Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuesday Time Capsule: Russ Meyers

The first image I ever saw from Russ Meyers was a life-sized cardboard cutout of Up star Raven De La Croix--the so-called "Margot the Magnificent Superchick." Even at that early age, I knew I was as queer as a backwards duck. But something about that very, very larger than life woman fascinated me.

Years later, after I discovered the Sontagian definition of camp, I watched Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Certainly, Meyers's pneumatic "superwomen" and drag performers seemed to share the same DNA. But even that explanation failed to completely satisfy my curiosity.

Later still, I began to watch the Meyers's films with an older and more experienced eye. I discovered that what fascinated me wasn't the just obvious over-the-top details of his women, but their contradictions; Strong, feminine, crazy, loyal, sexual, violent, victimized, victimizer. Ambivalent. Contradictory. Hyper real. And completely fake. They were, as a friend once said about something completely different, "a parody and celebration at the same time." Indeed.

What's not to be fascinated by?

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