Suppose a guy from L.A. grew up pinko in a time when that was dangerous -- but he longed to make movies and had an inside track until his leftist leanings got him blacklisted. So he hooked up with mobsters, began churning out pulpy porno and made some money. He ghostwrote dozens of films and made more money, a lot of which he gambled away. He ended up owing the mafia, so he ran to Europe, and going full circle, made more films -- but real films this time. You couldn't call those films mainstream, but they were (and still remain) fascinating. Rooted in pulp traditions and concocted in part from found footage, they foresaw the themes of later films by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, John Waters and Martin Scorsese. Besides, they are a grisly hoot, born from a tawdry autobiographical vein. Pulp Fiction, indeed.
The story might be true, and, then again, it might not. But Noel Lawrence, self-proclaimed curator of the J.X. Williams Archive, says Williams, the man in the story, is real, as are his films. Lawrence, who has ties to the modern found footage movement in film, operates as the public voice for the reclusive Williams and will share the shadowy filmmaker's work and history in Underworld Cinema: The Life and Work of J.X. Williams, a presentation and screening tonight at the University of Denver. Featuring the shorts Psych-Burn, Satan Claus and The Virgin Sacrifice, as well as a Williams "masterpiece," Peep Show (which details a mob conspiracy against Frank Sinatra and the ignoble side of the Kennedy family), the event will take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Lindsey Auditorium, Sturm Hall, 2000 E. Asbury Avenue on the DU campus.
That's all she wrote: You'll have to decide the facts for yourself, but you'll have a good time reaching a conclusion. Visit the J.X. Williams Archive website for an introductory peep.
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