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The provocative, the pretentious, the periodically promising. There’s not much more you can hope for from a festival that offers over 150 film and video shorts. MIX’s most memorable entries aren’t necessarily the best but the loudest. Coming in at the highest decibels are Robert Judd’s Jesse Helms Is Cleaning Up America, a collage of vaginas chewing out Helms while chomping up the scenery; Vaginal Davis’s The White to Be Angry, where a skinhead and a drag queen set the stage for queer Aryan love; and The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography, William E. Jones’s disturbingly erotic documentary on porn exploitation behind the once-iron curtain.
With a whole evening devoted to 19 of her shorts, Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas ranks as the best-represented contributor. Contemporary Artist, where Cuevas attempts to introduce herself to an art-world bigwig, is blisteringly funny, while more impressionistic works like Cama (about a bed), Antes de la television (about a murderous vacuum cleaner), and Calzada de Kansas (about friends of Dorothy) reveal a camp whimsy tinged with an existential darkness. A number of Asian American filmmakers also stand out. Clover Paek’s We Got Moves You Ain’t Never Heard Of (Pt 1) is a giddy, gender-bending send-up of The Karate Kid, mixing anal rim shots with Ralph Macchio movie clips. And Tung Wang Wu’s Adoring Caucasian astutely plays out the struggles of the Asian butch. MIX has also excavated a couple of feature-length curiosities: Andy Warhol’s Couch (1964), featuring Jack Kerouac, Baby Jane Holzer, and many others on the master manipulator’s red couch; and Lizzie Borden’s Born in Flames (1983), about a group of avenging militant dykes, which proves a refreshing reminder of guerrilla art’s coarse power.