This weekend on Technicolor Island (and adjacent burrough)
It was a week of open studios in New York, starting with ISCP and rolling over to LMCC. I wasn't that attentive at ISCP, I must admit, other than a video that D joked that I just liked because it looked like the fabulous Narcissister video I'll be screening at the next Dirty Looks, I wasn't taken to too much of what I saw, but there was very little moving image-based work . After a mull around the studios, I headed over to my pal Mark Golamco's studio to drink some beers and watch Vaginal Davis' Fertile La Toya Jackson "Akshunist Video Magazine." Which left the two of us in tears - to say the least. I will be including her Barbi Twins skit in the next DL also, though it pains me to leave out the wonderful opening sequence in which Vag plays a t.v. host, over-emphasizing every line, every feminine gesture, with a painfully wide white smile. Then Mark gave me this fab striped Diane Von Furstenberg jumpsuit that he's had for years and I felt very lucky, indeed, to have such good friends.
The next evening we headed over to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for their open studios as my friend, Rachel Mason was performing with the fabulous video artist Shana Moulton. We got there en retard, as they say, and Rachel was knee deep in her song, 'Mrs. Eyes' - and people! I had to crane my head through the door just to get a peep. Not a very gracious thing to do, I suppose when you're prone to wearing hats. Once Rachel finished her song, some people cleared out so I made my way in to view the remaining performance. Moulton, whose imagery is culled from more California hippy sects, launched into a great projection based piece in which she is instructed to gaze deep into one of those horrible posters from the early 90s - Magic Eye, google informs, which I could never even see with young eyes. Anyway, Moulton slits the projection scrim and dives into the poster itself where she's joined by animated animals who wave at her and in the grand tradition of Southern California artists (a segment to which I marginally include myself - I always wave at dogs) she waves back. After the performance we made our way around the other studios where we ran into Molly Dillworth, Lillian Gerson and Roddy Schrock. I ran into a certain gallerist who maintains a gallery upstate and he started to extend an invitation to go up there but then... kind of changed his mind mid sentence. I smirked at the awkward moment and talked full-stop as I'm apt to do. I was feeling anti-social so I made my way home, only diverted by the intoxicating odors from Goodburger.
The following day I played host to a Eurovision party! But, in rare form, I had to dash to Gladstone to see the rare program of Jack Smith films that Penny Arcade was presenting. It was great to see all of these wonderful children gathered to take in Jack's work (but enough with the fucking iphone snaps mid-film, thanks). Penny was very good and humble in her Jack tirades (the best of which involved Jack's complete devotion to ice cream and an upstate jaunt on which he regaled a confounded truckstop creamery staff by granting them the perfect recipe for a malted). The first film, The Yellow Sequence (1963) was obviously shot during the filming of Normal Love featuring the mongol child who dashes all of the cake creatures in the latter film, cavorting with yellow flowers and a particularly made-up creature perched in and atop a car. Befittingly the predominant color pallet was... yellow. The film gave you such a rich understanding of what a specific and meticulous compositionalist Smith was, with layer after layer of bead, glitter, lace, parasol, flower upon flower. Only 3 or four people might occupy the outdoor garbage heap, closely cropped in Smith's camera, but it feels like the world. Film number two was Jungle Island AKA Reefers of Technicolor Island (1967), which Penny informed is footage used for performance backings. God knows why. This was the standout of the program by miles, though it doesn't appear in Hoberman's book on Smith's cinema for some reason. For me, with Jungle Island Jack achieved his dream to make a Maria Montez movie without the petty confines of narrative. Clutter, fountains and muck makes up the exotic island of the films title, again in closely cropped, carefully studied shots - sometimes double exposed in a less aesthetic level than Rice's Chumlum. Mario Montez is on on the tropical revelry, of course, looking majestic and statuesque. And she's got a love interest of sorts who wears about as many pearls and scarves as she. But the real pleasure to be had is just the investment in the flowing imagery, which builds as densely and gorgeously as any Universal flic. In the final sequence Mario and mate are roofside, cropped in so close you can feign for a moment some tropical fantasia until you catch glimpse of a water tower behind them. Then an airplane careens above head. It's a truly exceptional film, ripe for rediscovery. Two more treat included I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo for the Lucky Landlord Underground (1967-70s), a self-mythologizing film where Smith cavorts and autographs a midget/small child's glossy of that most famous photo of him with the dagger. Before this, however, we see some of this most lusciously shot, smokey images of creatues, sprawling in a kitchen, decorated with headdresses so big I thought to myself, "now this is what Where The Wild Things Are should have been." Hot Air Specialists was a document of a kind of drag performance that Jack enacted in his huge red wig.
Then I had my Eurovision party where we really didn't watch all that much of Eurovision due to Brooklyn internet blackouts. But we made due and thanks in large part to the wonderful creatures that spilled into every corner of the not-all-that-large apartment (without spilling their drinks, bless!) the night was a blast.
However, the day after.... I nursed on a Mildred Pierce screener (Meh-ldred, it shoulda been called) and eventually made my way to the launch party for the newest issue of Adam Shecter's print project 2Up at SilverShed (where DL will take up residence July and August) where Adam (who just curated a show about the apocalypse at Eleven Rivington gallery with a sure to-be-fab show that will open on the day the world is meant to end) bared his bicep for me and showed off his AMAZE photorealist David Niven tattoo. Swoon. Joe Winter was one of the artists contributing to the poster and he liked my new Red Sonja bracelette, which is nice of him. I had a nice long sit down with Glen Fogel where we talked about karaoke and phallices. Then I made it over to Eyebeam for this Design Week Moleskin event with D and his friends Roddy and fellow curator Sally Szwed where we pilfered these really overtly organic carroty things and green dipping sauces called things like goddess. At least they had prosecco that killed the final pangs of alcohol-related morning sickness. I had fish and chips for dinner at some bullshit fish place on Graham ave back in Brooklyn and turned in early from lack of sleep the night prior.