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Mondo New York 1988
Description: A young girl wanders around Fresh York Town and stumbles across a number of strange characters and settings that represent the "underground" territories of the city. She sees stand up comedy in Central Park, a prostitution auction, a voodoo ceremony, an S&M club, and a number of very interesting performance artists. These are just a several of the sights and sounds of Fresh York that she encounters.
Released: 21 Sep 1989 Director: Harvey Keith Writers: Harvey Keith, David Silver Actors: Joseph Arias, Rick Aviles, Charlie Barnett, Joe Coleman Genres: Documentary, Comedy, Music
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Mondo New York Reviews:

'Mondo Fresh York' is sick, twisted, perverted and has absolutely no socially-redeeming value. I loved each second of it!This film purports to be a documentary look at some of the strange performance art in Fresh York City's East Village, but 'Mondo Fresh York' is the cinematic equivalent of those old-time pornographic paperbacks that pretended to be medical situation studies: the entire mission of this film is to wallow gratuitously in the excess and sleaze shown on screen.One of the earliest (and best) turns in this movie is the classically-trained Phoebe Legere, performing on her accordion a song named 'Marilyn' (about guess-which actress). Ms Legere has one of the most pretty singing voices I've ever heard, and the fact that this voice emerges from an incredibly sexy body makes things even more interesting. By the end of her song, Ms Legere is lying supine on the floor and pumping her accordion in a method that seems downright lascivious, while flailing her legs and never skipping a beat. Her revealing costume makes it clear that she shaves.A more surprising turn (slightly less enjoyable) is provided by performance artist Ann Magnuson, who shows up in a bright sunlit exterior that looks like Central Park (strange, as this film is set in the East Village on a dark night). Magnuson is wearing an elaborate fairy-princess get-up, and reciting a saccharine fairy tale. This is very much a departure from Ann Magnuson's usual 'performance art', which I've seen onstage.WARNING: Don't eat anything during Karen Finley's routine. Nor a couple of the others.The one thing I didn't like about 'Mondo Fresh York' was its hypocritical framing device. We see a very pretty young blonde girl (Shannah Laumeister) who strides from one alternative-theatre venue to another, in the Alphabet Town region of lower Manhattan. Her sequences are shot and edited in a manner that encourages us to identify with her. (An interesting decision, as the goal audience for this movie is probably young males who have no desire to identify with a woman.) She seats herself in the audience of a performance space, and the act begins. Actually here's where it gets hypocritical: whenever the act onstage reaches the borders of tastelessness (which happens cute often), the blonde chick gets up and leaves, shaking her head in dismay ... but the camera stays behind to catch the act in all its disgusting glory. Only after the act is over do we slash back to the blonde girl striding through the roads to the next venue. We see this event over and over. Obviously, we're meant to congratulate ourselves that we (like this blonde chick) have the nice taste to receive up and walk out whenever the onstage action is getting too tasteless ... except that (unlike the blonde chick) we also stay behind and watch all the perversion. That dishonesty -- not the perversion itself -- is what I search so offensive about this movie. Still, she sure is a nice-looking blonde chick. Not as sexy as Phoebe Legere, though.On second thought, 'Mondo Fresh York' now has some socially-redeeming value, because years from actually folks will wonder what all that fuss was about concerning something named 'performance art'. This film will present them ... and it will prove that 'performance art' was usually something very empty and pretentious. But sometimes very sexy. I'll rate 'Mondo Fresh York' 8 points out of 10 ... but hold the barf bags handy.


This film is just a tiny photo of what NYC was like during the 80's. I'm so glad it was made. Joey Arias is brilliant (still is and still performing). He and Ann Magnuson daringly performed their art during the early 80's at territories like Danceteria where I was lucky enough to see them. I don't see it as a b-movie at all. It's a documentary and if you've lived in NYC (especially the lower east side) during the 80's you'd understand its value. Thank you Harvey Keith, for saving a bit of time on celuloid.


If you receive a possibility to rent this and are into weird B movies, rent it. Some true weird things including a nice song "A fish out of water Mondo Fresh York," A comic in Central Park, a sex dungeon where 2 girls receive it on with a handicap man. A true tasteless movie.



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