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Superstar in a Housedress: The Life and Legend of Jackie Curtis Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 31, 2005

18 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 31, 2005
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Craig Highberger met Jackie Curtis in the fall of 1972 when he was a freshman at NYU film school. He was a close friend of the superstar for the next thirteen years and documented the work of Jackie Curtis on videotape and film. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596090790
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gary Mark Morris on January 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jackie Curtis rose to (cult) fame in the 1970s as one of Andy Warhol's innumerable "superstars." But Jackie - born John Holder Jr. in 1947 - stood out even from such curios as International Velvet and Penny Arcade. Jackie was a tall (6'2") charismatic writer and performer built like a linebacker whose crazy antics and complex drag persona transcended even the insanity of the Warhol crowd. She was a drag queen whose couture consisted mostly of shredded gowns, wigs sprayed with Raid, and a noticeable five o'clock shadow. She wrote camp-drenched plays with titles like Glamour, Glory, and Gold and Vain Victory: Vicissitudes of the Damned that garnered good reviews even from the New York Times. She shot amphetamine and heroin, blew firemen in New York's back alleys in exchange for cigarettes, and alternately enchanted and terrorized friends and acquaintances with her demented diva routines that included "rearranging" (trashing) their apartments and drinking all their wine. She's probably best remembered today as the most sophisticated member of that holy trinity of Warhol trannies featured in the 1971 Paul Morrissey film Women in Revolt. (The others were glamorous Candy Darling, who died of leukemia at 25, and snaggle-toothed queen Holly Woodlawn, last seen prancing through West Hollywood.)

Author and filmmaker Craig Highberger knew Curtis very well in her heyday and has cobbled together an intriguing biography entirely from interviews with her friends. Superstar in a Housedress, which comes bundled with a DVD of Highberger's excellent film of the same name, is a breezy, often hilarious look at a uniquely uncategorizable personality and the New York homo-art underground typified by the wacky Warholians of the 1960s and `70s.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ken Jensen on April 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
That's a quote used in the movie. And now one of my top 3 favorite quotes to be used forever after.

There was so much to like about this person and movie. Jackie was a phenomenal character. She/he was iconic in the strongest sense of the word. Total belief in herself and her plan (mad though it was at times) and such charisma that all around her believed in her and themselves as much as she did. She altered paradigms.

This particular subculture fascinates me to no end and it is covered well in this DVD. It's classic David and Goliath except David's gotta push it by wearing a dress. I couldn't respect that in-your-faceness more if I tried. I wish I could better convey what I mean. And it's not a movie about sexual preferences. No agenda is forced on you in any way. It's just completely unique.

The fact that this is a documentary and these things really happened and these people really did exist as they did, simply adds to the magic of this movie. Of course, many of those people are still with us and told their tales within. And most of them are extremely interesting as well. It covers more than just Jackie. The world Jackie became famous in is explored in depth as well.

Just as a comparison, it is like the Grateful Dead shows. Nothing like this will ever happen in this way ever again - nothing this new, different, odd, and perfect just for what it was, and it's tragic if you think you may have wanted to be part of it in some way, witness it, but didn't. And if you did, you're breathing the rare air.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cody K. on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If, like me, you ran across the book 'Superstar in a Housedress' while looking for the documentary of the same name, it may have taken you a few minutes to figure out that buying the book is, apparently, the only way to get the DVD.

Yes, this is the full, ninety-plus minute release of the DVD available for rent from Netflix and other rental venues. How the choice was made to market the film as a "companion piece" to the book, without (as far as I can tell) releasing it as a stand-alone purchase, I dunno. I hope it will be released separately in the future, since the current marketing format, I'd think, would tend to lessen its circulation to a wider audience.

Not that there's anything wrong with the book: it's a compendium of reminiscences by people who were close to Jackie. Some of the material repeats what's in the film, and some fills in gaps in backstory that 90 minutes can't provide, such as details on the life and death of the remarkable (and remarkably messed-up) Andrea Feldman. Still, a nice chunky paperback book of commentary in a boxed DVD set might have been a better way to sell the package, which is truly a good one. It's just that the DVD overrides the book in its excellence. There's no good reason why the book needed to be published in hardcover; it's really liner notes for the DVD.

And then there's the strange, spooky, *sealed* envelope that the DVD itself comes in. Glued furtively into the back of the book, there's a lengthy disclaimer proclaiming in no uncertain terms that you MUST NOT OPEN THE PACKAGE ("Simply return the sealed package.") if you think that the DVD might in any number of (enumerated) ways ruin your life. Talk about user-friendly!
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