When I saw Miss Velma’s Christmas in America a coupla years ago at Light Industry, I was elated. Miss Velma preached “The Miracle of God’s Youth”. She was a messenger of life, hope, faith, and miracles– for old people. Her later telecasts provided live testimonies of people who have allegedly had the aging process reversed at the “Golden Altar of Incense Prayer.” Sadly, yet ironically, she has passed on.
“Miss Velma’s Bicentennial extravaganza, CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA, may be the most amazing piece of video I’ve ever seen. In the mid 70s, her Christmas Dramas brought people from around the globe to the Los Angeles Temple of the Universal World Church. The spectacles were televised in the mid 1970’s.Existing at the low-budget end of Sister Aimee’s LA-based Christian spectacle tradition, she’s been putting on glitter-encrusted performances for decades. In this, her masterwork, all manner of poetry, song, and theatrics is enacted on tinsel-draped sets. In the crowning segment, Miss Velma does a Native American dance in a red, white, and blue headdress, shoots out balloons at forty paces with a pistol, and plays a carol on a penorgan. A one-woman variety show for Jesus.” (Jim Shaw, via Artforum, on his top ten list)
Christmas in America was the seed for this post, and subsequent video rant. Also, the post is dedicated to my friend and former supervisor, Leah Churner; who is leaving NYC for a few months. She is a huge fan of all things Baroque Christmas Kitsch, all things Southern Gothic, and all things cable access. Miss Velma is only one example of all the great stuff Leah introduced me to over the years. I really hope she doesn’t stay away from the big apple too long.
Coca Crystal and Robin Byrd–“1984, look out!”
Metro Access Christmas Party
This one just so happened to creep into my purview just in time to make the post:
More Kelly Family:
This looks like it was about to go somewhere pretty hilarious: