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!

That Perfect Moment. Surf Blackout by Katrina del Mar

THAT. PERFECT. MOMENT.

Originally published July 2011 in the Bluegrass Special
“A prominent New York City surfer–they do exist–reflects on ‘the indescribable high I hope to chase until I die.’”

Katrina del Mar, in her element. photo by Sarah Greenwood

‘…the indescribable high I hope to chase until I die’

By Katrina del Mar

I know addiction.

It’s a force beyond reason, the compulsion is absolute and I am happily enslaved to its demands. I physically labor to serve it until I’m too tired to function.

I push off onto this surface, which is blue-green and in motion. It’s moving me and every other thought disappears.

When I’m trying to catch up to this moving force, this wave, it makes me pull with all my might like I’m trying to save a baby, like I need it to survive.

When I’m paddling out on a big day, I am sometimes literally swimming with all my might just to save my own life, and every other thought disappears.

For a busy brain this relief, this “no thought, no past, no future” is a rare and priceless gift. And it’s the high I keep coming back for.

My first day surfing seemed so innocuous but it ended with a prophecy. I had been filming a friend, this artist guy with blond dreadlocks who surfed. He got out of the water to rest.

He said, “Do you wanna try it?”

I said, “Yeah!”

I didn’t get a lesson. I don’t think he even told me what to do, apart from helping to attach the leash to my ankle. I grabbed his board and ran into the water. I made a running leap, like I saw him do, like I’ve seen in the movies. I threw myself onto the board and paddled out. I could barely sit on the board, let alone catch a wave, but I made a few reckless attempts. He said, when I came back to the beach all dripping, cold, happy, smiling; he said, “You’re a lifer.”

I thought he was joking. Now I knew he meant it.

That was 8 years ago. 3 or 4 boards ago. Three wetsuits ago.

Katrina surfs Rockaway December 2011 photo by Elisa Bates

Dennis is his name. He gave me an old longboard to use, an old faded RonJon with an altered, glassed-in fin.

That first year, I only went out when the waves were big. I was ignorant. I didn’t know it was possible to surf on smaller days. I was stupid, brave, terrified.

The certainty of “I will die, oh my god, I will die, if I don’t pull with all my might” replaced all of my other petty thoughts and concerns and I felt the gorgeous freedom that the present moment, flushed with adrenaline, can bestow.

I was the kook out there trying to stay out of your way. Mostly I was successful.

I learned how to surf by doing it and by surfing with friends. Saul. Dennis. Jerry. Simon. Jeanine. Each of them taught me the etiquette, the tricks to survive, how to duck dive, turtle roll, when to ditch the board and swim for your life, how not to ditch the board when you wipe out, how to surf without a leash, how to stay out of people’s way, how to claim your wave. How not to be a kook. Simon told me, “You’re not a kook, you’re a beginner.” And the difference, as I understand it, is not only in action (don’t drop in. especially don’t drop in, wipe out and ditch your board.) but in attitude. Humility. Awareness of others.

Simon told me, “The best surfer out here is the one having the most fun.”

RonJon, Rockaway. photo by Katrina del Mar

After many, many day trips to Rockaway, evening trips to Long Beach, weekend trips to Montauk, trips up and down my New York City stairs (four flights); after a surf trip to Hawaii, a surf trip to Costa Rica, I’m fitter, stronger, happier and I feel like finally I’m getting it.

Today I surfed Beach 67th in Rockaway. In my opinion, this was New York City surfing at its best: it’s a hot summer day, with cool, clear, blue-green water, (It’s NYC, folks, trust me when I tell you, sometimes the water ain’t all that clear), nice 2-3 foot waves, two good girlfriends. The water felt delicious. I caught a bunch of waves.

What’s funny is, after each ride, after I’d say to my friend, “Did you see that?” And then I would recount the brief story of the ride. But then I would try to remember the take off. And I’d have a moment of wonder, tilting my head like a dog hearing a queer sound. I realized, just today, that I can’t quite remember taking off on the wave. It seems I have a tiny blackout.

I can remember how it ends but not how it begins.

I figure each takeoff is a precious present moment so fully engorged with life that it must erase future memory. It only can exist at That. Perfect. Moment.

It’s the indescribable high I hope to chase until I die.

Golden Surf, Rockaway photo by Katrina del Mar

SURF GANG to screen at Filmmakers Cooperative Summer Cinema Salon

My film SURF GANG will screen Saturday June 11 8pm at Filmmakers Cooperative Summer Cinema Salon in legendary arts garden Le Petit Versailles. East 2nd St near Avenue C, NYC.

think Goodfellas meets Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!

think Grey Gardens meets The Warriors.

Think Mel Brooks meets Russ Meyer and bites off Dog Town and Zboys. Think Blue Crush: lose the lame story, add hot cast from Gang Girls 2000.

A gang of urban surfer girls leaves its home break and runs a course of chaotic violence until a call comes in from the other side.

Starring former ABT Ballerina Nicolette Nolan, Kembra Pfahler, Andrea Purcigliotti.  filmed in Rockaway Beach, NYC, Southampton, East Hampton and Montauk.

Surf Gang won the NYFA Fellowship in Video and Best Experimental Film, Planet Out Short Movie Awards and was screened at the Museum of Contemporaray Art CAPC Museum, in Bordeaux, France
Here is the trailer, edited by Melissa Huffsmith Roth

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.