w/ David Schmader
dir. Verhoeven
Fri July 19, 11 pm
Guild Theater

"Eroticism requiresa mental connection between two people, while masturbation requires only the other person's image. What seems to turn Eszterhas on are images of women with switchblades, lesbianism, sex for cash, and violence."--Film critic Roger Ebert, on Showgirls.

Other than providing an icky mental image of him masturbating, Roger Ebert's 1995 review only goes to prove how a shallow mind can dismiss a great work of art. Don't believe it? Then ask David Schmader; writer, actor (Straight), and cinematic historian who will host a very special screening of Showgirls this Friday.

According to Schmader, the brilliance of Showgirls doesn't lie in its success as a film, but in its abject failure. "You know how fun it is to watch someone trip and fall, or mispronounce a word, or vomit on themselves?" Schmader posits. "Watching Showgirls is like watching a whole bunch of people fall down and puke, over and over and over, and it is this unprecedented density of failure that makes Showgirls sublime."

Written by celebrated hack Joe Eszterhas (Basic Instinct) and directed by Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers), Showgirls is a "journey of self" in which gal-on-the-run Nomi Malone (Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley) searches for fame and fortune in the Las Vegas nudie industry. With help from a pair of kickass tits, and an uncanny ability to writhe on a customer's lap like a trout having a seizure, Malone descends into the bowels of Sin City, wallowing in an amazing variety of sleaze.

Schmader is all too happy to wallow alongside this unfairly denigrated feature. While some might consider this "a lecture/performance," Schmader calls it "an annotated screening," where he pauses the film occasionally to introduce pertinent motifs, highlight themes--or mock script and wardrobe.

Though the audience may expect an evening of schlock, boobs, beer, and laffs, Schmader wants to share Showgirls' universal message. "For modern audiences," he notes, "Showgirls offers an incomparably rich portrait of American dreams and dreamers, and the tragic failures that befall them. Plus, there's lots of boobs."