Frequent Small Meals
and Out on Film present

Blow Job and My Hustler
Two rarely screened classics of queer cinema

a Film Love event, curated by Andy Ditzler

Part of Out on Film 2009

co-sponsored by Studies in Sexualities at Emory University

image from Blow Job (Andy Warhol, 1964)


Thursday, October 8, 2009, 7:00 PM
Midtown Art Cinema


Purchase tickets here
Purchase an Out on Film festival pass here

In addition to being one of the twentieth century’s most famous artists, Andy Warhol was also one of the most influential filmmakers of the 1960s. With their outrageous conceptual gestures, voluble personalities, and provocative content, Warhol’s films became notorious and bridged underground and mainstream cinema as never before. Film Love’s ongoing exploration of Warhol’s early films continues with this program of two landmark works of queer cinema.

Blow Job is a classic of Warhol’s early "silent" film phase. The titular sex act is performed on an anonymous leather-jacketed hustler, and was filmed in real time from start to finish – but only in a closeup view of the hustler’s face. Thus the film’s ironically explicit title becomes a commentary on audience expectation. Yet the joke of the film’s premise gives way to a profound meditation on sex and human consciousness. Entirely through facial expression, the film presents an intimate study of a man experiencing the multiple peaks and valleys of sexual excitation, slowly reaching a spectacular climax, and retreating into an enigmatic afterglow. As in all of Warhol’s "portrait" films the subject is dramatically lit, and the film is projected at slow speed, creating a hypnotic, dreamlike state. With the passage of time, its protagonists and director long since disappeared into history, Blow Job is ever more poignant and fascinating.

My Hustler is one of Warhol’s funniest and most successful early sound films, featuring brilliant performances by its lead actors, largely improvising roles based on their own personalities. Harvard grad student Ed Hood plays an erudite, sharp-tongued queen out for a weekend on Fire Island with the gorgeous Paul America – whom he has rented from “Dial-A-Hustler.” Trouble shows up as friends and neighbors begin a competition to see who can steal Paul away. The climax of the film is an astounding, reel-long improvisation by Paul America and Joe Campbell (later immortalized as “Sugar Plum Fairy” in Lou Reed’s song “Walk on the Wild Side”). As the two men share a cramped bathroom, Campbell plays an aging hustler who tries to seduce Paul with everything he’s got. Raucous and bitchy, My Hustler couldn’t be more different than Blow Job on the surface – yet both films circle around their subject in fascinating ways, and the resulting dramatic tension makes them as compelling to watch today as when they scandalized audiences in 1965 New York.

Blow Job (1964), 16mm, 36 minutes, 18 fps
My Hustler (1965), 16mm, 66 minutes

Andy Warhol #6 is co-sponsored by Studies in Sexualities at Emory University

Midtown Art Cinema
931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308

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