opening shot: Colin fans himself (from Rat’s Country by Colin Campbell)
Opening movement: Atomic Desert
pan desert to three cameras
superimposition of three shots: two close-up head shots of Colin in drag, one shot of landscape. Colin walks into desert
two landscape shots
Colin walks in desert
US military officials view atom bomb test in desert
pan empty desert
tracking shot desert (n background voices sing: When will I be)
Colin walks in desert
US military examines desert wreckage
pan from John Greyson’s shadow in desert to Colin Campbell
John: Oh I can’t see you at all. Yeah. Say something. (laughs)
2 shots Colin walking in desert
US military cameraman films atomic bomb test in desert
Man talks: You have to document everything. If you don’t you try to go back and remember what did we do here or was this on the left or the right side.
image: house blown apart, superimposed title: BIOGRAPHY
Man: The same way you set up a building and blow it apart if you want to see what’s being done.
Colin from True/False
Colin is my real name. True.
Louise Lillifeld voice-over: “Who said that the dream of the state is to be two? And that the dream of the individual is to be one?”
Colin from True/False
Title: I’m a Voyeur by Colin Campbell
Image: Colin seen through a window at a kitchen table with a typewriter on it
Colin voice-over: There you are. There you are.
Mike voice-over: The illusion.
Colin voice-over: I’m watching you.
Mike voice-over: The illusion is that once you turn the camera on, the picture begins.
Colin voice-over: Smoke your cigarette. Smoke your cigarette. Where’d you go? Come back.
Mike voice-over: Most of the time the video camera is not a tool for looking but erasing pictures.
Colin voice-over: Do you know that I’m watching you? Do you know that I’m watching you? What you gonna write? What you gonna write?
Mike voice-over: I want to make a portrait.
Colin voice-over: Typing away.
Mike voice-over: But I can only create it with tools which erase everything they look at.
Mike voice-over: I’m going to try to make this portrait by filling in the background.
Colin voice-over: Do you know that I’m watching you? I’ve watched you for a long time.
Mike voice-over: And out of these fragments, these moments.
Colin voice-over: I know you pretty well but you don’t know that I know you.
Mike voice-over: I’m going to ask you to create your own picture.
Colin voice-over: Sitting here, watching you type.
Mike voice-over: Because this is a movie about you, not about Colin Campbell.
Image: Frankenstein led by little girl to water
Mike: In other words, a biography of an artist.
3 wide shots: nearly empty beach, tiny family figures play
2 wide shots: a boy and his father walk towards camera
Colin on beach from Disheveled Destiny by Colin Campbell
Colin (in drag) with Lynne Fernie (dressed as a nurse) in Bennies From Heaven.
Colin: I understand the ups, the downs, the hard knocks, the men, the bisexuality, the drugs, mostly the drugs, but even more than the drugs the press, the press will say anything about people in show business, they really will.
Image: pan across long line of motion picture cameramen cranking cameras
Mike voice-over: Sometimes an entire country or at least the government, can be squeezed behind a camera. The government is in the business of producing pictures like this one. It looks like the atomic bomb, but it’s not.
Image: Hiroshima bomb cloud, seen from the airplane which dropped the bomb
Mike voice-over: There is not one face we could name here, not one breakfast, not one child lying dead on his way to school. Instead the picture is a cover-up, the smoke and mirrors of state.
Image: TV camera dollies with focus puller, four images of early TV cameras and studios, people walk on street (blurry, out of focus), people on street, into store, empty lot, man opening door.
Mike voice-over: Television delivered the nuclear family, a cool medium for a cold war. But where would the search begin for the lost portrait, not the pictures of state but the state of pictures?
Colin (playing John) in front of his own bathroom mirror
So when she asked me why I became a nuclear scientist I said it was because I wasn’t born cross-eyed…
John (Colin) and Nancy together, she strokes his chest while holding a blue folder.
I really love your ideas but can we afford them?
John in white lab coat against red tiles
In case you missed me on the Today Show I’m the one who invented the miniature power plant.
Nancy in white lab coat, seen through specimen jars
He denied he was connected to the military. In fact he was a civilian piggy backing on projects primarily funded for militaristic advantage.
Home movie boy in red shirt puts camera case in front of his face and walks to camera.
Home video group: Lisa Steele, Johanna Householder, Angelo Pedari, Lynne Fernie, Kim Tomzak, John Greyson, Laroux Peoples
Johanna: Carmen, can you say one two three?
Carmen: One two three.
All: Happy birthday Colin.
superimposed: Colin from Dangling by Their Mouths:
Colin: But it’s more, how do you say, like life.
Man at Bar: Lively.
Colin: Lively. You must excuse me.
also superimposed: Colin in shower.
then: Colin photograph, close up face in drag
image: streetcar (from Hiroshima)
train seats, light passes
woman on train
train passes ruins three girders have painted on them: Pasolini, Bunuel, Godard
Hiroshima bridge and white mark where a person was burned to death
image: out of focus Carolynne Hew with camera
two shots Carolynne with camera
Mike v/o: Profile is good.
image: photographs placed in front of camera
Lynne Fernie v/o: Colin grew up as a blonde. Until puberty struck. Now a trip to Lake Louise some time in the early or late fifties expanded his horizons and understanding of the world. And the next time we see Colin, he’s a brunette.
image: Colin from Hindsight (always alone in a warehouse), Colin’s face behind warehouse window, Colin steps out of frame (he is semi-transparent), Colin naked torso in window frame, Colin at window steps away from it, looks through another window at the back of the room, Colin turns off light and takes off shirt, Colin walks towards camera slowly.
Colin voice over: Dear Colin, there are people and places with vibrations. The movements enter the body apparently through the skin, touching immediately the heart in the warmth of emotion or the shiver of fear. The intellect follows along later trying to systemize this knowledge and prepare it for rational explanation. Use what is known already to explain the unknown. It is not mysterious phenomena that are a mystery to me, it is the cold logic of the unfeeling that I can accept or understand.
image: photos of Colin dissolve into one another
image: man walks into living room where another waits, close-up tattoo
image: photographs placed in front of camera
Lynne Fernie v/o: Now shortly after this time Colin moved to Winnipeg to move to art school and he met a young woman named Janis. Now Janis and Colin eventually married, you can see there a very good wedding photo. And they made art, this is one of Colin’s sculptures here.
Image: five shots of assembly line workers put together TV sets
image: Colin from Sackville I’m Yours
Colin: What does one do? Well, many things. I, well I can say frankly that there’s nothing that I haven’t done or seen in this town.
Mike voice-over: He moved to Sackville and borrowing a camera from the university’s football team, Colin began making videos.
Colin: For instance, well, I’ve been to the dump.
image: Central Station Amsterdam, shots of the moon, a circular silhouette through which shadows pass, more moon shadows, streetcar at Dam Square, streetcar moving along the Rokin at dawn.
Almerinda Travassos in her apartment rearranges furniture
Almerinda voice over: He would never serve a meal to anyone or have a dinner party without having made it at least two or three times that week to test it out.
Almerinda sync sound, Marg Moores in foreground
Almerinda: So that’s how you’re perfect, with practice. I didn’t know that I really thought he was perfect.
Almerinda and Marg walk in hallway, rapidly cut shots of them walking in opposite directions
Colin Campbell in Last Seen Wearing, close-up face
Colin: It is very hot here today in the motel but I have brought plenty of water with me. When they searched Mildred’s hotel room they found a videotape that she’d left behind, it was almost like a suicide note, that’s how they knew to look for her in the Mojave. When I watched that videotape of Mildred I can’t help but think that she’d already lost her mind, losing her body was simply the next step.
Almerinda sync sound, Marg Moores in foreground
Almerinda: And then he was in and out of the hospital and finally he came home and he called me over so we sat down and he told me he only had three years to live which I thought was, well, it was very emotional. He was happy for the three years because of course it could have been worse and as it turned out it was and lo and behold and there we were crying and what were we talking about? His next tape. He wanted to make another tape he wanted to shoot it in his apartment because that would be the easiest given his health. He was going to work writing a story staged all in the apartment. But I think about a month after that he went right back to the hospital and that was… a quick end after that.
two photographs show Almerinda and then Marg with Colin
Colin from Disheveled Destiny, dressed in straw hat and red dress,
sitting at a table.
Colin: But I should introduce myself. My name is Colleeta, Colleeta Sackville-West.
title: The Making of a Mirage
Colin v/o: Now I’ve never been accepted as such in Sackville
image: pan to sink, door closes, photograph of Colin’s father/mother and himself as a child, open door, trees, wind in trees, photograph of Woman from Malibu.
Colin v/o: perhaps because I’m from away, as they like to say here, I’m treated as a bit of a mirage, and most appropriately.
Colin from Disheveled Destiny walks against a brick wall, walks in close-up, throws a stone into a pond.
Image: woman walks on hill, close-up eyes, upside down woman’s face on screen, close-up eye, woman looks into distance, Colin in desert
Newsreel voice over: The dream of TV has persisted for centuries. The human eye is a marvelous instrument. Perceptive, sensitive, forever tied to the pulsating wavelengths of light. Yet the eye is hemmed in by horizons. It cannot see over a hillside, beyond the haze of distance. To extend the image of human eyesight man developed marvelously sensitive instruments.
Image: US military photographer breaks from scrum to take a picture, close up flash
image: Russian atomic bomb test followed by a black and white negative image of a soldier who puts another fallen soldier around his body and crawls away to safety.
music: Antony and the Johnsons, Antony sings: “Well I tell all my friends, that I fell in love with a dead boy.”
Montage of clips from Deja Vu: Colin in white suit looks into distance, climbs a hill.
image: Colin photographs, two hands clasp, slow motion crowd downtown Toronto
subtitles: Little by little, suddenly/he resembles himself
Mike v/o: It is we who let them go because we don’t accompany them.
Johanna Householder v/o: It is we who hold them here by naming their names.
Mike v/o: Out of these two wrongs comes the writing of epitaphs.
Colin from True/False: a head shot, the original sound is missing
but we can see his mouth say “True”
image: Colin (in drag) from Last Seen Wearing
Colin: He was standing over me. He had on cover-alls and black shiny pointed shoes.
Bart Rutten (appears in small screen simultaneously): For the first time that people really have access to become themselves part of a television set. That you were able to see yourself on the television set which was normally very much reserved for famous people, for politicians, for entertainers and in that sense there is this joy of the utopian moment.
Bart images fades out
Colin: He told me not to be afraid, but I was.
from Deja Vu, Colin wearing blue kerchief, yellow shirt, takes off sunglasses. He is crying.
Oh Mildred, how completely terrible.
COLIN from Last Seen Wearing (superimposed title: STEREO)
I was afraid he was going to molest me.
from Deja Vu, Colin wearing blue kerchief, yellow shirt, takes off sunglasses. He is crying. superimposed title: ARTIST
You must have been utterly frantic. So you called the rescue party?
image: night drive through rain in Toronto
Mike v/o: Unfortunately the image always arrives too late.
image: Colin lying in bed, Colin kisses life-size photograph of himself (from Janus)
Mike v/o: Didn’t it, Colin?
image: man picks up lantern, man walks to table at night, pan to night widow, colour photograph of Colin sitting with a pipe as a teenager.
image: photographer takes photograph intercut with TV studio lights and cameramen and US military cameras filming atomic tests
photograph in negative of Janis Hoogstraten and Colin
Image: sun in trees, light abstract, shadows on wood, door mysteriously opens, light behind hand, fridge door closes
image: drawing of Janis and Colin, timelapse window in the rain
Janis voice-over: I notice that when I’m teaching drawing, students all set their easels up in exactly the same places and stand beside the same people all the time. So Colin and I used to stand beside each other in drawing class. When I see the students set up their easels I think, well, nothing ever really changes.
image: woman sets glass on table, living room, door closes by itself, light behind silhouette, photograph of Janis and Colin and Neal at Neal’s graduation, red cloth over camera taken off to reveal living room.
Janis Hoogstraten: What was it again you wanted me to say? Colin and I were married in the spring of 1966, I think.
Photograph of Colin and Janis, seen in positive
image: glass fills with red wine
image: Nikita Khrushchev at hunting party table drinking and laughing, wrestles in snow intercut with Mike stumbling and falling in snow
Lisa Steele v/o: When a person dies they leave something behind. A likeness. A likeness is something left behind, invisibly.
image: Colin and his son Neal in photographs
image: life drawing class
Janis Hoogstraten: My dad was a commercial photographer and he used to use my brother and I as models for little happy family pictures. I’d get dressed up and pose. I really don’t like having my picture taken and the only reason I can think of is: my dad made me do it.
image: boy puts hand to head, man copies him
image: hand on train window
image: split-screen couch Gary Kibbins and his son Oliver Mercier, Olivier speaks and Gary repeats.
Oliver Mercier: Colin was a melancholic, always mourning for something lost.
Gary Kibbins: Colin was a melancholic, always mourning for something lost.
Oliver Mercier: But the melancholic doesn’t always know what he is mourning for.
Gary Kibbins: But the melancholic doesn’t always know what he is mourning for.
Oliver Mercier: But mourning for something that is lost and not known is very ethereal and difficult.
Gary Kibbins: But mourning for something that is lost and not known is very ethereal and delicate.
Oliver Mercier: But that was Colin, even his melancholy was elegant.
Gary Kibbins: But that was Colin, even his melancholy was elegant.
Oliver Mercier laughs, three groups of children duck underneath desks, then lone boy ducks underneath table (from Duck and Cover)
Colin (from Last Seen Wearing)
Colin: My daughter had to be at the Tickled Pink boutique for a fitting by two.
Mike v/o: Colin always appears as a picture.
Colin: So it was a very rushed lunch.
Mike v/o: He turns even the simplest act into a performance so we can see it again for the first time.
Colin: She left at 1:15.
Mike v/o: He invites us inside the machine of pictures so that we can watch him work.
Colin: That was two months ago, May 18th.
Mike v/o: In stereo.
Colin: She simply disappeared.
Image: two streets, shaky landscapes with passing shadows. A car door slam and car drives, the camera mounted on the side of the car, sideways.
Lori Spring voice-over: But I was with Colin the day that he got the worst news. It was an awful drive back from the hospital, and when we got back to his place I asked him if he wanted to go sit in the Alex Wilson garden for a while or if he wanted me to come up and he said no…
Image: Colin being groomed by Lisa Steele in Women From Malibu, Colin in Snip Snip, Colin coming through door in Bad Girls, Colin speaking to a man in Disheveled Destiny, Colin walking towards the camera alone in Un Mois en Languedoc.
Lori Spring voice-over: I have to think of how I’m going to tell Judy and Greg, his sister and brother. Even under these dire circumstances he was bringing himself forward knowing that they would be devastated and try to offer something that would make it less harsh for them at that moment.
Lori Spring sync: I think it’s performative, but it’s a performativity grounded in the authenticity of caring and loving and being.
Image: two landscapes, people leave ship with suitcases.
image: Colin in window from Que Sera Sera
Colin: Alora. My search for my sister Mildred has brought me all the way to beautiful Siena. Unfortunately, it’s also brought me to the greatest challenge of my career as a performance artist. In order to elude my blackmailer I am going to have to appear in public as a man. It’s absolutely out of character, I have no idea if I can even pull it off.
image dissolves to picture of Colin as half man, half woman.
boy shimmies in Toronto pride parade while cop looks on
image: lightning flash against window, Johanna Householder at window
image: Johanna Householder superimposed onto herself, two images in sync, she speaks at the same time
Johanna 1: I love acting it’s so much more real than life.
Johanna 2: I love acting it’s so much more real than life.
Johanna 1: I love acting it’s so much more real than life.
Johanna 2: To be natural is such a difficult pose to keep up.
image: close up hands on train
Johanna 1: I love acting it’s so much more real than life.
Johanna 2: To be natural is such a difficult pose to keep up.
image: train station, Johanna on train, clip montage of Johanna Householder in Bennies from Heaven by Colin Campbell
Mike v/o: What camp taste responds to is instant character not its development. Life as theatre where character is understood as a state of continual incandescence, a person being one very intense thing.
Johanna Householder v/o: An atomic character. An atomic character. A character that arrives in an instant, in a flash.
image: stop motion pictures of Johanna Householder’s face from opening scene of Black and Light by Colin Campbell, three photos of Colin
image: close up camera flash
image: from Disheveled Destiny, Colin as flash photographer speaks to a woman artist that he will make a picture of.
Colin Campbell: The camera’s going to be there darling so you just stay there, it’s alright, I think I might do a little profile of you. Profile darling? (laughs) Your hair looks fabulous, is it Heddy’s? She won’t tell me I’m working through the list. OK darling are we silly or serious today? Serious I can tell.
Colin appears on a hill where he is vapourized by a lightning bolt in Disheveled Destiny by Colin Campbell, then flash photo taken of woman artist by Colin also in Disheveled Destiny by Colin Campbell
image: close up flash bulb, man’s eye in keyhole, people walking backlit, prisoners walking up green stairs, a milk drop falls in slow motion
Mike voice-over: In 1931 MIT professor Harold Edgerton invented the stroboscopic flash, a key element in the detonating system for the atomic bomb.
image: plane shadow flies over farm and then two shots of city people
image: superimposed image of Hiroshima ruins with New York City aerial view buildings
image: victory parade in New York celebrating end of World War Two, there is one shot of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb, unpeopled, decimated.
image: night traffic, flickering vegetation, a book superimposed with a city of lights, electric ticker announces: Japanese Surrender
Lisa Steele v/o: Freud says that society is founded on a crime.
Mike v/o: Committed in common.
image: pan over decimated Hiroshima cityscape after the bomb
John Wayne montage from Red River by Howard Hawks
Wayne looks over saddle, cowboy waves hat in distance, Wayne approaches with rifle in silhouette, two shots of armed natives on horses, Wayne takes aim with rifle, natives gather at river’s edge, Wayne and rifle, 2 shots natives shot on horseback crossing water, Wayne with rifle in winter, horses ride into devastated native camp in winter,2 shots native corpses, cowboy kicks a teepee over, cowboys riding at sunset.
Mike voice-over: The tradition of motion picture camouflage begins in Hiroshima. The myth of progress, the terrible science, the good war, the great democracy. But where are the bodies?
Image: Lucille Ball mistakes John Wayne’s bar room fight for reality and intervenes, she dispatches his attackers, then hits him on head with a bottle. Laugh track.
Tanya Mars (performance artist)
image: Tanya up stairs, (4 clips from Pure Virtue: Tanya Mars dresses in Queen Elizabeth I costume, bites a yellow rose, appears on street, breathes fire)
image: from I Am An Artist, My Name Is by Elizabeth MacKenzie and Judith Schwartz, Tanya speaks to camera
Tanya Mars: My name is Tanya Mars and I’m a feminist and an artist. I work primarily in performance but have also done work in sculpture and video. By virtue of my beliefs my work is inherently political and subsequently marginal.
image: Tanya Mars wearing a purple ballroom dress smashes van with sledge hammer
image: from Bennies from Heaven, Tanya Mars (playing a nurse) speaks to Robin (Colin Campbell), a visitor to a rehab clinic
Tanya Mars: No, no, this, Robin honey this clinic is a refuge, a haven from the new Salem of the United States of America. We’re healers.
Tanya Mars v/o: But I miss him for my lovelorn advice because even when he was in the hospital and dying and I was having this affair with Timmy, do you remember that affair I was having with Timmy? Yeah, you do? He was hooked up to these tubes and I would go in and he was really really miserable and he would just say OK like enough about me, what’s happening with Timmy?
image: Tanya Mars from Black and Light by Colin Campbell, Tanya Mars performance art documentation photographs, three photographs of Tanya Mars and Colin Campbell
image: Tanya in her kitchen sits, Tanya Mars and Colin Campbell in Dangling by Their Mouths by Colin Campbell (air kissing each other), Tanya close-up outdoors, Tanya walks towards water
Tanya Mars v/o: My thought when Colin died was that I don’t want to be next and I don’t want to be last. I don’t want to be the last one left to tell the stories.
Image (all from Black and Light)
ROBERTA (Tanya Mars)
I could save it for another time…
STAN (George Hawken)
Are you having an OK time?
STAN (George Hawken)
Every time you’re about to open a door
TIM (John Greyson)
I can’t type and give head at the same time.
It’s just that we heterosexuals have such a hard time.
image: man on plank balances off side of building
Mike v/o: Television is a machine for delivering time. It’s a time bomb, the organization of a unified time whose task is to abolish time.
Image: space men in weightless chamber
Image: sunlit balcony, sun in trees, montage of Colin out of doors in Rendez-vous, then crowd with dogs hunts down lone figure, then Colin from Disheveled Destiny in a barn
Colin Campbell: You already know something about me though you probably feel that you don’t…
Mike v/o: Artists took up camera to work against this disappearance of time. Time enough to remember for instance.
Colin Campbell from Disheveled Destiny
Colin Campbell: Art Star also understood that a persona endured longer than a personality so he invented himself right out of the blue.
Image: multiple superimposition: Colin puts his hand on a window from Hindsight, Colin reading a book from Hindsight, Mike walks to window, Colin’s anxious face from Que Sera Sera. Man walks through sunlit window.
Colin in red beret (from Disheveled Destiny) steps in front of a mirror.
Mike v/o: How to tell the story of a man who is already two men?
Colin walks towards building, enters it.
Mike v/o: He multiplies himself so that everything around him can be seen again, as a performance.
Colin slides a wall panel towards him showing an old poster of himself as “Art Star.” He handles an old piece of videotape with spider webs on it.
Mike v/o: He spent his life painting the same portrait. It’s not birds I sculpt he once said, it’s the act of flying.
Colin in True/False, both halves of this tape have been superimposed, showing Colin facing the camera and in profile, he speaks the same text.
Colin: I would like to be a star. True. False. I have committed bestiality. True. False. I’m an exhibitionist. True. False. Colin is my real name. True. False.
image: man opens door, down hallway, a series of multiplying TV screens show Lisa Steele making up Colin Campbell from The Woman From Malibu, this is interrupted by images of Colin in drag drinking wine and reaching for the phone from Que Sera Sera (by Colin Campbell and Amerinda Travassos)
music: The Platters Someone To Watch Over Me
music: Chet Baker Someone To Watch Over Me
music: There’s a somebody I’m longing to see/I hope that he’ll, turn out to be/Someone to watch
image: John Price with hand cranked 35mm camera, woman in crowd puts her hand to forehead, crowd jumps and freeze frames in a flash, costumed man turns onstage with a machine which produces sparks and light, child in negative reaches for camera
image: children playing, leveling toy gun at camera, RCA early TV operators in the studio and on street with camera, child with gun points it at camera
image: Glenn Schellenberg watches TV, a couple jump out of TV and offer viewer a cigarette
image: Colin smokes a cigarette in Conundrum Clinique, Mike smokes cigarette, abstract image smoke, large fire
image: smoking cup moves, four photographs of Glenn dissolve together, Lucy (Glenn’s dog) paws at window, Glenn looks out window, Glenn shaves in mirror (with freeze frames), Glenn and Ivan kiss, Glenn’s face
Glenn v/o: All of his furniture was made out of milk crates and foam and covered in fabric but it looked fabulous anyway and very modern and sleek. He wasn’t wealthy yet he would hire a bartender, who was me, and I woe a little bartender outfit like I would wear when I played with the Dishes.
image: Glenn and Colin two photographs
image: Glenn walks out his front door carrying a keyboard/suitcase, and down road and stands. It is winter.
Glenn Schellenberg v/o: I’ve been HIV positive since the beginning. All my boyfriends from my early twenties are dead. I’ve never taken any drugs for it but I feel fine. I should have said drugs for it because I’ve taken a lot of drugs. (laughs)
image: boys running superimposed with title Positive.
image: Colin talking from Power Plant exhibition documentation tape superimposed with Colin photos, then production stills from Modern Love, a woman flipping through photo book, picture of Colin
Colin Campbell: …reality slash fiction where Susan Britton actually was the artist who got the Cabana Room up and running. In the tape she stars as Ms. Susan, who is the ruthless manager of the Cabana Room.
image from Bad Girls by Colin Campbell
Susan Britton: Look relax Robin it’s going to be great, you’re going to be just a sensation. They come they go, they play the Cabana Room, next thing you know you’ll be playing The Edge Robin.
Robin (Colin Campbell in drag): Oh The Edge!
Susan Britton: Larry’s Hideaway.
Robin: Larry’s Hideaway!
Susan Britton: You might get a gig in Buffalo.
image from Bad Girls: Colin and Heidi (Rodney Werden in drag) dance. Colin “sings” Bad Girls song.
COLIN: Hey mister, have you got a dime? Hey mister, do you want to spend some time?
image: TVs falling from the sky, some are playing scenes from Colin Campbell movies (Rendez-vous, Modern Love)
voice over: I think I met Colin at the Beverley Tavern, it was this place that turned into a big new wave venue, and the Dishes were the first band to play there.
Glenn sync sound: The Dishes were this kind of Roxy Music, Sparks, Bowie-influenced band with this gender ambiguity that was hip at the time and appealing to the art scene because there were a lot of queer guys and gals in that scene.
Mike v/o: What do you remember about Colin?
Glenn sync sound: I remember him coming with… you know what I really remember? I remember the sexual ambiguity, and thinking he seems so queer, but he’d come with his wife, I think it was Lisa at the time, you know and then later on he would be with Kerri and I would find it so… you know when you’re young you want things to be black and white and I just thought you seem like a gay guy and yet you’re with a woman, smarten up.
image: Glenn enters Cameron House bar, takes off jacket, sets up keyboard, Dishes band footage (with young Glenn on keyboards) intercut with present day Glenn
image: dance sequence including Colin Campbell dancing from Bad Girls
Image: glitched TV operators in studio, TV camera men, boy with toy bazooka, people on parade, people on march, people gathered to listen, Winston Churchill sync speech (intercut with two fragments of original Frankenstein movie, the lab where creature is born, and a young girl walking Frankenstein to the water)
Winston Churchill v/o: From XXX in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where communism is in its infancy the Communist party or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.
image: Colin photographs
subtitles: There remains the unnamed/in the name of which we keep still
Mike v/o: Not our story, but his story.
Janieta Eyre v/o: Our story, I just can’t.
Mike v/o: I didn’t want to tell his story but to accompany it.
Janieta Eyre v/o: I couldn’t, not one more day, and then that feeling went away too.
Mike v/o: To reveal his secret by keeping it.
image: montage of McCarthy hearings
Lisa Steele v/o: The need to make visible, the need to conceal, a permanent war economy based on a permanent enemy manufactured if necessary. In 1947 the House committee on UnAmerican Activities opened public hearings on communism in the film industry. We had the bomb, we had the enemy, television would broadcast the results.
image: John Greyson from Dangling by Their Mouths by Colin Campbell
John Greyson: Are there any questions?
Colin Campbell: I have a question. May I buy you a drink?
Colin Campbell sync from Power Plant exhibition documentation video:
Colin Campbell: No I feel good about it if you feel you got what you want.
Angelo Pedari: Which kind of makes you miss him more.
image: TV montage (crew and cameramen, countdown), two shots of man approaching/kissing John Greyson
John Greyson sync: And you want it direct to camera, eye to camera? I mean, well I’ll try, I’ll try.
music: Chet Baker
image: montage of clips of John Greyson, some from He’s a Growing Boy, She’s Turning Forty by Colin Campbell; Black and Light by Colin Campbell; No Voice Over by Colin Campbell;
John Greyson: Colin and I were lovers from 1986 to 1989. He taught me how to make movies. No tuition just intuition. No transcripts just trans-sex. No prior experiences necessary, just start making tapes.
Colin Campbell in Dangling by Their Mouths
Colin Campbell: To remember what one felt is different than remembering facts
John Greyson v/o: I’ll try, I’m not an actor.
Colin Campbell: Don’t you agree?
Mike v/o: But you just have to act like yourself.
John Greyson sync: How did she die?
John Greyson v/o: That’s the hardest of all.
image: photograph of John and Colin, man baths, museum worker adjust picture with images of John and Colin from the set of Dangling by Their Mouths matted into frame
Image: Reena Katz playing violin, shot through window
Title: a return (backwards)
Mike v/o: The corpse is not the same as the one who was alive.
image: timelapse clouds, timelapse exterior house
image: Reena violin pan down from sky
Colin Campbell from Sackville I’m Yours: Oh now, what was it you wanted to know?
Mike v/o: The corpse, the image, is waiting for us behind the world.
Colin Campbell from Sackville: My name?
image: cut to Reena playing violin in alleyway
Mike v/o: The image arrives at the moment when the lamented dead person begins to resemble himself.
Colin Campbell from Sackville: I thought everybody knew.
Toronto foggy night, hand on bridge, train, hand on bridge, man in traffic
Image: Colin from Culver City Limits (dressed as a woman, dark sunglasses, there are car driving images superimposed): And as I stopped, he pulled in front of me and stopped, leapt out of the car, and ran back to me. He has something in his hand. I look up at the sign beside the road. Culver City limits. He shot me twice. I did not know him. The police have not been able to establish a motive. I was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
image: person walks beside store, one window shows a large photo of colin, hand on walls, timelapsed traffic at night, hands handle photographs of colin, man opens blinds, woman from malibu with blinds shadows cast on him, multi-screen stills fade in and out (from “skin”), pan up Colin (distorted face resolves), still from performance, three tokyo cityscapes with billboards matted out and replaced by dissolving colin photos, feet walk past shoes.
image: from The Scientist Tapes by Lisa Steele
Lisa sits down, then Colin sits down at a table where Lisa is waiting
image: man turns to face machine and turns handle, it shows two photos of Colin and Lisa
Lisa voice-over (from The Scientist Tapes): I tell you, the terror is the unknown symptoms.
image: photo of Colin and Lisa, Lisa Steele in bed gets up and presses button on tape recorder
image: Lisa facing camera, Colin back to camera
Lisa: The high fever, the dryness of the mouth, the vomiting, the failure of the kidneys to function. The death… The death from an unknown disease.
Colin: Everything I do must be observable.
woman types (pictures of colin in windows), typewriter close-up superimposed with street at night, colin turns from lisa in computer monitor, naked man reflection, man takes off coat, a bed, a man approaches another man on a deserted beach at sunset.
Image: from Modern Love by Colin Campbell, Robin (Colin) and Monte (David Buchan) in freeze frame which releases into normal motion
I really love you.
MONTE DEL MONTE
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. We talked about this, remember? Modern love.
But what about romantic love?
MONTE DEL MONTE
That’s a lot of bullshit. Get rid of it, this is 1978.
Title: Modern Love part three
MONTE DEL MONTE
Modern love well it’s like an orchestra, with a horn section but no strings. That’s how I want our relationship to be, no strings attached.
Do you mean that I’m just some sort of side order in your life, like a salad or something?
MONTE DEL MONTE
No, no, you’ll always be more to me than French Fries on the side or onion rings, really. But it just can’t be.
But what about commitment Monte?
MONTE DEL MONTE
I’d never commit you.
image: Johanna Householder at window, Johanna and Angelo Pedari walk through double doors and freeze, out of focus tilt shot of Carmen, Johanna and Carmen, Johanna’s lips, Johanna and Carmen
Johanna Householder v/o: When it comes to Colin I have a real emotional, I have a real memory block. I can’t actually remember stories about him I can just remember him.
Image: Johanna from Skin by Colin, Johanna pretends to smoke a pipe on the cover of This is not a pipe by Michel Foucault (from Fiddle Faddle by Colin), Johanna rises up in anger (from Fiddle Faddle), three shots of Johanna as Liza Minelli (from Bennies from Heaven)
Colin v/o (from Déjà vu) I almost ran over Liza Minella today.
COLLEENA (present day, colour)
God Mildred, how?
MILDRED (from Hollywood and Vine) (superimposed title: STEREO)
I had the National Enquirer on the seat beside me, with the Farrah Fawcett Major headline. I just glanced at it and suddenly she was right in front of me.
COLLEENA (present day colour, shaking her head) (superimposed title: ARTIST)
Darling I’ve warned you about reading while you’re driving.
MILDRED (from Hollywood and Vine)
I slammed on the brakes and I managed to stop the car. I rolled down my window and I tried to explain to Ms. Minelli that I had just glanced at the Farrah Fawcett Major headline, but she just smiled, and didn’t seem to want to hear my explanation.
Mike voice-over: Newspapers standardized language, television helped standardize information. Everyone gets the same report at the same time.
COLLEENA (reclining on wood slat recliner, head wrapped in white towels)
That was the last conversation I ever had with Mildred. The last time I ever saw her. Odd, isn’t it? The last time you ever see a person and you end up talking about absolute trivia.
Tracking shot white house and white fence, fan turns, door opens,
Colin making himself up in Hollywood and Vine by Colin Campbell, inserted into the TV set beside Colin is an image of Vice President of US Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev talking
Richard Nixon: There may be some instances for instance colour television where we’re ahead of you. But in order for both of us to benefit, both of us to benefit
Nikita Khrushchev: No, no way. We have overtaken you in rockets, we will overtake you in colour television too.
Richard Nixon: Wait until you see the picture.
image: Colin as Robin in Bad Girls by Colin Campbell (he turns in slow motion and looks into the camera)
image: young boy in red seen through a grid and a glass, several shots
image: young English boys flying toy airplanes in the street
image: young Japanese girl walking with ruins of Hiroshima in the background
image: Lynne Fernie at the window, turns from window
image: Colin and Lynne in Bennies From Heaven (stand and smoke)
Colin Campbell: I guess it’s just about being in the right place at the right time.
image: timelapse black and white house interiors, Lynne’s hands, Lynne in Bennies from Heaven (peers through circular window)
Mike v/o: I gave Lynne my super-8 camera to make a picture of her house which she bought with Colin. A solitude lived in common.
image: Lynne Fernie fondles ferns
image: Colin Campbell speaks at the Power Plant, beside him a television shows pictures of the house he and Lynne shared
Colin Campbell: As some of you will know my pal for life Lynne Fernie and I have moved into our old new house two weeks ago. Fourty eight hours later we gave up our rights as free citizens of this country.
image: black and white Lynne Fernie face at window
Lynne Fernie sync: Colin had this weird thing where he moved his furniture not every day, sometimes every day, but he couldn’t go any longer than a couple, three days maybe. Once he achieved four days without moving his furniture and he was really happy about it, it was a big achievement. And he’d always done this, when we lived at Beaver Hall, at the artist’s co-op, he actually got to the point where he put a sign on his door that said, ‘Colin has not moved his furniture for…’ and then he’d have one day and then two days and then it would be crossed out and then it would be one day (laughs) and then it would be crossed out and that’s how I know he once got up to four days. His place always looked impeccable, impeccable. You could drop in on Colin, I’m a clutter bug so to me this is an extraordinary thing, and the place looked like it would be… (noise)
Image: Kirk Douglas in Lust for Life (playing the artist Vincent Van Gogh). He appears in a rapid series of freeze frames, looking, looking into a mirror, painting, clutching at a woman holding her child, filled with despair, feverishly working.
Mike voice-over: The artist makes a picture by allowing the subject to look back. When both sides are visible,
image: Colin clip montage: Colin in Que Sera Sera looks shocked, turns at a wall, Colin from John Greyson movie steps back, Colin adjusts glasses (Fiddle Faddle), Colin adjusts glasses on train (Black and Light)
Mike voice-over: only then does an image appear.
title: Oh! Oh! (from modern love),
Colin from Modern Love (at window)
Colin: Could you say that again?
Then title again: Uh! aah!
Voice: oh, oh.
image: light on sheets, light on foot
image: montage of Kerri Kwinter from No Voice Over by Colin Campbell, she sits and writes, speaks into a microphone. She stands by window, walks around pool, her face reflects in the water. She writes on a glass desk.
Kerri Kwinter v/o: I’m Kerri Kwinter and I was with Colin in the early eighties.
Colin Campbell (from Powerplant documentation tape) v/o: So many portraits of these people are stances. I mean they’re inhabiting almost a fictional space.
Colin Campbell (from Dangling by Their Mouths by Colin Campbell) v/o: I have immense hatred against these men, these male lovers of mine. Men are babies. If I am weak, they vanish. It is better that I not have relationships with men.
Kerri Kwinter: It was incredibly, thoughtfully, choreographed life, and he loved that.
image: Colin from Dangling by Their Mouths by Colin Campbell)
Colin: Men like to make love to…
Kerri Kwinter v/o: Closer and closer.
Colin: …strong women.
Kerri Kwinter: Dying is the most overtly sexual excitement.
Colin: But they only want me…
Kerri Kwinter: He just loved…
Colin: …to surrender.
Kerri Kwinter: …everything to move properly and to look great and to fit.
Kerri from No Voice Over by Colin Campbell with her face in her hands
Kerri shaking her head no from Bennies From Heaven by Colin Campbell,
Kerri Kwinter sync: How long you staying?
Kerri in present day biting her lip
image: model train, model figures set on train, put in chairs, food on their table, a blonde put at a table, real conductor signals, train through tunnels, across bridge, more tunnels, sunset train, hand on car window
William Burroughs v/o: How long does it take a man to learn that he does not, cannot want, what he wants? You have to be in hell to see heaven. Glimpses from the land of the dead, flashes of serene timeless joy. A joy as old as suffering and despair.
image: Zurich train station, Lumiére train, purple shirt, hands, tracks and pebbles, views out train, electric train turns, digital glitches, landscape, man on Berlin train platform performing martial art move for camera then winking and blowing a kiss
Mike v/o: In the train station in Zurich, in London, in Paris, every train is a picture of the first train and passenger and spectator. This is where it must have started where we began turning into pictures.
image: Gravenhurst train station, back of a vinyl sign flaps in breeze, Mike in sunglasses with reflection of train in it
Mike v/o: On the platform a movement of light and dark. The image is always arriving.
image: fast Hollywood clip collage, man shaves, horseman, men leap, spectators jump up and down for joy, Arnold’s face, gunplay
image: George Hawken makes up Murphy bed, then kids at pool push a boy under water, then soldiers under water are shot, then George pushes bed up onto wall, two shots George lowers blinds.
pan George Hawken’s apartment while George prepares coffee
Colin used to live here, in this apartment, and when he died he gave it to me.
George in mirror, small pan showing hesitant torso and hands rubbing, George opens blinds, CU George face, multiple superimposition: montaged street views, swimmer, light through trees
George Hawken: He was really frightened, every piece of news that came back was worse news than the week before. And he was terribly reduced by the cancer in his bowel he could barely walk, this is like one month of finding out, he could barely walk he had lost a lot of weight and he didn’t like the way he looked either, because he was not vain exactly but he knew he was very beautiful and he couldn’t see that in himself anymore, he just looked afraid.
Image: George walks to couch and turns around, George sits in chair
George CU sync: The thing that he figured out about me was this weird conundrum I have where if I really want something I say I don’t want it. Right? I believe that I actually don’t want it and he saw through that, that it was some kind of really complicated kind of barricade that I was sort of putting in the way of pleasure. Right? So that actually was at the, had a lot to do with our sexual relationship because initially I was resistant to it
Cut to George at a lecturn in Fiddle Faddle by Colin (slow motion), then a series of shots of George and Colin in Que Sera Sera (George in distance turns to face camera, Colin then George on phone, Colin makes suggestive motions with George on bed, George face CU, George runs a wooden beadle between Colin’s legs)
George v/o: and resistant to the kinds of experiments that we eventually ended up sort of the kinds of things we ended up doing. Initially I always said oh I don’t think so and he would always so Ohhh I think you think so.
image: montage of people taking pictures at Niagara Falls, Canada, in final image, a wide shot of people are gathered looking into an abyss of whiteness when a photograph of Colin’s face appears out of it.
image: montage of commuters entering train station, buying tickets, waiting at tracks, train arriving, trains, steam, wheels, cameramen, trains passing, train shadows, track repair, steamy trains, night trains, Colin close up eye from Disheveled Destiny by Colin Campbell, fan, close-up of train wheels moving, photograph of man’s face whose image is multiplied infinitely by TV sets behind him.
William Burroughs v/o: The road to the western lands is by definition the most dangerous road in the world for it is a journey beyond death, beyond the basic God standard of fear and danger. It is the most heavily guarded road in the world for it gives access to the gift that supercedes all other gifts: immortality. The road to the western lands is devious, unpredictable, today’s easy passage may be tomorrow’s death trap.
image: Andy Paterson moves through hallways of Cameron House hotel where he lives, cut to Andy in drag singing (I am an angel, but I’m a devil too) from Immortality and then in a split screen shot with two Andy’s talking to each other on the telephone. Titles are superimposed over these shots: STEREO. ARTIST.
Andy voice-over: I could name a hell of a lot of other artists beside myself…
tilt down Andy
Andy Paterson: We don’t want it to look too posed now do we?
image: Andy Paterson close up face, he takes off hat
Andy voice-over: …whose work clearly sees Colin’s body of work as a template of sorts.
Andy Paterson: I’m not going to close the door.
Andy voice-over: It’s a type of self portraiture of simultaneously being acting and not acting.
image: montage of four shots of Russian sailors, builders, workers taking off their hats
image: Tanya Mars takes off her hat in car, car drive
image: close up eye slowly closes, inside eye images of Tanya Mars moving through snow appear, a hand picks up a gun, Tanya fires gun into distance
Colin from The Woman from Malibu: (close-up face sync)
They began to descend together. They came down to about 22,000′ where Ben and Graham had difficulty earlier. Then I saw them fall, they slipped. Down they went, 3,000′ to about a height of 19,000′.
image: people gathered under artificial red sunset at Tate Museum in London, images are dreamy and slowed
Image: trains pass overhead twilight in London.
Colin (from Deja Vu)
Death doesn’t take vacations darling, not even in the south of France.
Image: skateboarder goes by and train.
image: train passes under bridge, Lori on bike, Lori’s face, Lori bikes magic hour, Lori and Colin photo, Glenn pushes wheelbarrow through snow, Lori cuts wood, walks in snow with Glenn
Lori: I’ve had five months where I’ve had difficulty having emotions. And having difficulties with Piers and feeling very, though it’s since been resolved, as if Piers doesn’t even like me anymore, someone I thought I’d be close with for life. I was just so homesick for Colin and that feeling of being loved through thick and thin, like every part of me was loved, like there was no part of me that was unlovable.
image: photos of Lori Spring, woman at window from Inside/Out by Lori Spring, photos of Lori Spring, woman showers, exercises, swims from Inside/Out by Lori Spring, photo of Lori as young girl, pan cross living room from Inside/Out and channel changer and white snow from Inside/Out by Lori Spring, photo of Lori Spring and Colin Campbell, image of Colin approaching window from Secrets by Colin Campbell
Lori Spring v/o: And no one can ever love me as well as Colin loved me.
image: Colin walks in desert
image: pan across dashboard to Colin in car from The Scientist Tapes by Lisa Steele, he speaks then looks out to the desert
Colin Campbell: I too have unfulfilled desires.
Editor Mark Karbusicky
This movie was made on the shoulders of Colin’s friends
Margaret Moores, Alerminda Travassos, Janis Hoogstraten, Tanya Mars, John Greyson, Lisa Steele, Gary Kibbins, Lynne Fernie, Johanna Householder, Glenn Schellenberg, Sue Ehrlich, Kerri Kwinter, George Hawken, Andrew Paterson, Lori Spring
Friends of the family
Steven Davey and the Dishes, Jeff Erbach, Carolynne Hew, Esma Moukhtar, Angelo Pedari, Carmen Householder-Pedari, John Price
Shawn Chappelle, Jubal Brown
Cameron Bailey, Louise Bak, William Burroughs, Anne Carson, Helen Lee, Sally Lee, Kyo Maclear, Janine Marchessault, Olivier Mercier, Steve Reinke, Susan Sontag, Tess Takahashi, Oscar Wilde
Will Munro (dance), Kate Paterson (life drawing class), Cameron House
Reena Katz (violin)
Daniel Cockburn, Terence Dick, Lisa Harrison (scans), Heather Keung (dubs), Chris Romeike (camera), Kim Tomczak (dream archivist), Greg Woodbury and all the kind folks at Vtape and Charles Street Video.
Colin’s 50th birthday tape by Lynne Fernie, John Greyson, Johanna Householder, Carmen Householder-Pedari , Laroux Peoples, Lisa Steele, Kim Tomzak
Artists Television by Judith Doyle
Soft Like Me by Jeff Erbach
Colin in the desert by John Greyson
The ADS Epidemic by John Greyson
The Jungle Boy by John Greyson
You Taste American by John Greyson
The Long Take by Gary Kibbins
I am an artist, My name is… by Elizabeth Mackenzie and Judith Schwarz
Pure Virtue by Tanya Mars
Immortality by Andrew Paterson
Controlld Environment by Andrew Paterson
Charlie’s Party by John Price
Inside/Out by Lori Spring
The Scientist Tapes by Lisa Steele
Rocket fuel from the following works by Colin Campbell appeared:
Sackville I’m Yours (1972)
This is an Edit/This is Real (1974)
The Woman From Malibu (series) (1976-77)
Shango Botanico (1977)
Modern Love (Part 1,2,3) (1978)
Bad Girls (1980)
L.A. Flex (1980)
He’s a Growing Boy, She’s Turning Forty (1980)
Conundrum Clinique (1981)
Dangling by Their Mouths (1981)
Snip, Snip (1981)
Peripheral Blur performance (1981)
Bennies From Heaven (1986)
No Voice Over (1986)
Black and Light (1987)
Un Mois En Languedoc (1996)
Deja Vu (1999)
Disheveled Destiny (2000)
Que Sera Sera (comaker: Almerinda Travassos) (2001)
This work and other unembedded media is made possible through the happiness of the Canada Council and the Chalmers Art Fellowships at the Ontario Arts Council