Benjamin Smoke

Friday 15 Decemberdoors 7.30pm, entry UKP7, UKP5 members/concessions A film by Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen (2000), 72 minutes Filmmakers Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen made this unorthodox documentary over the course of ten years. It follows the crooked path of Benjamin (no last name) an underground musician, speed-freak, occasional drag-queen, and all-around renegade living in the hidden Georgia neighbourhood called Cabbagetown and playing in an indescribable band called Smoke. The film includes a special appearance by Patti Smith and photographs by Michael Ackerman. "The intimate, unexpurgated story of the "queer Southern blues" that emanated from an Atlanta-reared, HIV-positive, drag-queen addict and his short-lived band , "Benjamin Smoke" reps a distinctive, successful collaboration between media artist Jem Cohen, who made the 1999 Fugazi profile "Instrument," and documaker Peter Sillen, whose 1994 portrait of singer Vic Chestnutt typifies his fascination with uncompromising fringe artists." (Eddie Cockrell) " Riveting, beautifully composed, funny, sad and spilling over with excellent music, this near-perfect film documents the twilight hours in the life of a flamboyant, fringe-dwelling, performance-art queen" The Stranger (Seattle) "Wryly funny, passionate and complex" New York Daily News

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