Crispin Glover: Everything is fine
Crispin Hellion Glover is known to many for his work as an actor and still more for his work as a multifaceted artist who has dipped into music, authorship and filmmaking as well.
2012 sees him continuing to tour with his Big Slide Show, books and the first two critically acclaimed installments of his laborious foray into the realm of filmmaking – What is it? and It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. Read on for his answers to our questions and for more information on his upcoming events and adventures.
You're currently out and about presenting your Big Slide Show and screening What Is It? and It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE. It looks to be much more of an event than a simple showing. What can attendees at your upcoming events expect?
The live aspect of the shows is not to be underestimated. This is a large part of how I bring audiences in to the theater and a majority of how I recoup is by what is charged for the live show and what I make from selling the books after the shows. For Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Slide Show I perform a one hour dramatic narration of eight different books I have made over the years. The books are taken from old books from the 1800s that have been changed into different books from what they originally were. They are heavily illustrated with original drawings and reworked images and photographs. The illustrations from the books are projected behind me as I perform the show. There is a second slide show now that also has eight books. Part 2 is performed if I have a show with Part 1 of the “IT” trilogy and then on the subsequent night I will perform the second slide show and Part 2 of the “IT” trilogy. The second slide show has been developed over the last several years and the content has changed as it has been developed, but I am very happy with the content of the second slide show now.
There seems to be a very free-associative quality to the books you've created. While working on a film do you find yourself preparing a definite outline, or does the story grow into its own form as the work progresses?
I started making my books in 1983 for my own enjoyment without the concept of publishing them. I had always written and drawn and the books came as an accidental outgrowth of that. I was in an acting class in 1982 and down the block was an art gallery that had a book store upstairs. In the book store there was a book for sale that was an old binding taken from the 1800s and someone had put their art work inside the binding. I thought this was a good idea and set out to do the same thing. I worked a lot with India ink at the time and was using the India ink on the original pages to make various art. I had always liked words in art and left some of the words on one of the pages. I did this again a few pages later and then when I turned the pages I noticed that a story started to naturally form and so I continued with this. When I was finished with the book I was pleased with the results and kept making more of them. I made most of the books in the 80s and very early 90s. Some of the books utilize text from the binding it was taken from and some of them are basically completely original text. Sometimes I would find images that I was inspired to create stories for or sometimes it was the binding or sometimes it was portions of the texts that were interesting. Altogether, I made about twenty of them. When I was editing my first feature film What is it? there was a reminiscent quality to the way I worked with the books because as I was expanding the film in to a feature from what was originally going to be a short, I was taking film material that I had shot for a different purpose originally and re-purposed it for a different idea, and I was writing and shooting and ultimately editing at the same time. Somehow I was comfortable with this because of similar experiences with making my books.
When I first started publishing the books in 1988 people said I should have book readings. But the books are so heavily illustrated and the way the illustrations are used within the books help to tell the story, so the only way for the books to make sense was to have visually representations of the images. This is why I knew a slide show was necessary. It took a while, but in 1992 I started performing what I now call Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Side Show Part 1. The content of that show has not changed since I first started performing it. But the performance of the show has become more dramatic as opposed to more of a reading. The books do not change but the performance of the show of course varies slightly from show to show based the audience's energy and my energy. (continued on next page)