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Respect to Crispin Hellion Glover

Posted by on Jun 16, 2010 in Celebrities, Film, Writing | 0 comments

He was silent all through “Charlie’s Angels,” but Crispin has a lot to say in person.

I recently saw Crispin Hellion Glover at the IFC Center in Manhattan.  He was in town promoting his films “What is it?” and “It Is Fine, EVERYTHING IS FINE” with readings from eight (!) of his books in something called a “Big Slide Show,” which preceded whatever film was being shown that night. I went both nights to see both films.

Glover’s books are essentially antique texts reformed into new work with added writing and pictures, creating an often amusing and unsettling effect.  During the slideshow, Glover reads through slides of pages of the book, dramatizing the words and interacting with graphics.

Then there are the films.  A lot has been said about them and I really can’t add anything more, apart from how they made me feel.  They both pushed me into unfamiliar territory and I felt uncomfortable, which is sort of thrilling for me, since I’m incredibly jaded about many things (yes, Asians love jade).

After each film, Glover launched into an exhaustive 70 minutes-plus Q&A/talkback.  One question could launch a 15-20 minute reply.  Glover was well aware of how much he was talking, saying that he’d read online about how people felt that he “rambled” during the Q&As; yet, by doing so, he was answering a lot of other unasked questions.  True enough, as the night went on, there was a sense that all potential queries were addressed.

One of the most important things I had to hear was that when he was younger (playing the father-in-the-past in “Back to the Future”), Glover said that he would turn down work because the characters and the stories wouldn’t fit the psychology that reflected his interests.  Later, though, he realized that he could take roles that would help his acting career, make more money and pour it into films that he really wanted to make, hence “What is it?” and “It Is Fine, EVERYTHING IS FINE.”  Those movies were basically funded with the role he took in the Charlie’s Angels films.  Once he was in that mindset, he discovered he could actually have fun acting in movies he didn’t necessarily find fulfilling to his personal artistic sense.

On the second night, I picked up the three books offered for sale (Oak-Mot, Rat Catching and Concrete Inspection) not so much because I enjoyed his slideshow presentation of the books, but really as souvenirs for one (two?) of the most strange, compelling and generous live performances I’ve ever seen.  Also, Glover is still recouping for the films with the shows.  He says he can tour at a more leisurely pace now, with the success of Alice in Wonderland.  These tours take a lot out of him.  It’s easy to see why.  He did the equivalent of two solo shows each night.

I salute you heavily, Crispin Hellion Glover, as a man who approaches his art whole-heartedly!

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