JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

Notes

[1] Travis Mathews, “Press Notes,” Interior. Leather Bar., accessed April 23, 2016, http://www.interiorleatherbar.com/press-notes/. [return to page 1]

2. Bill Nichols, Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 56-63; Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 130-31.

3. As its point of reference, this essay uses the uncensored version of the film (available on DVD), which includes several close-up sequences of unsimulated, explicit sex. Note that softcore (non-explicit) versions may circulate via some streaming sources.

4. Mathews, “Press Notes”; and Julian Hoxter, “Gay Film Auteur Travis Mathews Talks Interior. Leather Bar.,” Filmmaker Magazine, January 19, 2013, http://filmmakermagazine.com/63105-gay-porn-auteur-travis
-matthews-talks-interior-leather-bar/
.

5. A representative example: Brian Moylan, “It’s Time to Bring James Franco’s Reign of Half-assed Artistry to an End,” The Guardian, September 27, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/sep/27/james-
franco-saturday-night-live-hulu-celebrity-dilettante
.

6. Alexander Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising, Ghetto Politics, and Gay Sexuality,” Social Text, no. 4 (1981): 101, 109.

7. Amelia Jones, Body Art / Performing the Subject (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), 13.

8. Ibid., chp. 2-3.

9. David Román, Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 120; José Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999).

10. Holly Hughes and David Román, “An Introductory Conversation,” in O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance, eds. Holly Hughes and David Román (New York: Grove Press, 1998), 7, 8.

11. B. Ruby Rich, “Festival Reports: Sundance,” Film Quarterly 66, no. 2 (2012): 67.

12. Pamela McClintock, “Shia LaBeouf Regrets Spielberg Dig, Slams Studio System: ‘They Stick a Finger Up Your A--,’” The Hollywood Reporter, August 15, 2012, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/
shia-labeouf-abandoning-big-budget-movies-361943
.

13. Michael Cieply, “Documentary? Better Call It Performance Art,” New York Times, September 16, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/movies/17affleck.html.

14. Peggy Phelan, “Marina Abramović: Witnessing Shadows,” Theatre Journal 56, no. 4 (2004): 571. Also see Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1993), chp. 7.

15. For an appreciation of Glover’s films and stage show, see Philip Brophy, “Is it Weird? Or, Actualizing Disallowed Cinema,” Lola, no. 3 (2012): http://lolajournal.com/3/glover.html.

16. The title I’m Still Here also recalls the title of Todd Haynes’s impressionistic Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There (2007), which featured a diverse variety of actors playing some version of Dylan’s public persona. Coming off his recent success in a Johnny Cash biopic, it is hard not to see these titular similarities as commenting on Phoenix’s own struggle (however exaggerated for the sake of mockumentary) with his own public persona. As a part-scripted, part-documentary film, Interior. Leather Bar. shares some of I’m Still Here’s interest in celebrity gossip as epistemological wormhole, but the revelation of the Phoenix meltdown as blatant fabrication more closely aligns it with the mockumentary as fictional genre than the reflexive/performative documentary’s self-interrogation of non-fiction’s limits.

17. Also see Penny Spirou, “He’s Still Here: Joaquin Phoenix as Transgressive Hollywood Star,” Akademisk Kvarter, no. 10 (2015): http://www.akademiskkvarter.hum.aau.dk/pdf/
vol10/12_PennySpirou_HeIsStilHere.pdf
.

18. James Franco, “Why Actors Act Out,” New York Times, February 19, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/opinion/
james-franco-on-shia-labeoufs-recent-antics.html
.

19. See, for example, when Franco’s online flirtation with a 17-year-old woman in 2014 went public, which some observers speculated was a “performance” stunt: Katy Waldman, “I Hope James Franco is a Creep,” Slate.com, April 3, 2014, http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/03/
james_franco_tried_to_pick_up_a_17_year_old_on_
instagram_let_s_hope_it_wasn.html
.

20. See James Franco, “A Star, a Soap, and the Meaning of Art,” Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2009, http://www.wsj.com/articles/
SB10001424052748704107104574570313372878136
;
Sam Anderson, “The James Franco Project,” New York, July 25, 2010, http://nymag.com/movies/profiles/67284/; Jonah Weiner, “The Mystery of James Franco: Inside His Manic Days and Sleepless Nights,” Rolling Stone, March 23, 2016, http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/
the-mystery-of-james-franco-inside-his-manic-days-and-sleepless-nights-20160323
; and Jerry Saltz, “In Conversation: James Franco,” Vulture, April 18, 2016, http://www.vulture.com/2016/04/james-franco-jerry-saltz-
converstaion-c-v-r.html
. [return to page 2]

21. Anderson, “The James Franco Project.”

22. Henry Adam Svec, “Brando versus Franco: Media Theorizing with the Stars,” Celebrity Studies 5, no. 3 (2014): 369, 370.

23. Jones, Body Art, 149.

24. Laura Stampler, “A Brief History of Shia LaBeouf Copying the Work of Others,” Time, February 10, 2014, http://time.com/6094/shia-labeouf-plagiarism-scandal/.

25. Abigail Ann Schwarz, “On Shia LaBeouf’s Metamodern Performance Art,” Notes on Metamodernism, April 8, 2014, http://www.metamodernism.com/2014/04/08/on-shia-
labeoufs-metamodern-performance-art/
. See also Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, “artnet News’s Exclusive Interview with LaBeouf, Rönkkö, and Turner,” artnet News, February 11, 2016, https://news.artnet.com/people/shia-
labeouf-art-interview-ronkko-turner-420677
.

26. Luke Turner, “Metamodernist // Manifesto” (2011), Metamodernism (blog), accessed April 29, 2016, http://www.metamodernism.org/For the origins of this term, see Timotheus Vermuelen and Robin van den Akker, “Notes on Metamodernism,” Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, no. 2 (2010): http://aestheticsandculture.net/index.php/jac/article/viewArticle/5677.

27. Sarah Lyall, “For Her Next Piece, a Performance Artist Will Build an Institute,” New York Times, October 19, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/arts/design/marina-abramovic-
is-putting-her-name-on-a-center-in-hudson-ny.html
.

28. Lily Rothman, “Explaining James Franco Explaining Shia LaBeouf: Why None of This is Art,” Time, February 20, 2014, http://entertainment.time.com/2014/02/20/james-franco-shia-labeouf/.

29. See Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World (New York: W.W. Norton, 2008).

30. Jessica Dawson, “Why Does the Art World Coddle James Franco?” The Daily Beast, April 22, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04
/22/why-does-the-art-world-coddle-james-franco.html
.

31. See Roberta Smith, “Everybody is Playing Somebody Else Here,” New York Times, April 22, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/arts/
design/james-franco-new-film-stills-arrives-at-pace-gallery.html
; Benjamin Sutton, “Why James Franco’s Cindy Sherman Homage at Pace Is Not Just Bad But Offensive,” artnet News, April 22, 2014, https://news.artnet.com/
art-world/why-james-francos-cindy-sherman-homage-at-pace-is-not-
just-bad-but-offensive-11107
; and Kelsey Haight, “James Franco Just Tried to Appropriate the Female Experience,” Bust, accessed April 29, 2016, http://bust.com/arts/11965-james-franco-just-tried-to-
appropriate-the-female-experience.html
.

32. Michael Bronski, “What’s So Queer About James Franco?” Cineaste, Winter 2014, 10.

33. James Franco, “The Straight James Franco Talks to the Gay James Franco,” FourTwoNine, March 27, 2015, http://dot429.com/articles/5801-
the-straight-james-franco-talks-to-the-gay-james-franco
.

34. Jameson Fitzpatrick, “A Queer Take on James Franco’s ‘Straight James / Gay James,’” Lambda Literary, January 16, 2016, http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/oped/01/16/a-queer-take-on-
james-francos-straight-james-gay-james/
.

35. Jane Ward, Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men (New York: NYU Press, 2015), 209.

36. See Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising”; Vito Russo, The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies (rev. ed.) (New York: Harper & Row, 1987); James Kendrick, Hollywood Bloodshed: Violence in 1980s American Cinema (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), chp. 2.

37. Guy Davidson, “‘Contagious Relations’: Simulation, Paranoia, and the Postmodern Condition in William Friedkin’s Cruising and Felice Picano’s The Lure,” GLQ 11, no. 1 (2005): 25; D. A. Miller, “Cruising,” Film Quarterly 61, no. 2 (2007): 70; David Greven, Psycho-Sexual: Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013), 187, 189.

38. Miller, “Cruising,” 73.

39. Greven, Psycho-Sexual, 198.

40. Davidson, “Contagious Relations,” 31.

41. Greven, Psycho-Sexual, 193-95; Bill Krohn, “Friedkin Out,” Rouge, no. 3 (2004): http://www.rouge.com.au/3/friedkin.html.

42. Robin Wood, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan…and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), 42, 56, 58, 60. Both Friedkin and Pacino had earlier breakthroughs with gay-themed material; Friedkin’s different species of self-hating gays in Boys in the Band (1970) and Pacino’s desexualized gay protagonist in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) each find notable echoes in Cruising.

43. For a more elaborate reading of Cruising in relation to Psycho, see Greven, Psycho-Sexual, chp. 6.

44. Davidson, “Contagious Relations,” 43-45, 52. Quote at 52.

45. Ibid., 41-42, 49; Wood, Hollywood, 56; Miller, “Cruising,” 73. [return to page 3]

46. Krohn, “Friedkin Out.” In another example of this seemingly supernatural contamination between films and real life, one of Friedkin’s extras in The Exorcist, Paul Bateson, later confessed to at least one of the late-1970s murders of gay men, including that of Variety film critic Addison Verrill, which would inspire Friedkin to direct Cruising. See Arthur Bell, “Phone Call from a Fugitive: ‘I Killed Addison Verrill,’” The Village Voice, October 3, 1977, 1, 11.

47. Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising,” 99.

48. Miller, “Cruising,” 71.

49. Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising,” 104-05, 109.

50. Greven, Psycho-Sexual, 184.

51. Because Interior’s cast and crew are all effectively playing some semi-scripted version of themselves, I will henceforth use first names (e.g., “Val,” “James,” “Travis”) to denote their characterizations within the film itself, and reserve their surnames (e.g., Lauren, Franco, Mathews) for discussing their actual selves, despite the difficulty of fully parsing such distinctions in a quasi-documentary project. On this overlap between the actual cast/crew and their onscreen incarnations, see, for example, Mark Peikert’s interview “Val Lauren Goes Cruising in ‘Interior. Leather Bar.’ at Sundance,” Backstage, January 18, 2013, http://www.backstage.com/interview/val-lauren-goes-cruising-
interior-leather-bar-sundance/
.

52. Michael Warner, The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), chp. 4. Also see Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner, “Sex in Public,” in Warner, Publics and Counterpublics (New York: Zone Books, 2002), 187-208.

53. Wood, Hollywood, 61.

54. Mathews, “Press Notes.”

55. According to Friedkin, Franco only contacted him near the end of Interior’s production to ask what was truly in the forty minutes of cut footage (“William Friedkin on ‘Cruising,’ Franco’s ‘Interior. Leather Bar.,’ & Mineshaft footage,” YouTube, accessed April 25, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ0MGKSd_wA).

56. Davidson, “Contagious Relations,” 44.

57. José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 37.

58. Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising,” 100-01.

59. Mathews, “Press Notes.”

60. Lucas Hilderbrand, “Retroactivism,” GLQ 12, no. 2 (2006): 307.

61. Mathews, “Press Notes.”

62. Notable examples include In the Realm of the Senses (Nagisa Oshima, 1976), Romance (Catherine Breillat, 1999), The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo, 2003), 9 Songs (Michael Winterbottom, 2004), Anatomy of Hell (Catherine Breillat, 2004), Battle in Heaven (Carlos Reygadas, 2005), Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell, 2006), Nymphomaniac (Lars Von Trier, 2013), and Love (Gaspar Noé, 2015). See Linda Williams, Screening Sex (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), chp. 7; and Jon Lewis, “Real Sex: Aesthetics and Economics of Art-house Porn,” Jump Cut, no. 51 (2009): http://ejumpcut.org/archive/jc51.2009/LewisRealsex/1.html.

63. Wilson, “Friedkin’s Cruising,” 100; Miller, “Cruising,” 71. [return to page 4]

64. Berlant and Warner, “Sex in Public,” 193-95, 198-200.

65. Ibid., 207, 208.

66. Greven, Psycho-Sexual, 187.

67. Derek Nystrom, Hard Hats, Rednecks, and Macho Men: Class in 1970s American Cinema (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 142.

68. Mattias Frey, Extreme Cinema: The Transgressive Rhetoric of Today’s Art Film Culture (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016), 71-72.

69. Adair Rounthwaite, “From This Body to Yours: Porn, Affect, and Performance Art Documentation,” Camera Obscura 26, no. 3 (2011): 63, 74. Quote at 74.

70. Ibid., 65.

71. Robert C. Morgan, “Thoughts on Re-performance, Experience, and Archivism,” PAJ 32, no. 3 (2010): 2, 11.

72. Abramović, interviewed in Chris Thompson and Katarina Weslien, “Pure Raw: Performance, Pedagogy, and (Re)presentation,” PAJ 28, no. 1 (2006): 39.

73. Rounthwaite, “From This Body to Yours,” 74.

74. Philip Auslander, “The Performativity of Performance Documentation,” PAJ 28, no. 3 (2006): 1-2. Quote at 2.

75. Ibid., 6-7. Quote at 7.

76. Ibid., 9. Italics mine.

77. Jessica Santone, “Marina Abramović’s Seven Easy Pieces: Critical Documentation Strategies for Preserving Art’s History,” Leonardo 41, no. 2 (2008): 151.

78. Rounthwaite, “From This Body to Yours,” 75.

79. Notably, the acclaimed French film Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiradie, 2013) premiered the same year as Interior. Leather Bar. Similarly featuring unsimulated gay sex (albeit performed using body doubles for the main actors), it also offers a revisionist take on Cruising’s theme of a murderer preying on cruising men. Because emerging during a far less stigma-laden period of gay history, Stranger could revisit this sort of narrative without receiving such intense political backlash. Indeed, whereas Cruising represents its titular activity as dark and subterranean, Stranger by the Lake presents it in a sun-drenched pastoral setting that eschews the earlier film’s linkage of homosexuality/murder as contagion, even as the later film still troubles clear boundaries for gay sexual identity among its major characters.

80. Anne McClintock, “Maid to Order: Commercial S/M and Gender Power,” in More Dirty Looks: Gender, Pornography, and Power, ed. Pamela Church Gibson (London: BFI, 2004), 237.

81. Bronski, “What’s So Queer,” 14.

81b. Ward, Not Gay, 197, 199.

82. Miller, “Cruising,” 71. Original italics.