Do popcorn movies suck? Why, yes! Worse than a rat-tooth rent boy, actually! Face it, if you want man-on-man heat treated as crassly as Big Brother blogathons, watch mainstream gay movies.
Ahh, but beyond the show tunes, Marilyn fixations and wankily smug one-liners, there’s a proper, thoroughly diseased art-form worthy of Whitney Houston and wannabe crack-bores worldwide!
Its’ name? Underground sin-ema, guys, the ever-flowing enema of the mind, and all those naughty, haughty perversions you’d never dare disclose to Daddy!
First brought to prominence by (in ascending order) the Sacred Homo Trinity of Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith and Andy Warhol, art-house shorts exhumed once totally taboo subject matter in spades. Blow jobs, premature ejaculations, asshole close-ups – all human strife was there.
Ah, but that was then. With transgression now taken as given, recent work – as finessed by auteurs like John ‘Love Is The Devil’ Maybury – uses extreme imagery and narrative.
That’s the point of Arthertz founder Dennis Da Silva’s umbrella movie night, Shortz, the work of twenty, mostly gay film-makers unveiled in the suitably bohemian setting of Earls Court’s Troubadour. If, normally, a legendary, musical mavericks venue, its recently encompassed poetry and, tonight, slick celluloid sickness.
Not that the work itself is diseased; instead, it skewers warped mind-sets and suppurating, social discords raw and bleeding to the screen. The highlights? For me, Oscar Sharp’s astounding ‘Forna’, in which a human penis inexplicably grows in a garden, gets eagerly screwed by a curious chick, then bloodily lawnmowered (!), but gives rise to an entire lawn of dicks next morning!
Artist Chase Valentin, too, contributes ‘Art Without Turmoil’ a dark, Throbbing-Gristlesque take on artistic creativity, all spurting flame, slowed-down, sexual pervert voiceover and S&M leather-queen hi-jinks galore. Gee, I can still smell the frying (Frances) Bacon overtones! And totally from left field, there’s ‘Together Alone’; a ravishingly shot, black and white lost gem from 1978, it’s a riveting expose of struggling, closeted sexuality, a purposely period-skewed incest child of Dorian Gray and Kenneth Anger.
These are personal highlights, mind, barely doing justice to the cinematic crown jewels flaunted tonight, and there’s the added bonus of renowned animator Ian Emes’ landmark, hi-gloss, soft porn video for Duran Duran 1982 track ‘The Chauffeur’. Think Lingerie Diva in a Rolls Royce, Pussycat Doll-chic before those girls were foetuses! An artistic abattoir par excellence, let’s hope that Da Silva and producer Tom Whelehan’s Shortz will be exposed big-time soon!
• Troubadour, 265 Old Brompton Rd, Earl’s Court, SW5 9JA