madeline kahn would have said acab
i said what i said
HELLO! This newsletter is brief and probably grossly self-promotional but you know what! Fuck it! The world is falling apart and I did not spend an entire month of my life in the midst of the wreckage working on this essay to not pimp it out when it was finally published.
Early in quarantine, I stayed awake until 4 a.m. one night watching Madeline Kahn videos on YouTube — because time isn't real and because I desperately needed to laugh — and stumbled upon her final film, this relatively obscure black-and-white indie from 1999 called Judy Berlin. It is so remarkably unlike anything else she's done; I fell in love with it instantly.
I went long (the longest I’ve ever gone…that’s been published in its entirety and not hacked down to like 1200 words) on Madeline Kahn, her oft-unappreciated dramatic range and the deep insecurities underneath her public persona, and her criminally under-seen final performance in Judy Berlin for Bright Wall/Dark Room.
I know there’s *gestures wildly* so much happening right now and asking people to take 10 minutes away from it all to think about something else is a lot, but this is one of my top 5 most important and special pieces I’ve ever done and I’m proud of it and want to share it! For one thing, after this week of shitty media news (that’s all I can say without getting fired and/or sued lol), it was a nice reminder that there are truly good, reader-supported outlets that not only let me with pieces like this — which would be rejected anywhere like Vanity Fair or something because there’s no ~current~ peg — but encourage me to do so. For another, this is exactly the kind of work I want to do forever: writing about people I love and admire, shining a light on their nuances and the ways their legacies have been ignored, forgotten, or, in Madeline’s case, flattened.
p.s. — if you read this and you like it, or if you’re like “oh shit an obscure Madeline Kahn film sounds interesting!” and you want to watch, Judy Berlin is, unfortunately, only available on random used DVDs on Amazon or eBay. But lucky for you! You have a hookup! Contact me (info below) and I will send you my digital copy!
p.p.s. — i hope y’all are still wearing face masks and washing your hands because even though things are opening up again coronavirus is still very much a thing; literally nothing has changed except the fact that hospitals now have a bed for you to die in! and also i hope y’all are contacting your representatives to defund and abolish the police and reallocate those resources back into your communities!!! :)
p.p.p.s. (is that what the next one is is?) — don’t be like this tool; madeline kahn was very progressive and absolutely would have said acab (but probably make the b stand for “bad” instead of “bastards” because she was exceedingly polite)
friendly reminder that if you missed any previous emails, you can read the archive here.
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okay that's it that's the end thanks sorry love you bye