F***ed Up Family Films

Thursday, December 7, 2023, 7:30 pm
Whammy Analog Media

2514 Sunset Blvd.
(Entrance in rear)
Los Angeles, CA 90026

From the deranged minds that brought us Pickle Surprise and Loads, two totally perverse takes on the familial melodrama, just in time to make your families feel that much less fucked up!

Mark Oates + Tom Rubnitz, Psykho III The Musical, video, 23min., 1985
Curt McDowell, Taboo (The Single and the LP), 16mm on HD video, 53min., 1981

Psykho III The Musical is an intriguing play on the tension between “authentic” and “pop” camp. This celebration of artifice was originally written, directed, and produced by Mark Oates as a stage musical parody following the release of Psycho II in 1983, and was performed at the East Village’s most notorious nightspot — The Pyramid Club. In 1985, after a wildly successful run, Oates reached out to longtime friend and Downtown video artist Tom Rubnitz to produce a video adaptation of the stage musical. With its premiere screening taking place at Area Nightclub in the October of that year, the cast features many Downtown legends, including John Kelly aka Dagmar Onassis, Mark Phredd aka Hapi Phace, Stephen Tashjian aka Tabboo!, and Loretta Nicks aka Brian Butterick. Oates makes a cameo appearance in the video in traditional Hitchcock style. Along with being a brilliant queer reading of a Hitchcock classic, Psykho III The Musical is an important historical document that celebrates the vibrant underground queer community of New York City.


"Abner L. Fuqua clears his throat and I get mad and stand close to trains or cut my eyebrow off. Dorothy is Abner's wife. Abner can slap hard, like blue magic." --graffiti

"...I had fantasies about who wrote the graffiti, what it was about and what blue magic is. In the movie, Fahed wrote the graffiti about his family. Abner slaps hard like blue magic--So the main threads are the family, what is blue magic, and who wrote the graffiti. Then there are the threads of youth and love. It's about rules and games and patriarchal manipulation. It's everything my family brought me up with smashed into one movie ... Yes, it's a cubistic narrative. Cubism is seeing something from all perspectives, and that's what's going on in TABOO." --Curt McDowell,

A quintessential New York underground film/video artist, the late Tom Rubnitz took a bite out of the Big Apple and spat it out in a wild kaleidoscope of unequivocal camp and hallucinogenic color. Ann Magnuson, the B-52s, The “Lady” Bunny, and the late John Sex are but a few of the stars that shine oh-so-brightly in Rubnitz’s glittering oeuvre. A genre artist par excellence, Rubnitz treated the sexy-druggy-wiggy-luscious-desserty qualities of the ’80s downtown club scene with the loving care only a true hedonist could show. Rubnitz died from an AIDS-related illness in 1992.

Curt McDowell worked in San Francisco from the late 1960s until his death in 1987- a period that witnessed the Summer of Love, gay liberation, and the onset of AIDS, to which he succumbed at the age of forty-two. The author of numerous films that recast the American dream of plenty in pansexual terms, McDowell, like so many artists of his generation, indulged in the era's carnal abundance, and his appetites and experiences are reflected in the work, which alternates between the revealing and the puerile. His short films, such as Weiners and Buns Musical (1972) and Loads (1980), celebrate sex as well as genre riffing and autobiographical narratives (McDowell's insatiable desire for seducing straight men is explicitly documented in his 16-mm works), and bear the influences of Jack Smith's lush, DIY camp aesthetic, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's explosive melodrama, and Nan Goldin's glimpses of countercultural bohemia.

This program was co-presented by Video Data Bank and Canyon Cinema. Font designed by Aimee Goguen.