Documentaries · Look There · Movies · Samuel R. Delany · YouTube Finds

Look There: The Polymath, or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman

I’m a bit late to notice this, but back in November of 2009, MaestroMedia Productions released a two-disk DVD set of The Polymath, or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman, produced, written, directed, and photographed by Fred Barney Taylor. Available for a mere US$30 plus shipping and handling (request a total if you live outside the United States), the DVD set includes the original 80-minute documentary, along with a second DVD with over two hours of raw footage of Delany in conversation and a digital transfer of Delany’s “lost” 16-mm film from 1971, The Orchid (which, comic readers may be interested to know, includes Bernie Wrightson as an extra).

From the official Facebook Web site for the film:

The iconic and larger-than life Samuel R. Delany, best known as the author of Dhalgren and Babel-17, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, is considered a grandmaster of the sci-fi community. Born and raised in New York City, Delany began writing in the early 1960s and became famous for his provocative futuristic explorations of race and sexual identity. He was a rebellious pioneer who opened up the white male universe of science fiction to issues of race, gender and sexuality

The grandson of a slave, he has written frankly about his life and sexual adventures as a gay African-American, notably in his brilliantly reflexive memoir, The Motion of Light and [in] Water and in Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, a social and critical complaint about the disappearance of the area’s famous porn theatres.

Back in the day, Chip shared a stage with Bob Dylan, drank with W.H. Auden, wrote an opera, made a film, formed a theatre company, and authored several issues of Wonder Woman. He has had, by his count, over 50,000 sexual partners during the course of his lifetime.

Taylor uses visually-stunning images of water and bridges as abstract compositions; a visual correlative of the author’s multi-layered writing. By juxtaposing Delany’s flow of memories, readings and archival footage with mesmerizing imagery of the city, The Polymath expresses in vivid detail the complexities of an eclectic intellectual.

Also, if you’re a fan of Delany, watch for his new novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, which, if Amazon is to be believed, will appear in early 2011.

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