Her list of associates and friends included Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, and the Velvet Underground (whom she took Warhol to see for the first time in 1965). She also participated in Warhol and the Velvets' traveling multimedia onslaught, the "Exploding Plastic Inevitable," and served as one of the Factory's many informal staff photographers. By the end of the decade, though, she'd become a devoted student of Jewish mysticism and distanced herself from her younger, rabble-rousing persona. Entrusting the cinematic artifacts of her earlier life to Mekas, Rubin moved to France. Over the years she gradually severed her New York contacts, eventually dying in isolation in 1980. She was only 35.
Given our historic hindsight, Christmas might seem quaint or naive, its dialectic vision of guiltless sexual pleasure clearly the product of an earlier time. While not necessarily hopeful in the sense that Bond characterizes the 1960s in Shortbus, Rubin's best-known film is very much suffused with a belief in the potential for new cinematic, sexual, and interpersonal possibilities. It is a belief deliciously put into practice by the contingency built into the screening experience. It is a belief not too distant from the aims of Mitchell's own Lower East Side story. (Matt Sussman)
FORBIDDEN AND TABOO
Sun/18, 7:30 p.m., $6$8
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission, screening room, SF