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George Kuchar (August 31, 1942 – September 6, 2011)

George Kuchar (August 31, 1942 – September 6, 2011) was an American underground film director, known for his "low-fi" aesthetic.

Kuchar trained as a commercial artist at the School of Industrial Art, now known as the High School of Art and Design, a vocational school in New York City. He graduated in 1960 and drew weather maps for a local news show. During this period, he and his twin brother Mike Kuchar were making 8mm movies, which were showcased in the then-burgeoning underground film scene alongside films by Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage. Ken Jacobs has brought attention of their work to Jonas Mekas who championed their work in the Village Voice and elsewhere.

After being laid off from a commercial art job in New York City, Kuchar was offered a teaching job in the film department of the San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught from 1971 until early 2011.

In San Francisco, Kuchar became involved with underground comics via his neighbors Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith. They both wound up in his movies and George wound up in their publications.

George Kuchar directed over 200 films and videos (including over 15 with his twin brother Mike), many of them short films by students in his courses at the San Francisco Art Institute. His video work is archived at the Video Data Bank and Electronic Arts Intermix. In the Critics' Poll of the 100 best films of the 20th century, appearing originally in The Village Voice (4 January 2000), Hold Me While I'm Naked was ranked 52nd.

Planet Kuchar, a biopic of the life of George Kuchar, is being developed by Los Angeles production company Automat Pictures and producer Jeffrey Schwarz.

It Came From Kuchar, a documentary film of the life of George and Mike Kuchar by Jennifer Kroot, premiered at the South by Southwest film festival on 14 March 2009.

In 1997, the Kuchar brothers collaborated on a book Reflections from a Cinematic Cesspool, a memoir discussing four decades of filmmaking with an introduction by director John Waters.

George Kuchar died on 6 September 2011 in San Francisco, just past his 69th birthday on August 31st, of complications related to prostate cancer.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Kuchar

Further Readings:

George Kuchar: Underground Film Icon
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Re/Search Publications (December 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 188930736X
ISBN-13: 978-1889307367
Amazon: George Kuchar: Underground Film Icon

Underground filmmaker George Kuchar is interviewed by RE/Search founder V. Vale in San Francisco, about the history of his low-budget filmmaking. He generously gives advice, do's and don'ts, recommendations, and sparkling anecdotes which illuminate practically the entire process of making a film with virtually no budget.

Queer Looks by Martha Gever, Pratibha Parmar & John Greyson
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Routledge; First Edition edition (September 20, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 041590742X
ISBN-13: 978-0415907422
Amazon: Queer Looks

Queer Looks is a collection of writing by video artists, filmmakers and critics which explores the recent explosion of lesbian and gay independent media culture. A compelling compilation of artists' statements and critical theory, producer interviews and image-text works, this anthology demonstrates the vitality of queer artists under attack and fighting back. Each maker and writer deploys a surprising array of techniques and tactics, negotiating the difficult terrain between street pragmatism and theoretical inquiry. From guerilla Super-8 in Manila to AIDS video activism in New York; from dyke pirate movies in Berlin to London meditations on black gay life; from safer sex shorts to punk girl porn, Queer Looks zooms in on this very queer place in media culture, revealing a wealth of strategies, a plurality of aesthetics, and an artillery of resistances.

The Politics and Poetics of Camp by Moe Meyer
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Routledge (November 30, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 041508248X
ISBN-13: 978-0415082488
Amazon: The Politics and Poetics of Camp

The Politics and Poetics of Camp is a radical reappraisal of the discourse of camp. The contributors to this volume examine both activist strategies of camp performance--such as those employed by ACTUP--and theoretical debates on the meaning of camp as a signifying practice. They ask whether camp is a frivolous, apolitical style or a powerful cultural critique and expression of queer identity.

The essays investigate camp from its early formations in the seventeenth and eighteenth century homosexual subculture of London to its present manifestations in queer theatre and literature. They also take a fascinating look at the complex relationship between queer discourse and decidedly "un-queer" pop culture appropriations on film.

An incisive and entertaining collection of essays by some of the foremost critics now working in queer theory--from a number of disciplinary perspectives--The Politics and Poetics of Camp makes a well-timed entry into this emerging debate.

Contributors include Gregory Bredbeck, Kate Davy, Thomas King, Margaret Thompson Drewal, Chuck Kleinhans, Cynthia Morrell, Martin Worman, and Jerome Schultz.

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Tags: director: george kuchar, gay classics, queer history
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