Gregg Araki Tonight

Gregg Araki
In a super exciting turn of events, it appears that Gregg Araki (the director) will be at tonight’s showing of Mysterious Skin. This is really awesome, and the fact he will also be at Saturday afternoon’s showing makes me want to go see it again (depending on how much I like or dislike the film tonight, I may buy a Saturday ticket).

Back during high school there was a time when he was probably one of my favorite directors. Movies like The Doom Generation and Nowhere really sort of, I don’t know, inspired me? as a high schooler in Minnesota. The films were totally about a world and life so far away (Los Angeles) but at the same time sort of gave me something to fantasize about and all that? I don’t know exactly. I just remember watching those two movies, in particular, and wishing that I could hangout with the characters.

I also remember loving the music in both of the films. I, of course, have the soundtrack to both Nowhere and The Doom Generation, but there were also tons of tons that were not on the soundtrack. I specifically remember spending a weekend watching Nowhere over and over again, identifying each song and writing a little description about when it played then going on to Napster or some file sharing program to get that song. I actually still have the yellow legal pads where I recorded all of this information stashed away somewhere in my apartment now.

The soundtracks featured groups that were somewhat obscure but that I still loved like Slowdive (where I first heard the song “Avalyn I” [as Dark played by James Duvall masturbates in the shower]), Catherine Wheel, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Sonic Youth (the b-side “Hendrix Necro” even!!), Curve, Blur, Jesus and Mary Chain, Portishead, Love and Rockets, Wolfgang Press, Ride, Medicine, Pizacatto Five, Belly, and many more. Basically, the soundtrack was very 4AD (record label) and shoegaze -heavy. I can honestly say that the music of Gregg Araki’s films have greatly influenced my taste in music in general.

Further, there is a line from Totally Fucked Up (somewhat of a pseudo-documentary about gay and lesbian kids living in Los Angeles dealing with issues such as gay bashing, cheating, artificial insemination, random hooks, and bootleg Nine inch Nails concert videos) that inspired a paper I wrote about AIDS/HIV. The quote comes from one of the lesbian characters during an “interview” part of the documentary:

It’s a born-again Nazi republican wet dream come true!

As I wrote in my paper AIDS: Abjection, (body) Image, (self) Destruction, Sex,

Ever since I saw that movie, I have been unable to shake the thought that something about whole HIV/AIDS phenomenon seemed too “perfect” from the perspective of those born-again Nazi republicans.

As for Mysterious Skin, I have finished reading the novel and have started writing down my thoughts. I am determined to finish before I watch the movie so that my perceptions after the movie don’t influence what I thought of the book. Nonetheless, I am totally excited for the film tonight.

Now we’ll have to see if I can muster up the courage/desire to actually ask Araki some questions during the Q&A session which, I hope, will follow the film tonight.

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