Selected Works: Reel 1

1970-71, 30:12 min, b&w, sound

In Reel 1, Wegman creates deadpan one-liners and ironic sight gags from materials that include his own body, everyday objects such as balls and dolls, and his dog Man Ray. The humor derives from the wild incongruity of expected and actual behavior or events. Inanimate objects are personified; extended actions lead to absurd anticlimaxes. In Stomach Song, Wegman sits in a chair, his bare torso facing the camera. As he gruffly hums a song, his torso becomes a face, with nipples as eyes, navel as mouth. Raising his arms, the "facial" features change gender and he hums in falsetto. Other segments find him blowing a feather from his nose and creating pendulous female "breasts" by folding his elbows to his body. The ever-obliging Man Ray drags a microphone in his mouth, laps up milk that Wegman has drooled onto the floor, and, in an oddly poetic exercise, runs through a darkened room with a flashlight in his mouth.

Reel 1 includes the following pieces: Microphone; Pocketbook Man; Anet and Abtu; The Ring; Randy's Sick; Milk/Floor; The Door; William Wegman in Chinese; Elbows; Dress Curtain; Hot Sake; Caspar; Handy; Out and In; Plunger Series; Nosy; Firechief; Come In; Hidden Utensil; Stomach Song; Happy Song; Contract; Puppet; Shadows; Ventriloquism; Light Trails; Cape On