He started off with this slideshow performance, where he was reading from these books he wrote and the pages were projected on the screen. I almost preferred this bit to his movie tbh, the books were so effing cool and the way he read them was amazing. They were old obscure books that he had altered to black out sections of the paragraphs and add new bits and turn them into something completely unsettling. And the pictures in them had been given captions and incorporated into the stories so they became funny/weird/uncomfortable to look at.
It's probably best to mention now that the movie played next, and at the time of watching I was a little bombarded with the confrontational-ness of it all. I mean, that was the point, and it worked. I haven't been able to find any film stills online but these are two of the posters.
So yes. There was blackface. Most of the main characters had Downs Syndrome. Many snails were killed, for reals. There were aspects of the film that made sense to me only after his explanations, and others that still don't make sense. Still, he came across as a very genuine, very onto-it kind of guy, who is concerned primarily with making art that is uncensored and will make people think. Which, you know. It makes you question a lot of things. The title is very apt. It's what you're wondering the whole time.
A definite positive aspect of the film I found was the employment of so many actors with Downs. I didn't feel that he was condescendingly "using" them, or trying to make it edgy by having them in it, or some other disrespectful thing. He said afterwards that he felt people with disabilities were extremely underrepresented in mainstream film, and if they ever were in films they were always playing characters with the same disability. They were never given the chance, as an actor, to play a character who did not have it. Which is a ridiculously true point. He also mentioned that they always had to play "nice" characters, who did nice things to each other. His film was full of confused, mean people doing bad things to each other. Which I feel is affording the actors the humanity that is real for them, rather than the dehumanizing infantilization that goes on in Hollywood.
The blackface... I'm still not sure about. There were some parts of the book reading that also brought up issues of race, mostly old fashioned racism from before the 1900's. I didn't feel like he was being racist himself, but it was hard to see why he brought up those old things. I think maybe they are things which people don't want to think about anymore, to just erase from history, and he's thinks it's a good thing that we don't forget? Maybe a clear and honest approach is the way forward, without any "taboos" per say, so that we can more easily understand what's wrong and why it is wrong, rather than just never talking about those things again and leaving some people confused as to why.
But overall it was a really positive experience, and I have a lot of respect for the guy. It was refreshing to see some art that someone has made completely of their own volition and without any sort of concern about audience and market and making money. And also someone who obviously has enough money to make exactly what they want, without any of the concessions that most artists have to make from their lack of funding.
And now...here is a picture of me as a 'satanist'.
And my sexy satanist boyfriend, who made his own buttons from polymer clay!:
And our sexy satanist living room:
And the 'Blood of Christ', otherwise known as mulled wine:
All in all it was an awesome birthday party! Very silly but very fun, a lot of dancing to Rock Lobster (Satan's favourite tune.) Some kids were trying very hard to put Chris Brown on but ironically he was BANNED from the music. Ironically because if there is a hell, he is the one person who will most certainly burn for all eternity. Seriously, fuck Chris Brown.