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Chumlum / Kusama's Self-Obliteration / Christmas on Earth

Artist Yayoi Kusama.
July 16, 2023 - 7:00 pm

Admission is free. No advance reservations. Your seat will be assigned to you when you pick up your ticket at the box office. Seats are assigned on a first come, first served basis. The box office opens one hour before the event.


U.S., 1963

Director Ron Rice superimposes images in captivating color of theatricalized figures cavorting and lounging, swinging and swaying to a jangly, abstract score. Shot simultaneous with Jack Smith’s Normal Love and featuring much of the same cast, including Mario Montez, Francis Francine and Beverly Grant (Barbara Rubin also makes an appearance), Chumlum draws us into a separate, sensuous world, one seemingly summoned into being by Smith himself who appears as a kind of magic Svengali.

16mm, color, 26 min. Director: Ron Rice. With: Jack Smith, Beverly Grant, Mario Montez.

Kusama's Self-Obliteration

U.S., 1967

The cinematic orgiastic enters the age of Aquarius with Jud Yalkut’s experimental exploration of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s working methods and creative obsessions. In the film’s section, Kusama moves like a faerie spirit transforming the natural world by applying polka dots to trees, a horse, the surface of a pond. After a brief montage of New York landmarks superimposed with dots, the second section of the film moves to a large mirrored room and a barrage of overlapping images of Kusama painting a frenzy of intermingled bodies set to a psychedelic score.

16mm, color, 24 min. Director: Jud Yalkut. With: Yayoi Kusama.

Christmas on Earth

U.S., 1963

A cinematic orgy in more ways than one, Christmas on Earth is a multi-projector performance piece in which images of nude, painted men and women caressing and cavorting are projected beneath a close up images of painted skin and genitalia set to, as per Barbara Rubin’s instructions, a wild soundtrack of rock tunes. The original images themselves are black and white with colored filters moved over the projector lens as the film unfolds. Inspired by Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures, Rubin abandons any pretense to narrative—camp or otherwise—to create a pure vision of embodied cinema.

16mm, b&w, 30 min. Director: Barbara Rubin. With: Filmmaker’s Co-op.

Total running time: 80 min.