Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 7pm
Alan and Jeanne Abel's Is There Sex after Death?

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Andrew Lampert

Is There Sex after Death?, Alan and Jeanne Abel, 1971, digital projection, 102 mins

An all-but-forgotten masterpiece of underground comedy, Jeanne and Alan Abel’s Is There Sex after Death? is arguably the most important precursor to the mockumentary as we know it today. Structured like a Mondo film, Is There Sex after Death? is narrated by one Dr. Harrison Rogers—played by Alan Abel—of the Bureau of Sexological Research, who travels around the country in his Sexmobile posing provocative questions to passersby on the street. Along the way, Rogers visits with experts in the field like Dr. Rhinelander Elevenike, Professor of Dildography and Linguistics, and Merkin the X-Rated Magician, and ultimately attends a seance to learn the answer to the film’s titular mystery. The movie seamlessly zips from scripted sketches to real-life interactions to improvised banter; countercultural comedy figures like Holly Woodlawn and Robert Downey Sr. appear as themselves, while Buck Henry and Marshall Efron show up in character, respectively, as sexologist Dr. Manos and pornographer Vince Domino.

By the time they produced, wrote, directed and edited Is There Sex after Death? in 1971, the Abels were already a notorious comedy team who had hoaxed multiple generations through a now-legendary series of elaborate media pranks, which included appearing on talk shows beginning in the 1950s to tout the imaginary organization SINA (the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals) and running a fictitious Jewish housewife, Yetta Bronstein of the Bronx, for President in 1964 (“Vote for Yetta and things will get beddah!”). To create one of the most memorable sequences in Is There Sex after Death?, they promoted and staged an event called the International Sex Bowl in Houston, tricking press from around the world into attending what purported to be a live sex competition between teams of different countries.

This rare screening of Is There Sex after Death? will be presented by artist Andrew Lampert, a longtime Abel fanatic and card-carrying SINA member. He will share a selection of ephemera from the making of the film alongside a newly recorded interview with Jeanne and her daughter Jenny Abel that reveals the chutzpah and genius required to make and distribute one of the world’s first X-rated independent comedies.

Tickets - Pay what you can ($8 suggested donation), available at door, cash and cards accepted.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 6:30pm.