PRINT December 2018


Vaginal Davis

Where is my movie camera? . . . I CAN’T SEE WITHOUT IT.
Barbara Rubin

I wish I had known about Barbara Rubin back in the day in Hollywood, when I was making my queer zine Fertile LaToyah Jackson, because she was like me: a precocious weenager who didn’t take any excrement from anyone, least of all men. She was not only bold, beautiful, and voracious, she was a total badass. She was a Lilith, a Sheila, a Cybele demanding gonads to make a necklace of testicles. In Rubin’s case, among those she kept in check was Film Culture editor in chief Jonas “Uncle Fishhook” Mekas, as well as Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Donovan, P. Adams Sitney, Roman Polanski, and even the great sugar-in-his-tank poet Allen Ginsberg, whom she deflowered in a film-projection room, according to Amy Taubin.

This new zine-like chapbook Film Culture 80: The Legend of Barbara Rubin (Spector Books OHG) is Film Culture’s first issue in over twenty years, and is dedicated to this infamous figure behind the New York underground’s most sexually transfiguring film, Christmas on Earth (1963–65). It features her genius handwriting, letters, poems, scripts, conversations, and film stills. If only Barbara had been able to make an audacious follow-up: Christmas on Earth Continued, starring Jean Genet as Santa Claus alongside Cassius Clay, Greta Garbo, Little Stevie Wonder, Sal Mineo, Max von Sydow, the Supremes, Connie Francis, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sophia Loren, and a cast of millions of heroes and heroines with costumes, sets, and production design by Walt Disney. What a spectacular epic to end all epics it could have been!

Vaginal Davis is the internationally revered intersexed doyenne of Intermedia Arts & Sciences. Her beat is galactic.