Ballad of a Teenage Queen c. 1987

single-channel video

For my 8th grade graduation my parents rented a video camera to record the graduation ceremony. This was the 1980's before everyone owned their own video camera. I had just spent the past 9 years in a small parochial school, which I absolutely hated. Let's just say, I was an expressive person and the school's goal was to repress expression and imprint conformity.


My academic frustration combined with pubescent angst, left me feeling like a powder keg ready to explode. My only outlet was performing air guitar concerts in front of the mirror in my bedroom.


Armed with a video camera on my last day of parochial school, I could not resist turning my newfound freedom into a music video. The hair band Poison was top of the charts in 1987, and their song Talk Dirty to Me was the perfect anthem for a boy entering puberty. I was also drawn to their glam rock style as I questioned my own masculinity, though I left off the makeup and hairspray for this video.


A decade or so later, I came across this video as I was cleaning out the family home. For laughs I started showing it during my live cinema gigs. Based on the audience reaction I decided to start sending it to film festivals. However, it needed a name. I settled on borrowing the title of the Johnny Cash song Ballad of a Teenage Queen, though I added the "c. 1987" to help contextualize it in time.


2004 San Francisco “Indie Fest” Independent Film Festival SF, CA


2003 Chicago Underground Film Festival Chicago, IL