Cremaster Fanatic

Cremaster 1 Synopsis

Cremaster 1 (40 min, 1995) is a Busby Berkeley-influenced musical revue shot on the bright blue Astroturf of Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho (where Matthew Barney played football as a boy). The 50-yard-line is marked with the Cremaster field emblem (an oval bisected by a line) and the endzones are emblazoned with, “C1”. Two identical Goodyear Blimps float above the stadium. Metaphorically, this episode represents the state of total ascension of the cremaster muscle and sexual undifferentiation. Cremaster 1 is the only film in the series in which Barney does not appear (he has the starring roles in Cremaster 2-4, and appears as three different supporting characters in Cremaster 5).

Cremaster 1 begins with shots of the stadium, the blimps and the chorus girls. The soundtrack is bubbly and bouyant, unlike the forboding music in later episodes of the Cremaster Cycle. After the title credits, the camera moves inside the cabins of the blimps. The interiors of the blimps are nearly identical -- futuristic white airline-chic with a large white table in the center. Atop each table is a large centerpiece sclupted from Vaseline (resembling a reproductive system) surrounded by mounds of grapes. On one blimp the grapes are green, on the other they are red. There are four hostesses on each blimp (wearing uniforms designed by Isaac Mirahi). At the start of the film, the four hostesses join hands across the table.

Goodyear (played by Marti Domination, a performer Barney met at a New York drag club called Jackie 60) lies underneath the two tables. The tables are covered with white tablecloths that form a cocoon around her, hiding her from the hostesses (there are actually two layers of tablecloths -- one over the table and one covering the base and underside of the table). Goodyear wears an elaborate platinum-blonde hairdo (the balls imbedded in her wig are actually bells, but their sound was not included on the final soundtrack), white satin lingerie, stockings with garters, and clear plastic high-heeled Manolo Blahnik shoes (one shoe has a funnel attached to the sole). Goodyear lies on a platform built under the table and puts her hands and feet on protrusions that sprout from the underside of the table. During filming, duplicate copies of Goodyear’s outfit were kept on hand so that she would always appear wrinkle-free.

Goodyear makes a tear in the tablecloth(s) above her head and pins the fabric back with her hairpins. She begins to work a small hole in the tabletop. Once the hole is large enough, she reaches her fingers through and pulls grapes from the tabletop into her lair. At first she can only pluck one grape at a time, but gradually the hole widens and she can gather entire bunches of grapes.

Goodyear collects grapes, and eventually they start to fall through the silver funnel on her shoe and form patterns on the floor. As the first grapes fall, the chorus girls appear on the field. The chorus girls wear hoop dresses (they can flip the hoops up to reveal an orange lining) and white hats that mimic Goodyear’s hairstyle. They twirl accross the field, replicating the patterns made by the grapes. At times these patterns resemble a barbell, the Cremaster field emblem (Goodyear moves the grapes to make a full emblem turn into a half-emblem), cells splitting, and the reproductive system.

The hostesses on the blimps smoke cigarettes and watch the action on the field through the windows. At one point, Goodyear reaches her arm through the hole in the tabletop and spins the centerpiece (surrounded by red grapes) 180 degrees. She pulls her arm back into the cocoon and her hand is covered in Vaseline. She daubs the Vaseline on the grapes on the floor.

At the close of the film, Godyear appears on the field amidst the chorus girls and releases two baloons upwards towards the camera. She is now simultaneously in both blimps and on the field. On the field, she wears a white gown with a rigid plastic ruffle around the neck. At one point, she is shown holding the two blimps in tow, at another she rides on a large white throne (the seat of the throne is shaped like football goalpoasts, which resemble an undifferentiated reproductive system). The closing credits are superimposed over a white behive pattern - the dominant motif of Cremaster 2.