Author Archives: Amos

“INSEPARABLES”— Enjoying Life

“Inseparables”

Enjoying Life

Amos Lassen

Felipe (Oscar Martinez) a wealthy businessman who is quadriplegic, due to an accident. He is looking for a therapeutic assistant and even though there are several highly qualified applicants, he decides that Tito (Rodrigo de la Serna)) should have the job. The film is based on the real story of a quadriplegic and his personal assistant. Tito has neither the qualifications nor the specifications to take care of Felipe and friends of Felipe are quick to point this out to him. Felipe answers that Tito comes to him with no pity and even with all of the difficulties of the job, Tito responds to his mission and is able to get Felipe to smile again. Soon Tito helps Felipe to find meaning again in life and to enjoy each days, , something Felipe had forgotten. Tito shows no political correctness for his boss’ many problems and treats him as a perfectly healthy person who does not try to do anything to enjoy life. It is obvious that Tito did not understand what this job would entail and the beauty of the film is the way he treats Felipe as his equal.

Felipe is surprised at the way he and Tito get along. The two men take drives, have long walks and go to concerts and exhibitions. It is as of Tito does not see Felipe’s disability and refuses to be bound by it. In effect Tito helps Felipe to find meaning in a life that, by his condition, had caused him to stop having.

This is the story of an unexpected, deep and sensitive friendship that is quite beautiful and fun to watch.

“VESPER”— Secrets

“VESPER”

Secrets

Amos Lassen

Marge Ofenbey (Agnes Godey) has shut herself in an attempt to escape her husband, Walter. She asks her nephew Christian for help but he discovers the secrets that Marge and Walter hid away. This is a very dark film that moves slowly in its narrative. The audience is sucked into a mystery that keeps us guessing until the very end. The characters do not reveal much yet our interest is held by what we suspect is coming.

In the background we hear dark music that helps to build a very dark scene and all we really have to go on are the stares that the characters share. We wonder why Marge seems so bothered and if her husband is indeed manipulative and aggressive. Director Kevyan Sheikhalishahi takes us into his narrative and we cannot help but notice that something is missing. We sense that Marge is hiding something but we have no idea what.

I had a hard time with this short film because it rattled me without letting me know why and/or about what. This is not a negative comment by any means. If a film can rattle a viewer that means there is something there. A film that makes us think is a sign of a good piece of work. Everything is solemn even when nothing happens. I feel that I was only allowed to be drawn into a certain point and then left there making me feel isolated from the film yet still thinking about it.

“CONVENTIONAL SINS”— Remembering

“Conventional Sins”

Remembering

Amos Lassen

Israeli directors Anat Yuta Zuria and Shira Clara Winther  take on a controversial issue in “Conventional Sins” as they tell the story of Meilech who was banished ten years earlier from the Hasidic community he grew up in, Meilech reopens the diary he wrote when he was 15 and in it he describes the abuse he went through at the hands of a network of ultraorthodox pedophiles. Together with a group of young actors who themselves grew up in the Hasidic community, Meilech attempts to reconstruct parts of the diary and tell his story, which the Hasidic community did everything to silence. This is one to be on the lookout for.

“California Dreamin’: West Coast Directors and the Golden Age of Forbidden Gay Movies” by Marco Siedelmann, Jack Fritscher and Toby Ross— Creating Gay Cinema

Siedelmann, Marco, Jack Fritscher and Toby Ross. “California Dreamin’: West Coast Directors and the Golden Age of Forbidden Gay Movies”, Editions Moustache, 2016.

Creating Gay Cinema

Amos Lassen

In terms of American culture we are aware of the differences between the west coast and the east coast. This was even true in terms of gay porn until recently when the Internet broke the coast together.

It might be hard to believe but it is gay porn that gave rise to gay themed film in that early porn had stories and actors to relay them (they just did not have a lot of clothing). There were stars also— Jack Wrangler, Casey Donovan, Peter Berlin as well as may others whose faces and bodies meant money at the box office. They also had sexual charisma that drove audiences wild.

“California Dreamin’” concentrates (naturally) on the West Coast and that time in American history when gay porn was illegal. Editors Marco Siedelmann and Jack Fritscher bring us conversations about the porn industry and we get some real insights on the industry.

We have interviews with J. Brian, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, Roger Earl, David “Old Reliable” Hurles, Jim West and a guest article by cult filmmaker Toby Ross and numerous pages of pictures and photo art by Tom Bianchi, David Pearce, John J. Krause, Tom of Finland, Tom Kellie, and other gay artists.

I am not what you would call a porn aficionado but I must admit every once in a while it is an escape especially after reading some really awful gay romance novels where sex is evident only in the minds of the characters. I have wondered why we have not had any books by former and/or present gay porn stats and I can only surmise is that they do not know now to write or are under contract not to. This is a great about making porn that we do not know. I am sure that there are little secrets to be told.

In reading this I realized how little I do know about porn and how many films I have missed. I am not sure how to review a book made up entirely of interviews mainly because each is so interesting and to summarize what is there spoils the read for some. One of my favorite gay poets, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (whose interview is great fun) summed it up like this:

“The magic of cinema is everyman’s fantasy.

Ahhh. But we can dream, can’t we!”

Toby Ross tells a fantastic story about how he became involved in gay porn but the two characters that really stand out from the others are the editors. I have been an email and Facebook friend of Jack Fritscher for years now and we share many academic areas in common although his life is so much more exciting than mine. His is the very interview in the book but then Jack was all over the scene and he worked hard to introduce diversity into the curricula of universities. He not only was a professor but he was also the editor of “Drummer”, a magazine that made people become stars and popularized those in gay culture like filmmakers who needed a little push. Fritscher also was aware of the differences between photographers on each coast and he used Mapplethorpe to photograph a cover for “Drummer” in 1978 and the world soon knew of him. Fritscher also sees that today the two coasts are very close in terms of gay culture even though it is very difficult to pull New York out of a New Yorker and vice versa (did I use that correctly? I am never sure). Anyway, as Fritscher tells us, “hot is hot” and sexy is sexy regardless of coast. While Fritscher is the interviewer, we still learn a great deal about him but then he was, for me, at least, someone I was always aware of and it has been a great pleasure to chat with him about common interests, mainly Tennessee Williams and Mapplethorpe. I knew nothing about Marco Siedelmann before reading this. He wrote the introduction and conducted three interviews: Robert Earl, Gavin Dillard and J. Brian.

There is a great deal of information in these pages but it is not for everyone; the language is raw but there are no full frontal photos (damn!!). Nonetheless, if you are looking for some sexy reading here is a book you do not want to miss. This review has really not done justice to the book and I apologize for that. You will understand what I mean when you read it (or just look at the pictures).

“Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate” by Carolyn Porter— Connecting Past and Present

Porter, Carolyn. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate”, Skyhorse Publishing, 2017.

Connecting Past and Present

Amos Lassen

Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer who is always looking for inspiration to create a new font. While in an antique shop in Stillwater, Oklahoma she finds a cache of letters and was immediately drawn to their beautiful penmanship. The letters were in French so she was as yet unable to read them. They were all signed by Marcel and had been delivered to Berlin to Marcel’s during the middle of World War II. She was amazed by the font but not knowing what the letters were about led her to having one translated. As she read, she was transported to a different time and soon her curiosity turned to obsession. She was determined to find out why Marcel (Heuze) was in Berlin and how the letters came to the shop in Oklahoma.

This is a story about how curiosity can lead to a search and how a search can become an obsession. Carolyn Porter developed a deep sense of responsibility to uncover history and she looks for and ultimately follows the clues that were in the letters. The outcome was that Porter reconstructed history that was thought to have been lost. What we read about here is a part of history that was unknown to most of us and that came to light by chance. It took a woman’s persistence in following the clues that were left in letters in an Oklahoman antique shop. (I repeated these facts because I wanted you to see the simplicity from which all of this happened).

The letters are quite a remarkable tribute to a simple man who was basically unknown. There is something else here that I found to be fascinating. Most of us, I be, never think about fonts and how they are created. It is actually a complicated process and had I had chanced upon this book, I still would not know.

With the translation of one of the letters from French into English, Porter discovered that the letter was a message to Marcel’s wife and daughters in the Paris countryside during the Nazi occupation of France. During the Vichy regime, men were forced to work for the German Reich and this is what brought about the separation of Marcel from his family. He was one of the estimated 1,100,000 French workers. Porter learns how the French government, in collaboration with their German occupiers enforced the conscription of French citizens to work for the Third Reich. Here is also the story of a family rediscovering its own past, and reconnecting with each other, in a way that might not have happened if Porter had not found those letters. This is also the story of a survivor bearing witness and passing that truth to a new generation.

Marcel is a simple man who was just one out of hundreds of thousands who suffered without recognition. This book memorializes his legacy, his life and his love for his family by capturing his handwriting in a beautiful font— P22 Marcel Script! This is a beautifully told story of a woman’s passion for design but even a greater passion to unravel the story of one man’s experience during the war.

 

“Running Through a Dark Place: Children of the Knight II” by Michael J. Bowler

Bowler, Michael J. “Running Through A Dark Place: Children of the Knight II” (“The Knight Cycle: Volume 2”), Michael J. Bowler, 2014.

A New Camelot

Amos Lassen

I have always loved the King Arthur stories and I actually still love to read them today. Arthur came out of mythology and found his place in the history and legends of the world. Now Arthur and his knights have come to America to build a new Camelot in Los Angeles. Their motto “Might for Right” has not changed and they very cleverly get the people of LA on their side. They have set a goal of giving equal rights to fourteen year olds and older. In this age group, they are considered children but if one breaks the law, he/she/they is an adult in the eyes of the law. Arthur wants them to be able to vote, drive, work, and serve on juries for others in their age group who have been charged as criminals. Arthur and his knights understand that there probably will be some disagreement from the adult community and he needs to find a way to get them on his side. There is another problem as well and comes with facing his past and understanding that life is not always what it seems to be.

Arthur is for the rights of children because he believes it is right to be so. He has managed to gather people for support and who are willing to help in this crusade. We have Sir Lance, “the boy who came back” after having lost his life protecting his king. We learn this from a mysterious figure from Arthur’s distant past shows up and lets us know that Lance was not supposed to die. In saving him someone else had to die and this was a person who was loved by many. Lance struggles with this throughout the book. Unfortunately, the manner in which he was saved cost a life that was very dear to everyone, and Lance spends the rest of the book struggling with this sacrifice, as well as with the feeling that death just might want him back. Because he came back from death, Lance soon was famous but his fame divided people. There were either those that loved him or those that hated him; no one is neutral. He is a gifted speaker and he shows that adults have failed children. What we need to remember is that Lance is just 14 and is struggling with learning who he is. He makes mistakes just as we all do but his mistakes could hurt the movement. Then there is the situation with Michael. Michael is treated as an outsider but Lance sees something there and the two connect. Michael remains an enigma to us, however.

Lance and another knight, Ricky must face many of their greatest fears. They are to be the leaders of this crusade but they are not sure that they can do so. The boys struggle to be regular kids who can be famous and also have girlfriends but running a crusade in California is not easy for any of them. As the crusade progresses from neighborhoods in LA to a statewide push to change the fate of youth in the state, things get more difficult to control.

To me, that is the purpose of the book; to show that if something is worth winning, it takes work. Somehow, and that is the beauty of this book for me, Michael Bowler lets us know and empathize with all of the characters (both the good guys and the not-so-good guys). We also learn that we can never underestimate what children and youth are capable of when they come together for good.

Arthur’s “Childrens’ Crusade” (as it is named) is taking place after Arthur and his knights have cleaned up the various `hoods in L.A.. The new Round Table is quickly growing but even as they pick up momentum and more supporters, they are also find their enemies. There are possibilities that the whole thing will fall apart either from within where personality conflicts exist or from without because parents do not want their children to have equal rights. Arthur must find a way to manage to maintain the peace and feeling of brotherhood and family.

I mentioned Michael earlier and explained that he is enigmatic. He is certainly not the only enigmatic character in Arthurian legend so let me give you something to think about. What other character is enigmatic in the legends and has a first name that begins with the same letter as Michael’s name? There you see, you have learned something new (and fun).

I have said all I can say about the plot without spoiling it. What else I can say is that this book is beautifully written, its characters are wonderfully developed (we see how they have changed or not since book I in the series) and the plot is captivating (in a way it reminded me of the move “Wild in the Streets”) but classier. Seeing the kids come together for something they believe in makes this a very special read. I reviewed the first volume in the series, “Children of the Knight” about four years ago and it has taken me that long to get around to reviewing this, the second volume. I hope it does not take that long to get to volume 3.

 

 

“The Address” by Fiona Davis— The Dakota

Davis, Fiona. “The Address: A Novel”, Dutton, 2017.

The Dakota

Amos Lassen

One of the most famous addresses in New York City is The Dakota that is located at the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park. It is considered to be one of Manhattan’s most prestigious and exclusive cooperative residential buildings. Fiona Davis takes us into the Dakota and we see the thin lines between

love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness that are all hidden behind the walls. It is 1884 and we meet Sara Smythe who has been working as a housekeeper at a fancy London hotel. Sara meets, by chance, Theodore Camden, one of the architects of The Dakota and this leads to a job offer meaning that there will be new possibilities for Sara including the opportunity to move to America, where a person is able to rise above one’s station. He has asked her to become the female manager of The Dakota and this means that she will get to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else. However, he loves at The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

We move forward to 1985 and meet Bailey Camden who is desperate for new opportunities. She is just out of rehab and had once been quite party girl and interior designer. Now she is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. However because of the absence of a genetic connection, Bailey is not entitled to a cent of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Rather, her “cousin” Melinda (Camden’s biological great-granddaughter) will inherit almost everything. When Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, even though she dislikes Melinda’s vision. Bailey feels that the renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment and this is the apartment where Theodore Camden himself lived in and died in, after being stabbed multiple times by Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

There lives were separated by 100 years yet both Sara and Bailey struggle. Sara’s struggle is against a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; Bailey has to deal with the free-flowing alcohol and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City. Bailey discovers secrets in basement of The Dakota that could change everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden and the woman who killed him.

I loved this book even though I had the suspicion that this is chick lit. We get a wonderful history of The Dakota and I found this fascinating. Fiona Davis writes with amazing detail and she has created characters that are interesting. Of course the most interesting character is The Dakota itself. Naturally I cannot say anything else about the plot without spoiling a read about two women searching for answers and trying to take control of their own lives.

I love that writer Davis writes about what was relevant at the times of the two women. These include sanity, asylums, drugs, alcohol and love, the importance of family, friends, love and hope.  

 

“The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature” by Bill Goldstein— Intersecting Lives

Goldstein, Bill. “The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster and the Year that Changed Literature”, Henry Holt, 2017.

Intersecting Lives

Amos Lassen

The lives of authors Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster and D. H. Lawrence intersect in 1922, the year that modernism was born. For me, this is a very special book simply because it is about four authors who have been my favorites for so very long.

As 1922 begins, all four writers find themselves with nothing to say. They realize that they are facing very uncertain future even after having been so successful. With the publications of two major novels, “Ulysses” by James Joyce and the first English publication of Marcel Proust’s “in Search of Lost Time”, there is a tremendous upheaval in what is being read and what is being written. In that same year, Woolf began writing “Mrs. Dalloway”, Foster was writing again for the first time in ten years, Lawrence wrote “Kangaroo” and Eliot has published “The Waste Land.” The new trend forced the writers to deal with the movement of modernism. Bill Goldstein shows us the personal dramas these writers felt as they had to work harder than ever before to remain popular.

All four writers were challenged that year “to invent the language of the future.” Change was taking place everywhere in the world and this of course affected literature. Undoubtedly the war had something to do with the change.

Goldstein gives separate chapters for each author but he also writes about the connections between them. Joyce was the main force for change and this was not such a good time for the four writers who were dealing with their own problems. Woolf was having both physical and mental health problems and Foster was coming to terms with his homosexuality. Eliot was having nervous breakdowns and his wife was not well and Lawrence who wanted to be left alone was traveling almost the entire year. He was also dealing with censorship and the fact that a psychiatrist labeled him as a homosexual who wrote erotica as a way to deal with his own sexuality.

In the early years of the twentieth century, there were battles about the censorship of Joyce and Lawrence and in 1922, Lawrence’s publisher fought back and the case for censoring “Women in Love” was lost. It was this case that opened the door a bit but not completely.

Goldstein brings history, literature, and psychology together to accent the times and of course this aids us in understanding both the authors and the dawn of a new literary age.

The title of the book comes from Willa Cather who said that the world broke in two in 1922. The devastation of WWI caused us to look forward and to leave the past behind in the ashes of the war. If I understand correctly, Goldstein tells us that the inspiration for the new literature was based upon the reception given to Proust and Joyce and it came at a time when it was much needed. We get a wonderful picture of how modernist writing was being created. However, this is not a book that one can read quickly. It is so filled with ideas that it is necessary to think about what is written here. I was totally captivated reading about the “overlapping neuroses, illnesses, and inspirations” of the four writers.

“TIKKUN”— An Atmospheric Netherworld

“Tikkun”

“An Atmospheric Netherworld”

Amos Lassen

The Hebrew word “tikkun” has many definitions and connotations. Its main use seems to embody the idea of rectification and is usually used in reference to personal and spiritual improvement or the desire to want to fix the world. There is also a religious meaning— a book of text from the Torah used for learning Jewish scripture and recitation on certain holidays is also known as a tikkun and it contains the writings of the Five Books of Moses but with vowels (unlike the Torah scroll) and is a good practice text for those who chant Torah directly from the scroll itself.

Avishai Sivan’s movie “Tikkun” plays with all of the meanings of this fundamental Jewish concept. The film is a modern religious parable set that is set within Jerusalem’s Hasidic community. It probes the rituals and taboos of this and as it does, it explores the intersection of faith, filial duty, and civic responsibility in contemporary Israel.

We see that an ultra-orthodox scholar is revived after being dead for 40 minutes. After coming back to life, he suddenly feels a strange awakening in his body and suspects that God is testing him. This is the story of a young orthodox Jewish man, Haim-Aharon (Aharon Traitel) who slowly loses his faith after a near-death experience. Shot in pristine black and white and with impressionistic visuals, director Sivan gives us Jerusalem at nighttime (reminiscent of David Lynch) –as a netherworld, shrouded in fog, where past and present exist side by side. The becomes a hallucinatory tale of urban alienation much like the films of Michelangelo Antonioni.

Haim-Aaron is a devout Yeshiva student who we see praying and fasting in the beginning. He is a quiet type who keeps things to himself. His father (Kalifa Natour) is a hard working kosher butcher. Bad plumbing in their cramped apartment causes Haim-Aaron to fall and suffer cardiac arrest while taking a shower and touching himself. EMTs arrive but are unable to resuscitate him and he is pronounced dead 40 minutes later. His father, however, is unable to let his first son go, continues on the CPR, and to everyone’s surprise, revives him.

This near-death experience is a both a blessing and a curse for father and son. The father struggles with the guilt of undoing god’s will by reviving his son. He falls into deep self-doubt and is shunned by many of his ultra orthodox community members.

 

For Haim-Aaron, being undead affords him a freedom to venture out of his community and confront his earthly desires for the first time in his life.  Unable to sleep, hewanders the streets at night, hitching rides to anywhere that strangers will take him. Outside his immediate surroundings, he is in a completely different world: Jerusalem, a cosmopolitan city with just under a million inhabitants, is a wondrous and scary place for him and he meets many strange people and has a sexual encounter with a prostitute. These activities put a strain on his studies, family and community.

This is an unsettling film and this is accentuated by Haim-Aaron’s father’s recurring  nightmares ofevil crocodiles in the toilet, putting a knife to the back of his son and dumping the body in a monster-infested ravine. Urban alienation and repressed sexuality figure prominently in the film and it unveils the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, which is seldom portrayed on film. This is not a flattering picture of a community that seems to be permanently stuck in the past.

Director Sivan and cinematographer Shai Goldman give us a Jerusalem that has the feel of a lonely, industrial town. With sparse dialog and strong visuals makes Tikkun an intense and moody film. The film feels like an ethnographic film movie shot by someone from the community it documents, managing simultaneously to keep a critical distance from the material while maintaining a certain credulity and wonder toward the proceedings. The world of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox is portrayed with empathy and insight, but some of the community’s cultural practices are called into question.

“Tikkun” is in part a lucid account of the bewilderment that the absence of a candid sexual education for members of young ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. It captures the perverse fascination provoked in this community by this taboo as the camera lingers on both male and female genitalia in graphic, almost scientific detail. Haim-Aaron is perplexed by his own erect penis, which he inspects with curiosity right before his near-death experience. This explicit link between sexuality and death is reemphasized later when he studies the genitalia of a recently deceased young woman. In a literal sense, these scenes are a commentary on the awkwardness of puberty and pre-marital sexuality in this community. There is no discussion of the body or desires and sets limits between the sexes. Instead of simply condemning the social practices of this insular community, Sivan shows us how mysterious the world must appear to one of its members. Haim-Aaron’s explorations of the body inevitably result in calamity, as if God were punishing him for his sins. He endures his transgressions of the community’s taboos by self-castigation. Having so firmly internalized God’s laws and what he perceives to be His commands, Haim-Aaron subconsciously wills this punishment, thereby physically manifesting God’s presence in the world. We are never sure if Haim-Aaron is simply mental, a pious man or some combination of the two. It is this ambiguity that makes it difficult to characterize the film as just a secular critique of a religious mindset.

Sivan captures a world where the miraculous and the mundane are separated by a blurred edge. Haim-Aaron’s father is a kosher butcher, and we see him inspecting ritually slaughtered animals with the same solemn curiosity with which his son inspects human genitalia. The father kills in accordance with God’s commandments, humanely and forever on the lookout for God’s approval. Haim-Aaron’s siblings treat bugs with the same profane reverence, carefully observing them before squashing them. These ongoing scenes of commingled investigation and slaughter emphasize the fine line between life and death in this world and we see that God is always silently present in the guise of human action.

One could read “Tikkun” as a commentary on the price of culturally ordained sexual repression, an idea that several startling instances of full-frontal nudity make difficult to dismiss. But there is so much potent ambiguity that such a straightforward interpretation does not fully work. I have no doubt that there will be many who will not find themselves charmed by this film while others will feel that it is a total experience. The fact that it has been winning prizes attests to that.

 “The Dream Colony: A Life in Art” by Walter Hopps with Deborah Tresiman— A Visionary

Hopps, Walter with Deborah Treisman.  “The Dream Colony: A Life in Art”, Bloomsbury USA, 2017.

A Visionary Curator

Amos Lassen

Walter Hopps is an innovative, iconoclastic curator of contemporary art. When he was just 21 years old, he founded his first gallery in L.A. At twenty-four, he opened the Ferus Gallery with then-unknown artist Edward Kienholz and this was where he turned the spotlight on a new generation of West Coast artists. Ferus was the first gallery ever to show Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and was shut down by the Los Angeles vice squad for a show of Wallace Berman’s edgy art. At the Pasadena Art Museum in the sixties, Hopps presented the first museum retrospectives of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell and the first museum exhibition of Pop Art before it was even known as Pop Art. In 1967, Hopps became the director of Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art at age thirty-four and the “New York Times” hailed him as “the most gifted museum man on the West Coast (and, in the field of contemporary art, possibly in the nation).” While he was erratic in his work habits, he was never erratic in his commitment to art. He died in 2005 after having been at the Menil Collection of art in Houston for which he was the founding director. A few years before that, he began work on this book and it is a personal, irreverent, and enlightening look at his life and of some of the greatest artistic minds of the twentieth century. Hopps merged life and career and he feel his passion as we read his story.

“Hopps knew the best stories about artists, or at least about Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg and other members of the avant-garde with whom he worked closely”. He shares those in this memoir giving us an unusually intimate look at the American art scene.

“The Dream Colony” is history that is fun to read while at the same time showing us why Hopps mattered.