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More George Kuchar

September 10th, 2011 · 11 Comments

I’ll post here a few more mementos from George Kuchar.  If nothing else, I hope you enjoy his distinctive penmanship.

The Exiled Files of Eddie Gray was a sort of return to his old film, Corruption of the Damned.  In the first part, Larry Leibowitz and Floraine Conners attempt to remake their love scenes from an earlier decade; in the third part, George interviews John Keel in his apartment (John shows up at a party in Corruption of the Damned).  In the middle section, I portray a Keel expert, informing two students (Bryan Hiott and Debbie Rice) about the Keelian corpus, assisted by my dummy, Eddie Gray.  We shot the scene in my old studio in the meat packing district, and a picturesque studio it was.  George had great fun working with Eddie.  And the interview with Keel is one of the best I’ve seen.

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The Passion Pot was one of George’s class projects, done with his students at the San Francisco Art Institute.  They were usually chaotic, overheated productions, and this was no exception.  He was apparently inspired by a talk on Richard Shaver that I had given at the Christine Burgin Gallery.  George’s vision of rocks dissolving into hallucinatory visions of the underworld was truly splendid.  This tape is only labeled on the side; I think the other label fell off from repeated viewings.

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And I cherish his note!

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Most of the obituaries I’ve seen have stressed George’s earlier work, his kitschy homages to Hollywood melodrama.  But he made other kinds of “pictures” too; here are some he gave me along the way.

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Melody for Marla set a record by UFO contactee Harold Menger to video feedback patterns.

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Route 666 was one of George’s weather diaries, in which he rented a hotel room in Oklahoma and waited for tornadoes.  In Nirvana of the Nebbishites, his cat Blackie and a marionette named Pepe wander through George’s magic marker landscapes.

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Please don’t ask me to describe this one.  It’s very funny, though.  John Keel remembered this one as “Humanoids with Hemorrhoids,” I’m afraid.

Rest in peace, George.  Thanks for everything.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lisa // Sep 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    And thanks for your very touching remembrance.

  • 2 Gail // Sep 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    thanks so much. I loved “Blackie” in his movies. I also remember seeing Route 666. I think at MOMA many years ago they had a lot of his flicks

  • 3 Ed Grant // Sep 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    There’s an article on the Dangerous Minds blog that celebrates the notion that, now that people are sharing their digitized copies of rare movies online, “everything” cinema-wise is on the Net. The author uses George K. as an example, quite unwisely — since, as you point out here, George himself probably had the only definitive archive of his own work. There are hundreds of film and video titles by him that we don’t have “ready access” to on the Net.

    Thanks for sharing these gems.
    Ed

  • 4 Doug // Sep 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    George did love animals. “Mongreloid” is a wonderful portrait of his dog Bocko.

    I saw his video portrait of Larry “Ratso” Sloman in Ratso’s apartment: Ratso’s dog Lucy was barking on screen and under the screen.

    This is very sad. Must go now.

  • 5 Doug // Sep 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Ed — thanks for your comments. I don’t know how many videos George made; you accepted the fact that every time you had lunch with him, it would end up onscreen. Fortunately, his fans will keep his work alive…

  • 6 elena // Sep 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    The handwriting makes this all the more special…..Thank you for sharing this.

  • 7 Doug // Sep 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

    I’m glad you read it. Yes, George’s handwriting was my main reason for posting these. That’s such a nice note.

  • 8 Paul // Mar 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Did the Keel interview in The Exiled Files of Eddie Gray turn up again in Kuchar’s Keel-based “documentary” Secrets of the Shadow World, or is it an entirely separate piece?

  • 9 Doug // Mar 9, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    They’re different. “Secrets of the Shadow World” is a more detailed (and longer) look at Keel, including Kuchar and Keel traveling together in California.

  • 10 Paul // Mar 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Ah… I’ve seen Secrets of the Shadow World, and I do prefer the Keel bits — especially his opinions regarding Operation Trojan Horse.

  • 11 Doug // Mar 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Ah, okay… You’ll have to see “Exiled Files,” then. George and John talk mostly about MIB (the movie had just come out). There is also footage of John’s famously cluttered apartment.

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