SqueezeBox! Reviews

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September 27, 2010
Rock music and drag both have a clear element of anarchy about them, pushing boundaries and shocking people. And yet hard rock is often thought of as the soundtrack of bashers, while drag queens have traditionally lip-synched to twee pop and old Broadway standards.

Not at SqueezeBox!, the NYC gay night that for seven years had drag queens and other artists singing live (no lip-synching!), rendering edgy and often scandalous versions of rock, punk and New Wave. Backed by an impressive house band, the over-the-top performers perfected their ability to push buttons and appall people. Weirdly enough, the often-scandalous night also brought together straights and gays in a totally unexpected way.

Often the best art is about combining things that people have previously thought of as disparate, and this flick does that in spades. Some of the filming itself is unfocused and technically unprofessional, but SqueezeBox! still captures a unique moment in history. Not all of this is pretty, nor is it meant to be. And although interviewees have a tendency to over-praise their subject, it?s hard to argue with something that was the testing ground for the brilliant Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Finally, first-hand testimonials from Blondie?s lead singer Debbie Harry, film auteur John Waters and Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) add power to the legend of SqueezeBox! Long live its public sex, disgusting performance art, extreme drag and rough-edged rock and roll!
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