ELECTRIC URN, a no-budget, old-fashioned (read: late 1960s) head film, basks in a cloying "aren't we East Villagers the weirdest, wackiest bunch of freaks?" attitude.
Deep in New York's East Village lies the Electric Urn, the favored hangout for a collection of drag queens, rockers, and feminist filmmakers. Katy (Rebecca Wisocky) sits at one table trying to cast the lead in her movie--"a woman trapped in a male-dominated society." She interviews and eventually
falls for Lulu (Michael Cavadias), an affected, desperately feminine transvestite. Though now infatuated with Lulu, Katy still lives with her mooching, guitar-playing boyfriend, Jonny (Christopher Erato).
Jonny's fellow band member, Jim (Al Shannon), a Jim Morrison "Lizard King" wannabe, is lost in a perpetual haze. His beautiful girlfriend rips the American flag off his back and threatens to go to Hollywood without him. Jim is unfazed as he continues to sell his street-corner poetry and addle his
brain. This comes back to haunt him; one night he's totally smashed and unable to perform when the Electric Urn's owner offers his band their big break. Jonny and the other band members scramble to replace their lead singer.
Meanwhile, another actress offers "her" talents to Katy, and a cat fight erupts between Lulu and the other dragster. After the tussle, Lulu mounts the stage and pairs with a more anatomically correct female to take Jim's place. The band is a hit, or at least would be a hit if anyone was sentient
enough to notice. Jim is no worse for the lost opportunity; the next day, he reconciles with his girlfriend and her new girlfriend, and the threesome head to California in their convertible.
The fun side of ELECTRIC URN lies in its self-conscious dialogue, terrible acting, and arbitrary structure. Writer-director Dean Bivins combines the incompetence and gender-bending of Ed Wood (GLEN OR GLENDA, PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE) with the archness of Paul Bartel (EATING RAOUL, LUST IN THE
DUST). A cameo by the grande dame of aesthetes, Quentin Crisp, is the perfect condiment for this campy melange.
Not satisfied with mere camp, Bivins feels compelled to comment on this already overly aware style. He periodically inserts clips from his movie-within-a-movie, "Space Queen," an even campier effort featuring extraterrestrial Amazons. Like most of ELECTRIC URN, this device is haphazardly spliced
in with the rest of the meanderings. It's as if every frame of footage made it into the final film with little editorial design.
Like almost all "bad-is-good" movies, this one wears out its welcome in very little time; fortunately, it runs a mercifully brief 78 minutes. Perhaps the money ran out and there was no film stock left in Bivins' refrigerator. (Substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: NR
- Review: ELECTRIC URN, a no-budget, old-fashioned (read: late 1960s) head film, basks in a cloying "aren't we East Villagers the weirdest, wackiest bunch of freaks?" attitude. Deep in New York's East Village lies the Electric Urn, the favored hangout for a collect… (more)