Canadian short film and video program followed by a conversation between curator Dr. Thomas Waugh and Wayne Baerwaldt, University of Regina.
Culled from the Queer Media Database Canada-Quebec – who’s mandate is to uncover, promote and bring back to life our queer moving-image artistic heritage – Dr. Thomas Waugh provides the following description for his short film and video program Flushing Filth in Canada.
How did Canadian LGBTQ film and video artists in the formative post-Stonewall and Epidemic-shaped decades process stigma, marginalization and underground desire? Many artists of those decades did so through the themes of filth, outrage and the abject. They focused on the specific iconographies of the toilet as a space of sexual exchange, trauma and performance. What does the archive of those artistic processings tell us about our history and about our identity struggles and imaginaries? And how did they relate to the emergence south of the border of an aesthetic of filth, trash, and camp beginning in the 1970s? This program of 6 bold and filthy films and videos honours this rich archive of 20th-century shorts.
After the screening, join Dr. Thomas Waugh in conversation with Wayne Baerwaldt as they discuss campy, trashy and filthy plots, scenarios and ideas used by filmmakers, queer or otherwise. The discussion will also broach such questions as:
Cole and Dale, famous for their unflinching and endearing Hookers on Davie (1984, 86 min) started their collaboration at Sheridan College in the 1970s and already expressed an interest in sexual and social marginality in their early shorts: Cream Soda (1976) and Minimum Charge No Cover (1976), about Yonge Street sexual outlaws and the gritty 70s demi-monde. A rarely screened treat.
One of the handful of Canadian queer film masterpieces of the 1970s, In Black and White is an experimental short from the SFU film program, a manifesto of liberation politics, postmodern aesthetics, and defiant erotics. Narratively speaking, two young men, one married and the other an “out” seventies clone, meet in a public toilet and have hot sex, but they’re caught through video surveillance. McGarry stepped into the clone role when his actor for this student production didn’t show, and his straight cameraman played the married hottie with real conviction.
Confusion, underlying meaning and unspoken truths are often associated with the dialectic of sexual communication. Mingled with the intensity and unpredictability of a “one night stand,” they generate unique sensations – mixed emotion, risk, and excitement. The film employs formal devices in a manner that is exceedingly simple, yet very effective. Its subject matter, sexuality and communication, gains depth and poignancy through the artist’s decision to shoot the film’s three scenes for projection in a “double screen” configuration.
An intertextual essay adapted from the mixed-media performance of the same name. Addresses the issues raised by the 1983 Orillia, Ontario, washroom mass arrests, where thirty-two men were charged with “indecent acts” following extensive video surveillance. Tennesse William’s Suddenly Last Summer meets Michel Foucault.
Mixing cyberporn and “basement porn” footage together, Hose juxtaposes the revolutionary promises of sexuality of the 70s with the cybersex reality of the 90s. This rich visual examination of queer sexuality would not be complete without its sly piss-take (literally) about the fun of watersports.
Paradis’s first work, Voyage de l’ogre (1981), an essay that connects the horror of Chicago serial killer John Gacy to testimonies of nubile young Montrealers on their experiences and fantasies of hustling, is his most socially conscious work. Presaging Paul Wong’s “Confused Sexual Views” and the decades-long Canadian obsession with male sex work (Rodrigue Jean’s Love in the Time of Civil War, Jacob Tierney’s Twist, LaBruce’s Hustler White, need I go on?).
Note: Tickets to John Waters talk and VIP Reception on June 24 will be available for purchase at this venue.
Thomas Waugh, is Concordia Research Chair in Sexual Representation and Documentary. His publications and teaching on documentary have touched on Quebec cinema, indie work from India, and committed cinema. His interests in sexual representation span queer film and video, pornography and homoeroticism in moving image media as well as photography and graphic art, Canadian/Quebec cinema, and HIV/AIDS. Waugh's books include the anthologies, Show Us Life: Towards a History and Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary (1984), The Perils of Pedagogy: The Works of John Greyson and I Confess: Constructing the Self in the Third Sexual Revolution (with Brandon Arroyo, forthcoming 2017); the collections The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writings on Queer Cinema (2000) and The Right to Play Oneself: Looking back on Documentary Film (2011); the monographs Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from their Beginnings to Stonewall (1996), The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Sexualities, Nations, Moving Images (2006), Montreal Main (2010), and The Conscience of Cinema: The Works of Joris Ivens 1912-1989; and the edited art books Outlines: Underground Gay Graphics From Before Stonewall (2002), Lust Unearthed: Vintage Gay Graphics from the Dubek Collection, Gay Art: A Historic Collection, and Comin' At Ya! The Homoerotic 3-D Photographs of Denny Denfield. Waugh’s current research interests are an interdisciplinary approach to confessionality. He is also co-editor with Matthew Hays of the series of 19 monographs Queer Film Classics (Arsenal Pulp Press). He has been director of the Concordia Community Lecture Series on HIV/AIDS since 1993.
Baerwaldt has co-produced exhibitions, events, symposia and publications since 1986. He is currently the Michele Sereda Artist in Residence for Socially Engaged Art at University of Regina. His best-known projects trace performative elements in artmaking with an emphasis on unstable, disputed identities. Baerwaldt has curated and co-curated exhibitions on the work of Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Pierre Molinier, Beck & Al Hansen, Marcel Dzama, Glenn Ligon, Dawna Rose, Adam Pendleton, Iran Do Espirito Santo, Zachari Logan, Jeffrey Gibson, Shari Hatt and many others. He has contributed text to POV, City Magazine, Art&Text, Border Crossings, Parkett, Art on Paper, TIME, Poliester, Art Paper, C Magazine, BlackFlash, Inuit Art Quarterly, and numerous catalogues.