Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground
Originally titled Cocks and Cunts, Christmas on Earth was the title filmmaker Barbara Rubin (1945-1980) eventually settled on. The film sent shockwaves through cinema audiences, with its scenes of people engaged in heterosexual and homosexual orgies, projected with two projectors fitted with colour filters. Christmas on Earth was shot in New York with its vibrant avant-garde scene then, in 1963.
With Christmas on Earth, Rubin, only 18 at the time, emerged as a new, energetic voice in the world of the avant-garde film, which she had entered as an assistant to filmmaker Jonas Mekas. They remained friends for life. She was indeed energetic, introducing Andy Warhol to The Velvet Underground, and Bob Dylan to Alan Ginsberg and John Cale. Still, Rubin is now nearly forgotten. Unjustly so, according to filmmaker Chuck Smith, who aims to restore Rubin to her rightful place in film history, using material from Mekas' rich archive made available to him.