Katrina del Mar GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS Participant Inc.

I am so buzzzed, happy & grateful. Sunday night’s opening of GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS at Participant Inc. was packed with lovely people who were happy for me, happy to see one another, & really into the works. Show’s up til Feb 17: Wed-Sun 12-7 Lia Gangitano you are amazing to work with. Nancy Loeber thanks for helping me put those books together. The prints looked gorgeous thanks Carl Saytor of LuxLab! — at PARTICIPANT INC. 253 East Houston Street NY NY 10002

MORE INFO from the press release:

From January 13 – February 17, 2013, PARTICIPANT INC is proud to present GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS, a solo exhibition featuring photographs, videos, and hand-made books by New York-based artist Katrina del Mar.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Katrina del Mar is perhaps best known for her decades-long work in video and photography, chronicling the reality and illusion of her Lower East Side friends and lovers as punk heroines; or within her girl gang movie world of strictly female population. Creating a family tree indebted equally to B-movies and diaristic photography, del Mar’s defiantly queer photographs and videos are iconic alternatives to the cultural status quo, offering an exuberant, hyper-stylized sexuality, an unapologetic feminist voice, and often guerilla-style production tactics.

Particularly informed by the Greek word ekphrasis, a rhetorical device in which a description of a work becomes the work in and of itself, del Mar has described her practice as operating in a similar exchange: book covers and movie posters come before the books and movies and, in some instances, stand alone. She has noted, “Long after my films are finished, I am writing the novels they should have been based on. I write modern myths set in urban environments.”

With this logic in mind, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS presents an expansive selection of photographic works, beginning with a shelf of handmade pulp fiction paperbacks. Their covers, designed first, become starting points for del Mar’s fictional excursions inside, though some remain empty. On the walls, photographs are grouped into loose narratives. Arcs and archetypes—surfer girls, bike gangs, girls playing in their rooms, bedroom scenes including the artist and others—feature dogs, cars, leather, tattoos. These become fictionalized signifiers of the threat of women’s violence, which the artist, as ringleader, marshals as an active participant. Adding light and color to the powers that urban life has to offer, del Mar creates “…a fantasy that moves from violence to sex rather than vice versa….” (Chicago Reader)

Jenifer P. Borum has noted of del Mar’s work: “These glimpses she gives us are not of marginal inhabitants of our world. Those leather femmes with their dogs. Those pierced, sleeved-out dykes on the street. They look like they’re from the cool neighborhood of the city, but they’re not from here. Like Henry Darger’s In the Realms of the Unreal, del Mar’s world is both epic and dystopian—a fictional reality that seems very much like our own, only with different rules.”

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.

Hell On Wheels Gang Girls Forever PREMIERE At Anthology Film Archives SATURDAY OCTOBER 3RD

promotional postcard for Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever directed by Katrina del Mar

promo postcard for Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever directed by Katrina del Mar

“Gang Girls 2000” is everything you could want in an indie flick and more”. – Chris Parcellin, Film Threat

September 3, 2009 (New York, NY) – New York City filmmaker, photographer and artist, Katrina del Mar, described in the press alternately as “the Lesbian Russ Meyer” and “the lesbian Kenneth Anger” will premiere to the screen the girl gang movie, Hell on Wheels; Gang Girls Forever which will wind up her award-winning cult classic trilogy of Girl Gang Films! It will be screened at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City October 3rd 2009. Katrina and her wild-women cast members, (a definitive who’s-who of the downtown NYC scene) will be on-hand for the screening and a Q&A after the films.

Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever directed by Katrina del Mar production still l-r Jessica Templin, Sarah Greenwood, Betsy Todd, Dolinda Meeker, Meredith Miller

Hell on Wheels Gang Girls Forever directed by Katrina del Mar production still l-r Jessica Templin, Sarah Greenwood, Betsy Todd, Dolinda Meeker, Meredith Miller

“Del Mar means of the sea, but Katrina del Mar is all concrete. Particularly, the sidewalks, endless walls and abrasive faces of New York City. Looking at her photos is like walking down its cool, tough avenues. Already this sounds like an echo of every article written on del Mar. But it’s hard to come up with new words, because she’s so cool, so tough.” Lisa Carver  The New Nude, Nerve Chronicle Books

Katrina del Mar: Hell On Wheels Gang Girls Forever PREMIERE Saturday October 3, 2009 two screenings: 7pm & 9pm $12

Anthology Film Archives 32 Second Avenue, NYC 10003

Subways: 6 to Bleecker, F or V to Broadway Lafayette

To view samples of Katrina’s work, visit her website.

NEW FILMS & FILMMAKERS ADDED to Katrina del Mar MOVIE MAYHEM..

Presented by Gail Thacker and the The Gene Frankel Theatre!

“Gang Girls 2000” is everything you could want in an indie flick and more”. – Chris Parcellin, Film Threat

August 10, 2009 (New York, NY) – NEW FILMS & FILMMAKERS ADDED TO MOVIE MAYHEM..
New York City filmmaker, photographer, artist and producer of massive collisions of talent and beauty, Katrina del Mar, triumphs in the underground, revels in the grit and lathers on the beauty in a number of short films and music videos that will be presented at Gene Frankel Theater in New York City Thursday, August 27th. Katrina will be on-hand for the screenings and a Q&A afterwards. Also Short “Art” Films by Anne Hanavan (sexually explicit self portraits where the artist works thru issues surrounding past experiences with sex work, rape, and Catholosm), Lola RockNRolla (The Lesbian John Waters), Jasmine Hirst (Dark Australian Film Artist most famous for her death row interview with Aileen Wuornos), Charlotte G. Choclet (youtube sensation, pregnant bikini model, and sensual astrologer) and more TBA!!*

Films presented include new scenes from the hotly, highly anticipated latest work “Hell on Wheels, Gang Girls Forever” (Slated to premiere in October ’09). Also “SURF GANG” (Awarded Best Experimental Film, Planet Out Short Movie Awards and the NYFA Fellowship in Video), “Gang Girls 2000,” and “A Beautiful Death” (Official Selection, Frameline Film Festival).

“Del Mar, known for her amazing photographs of Lower East Side freaks and rockers, builds on decades of traditional James Dean archetypes and comes out with a girl rebel vision that is truly unique…” – Sarah Jacobson, IFC Rant

Continue reading

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

NewFest is happenin, baby!

Brooklyn Girls played at NewFest on Saturday, with the Musical Shorts program. It was really well received, people fell on the floor in seizures. Well, they whistled and stomped! (Was that just me?) Genny Pavitt and Marz Mikeo of Hooray for Goodbye joined me, as producers of the video!
"Brooklyn Girls" plays on the big screen at NewFest
It ran with some really cool other musical films and music videos including (my favorite, apart from “Brooklyn Girls”) “A Place to Visit” the video for Luff directed by Brian Gonzalez; the video about gay parents called “I’ve Got You” (director Camrin Pitts, who was there in NYC for the first time was very sweet. The musical artist was Melange Lavonne) and Fagette (Athens Boy Choir) directed by Ali Cotterill, who joined us for brunch later and who is also really sweet.
Kenny Hillman had two films in the festival as well so it was really cool to catch up with him, and Nicole Opper (whose film was playing at the same time as mine, so I’ll have to catch it later..) and Desi Del Valle, whom I always love to see. We had such a nice time. I’m looking forward to seeing Mississippi Damned and Against a Trans Narrative (dir. Jules Rosskam) on Tuesday.

Genny Pavitt, Katrina del Mar & Marz Mikeo at NewFest '09 photo by Sarah Greenwood

Genny Pavitt, Katrina del Mar & Marz Mikeo at NewFest '09 photo by Sarah Greenwood

Ali Cotterill, Katrina del Mar & Kenny Hillman at NewFest '09 photo by Sarah Greenwood

Ali Cotterill, Katrina del Mar & Kenny Hillman at NewFest '09 photo by Sarah Greenwood