From Time Out London cabaret editor Ben Walters and art historian Gavin Butt, This is Not a Dream sets out to show how with a camera and some imagination you can change the world. The video revolution of the 1970s and 1980s has given avant-garde, experimental and radical video-based artists the ability to defy reality with fantasy. This illuminating documentary looks at how 12 such artists have used video to bring their dazzling, often anarchic, visions to light, beginning with Andy Warhol’s seminal TV Party hosted by Blondie’s Chris Stein and style guru Glenn O’Brien. Interspersing these interviews, drag fabulist Dicki Beau performs I Want to Be An Artist, a wonderful homage to Quentin Crisp, and Orson’s Innocence, a melancholy tribute to Orson Welles.
Among the interviewees are Vaginal Davis, on the San Francisco queercore scene; multi-media artist Nao Bustamente on her brush with notoriety on The Joan Rivers Show; David Hoyle on the perils he faced adapting his avant-garde comedy for Channel 4’s The Divine David; and Kalup Linzy on how soap operas have informed his art. Britain’s Holestar focuses on London’s fiercely unique transgressive cabaret scene, while fellow artiste Scottee reveals why food plays an important role in his films and stage acts. Finally, Cole Escola and London Cabaret award-winner Alp Haydar discuss the cathartic experience of turning personal issues into video art and how YouTube has helped them reach a wider audience. It’s fascinating stuff and hugely empowering.
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