Jack Smith

Les Evening Gowns Damnees

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Once upon a time in New York, with nothing more than wild fantasies spun off from the legend of B-movie actress Maria Montez for inspiration, the late underground film-maker Jack Smith and his friends started an aesthetic revolution. Luckily, the electric violinist/early minimalist Tony Conrad was there at the apartment on Ludlow Street to capture it all on tape.

A screaming excerpt from Conrad's innovative soundtrack to Smith's notorious 1963 film FLAMING CREATURES--the infamous "earthquake orgy" scene--sets the mood. In his unique piping drawl, Smith reads, improvises and giddily free-associates routines involving him and/or his "best friend" Frances Francine, a middle-aged drag queen whose last chance to wear an expensive evening gown inspires the long, poignant narrative that closes the disc. Throughout, Conrad, John Cale and original Velvet Underground drummer Angus Maclise provide suitably exotic musical accompaniment.

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