Jack Smith study of Ronald Tavel (Left) and Joel Markman

Jack Smith study of Ronald Tavel (Left) and Joel Markman

Ronald Tavel, doyenne of 60s underground cinema and progenitor of the Theater of the Ridiculous, is no more. Playwright, novelist, and Andy Warhol collaborator, (most famously on The Chelsea Girls), Tavel was living in Bangkok, where he had just completed a novel manuscript. He passed away enroute from Berlin, where he had been attending a conference on fellow queer cine-auteur Jack Smith. Also in attendance was world-reknown blacktress Vaginal Creme Davis, who starred in an impromptu 1991 production of Tavel’s queer clasic, The Life of Juanita Castro; she has a reminiscence on her blog. Michael Feingold‘s tribute on the Voice website is followed by some choice reminiscences in the comments as well. At the other end of the spectrum, the tacky Richard Johnson speculates on Page Six of NY Post that Tavel’s death was caused by black magic. To paraphrase Tavel himself: we have gone beyond the absurd: we are now absolutely preposterous!

More on Tavel at his website, and at Art and Popular Culture, Jahsonic‘s fabulous and rich trove of internet intelligence I just stumbled upon in looking for other tributes to Tavel.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

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