From the Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge

Tom Rubnitz

1983 | 00:06:11 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: City, Dance, Documentation, History, LGBTQ, Music, Performance

From The Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge is a series of video clips taken at the Pyramid Club, a seminal location for the East Village drag scene in the midst of the club's most influential years. While rummaging through a file cabinet full of event fliers from the Pyramid Club, an office worker in drag guides the viewer through video documentation of past performances at the club. Scenes attest to the club's variety of programming, and include introductions by MCs, a Friday night dance party, a lip-synced aria by Dagmar Onassis, the musical crucifixion of “Japanese Jesus", and stage shows featuring East Village drag personalities.

Credited performers include: John Kelly, Ann Craig, Betti Ben Wa, Samon, Bunny Manhattan, Loretta & Affrika, Dagmar Onassis, Ethyl Eichelberger, Chino Indio, Joey Burt Jimmy, Philip & Marlene, Tanya Ransom Group, Pool Dance Company, Calvin Blvd, Trey Speegle, Bobby Bradley Robert, Larry Ree, Alan Mace.

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001


Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001



Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung