No Credit, Cash Only: Cookie Mueller in Film + Video

Monday, January 8, 2024, 7:30 pm
Mezzanine at 2220 Arts + Archives

2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Mezzanine presents: Bradford Nordeen will lead a visual lecture of images and clips from Cookie Mueller's always fervent and sometimes-fleeting roles in the films of John Waters, through No Wave New York classics and in 1980s art videos. With a like flair for the anecdotal and in the collage spirit of Chloé Griffin's Edgewise: A Picture of Cookie Mueller, Nordeen will present stolen moments and larger scenes from her diverse body of work in "the blessed profession," popping in on works by Glenn O'Brien, Amos Poe, Susan Seidelman, Michel Auder, Bette Gordon, Eric Mitchell and, of course, John Waters

Cookie Mueller was a firecracker, a cult figure, a wild child, a writer, a go-go dancer, a mother and a queer icon. A child of suburban 1950s Maryland, she made her name as an actress in John Waters' films, including Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, and then as an art critic for Details magazine and a columnist for the East Village Eye. She was also a writer of hilarious and shockingly wise stories, the ‘cure for a bad party,’ and a maven of New York’s downtown art world. Her writings, especially the recently reissued collection of autobiographical stories Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black (Semiotext(e), 2022) have inspired and amazed many and gathered a kind of cult following.

Cookie lived an independent and wild life, going from Provincetown, where she kept a circle of romantic crack-pots and poets around her, to New York City where she collaborated with No Wave and avant-garde filmmakers such as Amos Poe, Eric Michell and Michel Auder, published her writing, and became a star of the nightlife and art scene. Cookie also lit up the stage at the Performing Garage alongside other NYC luminaries such as Taylor Mead, John Heys, Gary Indiana and Sharon Niesp.

Although she died from AIDS in 1989, Cookie has become a counter-culture icon, adored by those who have discovered her work.

Bradford Nordeen is a writer, curator and the founder of Dirty Looks Inc. His book-length situations include Because Horror (with Johnny Ray Huston), Check Your Vernacular, Dirty Looks at MoMA, Fever Pitch, and the forthcoming Dopamine Press anthology, SLUTS. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Film and Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz, though Los Angeles is his home.