Camp

He felt both dead and alive... having 'died' and having come back to the space of his 'living.'

—Mike Kuchar

A "painter" casts out the demons that haunt his canvases and who creep into his bed at night.

Ascension, 2013

Amid the silence of a pastel hued room, a soul, fully-fleshed, gathers secrets whispered by the moon over his cool bedsheets.

A video I made with students at the California College of Arts and Crafts. It brings to life the terror and romance of cryptozoology as the hero and heroine (both played by young women) go south to bumpkin land on a search for the notorious and monstorous MOTHMAN. A fun journey in video-making desperation (the whole thing had to be shot and edited in 5 days).

Billion Dollar Bimbo: A Musical is a story of a young Hollywood actress’s psychological roller coaster ride through loss and redemption. One day on set the actress witnesses her mother collapse in the middle of shooting. Thinking her dead, the woman quickly spins out of control, immediately descending into drug use and promiscuity. The daughter’s depression-induced mania is assuaged when the mother recovers, but only briefly. When the mother quickly dies, the forlorn daughter plummets again into hopelessness and seeks solace in religion.

He made some 'love'....where has it all gone? 

--Mike Kuchar

"...Talking to Oneself in the mirror when down in the 'mental dumps.'"

This video diary visits two sites that exhibited my visual works this past year, culminating at the VOLTA ART SHOW in N.Y.C., where I sold some paintings and a photograph.

The underling theme of the diary deals with some bloating, scarring and beefcake exposure while on the road to an acting gig where I'm scheduled to play a BI-SEXUAL, paraplegic in heat.

There are some in depth scenes of me working out the romance/sex routines with a young and attractive, male co-star. The all-girl crew appears to be getting off on the whole thing and I don't blame them!

"...Deep in the garden of the Artist's heart, ghosts of bygone worlds arise on gothic wings, calling forth delicious languors."

— Mike Kuchar

Stephen Varble (1946-1984) staged gender-confounding costume performances on the streets of 1970s Manhattan, and he became infamous for his anti-commercial disruptions of galleries, banks, and boutiques. In 1978, he retreated from this public work to focus on the making of an epic, unfinished piece of video art, Journey to the Sun, until his death in the first days of 1984. Lush, ribald, and unorthodox, the video mixed non-narrative costume performances with a surrealist fable of a messianic martyr, the Warbler.

Armed with an overripe script and ample supply of false eyelashes and lip gloss, this Soap Opera in "drag" about sex-starved "She-Men" in heat is rancid drama at its smelliest!

His written letters will fade at the first light; if indeed he is dreaming the world!

In this interview, American artist, independent curator, writer, and experimental filmmaker, Vaginal Davis reflects on her initiation into the punk rock and art scenes of Los Angeles during the 1980s and 90s, her stylistic influences, and her ongoing efforts to theorize queerness and visuality. Caught between the opposing poles of Hollywood classicism and the rawness of punk, Davis defines her unapologetically gender-bending, campy, and at times aggressively critical performances as scenarios, rather than spectacles or entertainment.

A cavalcade of characters in conflict with consciousness is conjured up within the confines of Studio 8 at the San Francisco Art Institute and digitized for analysis.

...Somewhere inside him something slumbers; the myths, the beliefs that flow, fuse and burn through him.

This high octane drama that I made with my students at the San Francisco Art Institute chronicles the moral decline of it's heroine, as the love of a man she obsesses over drives her over something else: a cliff into hell.  It's a free fall all the way to the bottom destination, and there's a heck of a lot of nice looking, young people along for the ride.

Encounters I May Or May Not Have Had With Peter Berlin deals primarily with monumentality, narcissism and the ways in which our heroes are embedded into our identities, and manifested through the body. Through a variety of gestures, the pervasiveness of this practice is highlighted alongside its ultimate, inevitable failure. The viewer moves through various stages of anxiety, idolization and actual touchdown with 1970s gay sex icon Peter Berlin himself, capturing both the apparent and the hidden.

...They'd rather climb to the stars, than give their souls to a soulless world.

Shot in the style of a silent film from the 1920s, Frida & Anita is a political fantasy, intersecting the lives of two queer radicals — Frida Kahlo and Anita Berber — who happen to meet one fateful Berlin night in 1924 at the infamous La Garcon Cabaret.

Frida & Anita is the first film in The Surface Tension Trilogy, a three-part short film trilogy looking at queer artists living in Berlin during the 1920s.

This first "Frieda" collaboration between performance artists Barbara Lipp and Tom Koden and video artist Tom Rubnitz chronicles Frieda's rise from assembly-line worker in a box factory to singing superstar. Featuring rock-bottom production values and a sound track which includes the Brady Bunch kids' tune "Gonna Find a Rainbow".

 

 

'Misery' doesn't like 'company' -- but 'company' does love a 'party', so come join in on a catastrophic celebration, and do 'hang on' tight -- because it's a steep ride down into the depths of a soul in meltdown mode!

Identically dressed, and with sibling-like resemblance, performance artists Trevor Martin and Kym Olsen shift between spoken word and athletic dance choreography in a collection of 29 scenes. Set in various locations--including a gymnasium, an abandoned hospital, and a trailer park circus--Martin and Olsen slip between a ventriloquist and his dummy, a seducer and his surrogate, a doctor and his patient, and synchronized dance partners. The film examines a complex social psychology--questioning the colonization of the human body for various political, medical and religious agendas.

Stephen Varble began Journey to the Sun as a series of performances with projected slides in 1978. After becoming notorious for unauthorized costume performances on Soho streets in the mid 1970s, Varble receded from his public persona at this time. Deriving from his identification with his idol, the reclusive actress Greta Garbo, and informed by the spiritual practice of Subud, Varble began writing an allegorical epic about a musician, the Grey Crowned Warbler, who undergoes tribulation and metamorphosis on a journey to transcendence.

"Nature on a rampage in a land gone mad!!", quotes this fake promo.

-- Mike Kuchar

The performance artist Stephen Varble spent the last five years of his life working on an epic, unfinished performance-turned-video titled Journey to the Sun (1978-1983). Only partially complete and under constant revision, this complex work combined Varble’s history of making costumes for performances with his fantastic stories involving metamorphosis and martyrdom. In 1982, Varble decided to make a “prelude” to Journey to the Sun, combining existing footage with new video taken in Riverside Park in New York City.