Why hello there, freezing Filthy Dreams readers! Oh I know that look you’re giving me, Mary–that dead-eyed stare indicates a near psychotic break from suffering through another day of snow. I’m already there, queens. Staring outside my window this morning, I was ready to grab an axe and stumble around Lower Manhattan like The Shining’s Jack in the hedge maze.
Instead of giving into murderous ice and snow-driven rage, sweetest soggy Filthy Dreams readers, let’s try to get through this chilly crisis together with 5 films/videos that will warm your heart, dry your bones and potentially put a spring in your step. Whether you’re hiding from the winter weather at home, transforming into an abject Hoarders-esque shut-in or procrastinating at work after appearing in the office like a harried Abominable Snowman, these 5 films and videos will provide some much needed distraction from your end-of-winter blues.
So grab a blanket, some hot cocoa (spiked of course–I’m not crazy!) and enjoy!
1. Pay It No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson
Activist, Stonewall rioter, Warhol subject and maybe saint Marsha P. Johnson was a Greenwich Village icon–one that I suspect not many, or at least not enough, people know. Titled in reference to the P in her name that stands for “Pay It No Mind!,” which Johnson didn’t hesitate to tell just anyone including a judge after she got picked up for hustling, the documentary traces Johnson’s rich and inspiring life. From her childhood to the Stonewall Riots to her and fellow trans activist Sylvia Rivera’s STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) to AIDS activism, Pay It No Mind narrates Johnson’s life through interviews with her friends, fellow performers and activists, as well as an interview with Johnson herself. Sadly the interview that drives the film was conducted only a month before her tragic death in July 1992 when Johnson was found in the Hudson River. Honoring an unforgettable figure (just try to not start talking like Marsha after watching the film!), Pay It No Mind is a must-watch for anyone interested in LGBT activism and history.
What better way to warm up on this horrible winter day than with a little romance? Well, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, directed by Marie Losier, has certainly got you covered by following the love story between Throbbling Gristle and Psychic TV’s Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Downtown icon Lady Jaye Breyer. Now, of course, Genesis and Lady Jaye’s love was not conventional by any stretch of the imagination as they began a bodily artistic project called pandrogeny, in which they got multiple surgeries to look as much like one another as possible. Following Burroughs and Gysin’s conception of the cut-up method, Genesis and Lady Jaye’s own physical cut-ups transformed their individual identities into a more collective Third Mind consciousness. Who needs flowers when you can have stitches!
3. Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
Shouldn’t all films star Barbie dolls? I think so and apparently so did director Todd Haynes when he created his short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. The film depicts poor Karen’s slide into anorexia and bulimia as Haynes carves away bits and pieces of the Barbie doll, illustrating Karen’s skeletal appearance. While Haynes is best known for his feature films such as Far From Heaven, I’m Not There and Velvet Goldmine (Confession: I still want to be a fangirl for Brian Slade), Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story might just be my favorite due to its utter alarming dementedness.
4. Where Evil Dwells by David Wojnarowicz and Tommy Turner
Opening with maybe one of the most disturbing ventriloquist dummies ever, David Wojnarowicz and Tommy Turner dive into the Cinema of Transgression with their 1985 short film Where Evil Dwells. While most art lovers are fans of David Wojnarowicz nowadays, many don’t know about his foray into the lurid darkness of the Cinema of Transgression. What could be a better introduction than this scaring, mind-bending film? With the driving beat and series of random, alarming images, Wojnarowicz and Turner take you on a ride you’ll never forget–literally, there’s frequent shots of a roller-coaster. Yes, I know, evil dwells in the ice and snow right now but why not combat that evil with even MORE evil?
5. Fleetwood Mac Tusk Documentary
“Soooometimes the most beautiful thiiiiing”…oh sorry, I forgot you were still here, dearest Filthy Dreams readers. When I need to release a little tension, I tend to start belting Stevie Nicks songs at the top of my lungs, sounding more like a strangled goat than Stevie. One of my favorite songs to butcher is Stevie’s Angel from Fleetwood Mac’s album Tusk. In the song, Stevie, coke-addled, rattles her way through the song. Wipe your nose, Stevie! In Fleetwood Mac’s documentary on the making of Tusk, you can actually witness Stevie’s cracked-out recording of the song. In fact, not only is Stevie a mess, they’re ALL wasted messes! Just the inspiration you need to get through this winter day!