Title: Joanie Loves Tchotchkies; Joanie Loves Furbies
Release Date: 1999; 2000
Nationality and Language:
Running time: about 32 min, 50 min
Distributor and Production Company: Slilogram Productions
Director; Writer: Joshu Margolis
Producer: Joshua Margolis
Cast: Joshua Margolis
Relevance to doaskdotell site:
From the Flaming Film Festival,
presented by Intermedia
Arts Queer Film and Video Showcase,
Loves Tchotchkies (1999, 32 min ); Joanie
Loves Furbies (2000, 50 min.), both
produced and directed by Joshua Margolis, from Silogram
First, a cute note. “Silogram” is a retrograde (or perhaps palindrome, as after the Hindemith Horn Concerto) spelling of the last name of the producer. Anyway, these two films, shown in sequence, make a coherent whole: a story of a naïve, introverted girl living off the manna of her collections in her little apartment, gradually increasing her human contact with her friendship with the ambiguously sexed Jewish “woman” Viveca, played by Margolis himself. Now, Margolis does not come across as a Miss Richfield or as some pantomime performer from the Gay 90’s; rather he his plays this kindhearted older person that could honestly be of either gender but is portrayed as psychologically masculine. (The appearance is inconsistent in the 1999 film: we have a “drag queen” with chest hair but, as best can be seen from the glare of photography, Mae West’s gams; in the 2000 film “she” (there was once a 1965 movie called She) wears a formal business suit, with a complete topological covering, and is genuinely gender-interchangeable.
The collectibles deserve a note: The Tchotchkies
are little dolls like babushkas (they sell them at the Mall of America); the furbies look like fuzzy little fist-sized alien monsters
that might come alive if dropped in your toilet bowl (like the “monkeyman” of Indai). The Furbie film
gets into political satire with an invocation of the Monica Lewinsky thing,
with an FBI agent, some credit report tampering, and perhaps even Kenneth
Starr (the cigar thing gets reworded).
It becomes rather like a scherzo needing a finale (and Margolis plans
one, and it could get into visually interesting terrirtory
if I follow my erotic suspicions, but Margolis’s
tone is always gentle, keeping everything almost into PG-13 territory). By the way, it usually is not cold in
In 2003, Josh Margolis presented his new Josh and Sandi telethon. On
The Pilot episode starts with a simple and comic dialogue from Josh (Joshua Margolis) and Sandi (Erin Muir). From there it branches to an apartment scene (reminiscent of “I Love Lucy” but here in garish colors) where there is a little plot about making the rent. Pretty soon, though, the telethon and subsequent episodes branch out into different issues, although many of them stay in the apartment (somehow this also reminds me of the opening dialogue of Vertigo).
The issues are
gravely serious, yet the comedy is flippant. Underlying all of this will be
jokes about Judaism, that may have an edge now in
the wake of 9-11 and the conflict over
The telethon format will allow an exploration of all kinds of substance, always with a comic overlayer, without requiring one continuous plot like in a conventional movie. Josh can always return to Josh and Sandi (literally, with his trademark for them) to move on to the next topic. One question for me is, can this work as a structure for epic storytelling? It has been tried (like in Dr. Zhivago) but is out of fashion today.
Margolis acts his comic role with a little-boy kind of innocence, in a style that reminds me of “Blue’s Clues.” There is no established star who delivers this kind of comedy in high-end films, so he could create his own presence in a new style of comedy.
The trademark for his Silogram company (a palindrome on his last name) is interesting: his face transmutes into that of an owl. Margolis’s work does show how an artist can invent himself.
TWO OTHER FILMS FROM THIS 2001 FESTIVAL
Cucumber Chronicles I, II, and
FROM THE 2002 FESTIVAL:
Grapefruit (1989, videom 40 min), by Cecilia Dougherty, pokes good fun at the so-called “Fab Four” with an all female cast: Suzie Bright as John Lennon (murdered in New York City in 1981), and Shelly Cook as Yoko Ono. It’s great fun (with a small amount of total female nudity) that seems oblivious to the tragedy that took place. Also shown were the shorts “A Reason to Live” (Keorge Kucher, 1976, 16 mm, black and white in a spoof of old-time potboilers, “Me and Rubyfruit, 1990 (pixelvision to video, “Diddle My Skittle” and “Lovertits” (1999, super 8 to video), by Merrill Nisker, also known as “Peaches,” (sorry, Dallas Roundup bargoers, not “Poodles.”)
Hook or By Crook (2001) (widescreen DV, 90 minutes, digital stereo
soundtrack) from Steakhaus, written and directed by
Harry Dodge and Silas Howard, with Silas Howard, Harry Dodge, Stanya Kahn, and Carina Gia, is
a gentle road movie in the spirit (though not plot) of Thelma and Louise,
with some real gender-bending, to the point that you don’t know whether the
relationship is straight or lesbian. The scenery, filmed on-location from
Acting (2000, 60 min), a video from the UK (Richochet
Films) by Amory Peart, is NC-17 all the way, all
right, with an ending that really does reverse the genders and embarrass any
straight man uptight about his “performance.” The shots of the
Sex (2001, 90 min, suggest NC-17), also from Amory Peart,
extracted from a 3-hour six-part series for Ch4 in the
This film is very important, and should be shown in art
theaters here in the
Roberta Loved (2002, from Allan Brocka, (suggest R) presents a shocking vignette of a woman undergoing assisted suicide for cancer, and her use of the services of a gigolo to give her comfort in her last day. In fact, the film starts with her getting laid off (or perhaps outrightly terminated)t work—she finds out when her workplace logon fails—when I got laid off, my account became suddenly disabled while I was still logged on and helping a customer! The credits are very complete and pretentious for a short film, to the point of listing a “body shaver”—a union member, maybe?
I showed a 3-minute DV video called “Bill’s Clips” (suggest PG-13) from the 60-Minute Love and Sex Show “Sunday afternoon. My clips, a study for a future “Do Ask Do Tell” project, showed a street-level air-raid siren and approaching plane display, remembering 9-11. With all of our liberation and freedom, it can be taken away from us with one major lapse. The audience responded well to it. The “Love and Sex Show” (NC-17) concluded with a stage and 50s halo-light TV demonstration of sadomasochism, “Viva la Flame,” complete with chainsaws, by Venus and Shannon, in the spirit perhaps of Motel Hell (1984), or the Ground Zero (a Minneapolis bar) stage shows, but with a shocking anatomical twist at the very end.
The 2003 festival presented Hope Along the Wind: The Life and Times of Harry Hay.
Related reviews: Heterosapiens, by Jon Springer
Return to doaskdotell movies
Return to strike page for reviews
Return to doaskdotell home page
Email me at Jboushka@aol.com