Film: Chuck Smith’s Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground (2018)

Chuck Smith’s documentary Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground (2018) includes 16 of my photos and an interview with me.

As summarized on IMDb, “Life-long friend Jonas Mekas saved all her letters, creating a rich archive that film-maker Chuck Smith carefully sculpts into this fascinating portrait of a nearly forgotten artist. An avant-garde maverick, a rebel in a man’s world, Barbara Rubin regains her rightful place in film history.”

Here’s some more words about the film from a few publications:

Variety: “With incisive and enthusiastic commentary from everyone involved, “Barbara Rubin and the Exploding New York Underground” recounts its story with infectious energy, and uses overlapping color-coded imagery that conjures the spirit of a Zelig-like figure whose contributions to the counterculture were, the director persuasively argues, invaluable.”

New York Times: “Featuring reminiscences and observations from a wide range of friends and critics (one of these interviewees, Amy Taubin, is both), the documentary sketches Rubin’s alliances with the likes of Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, the Velvet Underground and Allen Ginsberg. Because, frustratingly, there appears to be no extant footage of Rubin being interviewed, the talking heads serve as docents through a life that has many corners of obscurity.”

Hollywood Reporter: “For most viewers, even those well-versed in ’60s culture, her identity is a mystery. But Rubin, it turns out, was no shadowy background player. During the brief years that she was part of downtown New York’s avant-garde, she was a fearless creator and a life-changing catalyst. More than one person interviewed for the documentary describes her as angelic, and the late Jonas Mekas, her mentor and dear friend, compares her to Rimbaud, making her subversive mark and then disappearing ‘into the sands of some spiritual Africa.’