Russ Meyer is dead, Long Live His Films & Memory!
Hey folks, Harry here... I know I didn't write about the loss of Frank Thomas, one of Disney's greatest animators and star of the brilliant documentary FRANK & OLLIE... but frankly, I knew it would be a strongly emotional write up. Frank was one of those artists whose artwork brought to life scenes of exquisite simple beauty. His characters rife with innocence and goodness. Frank was about as wholesome and pure an artist as we're likely to see. Why do I bring this up now? Well...
Russ Meyer has died. I never got to meet Frank, but I have met Russ Meyer... I'll never forget it. It was at the Alamo Drafthouse - it was one of the grander moments in the Alamo's history. Russ was cantankerous, colorful and not one to go with the flow. He made favoring remarks regarding my sister during his introduction for FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL -- It is one of my sister's favorite memories, to be singled out by Russ Meyer, to catch his eye... Well, it made her feel like a super-woman. A Meyer-woman, and that's one thing for a gal to beat her chest about!
At the time, Russ did 3 shows that night, and on the final show... Russ was tired and beings that it was at the Drafthouse, he'd had a few drinks. I had left by this point, but Copernicus was there... and Russ got into Tall Tale mode weaving wild tales of a young Roger Ebert and his wanton lasciviousness... The first time I ever got contacted by Roger Ebert was to correct these wild tales... the most recent was his e-mail stating that Russ Meyer is gone at the age of 82.
I'll never forget that first dinner I had at a Chicago Italian Restaurant with Roger. As we ate fantastic pasta (Hey, it's Chicago) - Roger told fantastic stories about his and Russ' friendship and history together. I was enchanted. In the world of Cult Film, there are few figures that even come close to the legend and reality of Russ Meyer. His films had a pulsing libido that brought one helluva smile. One of my favorite BUTT-NUMB-A-THON moments, was at BNAT 2 when I screened BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS... A good half of the audience hated it... Several women came up afterwards to tell me they loved it. And apparently, X-MEN producer Tom DeSanto sat quitely watching the film as the guy next to him masturbated through the screening. I may note, the man was a complete stranger and in no way knew Tom DeSanto.
My way too brief a conversation with Russ was for me, unworthy. I have known Russ' films since College. Watching a film like FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL - it's a crazed ride. Powerful Amazonian Super-Women that just take who and what they want. Equals to the most chiseled man. Strippers with hot cars and grudges to grind at a 100 miles per hour and hips that move just as fast! Watching that film at a racetrack outside of Austin as Tura Satana and Haji rode Hot Rods and squealed in delight... well, it was cult heaven.
Tonight, I was going to dig through my new STAR WARS dvds, but now... Now it's time for MOTORPSYCHO, MUDHONEY & LORNA. I think my night got a lot happier and less aggravating. Thanks Russ!