Produced by Tom Rubnitz in collaboration with Tom Koken and Barbara Lipp, The Mother Show is a tribute to mothers everywhere, starring Frieda, the “living” doll. Frieda asks her mother a series of questions, such as “Mom, are there days when you feel not-so-fresh?” and spells out the meaning of the word “mother.” The tape ends with her endearing pronouncement, “Mom, you’re like a mother to me.”
Child masterfully composes a rhythmic collage of symmetries and asymmetries in a fluid essay that forefronts the treatment of the body as a mechanized instrumentÑplacing the body in relation to the man-made landscape of factories, amusement parks and urban office complexes. Vocals performed by Shelley Hirsch.
Based on a novel by Rita Mae Brown, Me and Rubyfruit chronicles the enchantment of teenage lesbian love against a backdrop of pornographic images and phone sex ads. Benning portrays the innocence of female romance and the taboo prospect of female marriage.
Through a catalogue of looks, movements, and gestures, Mayhem presents a social order run amok in a libidinous retracing of film noir conventions. Sexuality flows in an atmosphere of sexual tension, danger, violence, and glamour; antagonism between the sexes is symbolized in the costuming of women in polka dots and men in stripes. Censored in Tokyo for its use of Japanese lesbian erotica, this tape creates an image bank of what signifies the sexual and the seductive in the history of imagemaking, pointing to the way we learn about our bodies, and how to use them from images.
“In Martina’s Playhouse everything is up for grabs. The little girl of the title oscillates from narrator to reader to performer and from the role of baby to that of mother. While the roles she adopts may be learned, they are not set, and she moves easily between them. Similarly, in filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh’s playhouse of encounters with friends, objects aren’t merely objects but shift between layers of meaning. Men are conspicuously absent, a ‘lack’ reversing the Lacanian/Freudian constructions of women as Ahwesh plays with other possibilities."
Shifting Positions is a semi-autobiographical/fictional trilogy exploring becoming queer later in life, my father's dementia, and our mid- and end-of-life crises. The selling of our family home of forty years prompted the making of the first section, entitled 'Last Home', which investigates the ways memories and spirits inhabit a house. In the remaining two sections— 'Napping' and 'Behavior Of Fascination'—the relationship between father and daugther is looked at through 'home movies' and documented intimate moments of private life. —Kathy High
All forms of human sport become sites for sexual play and celebratory eroticism.
“The tape’s images are quick, suggestive, and sexy: fingers moving into bowling balls, shoe-smelling and toe-sucking, a dog wearing chain jewelry, fish being wrapped at the market, young naked couples having sex.... Edited like a music video, the image track is a constant flow of fetishes that lure us into the promiscuous pace of girls who keep lists of their sexual encounters.”
A fast-talking and fabulous teen recounts his experiences as an out and loud Toronto queer. With catty wit, he recalls his confrontations with straight students at school and his gay prom at a Toronto gay youth community center, told with a flair for drama and punctuated with enactments of his Wonder Woman fantasies. Fung keeps the format simple, giving voice to his subject.
“Living in Los Angeles is like being on vacation, or in a coma. I don’t really like it, but it’s so pleasant I don’t want to leave. I’ve only had one idea since I’ve been here and that was to video a cake in the rain in MacArthur Park. But it’s only rained once, briefly in the night, and I was asleep, and dreaming of snow.” —Steve Reinke
"Sodom--for those of you who haven’t been there--is an island about ten miles in length by about two miles in width. There is no depth to it at all. It was built by men as a memorial to God, much the same reasons that I am writing this… to praise and fulfill Him because they had heard He was dead and because His work had apparently come to nothing. The great buildings of Sodom are shaped like tombstones, and the island is populated almost entirely by robots. Man created the robots in his own image, and he created the island in the image of a cemetery.
Inventing freedom as they roam, videomaker Ellen Spiro and her dog Sam go west in a vintage Airstream trailer in search of elderly dropouts and their dogs who have pulled out of society and into by-the-side-of-the-road trailer communities. Our mutt narrator tells his tale, sharing his thoughts on America’s smells, the foibles of humans, and his view of aging as another journey. In unplanned meetings with gray nomads, psychic misfits, and free spirits, Roam Sweet Home takes the myths of growing older and turns them on their head.
Putting the Balls Away is a reenactment of the historic September 21, 1973, tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, created for broadcast on the 35th anniversary of the original event. The Battle of the Sexes was the most-watched live sporting event at that time, and pitted chauvinist against feminist, when women tennis players demanded equal pay to that of their male counterparts. Both players are performed by Mateik, whose work wages strategic operations to overthrow institutions of compulsory gender. After each game the competitors "switch sides".
Prefaces is composed of wild sounds constructed along entropic lines, placed tensely beside bebop rhythms, and a resurfacing narrative cut from a dialogue with poet Hannah Weiner. Child tells us, “The tracks are placed in precise and asynchronous relation to images of workers, the gestures of the marketplace, colonial Africa, and abstractions, to pose questions of social force, gender relations and subordination.” This tape serves as a pre-conscious preface to the parts that follow, whose scope and image bank are more narrowly defined.