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Charles Ludlam (#110 of 1)

Lost Charles Ludlam Films at IFC Center

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Lost Charles Ludlam Films at IFC Center
Lost Charles Ludlam Films at IFC Center

I’d only ever seen the downtown theatrical maestro Charles Ludlam in Mark Rappaport’s interesting but rather obscure Imposters (1980), and he’s hemmed in by that film’s repressed tone, so that the extravagant Ludlam of legend had only been available to me in tales from his theater career, lovingly documented in David Kaufman’s book Ridiculous!: The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam. This past Monday night, Adam Baran and Ira Sachs continued their Queer/Art/Film series at the IFC Center with two little-shown 16mm silent films by Ludlam, Museum of Wax and The Sorrows of Dolores, which were given a sensitive introduction by Antony Hegarty of the band Antony & the Johnsons. Seen together, these films, treated to ideal musical scores by Peter Golub, have radically enlarged my perspective on Ludlam, just as they have instantly joined, in my mind, the best underground films of Jack Smith while retaining an unusual character of their own.