Hilton Als



    MORTAL THOUGHTS NOW, PLEASE, the smaller things, spores, not the drone of ideas in the abstract, lives. Chase after them, the lost attentions, slack. Words will fail you. Well they should. Because faded glamour will no longer quite do, monograms slipping off handkerchiefs, lipstick off lips. Pool of feeling? puddle.


    a cry

    Even the noblest ideas dissipate in dirt. And yet the enlightened mind’s dear decrepit certainties can be turned over yes like some old tortoise shell, belly examined poked. Specter and hollow suggest ideas too and bring us back trudging to gaze upon heavy,

  • Hilton Als

    RUPAUL, THE UBIQUITOUS STAR of “Supermodel (You Better Work)” and author of such statements as “When I went to Japan and saw Mt. Fuji and saw that it was love, I said to myself, ‘Ru, you are Mt. Fuji,’” was, at one point, the ubiquitous leading lady of such films as Terror, in which she played an undercover blaxploitation detective named StarBooty. As StarBooty, Ru said things like “Don’t let your mouth write checks your ass can’t cash” and promised a series of autobiographies, one titled New York Is a Big Fat Greasy Ho.

    Now that RuPaul, doyenne of Lower East Side performance/drag society, has


    THE EXTRAORDINARILY WELL-DRESSED young man and his companion who privately did not consider himself so were both Negroes, a not unimportant fact in the movie you are about to read.

    To others besides themselves, the young Negroes were perceived from a distance, as screens on which were projected emotions that did not yield ideas. Generally these emotions were fear and loathing, commonly manifested as anxiety. What the projections yielded in the extraordinarily well-dressed young man and his companion was this: the idea that they were both movies—shallow, intangible, deep.

    After greeting one another,


    IN MY END is my beginning. I do not know what follows that. The phrase—In my end is my beginning— is a beautiful one and I did not write it. In my end is my beginning is a version of a phrase in a poem. The poem begins, In my beginning is my end. It is titled “East Coker” and was written by Thomas Stearns Eliot in 1943.

    For many years I would quote passages from this poem. I always began my recitation In my end is my beginning, believing I was correct. I was not. Now, having looked “East Coker” over again, I believe I understand why such an error was made: I do not prefer the exact memory of

  • Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho

    REGARDLESS OF ANY REVIEWER'S claim that X director has brought an “edge” back to filmmaking, or Y star has transcended screen acting for something “beyond,” or Z writer’s imaginative process is both literary and visual, the success of most American movies is based on the fulfillment of our demand for closure. Mom almost never dies and Dad will almost always eventually provide, and we regard this condition as satisfactory for the task of watching. What we, as Americans, mean when we say we “like” a film—particularly an American one—is that it does not penetrate us beyond what is projected an the


    DOWN THE ROAD OF REMEMBRANCE this time; remembrance being distinct from memory in that remembrance does not require one’s presence in it. Sick to death of memory, crapping out in it. No discovering the quality of one’s mind there; just wave after stony wave washing over the senses; nothing to contribute but bad feelings, nothing to offer but misperceptions, nothing to experience but bad memories, which are your own, not anyone else’s, ever. So stupid, this vulnerability to a process in which the quality of the mind is not discovered or anything else useful to me, to you, to anyone; just that


    I AM LOUISE BROOKS, whom no man will ever possess. Photographed in profile, or three-quarter profile, or full front, photographed and filmed for as long as I can remember; interviewed for as long as I can remember (before and after I was forgotten); slandered and revered for as long as I can remember—I remain Louise Brooks, whom no man will ever possess. There is my hair, as black as all that, and the crest of my eyebrows, as black as all that, which do not meet in the center of my forehead but nearly meet at the edge of my bangs, the enameled black of my bangs attached to the rest of it, my

  • Andy Warhol

    Several noteworthy facts concerning the photobooth located in Playland, an arcade, positioned in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square, itself an arcade: it costs $1.50 (quarters only) for a strip of four images; individual shots are taken at four-second intervals, during which time the sitter poses a self or what that person or someone else might believe is one. There is no contrast control. The phrase “Smile and Relax” is permanently stenciled under the camera proper. The language dictates a personage; the sitter becomes one who “smiles” and “relaxes” before a photographer who does not exist.

  • “Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and The Mask”

    “Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask”: curious title for an exhibition of photographic portraits depicting (according to the press release) “one of the greatest contributors to the arts during the heyday of the French avant-garde.” French fag, very busy with his hands—all that decor to arrange, in order to fill up those empty, chilled white rooms of his. [Delete previous sentence. Could be construed as moral judgment leveled against sodomites. Also, ambiguous use of word “white.” Could be construed by white populace as being unnecessarily aggressive. Private agenda inappropriate in this

  • Cary Leibowitz / Candyass

    An extraordinarily well-versed (and well-dressed) young man enters from stage right and approaches the lectern with several slides, a carousel, and a pointer. He taps one of his platform heels impatiently as he waits for the houselights to dim and his voice to rise above the impending darkness in order to say, “Consider the term ‘love’ (with a proper stranger?) as a condition which breeds pathological self-knowledge or self-interest. Like fungus or bile, it interweaves, interlocks, whatever, within someone else’s pathology. This is just one more construct unworthy of our holy soul; we are