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MY MORNING WITH MAGIC MIKE a film by JOHN WILSON. 2023. USA. 9 min. America’s favorite cameraman interviews one of his cinematic idols.

This film screened exclusively for a week and is currently not available online.

This week, we’re delighted to present the online premiere of the beloved Queens-based filmmaker John Wilson’s newest short. In My Morning with Magic Mike, he travels to San Francisco to interview the influential underground artist Mike Kuchar about his joyously homoerotic illustrations, the knickknacks strewn across his apartment, and the films he made with his twin brother George.

 

After his popular HBO series How To with John Wilson ended last year, Wilson found he “really wanted to shoot on DV again.” The result of this desire is a charmingly lo-fi video portrait of Mike Kuchar that steeps itself in the history of American video portraiture by directly engaging with the legacy of George Kuchar, who Wilson has long considered an inspiration.

 

 

“Their apartment was always a holy place for me because George shot so many of his diary films there and it almost felt like I could navigate it myself upon entering. During our afternoon together, Mike was generous enough to show me some of his most recent artwork for an upcoming gallery show and even let me touch a box containing George’s ashes.” JOHN WILSON

 

The Kuchar twins started making films as teenagers in the Bronx during the 1950s and eventually joined the same underground scene as Andy Warhol, Jack Smith, and Jonas Mekas. While they started off making shoestring Hollywood romps and micro-budget comedies, George eventually became a prolific video-diarist starting in the ‘80s while Mike traded the anarchy of his early films for more relaxed representations of male beauty in his later works. The duo’s eccentric directorial styles, keen insights on artists’ lives, and sharp eye for weirdness have inspired the likes of John Waters and Todd Solondz. But more pertinently, it’s clear Wilson shares a similar fascination with them about how life’s most banal scenes are also its most sublime.

 

John Wilson’s hit HBO series, a collection of “tutorial” videos brimful of personal insights and New York idiosyncrasies, concluded last year. In 2021, the show earned him a Gotham Award and the following year he received a Primetime Emmy Award. According to an interview with The New York Times, he is currently working on a follow-up to free stuff, a book about funny listings on the free section of Craigslist. More recently, he was a Special Guest at Visions du Réel.

 

Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.