We did a soap opera, a parody of a soap opera that’s become like really an art-house attraction called Personal Problems, starring Vertamae Grosvenor, and Walter Cotton, the late Walter Cotton, and Jim Wright, who played Johnny Dollar in the old Oscar Micheaux movies. And it opened up in Pompidou in Paris, and then — Bill Gunn was the director, and it was part of a Bill Gunn retrospective at the Whitney, and then a few years ago it was presented at BAMcinématek.1 In the spring it will be done at the Film Society at Lincoln Center. Kip is in one of the episodes that they’re going to show. Kip and I are acting.2 And Kip was the one who got us Robert Polidori, who’s now the photographer for the New Yorker Magazine, and also got a commission to photograph the restoration of the Palace of Versailles in France.
And with all these, it was a serendipitous moment — occasion, because all these different talents came together. Carman Moore is now considered one of the leading American composers, composed the music, and so we had all his personnel. And Kip played a role in that, getting us some of the people. We did it for $40,000, and I think it’s superior to all the films about Blacks that came out of Hollywood over the last 40 years. I mean it’s easy, I mean there’s no competition actually. Originally, we were supposed to be in a film that would feature Cecil Taylor and me.3 And I don’t know what happened with that, but anyway, what he did was he sent my first book of poetry was published by the — or second book of poetry was published by the University of Massachusetts.
He sent that out, and so that’s how the Conjure thing has come to fruition. And some of those people in a Conjure Organization, like David Murray, he’s the one who lead me to collaborate with Cassandra Wilson and most recently Macy Gray CD, or I wrote some songs for her, Gregory Porter, and one of the songs called Be My Monster Love, which was the title of the CD. That was last year.