Drag Glamour

total running time without talk c.95min 

This programme pairs José Rodríguez-Soltero’s lavish Lupe with Ron Rice’s landmark psychedelic masterpiece Chumlum. It features two of the most accomplished uses of superimposition in underground film, transporting drag glamour into a psychedelic, cubist-like dimension. The screenings will be followed with a panel discussion about the legacy of the queer aesthetic where the spectacle of fashion plays a dominant role, from the shimmering dresses in Kenneth Anger’s Puce Moment to Jack Smith’s reimaging of the 1940s’ Hollywood Orientalism, to the stunning, surreal imagery of Steven Arnold. Marketa Uhlirova, Ronald Gregg, Ela Troyano, Stuart Comer and Agosto Machado will explore the designs and production of these visionary spectacles, the wearing and posturing of costume and make-up, and the cinematography that brought these visionary spectacles to excite and haunt our imaginations.


USA 1966. Dir José Rodríguez-Soltero. With Mario Montez, Charles Ludlam. Costumes Montez Creations.

A visually stunning celebration of the life and death of Mexican Hollywood star Lupe Velez, Rodríguez-Soltero’s film is an ecstatic explosion of colour, costume, music, camp performance and multiple superimpositions. Unconstrained by any given style, Rodríguez-Soltero drew inspiration from new wave and experimental film; Latin American, pop and classical music; trash culture; experimental theatre, and Kenneth Anger’s exposé Hollywood Babylon. Lupe is also a love poem to the underground star Mario Montez who designed his own sensational costumes and took immense cultist pleasure in identifying with the tragic Latino star.


USA 1964. Dir Ron Rice. With Jack Smith, Beverly Grant, Mario Montez.

Before his untimely death in Mexico in 1964, Ron Rice was among the most charismatic figures of the New York underground. Chumlum is beautifully disconcerting. Intricate superimpositions mix in- and outdoor milieus and the capers of a colourful gaggle which includes Jack Smith and Mario Montez as they loll about, pursue, and listlessly fondle each other in a riot of costume and colour. Experimental musician (and Velvet Underground drop-out) Angus MacLise composed the spacey soundtrack.

Museum of the Moving Image Saturday 23 Apr 2011, 7:00 pm