Interview with Tommy Turner by Glenn Wharton and Marvin Taylor on 5-20-2016
Tommy Turner is an artist and filmmaker associated with the Cinema of Transgression movement. Turner met Wojnarowicz when the two worked together at the Peppermint Lounge in 1981. Through their interest in photography, they became friends and collaborated on films such as Where Evil Dwells (1985). Turner also accompanied Wojnarowicz to Mexico when he was capturing footage for his project A Fire In My Belly (film in progress). When Wojnarowicz worked on You Killed Me First Installation #8, Turner helped him fill the installation with trash.
Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz met when working together at the Peppermint Lounge. They became friends over their interest in photography. The two went shooting together at non-tourist spots and locations they found odd. Through this friendship, they came together to collaborate on the Super 8 film, Where Evil Dwells [16:30]. Turner discusses their work process and how they would initially discuss ideas over breakfast or coffee but eventually became serious and got to writing. They did not have any storyboards but did plan out scenes on location. Wojnarowicz went on to produce other films such as A Fire in My Belly [23:57]. This film was not a collaboration with Turner but the two traveled to Mexico together to capture footage. Right after a devastating earthquake that left Mexico City in shambles, Wojnarowicz traversed into a world that allowed him to capture extreme urban decay where “people with no legs were breathing fire and going up to cars.” Taylor asks Turner whether he knows anything about the possible abandonment of this film and how footage from the script was removed and given to Rosa von Praunheim for his documentary film Silence = Death [27:56]. Turner does not remember nor knows. Turner then discusses Wojnarowicz’s film showings that usually took place at underground festivals [29:12]. Lastly, the question of whether Wojnarowicz would have wanted his works to be shown in museums with white walls is discussed. Since his death, people have displayed his works more frequently [33:47]. Though he did want to be successful in the art world, Turner explains that he had a love-hate relationship with it.