“Who doesn’t love a buddy movie with sweet, weird characters?”

Interview

“Who doesn’t love a buddy movie with sweet, weird characters?”

BYHOOKORBYCROOK_16X9_2

Interview

BY

Kelley Dong

An interview with co-directors, writers and stars Harry Dodge and Silas Howard.

By Hook or By Crook screens at Metrograph on Friday, 17 June, as part of Muff Dives: The Dyke Bar in Cinema.

Silas Howard and Harry Dodge’s By Hook or By Crook (2001) contains such cool and buoyancy that one might briefly forget the film is, as B. Ruby Rich writes in New Queer Cinema, the “first genderqueer feature.” In the dead of night, two strangers in suits fend off an angry drunk. Bloodied and bruised, they lock eyes and sense the same tickle of recognition. Runaway Shy (Howard, then the guitarist of the pioneering queercore band Tribe 8) describes himself as “Dorothy but with biceps and no dogs.” Evicted from his late father’s house, he quits his job and hitchhikes to San Francisco. Luckily for him, fidgety and sweet Valentine (Dodge, who with Howard founded the now-legendary Mission District community-based performance space Red Dora’s Bearded Lady Café in the ’90s, which served as a touchstone for a pioneering, queer, DIY literary and arts scene) proclaims himself to be “all those guys from that movie, except for Dorothy.” With the addition of Valentine’s lover Billie (Stanya Kahn), the friends carry out a series of robberies with varying levels of success. Concurrently, Valentine continues to search for his birth mother. The real reason this motley crew attracts the surveillance of store owners, neighbors, and police involves how they look, sound, and congregate together. Even the most graceful switch of pronouns does not fully deflect outside suspicion. But, more than correcting outsiders, what matters is to be known and protected by one another. A perilous road lies ahead, yet it always remains possible to be happy. Following the release of the film, Howard has gone on to direct episodes of shows like Transparent, and the upcoming feature Darby Harper Wants You to Know. Dodge is an interdisciplinary artist whose mediums include sculpture and video; he’s also the author of My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing. I spoke with the close friends about the making of By Hook or By Crook and what’s changed in the two decades since its release.

KELLEY DONG: I re-watched the film today, and I was thinking about how it was such a strong intervention at the time it came out—to the extent that a lot of critics didn’t know how to articulate what they were taking in off the screen, they were so caught up in the question of who even are these people? But another dimension missed, it seems, is that the film does such a good job at showing the overlap between being queer, and being working class, and being mentally ill—and all of the surveillance that comes with that, the suspicion that’s cast on you. There is such a world contained in the film. Even watching it now, I feel like it’s a world that I inhabit.

HARRY DODGE: Thank you.

SILAS HOWARD: Thank you. That’s a big gift, because at the time we were making it, we did feel we were outliers on so many levels, and it was hard to get our footing. I remember, before we screened it the first time at San Francisco Film Festival, I had no idea if it was going to be received well or not. It was like jumping off a cliff.

HD: You know in the ’80s, ’90s, we were hungry for it, especially in movies we watched— you know, hungry for butch representation, freaky queers or that. We didn’t see ourselves. Of course, now I realize that one never sees oneself because, technically, representation always fails, but that’s a whole other discussion. Anyway, I remember thinking, Why not do it ourselves? Let’s stop waiting. We also thought, Let’s make a film that doesn’t explain anything, a film that isn’t a primer on queerness or some PR piece to make dykes more palatable. We decided to make something for people like us. Also, I really thought that if the movie was done well enough any old film lover would fall for it. Who doesn’t love a buddy movie with sweet, weird characters? (Laughs.) It’s basically a normal-ass fucking movie.

SH: (Laughs.) A normal movie.

HD: The idea was to use a conventional screenplay template, three acts, progression, a budding friendship, all that—but these unconventional and freakishly dashing performers would be starring in it! A genre film with a jolt. (Laughs.) Not explanatory, more immersive. I understand people were a little blown away by that. We knew it was transgressive and radical but, at the same time, we also felt at home there. On that particular account we were dauntless.

SH: Not explaining narratives has been the single most important thing I carried away from By Hook or By Crook. Because explaining yourself is a power dynamic, it keeps people on the other side. And audiences can do the math; if you tell a centered story that’s authentic, they get it. We were doing a normal movie, to us, which was still very weird.

KD: I read that you were influenced by Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). What other films shaped how you approached making this one?

SH: I always feel like I’m missing so much when I do this, but influences for me were everything from Happy Together (1997) by Wong Kar-wai, to Marlon Riggs, Barbara Hammer, Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust. There are just so many narratives that we’re pushing against; these ideas of what a narrative has been, what it can be, and say.

HD: I actually really like nonlinear things, always have. But with By Hook or By Crook, I wanted to figure out how to make something that people knew how to watch. I looked at Midnight Cowboy, not only as inspiration for character imperfections, performances, but also as a structure. Amores Perros (2000), I watched again and again. A Woman Under the Influence (1974), that Cassavetes film, too. I was focused on movies where the players get to do a lot—I love watching actors get sweaty, and just take us there.

By Hook or By Crook

“We didn’t do any crimes for the movie that we hadn’t already done.”

KD: The film is so character-driven, yet it’s clear you’re not necessarily playing yourselves or trying to plainly deliver autobiographical details. Shy, for instance, always tells a different story when asked about his parents and his upbringing. I was curious about how much of your own backgrounds influenced the characters? And because they’re not you, how did you navigate that difference between yourself and the characters you play?

HD: I love that question. It’s very perceptive. I think it’s interesting to use details that are real and close when you can—specificity is key, right?—and we all have these memories, whether it’s a slant of light coming in through the window, or something olfactory, or how your grandma used to cook macaroni and cheese in this weird way—drawing on those memories and building them back in writing, in a detailed way, can help to make a rich and dense narrative. We definitely did draw on details from our own lives and, obviously, then distorted those things, took liberties.

SH: It is a great question just because the language that Valentine speaks in is a really specific art that comes from Harry Dodge. When we were doing early fundraising, most people said, “You can’t do this; you can’t talk like this.” But we were like, if we’re going to do this much work, and not get paid, and put so much on the line, then we’d rather fail by our own standards than pander, because it was like “our shot.” But we also did put real facts of Harry’s birth mother, because we’d been trying to find her off and on for years.

HD: Remember, we wrote this before the internet, you know? I hadn’t been able to find her. So this was my weird, extremely labor-intensive letter out into the universe with her real name, and my birthdate.

SH: Yeah, all that was real information. And then Harry found his birth mother, and Stanya, Harry and I went into the kitchen, and we handed her the movie, and it was like we had walked out of the movie into real life, which is bizarre. And for myself, there’s so much from my families in there... It’s actually harder to play something that feels so close to yourself. I had done some acting classes, which was awkward as a nonbinary person back in the ’90s. But I loved transforming myself into something different. I even had a diva meltdown when we did By Hook or By Crook, where I said, “I’m not a doll, you know?!” (Laughs.) “I’m not a doll. I’m a person.”

HD: That’s because it’s so intense!

SH: Maybe that’s why I work so well with actors because I do know that it’s such an intense thing to do, to be open and present.

KD: The performances, especially the chemistry between the characters, feel so organic. How well did you two know each other before making the film?

SH: A lot of people said to us, “You should have somebody direct this if you’re going to act in it. And maybe even test somebody different.” We had no budget or anything, to cast somebody who had what we had, that chemistry—we’ve known each other since we were 19 and 20, and that really helped, and we had founded and been running this café, the Bearded Lady. And we were definitely going to direct because we were like, we’re not going to act after this because there’s no roles.

HD: At the beginning of the project we were both frustrated actors and performers. When we were kids, Silas and I both had wanted to be movie stars. There was just a dearth of people who we identified with onscreen. (Laughs.) I know Kristy McNichol in Family was huge for me.

SH: And Little Darlings (1980) too.

HD: (Laughs.) There was Jodie Foster, too. Tatum O’Neal in The Bad News Bears (1976), that was it. And so at the beginning Silas was like, “Maybe we can crack open roles for our style of people?” I had been doing a lot of live performance, these weird monologues, and a lot of the dialogue I actually borrowed from those shows. We used a few things from Muddy Little River for some of Shy’s lines—that character was all swagger. And this other show From Where I’m Sitting had a dude who was more anxious and squirrely; we used a bunch of that for Valentine. I have such performance anxiety that I knew I could slip into that sort of character very naturally and so, you know, that fluency helped the acting-directing load.

KD: Besides budget constraints, was there a creative inspiration for filming with the MiniDV? Did it cause difficulties?

SH: Yeah, it was awful. (Laughs.) But it was also the only way we could have made the film. We had a little consumer camera that had a few fixed lenses—we hated the look of it, actually. So much so that we even shot a few scenes blurry because we were so worried, so frustrated with the footage in focus. We did a good job, we learned After Effects and all that. But we cried when we first watched the dailies.

HD: In those days, that MiniDV camera, the footage looked super bad. And we didn’t want that, you know? This was before anything was shot on digital. We knew of one mainstream feature that had been shot on digital—Julien Donkey-Boy (1999).

SH: Yeah, and they cheated. They did a process where film was involved. It was much more expensive. It wasn’t what we had. We had a crazy, crappy camera. It was so low resolution.

HD: It looked like a soap opera. Dead. Fake. No grain. But in the end, we could only raise the money we could raise. Which was not enough to buy film! I think we went into production with, what, $20,000? We had to make the best of it, but yeah we struggled. We were editing in Final Cut Pro 1, and it was wall-to-wall glitches. Hard drive space was crazy; $1,000 to get 275 gigabytes. Money was scarce so we bought 75 gigabyte drives one at a time, for a zillion dollars each—they were like treasures, these little silver boxes. And we’d add it to the tower. We had like eight in there eventually, it was stuffed. And hot. We’re remastering it right now, trying to open that file... So we’re still struggling. (Laughs.)

SH: A breakthrough moment in my work in terms of getting paid was Transparent; [producer] Andrea Sperling always loved By Hook or By Crook, and she gave us a lot of praise for being ahead of our time. But when they put me up for directing on Transparent, Amazon said, “No, the budget of his work is too low.” But there was no budget for these stories! It’s interesting that the whole queer world that they were making their brand on, they didn’t yet know how to read. Luckily, they pushed back and got me on, but the powers that be of course don’t have to think about those budgetary restrictions, and why certain choices are made, and why it’s radical, generating a different cinematic language out of that desperation.

HD: Yeah, and resourcefulness! Rather than seeing it as look what he did with this amount of money, it’s more like, not enough money was spent. Super weird. But that’s class for you.

By Hook or By Crook

KD: During the shoot, did using a MiniDV affect how you each felt as a performer in that space?

HD: Neither of us had acted with a large film camera—so nothing to compare there. Also the camera had a little hum, this whirring noise, which we had to deal with. You could hear it sometimes in the very quiet scenes.

KD: I had wondered if it was a heartbeat sound effect that had been added.

HD: Oh, that was the boom operators’ pulse, moving through the boom pole in those very quiet scenes. And you heard it. Especially in the scene when Stanya is crying in the hospital, right?

When I’m editing, even in my art videos, I tend to pile up a lot of sound, background stuff, a viewer won’t even notice, but a more lush soundscape, that fullness, to me it’s crucial. Even though it’s subconscious. Sound is witchy right? Like an enchantment, it helps a viewer’s body arrive. Our sound team were a great help with that.

SH: It really was a community-made project. That’s a big, important part of the story.

HD: Because people worked for free, or for very little. We did a professional-ish production schedule where we all worked for a month, all day long. We did have a skeleton crew that was there every day. Those people had agreed to work for, like, $1,000 for the month?

SH: I mean, that’s who greenlit our movie, the community. That is how we made it

KD: Did you just cold call everyone you knew?

HD: We had been running the Bearded Lady, so people were around and always pitching in. Also during that time I had been doing shows where a lot of friends participated, so there was a sense of everybody helping out on each other’s projects. People were incredibly generous.

SH: In a way, we were the anti-film industry, you know? It was acts of kindness and connection that made it work.

HD: I’m a professor at CalArts right now, and with my students I talk about love and community-building. Because when they graduate, well, I don’t necessarily want them to pop out into some other predetermined, already rolling art world—as if such a thing existed, because there’s so many art worlds—but for them to think, Hey, these are my buddies, these are my loved ones, and we’re going to go out and make our own art world.

SH: We’re in an industry that’s about selfishness—you go for what you need, you fight for it, no matter how many hours it takes. I don’t work that way—and I work a lot! So maybe there’s a different narrative that is actually about caring—and maybe leadership is about paying attention to people, reading a room, and creating an environment of trust.

And with community, maybe we get permission for bad ideas, all of that stuff, which is not the industry. The industry typically has a structure in place for who to blame when it goes awry. It’s changing somewhat—I just did my first studio film, and I was able to push back on certain things, and to be heard. I’m only anywhere because of caring about community. I care what they think, I care that we’re making something that they feel proud of. I never feel pigeonholed into doing stories about trans people because I’m always doing stories about people who happen to be trans. I feel really fortunate in that way.

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KD: I really like that in By Hook or By Crook you have two characters who are queer, but you don’t lay out where they fit in a certain taxonomy of who they might be.

SH: I think that’s what Harry talked about early on when he was saying that we were in such a queer world, we forgot the world wasn’t queer. And it really wasn’t. We acted as if whatever sort of revolution we wanted to have happen—had happened. We just thought of our point of view as a human point of view and not, you know, a genre or a niche.

HD: Yeah, again, specificity is key. I thought if we were specific enough, and the movie was good enough, it would be captivating for anybody who liked movies about friendship. And we didn’t label because—it was like, straight people don’t explain straightness, you know? So these characters, they’re loving, feverish, fallible. End of explanation.

SH: Truth is, I’ve spent my life watching movies that have no connection to me, or my personal experience. And if it’s a good story, told authentically, it will connect. That math works in every direction.

KD: It is also just a really funny film. Watching, I thought about how the organic sense of humor found in queer culture is always excavating what makes gender funny, in ways that are new and surprising. There’s a quote by Lauren Berlant where they say that “trans people have, for the right and liberals, emerged as exemplars of humorless p.c. culture.” But the film attests to the fact that queer and trans people have always been funny.

SH: I’m so glad you brought that up.

KD: By Hook or By Crook has so many off the cuff jokes, even in bleak situations. One of my favorite parts is when Valentine gets beat up and then tells Billie [Stanya Kahn] that he met “a little running away guy guy,” you say guy twice. Your characters are two very funny people, and everyone around you goes along with it.

SH: This is something I’m really passionate about, because I feel like, for people who are at the margins of society, humor is an absolute tool of survival. But so often the gatekeepers or whatever, in telling our stories, they take all the humor out. They’re like, “Oh, we’ll take the humor and the culture and the fun stuff; we’ll let you have the trauma. But we probably won’t let you direct it.” You don’t go through trauma without having some gallows humor. And we all came from AIDS, you know, came from working-class backgrounds, and families that rejected us, and a lot of things that made you have to have humor to breathe, really. I’m so glad that comes through.

HD: I can’t even believe how much we all used to laugh together. These were the funniest people I’ve ever met. Back then I laughed more in a week, or even a night, than I’ve laughed in the 20 years since. But, you know in the beginning—dealing with such high stakes, certain stories, reckonings, the art, it wasn’t always funny. But there was a turning point! Around the time Silas and I opened the Bearded Lady and we started to do different events, and then next door to us, Kiki Gallery opened. I walked in there one day after work, and Rick Jacobsen (1961–1995), it was his place, a fantastic smart and funny guy, he had just opened this group show called Sick Joke: Bitterness, Sarcasm & Irony in the Second AIDS Decade. I remember on the wall these greeting cards: on the front it said, “Get well soon”; and when you opened it, the inside said, “Just kidding, you were on the placebo.” I still get shivers when I talk about it.

There’s something about humor, especially unleashing it inside of these moments and situations where the stakes are unspeakably high—it’s extraordinarily valuable. Because it sort of reorganizes power, re-allocates power. I remember reading the pamphlet for the show while walking home that day, and there was this essay that really cleaved my life in two by Gerard Koskovich which talks about this idea of intra-community humor. He points out the difference between an AIDS joke and AIDS humor from inside the community—and discusses wit, irreverence, sarcasm as strategies of defiance that can not only “destabilize dominant discourse,” but transform certain kinds of brutality into instances of revolutionary power. It was very, very moving. And the jokes were intense. But I felt like that gave us permission, that gave me permission, to commit to humor. I always call it bravado, this idea of leveraging something funny, even sadly funny, when times are tough.

SH: I grew up in poverty and chaos, but my dad would always make jokes about, “Oh, you want a cheque, I thought you wanted money.” Or the repo guy would come and take something, and he’d go, “See you again next week!” or whatever it was, just humor in the face of this adversity as a way to have dignity… AIDS humor really took it to that next step, which is to say the irreverent, to say the unsayable, because the unsayable was happening all around us. It made you laugh and connect and it also made you feel the impact of what was going on… I want humor and sadness and something dirty in every scene that I direct.

KD: When you wrote the film, was it a determined decision to make it funny?

SH: Harry did the lion’s share of the writing, and his humor and his ability to have humor and earnestness is unlike anybody’s. So I would credit a lot of that to him.

HD: Thanks, Silas. To answer your question, I’ve always been interested in comedy, including stand-up. Particularly, I think of Richard Pryor and these bits he does that bring you—you know, you’re laughing, you’re laughing, and then he careens into something, maybe about his childhood, he brings you there slowly, and now suddenly there’s fucking tears in your eyes. And then he comes in with a punchline, and he bounces us back, back up. It’s orchestral. And that orchestration of emotional rawness is inspiring. Lacing grief with bravado or humor always seems most moving and most miraculous, you know? But also Silas and I are funny, period. And we used to be even funnier! I’m not funny anymore. But Silas is still funny. But we were funny together. And because all of our friends were funny, it was bound to be somewhat funny.

“The trick is to know that representation fails—and maybe to make art that reminds the viewer that this is the case?”

KD: The scene where you two are talking about the possibility of meeting your birth mother, and you ask, is it possible that the sad chemicals from her have broken you in a way. It’s heartbreaking, but then you end it with, “Well, she’s not gonna like me, I’m a freak of nature,” and Shy explains “Of course, she’s of course gonna love you, you’re the smartest guy I know.” And then Val says, “Shy, I have a beard.” The tonal shifts really hit every mark.

HD: And we go all the way into lobotomies and shit—and then back out again. It’s a lot.

SH: It’s definitely radical acceptance. (Laughs.)

KD: I saw some younger fans talking about the film, calling it a “Be trans, do crimes” rallying cry. In the film, Shy and Val steal a car; they rob a vending machine…

SH: Well, I want to say that all these scams in the movie are real, and they work. We did all of those.

HD: Yeah, we didn’t do any crimes for the movie that we hadn’t already done. (Laughs.)

SH: We were criminal for waking up in the morning, you know? I mean, we were criminalized just for being ourselves. So it wasn’t really a big step to go towards crime, because it seemed like a very loose definition in our opinion.

HD: I remember when we did certain school visits, a couple of people were a little angry that we had done this representation of queers as criminals. Like, “Why did you feel free to make them, one, mentally ill; two, criminal?” You know, they were miffed and letting us know. And I remember saying, “We are not a PR outfit for the gay community.” When we watch the movies we love, often the characters are flawed. They’re going off half-cocked, there’s an unreliable narrator. I mean, Shy steals from Valentine on the first night. And there’s something interesting toward the end of the movie where Silas, in his kind of fever and sadness, decides he’s just going to go ahead, trying to feel powerful, and rob the corner store... But then that woman behind the counter just slaps him, you know?

SH: That was our AD, Beth Ferguson. (Laughs.)

HD: She does a really good job. You both did a really good job in that scene. She’s like, yeah, Don’t be that kind of dude, dude.

SH: Getting away with crime takes a lot of things, certain privileges. But also, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford to be on the side of the law, and so I do like that moment and that scene, because it just busts open.

KD: Earlier, Silas, you mentioned that when you do a scene you want there to be elements that are funny, but also that are dirty, and tragic. The film is also very sexy, the sex scenes especially are very well choreographed. How did you direct or visualize those?

SH: Filming sex scenes is tricky. Even on projects now. It’s an odd trouble where you have these two actors, and I’m saying, “Move your hand this way.” We didn’t do that. Harry will speak to his experience, but for myself, the actress Carina [Gia, who plays Isabelle, who Shy pairs up with] was a friend of mine, and it was awkward. I just think we wanted to show sex that  hinted at a strap-on or whatever without having to explain it, and again, that just felt like the way we had sex. It was very not-explicit in a lot of ways, but hopefully the energy of it translated.

HD: In this interview we’ve talked so much about not-explaining, not necessarily making the movie for people who need explanation, but weirdly on this one point I remember feeling strongly about trying to put out another few representations of a kind of eros. There was a way that lesbian sexuality was often portrayed, like a kiss, then cut to the curtains blowing—we wanted to add to the portrayals that were there, in a particular way. Also important was that it was very hot—that was a goal. Normally I’m a little private. The explicitness, where we went, that was not easy for me. But it was important to show something, and we pushed, I don’t know if everyone else found it as difficult as I did. Somehow I felt we owed it to the world to do that. Or try. (Laughs.)

SH: I would add that it was a certain time and an era where we did not have a label that fit us, at least any label legible to outsiders, and that drove us—I think we really need to think about having discomfort and making friends with it, because it drove us to make things, to push against that.

HD: I remember—it was probably at the same school where someone asked why we felt at liberty to represent queers as criminals—someone asked us why we only showed straight sex in the movie. And I remember saying, “Why do straight people own certain positions?” We were world-making so that those positions and those things didn’t seem to be relegated to one kind of person or another. Pleasure, and yes, sexual pleasure was very important, and it seemed like not-having shame, and working that flow into our creative expression—radical sexuality was a huge part of that era.

KD: I think when people see a queer person onscreen now, the terms of identification are very different to what they were when you made the film. Nonbinary or gender nonconforming, or genderqueer—there’ve been a lot of changes. In the two decades since its release, do you feel like the film’s significance, or meaning, has evolved?

HD: Oh sure it has. And I love that about art. What it communicates changes as the world changes. I’m interested in specificity so that means—when possible—resisting categories, or you know, eyeballing the whole thing. And it does scare me sometimes to try to put things into language because there’s so much left unsaid when language comes in. Language is amazing as well and is, obviously, too, a large part of what produces norms in the culture. I don’t know, there’s something about naming that makes me look less carefully. One feels they know something. It’s like, I got this. That really bothers me. So while I’m psyched about the progress, which is real, and hard-won, that buoyancy is attended by another part of me that is still suspicious of labels. Because, culturally speaking, every new category in turn generates a new monolith, and thus imprecisions, stereotypes, generalizations, and part of that is fresh new versions of invisibility. It’s exhausting.

It's an interesting moment because we’re remastering the movie. This big anniversary is coming up, and the film is still relevant, important. Amazing. And, yeah, the world has changed and so we’re needing to re-write the copy, and Silas identifies with the word ‘trans,’ and I identify with the word ‘butch,’ and maybe even ‘woman.’ And so we’re like, maybe use the phrase, ‘a butch and trans queer classic,’ which might, after all, remind people there are a lot of different ways of talking about this—which seems positive.

It’s important to me things don’t collapse into a monolith, that’s my fear, or aversion. I mean, something social because it’s “legible” but now it’s unspecific, a category by which we lose the nuances,  the fact that people experience identity in very particular, very personal, often philosophical ways. And for the culture at large, however cool they may be, folks are maybe like, “Oh, I saw a TV show, I know all about you guys.” And so—as with any group that is suddenly moving into an arena of rights discourse—there’s a hypervisibility that’s saturated by an equal and opposite invisibility. Because even these current representations in mass media, they come—and I suppose they sort of fail to represent; and this is inevitable. I don’t mean to get into the weeds here, but the trick is to know that representation fails—and maybe to make art that reminds the viewer that this is the case? I don’t know—that’s all very interesting. I’m still trying to figure out a lot about that. As Édouard Glissant wrote, “Displace all reduction.” It’s three words, and they’re important to me but how does that work in everyday life? I’ll be sure to let you know if I get any closer to figuring it out.

Kelley Dong is a Toronto-based writer, producer, and filmmaker. Their writing has been featured in MUBI Notebook, Cinema Scope, Village Voice, and Film Comment. 

Harry Dodge is an interdisciplinary visual artist and writer whose practice is characterized by its contemplation of specificity, the habits of matter, and ecstatic contamination. Dodge has exhibited at venues nationally and internationally; his solo and collaborative work is held in collections at institutions including Museum of Modern Art, NY, and Museum of Contemporary Art, LA. Dodge’s 2020 book of literary nonfiction, My Meteorite, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and his writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, The Paris Review, and Harper’s. In 2017, Dodge was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

Silas Howard is a director and writer. His credits include the feature films By Hook or by Crook, and A Kid Like Jake, and series such as FX’s Emmy-nominated Pose, the Emmy award-winning Transparent, the Peabody award-winning Dickinson, The Fosters, Faking It, This Is Us, High Maintenance, Tales of the City, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, and more. He was a founding member of queer punk band Tribe 8, and a 2015 Guggenheim fellow.

By Hook or By Crook