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I Shot Jack Two

Ela Troyano, Uzi Parnes
USA  / 94’
film performance

Jack Smith has been called the godfather of performance art. Screenings of his films were unpredictable performances in which he would notoriously cut and edit his films on the spot. Ela Troyano and Uzi Parnes continue the tradition of live film by combining Troyano’s acclaimed Bubble People with Exotic Dreams and Stars of L.E.S., photo series of Jack Smith taken by Parnes in the early 1980s. In the rarely shown, legendary Bubble People, Jack Smith and Phoebe Legere appear as ‘bubble goddesses’, while the rest of the performers, including Parnes, are dressed as Marilyn Monroe. The improvised film was shot in Uzi Parnes’ loft in 1982 and his sculptures and installations are visible in the background. Ela Troyano introduced me to Smith when she brought him to my loft in Soho for a party in 1979, says Uzi Parnes. Soon she moved in and Jack became a frequent guest. At that time I was writing a PhD in Performance Studies on NYU, and Jack allowed me to document his mysterious performances for that purpose. In exchange I was to make beautiful and stylish promotional pictures that he would use as advertisements. Smith got the prints of those pictures but I kept the negatives, which I now use to reconstruct his performances.

Jack Smith

the father of the Cinema of Transgression and the initiator of camp and thrash trends, has, since the 1950s, been creating anarchist films and performances inspired by Hollywood B movies. In his productions, transvestites and drag-queens radically manifested their sexuality. Smith made his movies purposefully violate all the principles of zero-style cinema. They inspired later generations of cinematic outcasts and experimenters. Smith was born in Ohio in 1932 and moved to New York in the 1950s. He began using film no longer independently but as a component of performances. His Midnight Performances often started as late as 2 a.m. and lasted several hours. In many of his LIVE FILM performances, Smith completely reedited the film material, integrating excerpts, slides, text, and music. After Smith's death as a result of AIDS in 1989, Jim Hoberman and Penny Arcade founded the "Plaster Foundation", which commissioned Jerry Tartaglia to restore his films.

Filmography

1950–1966 Porządne istoty / Respectable Creatues (short)

1960 Przestymulowany / Overstimulated (short)

1962 Taśma klejąca / Scotch Tape (short)

1963 Płonące istoty / Flaming Creatures

1963 Normalna miłość / Normal Love

1963 Żółta sekwencja / The Yellow Sequence (short)

1967 Ziele z wyspy Technikolor / Reefers of the Technicolor Island / Jungle Island (short)

1967–1970 (1998) Byłam panem Yvonne De Carlo / I Was a Male Yvonne De Carlo (short)

1968 Bez prezydenta / No President

1969 Piosenka do wynajęcia / Song for Rent (short)

1970 Ujęcia bez tytułu / Untitled Film Rushes

1971 Północ w Plaster Foundation / Midnight at the Plaster Foundation (short)

1978 Sinbad z Bagdadu / Sinbad of Baghdad (short)

1979 Oszołomy / Hot Air Specialists (short)

Ela Troyano

Troyano is a Cuban-born American director. Her short film Carmelita Tropicana received the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. She also works in Off-Broadway theatre direction, notably collaborating with her sister Carmelita Tropicana (Alina Troyano). She creates live film performances with Uzi Parnes.

Selected filmography

1983 Totem of the Depraved

1983 The Bubble People

1994 Carmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst Is Your Waffen (short)

1997 Latin Boys Go to Hell

Uzi Parnes

Parnes has been a director, photographer, actor, writer, and a presence on New York’s arts scene since 1980. During the 1980s he was a close associate of the enigmatic and legendary Jack Smith and wrote extensively about Smith’s work in theatre. With Ela Troyano, he set up the Chandalier performance club in 1980. In 2003-2005 he directed the Uzi N.Y. Gallery in New York’s East Village.