In this set, it’s just Teri Gender Bender and her acoustic guitar. And she is channeling early PJ Harvey like nobody’s business. If you like PJ’s new album but miss the less than subtle aspects of her earlier records (and who doesn’t, honestly), this is a very enjoyable set. Teri is angry and it shows. But it’s all done on an acoustic guitar, so the anger is modified by the music. It’s a neat trick. But it’s also a little disconcerting. Not least because she seems so nakedly honest when she sings (when she coughs aggressively during “Henry Don’t Got No Love” it’s not entirely clear if that’s part of the song or not. But also because Teri is not afraid to look right at the camera (or, indeed, the audience) when she sings the songs. Teri is very pretty but there is something haunting about her, which makes these songs of loss and love all the more effective.
See for yourself here.
[READ: January 22, 2012] “Notes on The Chelsea Girls”
I’m not going to start reviewing films, or, worse yet, reviewing reviews of films. But since I like to try to read all of the academic articles that get recommended to me, I wanted to mention this one too (I admit I will not be subjecting myself or readers to a thirty plus page article about Charles Darwin and pigeon fanciers (which seemed interesting, especially the pictures, until I saw that it was over thirty dense pages).
It’s childish to laugh that a reviewer of Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls is named Battcock, but I’m not above that sort of joke. What is amazing, to me, is how intellectual this review is. I’m used to reading reviews in Entertainment Weekly or even The New Yorker, which talk about the plot of the film and the quality of the direction and what not. And The New Yorker often trashes mainstream film on highfalutin grounds. But even that doesn’t come anywhere close to:
Warhol still questions the very nature of the medium and its relationship with the cultural matrix and the contemporary value structure–for which he clearly holds no brief. He is determined to prove that only vital institutions can provide vital art statements; his challenges to the medium serve ultimately to assure its legitimacy. If in his earlier movies he attempted to redefine the nature of film and to clarify its limitations, the new works may be said to check out the remaining restrictions of the art form. These include such physical aspects as the two distinct types of images (the retinal-visual and the cerebro-visual), as well as the nature of the auditorium, projection and screen.
Battcock is kind of hash on the film–which is actually several short films–two of which are projected side by side at the same time. He says the individual shorts, which run about 30 minutes each, are “a little bland.” Although, as he points out above, the actual films themselves are kind of beside the point.
Indeed, he criticizes other critics for missing the “point” of these films, which is that Warhol is “stripping the cinematic medium of its pretension and decorations.” Rather, he complains, “Nearly all the other critics writing in the popular press dwelt with the lugubrious insistence on the squalidness, sordidness, perversion, etc of the lives depicted in the film”
The review doesn’t really talk about the content of the film. Although, given what he says, it sounds like there isn’t a lot of “content”–a series of rooms in the Chelsea Hotel and what goes on in them. And, since Battcock doesn’t talk about the “‘dirty’ subject matter of the film,” I’m going to assume that there’s not much else.
I’ve never seen The Chelsea Girls (it’s not really available for home viewing) and, as with most experimental film, it seems like it’s better thought about than actually watched. But now I get to imagine everything that goes on (the “cover” of the film seems to suggest a lot).
I suspect if I were in college I would think this movie was still pretty cool and subversive. Ah, to be young and easily impressed.