Welcome to The George Kuchar Experience: From June 26th to July 27th Toronto will be hit by a whirl-wind of George Kuchar’s extraordinary video work. Co-presented by YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Video Data Bank and Pleasure Dome this event will feature an extensive program of Kuchar’s video diaries, albums and melodramas from the early 80s to today. On Friday, June 28th George will be joining us at Cinecycle to present a program of recently completed work as well as a host of earlier classics such as Weather Diary 3 and the1987 Evangelust Ã‘ an orgy of blood, sex and greed in the television ministry of Jim and Tammy Bakker. From June 26th to July 27th YYZ Artists’ Outlet (1087 Queen St., W., Tues. to Sat., 11 Ã‘ 5pm.) will be screening fifteen Kuchar videos including Video Album 5: The Thursday People an elegy for the late underground filmmaker Curt McDowell Ã‘ and the 1995 melodrama Holidaze.
George grew up in the Bronx and, with his brother Mike, was one of the few child prodigies in film, making such renowned 8mm melodramas as The Naked and the Nude, Pussy On a Hot Tin Roof and I Was a Teenage Rumpot on their tenement roof. Reaching adulthood, if not maturity, George switched to 16mm and moved to San Francisco. More and larger melodramas followed (Hold Me While I’m Naked, The Mammal Palace) as well as a teaching gig at the San Francisco Art Institute which George still holds. For almost 25 years now he has taught his famous ‘Underground Drama’ course where each semester he and his students produce an ultra-low budget work of sleazy camp (such infamous alumni include Curt McDowell).
In 1986 George bought an 8mm video camera and began making his video diaries and albums. Who could have predicted that a hybrid of documentary and melodrama could be such an appealing form? He’s said that the videos are like the films except that his friends don’t have to wear any costumes. ‘I have bad skin problems, wind, diarrhea attacks. I keep that stuff in the tapes so my friends look better.’ A master of genre manipulation and subversion, he sets his own high standards when it comes to producing, hilarious, campy, diaristic tapes with nothing but his 8mm camcorder, dime store props, neighborhood actors and the ‘pageant that is life’ as his studio. In 1992 he was the subject of a retrospective at The American Museum of the Moving Image and a recipient of the American Film Institute prestigious Maya Deren Award.
The George Kuchar Experience will also be available in catalogue form with essays by Steve Reinke and Robert Lee, an introduction and interview by Steve Seid and a complete videography.
A special thanks to YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Mindy Faber and the Video Data Bank (Chicago) for their support and assistance.