Talking Robocop to Death
I guess you never know when you'll be watching a DVD and suddenly see yourself in it? No, I mean literally.
I recently purchased Oscilloscope's handsome disc of Yony Leyser's intriguing, star-filled documentary William S. Burroughs: A Man Within. I was jazzed to note that among its Special Features, the disc includes some footage from a party that the filmmakers convened in Chicago in 2009, in order to celebrate the 50th birthday of Naked Lunch and, if I recall correctly, to collect donations toward the completion of the film. Possibly because I know the camera operator, my impromptu conversation with Peter Wellerstar of David Cronenberg's movie of Naked Lunch and one of our hosts for the eveningwas preserved for posterity. Thanks to who knows who else, you can see it for a few flashes on the disc. Mercifully, you can't actually hear any of the exchange, so I can assure myself I was not being obsequious or failing to make any sense whatsoever. No one can prove otherwise!
I look very excited telling "Bill Lee" all about my book chapter about the film of Naked Lunch, assuring him that I have no interest in claiming Burroughs as some kind of gay literary hero or figurehead, which he assured me the man would have hated. He was very adamant about this. If you haven't seen Naked Lunch, or even if you have, I think the film is more interesting for its unique strategies of abstracting sexuality away from comfortably hetero or homo coordinates, though this hardly endeared the film to gay press or to scholars of queer cinema. Weller himself is completing a dissertation in Italian art and literature at UCLA, so we had a few moments of relating and commiserating about academic writing, revision, and advising. A fun 10 minutes, and I'm surprised and glad to see it played back at me, for all of five seconds.
Do you like how the photo evidence suggests how hard I was bringing the Limp Wristed Realness? It's hard to know whether I was about to say "Deleuze," "Cronenberg," or "Chanté." All are likely.