Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scorpio Rising | Kustom Kar Kommandos | Invocation of My Demon Brother

Written by St. Steven - 3.18.12

Scorpio Rising
(1964)


Between a court summons and a blue Jesus-and-the-blind-man-miracle, a man lingers in a dark space. He wears only a tobacco pout and a biker cap tilted just so, casting a sideways glance before disappearing. The nature of his presentation is muddled, somewhere between rebellious and erotic, dangerous and performed. It could be that his performed strength attributes a carnality to him, a tough love. His gaze is alluring, even inviting, despite the threat he puts on.

The cap denotes him as a member of a tribe, but the specifics aren’t clear. Should we associate him with defiance and violence, or is it part of a costume? Aesthetics twins would come to stomp down Christopher Street, down Castro Street. We wonder how icons can lose weight or shift in their associations…

***

Kustom Kar Kommados (1970)


A man polishes his car with what looks like an oversized pink feathered powder puff in hand. The car, glazed with an impossible shine, is made precious, despite its imposing engine. It is a trophy, a tribute to masculinity, all the while cared for as if something more delicate. The material love of chrome and the curves of the car sit at the forefront. Soft pink light creates an otherworldly atmosphere, asserting even further how cherished this box of nuts and bolts is.

The man wears powder blue as if he has just evacuated the womb and loved ones have decided for him that he is to love cars, girls, and manhood in general. Yet with each hypnotic caress, he seems more sensitive, more nurturing. It’s not clear why the car must be in such pristine condition. Is the car a personal treasure? An extension of his own vanity? A statement to be made to other baby blue boys?

“My lover is more beautiful and more sleek than yours.”

***

Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)


A pale man’s torso is reflected against a deep red background. His arms are outstretched and echoed in the arms that extend out of him. The score of extremities call to mind Hindu goddesses, with snakes and swords in hand, but instead of an epic narrative or divine power, he only has his body. His body is a spectacle in itself, reverberating with both vitality and vulnerability. Looked at different ways, his pose can be welcoming, as if an embrace, or more militant. The dark hair that graces his shoulders confirms the mysticism we feel and highlights his milky complexion, which seems hyper-exposed.

Does he pose in this way, with muscles flexed, to arm himself just as his Hindu sisters do, or does this motion invite us into his composition of arms?

Scorpio Rising (1964). Dir. Kenneth Anger. The Films of Kenneth Anger. San Francisco, CA: Fantoma Films, 2007. DVD.
Kustom Kar Kommandos (1970). Dir. Kenneth Anger. The Films of Kenneth Anger. San Francisco, CA: Fantoma Films, 2007. DVD.
Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969). Dir. Kenneth Anger. The Films of Kenneth Anger. San Francisco, CA: Fantoma Films, 2007. DVD.

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