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Salad Days Magazine | June 19, 2024

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Lydia Lunch’s ‘The Gun Is Loaded’

Lydia Lunch’s ‘The Gun Is Loaded’ A rare and classic video from the ’80s is now available.

In ‘The Gun Is Loaded’ Lydia Lunch delivers a brutally frank manifesto in a journey through the heart of contemporary American darkness. Her poetic nihilism is set against a barrage of real-life street-action, scenery, news footage, and the deranged music of J. G. Thirlwell. Language NSFW – as you might expect. Video download rental now available:

‘THE GUN IS LOADED’ is a 37-minute performance video featuring former punk rocker, political satirist and sexual provocateur Lydia Lunch. This video trails Lydia in 1988 through a series of staged sets and location shots in New York City as she fires her spoken word manifesto directly into the eye of the camera, and in haunting voice-over. Underscoring Lydia’s onslaught is cinema verité footage of bottom-rung Americana: racecar crowds, dead-end streets and meat packing plants effectively illustrate her ruthless examination of “the American dream machine turned mean.” J.G. Thirlwell’s ominous score magnifies this brutal desolation. Identifying herself as “the average, all-American girl-next-store gone bad,” Lydia vivsects her own sustained damage as a product of this emotionally ravaging environment. This was partially shot at the Performance Garage, but without an audience. Lydia asked Producer-Director Joe Tripician and his production company Co-Directions to record her show, but Joe wanted to expand the production from its theatrical base and exhibit her in an outside environment. So, this video is also a document of the ‘80s NYC street life—from the 14th Street Meat market to Wall Street. The producers called it a “video super-realization” of her spoken word performance. In the video she fires her venom directly into the camera lens, and in an intimate voice-over. J. G. Thirlwell supplied the original music score – a one-of-a-kind aural onslaught. It was released on VHS in the late 80s, but has never aired on TV. The one response the producers received was from PBS, who called the video in their rejection letter “exceptionally unacceptable.”

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