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A N G E R    R I S I N G

An Interview with Kenneth Anger
By Dnyl

MOONCHILD: The Films of Kenneth Anger DNYL: You're currently working on a film, "Mouse Heaven"?

ANGER: Yes I'm finishing a film I've alrealy shot. It's a study of animated toys of a rare nature. These are collectables of early Walt Disney toys. I've always loved Mickey Mouse since I was a little boy and I'm outraged about the current Disney company's attitude to Mickey Mouse. I mean they think they own it but all the children of the world own Mickey Mouse. And I have devised a way to star Mickey Mouse in a film that the current Disney company can't legally object to, by filming an antique toy collection of early Disney toys. And it's just a coincidence all those toys happen to be Mickey Mouse. I'm actually being very respectful of early Mickey Mouse. I hate later Mickey Mouse, because from "Fantasia" on the Disney people decided to humanise the mouse, remove his tail- which is a kind of castration- and turn him into a little boy who is a sort of a goody-two-shoes. And he's no longer the mischievous, sadistic mouse that he was in the beginning. He used to do nasty little tricks like twist the udd ers of cows and things like that. And that's the only mouse I'm interested in, I mean this kind of demon 'fetish' figure.

DNYL: There is a rumour that you are going to do a film of the Gnostic Mass.

ANGER: Well, I'd love to but I'm very leery of any groups or organizations. You see what's just happened in Waco, Texas where someone that claims they're Jesus Christ, and he killed seven federal agents when they tried to get to his armed fortress where a lot of brainwashed Australians are held up.

Well, I'm not too keen on any group or cult. I've been to meet the various groups who call themselves O.T.O. which Crowley founded. But Crowley never 'annointed' them or approved of them. All the groups are fighting with each other. There's been raids, thefts, houses have been broken into, books have been stolen, one house was burned down. These are Crowleyites fighting among each other and I'm ashamed of them. They're as bad as christians. In other words you get these far right christian sects and they're doing that kind of nonsense. Every group is a poison. I mean, once you get two or three people together- three's a crowd and four is a poisonous cult. And then you get jealousies. Crowley found that out himself. He tried to have a commune, the first commune which was in 1920 in Cefalu, Sicily. Human beings are too fallible for all this idealism, living like the lion lying down with the sheep in the holy kingdom. It's just not natural!

So you think I would approach the O.T.O. and the Crowleyites and say ok, you want the Gnostic Mass filmed? I am the most skilled film-maker among you. I mean, some of them have video cameras and so forth and they turn out absolute garbage. Well I said if you want a professional film-maker to film your ceremony, I respect the Gnostic Mass and I have performed it and I have watched various people performing it. I said I will do it, but you've got to come up with, say, fifty grand for me. I can't do it for ten cents. I can't even do it for a thousand dollars. I would do it absolutely beautifully, in a setting with actors. You see the most respected high priestess is so ugly her face would freeze a clock. Even though she has all the spiritual stuff, I'd get a movie actress to play the high priestess to do the Gnostic Mass on film. When it's done in a little back room in New York city, where I've attended a very moving Gnostic Mass, but everyone in i t sort of looked like homeless people who'd come in and dressed u p in sheets. And I don't think that's the image we want to project, the Crowleyites want to project. Like I'm sure there were homely Nazis with glasses and so forth that Leni Riefenstahl didn't film in "The Triumph of the Will", her Nazi propaganda film. She only chose the handsome studs and she ignored the little runts who were Nazis, you know, looking like rats in glasses.

So, ok, they'd better hurry up because my years as a film-maker are coming to an end. My eyes will fail, my mind will fail, and my health will give out or something. Or just get tired of life, which I am every other week. So I'd love to film it, but I will not do it on a shoestring. I need about fifty grand, that's what I said. Next year I'll need about sixty grand because everything becomes more and more expensive. And I could have done it ten years ago when I first suggested it for twenty-five grand. But I would never make one on video, for instance, just because it's economical. I am a film artist. I work on celluloid, and I prefer to work on 35mm.

DNYL: Was "invocation of My Demon Brother" based on "Moonchild"?

ANGER: A bit. Yes. There's a ceremony in "Moonchild". And the creation of a moonchild, which is the idea that you can have a baby between two people. It usually takes two people to make a baby but not always. I mean, in other words, the legend is that there's such a thing as the immaculate conception. There's never an "immaculate" conception, you can have one person and an entity, and the entity is not necessarily human. In other words the moonchild would be the moon spirit impregnating the woman, and the c hristians would turn that and say it was the virgin Mary. But as a matter of fact she's still pregnant, she still had intercourse but it wasn't with a human- if you believe the christian myth, which I don't.

But yes it's an influence and I show the title of the book in one shot so I acknowledge the influence. And I have that title, which is the only title that says "ZAP, YOU'RE PREGNANT, THAT'S WITCHCRAFT". Because "ZAP" is already an antique expression from the sixties. In fact, the "ZAP" comics were drawn by a friend of mine in San Francisco, and that was a little joke to him. But "ZAP" si still a magickal word because it comes from the sound of electricity. ZAP- it's something that's very quick, and that's why I used it.

DNYL: I've read that when Bobby Beausoleil stole "Lucifer Rising" you tried to turn him into a toad. Is this just a rumour?

ANGER: Well, no it isn't a rumour. I did a ceremony, and with an artist friend of mine I created a beautiful enamel medallion. On one side was Bobby's portrait painted on a miniature porclain, just like in the time of Queen Elizabeth the first, before they had photography.

Bobby was a very beautiful boy, with beautiful blue eyes and he was nineteen years old and he had long hair to his shoulders. He was very cocky and very self-confident, but he was a scorpio and he had a lot of scorpio traits, which are charismatic but they're not always easy to work with (and I have a half scorpio in my horoscope). But on the other side was a toad, a beautiful golden toad.

So, anyway, the toad is from the fairytale about the frog prince. You know, you kiss the toad and maybe it'll turn into a prince, and maybe you'll get herpes from the toad, frog herpes, which must be horrible. Or something, who knows. It's a symbol, of faith, and true love and various things. I mean its a marvellous fairytale. Crowley adored fairytales and so do I, and he wrote a wonderful essay about them. This was like "flip the coin", in other words I knew there were these two natures, and he could be ei ther this poisonous toad or an angel. Because his dark side of his nature took over- he stole my van, he stole the film, he betrayed me. I gave him money to buy some musical things for his band, instead he went and bought a huge amount of marijuana in Mexico, and drove up in my van with my license plates on the van, full of bales of marijuana (at that time, as big as this couch you could buy these huge things, wrapped in black plastic).

He stored them in my studio. He sneaked them in and stored them. Our dog began sniffing these wrapped up plastic packages, and then I cut one open and there was all this grass. It was my apartment and if anyone was gonna get busted I was gonna get it- he would get off as a minor and I was 'seducing' him or 'corrupting' him in some way. So I picked up the bales, threw them down the front step, and I'm not particularly a physically hefty hunk of a guy or anything like that but when I'm mad... I picked him up by the scruff of his neck when he came home after a late date and tossed him down the front stair. And that was the end of our relationship.

But you know scorpios are sneaky, and so he waited. He had a real old car that kept breaking down and everything, but I had the van that I bought for the first "Lucifer Rising" film production. He knew I never cooked, and he waited until I went out to dinner with a friend. Then he broke into the place, stole all the film and then stole the van. So I came back and there was no van, no film, and he was gone. I knew he did it, nobody else could have done it- or wanted these cans of film with "L.R." on them for "Lucifer Rising".

DNYL: You were saying last night that he took your van and then broke down in the desert and was picked up by the Manson Family.

ANGER: No, this was in San Francisco where I was living in the Russian Embassy, which was the consol house when imperial Russia had a consol in San Francisco. We lived there. He stole the van and he drove it to southern California which is about four hundred miles south, towards L.A. He had friends down there working in the group "Love", they were a sort of acid rock group that he played for. And it broke down not in the desert but in San Fernando valley on the road in front of Spahn Ranch, which is where a t that moment the Manson Family was holed up in the abandoned movie sets. They were living in this broken down Western village, and somehow they'd got this guard who was supposed to look after it who was blind. I mean, having a blind old man as a guard! They sweet talked him in, they said "we'll go get your groceries and we'll do this and that and so forth. You poor old man, blind. What a pity you're blind you can't see what beautiful chicks we are". Man son would use these girls in that way on various thing s. So, the girls came out, here was this cute guy, nineteen years old, with a broken down van and they said "hey, why don't you move in with us" so that's how he got mixed in with them.

But he was my second choice for Lucifer. The first one was six years old and he died in an accident thinking he was an angel and could fly. His name was Vito. He had a hippy mother and a hippy father who were both artists and he was an absolutely stunning child. He had platinum blonde hair. It's never been cut since he was born, so it was down to his shoulders, and he looked like a Blake cherub. He was so awesomely beautiful. People would see him and just go "ahgh"!

This kid had that charisma, that magick, but he died before I could use him. I told him I wanted him to be in the movie and he agreed, he said yes. And I didn't suggest that he would try rehearsing flying on the roof, but that's where he died, in an accident he fell off the roof. And you know it's just heartbreaking. Everyone was in mourning, in fact we never got over it.

At any rate, you know, Bobby was the second choice and he was nineteen, not six, and so the angelic side... he was more the demonic side. And I thought I could handle that and I couldn't. It sort of blew up in my face! But he was arrested for murder two years after he left me. He left me in '67 and the Manson killings began in the summer of '69, beginning with Bobby and Susan, one of the girls. He had sold some bad dope to the Manson family that the Manson family had resold to the Hell's Angels, and the dru g agents had sprayed it with cyanide. And so all the Hell's Angels, about fifty of them, got extremely ill. They almost died, and then when they recovered they blamed the Manson family. They said 'if you don't kill whoever you got that dope from, we will kill all of you'. That was California in the sixties (laughs), the so-called generation of love, or summer of love or whatever (laughs). That was a farce! And so that's how Bobby got mixed up in mur der and why he agreed to murder and, you know, they were al l dropping acid like it was breathe mints, and generally cutting loose from their family connections. They were all middle to upper-middle class kids, you know, rebelling against their backgrounds. That was basically it.

DNYL: How did you meet and get involved with Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones?

ANGER: Well, it was very easy for me because I moved to London from San Francisco and my best friend happened to be the best friend of Mick Jagger and he still is today. That was the magick key in the door, but it was nothing special. I don't really like rock and roll, in fact I never listen to it voluntarily. I like some of their ballads, like 'Ruby Tuesday', I think it's a beautiful song, and some of the choir things. I never really liked 'Sympathy for the Devil', even that (but I don't think you can real ly call that rock and roll).

But Brian was a very magickal person, and he was a witch. He had a third nipple. Like Rosaleen Norton (that I hope to make a film about) had the equivalent of an extra nipple. Brian's nipple was down here on his inner thigh, and for a straight guy to take down his pants to show me his third nipple! He said "I have a witch's mark' and I said 'yeah?'. And he said 'yeah!'. We were alone and he siad 'here, I'll show you' and so he took down his pants. And here's this little...but it was, it was formed like a pe rfect nipple on his inner thigh. And I said 'is it like your two other nipples?' and he said 'yeah, its fun to...here touch it!' And I touched it (laughs). You know he would play with me that way a little bit, but he was an absolute darling of a person.

But I saw him destroy himself in two years with heroin, and the only reason he took heroin was to blot out his terrible fear of the public and the police. He got so paranoid about the police that were going to bust him for dope and all that, that he used to hide under the bed like a little child. 'Where's Brian? Where's Brian?' Well, he'd be under the bed hiding. Trembling, like this, because he thought the police were coming and they were going to take away his dope. It's such a waste of talent.

I've enjoyed knowing those people, but I don't go name dropping all the time. I've known people that meant a lot more to me than any of the Rolling Stones. I'm sorry that Brian died, but it was a hell of a life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone to be a pop star.

But I hope I live long enough to see the decline and fall of Michael Jackson. Because I've talked to plastic surgeons that worked on him, and his nose is held up by a prayer. In other words, it is collapsing in on itself, he had all the cartilage removed and its possible the whole thing will melt, like the witch at the end of the Wizard of Oz. That would give me a certain satisfaction, I won't say pleasure, but this story of him having a skin disease- he bleaches himself twice a week! He slathers himself in this ointment that stinks to high heaven and it'll probably give him cancer or something (laughs). He claims he has impetigo but that's absolute rubbish. He's been bleaching himself, which is like an insult to the black race.

But he removed his African nose that used to have two nostrils big enough to drive a bus in. He took about a pound of liver off his lips. Now he has these thin little prissy lips and now he claims that oh, he had a little work done. A little work done! But who is he kidding? What I can't understand is why he isn't totally rejected by the blacks because he's like insulting the blacks to try to bleach himself white. And then he claims its a disease, I mean come on! At any rate, I don't deal with pop celebriti es. I basically deal with old movie personalities that I find much more interesting. But I am going to have a footnote or something about Michael Jackson because he has made one or two films, and he generally pisses me off, frankly!

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