One of Hollywood’s most unique personalities is making a stop at the Michigan Theatre to promote his latest work to local crowds. Crispin Hellion Glover, who has appeared in “Back to the Future,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and more recently the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, will be staging a three-part presentation involving both written and filmed works called “The Big Slide Show.”

After performing a dramatic narrative of 10 original stories accompanied by a slideshow of his books’ illustrations, Glover will be screening his new film “What Is it?” This story follows a young man tormented by a hubristic, racist inner psyche, whose principle interests are snails, salt, a pipe and how to get home. Following the film, Glover will answer questions from the audience and participate in a book signing.

Last month, he screened “What Is It?” at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, where it received the Lawrence Kasdan Best Narrative Film Award. Commenting on the movie’s origins, Glover explained, “It started about nine-and-a half years ago as a short film I’d done to promote support for another screenplay I wanted to produce. It turned out too long for a short film, so later it was extended to feature length.”

Glover raised some eyebrows by casting actors with Down syndrome to play nearly all the film’s characters. “Often actors are taught to remove their consciousness of themselves. (Down syndrome patients) don’t have that certain masking that actors always try to remove. Also, they’ve basically lived outside of culture their whole lives, which is something I wanted to explore,” he explained.

It’s this type of fading social conciousness in Hollywood that Glover is hoping to touch upon. “I worked within taboo areas to give a voice of dissent.” The financial and social influence of corporations in the entertainment industry also concerns Glover. “There are times,” he said, “when I find working in films that are not thoughtful, frustrating. Things in the corporate media perspective tend to urge people to dismiss ideas and concepts that aren’t typically explored within current cultural standards.”

Responding to those who might dismiss his work as “too weird,” he asked, “What does weird mean? What is normalcy? What one person considers weird, others consider unique and interesting.”

As a result of his film’s controversial content and style, Glover has had to overcome some difficult obstacles in production, most notably funding. “I’ve funded the film myself,” he said. “Actually, I’m in considerable debt.”

In addition to being the film’s sole investor, Glover acted as its writer, producer, editor, cinematographer and director. With such a strong personal involvement, it is easy to see why he only screens the film at tour destinations where he can appear in person. “Most people don’t self-distribute,” he said. “They try to release it everywhere at once. I wanted to make it a complete, theatrical experience.”

Partly due to his success at last month’s film festival, Glover chose Ann Arbor as a tour stop, alongside other cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Glover implies that the possible release of a DVD version is still years away, so this weekend’s show promises to be an exclusive opportunity for students to experience something “unique and interesting” at the Michigan Theatre.

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