When I heard Crispin Glover was traveling the country promoting his books and movies I was intrigued. When I found out he would be at the Alamo Drafthouse as part of that tour I decided I must go. I was only familiar with his work in mainstream Hollywood movies.
I knew nothing of his personal books and movies. I did a little bit of research for my interview article with him, but it did little to prepare me for mental assault I would undergo.
First He performed Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show. This is a one hour dramatic narration of eight different profusely illustrated books he has made over the years. These books are not light reading. Following the train of thought in these books takes thought and concentration.
Much of the flow is not linear. At the end of each book you have to question yourself “What did I just read and what response did he want me to have to this?”. I believe Crispin purposefully wrote them this way to make you to think for yourself rather than have the story force it’s narrative on you.
Below is a sample of the books Crispin Glover read from during the Big Slide Show.
Round My House
After Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show there was a screening of one of his films. If you attended Friday night you got to see It’s Fine, Everything is Fine. I went on Saturday night so I saw What is It? Crispin explained this movie was meant to thumb it’s nose at the typical corporate funded movies that typically fill theaters.
There was a plethora of societal taboos in this film. A majority of the cast were actors with Down Syndrome, yet the movie was not about Down Syndrome in any way, shape, or form. The imagery used and the acts portrayed by the cast at the very least made you uncomfortable. Throughout the whole movie you are asking “What am I seeing? Why am I watching this? Why did he make this film? and What exactly is this? Crispin explained this is the response he wanted to get from the audience. He wanted to make a film without all the taboo edited out. The movie is aptly named “What is It?”
At the conclusion of the movie Crispin had a Q&A (question and answer) session. After sitting through the book reading and watching the movie you expected to hear the ramblings of a crazy man. Most in the audience were surprised I”m sure to see Crispin is a very well-spoken and educated man. His depth of knowledge in every subject that was brought up was near professorial.
Just like every professor, his stream of conscious jumped from subject to subject. It was not uncommon for one of his answers to start with his films and end up in politics 20 minutes later. This is where I believe he would benefit greatly to have a moderator to help keep focus on the question.
After several hours of Q&A (I am not exaggerating here one bit) Crispin started his book signing. He would sign any item you brought, but in case you didn’t bring anything you could buy one of his books or movie posters.
I bought a copy of Round My House (first person narrative from a psychopathic killer). He asked what I thought about his show so I gave him an honest answer. I found the movie to be enlightening and the books to be frightening. He questioned as to why I found the books frightening. I brought up Round My House specifically and he chuckled and agreed with me.
I was also able to grab a picture with him during the book signing.
I have see-sawed back and forth about my thoughts on this experience. I wasn’t always sure what I was supposed to be thinking or feeling during the book readings or the movie. A lot of that was cleared up for me during the Q&A when Crispin explained his intent with both.
I debated with myself as to whether I enjoyed the show and if I should have enjoyed it. Now the next morning after much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that YES, I did enjoy the show for what it was. Crispin is not looking to get rich making a blockbuster movie or writing a New York Times bestseller.
He is doing these things for the artistic aspect and to open the audience’s eyes to things be it psychosis, taboos, or what have you. If you get a chance to catch one of Crispin Glover’s shows please go in with an open mind and you will undoubtedly come out lots of new thoughts to exercise your brain.
For more information go to CrispinGlover.com