It’s the end of the line, queens: Summer is over. I know, it went so fast for me too! One minute, I was sitting on the back porch of a shack at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi, downing Lazy Magnolia beers and listening to Jim Morrison’s heroically bad poetry and next thing I know, I’m back home, getting ready for fall. Yeeeeuck…trees changing seems to turn me into Mink Stole’s grandest hysteric Peggy Gravel from John Waters’ Desperate Living. As Peggy rages, “Look at these disgusting trees, stealing my oxygen! Oh, I can’t stand this scenery another minute. All natural forests should be turned into housing developments! I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation. Don’t we taxpayers have a voice anymore?”
Well, we still have one long weekend before the final end of summer so you better use it wisely, Mary! No, I’m not talking about going to the beach, wearing a comically enormous sunhat and drinking as many frozen drinks as your body can hold like everyone else! I’m talking about wasting your time like one of the indoor kids, watching some of the best shocking, subversive, sleazy, sordid videos and films that I could find for you, dear readers. Sure, your friends, family, vacation-mates and maybe even, strangers might call you a shut-in, but let them, who needs sun when you have YouTube? Anyway, you know what they say, rays today; raisins tomorrow.
So onwards to a collection of films and videos for those of you at the end of your rope since, as The Doors song “Summer’s Almost Gone” asks, “Where will we be when the summer’s gone?”
1. Richard Kern’s “Fingered”
Why even pretend to ease into this list? Called “the ultimate date movie for psychos” by John Waters in the documentary Blank City, Fingered (viewed in entirety here) is certainly one of the most horrifying, troubling and unsettling films to come out of the Cinema of Transgression. Created in response to the visceral criticism of Kern’s previous demented films, Fingered, written by Kern and no wave misanthropic role model Lydia Lunch, sets out to make people feel bad about sex and boy, does it ever!
Fingered opens with maybe my favorite credit scene in film history with a phone sex caller, leeringly asking “Is this my mommy? I want to speak to my mommy!” as Lydia Lunch rolls her eyes and snarlingly demands his credit card number. And what follows is certainly not for the faint of heart.
2. “Mutiny! The Last Birthday Party”
We, here at Filthy Dreams, are rabid fans of Nick Cave in every incarnation whether with The Bad Seeds, Grinderman or The Birthday Party. So when the short documentary Mutiny! The Last Birthday Party was put on YouTube in its entirety, I rushed at the chance to view it. Billed as one of the most dangerous bands in the world and certainly one of the most challenging, The Birthday Party were terrifying (I’m here to tell you, Nick is still terrifying live). With Nick’s ratty hairdo, greasy junkie gentleman suit, screeching his way through songs like “Big Jesus Trash Can” and “Junkyard” and Rowland Howard’s alien looks and even more, otherworldly guitar sounds, The Birthday Party were singular and striking.
However, this documentary certainly does not depict the height of The Birthday Party. Here, the party is over! Recording their final E.P.’s in a dark studio in Berlin, the band clearly refuses communicate with one another, Nick nods out in crucial studio moments and stumbles–sometimes literally– through recording songs such as “Jennifer’s Veil.” Sure, it’s a shit show, but who doesn’t love a good shit show every now and again, especially if it involves some musical greats, including a guest appearance by future Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld.
3. “Hit So Hard”
Since childhood, I have looked to preeminent mess Courtney Love as a role model. Bracing her feet against the amplifier on stage with her smeared red lipstick and ripped babydoll dress, howling lyrics like “When I was a teenage whore,” Love always seemed to embody everything I wanted to be: electrifying, outspoken, off-putting and at times, offensive. Sadly I never looked futher than Love in my Hole obsession. However, the documentary Hit So Hard, which is on view on Netflix, has undoubtedly changed my mind. Focusing on Hole’s drummer Patty Schemel, the documentary presents Schemel’s brave story from her childhood as a little baby lesbian, dealing with the rejection of other high school girls to her stint with Hole and her struggles with serious drug addiction. Looking at the story of Courtney Love, Hole and of course, Kurt from another person’s perspective, Hit So Hard presents a fresh take on the 1990s grunge era and its aftermath.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, then let me highlight Courtney Love’s insane appearance in the film. With maybe the most bizarre makeup job I’ve ever seen, Love munches on cookies through her entire interview. Keep doing you, Courtney!
4. M. Lamar’s Videos
Countertenor, musician, artist, performer and brother of Orange Is The New Black actress and trans-activist Laverne Cox, M. Lamar’s radical, powerful and emotional music videos draw on sources as varied as spirituals, operas and black metal. Using his unique voice and combination of musical styles to investigate blackness, as well as the place of abjection within constructions of blackness, M. Lamar’s videos are at once visually gorgeous, conceptually rich and utterly difficult. After watching the videos, you can, like me, breathlessly anticipate M. Lamar’s first solo exhibition NEGROGOTHIC, A Manifesto: The Aesthetic of M. Lamar at Participant Inc., which opens on September 7. I have way too much to say about his work to just babble down here in a listicle but, while you wait for me to collect my thoughts on M. Lamar, read Brandon Peter Masterman’s fantastic essay “In The Belly Of The Ship: Paraontological Blackness And Sonic Abjection in the Music of M. Lamar.”
5. Bridget Everett “The Boob Song”
Looking through my list, I realize that my Labor Day video suggestions are a little…ahem…disturbing. Well, no matter! I’ll end on a high note and a Chardonnay shocker with one of my favorite and certainly one of the most threatening performers, Bridget Everett’s “The Boob Song.” Just try not to sing along…”She’s got those beaver tail titties! Put ’em in the air!”