July 25th, 2016
The patrons have a beautiful, sprawling garden, with flowers and ponds and two blue-metal follies.
To bring Bosch to that garden, we needed music.
We needed masks, and eggs, and fruit.
And a fish.
And we already had nerve.
[Photos courtesy Rena Hopkins (1-3-7-8), Rick Lieder (2), Mary Perrin (4-5-6).]
June 26th, 2016
The giant human hamster ball was not subdued without a fight.
An outtake from the GARDEN’s creation, thanks to the Divine Iguana and her assistant, Henri.
June 7th, 2016
In the flow, things move at their own pace – sometimes with speed, sometimes not, sometimes seemingly not at all – because that’s how things get done and get made. Not by force, though sometimes with struggle – flow doesn’t mean things always go smoothly; rivers have rapids, seas have swells, even storms. Even hurricanes.
But if you trust it, if you align your own actions and attune your own creative compass, flow will always get you there: like a mermaid in the tide, like turning pages in a book, like the mind’s current that takes an idea from imagination to here-and-now reality, if you just, yeah, go with that flow. As a writer and director, I trust that flow in everything I do, because it’s never absent and it’s always right.
[Video at link courtesy Diane Cheklich, from her “Garden of Earthly Delights” making-of video. Photos courtesy Diane Cheklich, Kathe Koja; Rena Hopkins, Rachael Harbert and Marianne Brass onsite; Rena Hopkins, Mary Perrin and Kathe Koja onsite.]
April 20th, 2016
Between writing CHRISTOPHER WILD and working on nerve‘s summer Bosch commission, it could seem like the past is my creative landscape now: the medieval wonders and beauties of that “Garden,” and the dark and subtle, sometimes terrible, world of the Elizabethans.
But the past is always present.
We use and refine technology to remake our physical world, for good and ill, but the basic societal mechanism is the same: humans hunger and lust and work and weep and lie. Strive, feast, ruin ourselves, seek to transcend our bodies, to sate or tame our minds, we are what we are, this never changes.
Artists – Marlowe, Bosch, Rachael Harbert and Marianne Brass, me – take that human condition as our matériel and make of it whatever our disciplines and talents suggest. For Harbert and Brass, it will move. For Bosch it will wear a myriad of faces. For Marlowe and for me, it will speak. And when it does, and when what we make is remade by one who watches and who hears, it will be present in the world anew, it will be the present, alive again and again.
[Photo of Marianne Brass and Rachael Harbert courtesy Rena Hopkins.]
March 15th, 2016
“The will to play flaunts society’s cherished orthodoxies . . . transforms the serious into the joke and then unsettles . . . the joke by taking it seriously . . . This is play on the brink of an abyss, absolute play.”
. . . Says Stephen Greenblatt of Christopher Marlowe. Which is another way of saying Marlowe is fun. Marlon James says “He was a rock star.” Which is another way.
All of which is another way of saying, welcome to CHRISTOPHER WILD! If you’ve decided to go bespoke, the fun’s about to start . . . Though it already has, here at the desk, music blasting, ready and willing, oh so willing, to play.
[Painting of Christopher Marlowe by Rick Lieder, collection of the author. Hanging over the desk. Of course.]
February 24th, 2016
“I count religion but a childish toy . . . there is no sin but ignorance.”
“All they that love not tobacco and boys are fools.”
In his own time, they called him “the Muses’ darling” and “the best of poets” and “a notorious unbeliever,” they said he was lucky to be murdered before he was burned at the stake. His erudition and ferocity, both on the page and off, has inspired every sort of artist, from musicians and writers to filmmakers like Derek Jarman and Jim Jarmusch; he’s even inspired a perfume. Poet, playwright, spy, atheist, badass: Christopher Marlowe was, and always will be, one of a kind.
Ever since I first read his sly erotic poetry, and his plays – every one a harsh brilliant thrill ride, but my favorite is EDWARD II – I’ve been his fangirl. And I knew one day I had to write about him.
“Whoever loved, that loved not at first sight?”
So here begins CHRISTOPHER WILD.
It’s a writing project unlike any other I’ve ever undertaken, because this time I’m inviting readers along from the very beginning of my journey, sharing the real-time process of the novel in progress, with excerpts, desk notes, research tidbits both academic and totally not . . . Because this one is going to be such a fucking blast. Wit and sex and death and the turning wheel of centuries, as Marlowe moves across time, finding love and making enemies, always writing, always a rebel, always pursued, always himself.
Come have fun with me. And with Kit the total badass. Let’s go CHRISTOPHER WILD.
[All quotes courtesy Christopher Marlowe. Painting of Marlowe by Rick Lieder, after the Cambridge portrait; from the author’s collection. Marlowe window: Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. ]