Performance Artists Karen Finley to Direct First Film

News   Performance Artists Karen Finley to Direct First Film Controversial performance artists Karen Finley has exchanged the yam for the camera, and will pilot Creating Kali, an independent feature written by herself and Kamala Lopez. According to Variety, the picture is described as a "female Pulp Fiction on acid" and concerns an actress and a sadomasochist and their adventures in Hollywood.

Controversial performance artists Karen Finley has exchanged the yam for the camera, and will pilot Creating Kali, an independent feature written by herself and Kamala Lopez. According to Variety, the picture is described as a "female Pulp Fiction on acid" and concerns an actress and a sadomasochist and their adventures in Hollywood.

Lopez said the money for the flick was coming from independent sources. Since earning infamy in 1990 as one of the "NEA Four," Finley has complained that she has had difficulty getting funding for her work, which has at times involved her covering herself in chocolate and other foodstuffs in her works about sexual violence and exploitation. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Finley, saying the U.S. government was within its rights to revoke their NEA grants based on their intellectual content -- i.e. for creating works considered by some to be indecent or obscene.

Finley responded to the decision by holding a surreal press conference during her Off-Broadway show The Return of the Chocolate-Smeared Woman. Topless and covered in chocolate, she called the decision "a great loss to our country."

In 1990, the National Endowment for the Arts revoked Finley's fellowship because of her piece, We Keep Our Victims Ready, which decried, among other things, men's emotional and physical abuse of women. In Victims, Finley smeared chocolate sauce on her body, blanketed her self with bean sprouts and placed red hard candies on the tips of her breasts. The government questioned whether public money should be given to works bordering on indecency or obscenity.

In 1996, a Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the 1990 Congressional statute violated not only the First Amendment (which affirms freedom of speech, among other freedoms), but the Fifth Amendment -- which states that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." The Federal Government appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and, in the June 25 ruling, won. Lopez and Finley will start shooting the film in L.A. this October.

-- By Robert Simonson,
Sean McGrath
and David Lefkowitz

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