Bob Flanagan was a critically acclaimed Los Angeles writer, artist, comedian and masochist who died in 1996 at 43 of Cystic Fibrosis. Published and exhibited internationally, Flanagan is best known for his disarmingly funny yet shockingly direct sado-masochistic performances. Like few other artists in history, Flanagan examined the literal experience of pain and the associated pleasures of masochism. I first met Bob Flanagan in 1982. We became good friends and I followed his developing career and his declining health. In 1994, I began shooting Sick, a film about the life and art of Flanagan and Sheree Rose, his long-time partner, collaborator and dominatrix. Over the next two years, I shot more than 100 hours of their professional and personal lives, including two performances, Autopsy and Visible Man, that they developed specifically for the film Sick. Visible Man (30 min, video) Bob Flanagan's Visible Man (1992) is a piece of installation art constructed from the classic children's toy The Visible Man, a clear plastic 18-inch model of a man with removable organs. Flanagan altered the toy by inserting tubes inside the body so that it would appear to shit, spit up phlegm and cum continuously, eventually covering the table on which it was displayed and the floor around it with these bodily fluids. In this 30-minute video Flanagan describes in his hilarious stand-up comedy style how he conceived, constructed and presented The Visible Man. Autopsy (35 min, video) This is a private performance conceived by Bob Flanagan and performed by Sheree Rose for the production of Sick. In a dramatically-lit store room, Bob lies naked and still on a gurney while Sheree examines the scars, tattoos, and piercings that cover his body, 'reading' the history of their intense physical relationship on his skin. With a casual and humorous cooking-show manner, Sheree then proceeds to demonstrate with obvious skill the proper technique for a variety of their SM practices (not including the nailing), discuss the ethics of a consensual SM relationship and reveal how their highly charged sexual relationship formed the basis of their deep love for each other. Kirby Dick

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