Girl Gang Screening at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway

Girl Gang Trilogy screens at the Dome in Rockaway

Girl Gang Trilogy screens at the Dome in Rockaway

I was so happy to screen the Girl Gang Trilogy at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway last night, along with Filmmaker Rick Charnoski’s Bloodshed, (a heavy metal skateboarder horror flick), and my Super 8mm film portrait of local Rockaway surfer, musician, roughneck-genius Simon Chardiet. In attendance were artists Charlotte G. Choclet, Nina Sweeney, Ed Hush, musicians Simon Chardiet, Veronica Sanchez, drummer & all around badass Kymber Lee, writer/producer Gail Eisenberg, legendary local surfers Alexander Karinsky & his triple crown son Sandon Karinsky, plus my good buddies & portrait subjects Camille Cha Cha & Kara Kolodjiez. Finally, most importantly, the locals of far Rockaway were in attendance: a crew of surfers, skaters, shop owners, home owners, bikers & badasses.
It’s been a really hard winter out there, with so many people’s homes having been nearly or completely destroyed. Rebuilding is still in progress. The point of having the MoMA PS1 Dome is to bring some fun to Rockaway via art and workshops.

What a fun fun night! Organizer / artist Nina Sweeney made some popcorn w saracha and kept everything running really smoothly.

It is gratifying to finally bring a public screening of SURF GANG to Rockaway, since I filmed there in 2003-4. That was before I knew how to surf. Lena Roca from Yoga on the Rocks came up to me and reminded me that we met when I was filming way back then, that I’d said to her, “can I film you surfing? I really want to learn how to surf.” When I started making Surf Gang the only person I personally knew who surfed was Kembra Pfahler, and I begged her to be in my movie. I said, “Kembra pleeeeease, you’re the only person I know who surfs. You gotta be in my surf gang movie.” Thank god she agreed, Kembra’s character ‘Blackie Rockaway’ turns out to be the dramatic underpinning of the whole movie, with her youthful exuberance, her tragic disappearance and her ridiculous, supernatural return.

Vero, Cha Cha, Kara, Rick & I took the afterparty to Drae Campbell’s Prime although Rick understandably bounced after a short while, (he’s a straight dude) we danced for a bit and had a really great party in the cars on the way over. Chinese firedrills and all.

Nina Sweeney & Katrina del Mar show off their huevos with Terence Koh

Nina Sweeney & Katrina del Mar show off their huevos with Terence Koh

Filmmakers Rick Charnoski & Katrina del Mar at Katrina's Girl Gang Trilogy screening at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway

Filmmakers Rick Charnoski & Katrina del Mar at Katrina’s Girl Gang Trilogy screening at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway

Mike Rinzel and Simon Chardiet at the Girl Gang Trilogy screening @ the Dome in Rockaway

Mike Rinzel and Simon Chardiet at the Girl Gang Trilogy screening @ the Dome in Rockaway

Charlotte G Choclet & Katrina del Mar at the Girl Gang Trilogy screening

Charlotte G Choclet & Katrina del Mar at the Girl Gang Trilogy screening

waiting for the night to come

waiting for the night to come

Filmmaker Katrina del Mar at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway

Filmmaker Katrina del Mar at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 in Rockaway

Girl Gang Trilogy After Party at Prime

Girl Gang Trilogy After Party at Prime

From the Press Release:

MoMA PS1 VW Dome 2 and Participant Inc. are proud to present a screening of Katrina del Mar’s GIRL GANG TRILOGY of films Saturday May 4th 7-10pm at the MoMA PS1 VW Dome in Rockaway. Comprised of three experimental, narrative, underground films: Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever (HDV/Super 8mm 36 minutes 2010) SURF GANG (DV/Super 8mm 24 minutes 2005), and Gang Girls 2000 (Super 8mm 27 minutes 1999)

The films of the GIRL GANG TRILOGY were all completely independently made but big and ambitious; with large casts and almost mythical themes but firmly planted in a comic, B-Movie, D.I.Y. punk-rock ethos.
“I cast my girlfriends as gang girls, in leather and muscle cars. My armies of girls, in coordinated outfits, are ready to do battle for what they believe in: freedom, new turf, glitter, a good wave, a good ride, their girl gang, their favorite dog. I make films that are unselfconsciously queer, unapologetically feminist; riotous and robustly unkempt.”
Jenifer P. Borum has noted of del Mar’s work: “With each passing year, Del Mar’s New York run by girl gangs becomes more real than the New York that is gradually but undeniably being taken over by banks and transformed into a giant mall. The gritty streets and famous beaches are disappearing fast. Del Mar has captured New York’s last gasp of authenticity, transforming it for eternity. Her world is a place where Blackie, the lost leader of the Rockaway Ruffnecks, can still climb out of the sea and save us.”

Katrina will also be screening a 3 minute Super 8mm film portrait of local Rockaway surfer & guitar player Simon Chardiet.

*Also screening Rick Charnoski’s “Bloodshed” a skateboard horror flick!

My Summer Vacation or Mortville for Womyn

Katrina does Archery

I haven’t shot a bow since I was about 9 years old. It felt amazing to do it again.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am a community builder. I started a women’s basketball game, I make movies about girl gangs. I host parties and brunches, I make meals for people, I take my friends surfing. I’ve been joking about starting a surf camp for wayward girls. When I meet new friends I like, I introduce them to old friends I like. I’ve connected people that way for years, people who went on to play in bands together, to work together. It’s part of who I am. Ex girlfriends call me “the mayor,” In some circles I am known as “the Ambassador of Good Times.”

About a year and a half ago I was newly single and I saw Randee Riot’s photo album on facebook. She called it “Summer Camp.” Within were pictured Randee and her cute pals in cuddle piles on lawn chairs, in hammocks, in sunshine, out in the woods. I was intrigued, it looked great; I wanted to be there.
So I asked her about it and she said “Oh. It’s Michigan Womyns Music Festival. Katrina, it’s amazing you have to go!.” As it turns out, a few other women I know and love go to Michfest every year; the girls I play basketball with go and they all said the same thing. “Oh my god, It’s so much fun. It’s amazing. Katrina you HAVE to go.”
So I decided. “I have to go.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Honestly I didn’t even know Michfest was still going on. I had heard about it from way back. It was founded in 1976 by lesbian separatists. it’s women’s land with no men allowed. I never really was a fan of women’s music. I’m a rocker. I like AC/DC, GSX, I like punk rock. Not so much into folksy stuff apart from the occasional Kate Bush or Dolly Parton or Fiona Apple singalong.
I mean, when we were kids my stepmother played Buffy Sainte Marie and it was cute, I loved the political message. I am a feminist. I’m pro peace and nature. But please, that music is just so, uh, granola and most of its naked intimacy really makes me cringe all over.
I began, however, from Randee’s pictures and from my friends urgencies, to get the idea that Michigan Womyns Music Fest is about way more than the music. In fact, the whole experience of camping in the woods with a bunch of sexy friends who are way underdressed, the idea that we can all be together for a week in the woods and do workshops, play basketball, dance, do yoga, play football, shower together, do archery, go topless. It just all started to sound like too good to be true.
Also, I saw that Joan as Policewoman was on the bill and I like them.

Cut to early August, I didn’t have a ticket or a way to go, but a miracle happened, the heavens opened up and Randee came sailing on the Hand of God into my field of vision via text message: Contact Nicky Cutler right away; Go Magazine needs someone to go to Michfest.

So I did, it worked out and at the last possible second I got the green light. I packed up my jeep, reached out on facebook for a travel partner pal with a free week (“you have to be awesome and female”) Kat O. responded and we hit the road.

I hadn’t gone camping since I was a teenager. Since going single I’ve been threatening to go camping and here I was in the Michigan woods, pitching a tent. I felt like a girl scout again, improvising with ropes and tarp and twine and trees. We borrowed gear from other campers. We figured it out.

So how was Michfest? It was AMAZING. It was like being on a really pleasant, mellow acid trip. My cheeks ached from smiling all day long. I would say, “I’m just gonna go over here for a minute I’ll be right back.” Somehow these little errands would turn into wonderful journeys. Kat O. nailed it when she said it was like being a teenager, you’d go to the park to see what’s going on and then to someone’s basement to listen to them play music and then continue to drift pleasantly, aimlessly, throughout the evening. These desultory journeys were sensory treasure hunts; I found a spontaneous dance party, a bonfire with a rollicking conversation and someone grilling bratwurst in a cast iron skillet, bonfires with singing and s’mores, a conversation under a tree, a conversation in the shower, someone cute to make out with, a cuddle pile, a massage circle.

We also realized it reminded us tremendously of Mortville from “Desperate Living.” Minus Queen Carlotta but there were (female) leather daddies and crazy outfits and lots of gold lamé in this ramshackle, temporary city in the woods.

The showers at michfest are wide open in the woods. I stood showering with women of 70, women of 24, women of all sizes. And conversations just flowed everywhere. I felt the spirit of connecting with elders on a really sweet human level. I took an archery workshop. Other people took conscious communication workshops, dirty talk workshops, how to find your g-spot workshops. Team Dresch played and women crowd surfed without the fear of being groped by dudes. The sign language interpreters were amazing to watch. I’d never seen live music interpreted for the deaf before.

In the dark of night lit by torches and flashlights I watched a demonstration of fisting and female ejaculation. I hadn’t seen such a great graphic dirty show since Lady Hennessy took the stage at Pyramid Club in the late 80’s. I heard Dorothy Allison read her unpublished southern story within a story. I saw the milky-way, great oak trees, a raccoon in the moonlight that I whispered to. “Raccoon. I see you.”

It was my lesbian Heart of Darkness, my hippie Lord of the Flies; I went native, I drank the Kool Aid, I bought the tie-dye. It was a magnificent moment and I’ll never be the same.

There were drawbacks and downsides. Every ticket comes with 3 vegetarian meals a day and although I really like vegetarian food and would definitely cook something like what they served, somehow, overall the food just sucked. I wanted to like it. Some meals were great. But on the whole I was disappointed. I mean, would it kill them to put a little vegan bouillon in the rice? The weather on the whole was great but it did rain for two days straight and I had forgotten to pack any boots or any waterproof clothing.

One ugly thread was the political controversy that got visible this year with the implementation of red shirts to indicate the support of keeping MichFest only for wbw or “women born women.” Officially, the festival is not trans inclusive. Although I saw a full spectrum of the female gender represented from waxy, wasp-waisted high femme to bearded stone butch and a handful of ftm, mtf, trans and intersex people. It seemed like everyone was getting along. It was explained to me that no one is checking people at the gate for penises or vaginas or variants in between. It’s basically don’t ask don’t tell. However, there was a sad, uncomfortable, angry feeling among people who support trans friends and their inclusion. I brought it up with one old timer and she said yes, well, then they should start their own festival [that’s trans inclusive.] Some people simply won’t come to michfest because of this policy. Other people come and don’t tell their friends that they’re coming, because they don’t want to hurt their trans friends feelings by supporting a transphobic event. There’s an opinion floating around that the festival is losing steam and will die out because of this controversy, which is truly sad. I was pleased to see that there were trans and intersex people there, it made me feel at home because my chosen family includes queer folk of all gender persuasions.

I came home on a mission to convince all my favorite bands to play, my favorite writers to come read and to convince all my friends to come play in the woods next summer. At the end of the trip I returned to New York City and had the end of summer blues a little early. I don’t want to go back to school; to be civilized, I was Huckleberry Finn, a drifter, a girl pretending to be a boy pretending to be a girl, making friends, saving lives, having adventures, making maps, elaborate ones, of secret places, secrets with trees, with the soft ground, the surprise.
I didn’t want it to end.
all photos were taken with permission of the subject(s), and photo permission was cleared by the festival organizer / creator.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Girl Gang Trilogy Screening in London

Katrina filming Gang Girls 2000 photo by Dayna Frank

SATURDAY, 14th April, 10.45pm
Hackney Picturehouse, 270 Mare Street, London E8 1HE
£8
Buy Tickets

‘None of us can do anything right but we all do it all day long!’

‘None of us can do anything right but we all do it all day long!’ Katrina Del Mar’s explosive Girl Gangs trilogy rolls into Hackney Picture House for a special screening in association with theLondon Rollergirls, who will be bringing a whole lot of attitude, a Q&A and a few derby themed shorts. We watch Del Mar’s lady-loving, leather-clad cast keeping the feminist/punk/DIY spirit alive as they cause an unpredictable ruckus through New York state. Returning from a mysterious accident that left her wheelchair bound, Crank is forced to click up quick when her gang abandons her in ‘Hell On Wheels: Gang Girls Forever!’ Will she get revenge? Two orphan sisters start a turf war on the beach in ‘Surf Gang: Ruffnecks Vs. Ungratefuls’ and four girl gangs clash and rumble through the Lower East Side in ‘Gang Girls 2000.’ Girl-on-girl solidarity lies at the heart of this trilogy. If you can roll with it, you’re in!

(reposted from the Fringe Film Fest)