From Filthy Dreams, a tribute to trailblazing underground superstar and drag pioneer (BUT DON’T YOU DARE CALL HIM A DRAG QUEEN!) Mario Montez: “One of Andy Warhol’s ‘superstars,’ Charles Ludlam’s ‘ridiculous’ underground drag actresses and queer film forefather Jack Smith’s ‘flaming creatures,’ Mario Montez sadly passed away this week in Key West. An inspiration to underground filmmakers, drag queens, and anyone with a keen sense of camp and old Hollywood glamour, Montez is undoubtedly an influential figure in the subcultural history of film, theater, art, and queer performance. Born Rene Rivera in Puerto Rico, Montez began his career as Dolores Flores in Jack Smith’s iconic dream-like film Flaming Creatures, renaming himself Mario Montez after Smith’s favorite Hollywood actress/gay icon Maria Montez, who, let’s be honest, was already almost a drag queen. Learning his campy acting style from watching old movies, Montez’s exotic beauty fit right into Jack Smith’s oriental queer utopic visions, continuing to work with Smith in his perpetually unfinished epic Normal Love…” Continue reading here.
(Video, top: Andy Warhol’s Mario Banana; screen grab from Jack Smith’s Normal Love; and an autographed pic from Mario to playwright/drag icon Charles Ludlam)