Heroes or Outlaws?
Length: 89:34 minutes
Are those who break away from conventional society heroes or outlaws? Do they serve to inspire future generations or doom them to a life of unhealthy isolation? These are the issues at hand in this radioSUZY1 show, and our investigation is so fascinating and our guests so enthralling, that we don’t even have time for callers!
First topic on the table is hillbillies. Yep: hillbillies…I’m prepared for this, clad in a cowboy hat for the occasion, rarin’ to get the ho-down started. An old friend of the Speakeasy (whose Beastly Bombing cast has sung opera at some of our orgies), director Julien Nitzberg returns to talk about his new documentary, featured in the Tribeca Film Festival: The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.
The film is a quasi-anthropological study of how the living, legendary White family’s insularity has allowed them to become a violent, lawless, hillybilly subculture unto themselves. Like a proverbial car accident, the film is both disturbing and captivating as it follows the extended intermarried (though not inbred) clan hell-bent on raising hell.
With porn star guest Cadence St. John providing color commentary, Julien offers a poignant and hilarious account of his experiences, including: Jackass star Johnny Knoxvillle’s role in inspiring the concept; gaining the tenuous trust of a family mired in brutality, drug and alcohol abuse, and disregard for authority; how he dealt with one subject itchin’ for fight; and witnessing the interplay between the Whites and the rest of the members of their impoverished community.
We then make a pendulum swing to another kind of movie as we welcome our guest of honor, legendary adult film actress Veronica Hart. The inspiration for the Boogie Nights character Amber Waves, as well as an actor in that film (she plays a judge), Ms. Hart, aka Jane Hamilton, is gracious and humble as she discusses her trailblazing foray into the world of pornography that opened up the doors for so many of today’s performers. We hear what initially inspired her, how her experiences differ from Paul Thomas Anderson’s fictionalization of her, how she reconciled her profession with raising a family, and how her career has transitioned over time to the present.
The contrasts between the adult industry during her era versus the present also factor in, which leads to a general discussion of the current generation gap. Everyone offers evidence that the strict cultural lines of the past appear to be softening, from Julien commenting on the multiracial musical influences of some of the younger Whites to Cadence offering her experiences as a liberated woman in today’s adult industry.
Is this trend towards a world less bound by strict definitions a product of more fluid cross-cultural exchange in the age of the internet? A natural waning of traditional judgments society places on those who take a different path? Or just a case of a younger generation rebelling against their elders? It’ll be food for thought the next time you find yourself swept up in some mayhem at a ho-down, watching an adult movie, or making love to someone you love…whether it be a hero, an outlaw, or just yourself.