Marc Siegel

  • John Vaccaro in 2007. Photo: John Sarsgard.
    passages October 31, 2016

    John Vaccaro (1929–2016)

    FOR THOSE UNFORTUNATE ONES, like me, who never had a chance to experience the Theatre of the Ridiculous in its heyday from the mid-1960s to the early ’70s in New York City, it is difficult to know fully how crucial director John Vaccaro was to that movement’s unconventional, disorienting, and defiant queer vision. The two other key figures of the Ridiculous—Charles Ludlam and Ronald Tavel—were both playwrights and essayists who reflected on their work and on the broader implications of this radical theater. Their writings provide fantastic evidence of both their wacky and inventive stage plays

  • Paul Sharits, Frozen Film Frame (detail), ca. 1966–77, 16-mm color film strips, Plexiglas, 39 3/8 × 52 3/4".

    Paul Sharits

    I DIDN'T EXPECT CHOPIN at the start of a Paul Sharits exhibition. Nineteenth-century Polish Romanticism was simply not what I had associated with the work of the American artist, best known for the jarring yet hypnotic 16-mm films of flickering color from the 1960s, such as Ray Gun Virus (1966), T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G (1968), and N:O:T:H:I:N:G (1968). It soon became evident, however, that Sharits’s work on paper Transcription, 1975/1990, a humble, hand-colored screen print of the first page of Chopin’s Étude in C major, op. 10, which hangs alone in the center of a large white wall installed in the

  • Mario Montez (René Rivera) in conversation with Marc Siegel at the “LIVE FILM! JACK SMITH! Five Flaming Days in a Rented World!” conference, Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst, Berlin, October 30, 2009. Photo: David Velasco.
    passages October 22, 2013

    Mario Montez (1935–2013)

    Sunday, May 17, 2009 6:24 PM

    Dear Mr. Siegel,

    Thank you for your interest in Mario Montez and your generous offer. As you may or may not know “Mario doesn’t fly! ”. The only way to get to Berlin would be by boat and train.... [Ronald] and Harvey [Tavel] were both great influences in my career and we all remained good friends even after my retirement.... I feel in this time of my life it would be helpful to keep the Underground Film Experience alive in the hearts and minds of future film students and hopefully my memories of that time will be helpful. Thank you again, Mario Montez

    So reads the very

  • Ron Rice, The Flower Thief, 1960, 16 mm, black-and-white, sound, 70 minutes. Flower Thief (Taylor Mead). Photo: Anthology Film Archives.

    Taylor Mead

    “ASK ME SOME MORE QUESTIONS.” Long a great fan of underground legend Taylor Mead, I finally got a chance to meet the actor, poet, filmmaker, and amiable longtime fixture of New York’s Lower East Side in November 2008. I attended one of his Monday evening readings at the Bowery Poetry Club, and we hung out at the bar afterward, during the queer bingo event hosted by New York drag personalities Linda Simpson and Murray Hill. Not long before, in Berlin, I had screened Mead’s predominantly single-frame 16-mm film of his travels in France, Italy, and Greece, European Diaries (1966), in a film series