Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7:30pm in our NEW SPACE
Made for TV: The Collected Works of Tom Rubnitz
Introduced by Charles Atlas
No videomaker captured the spirit of the East Village 1980s demimonde better than Tom Rubnitz, who teamed up with the looniest luminaries of downtown New York to create his incomparable oeuvre of live-action cartoony capers. For over a decade until his death from AIDS in 1992, Rubnitz turned his cameras on clubland’s most bedazzled, from drag royals like RuPaul, the Lady Bunny, Hapi Phace, Lypsinka and Taboo! to choreographer Michael Clark, musician John Sex, and lavender wit Quentin Crisp. Tackling the tube from all angles, Rubnitz sends up cooking programs, movie ads, music videos and kid's shows; his PBS-broadcast Made for TV parodies the entire cable age by channel-flipping Ann Magnuson through a series of schizophrenic spoofs.
More recently, Rubnitz’s legacy has unexpectedly invaded the post-television landscape. Clips of his videos on the internet have created a new surge of interest in Rubnitz among electric youth: not only has Pickle Surprise! been viewed thousands of times online, it’s also spawned a wave of fan remixes, remakes and tributes. Today, his work might be seen as a precursor to the digital psychedelia of Paper Rad or Ryan Trecartin—who, not incidentally, has literally added Rubnitz to his list of YouTube favorites.
Tonight’s screening offers viewers a chance to venture beyond these bootleg samplings, serving up a heaping helping of Rubnitz’s most outrageous works in all their day-glo glory.
"Inimitable and ineffable, Tom Rubnitz's glitter-dusted videos distill the sensibility of a generation of TV babies whose venue of choice was the Pyramid Club rather than the Whitney Museum." - Amy Taubin
"Brilliant as they are lovable as they are hilarious, these videos are simply dynamite. It was impossible to 'take notes' while watching them for review; their uncanny, anarchistic vinegar encourages one to throw away the writing pad. And when this short, shining, miracle hour was over I was dashed, inconsolable." - Warren Sonbert
The Mother Show, 1991, 4 mins
Uncover...Me!, 1988, 2 mins
Made for TV, 1984, 15 mins
Summer of Love, 1989, 30 secs
Hustle with My Muscle, 1986, 4 mins
Bump and Grind It, 1986, 3 mins
John Sex: The True Story, 1983, 4 mins
The Drag Queen Marathon, 1986, 5 mins
Pickle Surprise!, 1990, 1 min
Chicken Elaine, 1983, 1 min
Strawberry Shortcut, 1989, 1 min
The Fairies, 1989, 5 mins
Love Is the Message, 1990, 4 mins
Wigstock: The Movie!, 1987, 21 mins
Tickets - $7, available at door.