Tuli Kupferberg Is God, and a Shoulda-Been Cult Hit Finally Gets Its NY Premiere


Voulez-vous coucher avec God?, directed and written by Michael Hirsh and Jack Christie and produced with assistance of the Ontario Arts Council, stars the recently deceased Tuli Kupferberg as God, as well as the Old Testament patriarch Abraham.

As strenuously druggy, anarchic, and blasphemous as it is, this 1972 feature might have been one of the many post–El Topo movies auditioned as a midnight attraction by the old Elgin Theater and might even have caught on. Instead, it’s having its belated local premiere this Sunday as part of Anthology’s tribute to Kupferberg, beat poet, Fugs founder, and Voice contributor (mainly in the form of letters to the editor).

Here, he plays Middle America’s worst nightmare: His God is an unkempt, hairy schmoozer, consorting with his female subjects in a vaguely Baghdadian crash pad identified as Hashish Seventh Heaven, while holding forth in a braying New York accent: “Give ’em some of that blackface crap—we’ve got enough sexism,” he advises the filmmakers in between chants of “Oy, oy, let’s bomb Hanoi!” As cheerfully offensive as it is, the movie’s greatest outrage comes when God anoints a toothless derelict to run for U.S. president. (The same actor, identified only as “George,” doubles as the angel Gabriel—in which role he’s punished for dereliction of duty with a hot-oil enema.)

Slapdash, but not badly made, this exercise in Yippie vaudeville employs Claymation and television, as well as a bevy of naked houris, to hold one’s attention—although it does fall apart midway. End title delivered as a moon notwithstanding, the climactic gross-out is the mouse omelet prepared for George—a repast that only serves to burnish the genius of John Waters, whose Pink Flamingos (the movie in which Divine eats dog shit) was the Elgin’s midnight attraction for 48 weeks, from late winter 1973 to January 1974.

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