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Jun 13, 2024 at 8:00 pm

Tom Rubnitz: Community Drag Theater

With Emily Eddy & Helena Shaskevich in person for an introduction. Presented with Visual AIDS & Video Data Bank.

Doors 7:30p
Program 8:00p

352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

Offsite- Across the street from UnDo
Grover Cleveland Athletic Field
1817 Dekalb Ave
Ridgewood, Queens NY

Come out under the stars for our first outdoor Summer Screening and behold a lively night of Community Drag Theater celebrating the dynamic and moving work of the legendary Tom Rubnitz and in partnership with the wonderful folks at Visual AIDS.

The work of Tom Rubnitz can be described by an array of adjectives including sexy, glamorous, campy, hallucinogenic, hedonistic, joyful, and romantic, but the heart of the work is the New York City queer community who collaborated on this bouquet of images from the 1980s-90s.

Originally from Chicagoland, Tom Rubnitz, a New York transplant, injected both humor and clarity into the deadliest decade of the AIDS crisis. From playful takes on advertising and drag performances at the renowned Pyramid Club to more serious commentary, such as his collaboration with artist and writer David Wojnarowicz, this program describes a decade of queer culture, performance, and friendship.

We’re delighted to partner with our friends at Video Data Bank for this night that was programmed with the brilliant Emily Eddy who will be in attendance to introduce and speak through the program following.

Come through!


Chicken Elaine

1983, 1:00

Rubnitz’s short cooking clip showcases a chicken casserole recipe from the kitchen of Elaine Clearfield. All you need is chicken, rice, a packet of Lipton onion soup mix, a can of cream of mushroom condensed soup, and water!

Made for TV

1984, 15:00

Combining Rubnitz’s skillful manipulation of the familiar “look” of TV shows with an extraordinary range of characters, performer Ann Magnuson convincingly impersonates the array of female types seen on TV in a typical broadcast day.

Hustle With My Muscle

 1986, 4:00

This rapid-montage music video for John Sex’s song “Hustle with My Muscle” portrays the singer as a ladies’ man with ample endowment to share. “Can you handle all the man below my belt?” he provocatively asks.

The Mother Show

 1991, 4:00

Produced by Tom Rubnitz in collaboration with Tom Koken and Barbara Lipp, The Mother Show is a tribute to mothers everywhere, starring Frieda, the “living” doll.

From the Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge

 1983, 6:00

From The Files of the Pyramid Cocktail Lounge is a series of video clips taken at the Pyramid Club, a seminal location for the East Village drag scene in the midst of the club’s most influential years.

Listen to This

1992, 15:30

Listen To This is a fragment of collective memory that finds critical relevance in contemporary Queer discourse.  Tom Rubnitz weaves narration, image, and a form of temporality, dislocated from ‘real time’, into a video where artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz’s loss and anger is palpable.

Drag Queen Marathon

1986, 5:00

A dragumentary about a day in the life of a score of drag queens on the lookout for photo opportunities at Lincoln Center, the Guggenheim Museum, Tiffany’s, and in SoHo. A tripped-out Hapi Phace shares her haiku, and The “Lady” Bunny pouts about the concept of unisex clothes.

Program Duration: 51 mins + Q&A

Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.


Emily Eddy is a writer, curator, producer, and cinephile living and working in Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in books, on screen, and online. She has programmed short films at multiple festivals nationwide including Chicago International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, and Onion City Experimental Film + Video Festival. She has been the volunteer director of Nightingale Cinema since 2018. Emily received her M.A. in Visual & Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020 where she focused on contemporary theory, writing, and film studies. She currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Helena Shaskevich is a PhD candidate in art history at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she is writing a dissertation on 1970s feminist video art and political activism. She is currently a fellow at the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab. Her writing has been published in Feminist Media Histories, Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, Art Journal, and Camera Obscura. She is currently editing a special-issue of Leonardo on image-processing art.

Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. visualaids.org

From the Event

Presented With


Jun 13, 2024
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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