Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2004. Highberger Media Inc.. Screenplay by Craig Highberger. Cinematography by Craig Highberger. Produced by Craig Highberger. Music by Paul Serrato. Production Design by Gary LeGault. Film Editing by Craig Highberger.
This excellent documentary explores the life and world of Jackie Curtis, the multi-talented performance artist who is probably most famous for his association with the Andy Warhol studio in the sixties and seventies. Along with Holly Woodlawn and Candy Darling, Curtis was the biggest starlet from the films that Warhol produced with Paul Morrissey, but he was also a very popular New York poet and playwright whose musical comedy revues were the toast of underground Manhattan theatre for years. Using wonderful stock footage of theatrical performances, as well as interviews from friends and colleagues, this endlessly entertaining film explores the life of an artist who depending on the day was either male or female in appearance, but either way was always the centre of attention and constantly admired by anyone who came near him. Curtis, who died of a drug overdose in 1985 at the age of 38, has been exploded to the size of myth at this point, and all the marvelous material seen here shows exactly why. More than just celebrating the campy aspects of his art, the film makes a genuine effort to probe behind the legend and find the true story. Woodlawn, the last survivor of the seemingly halcyon days of Warholmania, gives a terrific interview in remembering Curtis and Darling, while Lily Tomlin provides the narration.