“It is not about gender. It is about being fierce.” (Casey Legler in The Guardian)
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“It is not about gender. It is about being fierce.” (Casey Legler in The Guardian)
This is a post for one of these evenings where you wanna watch a movie, but have totally no clue which one. The following three films are all available online, even though all of them have been uploaded in a not very great quality. But since they are all really good and not easy to get in videos stores I promise you’ll still enjoy them. Or, you simply order them and support the artists, which is of course the recommended way of doing it. For more information about the movies please check the Wikipedia links below the trailers / teasers. This is where you also find the links to the You Tube streams and to where you can order the films.
Born In Flames
(Lizzy Borden, 1983, 119 min)
GODMOTHER, the band by our contributor Joey Hansom, has just released a new 7″ entitled “These Things Take Time”. The record is out now via New Pangea and can be ordered and downloaded on the new label’s Bandcamp page. It is also accompanied by a new video for the title track, which was directed by Monika Dorniak and Darryl Natale and edited by Nuclear Family‘s Nikolaj Tange Lange. I especially recommend the band’s upcoming gig at the TAINT party at Südblock on Thursday 14, where they will play alongside Mexico City based artist Zemmoa, who we’ve interviewed earlier this year and who will play her first Berlin gig. For more upcoming GODMOTHER gigs please visit their Facebook page.
This year’s MIX NYC Experimental Queer Film Festival No 26 will take place between November 12 and 17, and like every year the program is simply amazing – you should really check it out if you live in New York City or happen to be around. We especially recommend the evening of the 13th, a short film night featuring films by queer artists of color: “Afro-Asian Visions: Exploding Lineage II” was curated by the Queer Rebels Productions, a production company from the SF Bay Area, which aims to highlight queer artists of color and their work though films and events. It’s founders, artists KB Boyce and Celeste Chan, have already contributed to last year’s MIX and have again curated a screening that puts the experimental work by Queer African American and Asian artists into the spotlight, featuring especially contemporary works by artist such as Jeepneys (see video still on top), M. Lamar (who’s new video we just premiered) or Brontez Purnell. For more information about the event please visit the MIX NYC website, I’ve also posted a list of the feature films commented by the curators below.
We are stoked to premier M. Lamar’s new video “Trying to Leave My Body” taken from the album Speculum Orum: Shackled to The Dead. Directed by the artist himself, the video is a dramatic interpretation of his luscious single shot in black and white.
You can read more about the singer and pianist in an interview we posted earlier this year.
M. Lamar will also perform the theatre piece Surveillance Punishment & The Black Psyche on Saturday, Oct. 26th in New York. Surveillance plunges the deepest darkest depths of interracial desire and our interracial culture. Musically and theatrically the piece explores the internalisation of power and oppression and how blackness is in white supremacy always under surveillance and subject to punishment.
A euro tour will follow with a show in Berlin on Nov. 22nd at the Hans Otto Theater Potsdam. You can get tickets at the box office or by sending an E-mail.
Further dates below:
Nearly a year has passed by since we’ve featured Crime‘s debut video “This Party Blows” in one of our Music Tickers and about half a year since they’ve contributed to our PICK 5 series. During that period Berliners Mika Risiko (Sissters) and Sarah Adorable (Scream Club) have constantly been touring around Europe and working on their music, a persistency that now seems to be paying out for the duo: With their debut EP ”Epiphany” Crime are taking a huge step forward and have given their industrial pop sound a new final touch by working with Danish artist and producer Heidi Mortenson, who has mixed & mastered it. You can stream and and download the EP below, after the little interview we’ve done with Crime to learn more about their collaborative project and the work an the record.
How did you meet each other and what made you decide to start a band project together?
Sarah: We met on a sunny summer afternoon on a magical boat ride while eating magic mushrooms. We felt this was a good sign, one that could only lead to greatness. Later that day we discovered that we have the same birthday and our fate as a band was sealed.
Sarah: I always tell Mika that her hair looks good.
Mika: Once Sarah passed out after half a bottle of Whiskey i’m there to finish the leftovers.
Do you have a division of labor in the project, different kinds of responsibilities?
Mika: besides that i’m the only one drunk driving the car, it’s not really a division rather a multiplication of talents. for example we discovered a very interesting technique of writing lyrics. I start recording vocals in terms of rhythm and melody in some sorta fake fantasy language and sarah is interpreting the mumbly words so we write it down according to the theme of the song we set.
You both are very active protagonists in Berlin’s queer community. Do you think this reflects in the music and lyrics or in the way yo approach your audience?
We see life as a whole and art as being a reflection of what surrounds us on a daily basis. We’re not doing specifically “queer art” just because we’re happen to be queer. But of course if we’re singing about an orgy it’s probably about a queer one.
I’m super happy to announce this: Catch Fire, NowMomentNow and the Queer Film Archive Berlin (QFAB) are bringing a gem of contemporary queer film and its maker to Berlin: WILDNESS by Los Angeles based artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a bar in city’s MacArthur Park area, which has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since the early sixties. The movie, which premiered at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and was shown earlier this year at SXSW and the Whitney Biennial, explores what happened when Wu and and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom started a experimental party entitled “Wildness” at the Silver Platter, which brought a new clientele and new cultural impulses to the place.
Like our MOVEMENT! screening event we will show the film at SHIFT Berlin and are very happy that Wu Tsang will join us for the screening and a director’s talk afterwards. Come over, join us un Facebook and feel free to share this with your friends!
WILDNESS @ SHIFT Berlin
Film screening and director’s talk
Saturday, November 2, 21:00
Köpenicker Str. 70, 3 Euro
After performing at the Janus party at Chester’s last Saturday, legendary Bounce queen Katey Red will play a second Europe Berlin gig at Südblock tomorrow (Oct 15). Katey is a pioneer of the New Orleans Bounce scene and has been around since the late Nineties, when she signed to the famous Bounce label Take Fo’ Records and released her first hit “Melpomene Block Party (Dirty)”, which is still a classic of the genre. As a trans artist she paved the way for “sissy bounce” artists like Big Freedia, Sissy Nobby and Nicky Da B and is more productive than ever while remaining one of the scene’s most important faces – fans of Treme might remember her from her appearances in the show in 2011, she also appeared in Big Freedia’s “Queen of Bounce” last year. At Südblock Katey will be suported by Rusty Lazer, another central figure of Bounce music and manager of artists such as Big Freedia (2009-2012) and Nicky Da B (see below with Diplo) as well as Berlin’s very own Black Cracker, who will perform new tracks such as the beautifully contemplative piece ”BACK”, which he released a few weeks ago.
As an introduction to her approach to Bounce music and culture, Katey has put together a commented list of her five favorite Bounce videos and tracks for our ongoing PICK 5 series - a great warm-up for everyone who will be able to attend the gig tomorrow and a Bounce history lesson + a great opportinuty to get up and move the lower part of your body for everyone else. For more information about the event tomorrow presented by DTM aka Doing The Most, S&yM and eVe without Adam and more links to the artist please check out Facebook or download the flyer (PDF).
1. Fly Boy Keno – St. Bernard
“St. Bernard is the name of a legendary housing project from New Orleans. The song is written for folks who rep that project, which has since been torn down in the aftermath of Katrina.”
The latest lookbook by Berlin based label Glyph is a retrospective of fashion designer Lisa Steegmann’s work from the past few years. The shoot was a collaboration with Australian photographer Gerwyn Davies and was executed in Summer 2013. The designer told us that the duo chose to shoot at several of Berlin’s public recreational spaces as they were “interested in highlighting the pieces physicality in these areas which reflect movement and play”.
Los Angeles based photographer Sara Swaty‘s ongoing series “In Between & Outside” portrays and documents individual ideas and expressions of gender and aims to show the variety of gender identities beyond the prevailing man-women dualism. Many of her portraits are accompanied by testimonials in which the models describe their perceptions of gender and gender performance.
The series is currently on view at Art of Studio, Los Angeles and will be shown there until October 20th. For more portraits, the testimonials and project updates visit the In Between & Outside website or Sara’s Facebook or Instagram pages. For more of Sara’s work check out her website or her tumblr.
Mario Montez (born René Rivera), superstar of the New York underground films of Jack Smith, Andy Warhol and many others, passed away recently at the age of 78. In homage to his brilliance, and in recognition of the fact that many of these films are difficult for people to actually access, I reflect here on my favourite Montez performances in Warhol’s films, and honour the superstar’s indelible existential bond to his namesake – and Smith’s divine muse – the Hollywood actress Maria Montez.
Portraying Jean Harlow in Harlot (1964), Hedy Lamarr in Hedy (1965) and himself in Screen Test #2 (1965), Montez gave some of the most beautiful performances in Warhol’s cinema. In these three very different films, all scripted by the late great Ronald Tavel, Montez is the queen of the glamour pose. In Harlot, Warhol’s first talkie (three off-screen narrators wax philosophic), the director defies the norm that a moving picture frame must have actual movement within it. The glamour pose as embodied by Montez can be seen as a stylized gesture of pure presence as if it were in a vacuum, the result of formalizing the “throwaway part” of life, the triumph of affect over language, style over content, mimicry over originality. Montez is clearly the star, dressed in luminous white garb complete with furry wig, flanked by three figures in black, framing him. Ostensibly playing the role of Harlow, the enormously popular blonde and beautiful MGM bad girl, but more accurately distilling the idea of her, Montez vamps it up for the camera while constantly eating and playing with bananas with erotic abandon. Silent and barely moving, Montez seems to be performing the archetypal female star image, which makes her more like a luminous blank slate for our fantasies than an actual personality. Montez/Harlow’s continual consumption parallels our “eating up” of our favorite stars, Warhol’s oral metaphor for fandom. Because Hollywood was such an enormous part of American culture, part of the fabric of American life, showing the overwhelming fascination of these images was a way of coming to terms with what it meant to be an American in one way, but always also the Other, for a male’s overly emphatic obsession identification with female star glamour is decidedly shameful, queer, and forbidden.
Employing dramatic movie music on the soundtrack, Warhol’s Hedy tells the story of Hedy Lamarr – from plastic surgery to death by intoxication – as minimalist absurdist melodrama, with Montez as Lamarr occasionally bursting into songs such as “I Feel Pretty” and “Kleptomaniac” (sung to the tune of “Young at Heart”). The film opens with artful shots of Lamarr receiving plastic surgery (performed half an inch above her face, no attempts at verisimilitude here) to make her into the most beautiful woman in the world. Then in a different space, illuminated by film noir lighting, we see Lamarr arrested for shoplifting. Throughout the film, Montez plays up the “strong woman” role: Lamarr is always vamping proudly, covering up her emotions with a brave face, and courageously changing outfits in front of us to go to jail. In a satire on melodrama, Warhol presents Lamarr donning white gloves with overly emphatic musical cues and excessively dramatic zooming in and out. In the courtroom scene for her trial, dressed defiantly in formal wear, Lamarr is the center of the camera’s attention as well as the focus of judicial inquiry. The camera moves closer and closer to her muscular, dark-featured face as the music increases in volume. Found guilty – she confesses that “stealing is like life” – she undresses as the wild zooming begins anew and the music reaches a fever pitch. Forced to drink herself to death (?!), she histrionically flails about. Finally, Jack Smith, playing the bailiff, testifies that Lamarr was “tragic and noble” as the film ends mid-sentence, as was common in Warhol’s films. While the star may command the world’s attention, the cinematic machine waits for no one. Warhol’s reels always run out, leaving the drama unceremoniously unfinished.
Germain (Fabrice Luchini), married to Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas), is a high school French teacher who seems to have lost all of his enthusiasm for teaching literature and reading uninspired papers. One day as he is grading papers, he comes across one that clearly stands out from the rest due to its unique style. The paper, written by Claude (Ernst Umhauer), is about the family of one of his classmates named Raphael (Bastien Ughetto), and about what happens in Raphael’s house. Labeled “chapter 1”, the paper becomes the beginning of something dangerous for all involved, but particularly for Germain.
From storytelling to the relation between literature and cinema, from middle class family criticism through coming of age story to inter-genre juggling – In The House attempts to achieve much at once; and it pulls it all off but, more importantly, it distinguishes itself with what it says about the act of watching/peeping and, at the same time, it offers the audience some food for thought. Especially Claude’s growing curiosity about the Artole family and their house creates a vortex around watching/identifying by juxtaposing Germain’s obsession with Claude’s story, and this vortex, overflowing from the screen, absorbs and carries away the audience. As Germain and Jeanne talk about Claude and the second chapter of his story, it is obvious that Germain has already been impressed by Claude. And the similarity between Claude and Germain is quite predictable: Germain, as a student, always sat in the last row just as Claude does. As he explains it: You can see everyone while nobody can see you. Germain also intends to watch the Artole family from this position. However, as the film proceeds he has to leave this position and participate.
Watching from the last row, where the gaze does not return to the viewer, is like a meditation when one loses the sense of self, just like when watching a movie. You are somehow there but do not reflect back from the screen. In the theatre, when it darkens and the movie begins, there is the thing that you are watching and there is you who transcends your body. Christian Metz labels this state ‘primary cinematic identification’, described as follows: the spectator identifies with himself, with himself as a pure act of perception (as wakefulness, alertness): as the condition of possibility of the perceived and hence as a kind of transcendental subject, which comes before every there is. (1)