LE BAIN: Your favorite New York muse?
IVAN SMAGGHE: I just know that Patti Smith really annoys me. So does Sevigny. In a way, Lunch annoys me too. I'm not sure I have one. Muses tend to be pests.
Favorite fictional New Yorker?
It has to be "Jerome," the Parisian hero of New York City Inferno, (1978, Jacques Scandelari under the pseudonym "Melvin Merkins") who comes to NYC to look for his lover Paul. He ends up finding a lot of other lovers (and leather). Probably the ultimate "meatpacking" movie (with a pungent zest of euro-exploitation).
New York City Inferno
Most underrated NY artist or "poète maudit"?
There are so many. Is John Rechy a "poète maudit"? He probably is. City Of Night is such a great book. That's two gay references in two questions…I need to revise my straight classics.
Favorite book with NYC as background?
I'll skip City Of Night then…I'd almost be tempted to say Wharton's Age of Innocence, or Spillane's I, The Jury just in order not to give you DeLillo's Underworld. More recently, I kind of liked A Naked Singularity by Sergio de La Pava.
Windows by Gordon Willis
Same question for cinema?
Even harder to pick, but it would have to be the 1933 version of King Kong. It gets me every time. John Farrow's The Big Clock is a good 'architectural' movie, too. If I wanted to sound cool, I'd give you Windows the sole movie by Gordon Willis (the best NY cinematographer ever), a movie about evil lesbians and…windows.
All-time favorite NYC label?
Jesus...Probably 99 records (ESG, Liquid Liquid, etc..) was the most important for me musically at some point. Though I've recently discovered, through my friend Nathan Gregory Wilkins, a small label from Long Island called Inner Landscapes - very hard to describe, some kind of Jobriath glam hippies discovering electro pop in 1981. Bizarre.
Anomy TVC15 (Inner Landscapes Records)