In a continuation of the way I distributed cassettes, in 1986, I decided to put together 4 of my videos into a compilation that I entitled Freud’s Snack Bar. At the time, some of the same zines, that had been part of the cassette network, were beginning to run reviews of DIY videos. Magazines like Forced Exposure highlighted the work of the so-called Cinema of Transgression that was coming out of New York City’s Lower East Side and East Village during the mid-1980’s by such moving image makers as Beth and Scott B, Richard Kern, Vivienne Dick and Bradley Eros. I began with filming mini-endurance performance art pieces in Super 8 film and transferring them to video. Once on video, I added a mashed up/psycho karaoke soundtracks. All the pieces were short, 3 minute pop song length. I would buy 45’s from Tower Records of classic pop songs and cut them up with samples from the Tom Tom Club, the B-52’s, in addition to other new wave songs that I taped off the rock of the ‘80’s stations that filled the airwaves in SF during that time.
So begins the weird food combinations/preparations. The fish was raw and so was the depiction of artist as narcissist. As Jean Cocteau said in the Testament of Orpheus, “Don’t try to paint that flower, you will only paint your own face.” The mirror in this piece fell and broke during the 1989 SF “World Series” earthquake.
I couldn’t get enough of rotten bananas. First there is the Girls on Fire song and then this performance film to video piece with slight S&M overtones. I sing of Viva, a dominatrix based out of Folsom Street in SF. This was also during the period that the dance song “Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight” became a big club hit. Towards the end of this piece one hears the sound of a cow bleating. That came from one of those toys that make animal sounds. I wish I still had that sound maker. It’s great to have a cow sound in a can.
Now for my Southern Goth/Country & Western era. Another weird food combination. A meditation on dental hygiene with a mash up of Harper Valley PTA and the Shangri-Las’ “Give Him a Great Big Kiss.” There is also a mention of “All the Young Dudes” which we will hear from again in my video from early 1988, “My Life as a Godard Film by Whitney Houston.”
I just want to add to my other blurb on this piece: I really rock the panty hose in this one. There is a wonderful live version that Iggy Pop does of his song “Run Like a Villain” that appears on a semi-legit release entitled, “Iggy’s Nuggets.” In it he says “You can ride the motorcycle, you can wear the pantyhose.” Nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted.
My sister Danielle and I loved the 70’s film version of “Ode to Billie Joe” when it first came out and was aired on TV. The song that the film is based on, is of course, even better. I think that the ‘80’s was the last gasp of high artificiality in food. The squeeze bottle for ketchup and mayonnaise, the peanut butter and jelly combined in one jar and the chili filled hot dogs that I’m mashing into my bandaid covered eyes in Runny Toast. I remember shooting this one Sunday at the 869 Capp Street apartment when all my roommates went out of town. When they got back into town, I showed them the video. They were aghast.