THE BARNEY CHRONICLES
Paul Cullum has a great, out-of-nowhere piece in the New York Times on the unexpected collaboration between avant-garde publishing elder statesman Barney Rosset and Chicago-based filmmaker James Fotopoulos. Rosset ran for years Grove Press, publishing works by such authors as D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller and William Burroughs, and then successfully defending these works from U.S. obscenity charges. When I was a teenager I picked up the Evergreen Review Reader, an anthology of works culled from his literary magazine, and it opened the door for me to a whole world of radical literature and theater.
Cullum’s piece is one of those great film journalism detective stories, weaving a discussion of influences and aborted productions into a piece about how Fotopoulos, who was introduced to Rosset by film critic Ed Halter, seems poised to collaborate with the publisher on film adaptations of work by Eugene Ionesco, Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett. The piece is too densely referential to quote extensively from — it skips from mention of one seminal 20th century artist to another — but that vast interconnectedness is the essence of Fotopoulos’s new collaborator. Comments Halter in the piece, “James and I sometimes call this ‘the Fog of Barney,’ Because when you start getting into Barney’s world, it’s this labyrinth that you never get out of. He’s so utterly connected to so many important things in 20th-century culture that it just doesn’t stop. You could go on forever.”