Kevin Killian, rest in power (1952-2019)

On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Kevin Killian passed away. I shot this video of Kevin and Cedar Sigo in 2004, Kevin is reading one of Cedar’s poems, Theme, and his own poem, Who.

Kevin played the demanding and unforgiving father in my 1991 video, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, and he played Peggy, the enterprising literary agent of Joe Orton,  in the collaborative bio-pic, Joe-Joe, which I created with Leslie Singer in 1993. Kevin was not an interpretive sort of actor. He created his characters from a sense of the total intention of the communicative enterprise and his contributions were enlightened and enlightening.

In the letter I received with Mirage Period(ical) #5, Kevin said he would like to talk to me on the phone.  I emailed him saying I’d love to talk and when would be good for him. I was definitely completely out of it, didn’t know that he was dying, and had no sense of his invitation for one last conversation as a wish that he knew would not be granted. Not a wish from me, but just from time itself.

Goodbye, Kevin.  I will miss you.

Coal Miner’s Granddaughter
Joe-Joe


Mirage Period(ical) #5

Mirage Period(ical) 5.5
The 25th Anniversary Issue of Mirage Period(ical)

Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy edited two more issues of Mirage Period(ical). Issue #5 December 2018, cover above, finally brings my 1997 conversation with Yvonne Rainer to light. Thank you! You can read the conversation here. Read about Mirage here.

Thanks, Kevin! Thank you, Dodie! Sending love.


New Narrative Conference to screen my videos ‘Eileen’ and ‘Kevin & Cedar’ at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco, October 2017

video still of Eileen Myles
Video still of Eileen Myles from my 2000 video portrait, EILEEN

Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz Conference October 2017

Two videos from my Writers Series are being screened at San Francisco’s famed ROXIE THEATER, where I personally have sooooo many memories of screenings and events from the days when I lived there. You can watch EILEEN (2000, 10:20) and KEVIN & CEDAR (2002, 8:30) on the big screen as part of the UC Berkeley/UC Santa Cruz jointly-organized New Narrative Conference. Pretty hot stuff.

video still from film Kevin & Cedar
Video still of Kevin Killian and Cedar Sigo from my 2002 video portrait, KEVIN & CEDAR

I’ll post more information about the conference dates, screenings, and venues as well as links as the news comes in.

Also screening with EILEEN and KEVIN & CEDAR are Marc Huestis’s Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? and Curt McDowell’s short Confessions.

 


Writers Who Love Too Much book launch at City Lights, San Fran

book cover, WRITERS WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: NEW NARRATIVE 1977-1997, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian
Newly published WRITERS WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: NEW NARRATIVE 1977-1997, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian

Nightboat Books has just published Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977-1997, an anthology of stories, essays, plays, and other writing edited by Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy. A kool cover by Brett Reichman, too. A lot of the writers are West Coast people, LA and San Fransciso (I really miss both cities), some East Coast, and some have got to be in-between, but if they are, I have yet to discover it.

City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA
City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA

Anyway, I’ve just started reading Writers Who Love and have begun with Gabrielle Daniels’ essay on Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson, “the first novel by an African American woman” to be published in the US. Our Nig was published in 1859 and I read this book over a decade ago. It’s on my shelf now. It’s amazing. My girlfriend at the time, Susan, asked me to remove it from the shelves because the title is outrageous, offensive, and needs explaining. But in 1859 it was not. I kept it on the shelf – maybe I moved it to a more private part of the house (I don’t remember). I was always the only person I knew who read this book. The daily life of a Black woman in 1850s New England. Rough, to say the least.

book cover, Our Nig; or, Sketched from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet E. Wilson (1859)
Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet E. Wilson (1859)

Henry Louis Gates has also discovered this book, and with his skills at finding people from the past, has tried to find Harriet Wilson to learn about her history, the writing of the novel, and anything else he can find about it. His claim is that it is absolutely the first African American women’s novel. 

Daniels’ essay is bringing Our Nig back to me and as soon as I’m finished reading it I’ll read the book again. Yes, the title is harsh in 21st Century America – I kind of agree with Susan – but the book’s important!

There’s lots more in Writers Who Love Too Much! My summer reading. It’s a sexy, scholarly (sorry, I don’t find academics very sexy, either, but I find scholarship to be pretty sexy), writerly history of New Narrative. 

Thanks to Kevin and Dodie for including me! I am humbled and also kinda proud, too.

Read about the City Lights Books book launch of Writers Who Love Too Much.

Maybe buy a copy, either from Nightboat Books, the publisher, or from amazon.com. Either way, you’re bound to be rewarded.