New York counter-culture fans rejoice. The Boo-Hooray Gallery on Canal Street is presenting a select number of stills from 60s New York artist and filmmaker Barbara Rubin’s film “Christmas on Earth.” Along with the stills, the gallery also has a large number of other pieces from Rubin’s life, like gig posters and black and white photography on display. If you know anything about the artist, then you already know this is a very special event. Rubin was, before her death in 1980, more than just a 60s artist. She hung out with Bob Dylan, introduced the Velvet Underground to Andy Warhol, and worked for Jonas Mekas. That’s the kind of art that gets so famous and reproduced it’s not even valuable anymore.
Cocks & Cunts For Christmas?
Despite her impressive resume and people like Lou Reed quoting “Christmas on Earth” as a major influence, Rubin’s film has remained fittingly underground. This is partly due to that fact that Rubin wouldn’t allow it to be screened for years and even at one point wanted to have it destroyed. But is also because Rubin’s “Christmas” is heavy. “Christmas”, which was originally titled “Cocks & Cunts” is so much more “oh my god” and NC-17 than any other porno you will ever see. It’s kind of like the Yankees of pornography in terms of wreaking the competition and could definitely be considered a “this is your brain on drugs” presentation. It a massive orgy of stocked junkies completely covered in face paint making the most unwholesome Christmas morning mess you could ever imagine.
But you can tell these people like their “Christmas” more. The expressions of pure bliss on these zoned out freaks make you think this film could have literally lasted days. And to just mix it up even more, Rubin double exposed the whole film, added trippy light effects and a raging 60s soundtrack (which is, of course, not being blasted on repeat at this gallery, so bring an ipod filled with your favorite tye-dyed music). Other 60s icons may have given you a peek into the anarchy of drugs and sex culture, but Rubin’s “Christmas” is a front row seat equivalent to a head sized glory hole though the Factory wall. Splash-back is not optional here, but mandatory.
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