Sinbad of Baghdad: Jack Smith’s Super8 Films

  • Guest Curated by Jerry Tartaglia (in Person)
  • Saturday, July 26, 9pm
  • Richmond St. West Courtyard

Part of Summer 2008

Jerry Tartaglia, filmmaker, archivist and co-director of the Plaster Foundation &lrquo;” a non-profit foundation dedicated to restoring Jack Smith’s films, papers and artwork &lrquo;” brings to Pleasure Dome a programme of Super8 movies by the legendary director/performance artist/ photographer/underground genius who died of AIDS in 1989. Tartaglia will discuss his role in preserving Smith’s film legacy, and will also introduce the programme. It will feature the North American premiere of the recently restored Jack Smith Super8 Films (presented on video, 1975-85, 40 min.) and Sinbad of Baghdad (Super8 on video, 1978, 29 min.) &lrquo;” both are edited-in-camera reels documenting film-performances by Smith on the Sahara Sands at Coney Island. Other works to be screened include I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo (16mm, 1968-70, 30 min.) starring Smith himself, which takes its title from one of his live performances “I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo for the Lucky Landlord Underground” staged in the early 1980s. Shot mainly during the late 1960s and edited a decade or more later, I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo is one of several films and slide shows that feature the filmmaker as a mock celebrity. It opens with the excerpt from No President originally called “Marsh Gas of Flatulandia” &lrquo;” several minutes of black and white footage of steam escaping from manholes which segues to an interior scene of various creatures emerging from dry ice vapours &lrquo;” then shifts to show the filmmaker, clad in a leopard-skin jump suit, attended by a nurse as he sits amidst the detritus of his duplex loft on Grand and Greene streets in Manhattan. Finally, Song For Rent (16mm, 1968-69, 5 min.) showcases Smith playing his alter ego Rose Courtyard, sitting in a wheelchair in her apartment, deeply moved by God Bless America.

Jerry Tartaglia is an experimental filmmaker and writer whose contribution to gay identity and queer history spans four decades. He began his work of restoring and preserving the film legacy of Jack Smith in the early 1990s. He teaches cinema and writing at Albright College in Pennsylvania.