Film

5 Films/Videos To Ruin Other Sunbathers’ Day At The Beach This Memorial Weekend

Nelson Sullivan on Coney Island (screenshot via video on 5 Ninth Avenue Project Youtube page)

Nelson Sullivan on Coney Island (screenshot via video on 5 Ninth Avenue Project Youtube page)

Why hello there, you pasty Filthy Dreams readers! Quick! Grab some sunscreen before you become a lobster…of course, by that I mean a Rock Lobster. Ok, fine we did smuggle some booze on the beach in a bottle of sunscreen–sure, the Gang in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia did it first but why mess with a good idea?

This Memorial Day, instead of sitting in our dark small apartments and avoiding any contact with the outside world while obsessing over YouTube videos until our bloodshot eyes glaze over, we’ve decided to venture out into the great unknown: the beach. However, that certainly does not mean we aren’t going to loudly blast whatever off-putting, aggressively loud and thoroughly queer videos we can pull up on our phones while other beach-goers attempt to either kindly ignore us or run us off the beach.

So in order to help you through your sun-tinged Memorial Day Weekend, we’ve come up with a list of 5 films and videos that would be perfect to torture the towel-sitters and sunbathers around you.

1. Nelson Sullivan’s A Fun Trip to Coney Island with RuPaul and the Gang in 1988

Downtown documentarian Nelson Sullivan filmed seemingly his entire life through his ubiquitous video camera throughout the 1980s. Most of you, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, will recognize Sullivan from his videos of clubs and performances, which have been featured quite frequently on our wayward, haphazard series on nightlife, Party Out Of Bounds. However, Sullivan didn’t just record the sleazy world of nightlife. Sometimes, these queens went out in the day too! Just in time for the beginning of summer, Sullivan filmed a day at the beach on Coney Island with his friends including that notorious queen RuPaul. Sure, I’ll admit Ru hasn’t exactly been my favorite lately as I feel she is homogenizing drag with her show RuPaul’s Drag Race but I still can’t help but love 80’s Ru as she flits around the downtrodden boardwalk on Coney Island. Looking at the video, it’s pretty clear that Coney Island has not changed a bit–it’s still run-down and wonderfully awful as ever. Anyone up for some Nutcracker? 

2. The B-52’s Live in 1983

When I think of the summer, I immediately start humming…ok, belting The B-52’s. I’m not sure if it’s the neon wigs, the funky music or Fred Schneider’s funkier dance moves or the song “Summer of Love,” but, The B-52’s will always mean the sunny days of summer to me. So what better way to relax at the beach than doing a flailing version of the frug or a sand-flinging attempt at the mashed potato while watching footage of this entire 1983 concert?

3. Wigstock: The Movie

Even though Wigstock was always held over Labor Day, I couldn’t wait until then to put this drag documentary on our video lists. Directed by Barry Shils, Wigstock: The Movie captures the heyday of this famous and infamous festival of drag, started by be-wigged hero herself Lady Bunny, through interviews and performances with these role model-worthy queens and performers. From Lypsinka to Joey Arias to Bunny herself, this documentary records the true height of drag at its most terroristic and subversive, transforming Tomkins Square Park into an enormous outdoor drag show.

4. Tom Rubnitz’s Made For TV starring Ann Magnuson

Most Interwebz fanatics will know video artist Tom Rubnitz by his mind-boggling, brain-warping, terrifying video Pickle Surprise. Taking his seizure-inducing schizophrenic aesthetic and putting it to use with fellow manic performer and Club 57 manager Ann Magnuson, Rubnitz created Made For TV, mimicking a hallucinatory spin of the television dial in which every show stars Magnuson. Clicking from channel to channel, Magnuson, like a video Cindy Sherman with an actual sense of humor, hilariously embodies all of the female stereotypes available to women on television from a Tammy Faye Bakker-esque evangelist to a taut-faced newscaster.

5. Mike Kuchar’s Blue Banshee starring Kembra Pfahler 

Known for his campy underground films with his twin brother George Kuchar, which inspired some of our favorite cinematographers of sleaze such as John Waters, Mike Kuchar also occasionally made films by himself such as this 1994 Blue Banshee with The Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black frontwoman and Filthy Dreams role model Kembra Pfahler. With a typically low-budget look, Blue Banshee follows Kembra from an awkward proclamation of love by a man covered in tattoos of Kembra to a phone call about her mother who worries Kembra is ruining her career with “the egg thing.” With footage from a Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black show and a sensual conclusion, Blue Banshee is guaranteed to clear the beach for you.

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