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    Sean Daily is an English major from New Jersey now living in Las Vegas, the Other City of Lights. "I consider 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' to be comfort reading, I like the al pastor tacos at Tacos Mexico and I count among my literary influences the Chainsaw from 'Doom'. 'RRRRRR! You don't like that, do you, Mr. Undead Marine! RRRRRR!'"

    Shanoah Alkire is our Discordian at large. "Born in Santa Cruz, I grew up in Grass Valley and the Bay Area, and now lurk in Las Vegas. My literary influences include Ray Bradbury, Lewis Carroll, and Douglas Adams. I also program as a hobby, and currently maintain the Gtk port of Angband. You can find a rather old bio of me here."

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6-2-08 Tom Rubnitz – Pickle Surprise

Posted by Sean on June 2, 2008

Well, you want to be careful about portals, Shanoah, because you never know where they go, and you never know what you’re going to see on the other OH MY GOD!

The horror… the horror…

This bemusing little video, courtesy of glectro, is Pickle Surprise. The cast is primarily drag queens: RuPaul, probably the most well-known of the cast, with Lady Bunny, Sister Dimension and LaHoma Van Zandt. (This isn’t RuPaul or Van Zandt’s first shot at ultralow-budget cinema, either; check out Starrbootty, one of many)

Pickle Surprise was made by Tom Rubnitz in 1990 who, according to Wikipedia, “was a video artist most often associated with the New York East Village drag queen scene of the late 1980s. His video tapes were mainly inspired by pop culture and Las Vegas style shows”. His videos often included RuPaul and members of the B-52s (yet another reason for me to love the B-52s).

Video Data Bank, though, captures the Rubnitzness of Tom Rubntiz better than staid (and often inaccurate) Wikipedia: “A quintessential New York underground film/video artiste, the late Tom Rubnitz took a bite out of the Big Apple and spat it out in a wild kaleidoscope of unequivocal camp and hallucinogenic color… A genre artist par excellence, Rubnitz treated the sexy-druggy-wiggy-luscious-desserty qualities of the ’80s downtown club scene with the loving care only a true hedonist could show.”

There is surprisingly little information on the series of tubes about Pickle Surprise. It’s not listed in Rubnitz’s filmography at, and doesn’t even list Rubnitz. I’ve been to a couple other sites that have Pickle Surprise, and they can’t make heads or tails of it. And if you want to ask Rubnitz, forget it; he died in 1992 from AIDS-related illnesses.

That’s all well and good, you say, coquettishly. But what’s a “pickle surprise”? you demand, facetiously? Well, if you’re as much an innocent as I was before seeing this shortaccording to the Urban Dictionary, it’s when you bring home what you think is a really hot babe and you retire to the boudoir and she disrobes and you’re expecting a taco but she has a pickle! Pickle surprise!

What this has to do with English muffins I have no idea.

All I can say is that I like it. Everyone seems to be having a good time and the costumes are… imaginative.  It’s playful, a little naughty and unusual – very unusual – without being too inaccessible; I mean, if you can’t figure out what’s going on, you can always punt and laugh along. The best thing you can do with movies like this is to turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. With a pickle.


3 Responses to “6-2-08 Tom Rubnitz – Pickle Surprise”

  1. […] 6-2-08 Tom Rubnitz – Pickle Surprise […]

  2. […] normally like sullying my blog with such silliness (I prefer sullying it with such silliness as Pickle Surprise), but you may remember that ad that McCain put up about Barack Obama going to the gym instead of […]

  3. […] by gavortnik on August 15, 2008 Okay, you may remember a post from some time back about a short from Tom Rubnitz entitled Pickle Surprise. Waitaminnit, what do I mean “may remember”? The Rubnitzness of Pickle […]

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