Director and star Narcissister is the La Jolla-bred performance artist who always wears a mask and often wears little else, despite a genuine gift for creative costuming. Clothes would just get in the way of her act’s more outré elements: namely, the items she famously extracts from her vagina and anus. She does seem to sport a merkin, though this is not discussed: the subject here is Mother, who gave her daughter the welcome gift of an artistic temperament and the far less welcome gift of unblonde hair. (Dad, an African-American professor, also contributed to this predicament, but he’s very much a side-player here.) The documentary juxtaposes Mom’s life and Narcissister’s art, and while it’s clear that the two frequently intersect — a bit with a mannequin echoes a long-ago photoshoot with Mom, Mom’s damaged heart shows up in an enormous puppet backdrop, and Mom even helped with the productions and appeared onstage — it’s not at all clear why, or at least why in this way. Narratively, the mask stays on. It’s more tribute than revelation, and even so, it is forever bending back toward its titular subject’s experience and performance. And while that performance can be both fascinating and unsettling, the context here renders it more than a little confusing.
Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes