Tag: elizabeth freeman
You and Us Make It Reverse: Itty Bitty Titty Committee’s Bad Drag, MEN’s Simultaneity, & Spahr and Young’s (Re)enactments
by megan milks on May.12, 2011
The 2007 film Itty Bitty Titty Committee does some bad drag. That is, its temporal drag is flimsy and unclear about its relationship to feminist history. Directed by Jamie Babbitt (But I’m a Cheerleader!), IBTC chronicles the politicization of a young woman named Anna (Melanie Diaz) in present-day Los Angeles. Over the course of the film Anna moves from working as a receptionist at a plastic surgeon’s office to joining a group of radical queer feminists named the C(i)A (Clits in Action) who plot and enact feminist actions such as spraypainting slogans on offending businesses’ storefronts:
The film is often charming and exhilarating, especially due to its raucous soundtrack and general exuberance for feminist theater; but it’s ultimately clouded by what I see as an embarrassing nostalgia for riot grrrl, ACT UP, the 90s generally — a nostalgia that doesn’t realize it’s nostalgia. There is no acknowledgment in the film that the 90s already happened, that that period of feminist/queer activism is over. (I’m not saying that feminist and queer activism’s dead, but that it looks much different now.) The datedness of the film is weird and confusing. When, in the film’s climax, the C(i)A manages to slip a papier-mache penis mold onto the top of the Washington Monument and blow it up, then infiltrate a news studio and invade American televisions with the footage, it comes across as a dead punchline to a tired joke.
by megan milks on Apr.25, 2011
I’ve written on temporal drag* previously in relation to Edie Fake’s historic-gay-bar installation and the young adult novel Nell’s Quilt — I’m reading Elizabeth Freeman’s book now in full and am still excited by the possible applications of it in reading and making art.
Interestingly, Freeman’s essay on temporal drag was published in 2000, but the book, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories, wasn’t published until last year. In the meantime there’s been a good deal of other writing on queer temporalities, e.g., Halberstam’s In a Queer Time and Place, Munoz’s Cruising Utopia — such that at this point Freeman’s book seems weirdly dated (as a friend said, oddly/perfectly out of sync) — as is this post, which I started in November after seeing Peaches Christ Superstar in Chicago.
Peaches Christ Superstar is Peaches’ interpretation of Jesus Christ Superstar (the rock opera) — and is not to be confused with drag queen Peaches Christ, though both are Fabulous. I was originally intending to put Peaches in conversation with the David Wojnarowicz controversy but then I got distracted by Black Swan. Now it’s Easter! Sometimes you just need to be patient and wait for delays to become timely.