Visual Art / Film
You Do Not Care About Fireworks: Here's Some Good Watchin' for Tonight
by Jen Graves
on Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 4:06 PM
This is part one of Todd Haynes's 43-minute movie Superstar, a cult VHS hit that made his name (he went on to create films like Poison and Far From Heaven), and that's a centerpiece of the VHS exhibition at New York's Museum of Arts and Design.
It's the Karen Carpenter story, told in Barbies.
Unbelievably, it's not campy. This is a true horror film, a sociological horror film, with spliced-in slides of feminist academese and footage from events contemporary to the rise and death of the anorexic singer: female bodies dumped on a pile in Vietnam, maps of Cambodia, Nixon on TV. But most of the action is by the Barbies—so many types of Barbies who nevertheless look all the same. Karen's mom is a monstrous-looking aged Barbie. I'd almost forgotten how outlineless everything in VHS footage is.