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October 20, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 42
 
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Seattle Gay News - 2006 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
HAIL SATANA! - Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! star Tura Satana at the Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
by Maggie Bloodstone - SGN A&E Writer

That I should live long enough to see a film by Russ Meyer in a Queer film festival! Why, it seems like only yesterday the late impresario of such cranked-up heteromale eye-candy as Mudhoney, Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, and Supervixens was public enemy #1 on the cultural hit-lists of 1970's feminists-which included a lot of highly miffed lesbians ready and willing to kick ass-preferably male, white, and oversexed (much like Meyer himself).

Thus, it is truly the height of irony that the undisputed supernova of Meyer's tour-de-fucking-force, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, happens to be a highly miffed lesbian whose body count surpasses that of Valerie Solanis, whose ferocity eclipses the wiener-chopping rampages of Hothead Paisan, Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist, and whose carnivorous sexuality&uhhh&.whose splendiferous carnality&ahhh&gimme a minute.

Ok, I'm back. I speak, of course, of the vicious, voluptuous Vini Vidi Vixen of all-American, two-fisted, two-breasted exploitation cinema, Faster Pussycat's villainous Varla-ladies and gentlemen, the titanic, tempestuous Tura Satana.

Tura's embodiment of undiluted female anima in the form of Varla, though committed to film forty years ago, has since become an underground icon worshipped by trash-movie hounds, punks, and hipsters alike, inspiring the filmic visions of no less than John Waters and Quentin Tartantino, and providing feminists born with an extra dose of testosterone with a heroine worthy of epidermic immortalization (I speak, specifically, of the tattoo of Varla triumphant on my own right forearm). Pussycat was the essence of what came to be the typical Russ Meyer Film-frenetic editing, outrageous dialog, hair-curling violence, good vs. evil plotlines where good always wins- but evil is always more fun, and above all, looming like estrogen-packed colossi over the tawdry proceedings, the most pneumatic mammalian protuberances that ever overflowed a Frederick's Of Hollywood over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder (all the more awe-inspiring when you consider the majority, like Tura's two best friends, were Goddess-given). But under Meyer's discerning eye, and attached to some of the fiercest females ever seen on celluloid, common everyday lactation delivery systems transform into virtual weapons, as indomitable as a Valkyrie's iron breastplate and lethal as one of Varla's trachea-crushing karate blows.

Tura's own life reads like the raw script for a first-rate exploitation flick: a Japanese-Cheyenne born to an actor and a circus performer, she spent part of her childhood in a California internment camp, part of her adolescence as a girl-gang leader, and the first part of her adulthood as a burlesque headliner. She was harassed for her Asian heritage, sexually assaulted at the age of nine, married (briefly) at 13, widowed in her early '20's, sinking into alcoholism before bouncing back with a vengeance, becoming one of the most popular professional peelers in the biz (with at least one suitor committing suicide over her and dating fellow icon Elvis Presley). Like her Pussycat persona, Tura is larger than life in every conceivable way. (I'm waiting with tingling areola for her autobiography, The Kick-Ass Life Of Tura Satana, to be published soon.)

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! will be screened at the Egyptian theater, Sat. Oct.21, courtesy of the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, as this year's 'Midnight Mass With Peaches Christ'. Clearly, the Festival's organizers recognize this gritty little chunk of celluloid as not only a true classic of transgressive cinema, but a watershed moment for the image of lesbians & bi-females in film. (It should be noted that Meyer also gave the world the first explicit lesbian love scene in an American film: 1968's Vixen.) When Pussycat was released in 1966, the only depictions of 'those kind' of girls were tragedies like The Children's Hour, where the poor perverted creature inevitably ended up dead before the end credits, after bemoaning her hopelessly 'inverted' condition. In Pussycat, the well-worn image of the sadistic Sapphist is taken to the extreme, literally leaving broken and battered male corpses in her wake instead of crumpling at the feet of her female object of desire in gut-wrenching remorse. Varla dies anyway (as do half the cast of any Meyer film), but by Isis, she takes a few dozen dudes with her. Zero points for political correctness, but more satisfying than a tub of Haagen-Dazs with sinsemilla sprinkles.

Varla/Tura will be present in the fabulous flesh, answering probing questions of Ms. Christ, signing autographs, and judging a Tura Satana look-alike contest. (Me, I'm digging out my favorite underwired, cantilevered Titzling, and entering my right arm.)

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! plays midnight at the Egyptian Theater, 801 Pine St., Sat., Oct. 21. Tickets: www.ticketwindowonline.com, or at the door.

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