Documentary about Surfing in Rockaway

Katrina del Mar “Made in NY”


I recently had the pleasure to see the premiere of Elisa Garcia Bates’  documentary film “AWAY” about women who surf Rockaway in NYC. As one of the subjects of  the film, I was pleased to be in attendance along with a lot of long term die hard NYC surfers including Mary Leonard and Jee Mee Kim, who are also featured in the film. It premiered at the New York Surf Film Festival in September.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/40244148″>AWAY Teaser Trailer</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/elisabates”>Elisa Bates</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I was excited to be asked to participate in the project. And I loved reconnecting with George Bates, who shot the water camera footage from which these stills were taken. I’ve known George since we were just 19 or 20. He’s a gifted illustrator and a great surfer. We had a lot of fun out surfing these little longboard waves.

Katrina surfs Rockaway

Katrina surfs Rockaway

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Interview on TV

Here is the TV interview with Vera Solvadottir I mentioned in my post about the trip to Denmark & Iceland.

Outrageous underground fantasies.
I have to say THANKS to everyone who helped me out w the movies.. (in the interview I say I do it ALL but I really don’t..woops)
Gang Girls 2000 Credits
Surf Gang Credits
Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever Credits

Denmark / Iceland 2012

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Recently I went to Iceland and Denmark to screen my films and show my photography. I visited cities I’d never been to before, met interesting beautiful people, was on the front page of the paper, national radio, interviewed on national tv, called ‘a friend of iceland’ saw beautiful landscapes and felt snow falling on my face while floating on my back in a hot geothermal pool.

Getting off the plane in New York, the line I want to deliver: “I’m so depressed. I’ve eaten nothing but cheese and bread for a week. Europe. Good bread.” I don’t say this line, I’m not depressed (I’m just a little blue and distracted) and I’ve eaten almost every kind of food there is. Peas and Fish in mustard sauce. Lamb skewers. Chinese soup. Filet of reindeer. Skyr. I walked everywhere, I swam. I feel great.

DENMARK / Copenhagen

“Last nights artist talk by Katrina Del Mar was an amazing trip back in time to New York City 1988 and onwards. Alice Maude Roxby’s lecture gave insights in the subtle relations between the performance artist and the art photographer. Yoshiko Shimada showed excerpts of her work with Bubu de La Madelaine in the context of the live art scene in Japan in the 1990’s. Thank you to the many people who showed up and for the interesting discussion.” -Christian Van Schijndel

On the Edge of Society: Moments in Live Art –

LECTURE & PHOTO EXHIBITION
Public Event for Warehouse9
Curated by Jane Graham (UK/DK) Live discussion & artists’ talk, Friday 20 January
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Katrina del Mar & Dona Ann McAdams (US) present a series of films and photographs from the Golden Age of Performance Art (1988-2000) and discuss their impact on art history.
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Katrina del Mar presents a series of approx. 200 images from her vast archives. These images show the New York underground in all its brash, bloody, colourful and outrageousness. Featured performers include Kembra Pfahler and her band the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Chloe Dzubilo, Jayne County, Lunachicks, Antony Hegarty, Johanna Constantine, Michelley Queen of Queens, Sherri Vine, World Famous Bob and Karen Finley. Venues featured include many of the most happening spaces in the East Village pre-2000, like the Pyramid (home of Black Lips Performance Cult and Trip & Go Naked), Squeezebox, Limelight, Jackie 60…

Warehouse9 is in an old cattle holding area in the slaughterhouse district. The organizers Jorgen, Christian & Gritt are fabulous, they are all cool, accomplished and welcoming. Curator Jane Graham masterminded this show and she’s a sweetheart to work with. Gritt took me to the cool lesbian bars and a yoga class. I stayed at Carsten’s (fabulous gay) guest house.

I like finding and attending secret society meetings when I travel. Somehow I found my way up 11 flights of stairs to a tiny room in a tower where 25 or so people were talking about the benefits of meditation. In Danish. I didn’t understand a word. I found a seat in the back and eventually snoozed.

The curator and the other artist talk artists all went to dinner at a local Thai Restaurant called Porn Sak. I asked for the T shirt and the server informed me I would have to work there to get one.

Katrina and Alice Maude Roxby at Porn Sak photo by Yoshiko Shimada

While I’m in Copenhagen a debate roils on facebook. Betsy Todd thinks it’s ridiculous that any of my friends ought to suggest that I direct porn films. She says “So…after being in the photo/film game and being at the forefront of chronicling NYC underground queer and rock n roll culture for over 20yrs, the suggestion for KdM is to direct porn? Wow. Nice friends!”
Anyway, I think they’re all just joking. Right?

Looking at Art in Copenhagen photo by Katrina del Mar

Looking at Art in Copenhagen photo by Katrina del Mar

On the Edge of Society: Moments in Live Art Katrina del Mar @ Warehouse9 Copenhagen

During the Artists Talk Yoshiko Shimada screened the video where she’s pulling a string of scarves out of a woman’s vagina. It reminded me of seeing Lady Hennessy at the Pyramid Club in the late 80’s; a night I shall never forget even though (strangely) I was without a camera and didn’t shoot a single frame.

As is stated above the show was based on photography of performance based art from 1988-2000 I spent weeks digging through my archives to prepare for the show and I found so much great imagery. I hope this body of work can continue to be seen and shown. Eventually I’ll post excerpts of the actual work here.

ICELAND / Reykjavik & Moesfellsbaer

Iceland was snowy, more snowy than it’s been in decades. People here haven’t seen this kind of snow since they were children. I thought about those global warming theories I’ve heard where they say it’s warming up around the equator and it’s going to get colder at the poles. Iceland is beautiful, just like they say. Eerie and moonlike, with rainbows and aurora borealis. Fairyland. While I was there, a blizzard occurred every night and it was gorgeous every day.
We swam in hot geothermal pools did saunas and then ran through the snow.
Oh and we had a film screening of my GIRL GANG TRILOGY.
I made front page news and national TV in this wild nation.
Interview with Katrina del Mar on Icelandic TV
The screening was well attended (especially considering it was such a bad blizzard the roads and the airport shut down the next day) we had a crowd of Icelanders who laughed loudly through the funny scenes. People either get my films or they don’t and these people got it. I was pretty happy. The cinema was gorgeous and the films looked & sounded great.

Hell on Wheels seen from the projection room Bio Paradis, Reykjavik

Katrina del Mar w singer Nana Alfreds at Radio RUV, Reykjavik

Trilogy of UNDERGROUND GIRL GANG MOVIES FROM NYC
Bio Paradis, Reykjavik
Bandaríska költ-leikstýran Katrina Del Mar sýnir þrjár mynda sinna og svarar spurningum gesta á eftir.
Miðvikudaginn 25. janúar kl. 20
GANG GIRLS 2000 Super 8mm / 25:20
Surf Gang Super8mm / Video 35 min.
Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever!! HD Video / Super 8mm film 35 min.

I didn’t once handle cash in Iceland. I was supremely hosted by wealthy lesbians. I have patrons there, it seems. As a result I felt a bit like a dependent child, content to sleep in the back seat of the car, to go where they wanted to go and eat where and what they wanted to eat. They were paying, after all. I said “I’m easy like Sunday morning.” They laughed.

Director Katrina del Mar w Icelandic Pals at Bio Paradis in Reykjavik

Vera Sölvadóttir interviews Katrina del Mar for TV

Katrina del Mar feature interview in Australia’s Slit Magazine

Katrina filming Gang Girls 2000 photo by Dayna Frank

Katrina filming Gang Girls 2000 photo by Dayna Frank


The Slit Interview with

Katrina del Mar



REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION FROM SLIT MAGAZINE (AUSTRALIA)


Years ago a friend arrived home with an illegal dub of a movie that I had to absolutely see now! The film Gang Girls 2000 was Katrina del Mar’s epic lesbo gang pic. Part spoof, part hot fantasy, the Super 8 short film was causing a ripple of excitement through the queer girl film scene – It didn’t disappoint. Years later, I heard a great tale of Katrina getting robbed – bag full of dubs for actresses and crew – on her way to the San Fran screening of her new surf gang film. Furious she picked up a bottle and screaming banshee style chased the would be robbers till they dropped their nabbed booty. She arrived at the opening like a true gang girl leader, bag full and heart quickend. It’s a great pleasure that we catch up with and chat about the creative world of Katrina del Mar.

Slit: We thought for Slit’s Gang Girl issue, that it’s a must to profile you with your longstanding filmography on girl gangs. From looking at your surf gang and gang
girl’s films, and your pseudo kin photography exhibitions – a running theme through your work is the idea of non-biological family or crew. What is it about crews or gangs that takes you?

Katrina del Mar: The real happy family for so many people is just a myth. I know only a handful of happy well adjusted people from happy caring biological families. -A lot of my friends because they’re queer or freaks have gone on to form their own families, where they feel accepted and even celebrated for who they are.-Also, as an artist, my aesthetic is the opposite of minimalist. I love clusters and groups of beautiful things, not just one hot girl; seven!


S: The female characters in Gang Girls 2000, and Surf Gang have a certain toughness, you feel like they’ve been around the block, cracked a few heads and have scarred hearts, where did you find your inspiration for these films?

K: These girls are my friends, they’re not actors. I’m observing what they do, how they relate to one another and to me, and I listen to the stories they tell.-I add my own feelings of rage, grief, tenderness, cockiness, and a sense of fun.-I ask them to turn it up by about 30% to make it all more entertaining and lay a story down around it like a wreath of roses.-They take it and run.


S: Where do you find your girl gang talent?

The Brooklyn Brakenecks from the forthcoming Hell on Wheels, Gang Girls Forever

The Brooklyn Brakenecks from the forthcoming Hell on Wheels, Gang Girls Forever



K: Well like I said, most of my actors are friends and friends of friends. It depends on who is available on the day we shoot!-But one time, we picked up a couple of girls in the gas station.-They were blonde girls fuelling up a white jaguar convertible.-I said “hey, you wanna be in a movie?”


S: Your work on both girl gangs and surf gang have such beautiful framing, every shot is almost a photograph. You shot Gang Girls 2000 on super 8 and then dubbed down to video to edit – have you been seduced by the ease of digital video? Or do you still prefer to shoot in film?

K: Thank you so much.-I come from being a photographer so I have that sense of framing my shot in my blood.-If it’s not spectacular and pleasing compositionally,-I won’t shoot it.-I’ll get bored within seconds, and put the camera down. Try something else. Of course, on the other hand, I really do think of myself as being like Ed Wood – (the Johnny Depp version) – “fabulous!” just happy with everything. As for video versus film, I hate the look of video, I do like the texture of film, it’s nicer and I love my little local underground film lab, the reek of chemistry and all, but now because I found a camera which, to me, looks like film, I’m happy with the video too.-I like to mix both together. I haven’t shot a full story on Super 8mm since Gang Girls, because now I have this film like video camera which I really love.

Kembra Pfahler as Sugarlips, leader of the Ponies Gang. Gang Girls 2000

Kembra Pfahler as Sugarlips, leader of the Ponies Gang. Gang Girls 2000



S: Surf Girls had an ace punk rock sound score! I believe your lover Sarah Greenwood (of vocals GSX punk NY band) wrote some of this. What was that process like? Did Sarah have a free hand to go wild! Or did you have an exact sound in mind?

K: Sarah contributed songs to the soundtrack from the GSX album and she also wrote original music for the film. I just set her loose within a framework;-you know, “I need music for when they’re jonesing for waves.” And she comes back with something amazing.-“This is a moment of mystery, a magical rebirth from the sea.”
“This is violent and sexy.” Boom. There’s the music. She’s a fucking genius.


S: Having a girlfriend in a punk rock band, have you been seduced into making the band a video clip as yet?

K: Yeah of course.-I drive my car, listen to her CD and dream up music videos. One of them is so huge and elaborate, it’s going to be a two day shoot. The one that we already did we shot it in 2 hours in an empty room.-A girl, a guitar and a half stack. Loads of headbanging. It’s called “Too Far,” I shot it on Super 8mm, so it’s got that nasty beautiful black and white grain.


S: Your work covers both still images and film – are you drawn to one medium more than the other?

K: I like still images because they are that. Still.-I tend to keep, despite this mad rush of busy life in New York City, quietly within me a secret desire for alchemy, to discover the essence of the moment and hold it up for examination and contemplation. See! But what happens is, if the picture is rich enough, one begins to wonder what the story is. That’s what began to happen with my pictures.-I saw the potential for a story.-And I always liked to make picture books. Movies were naturally a progression from that.-I’ve been making movies for a few years now, and lately I’m returning to the still image. My hope is that the two media will inform and feed one another.


S: “It appears Ms. Del Mar is the lesbian stepchild of Kenneth Anger.” – Aaron Krach, LGNY Film. I love this review how did you feel when you got this
one, do you like the inference you are carrying on the line of great queer erotic movies? Were Kenneth Anger films an inspiration for you?

K: You know I always knew who he was by reading about his work, but I had never seen any of it, I was just mesmerized by the titles! Finally I went to a screening of “Lucifer Rising” and I was all “oh! I totally see it!”- There’s this obsessive looking thing going on, this fetishization of the ordinary accoutrements of sexy people.- To me,
it’s total pervert stuff. The way you stare at a beautiful mouth, and then the zipper, the boots, back to the mouth.-It’s so sexy!- I really like looking at and playing up the relationship of people to their favourite objects.


S: I saw you are in Jasmine Hirst’s – I’m a huge fan of her work – Superstar Series of photography portraits along side Chrissy Amphlett, Penny Arcade, Vali Myers and Nan Goldin. How did this come about?

K: Her work is amazing. I met Jasmine about two years ago here in NYC, she came here to do some work, and we’ve totally hit it off.-She told me she’d seen my work at a screening a few years back before we knew each other and she was really impressed. We have a huge mutual admiration society going on over here, and are talking about collaborating somehow.


S: I read you were involved in a benefit recently for the New Jersey 4 at X Party. I hadn’t heard of this case – of four young afro dykes who got 3-11 years for defending
themselves against a homophobic attack – were called a “lesbian gang” by the NY post and told by the judge you make our city unsafe for tourists. It’s such a shocking
racist, sexist and leso phobic story. What drove you to get involved in this benefit? Is there a lot of anger about their sentences?

K: I read their story and was immediately with them in my heart.-I know that story, I understand that rage!- I’ve done pushbacks on obnoxious fucking guys myself many times and felt it was just my right.-How DARE they speak to me like that.-For me, it’s a kind of elitism as a female. I have a sense of entitlement as a woman to be treated with absolute respect by males.-Is that wrong? That guy deserved the beat down he got and he’s a pussy to go prosecute those persecuted women. I hope he
gets what he deserves.


S: You seem really connected with the queer girl scene in NYC from your stills on flyers for punk girl band gigs such as- “heavy eyeliner” to film/vid installations at
clubs like X Party. What keeps you involved?

K: You sure have your finger on the throbbing pulse of downtown NYC!- I like to be a part of the party, man! My friend Dee Finley promotes X Party which is always fun and creative crazy and sort of punk rock (just like Dee), so it’s fun for me to help out with the imagery.- I love our community, I want to promote it and help it flourish add some creative visuals. Also, having a venue for a film is helpful to get me to make one. Recently I did a film for Halloween night film show where the only rule was that Lola RocknRolla had to be in it and had to die at the end, so I made this really bizarre and bloody vampire film one evening.


S: You work professionally as a studio manager at Nan Goldins studio. Wow is that really the artist Nan Goldin? I saw her retrospective in Paris years ago it
was amazing! Has her drive rubbed off on you? You seem prolific so I think so! Has she given you any good tips, pitfalls for young artists to watch for and
such?

K: Nan Goldin is totally inspiring to me, she is always taking new pictures, always working.- She’s completely hilarious and incredibly smart.- She’s given me so much I think it’s going to take years to unfold the experience of working with her for just a year.- What’s amazing to me about her is that she really lives her work in an unfiltered way. It’s unfailingly unblinkingly almost excruciatingly real.- Her advice to me has been to get rid of all the props.-She says she likes my work a lot, so that’s very encouraging.-She even said my vampire movie was “radical” and “groundbreaking,” so that’s extremely encouraging.


S: Your new short experimental film “Punchin & Cussin” has had a few outings, will it be doing the queer film circuit?

K: Well I’ve been busy at work so I may have missed a few film fest deadlines, but I’d like to get the new short films around. I made four last year – “Punchin & Cussin”,- “A Beautiful Death”, “Do You Have a Lover” (music video for Sandra Grace) & “Too Far” (the music video for GSX / Sarah Greenwood).


S: What projects do you have in the pipeline?

K: My next big project besides making a book of my photographs (I’m trying to think of an appropriate title!) is to make a feature length lesbian vampire movie and I’m also collaborating with Genevieve Pavitt of Hooray for Goodbye on a feature film that’s a gay sci fi thriller.


S: And for the record can you tell us two of your favourite erotic film scenes? Only one can be your own?

K: My favourite erotic scene lately is from My Summer of Love;- the scene with Emily Blunt riding the horse. One from mine is the Glitter Girls pillowfight victory makeout party.


To see more of Katrina del Mar’s work, and her catalogue of books, videos, tshirts and art prints, check out
www.katrinadelmar.com/plushcat.html