Presentations: Marc Siegel


After his seminal performances in The Flower Thief (Ron Rice, 1960) and Lemon Hearts (Vernon Zimmerman, 1960), both made in San Francisco, underground performer and beat poet Taylor Mead moved to Southern California where he lived and worked for a number of months. During his stint in the Venice Beach Beat community in 1961, Mead not only published the first volume in his ongoing series of epigrammatic poetry, Excerpts from the Anonymous Diary of a New York Youth, but also collaborated on three short films: Passion in a Seaside Slum, The Hobo and The Circus (both by Robert Wade Chatterton), and To L.A….with Lust (Vernon Zimmerman). Although Mead’s later Los Angeles collaboration with Andy Warhol, Tarzan and Jane Regained…Sort of (1963) has received plentiful scholarly attention, these initial Mead LA films remain almost entirely forgotten. This oversight is particularly unfortunate not only because it hinders our understanding of the history of amateur and avant-garde filmmaking in Los Angeles, but also because it deprives us of some of Mead’s best and most inventive screen performances. Moreover, film buff, Hollywood extra and film society director Chatterton’s Passion in a Seaside Slum, starring Mead in the role of “the faggot,” is a truly significant and utterly unacknowledged contribution to the history of queer underground filmmaking.

Marc Siegel is a Research Fellow at the Collaborative Research Center “Cultures of Performativity” at the Freie Universität, Berlin. His research focuses on avant-garde film and queer studies. Recent publications include: "Something More Than Reality: Andy Warhol and Bruce Conner," in Painting Real/Screening Real Ed. Peter Pakesch (Verlag Walter König, 2009) and "Bruce LaBruce. Post-Pornograf wider Willen,”  Montage av 18.2 (2009). He also works as an independent curator. He recently curated a George Kuchar exhibition for the Berlin Biennial 2010 and the festival “LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World" for the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art and HAU/Hebbel am Ufer Theater, Berlin (2009, with Susanne Sachsse and Stefanie Schulte Strathaus).

Taylor Mead, a Faggot in Venice Beach in 1961

This presentation is part of the panel entitled Subcultures Scene and Seen, being held on Saturday November 13, 2010 1:00pm - 3:30pm in the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre.

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