“Exposed,” artist/filmmaker Beth B’s joyous and provocative new feature reveals (double-entendre intended) eight stars of the new burlesque whose work (a hybrid of stage show and performance art), explores sexuality, shame, ideas of beauty, gender identity, stereotypes and ambiguity, disability–and female pubic hair.
The laughter generated by the performances blasts through (and blows away) societal expectations–as Bunny Love says in the film, “Normal is an illusion.” (She also gives advice on what to use to cover up cellulite: “glitter and a spotlight.”)
Working from places of difficulty (personal and/or cultural), the performers use nudity (and comedy), highlighting the body’s imperfections and contradictions to gain a sense of freedom, control and self-acceptance, embracing (and neutralizing) the pejoratives “misfit” and “freak.”
Rose Wood, whose gender is fluid says, “Shocking seen over and over becomes less shocking.” Mat Fraser, handsome, and born with “flippers” (his mother took thalidomide during pregnancy), describes himself as “perfectly deformed.” Fearless Julie Atlas Muz slyly recalls going naked to the opening of the 2004 Whitney Biennial (in which she was included), “I didn’t know what to wear.”
“Exposed” ultimately is a love story–the ability to love oneself, revealing (double entendre intended) the possibility of loving another, a tribe, and in a utopian mindset, watching the ripples extending ever outward. And Beth says her film, “aligns itself with human liberation movements around the world.”
Beth’s hair and eyes match–so do mine but they’re fairly standard issue (brown/brown). I hadn’t seen her in several years, didn’t know her as a bluehead, and when we spoke after a screening of her wonderful film, I instantly thought, “Blue/warm? Yes.”
“Exposed” (produced by Beth B and co-produced by Sandra Schulberg) will have a sneak preview tonight at 8:00 pm at IFC Center, with cast and crew present, and performances by Bunny Love and Bambi the Mermaid. An after party at Dixon Place, 10:00 pm, is free and open to all. The film will screen from Friday, March 14, through Thursday, March 20, at 9:30 pm, and each evening will include a live performance by one of the film’s stars.