Monday, June 22, 2015

‘Summer studies at Anthroposophy NYC’

First, you should know the Rudolf Steiner Bookstore will be open seven days a week(!) through July and August. Monday through Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to five o’clock.

As always, the Anthroposophical Society of New York City is located at 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan.

While the regular Anthroposophy NYC groups and programs have the summer off, there will be summertime studies on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning next week. From the publicity:

A New Summer Study Group will be happening!

The regular meetings are Mondays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

We will be reading Occult Science as our main text, but first will be reading the fourth chapter, called “The Path to Knowledge,” of the book Theosophy for the June 29 meeting.

Contact is Joshua Kelberman.

All are welcome!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

‘l’Hermione aux U.S.A., Part II’

Last night was the highly anticipated lecture at Masonic Hall by Bro. Alain de Keghel of France, who spoke on the friendship and camaraderie between two eminent Freemasons of centuries past: Lafayette and Washington. Bro. Alain is one of the organizers of the visit of the Hermione replica to the United States and Canada underway now. The ship will arrive in New York City in about ten days.

Alain de Keghel, Martin Kanter, and Misha at Alain’s lecture last night, in conjunction with the arrival July 1 of the replica ship Hermione to New York City, of which Alain is one of the organizers.

It was an eagerly received talk, and it was great to see friendly faces in the audience. It all came about last month, when Bro. Marty Kanter attended the World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History in Paris, and met Bro. Alain, one of the presenters. The event last night concluded and we exited the Ionic Room at about 7:30, at which time I took a short walk to 12th Street to catch a movie. A French movie titled In the Name of My Daughter. Long story short: It is a drama based on real people and events concerning a shady business deal and the apparent murder of an heiress on the French Riviera. In one scene, the sketchy lawyer who would become the murder suspect is asked how he knows the local mafia boss. “He is a Freemason,” he says, “from a different lodge.”

It’s important to network.

Much of the audience at the lecture last night.

The Summer Solstice is here! Saint Johns Day is near. Have a great one.

Friday, June 19, 2015

‘Bluegrass photos’

Amid several long days of rain, we got very lucky Sunday with a beautiful, sunny respite that made the 2015 Traveling Man Bluegrass Festival a perfect afternoon. The event supports the German Masonic Charitable Foundation. The foundation comprises the Masonic lodges of the Ninth Manhattan District in New York, many of which have their roots in German immigration to the United States in the last century and earlier. The charities funded by this music festival include the Shriner transportation unit—the group of volunteers who ferry needy kids to and from the Shriner hospitals in Boston and Philadelphia—and several other children’s causes.

An enthusiast of mountain music myself for many years, I was very pleased with the talent that performed all day at German Masonic Park in Tappan. Well, one band had a drum kit and electric bass, and played rock songs—I don’t know what the hell that was all about—but they were okay too. The other acts, hailing from distant rural locales like Philadelphia, Long Island, and Brooklyn, were excellent. In addition, there was plenty of beer (it is German Masonic Park, after all) and food. I can’t wait for the fifth annual festival next year.

Some photos:

Jersey Corn Pickers

Dubl Handi
Dubl Handi chose its name for the famous washboard brand. Click here.

Buddy Merriam and Back Roads
Buddy Merriam launched his bluegrass career 35 years ago. Actually, Saturday was the anniversary. He knew and performed with Bill Monroe, and he hosts the program Blue Grass Time on WUSB Wednesdays.
A brilliant mando picker as well.

McMule is the band with the drums and bass guitar. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn't what one expects in bluegrass bands. I had a mental block about it, so I shot only the dobro and mandolin players.

Cricket Tell the Weather
I suppose if I had to pick a favorite from among the line-up Sunday,
it would be Cricket Tell the Weather.

‘Summer studies at the Jung Foundation’

The C.G. Jung Foundation of New York has announced its summer schedule of one-week intensive classes. Registration is here. From the publicity:

Intensive Program 1:
Passages: Identity, Consciousness,
and Transformation
July 6-10

Jung felt that individuals continue to develop throughout their lifespans. In our first program, we will view through the lens of analytical psychology those fundamental passages in life experience that contribute to a development of identity and consciousness. We will first receive an overview of life's transitions as seen through the concept of initiation. We will next explore various psychological passages through adolescence, parenting and mid-life and the transformation that each can bring. Finally, we will conclude the week with a discussion about the archetypal forces that shape our perception of aging in our culture.

Monday, July 6

9-10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Paths to Transformation:
From Initiation to Liberation

C.G. Jung's intensely powerful profusion of imaginal experience during midlife impelled him to communicate with the psyche in creative ways that carried him toward a larger expression of himself and his work. This lecture and discussion will explain life transitions, employing the motif of initiation, and assist participants in gaining awareness of the messages being spoken through their own unconscious strivings to achieve a more complete and authentic expression of themselves in the world.

Instructor: Kate Burns, LPC

Tuesday, July 7

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Adolescent Passages:
Gazing Back So that We May Go Forward

Jung called myths the "first and foremost psychic phenomena that reveal the nature of the soul." As we tell, discuss, and analyze myth through the lens of adolescence, we will rediscover as adults those rare, core moments in life which help us realize that we can live again with the sense of passion in life first experienced in the adolescent world of infinite possibilities.

Instructor: G. Kwame Scruggs, Ph.D.

Wednesday, July 8

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Initiation into Parenting

Parenting is a developmental journey for the parents as well as the child. First, in becoming a couple, there's the shift from "I" to "We." Then, when the baby comes, new opportunities for individuating are opened. Finally, the letting go required as the child matures brings another opportunity. Each transition brings one through the initiation and separation stages of the journey.

Instructor: Daniel Griffin, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 9

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Mid-Life Passage:
From the Ego toward the Self

In C.G. Jung's Collected Works Volume 8, he writes "The Stages of Life," in which he put forth the psychological transition that occurred in midlife. In the second half of life, Jung emphasized the importance of consciousness and attainment of spiritual value, meaning and purpose. He felt that the second half of life held spiritual treasures yet to be discovered. Through discussion and exploration of this midlife passage from the Ego toward the Self, participants will gain an understanding of what it means to find a new or deeper relationship with the Self.

Instructor: Jane Selinske, Ed.D.

Student Dinner: 5:30 to 7:30.

Friday, July 10

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Aging, Ecology, and the Spirit of Nature

Through narratives, poetry, and dream analysis, we will explore the archetypal forces - both fierce and generative - that shape our experience in the latter half of life. Tracking correspondences between destructive attitudes toward the environment and disparaging views of aging in our culture, Dr. Costello will challenge the dominant association of aging with images of decline and portray spiritual awakening as an archetype-promoted developmental goal of the aging process. Special attention will be given to the passage into Elderhood and to the nature-based tasks of the latter part of life.

Instructor: Melanie Starr Costello, Ph.D.

Intensive Program 2:
Into the Woods: The Quest
for Individuation in Fairy Tales
July 13-17

In our second program, we will see how an understanding of the meaning of fairy tales can reveal archetypal patterns that illuminate our own development and affect our life choices. We will look at images of redemption, as described in Marie-Louise von Franz's classic works, and how they contribute to psychological growth. We will learn what fairy tales can tell us about the psychological tasks facing us as we mature. We will explore the development of masculine consciousness and the journey of the orphan toward wholeness. Finally, we will discuss the essential image of the Mother archetype and its role in the healing of the mother complex.

Monday, July 13

9-10 a.m.
Registration, Welcome, and Orientation

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Motifs of Redemption in Fairy Tales

In this seminar, we will explore and elaborate on a series of lectures given in Zurich in 1956 by Marie-Louise von Franz, who was a close collaborator of C.G. Jung. By following her insights, we will discover how fairy tales and particularly their images of redemption open up a way for us to engage our own personal complexes and contribute to our understanding of the process of psychological growth and individuation. We will also reflect on some core concepts of Jungian thought, such as the shadow, anima, animus, and the Self. Creative writing exercises will help us to ground some of the images in our own personal experience. Please bring a journal.

Instructor: Heide M. Kolb, MA, LCSW, NCPsyA

Tuesday, July 15

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Act II: Fairy Tales for the Second Half of Life

In most fairy tales, the young Prince and Princess marry and live happily ever after, but what really happens then? A small group of fairy tales from around the world tell us – they focus on middle-aged and older protagonists. This workshop will explore what those fairy tales reveal about the psychological and spiritual tasks of maturity – the challenge of individuation and the role of the elder in benefiting society.

Instructor: Allan B. Chinen, MD

Wednesday, July 16

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
Sleeping Beauty:
Masculine Development and Consciousness

The Sleeping Beauty fairy tale offers a fascinating glimpse into the problems of masculine development especially as they relate to a holdfast patriarchal mentality. The fairy tale provides us with a solution to this problem in the new hero who is "not afraid." The core of this resolution resides in the archetypal realization of the rite of initiation by our incipient hero.

Instructor: Robert Mannis, Ph.D.

Thursday, July 16

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
The Orphan Archetype as Seen through Fairy Tales

Symbols and images that appear in fairy tales and that have a compelling interest carry a message that, when taken up and worked with, reflect the myth we are living. By engaging in this task, we are led to a synthesis of their relevance to our individuation process. The orphan theme weaves throughout many fairy tales. In this seminar, several of these tales will be highlighted and their orphan dynamics brought into focus. For the orphan, this exploration of meaning can provide the nourishment that is needed to provide an inner home to reside in, an essential container leading to an experience of wholeness. The symbols and images directly expressive of orphanhood will be illustrated through personal experience reflecting their depth of meaning.

Instructor: Rose-Emily Rothenberg, MA, MFT

Student Dinner: 5:30 to 7:30.

Friday, July 17

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
The Archetype of the Mother in Fairy Tales
and the Move to Individuation

C.G. Jung wrote that “the mother carries for us that inborn image of mater natura and mater spiritualis, of the totality of life of which we are small and helpless.” In this workshop, we will explore the Mother archetype as it is depicted in fairy tales and how the journey of the hero provides a trajectory toward the healing of the mother complex.

Instructor: Julie Bondanza, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

‘Summer studies in practical philosophy’

Summer is near, but the learning doesn’t stop at The School of Practical Philosophy. Its New York City location offers several interesting and affordable opportunities to enjoy what it does, namely putting the key concepts of wisdom into students’ hands for daily application in life. It’s not just sitting around talking—although it begins there—but it is intended to help the participant to organize his mind.

The school is located at 12 East 79th Street in Manhattan. From the publicity:

Education of the Soul:
The Value of a Philosophic Education
With Mr. Howard Schott
Wednesday, July 29
7 p.m.

What might it mean to get an education founded in philosophy? When we consider the way in which each of us was educated, did philosophic inquiry play a part? What are the results of having philosophy absent from the schools?

Consider these questions:

  • Do we believe that life is ultimately fair? Will a wicked person surely suffer, at least in the long run? If not, why should anyone try to be good?
  • Have we ever made a decision that we know was entirely our own and no one’s responsibility but ours?
  • Songs and plays say “Life is a dream.” Is the statement true? Are we really awake or are we dreaming?
  • Expanding the view, do such questions have any relevance to the way in which we educate our youth? What philosophic basis, if any, should be made available to the young when faced with finding answers to questions like these?

Join us to explore the part that philosophy can play in the education of the whole human being.

Admission is $25. Tickets can be purchased here or at the Registration Office on the first floor. Light refreshments will be served.

Summer Stories Program
The universe is made of stories, not atoms.
With Muriel Rukeyser

Mondays: July 13, 20, and 27
Wednesdays: August 26 and September 2
7 p.m.

Please join us for Stories to Light the Way, a series of summer evenings filled with tales of the great masters that provide humor, direction, and good company for the journey.

Admission: $15, which includes light refreshments. Friends and family are welcome. Tickets can be purchased here or at the Registration Office on the first floor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

‘Bluegrass festival Sunday at Tappan’


The fourth annual Traveling Man Bluegrass Festival will be hosted by the Freemasons of the Ninth Manhattan District on Sunday. I can’t believe it’s been a year already.

That’s at the district’s German Masonic Park, located at 120 Western Highway South in Tappan, New York. Tickets in advance cost $10 per person, and $15 at the gate. Children under 12 admitted free. Food, soft drinks, beer, and wine will be available for purchase inside the park. (No BYO.) Plenty of free parking.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. A music workshop (open mike) at the main pavilion will begin at noon, and the music will start at one o’clock.

Proceeds to benefit a variety of children’s charities.

The line-up this year: McMule  • Dubl Handi • Jersey Corn Pickers • Cricket Tell the Weather • Buddy Merriam and Back Roads.


Dubl Handi

Jersey Corn Pickers

Cricket Tell the Weather

Buddy Merriam and Back Roads

I definitely will post photos. Maybe I’ll be able to get one into The Empire State Mason. EDIT: Click here for a batch of photos.

Monday, June 8, 2015

‘Alakazam, Abracadabra, Shazam, Amscay!’

It’s rare I mention the Shriners here on The Magpie, but Bro. Bill (of Knights of the North, etc. fame) shared something on Facebook today that cracks me up.

An eBay seller offers a Shrine fez this week, claiming it was owned and worn by U.S. Army legend Audie Murphy, who was the most decorated American serviceman in the Second World War, and a Freemason and Shriner.

The starting bid, which has not materialized yet, is to be $998. I encourage any potential buyer to have a very close look before bidding.

The lot is titled “Audie Murphy Owned Hella Shriner Freemasonry Hat & Case Dallas Texas 1957.” The photo:

The lot description:

This is a hat that was owned and worn by Audie Murphy.

Audie became interested in Freemasonry in 1955.

He became a Shriner (Hella Temple, Dallas) on November 15, 1957.

Audie often participated in Shrine parades.

Please see all seven of my ebay pictures.

One of them was shown in The American Soldier book by Harold B. Simpson
on page 336. This photo shows Audie wearing the hat.
 Under the photo it says: Audie, shortly after becoming a Shriner, in a Dallas
 Shrine parade on November 15th 1957.

The hat is in a wonderful case that I think is leather. Audie’s initials are
 on the top and one of my pictures shows his name on the inside of the case.
 Both the hat and case are in Excellent Condition!

First, although the photo of Murphy wearing a Shrine fez is blurry, you can see clearly that he is not wearing the fez that is listed for sale here. The fez in the black and white photo from 1957 has the scimitar above the crescent. Just like my grandfather’s fez of 1960s vintage:


But the fez on eBay has the scimitar-through-the-crescent design. Second, the old fezzes were embroidered pretty simply. These “bejeweled” fezzes, with the fake rhinestones and all that, came later. (Murphy died in 1971.)

I communicated my concerns to the seller, and promptly received this reply:


Thanks for taking the time to write and give me your opinion.

Because of where I purchased it I am 100% confident that this hat belonged to Audie Murphy. He became a Shriner in 1957...not in the 1960s.

My ebay picture is not real clear because the photo in the book is not good but if you have the book you might take a look at it closely and you will see that the men in the photo with Audie are all wearing hats and the designs on them are very different. My hatbox also has the design different from the hat.

I paid almost 3 times the amount that I am asking for them and from where they came I will say again that I am certain they were owned by Audie.


So buyer beware! This is why I buy only from newly signed up sellers in Russia and China.

I am no expert on the collectibility of Shriner fezzes, but paying three thousand bucks for one fez—and let’s say it was in fact owned and worn by Audie Murphy—is nuts. (And if you did something that stupid, wouldn’t you at least know to call it a fez, and not a hat?) The $998 isn’t much smarter. I have watched enough History channel to understand how famous people’s antiques, autographs, and personal effects are valued, and this offering is a bit much. No mention of a certificate of authenticity either. I do recall several years ago some of Sir Winston Churchill’s Masonic items went under the gavel and fetched about $500.

That’s Winston Churchill of saving-the-world-fame.

Audie Murphy is remembered as a peerless war hero and even a movie star, so I reckon personal effects of his that are connected to his wartime service and screen career would be the valuable mementos. His Shrine membership? A note in a book of Masonic trivia.

Caveat emptor! (That means look out for the quicksand.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

‘l’Hermione aux U.S.A.’


You didn’t think the Hermione would visit New York City without some Masonic commemoration, did you?

It’s a replica of Lafayette’s ship actually, making the voyage from Port des Barques, whence Lafayette came in the spring of 1780, to the New World, making twelve stops along the East Coast—from Yorktown to Nova Scotia—today through July 18, including a July 1-4 stay at the South Street Seaport. Click here for the New York schedule of events.


One of the organizers of this celebration of Franco-American history is a Freemason from France, who will be a guest speaker at Masonic Hall later this month. From the publicity:

A Lecture by Ill. Alain de Keghel, 33°

Saturday, June 20
Six OClock

Masonic Hall, Ionic Room
71 West 23rd Street
New York City

Alain de Keghel
Ill. Keghel will give a talk on Franco-American relations, focusing on Washington, Lafayette, and other historical figures who helped America win independence. Keghel is a well-known and highly respected author and speaker. He also is instrumental in the upcoming visit of the replica of the Hermione, the ship that brought Lafayette to the United States in 1780. Space is limited.

Bro. Keghel is the author of Two Centuries of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in France, 1804-2004; Freemasonry in North America; and the newly published The Challenge of American Masonry: A Strong Tradition Facing Changes, among other titles.

You may be interested in an exhibit now open through December of next year at Fraunces Tavern Museum titled Lafayette, which features twenty Lafayette-related historical objects owned by the museum, including the Marquis’ pistols and the general’s sash he wore, and bled on, at the Battle of Brandywine.

Courtesy Fraunces Tavern Museum

Monday, June 1, 2015

‘The MMº as you’ve never seen it before’

And from our Just for Fun Department….

The highly bizarre (I don’t think “avant garde” really suggests enough) Cremaster series of films by Matthew Barney will return to the Guggenheim this summer for four dates of complete screenings beginning Saturday. That’s a lotta Cremaster. I’m not a customer here. Probably.

I saw Cremaster 3, which actually is the fifth and final of the series, on its release in 2002, and I related this description to the members of the ML group on May 21, 2002:


About two weeks ago I brought to your attention a new movie titled Cremaster 3 that the director said was based on the Master Mason Degree.

Well, I saw it on Sunday and it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. This is what you might call an “experimental” work. If you like the films of Warhol, Anger, early Lynch, etc. then you may like this one. If your tastes are more normal, then stay away from Cremaster 3.

It runs about three hours and has a 10-minute intermission. There is no dialogue, no speaking at all. Only the unbearable musical score and the sound effects are to be heard, but still the movie theater had the volume turned much too high.

There is a character named Hiram Abiff. There is another character named the Entered Apprentice. There even are characters named Grand Masters and Rainbow Girls. But this movie has nothing to do with Freemasonry; it seems the guy who wrote and directed (and appears as the EA) may have learned something about our ritual and decided it was unusual enough to incorporate into whatever story he is trying to tell here.

In fact, one review (I think in Newsday) called this movie “wonderfully esoteric.” This must be the polite way of saying that only the people who made this film are aware of what it’s about. I was probably the only one in the (sold out) theater who was in on the references to the Craft. Without even that little understanding, I cannot see how anyone else would be able to follow this movie.

Some of the scenes show:
1) a demolition derby of classic Chrysler New Yorkers
2) two hardcore punk bands playing
3) the EA filling an elevator car with cement
4) the Grand Masters having a few pints and cigars
5) a giant and a dwarf battling in Scotland

and hours more of nonsensical imagery that is not worth seeing unless you’re a fan of that kind of stuff.

I’m sorry I even brought it up. It’s at Film Forum in Manhattan (Houston near Sixth) if you’re interested.

After thirteen years, I would like to think I’d bring more understanding to the screening room, but I can’t imagine returning to see this film. Or the others. Especially when shown together in a daylong marathon.

From the publicity:

The Cremaster cycle, created and produced by Matthew Barney, is a series of five visually extravagant films made out of sequence (Cremaster 4 began the cycle, followed by Cremaster 1, 5, 2, and finally, Cremaster 3) but presented here in the order of their creation. The title of the cycle refers to the muscle that raises and lowers the male reproductive system according to external stimuli such as temperature or fear. Taken in sequential order, the films correlate to the height of the gonads during the embryonic process of sexual differentiation, with Cremaster 1 representing the most “ascended” state, and Cremaster 5 the most “descended.”

As the cycle evolved over eight years (1994-2002), this biological model was joined by other paradigms such as history, autobiography, and mythology that have added to Barney’s fantastical narrative constructs. The resulting cosmology is both beautiful and complex, with densely layered and interconnected symbols and images.

The films are screened here in chronological order of their production to reveal the development of Barney’s relationship to the material and of his creative process.


10:30 a.m., Cremaster 4 (1994), 41 min.
11:15 a.m., Cremaster 1 (1995), 42 min.
12:15 p.m., Cremaster 5 (1997), 55 min.
2:45 p.m., Cremaster 2 (1999), 80 min.
4:30 p.m., Cremaster 3 (2002), 178 min.

Free with museum admission.

More dates: July 11, August 8, and September 5, all from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For each of the films comprising the Cremaster cycle, Barney appropriates a different theatrical or cinematic genre.

Cremaster 1, 1995
35 mm film (color digital video transferred to film with Dolby SR sound)
Produced by Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Starring Marti Domination as Goodyear, Cremaster 1 parodies the musical extravaganzas of Busby Berkeley as filtered through the lens of Leni Riefenstahl’s Third Reich athletics. Chorus girls form shifting outlines of reproductive organs on a football field, their movements determined from above by a blonde starlet, who miraculously inhabits two Goodyear blimps simultaneously and creates anatomical diagrams by lining up rows of grapes.

Cremaster 2, 1999
35 mm film (color digital video transferred to film with Dolby SR sound)
Produced by Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Starring Norman Mailer as Harry Houdini and Barney as Gary Gilmore, Cremaster 2 is a gothic Western premised loosely on the real-life story of Gary Gilmore, who was executed in Utah for the murder of two men. Gilmore’s biography is conveyed through a series of fantastical sequences, including an occultist séance enacted with ectoplasm and bee pollen to signify his conception, and a prison rodeo staged in a cast salt arena to represent his death by firing squad. The film’s plot unfolds to question the inevitability of man’s fate as it is reflected in, and witnessed by, the expansive landscape.

Cremaster 3, 2002
35 mm film (color digital video transferred to film with Dolby Digital sound)
Produced by Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Courtesy Gladstone Gallery

Starring Richard Serra as Hiram Abiff, Barney as the Entered Apprentice, and Aimee Mullins as the Entered Novitiate, Cremaster 3 is part zombie thriller, part gangster film. As the final installment in the cycle, the film is a distillation of the artist’s major themes and signature aesthetic devices, filtered through an elaborate symbolic matrix involving Freemasonry, Celtic lore, and Art Deco design. Set in New York’s Chrysler Building, the film also includes detours to the Guggenheim Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright building, to the harness track in Saratoga Springs, to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and to Fingal’s Cave, on Staffa, an island in the Scottish Hebrides.

Here, in Cremaster 3, the Architect and the Grand Masters do a job
on the Apprentice. Somehow, I can relate to this.

Cremaster 4, 1994
35 mm film (color digital video transferred to film with Dolby SR sound)
Produced by Artangel, James Lingwood, and Matthew Barney

Starring Barney as the Loughton Candidate, Cremaster 4 is set on the Isle of Man—a topographical body punctured by orifices and passageways—where a feverish motorbike race traverses the landscape, a dandified, tap-dancing satyr writhes his way through a treacherous underwater canal, and three burly fairies picnic on a grassy knoll. Part vaudeville, part Victorian comedy of manners, and part road movie, this film portrays sheer drive in its eternal struggle to surpass itself.

Cremaster 5, 1997
35 mm film (color digital video transferred to film with Dolby SR sound)
Produced by Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Starring Ursula Andress as the Queen of Chain, and Barney as her Diva, her Magician, and her Giant, Cremaster 5 is set against the Baroque backdrop of the Hungarian State Opera House. Performed as a lyric opera complete with ribboned Jacobin pigeons, a lovelorn queen, and her tragic hero, this narrative flows from the gilded proscenium arch of the theater to the aqueous underworld of Budapest’s Danube River to humid Gellért baths inhabited by hermaphroditic water-sprites frolicking in a pool of pearl bubbles.

So there you have it. The Guggenheim has a long history with Barney and his films, and 3 actually debuted there, if I recall correctly. I suppose on a very hot day these screenings could provide a comfortable escape. Maybe you’ll love these films, I don’t know.