Should I talk about Crispin or the film first? Or about how much I hate Chicago? And construction? Okay, no, I don't hate Chicago (but I do hate construction, natch). I lived very close to Chicago for about five years, until I was about nine; my dad taught at Governers State University. But I'm not generally a great fan of big cities with, you know, the congestion and all the people. It's the whole getting overwhelmed really easily. I come from a place where I drive by cows on my way to class, so don't judge me. Also, driving and having a car in the city is crap. Next time, I'm working out how to do this by bus or train or whatever.
But actually, here's an anecdote from the (chatty) streets of Chicago: so, Rachel and I are coming out of a CVS (she bought some hair clips), and Rachel is wearing her hoodie with the life-size skeleton on it. This youngish guy comes up behind us, points to her back, and says, "Whoa, you've got like a tumor or something right here! Like a ribeye!"
I say, "That's the scapula. A shoulder-blade." He's like, "Nuh-uh, no way, that's totally a ribeye. How would you know? You haven't seen any shoulder-blades!" So Rachel says, "Sure he has; he's studying mortuary science." The guy turns to me and says, "Really?" And I'm like, "Sure, why not."
So he says, "Cool, cool. Are you two together?" And we're like, yeeeeaaah. And he says, "Awww, good, you can keep each other safe!" And then starts walking away. Leaving Rachel and I to look at each other with equally bemused expressions of "Quoi?" on our faces.
Then he yells back, "But that's still totally a ribeye!"
But the movie... yay! This movie is incredibly awesome, and if you get a chance to see it, please do. Even without Crispin Glover doing narration, although I'm totally biased and think he's pretty much the perfect fit as a narrator for this film. If you've seen his Big Slide Show or read Oak Mot or Rat Catching, I think you'll be able to see a resemblence in theme and style and sense of humor and whatnot. Oh Crispin, please publish the rest of your books.
Anyway, movie stuff. I like to go into these sorts of things as unprepared as I possibly can. Isn't it the greatest experience to go into something you know nothing about that's being presented live? And then you kind of get to "discover" it? I'm sorry if that sounds really fruity, but it's a way of experiencing film and theatre that I sometimes really like, particularly with the avant-garde, since then you can have the experiences with a minimum of preconceived notions. Also, as Rachel just pointed out to me, you don't end up anticipating the moments you saw in the previews (oh god, don't get me started on the utter horror of previews and trailers today).
So, yes, it's a wonderfully weird combination of expressionism on 8mm film, silent movie conventions (with accompanying interlocuter--Crispin--castrato, live orchestra, and live team of foley artists doing sound effects), 1950s camp horror, and John Waters-ish sexual play. The plot features characters and elements such as orphan children conducting a black mass with "Savage Tom" leading them; an idividual orphan named Neddie who accidentally electrocuted his younger brother (shades of Pendergast, anyone?) and now suffers tics and seizures; and Guy, the main character, who is the recipient of weirdly incestuous attention from his histrionic mother. Guy also has an older sister (Sis) and a mad scientist father (who stays in the basement pretty much all the time, back to the camera); the family lives on an island with a lighthouse and a small tribe of orphan children. Guy's mother uses Father's various inventions to keep track of, nag, or spy on her children.
Then along comes Wendy Hale, harpist and half of a detective team called the Lightbulb Kids with her brother. She falls in love with Sis (while Guy develops a crush on her), and so decides to disguise herself as her brother Chance, boy detective investigating the goings on of Guy and Sis's parents. Guy gets his first boycrush! Sis and Chance tryst, and Chance invents first the "kissing gloves" (only the person wearing the gloves, i.e. Chance, can kiss the other) and the "undressing gloves" in order to have sexy fun with Sis without revealing himself as a girl. Guy, however, never suspects these "secret genders of others." Here's Chance. He's obviously hot as hell, hehe.
So, obviously I wasn't expecting this plot development. But, equally obviously, I fucking adored it. Hell, picture me, all cleaned up and wearing nice pants, nice button-up shirt, and a vest... looking like somebody's prom date. And oh, they did such a wonderful job with Chance and with Chance and Sis together. It's freaking adorable, seriously and it just... so very, very relevant to me. So nice to be able to really be able to smile at it and identify with the characters and their romance. And fuck everybody who goes "How strange! How unusual!"
I won't go into the rest of the plot here. Oh, but dr_ninjapants: yes, the main character is Guy Madden. For a given amount of "Guy Madden," I guess, heh. Overall, though, it's quite a lovely, sensational movie, true to life even with its '50s-sci-fi-and-horror-B-grade-movie-ins
Then, afterward, Crispin had a little table with his books and things for sale in the lobby. Rachel bought Oak Mot and Rat Catching and, happily, there weren't actually as many people in line as when Crispin was there with his own movie (and we were toward the front anyway). So we didn't have to wait for too long, thankfully.
And Crispin, amazing man that he is, remembered both Rachel (who had only seen him the one time before) and myself. In fact, he was actually like, "Now, where did you see me before?"
Me: Ah, well, Rachel and I saw you in Ann Arbor. Then I saw you at the Warhol Museum in Pittburgh. Then here...
Him: No, wait, I thought there was another one.
Me: Yeah, I mean, I saw you here last November!
Him: Oh! Oh, yes, that's right. I think you're also on my MySpace friends...
Holy shit. He remembered me from MySpace? Life is weird.
But anyway, he grabbed the Brand Upon the Brain! postcard I had taken out of my hand (and yet never actually signed it), then he signed one of Rachel's books. But then asked me for my name. Not really thinking, I gave it to him, but Rachel was paying attention and kindly alerted him to the fact that it was actually, uh, her book. So he gamely converted "Seth" into a very deformed "Rachel." It's awesome. And his handwriting was atrocious. He was so, so tired. Tired but happy.
And, yeah, he's going to be back in the fall with What Is It? and It Is Fine! ... Yes, dammit, we will be there. And he said that he was very proud of It Is Fine! .... So, you know. I'm excited. Are you excited?
So then, afterward, Rachel and I went back to the car, made bunny noises, and then drove back to her apartment.
The only thing I regret is that I totally forgot to tell him it was my birthday. Maybe in six months I'll tell him, haha. Retroactive happy birthdays? Why not?