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Cameron in Los Angeles

Curtis Harrington, The Wormwood Star, 1956, 16 mm, color, sound, 10 minutes.

MARJORIE ELIZABETH CAMERON PARSONS KIMMEL—or Cameron, the name she preferred—was that rarest of figures, a seminal invisible. Artist, poet, witch, beacon of the counterculture, she knew everyone and materialized everywhere, though now her own name has all but vanished. Cameron showed with sculptor Edward Kienholz at Walter Hopps’s Syndell Studio in Los Angeles. She played the Scarlet Woman in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. She knew L. Ron Hubbard before he founded Scientology. She had a small part in a movie with Dennis Hopper, who said that she scared him out of his mind. One of her erotic drawings provoked the LAPD to arrest Wallace Berman (who’d championed her in his legendary journal Semina) at his 1957 Ferus Gallery show—arguably the scandal that put LA art on the map. And then there was John “Jack” Parsons, Cameron’s first husband,

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