Right after THE BIG HEAT, I ran as fast as my fat ass could move to get to Indiefest and RUMINATIONS. Fuck the Super Bowl, I'd rather watch a documentary about a wild and influential drag artist. Rumi Missabu was one of the founders of the famed Cockettes drag musical group in San Francisco. The film is a collage of his life. Art, drag performance, being roommates with Cindy Williams (from Laverne and Shirley, for you millennials out there,) to touching Andy Warhol and even stranger celebrity encounters. The inspiration of the Sunni poet Rumi. The drugs. The founding of the Cockettes. The Cockettes getting too big for their original vision. Fresh bread laced with cum. And then his later years, where he's got health problems but is also the top archivist of Cockettes material, which he is donating to the New York Museum of Modern Art (IIRC) and not to any local queer organizations (for reasons he won't discuss, beyond the fact that 10 years ago he definitely would have, but not now.) It's probably appropriate, given a life that seems to have gone everywhere possible, that it's impossible for me to appropriately summarize it. But I will say, nearly everyone who was interviewed on camera was laughing through every story they told. If you can live a life that leaves everyone laughing about your stories, I think you've done it right.
Then I caught another Indiefest retrospective, PASSING STONES was from Indiefest 2001, back in the pre-Jason days. And I've heard so much about this movie that it was built up to legendary proportions in my mind. And it fucking delivered. It's one of those underground, unpolished, indie films that just don't seem to exist anymore. Leon (writer/director/star Roger Majkowski) is a 30 year old "circulation manager" (i.e., paperboy.) One of his regulars, an old man, gives him his normal Christmas bonus envelope, then goes back inside and blows his brains out. Turns out, he got the wrong envelope. His family (who thought he died years ago) got a few buck. Leon got a ton of cash and a cryptic letter (in Polish) about how the rest of the money in underneath stone. So his fucked up family (him and his abusive brother) meet the dead guy's even more fucked up family--featuring a catatonic mother and a barking crack whore. All leading to buried treasure! Beautiful and insane. I'm so glad I finally saw this. Oh yeah, and the religious content in this movie was just insane.
But not as insane as the religious content in VIDAR THE VAMPIRE, a Norwegian horror-comedy about a devout Christian farmer and his strict mother. Vidar was mocked as a kid, told he will never get a girlfriend. Now as an adult...it's true. So he prays to Jesus to let him feel the pleasures of the flesh, rather than just the pages of a Playboy. And Jesus obliges, turning him into a vampire through an act of irrumatio (Google it, but maybe not at work.) Turns out, Vidar can't quite find a comfortable place as a whoremongering prince of darkness either, and so he seeks the help of a psychiatrist (the framing device of the movie.) It's all a wild, blasphemous ride about finding your own way in the world and how horribly you can twist the words of the Bible. My favorite of the festival so far.
Total Running Time: 255 minutes
My Total Minutes: 468,270