Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller was originally thought of as a film project and turned into a collage of interviews in the style of an oral history sorted by the different periods of Cookie Mueller’s life. The author spoke to about 80 people including intimate interviews with Cookie’s son and her lover who the author accompanied over years recording the memories and anecdotes they shared. With its many photos and illustrations the book is very visually appealing.
Chloé Griffin is an artist, actress and filmmaker living in Berlin. She recently starred in Desire Will Set You Free, a film set in the queer underground scene of Berlin.
She first encountered Cookie Mueller in John Waters‘ movies such as Female Trouble, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos and felt drawn to “the delinquent humor and the explosion of misfit glamour” of Waters’ films as she puts it in the introduction to her book.
But only when she discovered Cookie Mueller’s writing in her book Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool painted Black, did she get really interested in the artist and started doing research about her.
Cookie Mueller’s collection of autobiographical short stories Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool painted Black is an exciting read where she recounts series of (mis)adventures that happened to her while she was traveling across the USA and settling down in Provincetown and Massachusetts among other places before moving to New York in the 70s. In her writing she appears as a strikingly fearless person open to chance encounters and every kind of experience.
Chloé Griffin also included texts by Cookie Mueller in her book, most notably Cookie’s journey to the Berlin film festival in 1982 where she met and befriended German filmmakers and actors like Fassbinder, Udo Kier and Tabea Blumenschein, and had to climb out of the window of her hotel room to avoid the bill.
In New York Cookie Mueller immersed herself in the underground art scene of the city and became a close friend and photographic subject of Nan Goldin who described her as the “starlet of the Lower East Side”. She also had a son whom she deliberately raised as a single mother. In an interview that I did with Chloe Griffin we talk about how much ahead of her time Cookie Mueller was as a woman. Cookie Mueller died prematurely of Aids in 1989, on the night the Berlin Wall came down.
Read Corinna’s interview with Chloé Griffin about her book and filmmaking on Bookslut!
Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller
by Chloé Griffin comes out: September 30, 2014