By Jeff Moses
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By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
Vincent Gallo has done a lot of weird stuff in his day. The on-screen fellatio, the hexing of Roger Ebert, the marketing of his own reproductive fluids — these are just a few of Gallo's performance-weirdness masterworks.
So the actor-director-screenwriter-painter-musician-model (and part-time astronaut-obstetrician?) had something of a reputation to uphold by the time he founded the "improvisational" rock band RRIICCEE in 2007. Fronted by Gallo, the band doesn't write or record any music, rendering traditional evaluation models (i.e., hear a song, buy a record, decide if you like them) moot.
You see the genius? You can't form an opinion about Gallo's music because there's no music to begin with.
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Yes, RRIICCEE is impressively weird. But where does it rank in Gallo's all-time pantheon of outlandish and/or provocative PR stunt work? A top 10 list:
10. Wordless Acting: Earlier this year, the blue-eyed, aquiline-nosed actor won Best Actor at the 67th Venice Film Festival for his performance as a Muslim assassin in director Jerzy Skolimowski's Essential Killing. The hook? Gallo played the role completely mute — a testament to his strange, not-of-this-Earth magnetism.
9. No Painting for You!: Gallo moved to New York City in the late 1970s as a 16-year-old aspiring painter and musician, eventually embedding himself in the city's avant-garde arts scene with the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat. After getting a bit role in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990), he abruptly quit painting. "I [did it] at the peak of my success just to deny people my beautiful paintings," he told Flux magazine, with characteristic subtlety. "And I did it out of spite."
8. Danny Bonaduce Love: In a 2001 interview with BookLA.com, Gallo credits his acting success to Partridge Family alum and celebrity rehab mainstay Danny Bonaduce. "He's tremendous, so funny and brilliant, and we seemed around the same age," Gallo gushed. "I felt I should be on a show with him."
7. RRIICCEE Rocket: Having dabbled in numerous musical projects over the years — including the '80s industrial noise group Bohack — Gallo launched RRIICCEE with Hole co-founder Eric Erlandson in 2007 and revived the group this year with guitarist Woody Jackson and drummer Nico Turner. Calling himself the group's "creative director," Gallo describes the group as an alternative to the "cabaret-like" live performances of bands that, you know, actually write music.
6. A Real Hum-Dinger: In 2003, Gallo follows up his critically acclaimed directorial debut, Buffalo '66 (1998), with The Brown Bunny, a three-hour road movie in which actress Chloe Sevigny gives his character unsimulated oral sex. The film is thunderously panned at the Cannes Film Festival.
5. The Stunt Cock: Later, an unknown actor named Jacob Christner claimed that Gallo employed him as a penis double on The Brown Bunny and was never paid for the sex scene, per a contractual agreement. Gallo maintains that the penis is his.
4. Thumbs Down: Roger Ebert was one of the most vehement critics of The Brown Bunny, prompting the notoriously sensitive Gallo to call the then-corpulent film critic a "fat pig with the physique of a slave trader." Gallo also voiced his wish that Ebert contract colon cancer. Later, Ebert gave a positive review to an edited version of Brown Bunny. Still later, Ebert developed esophageal cancer.
3. Seed for Sale: In 2005, Gallo offered his "disease-free" sperm for $1 million via his website. In a racist side note, he maintained the "right of refusal" to anyone with "extremely dark complexions."
2. Passion of the Gallo: Long before Mel Gibson's public meltdown, Gallo was routinely spouting off about Jews. In his Internet sperm offer, he expressed his desire for a Jewish mother, because the offspring "would have a better chance at good reviews and maybe even a prize at the Sundance Film Festival." Now that's how you do anti-Semitism.
1. He's a Republican: Gallo told amctv.com that his goal in life is "becoming more like the stereotype of the Republican Party." Oh sure. And that really was his dick in Chloe's mouth.