Last Saturday at 8pm we tuned in to The Casket Of Horrors, a live cabaret in Tokyo featuring video submissions from contributors who couldn’t be there at the venue in person.
It has been very hard for performers. Some people I know make their living doing shows (or otherwise, it is the thing that ‘gives them life’). Since the Covid 19 outbreak there has been no Closet Ball, for instance – a mainstay of gay life in Tokyo for many people and overseas visitors, which both D and I have performed at on numerous occasions: Halloween events will similarly be shut down this year.
Despite the difficulties for everybody, it has been quite interesting, watching how performances evolve; from live stage to video; from no audience to screen audience; a very different way of presenting your ideas and songs; an entirely different kettle of fish.
With D Whom, I just follow orders. ‘Tonight you are going to decapitate me against a green screen and hit me with socks pretending to be bats’ : ‘tomorrow night I am going to film you as a corpse’ etc etc. Covid Cabaret was a scream, his teaming up of a pangolin (‘Patient Zero’) with pigs and bats – making a mockery of the virus, because sometimes you have to poke fun at the thing you despise, and fear, as people did in the 14th century during the Black Death; this was live, though, and we did it against a green screen and the background film he had already made, not quite knowing whether we were coming or going; it was precarious and hilarious.
Yesterday’s entry – each entrant being limited to four minutes or under – was D’s twisted love story set to a soundtrack of Prisoner by Barbra Streisand – theme from Eyes Of Laura Mars, a cult seventies thriller starring Faye Dunaway that we both adore – and Yoko Ono’s Beautiful Boys. Exhaustingly, I had come back from that day of all day interviews I had been doing a few weeks ago (discussed at length in my piece on English Education In Japan); relaxing on the balcony, if you remember, smelling perfumes, just recovering from the day: the last thing I wanted to do was getting dressed up and painted like a bloated horror hag doll.
I had promised though; so let him get to work. There was a deadline. And so D stitched together some kind of petit melodrama revolving around him being incarcerated for the murder of Burning Bush (and who can blame him?); then realising his mistake, and after being in prison for god knows how long, returning home to find that he is still completely haunted, as I float in car windows and the doors of abandoned houses (we filmed this latter part a couple of Sundays ago; you can see our local shopping street in the sunlight, and an overgrown house around the corner).
All perhaps rather insane. But actually, really quite cathartic.
6 responses to “BURNING BUSH + BARBRA STREISAND”
I was haunted by The Eyes of Laura Mars as a young woman. It really got to me. Faye’s shutter clicking seeing revealing. The tension! It reminds me of another scary movie featuring Mia Farrow. She was blind, alone in a house. Alone with the bodies of her family and the killer. Somehow, that idea of seeing, not seeing. Visceral fear. Yikes.
The vid is great. What is it about dolls? Kind of like clowns. Both are supposed to be one thing, but underneath lurks . . . You and Duncan look great. Love your doll eyes particularly in one snippet. The whole thing is mesmerizing. Beautifully cut and layered.
I hesitated to put it up but suddenly felt like it, seeing that it was so much fun doing it – and really pleased you liked it..
Eyes Of Laura Mars – I have the soundtrack on vinyl, and we often play it in the kitchen – the weird segues from Barbra’s various reprises to classic horror strings to disco and funk.
We watched the film again a few weeks ago on our big screen for inspiration and were amazed how good it was. Yes, it is a genre horror thriller of the seventies, but the grungy atmosphere of New York is brilliantly evoked, and Faye Dunaway is superb: as you say, fragile and possesses by fear ..
I continue to read and enjoy reading (always) and comment rarely, but I do need to tell you how much I enjoyed D. Whom’s short film, with cameo appearances by Burning Bush, whose maquillage never fails to delight me. The dolls are also terrifying, but in a good way.
Oh great – I will tell him.
Our full length two hour feature film, the follow up to Girl Goned – ‘Spoiled Identity’, is now in the works. It is a nonsensical horror comedy featuring a huge array of characters from the Tokyo underground scene and will be an absolute riot. We had to stop shooting because of Covid, but some scenes are already being edited.
The fact is, mean, grey, boring hard reality just won’t suffice for us and never has; we always need to go through the membrane to the other side
Did you watch the second film as well, by the way? With the pangolin and the bats ?
This is just absolutely brilliant. I really love the way it was filmed and put together. The dolls always intrigue me, especially the little boy doll, half body one that is. You as BB of course are just mesmerizing, somewhere between banshee/wraith and classic Japanese theatre, I cant look away.
Tell D he is stupendously talented at putting these films together.