Oh! Hello there! You startled me. Why don’t you grab a glass of wine? It pairs perfectly with turkey and stuffing. Oh, don’t give me that look, Mary, I know it’s before noon. It’s Thanksgiving! I started drinking as soon as I woke up and put that big turkey in the oven.
Even though we, at Filthy Dreams, happen to see Thanksgiving as an opportunity for excessive cooking and day-drinking, we understand that not everybody loves this often stressful holiday. This time of year is stressful for one main reason: family. Fighting, crying, noncommittal or plain judgmental relatives all mix together like a bowl of our World Famous stuffing.
Well, we’ve got you covered with five music-related films and videos for your viewing pleasure this Thanksgiving if you want to barricade yourself up in a room with a computer. Or even better, bring the family along! I’m sure they’ll stop arguing over who should make the mashed potatoes and turn their wrath on you and your filthy tastes!
1. John Sex, “Rock Your Body”
What better time of year to come out than the holidays? You already have your whole family gathered–why not declare something? As for me, I’m going to declare myself a John Sex-ual. A staple on the Downtown New York club scene in late 1970s and 1980s, John Sex was garishly unmistakable due to his giant platinum blond and often glittery hairdo. After meeting fellow artists Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf at School of Visual Arts, Sex began performing with them at the short-lived but legendary John Waters-esque Club 57 as well as The Pyramid Club. Even though Sex sadly passed away from complications from AIDS in 1990, his raunchy, tacky and downright trashy aesthetic lives on in videos like “Rock Your Body.”
2. “Suddenly Last Summer” trailer featuring Vaginal Davis
It is no secret that we, at Filthy Dreams, are rabidly obsessive fans of the godfather of Trash himself Tennessee Williams. Considering Williams’s creative output hinged on a healthy dose of Southern over-the-top camp, it only makes sense that the queer underground would create their own versions of Williams’s plays. A thoroughly queer take on Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer (yes, I know it sounds redundant), the nouveau Suddenly Last Summer presents a standout performance from our favorite genderqueer performer Vaginal Davis as Mrs. Venable, as well as other notable figures from Lance Loud to Bibbe Hansen. Even though the original film version of Suddenly Last Summer featured Katherine Hepburn as Mrs. Venable and Elizabeth Taylor as Catherine Holly, we prefer this version (even in its shortened trailer form) if only just to watch Vaginal Davis loudly and dramatically weep, “I need to be able to have my 5 o’clock daiquiri to be able to face her!”
From the COUM Transmissions to Throbbing Gristle to Psychic TV, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is a subversive and wonderfully corrupting influence on all of us non-conformers. A part of artist Tony Oursler’s interview series entitled Synesthesia, which also featured Lydia Lunch who also made our Thanksgiving terror list, this interview with Breyer P-Orridge is a must-watch for all fans of h/er transgressive work. From explaining h/er gold teeth to describing the relation of Throbbing Gristle to William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s idea of the cut-up technique, Breyer P-Orridge clearly and passionately articulates h/er unique creative vision. I keep rewatching it myself hoping to soak in some of Gen’s genius.
4. Tom Waits, “Big Time”
Thanksgiving is all about celebration. Why shouldn’t you pretend to celebrate it in some cigarette smoke-filled boozy nightclub with a whiskey-addled singer crooning about “Raindogs” and “Shore Leave”? From his confetti-throwing to his unsettling hat-tipping, Tom Waits has heavily influenced our after-hours, filthy nightclub aesthetic and this film documents Waits at the height of his vaudeville persona, alternating from live performances to inexplicable spoken word interludes and skits. So dip into that last bit of confetti in your jacket pocket and toss some with Tom Waits!
5. Lydia Lunch, “The Gun Is Loaded”
Our final Thanksgiving pick will probably be the one that will land you in the most trouble. No wave goddess and angry women hero Lydia Lunch starts out her spoken word film snarling, “Its all about getting fucked. That’s what its all about–getting fucked up, fucked over, fucked around with or just plain, good old-fashioned fucked.” And you can imagine how it devolves from there as Lunch rails against any institution possible while wandering aimlessly around a derelict urban landscape. From Teenage Jesus & The Jerks to Eight-Eyed Spy to her own solo music and spoken word performances, Lunch is an unwavering, outspoken role model to all of us who dare to speak our minds. Maybe you can convert a cousin or two to become a follower of Lunch’s rage.