Critics’ Picks

Valley Girl, 2002.

Valley Girl, 2002.

Los Angeles

Michele O'Marah

Goldman-Tevis Gallery
932 Chun King Road
July 6–August 3, 2002

Something between the staged readings of old Brady Bunch episodes that were the rage in LA in the mid-1990s and Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot refilming of Psycho is Michele O’Marah’s homage to the film Valley Girl. The 1983 original was a Romeo and Juliet love story between a Hollywood punk (one of Nicholas Cage’s first roles) and the Galleria-hopping title character. It offered a commentary on the ’60s in the person of Sonny Bono, the Val’s sandal-wearing, health-food-eating, pot-smoking father, whom the budding Reagan youths considered “totally uncool.” O’Marah’s full-length restaging adds an ironic glance at the ’80s and, in addition to a retro fix, offers some of your favorite younger LA artists (Liz Larner, Jason Meadows, Evan Holloway, Karin Gulbran) in acting that is, at times, positively Warholian. Channeling a source that insisted that the right clothes, hairstyle, and location were everything, the genius is in the details: Notice O’Marah’s use of color and pattern in the juxtaposition of costumes and backgrounds, the new-wave covers by the Duchamps and others, and the standout props—the father’s macramé, Julie’s doll—many of which are littered around the gallery. Where are you now, Deborah Foreman?