Monthly Archives: September 2012

Art & AutobiographyNews & Updates

Interview with Famke Janssen by

BUB images

BRINGING UP BOBBY, written and directed by Famke Janssen, opens in New York on Friday, September 28 at the Beekman Theatre. Janssen will be in attendance for Q&A at Friday and Saturday screenings.

Whether she’s an ensemble player in a big-budget genre film (Goldeneye, X-Men), or the lead in an Ameri-indie (Love & Sex, Turn the River), Famke Janssen carries an aura of admirable self-sufficiency. Her exotic looks means that she can hold your attention even when’s placed at the margins of the frame. Orgasming to the sounds of machine gun as an assassin who kills men with her thighs in Goldeneye, or giggling at the idiocy of lover Kenneth Branagh, Celebrity (1998), she always seems game – even when the movie may have forgotten what to do with her.

While her leading roles feel like concepts derived from diva worship, Janssen is winningly, refreshingly opaque. In Turn the River (2007), she plays a working-class pool-shark, determined to win back custody of her son. The movie sounds like boilerplate for a de-glammed actor vehicle, but Janssen doesn’t pry for empathy. Her coolness results in a physical and emotional awkwardness that is true to the character.

A Dutch-born former model and New Yorker since the 80’s, Janssen debuted on-screen in the mid 90’s. In a fickle industry, genre films tend to be the sanctuary to Euro-goddesses. But while Taken 2 (opening October 5) might pay the mortgage, Janssen has written and directed her first feature, Bringing Up Bobby. Ukranian- Olive (Milla Jovovich) is a con artist and single-mother raising her young son in Oklahoma. But when one of her schemes results in jail time, she has to decide whether to fight for her son, or let him try to live a normal life with a wealthy couple played by Marcia Cross and Bill Pullman.


Avery WillardNews & Updates

Agosto Machado on Avery Willard by

Agosto 4

The process of researching IN SEARCH OF AVERY WILLARD was as unique as it was daunting. These days, documentation is more or less inevitable, and access is often a simple Google search away. In the case of Avery, we began with three cardboard boxes of decaying film and a few scribbled phone numbers. It was essentially an old fashioned detective story, filled with countless mysteries, dead ends, and a few precious breakthroughs. One of those breakthroughs came when our historical consultant – drag historian and NYU professor, Joe Jeffreys – introduced us to Agosto Machado.

Best known for his illustrious career as a performer at La MaMa and legend of the New York City experimental theater scene, Agosto has worked with everyone from Jackie Curtis to Candy Darling. A font of knowledge about the history of queer art, we turned to Agosto for some insight into the work, personality and motivations of Avery Willard.

Ira Sachs & Cary Kehayan: So when did you first get on stage?

Agosto Machado: All the time. I just thought I was blessed to attend these events, see all of these marvelous performers, and I never thought I could cross the footlights. I don’t sing, dance or act, and I just feel so blessed to have worked with all these people: Jack Smith, Ethyl Eichelberger of The Play-House of the Ridiculous, the Hot Peaches, the Cockettes, The Angels of Light, and so forth and so on. But truly, I don’t really do much.

But you do something. You get on stage and you…how would you describe it?

I perform. I don’t act, sing or dance, you know? I make believe, I pretend.


Gay New York

Dear Biddy B by

Whenever Mrs. Blatourbotum and I find ourselves in the propinquity of a sector of the city occasionally labeled Little Siberia, without fail we drop into our favorite curio shop, Chotski Chernobyl, to peruse their most recently accumulated whatnots. Chotski Chernobyl is owned by a Mister Ognian Makgivneya and staffed by himself, Vladlena Nonnay the wife, Chapayev the son and Anka the daughter. I feel obliged to make mention there is one peculiarity in evidence at this mom and pop yard sale emporium more curious than the curios, that both Mrs. Blatourbotum and I find difficult to ignore despite the amassment of swag, one more often than not uncovers rummaging through the clutter of salvaged trifles. We strongly suspect Dahling, amongst other disquietudes——–there is only the one Makgivneya!

All the family members are noticeably pint-sized, verging on Lilliputian with rounded out figures much like Russian nesting dolls— each one progressively shorter than the one before. Their somewhat flat facial features are identical as far as one can tell and alarmingly reminiscent of Mister Peter Lorre as Doctor Gogo and whether bald head or with babushka—all have the same neatly groomed, curving upward like lepidopterous antennae, tiniest of mustaches and Dahling, are unconscionably toothless!

We feel vindicated indulging such suspicions being neither of us can recall ever having seen or been attended to by more than one Makgivneya at the same time. As an example Dahling, on our last visit a bell tolled as always as we entered the shop, announcing our arrival, sounding as if we were about to witness the coronation of Boris Godunov, the ensuing near deafening reverberations causing us a brief quaking episode vigorous enough to trigger Mrs. Blatourbotum’s postiche to lean and favor one side. I soon sensed the wife, Vladlena Nonnay, moving as if on wheels across the rear of the store, dusting Dahling, nothing in particular, simply wagging a wad of feathers to and fro, her wary gaze never diverting from the two of us, not for so much as a blink. Then as suddenly as she had materialized she vanished into a garment rack of vintage furs, I must say Dahling, sadly in need of refurbishing.

The stirred up aroma of moth balls had hardly dissipated when I heard a noise to my left where this time it was the daughter, Anka, peering up at us from under the counter top glass whilst clearing a space on one of the crowded shelves for a very collectable Miss Sheryl Flynn Boxing Helena action figure. I had no more than glanced at the welcome mat Mrs. Blatourbotum was pointing out, crafted from the backs of several porcupine which most definitely seemed to be contradicting itself Dahling, one way or another and Miss Anka was disappeared —-nowhere to be seen!

Before I could catch my breath, the father lurched out from behind what I am quite confident was a counterfeit Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, clutching a crock of Amorphophallus in his arms. Having some knowledge of the Amorphophallus’s reputation, Dahling, I turned away so as not to betray my repulsed expression! Mrs. Blatourbotum inquired why I “looked like I’d been sniffin’ goats’ ass?“ She does have a way with words that one. I gestured over my shoulder with an inconspicuous tilt of my head to where by that time neither Mister Ognian Makgivneya nor his potted, putrid smelling shanghaier of insects were —no more.

We had only just completed examining what were purported to be five and a half petrified turds evacuated by no less than Mister Jesus Christ that I momentarily imagined might make divine paperweights Dahling, and had begun picking through a cardboard carton of fragmented white marble private parts amputated in the name of decency of some sort from various statuary centuries ago —I was again thinking paper weights —-when the son, Chapayev entered from the street, once more mobilizing the coronation bells this time jostling Mrs. Blatourbotum so, her hour glass clips came undone and the cotton stockings they supported dropped piling up round her hefty ankles.

The boy nodded to the convulsing pair of us and shuffled towards the family quarters at the back laboriously dragging the one much larger foot behind him. I watched him exit through a curtained doorway pondering what explanation there might be for this rather obvious disability and lo and behold, Dahling, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an illustration leaned up against a salt lick with a cows tongue and taxidermic head attached that at one time I deduced had been a table lamp.

Never mind that, the subject of the rendering that caught my eye bore a remarkable likeness to my dearest friend Miss Winifred Scruggs and brought to my attention how very much Miss Winifred resembles Mister Richard Milhous Nixon in drag. It was, I discovered one of four prints signed by a T.Howe, gender unspecified, a series of what might be called alternative definitions, Dahling, the content of the art never being quite what its title would lead one to expect. I found them amusing enough that I dared not forego the opportunity. We gathered them up and started toward the cash register where to both our consternations waited the wife, Vladlena Nonnay, her one hand stretched up and poised on the register keys, the other now grasping a fly swatter, flailing at non-existent flies!

I thought I should share them here with all those generous enough with their always so fleeting and most precious time to read my column—a limited gesture to express my boundless gratitude for this experience. Enough said, Dahling, the four illustrations are printed below. Until our paths cross once more one day, I remain your cyberspace collaborator and chum, Miss Biddy B.














Images – all rights reserved,  James Bidgood 2012

News & Updates

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON Opens Today in NY/LA! by


Dear Friends,

We’ve come a long way. This Friday, September 7, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles. Opening weekend attendance is crucial to a film’s success, and plays a huge factor in determining how long it will play, and whether it will travel to theaters outside of major cities. I hope you’ll heed the Village Voice’s advice this weekend, and see the “frontrunner for the best American film this year.”

In New York, the film opens at the Angelika Film Center, the Chelsea Clearview, and the Elinor Bunin Film Center (Film Society of Lincoln Center). In Los Angeles, the film will play at the newly re-opened Sundance Sunset Cinemas.

In NYC, I will be attending Q&A’s throughout the weekend. It would be great to see you there (though we hope you’ll go anytime over the weekend!). The Q&A screenings are:

Friday, Sept. 7, 6:30pm - Elinor Bunin Film Center (FSLC)
Friday, Sept. 7, 8:10pm - Angelika Film Center
Saturday, Sept. 8, 3:15pm - Angelika Film Center
Saturday, Sept. 8, 6:30pm - Walter Reade Theater  (FSLC)
Saturday, Sept. 8, 8:20pm - Angelika Film Center
Sunday, Sept. 9, 12:00pm – Chelsea Clearview Cinemas
Sunday, Sept. 9, 2:00pm – Chelsea Clearview Cinemas
Sunday, Sept. 9, 7:00pm – Chelsea Clearview Cinemas
Sunday, Sept. 9, 8:10pm – Angelika Film Center

To see when the film is opening near you, click here. Please spread the word of the film’s opening, and share our trailer and facebook page with friends, family, and lovers.

Thank you for your continued support. I hope to see you at the movies this weekend!

Warm Regards,

Arthur RussellUncategorized

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON Soundtrack Released Today by

Cover @ 300

The soundtrack for Keep The Lights On is out now in association with Audika Records and available for purchase on iTunes today. The album, which received a write up on Pitchfork, is composed entirely of music from the iconic New York musician Arthur Russell.

New York City has been home to some of the most important names and movements in the history of American music. From the whiskey soaked compositions of Stephen Foster to the fast-paced/short-lived bouts of noise of the No Wave scene, New York has produced countless musicians who have left their incredibly influential and indubitably permanent mark on music. But for every musician or band that made their mark, there innumerable others who spent their lives devoted to writing and producing music in New York without their name or work garnering them attention or praise. Arthur Russell narrowly avoided this all-too-common fate.