Saturday, August 21, 2010

Charles Ludlam lives. . .

. . . and so do Coney Island, Little Italy, and the Greenwich Village Halloween parade of 30 years ago, in two of Ludlam's brilliant and bizarre films, Museum of Wax, a short, and The Sorrows of Dolores, his only feature.

Both are silent, filmed in black and white, visually dazzling, rich and strange.

Untouched since Ludlam's death from complications of AIDS in 1987, the films were restored last year. Enhanced by scores from composer Peter Golub, who'd written music for many of Ludlam's plays, they debuted at the IFC Center's Queer/Art/Film festival this February.

Ludlam's lover and colleague, actor Everett Quinton, characterized the films as unfinished when introducing them at Anthology Film Archives last night, but I wouldn't want to change a thing about Museum of Wax--to my mind, a masterpiece.

Dolores, on the other hand, could stand some tightening--and I'd love to see the unused footage that Quinton talked about, saying that some of it was really beautiful and he wondered why Ludlam didn't use it.

Maybe because he was racing death to finish it.

Quinton said he'd thought about doing his own version of the The Sorrows of Dolores and--without destroying the original--I hope he does. Or at least screens his selection of outtakes one of these days.

You have two more chances to see Museum of Wax and The Sorrows of Dolores this weekend: 7 pm tonight and tomorrow at

Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St.

Now I'm wondering whether or where, besides Irma Vep and Galas, which are listed in the New York Public Library catalog, tapes or films of Ludlam's plays exist. . . .

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