California-born writer Dennis Cooper has a rebel pedigree like few others: moving to England in 1976 to be at the heart of the emerging punk scene; returning to Venice Beach three years later to spearhead the alternative-poetry movement; then bouncing back and forth between New York and Europe for the next couple of decades (he currently lives in France). He’s like the anti–Armistead Maupin, fascinated by the dark and violent aspects of gay life and culture, where sex is less liberation than an uneasy thralldom. This is definitely the territory of his creepy 1994 novel Jerk, based on the story of real-life serial killer Dean Corll, who murdered more than 20 teenagers in and around Houston in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Even creepier, Corll was assisted by two young men who “recruited” his victims for cash and were intimately involved in the killings. And creepiest of all, Corll ran a candy store and was known for offering “free candy” to the children in the neighborhood. Cooper’s own dramatization embraces this supremely icky material—in a very “bad touch” sort of way—by having David Brooks, one of Corll’s “assistants,” act out the story from his jail cell using puppets. Gisèle Vienne directs. On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 217-9888, $24. 8 p.m. Wed., Nov. 5-Sun., Nov. 9. JOHN LONGENBAUGH

Nov. 5-9, 8 p.m., 2008

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