Last night, between my usual shitty fits of rage (calmed with Jim Beam and those pretzels filled with peanut butter or chocolate or whatever), I was finally able to drag my schlubby ass to a screening at MIX – the New York Queer Experimental Film Festival. It was the first of a two-part retrospective screening of individual films from the festival’s 25-year history. Dirty Looks curated the project, and Yuengling sponsored my bathroom breaks.
I highly recommend anyone with an interest in cinema or queer stuff – or both – to get their puckering rosebud down to Park Slope to check it out.
Highlights from last night –
– The show’s opener was Barbara Hammer’s Dyketactics (1973); a stimulating montage of nude women rolling around in the grass, driving in convertibles and, ultimately, making their way to the bed. The 16mm sports a sunny 70’s aestheticism and lots of dreamy, overlapping exposure. Sloan Lesbowitz, one of the co-directors of the festival, noted that such films (including the Jill Reiter’s Frenzy , which was also screened) fill a continually marginalized role in an art form that seems to largely ignore images of lesbian sex or bodies
– There is a bar!
– A re-creation of an upstate campground complete with tent and crunchy leaves makes for a good place to sit or hide. Projected on an adjacent brick wall is video of a forest scene.
– Nguyen Tan Hoang’s Forever Bottom! (1999) is pretty impressive. The title speaks for itself.
– THEY STARTED PASSING HORS D’OEUVRES! I WAS FLOORED!
– The kind of horrifying yet kind of amazing series of trading card PSA’s by Visual AIDS featuring the likes of Luna Luis Ortiz and photos by Mike Harwood.
– John “Quasi” O’Shea’s That Fertile Feeling (1985), which you’ll just have to watch:
– Candy Pauker’s Interview with a Zombie (1994) is an awesome punk zombie soft core shot on Super 8, with Bruce La Bruce and Michael Brynntrup rolling around and smashing their bloody tongues together for a solid 7 minutes.
– The hors d’oeuvres were goat cheese with apple on endive.
– Jim Hubbard’s Stop The Movie (Cruising) 1980 was my personal favorite. It’s a 14-minute silent that documents the NYC protests over the filming of William Friedkin’s Cruising (1980). Hubbard says he once thought the film should be screened with the audience blowing whistles like the ones used in the protests – an idea I love. The sheer mass of the mobilization he documents is striking. I asked for his thoughts on how the queer community was severely silenced by the massive losses during the AIDS crisis of the 80’s – how that silencing effected his movies, and the types of demonstrations he was documenting – and he pointed me to his most recent film, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012) (the film will be screening in NYC in December – more dates on the site). We talked about the current condition of the queer art scene, and how in every medium there seems to be a deficit of exposure from a lost generation of queer artists. Not to suggest the queer artists have ever been given much exposure. It’s just interesting to consider the effect this loss has had on emerging artists from all backgrounds.
After the screening I asked a younger group of gays in the tent if they’d ever done – or thought about doing – any work for ACT UP, which has close ties to MIX, and is a program with which I’m interested in volunteering my time, and one guy was like, “wait… which movie was that?”
MIX closes Sunday. ■