Liquid Sky, Digitized

Liquid Sky 9-22-18 at 10.52 AM

When I learned (thank you, Dale) that Liquid Sky is now streaming on a service I get, I immediately made time to watch it.

Released in 1982, some critics have said it was ahead of its time. I would put it about 5-years behind its time, having personally witnessed most of these themes, types, fashions, and behaviors in San Francisco in 1977. The aliens and disappearing bodies too? Yes! Well, no. I should not lie about being a witness to those, but I did meet people who said they had seen such things, while exploring secret caves deep inside Mt. Shasta, etc. Maybe it simply took more than five years to get the film made.

First time I saw it, during its theatrical run at Seattle’s Harvard Exit, I loved it and purchased the soundtrack LP at Tower Records on the Ave.

Second time I saw it, it was on VHS from Seattle’s Scarecrow Video. It looked and sounded so bad I wondered how I could have loved it the first time.

Now here it is streaming digitally, looking and sounding great, perhaps better than it did in its original theatrical presentation.

A few things to note:

The character Margaret always speaks the truth.

The film is full of vintage misogyny and vintage sexual violence mostly but not always perpetrated by vintage males (much too much like 2018, one could say).

It is true that people once smoked cigarettes, even in clubs. (A public health risk that so far the mob bosses have not threatened to revive.)

All the devices in the film are vintage now. Unlike 3-year-old Apple devices, none are completely obsolete. People now collect such devices. People do not need to use auto-tune to emote their joy when they get their hands on vintage Fairlight synths, and those analog rhythm machines and video effects devices.

At its heart, this is a film about how sex and drugs kill. Illegal opiates and amphetamines will never stop causing more damage than their legal equivalents prevent. The only sane solution is to de-stigmatize them and make it easier to keep the users safe and alive. Overdosing is wasteful and incarceration fails, regardless of what time periods you want to compare.

The moral of the story is: Stop counting on aliens to clean things up for us.


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