What About Me. 1989–93. USA. Directed by Rachel Amodeo. With Amodeo, Richard Edson, Richard Hell, Nick Zedd. Music by Johnny Thunders. 16mm. 87 min.
Hatched among friends at the sidelines of Jack Smith’s memorial in 1989, What About Me was shot intermittently over two-and-a-half years by Rachel Amodeo and cinematographers M. Henry Jones and Mark Brady. The story, about a down-on-her-luck young woman (Amodeo) in the East Village, evolved freely: friends like DeeDee Ramone and New York Doll Johnny Thunders, who contributed music to the film, saw the footage midway and wanted to take part. Suddenly homeless, Amodeo’s character hooks up with one outcast after another—a broken war veteran (Richard Edson), an unapologetic punk heartbreaker (Nick Zedd), and a well-meaning fellow (Richard Hell)—only to see her situation deteriorate further. This vérité-drama hybrid, rendered in evocative black-and-white 16mm, is notable for its footage of the Tompkins Square Park homeless encampments, which took center stage in 1988 riots sparked by the continued gentrification of the area. Print courtesy of the artist.