About a strange little film I saw many (many!) years ago, starring a young Crispin Glover. I don’t know why this film came to mind, but I wonder if any of you interlopers have seen it? It’s called, “The Orkly Kid,” and was part of the Beaver Trilogy, which included a young Sean Penn (I didn’t get to watch his version).
In Kid, the pièce de résistance arrives when the teenage Glover shows up at his local talent show (& at the local t.v. station) and does a drag performance of Olivia Newton John. Predictably, the small town is unprepared for his performance. I suppose it’s telling that I can actually picture the character feeling estranged but strangely wonderful & alive when he dons his outfit and practices at home, and later, for the public. What do such musings tell? Well, I think it signals something about our culture & the changes we’re undergoing as a people, people! Just what now, well, that’s above my head, I think.
That film came out in 1985. It’s one of those quiet classics like Todd Haynes’ “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,” complete with Barbie doll stars (& yes, contrary to the link’s author, I’ve seen it). There’s an element there that makes it last. I suppose part of it was simply the fact that the subjects were taboo: a a sexually-ambivalent teenage boy does drag in public (gasp!) and Carpenter’s very public wasting away (the effects of her anorexia were easily seen but rarely discussed, unlike the media-mayhem of today’s Lohans and Richies).
But what else makes these films cult classics? I mean, I enjoyed Xanadu, but alas, I don’t think that film is heralded with quite the same fervor or appreciation. Dare I be abstract and say depth and compassion (& even both directors’ passion)? I’ll be brief and leave it at that.
Perhaps it’s too late for me to wonder aloud. Perhaps I am even showing my age. Adieu, adieu, noble blogger peeps ~
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Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.