*scrolls intently on phone* Oh! Why hello there, dearest Filthy Dreams readers! Why you startled me! What’s that? What are my plans this Memorial Day? Why, voyeuristically peeking at other people’s drama, of course! Sure, sure. I know some of you ambitious readers may want to go camping or for a day at the beach (in this weather?!). We have (mostly) all been microchipped and therefore, are ready to inflict our pasty quarantine bodies on the public again!
But…why? Ho-hum…Why stare at cigarette butts and plastic bags on the beach when there are so many arguments to take in online?! Our personal favorite that’s spun right out of control in the past few days (Weeks? Who is counting!) relates to whether kink should be allowed at Pride. Pearl-clutchers! My question is: What Pride are these people going to?!! Those who are railing against kink at Pride and the need for family-friendly events seem like they accidentally took a wrong turn and wandered, instead, into The Eagle. The Pride I know (and love) is a tacky consumerist rainbow disaster, a free-for-all of free shit, not a kinky fetish-fest. The dykes on bikes are about as leather as I’ve witnessed at Pride itself. What did I miss?!
And anyway, who started this debate? Someone on 4chan? Did YOU start it?! We want to interview you on Filthy Dreams! Because if we respect anything, it’s the ability to cause widespread chaos and animosity! And man, did this troll succeed.
My only hope is that somehow this encourages future Pride floats to really push the boundaries of respectability. I mean, why not have puppy-play on the T-Mobile float? Or fisting on the Chipotle float? Or maybe Chipotle is already punishing enough on the rear-end… Nevertheless, we surely need more people in chaps at Pride than just Roger Stone.
But with these kinds of Internet debates, it’s best to look, not touch. And we’re here to help distract you from the raging battles on the Internet, faithful Filthy Dreams denizens, with a collection of films and videos for your viewing pleasure this Memorial Day. So put on your best chaps, grab yourself a drink you can sip out of your gimp mask, relax and enjoy!:
Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” on SNL
Since it is Memorial Day, we should probably start with memorializing something…And what better to memorialize than Lil Nas X’s pants from his SNL performance of “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” RIP, literally. Even before Lil Nas X’s pole dance to pants-splitting with his priceless and seamless reaction, this performance even further cements his place as the savior of camp. Hallelujah!! Praise be! From his flaming leather cropped top to the shirtless dancers wearing durags as they grind, lick, and rub Lil Nas X throughout the performance, this is both a celebration of Black gay aesthetics and a reveling in their transgressive potential, with a dash of blasphemy for good measure. What a hero! The performance also seems like a benchmark for gay aesthetics hitting the mainstream. Not since our blessed mother Lana Del Rey alienated TV audiences by moaning, groaning, and twirling through “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” have I even thought of an SNL performance as subversive (this much more intentionally, of course. Lana made us witness her pain through her howls, but I’m not sure she meant to). It just makes me want to genuflect and then, give Satan a lap dance!
Gordon Stevenson’s Ecstatic Stigmatic (1980)
Speaking of religious ecstasy, let’s get a little more Catholic with Gordon Stevenson’s feel-bad Cinema of Transgression anti-classic Ecstatic Stigmatic (watch here). The film mostly consists of Rose, played by Mirielle Cervenka, soon-to-be hit-and-run victim and sister of X’s Exene Cervenka, writhing and bleeding on a bed in Christ-like poses as a sneering, monotone monologue describes her saint-like martyrdom. But there’s more! As Shock Cinema Magazine describes, “We’re also privy to flashbacks of Rose’s childhood…Her father enjoys making not-so-subtle advances and fondling her; her mom performs tattoo performance art; and at a tender age she’s sexually assaulted by a sleazebag nightclub emcee.” And if that wasn’t enough, the entire film is overlaid by a shocking, torturous, ear-abusing soundtrack, including frequent piercing wolf howls and screams that disrupt Cervenka’s snarling monologue. Fall to your knees and imagine seeing this in a theater at full-volume! It’s so painful that I felt as if I understood the Stations of the Cross like never before! There’s no mistaking that director Gordon Stevenson was also the bassist in Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, along with other aural misanthropes like Lydia Lunch. Made in 1980, Stevenson would die from complications from AIDS just two years later, making this his enduring and thoroughly audience-punishing statement. Move over, Saint Maud! Stevenson did deranged unraveling descents into religiosity first!
Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave on MTV’s Most Wanted
Ok, ok, if you want something a little cheerier, don’t you miss MTV when it used to be pure trash? Me too! Just witness this hilarious 1990s MTV’s Most Wanted with campy pop superstar Kylie Minogue and aloof, sunglasses-wearing deadpan Nick Cave as they promote their collaboration “Where The Wild Roses Grow” on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ album Murder Ballads. Sidebar: Why is “Where The Wild Roses Grow,” a song about sexual violence and murder, often the only Nick Cave song that is on karaoke bar playlists? Does anyone think that’s a real crowd-pleaser?! I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it to see how many patrons I could chase out of the bar while delivering the line “And I kissed her goodbye, said ‘All beauty must die.’ And I knelt down and planted a rose between her teeth.” Someone call SVU! But, please, at least diversify those song options. Ahem…anyway, this interview not only features the host who awkwardly admits, with a bit of tension, that he had one of the worst moments in his career interviewing Nick years earlier (“We argued a bit”), but it also includes sleazy questions from tacky televised characters about vices (Kylie: chocolate; Nick: pass), same-sex attraction (they both want to keep their options open), and rumors they’ve heard about themselves (Nick: “That I’m a miserable sod, which is quite true actually”). However, the best part of this video, beyond the eye-searingly bright set, is the comedic juxtaposition between Kylie’s good-natured bubbly responses and Nick’s dry and testy remarks as he tries to not blow apart or storm off for Kylie’s sake. This culminates in memorable moments such as Kylie attempting to be a rockstar with Nick’s help (point) and Nick telling a terrible joke about a truck full of penguins. Talk about a buddy comedy. They need to take this show on the road more often!
Kid Congo Powers presents John Waters’ Female Trouble for Queer|Art|Film Club
Speaking of Bad Seeds, is there any better combination of punk delinquency than Kid Congo Powers and John Waters? I certainly can’t think of one, especially since quite a number of bands Kid Congo Powers has played in seem to have jumped right from John Waters’ deranged and filthy universe, namely The Cramps but even The Gun Club with their trash rockabilly influences. As a part of Queer|Art|Film Club, Kid Congo Powers chose John’s Female Trouble as a film that influenced him and blessed us with a virtual discussion about the film, including how he felt he had found his people after watching this cha-cha heels-desiring, criminal classic (which is also my favorite of John’s cinematic atrocities). Now, I should warn you that there are moments in this conversation that had me cringing, namely when some nameless Zoom audience member (Who are you?) felt compelled to comment and woke-splain that Female Trouble is very white. Wow, great observation! And I also think there were some missed opportunities by the moderators, mainly the only possible occasion to try to compare Dawn Davenport’s final electric chair acceptance speech and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “The Mercy Seat” that was recorded when Powers was in the band and is also an acceptance speech of sorts. Come on! Plus, I was left wondering certain questions like: What Female Trouble character does Kid Congo Powers relate to most? Does he think crime is beauty? Would he die for art? What would his electric chair acceptance speech be? Nevertheless, filth elders praising other preeminent filth elders doesn’t happen often enough and the sheer joy Powers exudes when quoting parts of the film such as Dawn eating a meatball sub right out in class(!) must be seen.
Dead or Alive’s “Misty Circles” on Razzmatazz
I miss Pete Burns, don’t you? Sigh…all we have are videos like this one! I’ve been obsessed with this Dead or Alive performance on children’s show Razzmatazz ever since I caught a glimpse of it on Instagram. Why? Because with all the blank-faced kids clapping in the background, this psychedelic performance of “Misty Circles” seems like the wrong clown showed up to your child’s birthday party. You wanted the family friendly clown, not the one in a top hat who seems to be rolling!
The NYC Republican Mayoral Debate (May 26, 2021)
Last but not least, I know what you’re thinking: Why the fuck would I spend time watching the debate between the Republican candidates for NYC mayor? But, hear me out. Even if you don’t live in New York City, this hysterical shit show is must-see viewing for anyone who wondered what happened to conservative camp after Trump jetted off in Air Force One to the tune of Frankie Blue Eyes singing “My Way.” Like Sinatra and frankly Trump, this debate is peak New York City, meaning conservative camp has gone fully regional. It’s like you’re watching two local kooks screaming at each other on the sidewalk outside your apartment building or on the subway. Except, this time, they’re running for executive office! Now, sure, in a liberal enclave like New York City, neither one of these candidates–the Guardian Angels’ Curtis Sliwa and his ex-friend and taxi driver advocate Fernando Mateo–has much of a chance of winning (thankfully). But that should just relieve you of the stress that usually comes from enjoying Republican trainwrecks–you can just sit back and relax as Mateo suggests multiple times that Sliwa, “a subway rider,” get a job as a train conductor and that his cap is too tight. But, that’s certainly not all. Dredging up as much personal dirt as they have on one another, this hour-long argument also includes squabbling over how many cats (13? 15?) and litterboxes (14?) Sliwa has in his 300-square-foot apartment, theorizing about whether Mateo threatened to slice the heads off of NYPD like snakes on his radio show on Hot 97, references to Sliwa getting shot in the back of a cab, and copious name-calling and props. Plus, those who can stomach nearly sixty minutes of grown men screaming at each other will get a reward: the appearance of a growling Trumpy Bear!