Sep 17, 2012

Women in Revolt

On June 3, 1968, schizophrenic lesbian Valerie Solanas – the radical feminist who penned the laughably ludicrous SCUM Manifesto that urged the apparently-fairer sex to, "overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex" – arrived at the Warhol factory in atypically feminine attire and like the cowardly woman she was, shot the ultra-effete pop-artist Andy Warhol while he was preoccupied with the telephone. Although Solanas ultimately failed in her attempt to assassinate a man as physically frail as Andy Warhol with a loaded weapon, not least of all because she was an exceptionally mentally unhinged female with an innately irrational case of debilitating hysteria and delusions of grandeur, she continued to harass and stalk the supposedly misogynist artist after her release from New York State Prison for Women in 1971, of which she was once again arrested for not long thereafter. As Solanas told journalist Robert Marmorstein of The Village Voice, "[s]he has dedicated the remainder of her life to the avowed purpose of eliminating every single male from the face of the earth." Of course, Andy Warhol took these threats very seriously and lived in fear for the rest of his life that the SCUMbag butch broad with an extra big dick-less chip on her shoulder would attempt to assassinate him again. Thankfully, Warhol still maintained his sense of humor during all of this as demonstrated by the film Andy Warhol’s Women in Revolt (1971) directed by Paul Morrissey (Trash, Blood for Dracula). Not only would the film be the last production where Warhol himself got behind the camera, but Women in Revolt is also a parody of the so-called Women’s Liberation Movement, most specifically targeting saucy psycho Solanas and her hubris-driven SCUM Manifesto. Starring Candy Darling (Flesh, Der Tod der Maria Malibran), Jackie Curtis (Burroughs, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism), and Holly Woodlawn (Trash, Night Owl) – three of the Warhol factory’s most legendary transvestites – as the women leading a mindless and ultimately failed revolution against a mostly imagined patriarchal society under the acronym PIG (Politically Involved Girls), which is undoubtedly a sardonic snipe at Solanas’ sordid SCUM ("Society For Cutting Up Men"), Women In Revolt is one of the greatest and most campy anti-feminist works ever made and a film that would only be rivaled by John Waters’ later work Female Trouble (1974).

Although missing the always delightful Joe Dallesandro, Women in Revolt has much in common with the "Paul Morrissey Trilogy” (Flesh, Trash, Heat) that the iconic junky hunk starred in due to it also being produced Andy Warhol and its unmistakable pseudo-cinéma vérité anti-aesthetic. A lifelong opponent of liberalism and self-described "right-winger" of the Irish Roman Catholic persuasion, Paul Morrissey has consistently mocked those with less restrained bleeding hearts consistently throughout his filmmaking career and with Women in Revolt – an audacious attack on the more preposterous trends associated with Second-wave feminism – the Warhol factory auteur assembled one of his most contemptuous and facetious attacks to date. According to the most articulate of the tranny trio, Jackie (Jackie Curtis) – a feisty virgin suffering from an acute case of sexual repression – the fierce feminists are, “tired of being exploited.” Not allowing her idealism to get in the way of her instinctive female narcissism and jealously, Jackie has no problem proudly declaring that, “Candy’s after pussy, Holly’s after cock…What I’m after is something – intangible.” Indeed, like a “True Believer” in the sense outlined in German-American social psychologist Eric Hoffer’s 1951 book of the same name, Jackie – who keeps a slavish houseboy (Dusty Springs) to do her nails and tidy her apartment while incessantly torturing him physically and emotionally – is a woman who romantically dreams and somewhat actively aspires for a female-ruled future due to her absolute discontent with her own plush and privileged personal life. Like the failed-bourgeois communist revolutionary that scapegoats the abstract and impersonal “capitalist” for his personal failure, Jackie and her girls hold men and their pesky peckers responsible for their own (at least partially) self-induced misery. In the heat of passion, Jackie declares to her floppy-cock houseboy that, “Don’t you know there’s something more beautiful in this world than – that thing – between your legs? Haven’t you heard of Women’s liberation?...Cunt is beautiful…You know that males are inferior to females.” To her credit, the houseboy’s flaccid cock is quite unsightly, hence why she eventually ‘cheats’ on him by buying sex from a male prostitute named Johnny Minute (Johnny Kemper), thus embezzling the funds (which were conned out of a senile, elderly woman) of PIG and betraying and hereafter absconding from the feminist cause in the process. Unsurprisingly, the other two bro-broads of PIG also desert their newfound fascistic-feminist ideology. Candy Darling is initially recruited for PIG to help launch the movement due to her glamorous status as a “society deb socialite" (as described by a hostile bull-dyke reporter). Of course, Darling’s intentions were never savory to begin with as she hoped to use PIG as a dubious means for launching a film acting career. Darling eventually becomes a talentless international actress with mostly non-speaking roles in Jules Verne adaptation filmed in Yugoslavia and Italian sexploitation films, including a fictional Roman epic work entitled The Fornicon by allowing film directors to, “fuck the daylights out of her.” Considering she was raped by her brutish, closet-case husband Marty (Martin Kove), Holly’s conversion to feminism is more reasonable than the other two, but she inevitably forsakes her femininity by bestially molesting any man that passes her general radius, thus eventually degenerating into a homeless wino wench by the conclusion of Women in Revolt. Needless to say, by the end of Women in Revolt, the PIG ladies have not only failed to get anywhere without the help of the by-now-fairly-greasy fried bacon between their legs, but have also blundered every superficial attempt at being uniquely ‘liberated’ as a woman via contrived female empowerment.

Before Andy Warhol succumbed to a botched gallbladder in New York City at 6:32 a.m. on February 22, 1987 (maybe death via assassination would have been a more glorious way to go out?!), two of the three stars in Women in Revolt would also perish tragically. On March 21, 1974, at aged 29, Candy Darling died of Lymphoma, of which s/he commented in a melodramatic letter sent to Warhol and friends, "Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life . . . I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. (D)id you know I couldn't last. I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again." Although Jackie Curtis would appear in the films Underground U.S.A. (1980) and Burroughs (1983), s/he eventually died of a heroin overdose at the age of 38 in 1985 that was eerily foretold in Lou Reed’s popular song “Walk on the Wild Side” in the following verse, "...Jackie is just speeding away - Thought she was James Dean for a day... then I guess she had to crash, Valium would have helped that bash."  As revealed in the documentary Superstar in a Housedress (2004), Curtis was receiving a blow-job from a woman when she died in what was 'her' first heterosexual liaison, which is assuredly an ironic and biting way for a drag-queen to croak. Even though Holly Woodlawn gave up on the fabulous life of an actress in 1979, thereupon cutting her hair and becoming a butch busboy after moving back home to Miami with her parents in the process, she would go on to play cameo roles in films like Twin Falls Idaho (1999) and as herself in the documentary Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2006). Although Women in Revolt may not offer a strong argument for the equality nor superiority of the fairer sex, the brief and tragic lives of two of three of its anatomically-male stars makes for a worthy argument that – relatively speaking – biological females may in fact be stronger than the typical tranny.  Of course, as the estrogen-deprived lesbo reporter at the conclusion of the film states, "The people want filth" and – thankfully – Women in Revolt is overflowing with it.

-Ty E

No comments: