went off on professional sports… and then he said something like:
Him: I mean, come on, what the hell do the Steelers do anyway?
Me: … football.
Him: You’re a lesbian.
Lew: *laughs* Hahahaha! Nooooooooooo…
And it was just really weird. But thankfully he didn’t sit near us. We ended up close to the front, on the side where Crispin stood to do the slideshow. And the slideshow was lovely of course. Lew jumped and laughed a lot at the “CHICKEN!” part, which is great because… I don’t know. I just love that part. And I still wish he would publish Round My House because I just love that pseudo-persecution angle, how this guy is angry about what he sees as a witch hunt against him and his magnificent, unusual dwelling, and you almost want to be angry for him too… except it pretty quickly becomes obvious that the character isn’t entirely innocent even as his trust is betrayed. Something like that is how I interpret it anyway.
And then… What Is It? Uh, again. So, yes. I don’t really have all that much to say this time, I guess. I mean, I’ve already said quite a bit about it here and in the review I left on IMDB. I basically felt like the second showing did exactly what I hoped it would: it helped to refresh my memory and made many of the various concepts come together more… cohesively, I suppose? Yeah. So I had a much better sense of the split between the outside world and the much more confined, unnatural, and elaborate-seeming world inside the main character’s head.
In fact, that was what became most apparent to me in this viewing… the representation of the mind, and how it seemed, I guess, just really fitting to me. The fact that the imagery in the mind seems to hop from place to place, from pop culture icons to concepts represented by brightly colored, juvenile objects, to a song playing (a mandated playing no less, since the line that precedes it is: “We’re supposed to listen to this now”) alongside a sort of pornographic fantasy. I sometimes scoff at works that try to portray the mind as a sort of space in which memories or concepts are housed and catalogued (a la Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher) just because that doesn’t seem to bear any relationship to my own thought processes, while the way Crispin portrays it is far, far closer to the rather random, half-complete thoughts and associations I make in my own head.
This then ties in to something that Lew goes into a bit here which is that Crispin’s character in WII? is the voice of the inner ego of the main character (the young man), who has Down’s syndrome. This “normal” ego throughout the film makes it clear that he hates the young man and wishes he would die. I didn’t really realize it until Lew brought it up, but that sort of dichotomy—the inside being constantly in conflict with the outside, to the point of extreme urgings of hatred and death coming from the inner ego—is familiar to both of us. The tremendous sense of self-loathing that occurs as a result of feeling inadequate or unable to do very basic human thing is, perhaps, best expressed as a separate inner entity that rages against you and just want to make the ‘machine’ they’re piloting work in some sort of normal, “fun” fashion. But of course they can’t; my inner self can’t make my body less sensitive to noise or crowds or touch, it can’t make me more coordinated or more able to process facial expressions. All it can do is become frustrated and either let those feelings out immediately (tantrums/meltdowns/jerky and violent stimming) or swallow them and stuff them away until my moods are erratic and I’m hurting myself or destroying things or whatever.
And, y’know, not to marginalize the people with Down’s syndrome in any way, but I think the issue of ego versus body is more relevant to autistics. I may be wrong. But it struck me as interesting that Glover relied so highly on the facial deformity associated with Down’s syndrome: “I know that my experience is that when I look at somebody's face, somebody that has Down syndrome, I immediately see a history of somebody that has lived their entire life outside the culture. So when the entire film is cast with people who have that innate quality, it gives the film the quality of a world that lives outside of the culture.”
And I can see why that would be true and be, in many ways, an effective tool in a medium that is, first and foremost, a visual one. But at the same time, I’m more inclined to find a person who is segregated from the culture at large by the way their brain functions and the associated prejudices against different levels/ways of functioning to be more interesting if they aren’t instantly recognizable. Maybe this is an egocentric way of looking at it, or maybe it’s just frustration with having to deal with the immediate and ignorant judgment of others.
I look like a fairly average person. I’m not beautiful. I look younger than I actually am. The most overt physical signals I give off are stiff, awkward, or entirely absent facial expressions; average stims and gestures like finger-flicking, swaying, thumb-sucking, brushing my hair back repeatedly with my fingers, or shaking my hands; and the way I talk, which can alternate between being too loud, too soft/mumble-y, overly pedantic, or lacking inflection. And, since most people aren’t going to associate any of these traits, even when they’re all present at one time, directly with autism (as they would associate the appearance of someone with Down’s syndrome directly with the stereotypical traits), I still have issues with trying to tell people I’m not close to that I’m autistic. Which, trust me, I am. Turns out that all that jumping through hoops I had to do to get a formal diagnosis was, at least in part, designed to prove that I was not simply being imitative in some bizarre way, as I would have been if I really had Borderline Personality Disorder. But, if I had BPD, I would not have followed through with a diagnosis, nor actually been diagnosed (well, duh), and—perhaps most importantly—my life wouldn’t have become so much more manageable and my emotional instability wouldn’t have evened out so dramatically.
But, anyway, so when Lew and I got to talk to Crispin at the signing, I don’t know… I’m really afraid that Crispin was skeptical of me. Not of Lew, just of me. Because we did talk to him about it a little and about how it affected our viewing of the film. But then, I may be over-sensitive to that, for reasons that are hopefully obvious. [ETA: Crispin actually did say something like, "Ah, that's why the two of you get along so well!" when I said I was also autistic. So.] Ahhhh, I so want to go out to dinner with him and Lew and just talk about… stuff. (Wow, don’t I sound SMRT?!) Actually, going back slightly, during the Q&A session Lew actually asked two questions and I asked a question about fame and the cult of celebrity that I had been rehearsing almost since I saw him in April. Seriously. And as he was answering me, he kept making eye contact and I kept trying to make eye contact back, but then my facial muscles started to shake so I had to press my lips together and flick my fingers a bit. But Lew asked good questions. Most of the questions were pretty good, actually. Crispin even acknowledged that it was a more educated and interested audience than he usually had, and that he sort of missed the antagonism he normally got. Sort of.
The following may be too much information even for Crispin fans. Or not. I have no idea. Anyway, highlight to read, because it is a rather personal bit of speculation:
I’m pretty sure that Crispin, um, “dresses to the right.” Or at least he did for Friday night. And if you aren’t familiar with the term, this may help. And, lest you think I’m a total perverted creepystalkerweirdo, it wasn’t exactly a fact that required a lot of careful study. I mean, it isn’t like I spent the entire time staring at his crotch or anything. Um… even if I did, it was just because it was so obvious. Bulge! Okay, I’m done now.
Also, if you didn’t know, he most definitely doesn’t celebrate his birthday twice a year; he says that was a rumor that made it on to IMDB back in the day. According to Crispin, he might go out to dinner on his birthday or something… awwwwww, cuteness. He also forgot people’s questions a couple times, which was very cute. So adorable. And he sways too, which I like watching just because it’s what I do and the movement can be soothing.
Something I was thinking about during this whole showing was how people’s lives intersect. Lew and I, well, our lives intersect quite a bit because we’re such close friends… but since we don’t live near one another, there are still elements we aren’t entirely familiar with about one another (although I think Lew is the person I’ve been closest too all my life, and he knows the most about me). But Crispin has a whole separate life from his work and his public life and publicity. And the ability for interaction with him as a person rather than a celebrity is severely limited. Which is kind of sad, actually. I guess I think about this because I never really objectified him as just, you know, a masturbatory fantasy. I think Crispin is attractive, yeah, but my desire for an actual sexual relationship is so limited that in my fantasy there’s a lot of philosophical discussion and then I get to pet his hair. Mmmmmyep. He and Lew both have pretty hair… and I actually did pet Lew’s hair. :D OH, and Lew got his Rat Catching tattoo and it is GORGEOUS. I was actually going to get a Rat Catching tattoo… and I still might, but I was looking through Oak Mot and thought that the little brand symbol and the words “The Worms Will Get In” would be pretty nifty too.
So, Lew and I were the last people to talk to Crispin aside from the press… we waited for it to clear out a lot because of the people and the echo. He was very sweet and patient once again, and I got to give him this painting, which is what I did instead of sleeping and which also looks ten million times better in person. It’s 9”x12”, so not very big, and I used the trailer for reference… he looked at it and was like “Oh… oh, it’s all things from What Is It? … Look, there’s the naked girl in the monkey mask and everything. And that actually sort of looks like Adam Parfrey.” It was cute. I got the pipe wrong, but I was going off a pipe that I remember my mother having which used to belong to her father. And we talked a little bit about autism, like I said, and Lew showed off his tattoo and yay I can’t wait for the next film, mmmmmmm actual intellectual stimulation. Oh, and Lew and I doodled in the museum guestbook... he did a lovely drawing of Crispin gesturing as he does in the slideshow and I drew a rat and wrote a spazzy note about how Andy is and always will be my dead boyfriend.
So then, um, we left and Lew gave me a Lion King t-shirt with Scar that says “I’m surrounded by idiots.” And Lew drove home, while I tried to find my way back to my mother’s. Which I managed by about 2:12 am. Then Saturday my mother, a friend of hers from work, and I went out to lunch at an Italian restaurant. Twas good. And that evening we watched Shadow of the Vampire. Mmmm, weirdness and Eddie Izzard.
And then, the coup de grâce? I’m getting ready to leave her house today and there was a dead squirrel on the hood of the car parked behind mine. It looked at first like it had fallen off the telephone wires, but mom said later over the phone that there was blood on the road and it had probably been hit by a car and thrown up there. I cried. Poor squirrely.