How the Miracle of Masturbation Saved Me From Becoming a Teenage Space Alien (also How The Miracle of Masturbation Saved Me From Becoming a Teenage Space Alien on Joanie 4 Jackie 4Ever and A Wild Horse Rider on U-Matic Chainletter)
November 5, 2016
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
My first film, “A Fucker, A Fighter, A Wild Horse Rider” was in the U-matic Chainletter in ’97, and I imagine I had heard about the Chainletter either because I was a fan of Tammy Rae Carland, whose films had been in the first two Chainletters, or because Miranda had been in and out of Olympia where I had been living. I was 24 then and had just graduated from College, left Olympia and moved back to my small town where I was teaching drama, film, and feminist history at two different private schools, and using my students to help me shoot my 2nd movie.
What interested you about the project?
I really related to having an almost secret media channel between girls, like a diary trade. It felt necessary to have a place where women felt safe to use their own unique voices to tell stories to each other, stories that might not meet certain critical standards, but for that reason would be more raw and more real. I had been watching girls do the same thing in the music scene with the Riot Grrrl movement and it seemed thrilling that women in film could have a similar space. Also I just love the “Message in a Bottle” aspect of the Chainletter where fate takes your film and sends it off on an unknown journey to meet strangers.
At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Around the time that my movies were traveling around on the Chainletter, they also won in the Black Maria Film Fest so they were playing places like RISD and the Smithsonian, and I was feeling like a filmmaker, though I was also starting to wonder how I would move forward without moving to New York or LA. It was sort of the moment that I was considering the juncture between Artist and Professional, feeling like I needed to grow up, but unsure how I would accomplish that without selling out. I ended up deciding to just try writing a screenplay because I didn’t want to leave the country, and I didn’t want to go into a local Cable TV job. Joanie 4 Jackie gave me the feeling that my artist self was still banging around out in the world, whispering secret stories, while I existed in a small town America reality.
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
I had a great time shooting my movie because I got to hang out with all these wonderful kids that I had grown up with. It was a little like running a Summer camp, as I ended up having to cook for them and mediate some dramas. I remember I borrowed a van and took a bunch of punk rock kids to the city to shoot and they started panhandling between shots. I worried I was in over my head a few times.On one really crucial day, a day with a lot of dialog, I noticed that my sound guy was being really flakey and when I asked him what was going on he admitted that he and my ‘camera assistant’ had taken mushrooms. It was definitely challenging having an all teenage crew but my goal was to have the shoot be as real a part of the experience as the final movie.
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time I thought it was an underground video zine to be shared among young women. I feel the same now, but I’m surprised that it’s still circulating in the culture.
What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
My Olympia housemates, Wendy Jo Carlton, at the time a filmmaker and currently the Director of the webseries Easy Abby, and Kirsten Schaffer, who was a young firebrand and is now the Executive Director of Women in Film in Los Angeles; Riot Grrrl and all the female bands that grew out of Olympia; my friends’ zines like Pinto, and Shark Fear/Shark Awareness, Bikini Kill, and many others; Bust magazine; Female Directors Jane Campion, Allison Anders, Julie Dash; Alt Newspaper ‘In These Times’; The Capitol Theater in Olympia; Evergreen College; My friends from the Young Communist League of America; The fabulous artists who raised me: Kate Brown, Marilyn Gendron, Robin Parson, Dina Tagliabue and Frankie Benoit and my Mom who is an bad-ass environmental activist and artist.
What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I manage an 800 acre Ranch in the Rocky Mountains with my husband. I’m raising two boys, often homeschooling them. I’m still involved with various media and eco activism projects. I just co-produced a music video/short film for musician Neil Young.
Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
Links to online venues for young feminist artist?